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The Nicest Things About: Australia

Popularity 10Viewed 2270 times 2015-3-19 06:54 |Personal category:Quote Me|System category:Life| automotive, organising, mechanical, gardening, capable

The Nicest Things About: Australia

1. Capable People - Most men and women are very capable in many life skills from cooking, organising, mechanical, automotive to gardening jobs.People have hobbies that require skill.  Very independent and hard working nature. Very good at improvising and clever in setting up their surroundings and home. Perhaps this has to do with a long tradition of a vast land with sparse, small communities separated by great distances.


2. Acceptance: Once people know you and like you as a person, they accept anyone - no matter what their race or nationality with a true open heart. This is different from superficial politeness, kindness and niceness shown in some other countries towards immigrants. Here people literally treat you as family or how they would treat their own family. In some countries people treat immigrants as a bit superior or inferior. Here it is as true equals. It takes a while to figure it out with one's own experience.


3. Home/Work Balance: People really know what to value in life. They have a long tradition of  built in healthy balance between work and home/social life. Good number of public holidays, school holidays, work hours such that everyone can have time with their families, penalty rates for overtime or beyond normal hours.  There is a history of shops closing in the evenings, on weekends and holidays so that everyone can enjoy time with familes and friends. This is now being eroded by misguided policies by following the 'American/USAnian way' by those in political power. Australia, it can be seen clearly, has a mindset between the British and the USAnian one. Mostly they even have their fences or walls between houses of half the height between typical British ones and USAnian ones! While they are more British in character, there seems to be an aspiration among many to become like the USAnians.


4. Healthcare: An excellent, wise and good policy, that again is being dismantled brick by brick, slowly, in following the American way  - pushing up costs and driving people to forgo care or bankruptcy. Here again, a great system that was perhaps the legacy of the British mindset and culture that is now being corrupted from above by those in power and vested interests. While the trend is not so good.It still exists and provides a great service and back up for Aussies. Rarely is anyone bankrupt because of a serious illness.


5.Following personal passion: Most people try and follow a passion in life rather than take the first job that comes by. Because of the good social support and medical care (if the need arises) many will not jump in desperation at the first job or stick with a bad situation at work as those in the USA  or in other countries do by design. This has been the tradtional mindset. In someways, it is understandable. Customer service and attitude of dealing with people was not the best in Australia because most seemed to feel that they did not have to please anyone.  I remember going to an electronic store to buy adapters for my appliances from the USA and India upon my arrival here. One store had one of them. The second store I went to, had all I needed but the price on the adapter I saw in the other store was higher. I mentioned it to the person who was supposed to help me and he brusquely told me to go and get it from the other store if I wanted to! I was surprised - in the USA he would have been disciplined if not fired. Then I realised that this was a different country and culture.

There was not much danger of getting fired for poor service (difficult to get a replacement and tough laws against 'unfair' dismissals) and even if they did, most did not worry too much. They would never starve or be desperate. There is a postive side to this that people can wait and find a job that fuels their passion and realise their potential. This too is being changed slowly but surely to go the USA way with a large intake of new migrants, skilled and motivated to work. They want to keep the motivation ongoing.


6. Dignity of labour: One can see this in practice and the best I have seen among the countries I have lived in. This is evident in observing daily life - almost everyone,  a taxi-driver, a waiter, the janitor or a prostitute, people are treated with respect as default. They display a great amount of self-respect too. There is no tipping required for service and so no one has to lower themselves. A sincere thank you or note of appreciation is always welcomed and reciprocated. The current Indian Prime Minister Modi referred to this feature that he too had observed in Australia when he had visited it a long while ago as a private individual. He rightly said that was something Indians could learn from and practice when they are back in India.


7. Open spaces/playgrounds: Every suburb and area even in the middle of the capital cities - has open, public spaces for walking, playing and communing with nature. This is surely one of the best features of Australia in making wise use of its space by not cluttering it too much. Rich or poor, you will always find a nice green or healthy open space to walk or to go on a picnic. Children will find proper playgrounds.


8. Barbies: The Australian Barbie is not the plastic doll. It is the famous Australian 'barbecue'. It represents getting together of the family and friends, sharing a meal and drink, chatting. They do this on most holidays and national days. It is truly something to experience the friendship, relationships and is one of the great joys of living. Other cultures too have such gatherings under slightly different settings. The Aussie one manages to retain its distinct character despite assimilating input from everyone. There is beer and sausages, but people can add chicken tikka or a fancy shrimp or vegetarian patties and even bring French wine to it. It will still have the guys firing up the barbie, doing most of the cooking and serving, while chatting with their mates. Women too will find the gossip as delicious as the food. The children might play a game of cricket or kick the Aussie Footy Ball around. The atmosphere is absolutely great it can last afternoon until late. You never want it to end. Everyone helps in cleaning up afterwards. If you get invited to one in Australia, it is a good indication that you are 'in'. A lot of significant, important life and personal discussions and decisions happen around the Aussie 'Barbie'.



9. Mateship, helping hands and volunteering: Almost everyone I know here volunteers or does something for others. Even people in wheelchairs. From organising and running the neighbourhood sports clubs -cricket, footy, rugby, tennis or library or driving someone to the city hospital for the Red Cross, or delivering meals on wheels to those who cannot cook. It seems half the country's most rewarding and fulfilling human work is run by volunteers. On top of this, it is almost a tradition (seen more in the countryside) for anyone to step in and help a neighbour or someone in need on the roadside. From the countrywomen's association to the Rotary Club or Lion's Club or some made up club - people in their late 70s, 80s and even 90s are active doing something for others. People will get together and do things for their mates or colleagues or a neighbour without being asked. This is an energetic, giving nation.


10. Fair Go: An Aussie might come across as rough and gruff in their language and appearance to an newly arrived foreigner, make comments that some will feel are 'racist' even, they will tease you a fair bit and will not sympathise with those who whinge or complain or act like a victim. There is something about the Aussie spirit though - to give someone a fair chance to show their mettle or do  job or run a business. People will give them a fair chance to make a success of themselves. Perhaps this comes from a long history of accepting the poorest or least well-to-do immigrants (for a long time only from White Europe), but giving them a chance to succeed in their own business or trade. Many have come penniless and have made fortunes here. That tradition of giving someone a chance to succeed, fail a few times perhaps, try again and get back on their feet, is something clearly observed in Aussies. They will make jokes about the Indian, Chinese, African or Vietnamese people but will go and try out a new ethnic restaurant, even in a country town, just to give them a chance to prove themselves. If they like it, they will continue to patronise the business or honestly let you know otherwise.

11. Honest and direct (Mostly): This is often commented upon as the Australian roughness, coarseness or lack of sophistication. I however feel that it is very typical of Aussies to say something that might sound a bit harsh and then observe your reaction. If you do not overreact, take it with a sense of humour or give it back with a smile, they will laugh and accept it and you too. There is a culture of teasing, coarse language, but with a good, kind heart. The moment they feel you are not doing well, there is usually surprising kindness or tenderness. Most Australians seem to believe in being honest and direct and not necessarily apologetic about their views, even if they are not politically correct. The measure of fairness in them is when they accept you with such imperfect or biased views as well. Most do.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Comment Comment (27 comments)

Reply Report voice_cd 2015-3-19 09:30
Thanks for sharing your opinion here. We have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report SEARU 2015-3-19 09:53
It is also nice to visit visit Australia through your writing!
Reply Report KIyer 2015-3-19 10:21
SEARU: It is also nice to visit visit Australia through your writing!
You are most welcome to visit in person along with family and friends, if you can. I can show you around, my friend.
Reply Report Newtown 2015-3-19 11:54
Accepting your "biased views" ? You've given plenty of examples of those and no-one appreciates
these being shoved down their throats. If an Aussie is tolerant and accepting of people from a diverse range
of other cultures then he / she will not accept an immigrant from overseas spouting biased views against
other immigrants from overseas. If you do this they will likely tell you to take a one way trip back to
where you came from.
Reply Report cecilia颖 2015-3-19 15:24
i am majoring in Australian Study, and feel lucky to know such a great group people in this world.
Reply Report KIyer 2015-3-19 17:58
Newtown: Accepting your "biased views" ? You've given plenty of examples of those and no-one appreciates
these being shoved down their throats. If an ...
Well, in Australia, we don't shove our views down any one else's throat. We say what we think and let others do the same. By the very definition of tolerance, a tolerant Aussie would accept anyone with a different view point quite easily and disagree agreeably. Logically, I think your statement does not quite make sense. Moreover, I don't think you are qualified to speak for any Aussie, leave alone the majority and how they may feel about me personally. Leave that to me to figure out.  
Reply Report Newtown 2015-3-19 19:46
"Logically, I think your statement does not quite make sense."

Locate any examples from Logic 101 onwards where bias forms an acceptable part of a logical argument.

"Moreover, I don't think you are qualified to speak for any Aussie, leave alone the majority and how they may feel about me personally."

So logically that would discount the entire rationale since you are similarly not suited to speak for the majority of Aussies
as you have attempted in this article.
Reply Report Newtown 2015-3-19 19:47
"Logically, I think your statement does not quite make sense."

Locate any examples from Logic 101 onwards where bias forms an acceptable part of a logical argument.

"Moreover, I don't think you are qualified to speak for any Aussie, leave alone the majority and how they may feel about me personally."

So logically that would discount your entire rationale since you are similarly not suited to speak for the majority of Aussies as you have attempted in this article.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2015-3-19 21:38
I asked a guy once.. What is the best thing to come out of Australia? He replied.  The flight to New Zealand. .? ?
Reply Report KIyer 2015-3-20 04:51
ColinSpeakman: I asked a guy once.. What is the best thing to come out of Australia? He replied.  The flight to New Zealand. .? ?
That flight is  probably pleasant and usually empty. The flights into Australia from NZ  are usually full and over booked.
Reply Report Newtown 2015-3-20 07:16
ColinSpeakman: I asked a guy once.. What is the best thing to come out of Australia? He replied.  The flight to New Zealand. .? ?
An oldie but a goodie. However, many Kiwis make the journey over to Australia, Sydney suburbs such as Bondi are virtually Kiwi enclaves. New Zealand is a bit like Australia in miniature, very beautiful landscapes but not so many people. Lots of sheep in both places.
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2015-3-20 08:13
Newtown: An oldie but a goodie. However, many Kiwis make the journey over to Australia, Sydney suburbs such as Bondi are virtually Kiwi enclaves. New Zealand i ...
Ok
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2015-3-20 10:19
KIyer: That flight is  probably pleasant and usually empty. The flights into Australia from NZ  are usually full and over booked.
I appreciate the extra space on empty flights!   
Reply Report nrsko1 2015-3-20 18:51
Very nice & true article.  On March 21 they also celebrate Harmony Day - where Australians are encouraged to celebrate all the different cultures that all our different people come from.
Reply Report nrsko1 2015-3-20 18:52
I hear NZ is also beautiful country.  But I feel Australia is the Lucky country,- If anyone is interested in buying good Easy Business here in Australia then message me on email Ivansdelisouthland@yahoo.com.au
Reply Report 财神 2015-3-20 19:19
nrsko1: I hear NZ is also beautiful country.  But I feel Australia is the Lucky country,- If anyone is interested in buying good Easy Business here in Austral ...
Australia would be lucky if it could lift the world Cricket title
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2015-3-21 08:42
财神: Australia would be lucky if it could lift the world Cricket title
It was my tip for it, you might recall. Still in there!  
Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2015-3-21 08:44
nrsko1: I hear NZ is also beautiful country.  But I feel Australia is the Lucky country,- If anyone is interested in buying good Easy Business here in Austral ...
There are some movers and shakers in NZ but sadly many seem to be earthquakes  
Reply Report teamkrejados 2015-3-21 08:58
RE: healthcare and shops staying open late into the night and even on holidays. You mention the USA mindset in contrast with the more socially adapted policy of closing up shop in order to spend time with family. And, you mention healthcare driving people to bankruptcy, again adapted from the U.S. business model.
In the U.S., everything is 'for profit'. The healthcare system was privatized a long time ago so, whereas Britain has a social healthcare system paid for by taxes, in America, it is corporations that run the hospitals. And they're in the business to make money.
Just like the retail industry. They're in it to make money too. While they tout their new operating plan - open longer and on holidays as 'for the convenience of shoppers', what their motto really means is: 'for the better lining of our pockets.'
I'm really sad to see things go this way.
Thanks for the great summary! Makes me want to experience that culture for myself.
Reply Report KIyer 2015-3-21 09:30
财神: Australia would be lucky if it could lift the world Cricket title
I am tipping Australia to lift the cup but luck will not have much to do with it.

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