Is Australia in danger of losing its unique culture and language? I think it is!
Why you may ask?
Think about some of the conversations you may have had over the past few years and ask yourself truthfully have you heard something like this :
You – ‘Hey mate owyagoin?’
Them – ‘Good buddy how bout you?’
See anything wrong? If you don’t then that’s exactly what I’m talking about. If you did then congratulations there’s hope for us yet!
Since when has the word, ‘buddy’, been part of the Australian language. The word is, MATE, always was and always will be. I know what you’re thinking and, yes, it has become automatic and in the past I have been guilty of the same thing, because you hear it so often, but we must make a conscious effort to eliminate it.
Through social media, television and the movies we have slowly become Americanised. Even the spelling; tire for tyre, center for centre, using ‘z’ instead of ‘s’ as in Americanized and Americanised, the list goes on and on and can you believe when your computer programme (yes, programme not program), is American, which most of them are, causes you to have to constantly adjust to the American language or put up with a damn red line for spelling mistakes. Yes, I know you can change the programme for English but why should we have to. Maybe I’m just being a cranky old man but, surely, we have to draw the line somewhere.
I don’t expect every Australian to go around saying, ‘You bewdy bottler oker ol’ mate ain’t that a flamin’ bewdy of a shiela over there makes a bloke wanta flippin’ throw down ‘is schooner and chat ‘er up!’ But at least stick to some semblance of the Australian language.
It’s not only our Australian language that’s taking a hit but our culture as well. Back in the day end of school meant a, ‘muck up day’, where the students leaving school could play the, ‘larrikin’. Now it’s not only semi-formal and formals at the end of high school but at the end of state school as well.
When my son finished state school they held a formal, yes, for twelve year olds for goodness sake! What happened was the girls were done up like fashion models, overdone in some cases, which was not a good look in my opinion, and they had music for dancing where the girls danced with each other and what did the boys do? They skidded around on the floor and were quite rightly being twelve year old, larrikin boys. The formal was a bit pointless, really, and I don’t really think that many of the girls enjoyed themselves as much as the boys.
Need I mention the Australian cultural custom of a 21st birthday party where the recipient accepts the ceremonial key to the door for them becoming a full adult. Now the eighteenth birthday seems to be the coming of age when they aren’t even out of their teens. Don’t get me wrong here I have nothing against Americans, I have met many and even dated a couple of American girls in my youth, but I just really don’t want to become one of them, I’m happy who I am.
Anyway we need to make a conscious effort to retain our unique language and culture and one way to preserve it, I feel, is to embrace the history that formulated it all in the first place. You may think that Australia does not have the thousands of years of history that many other countries do and you’d be wrong. Australia has been inhabited for between 40,000 and 60,000 years and, yes, our history goes back that far and contributed in its own way to who we are today.
You might say that America had a civil war, fought for their independence against Great Britain and what sort of colourful history do we have?
What other country, in the whole world, can state that they were founded on the backs of convicts? That the infusion of a multi-cultural blend of convicts formed our government from an early stage. Did you know that we, DID, have a civil war? Did you also know that we had a guerrilla war between the colonists and the indigenous inhabitants that lasted for over thirty years? Did you know that Australia had six battlefields in our own country, because I certainly didn’t? What about the treason that put our country into upheaval during the Rum Rebellion?
That’s what I’ll be talking about in this blog over the coming weeks so keep tuned if you’re interested in the history of our great country. I can’t finish without telling a short story that personifies the great Australian humour. Make up your own mind whether it’s true or just a joke but I tend to think that it was an actual event knowing some of the great Aussies I have met over the years.
An Aussie was showing a Yank around Sydney when the Yank noticed a rather tall, impressive looking building. ‘What’s that?’ he asked pointing at the building.
The Aussie said with pride, ‘That’s the Chifley Tower, the tallest building in Sydney, it took three years to complete and cost $1.2 million.’
‘Hah!’ said the Yank, ‘We have buildings in the states twice as high, cost twice as much and were built in half the time!’
‘Really!’ said the Aussie as they walked down to the harbour.
‘What’s that then?’ asked the Yank pointing at the bridge.
‘That’s the Sydney Harbour Bridge, started building it in 1923 and finished it in 1932 at a cost of 10 million pounds at the time!’
‘Bah!’ said the Yank, ‘We have the Golden Gate Bridge in the states , twice as long, double the cost and built in half that time!’
‘Whatever!’ said the Aussie getting a bit pissed off as they walked south along the foreshore.
‘Okay then, so what the hell is that?’ the Yank said pointing at the Sydney Opera House.
‘Buggered if I know,’ said the Aussie, ‘It wasn’t there yesterday!’
Back again soon.