The majority of my readers seem to be from the UK, so take this as an education on another aspect of the gigantic and sparsely population place I call home.
For any Aussies, here’s my two cents worth.
Tomorrow is Australia Day.
A.K.A Citizens’ Day, Invasion Day, Bogan Pride Day, aaaand a few others.
Which means it’s time for the usual wave of blog posts, articles and tweets suggesting that the idea of celebrating our place of birth is ridiculous and only for the uncultured, and we should instead see ourselves as citizens of the world. On the flipside, our Facebook newsfeeds are full of photos of Australian flags and kangaroos, many with captions of varying political incorrect-ness depending on your demographic.
Personally, I like Australia Day. I don’t get blind drunk on our national holiday, but I do like an excuse to eat copious amounts of BBQ food and lamingtons, and wave around a cheap flag with friends and/or family. Preferably near a pool.
Because I am proud of being an Australian. And contrary to what a lot of people seem to believe these days, that doesn’t mean I’m racist or homophobic. I don’t condone Southern Cross tattoos. Despite my partner having recently returned from Afghanistan as a member of the Australian Army, when laws change or a horrible crime happens, I don’t turn to Facebook to express that this clear violation of my rights is most certainly not what our troops are fighting for overseas.
I don’t even claim to live in the greatest country on the planet: I’ve seen the rich history of Europe, and the indescribable beauty of New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Every country has something amazing that others don’t.
But I’m grateful to have been born into a country where as a girl, I can do more or less whatever I please. Where there are cures for so many illnesses which in other countries could kill. I love that our entire country has less than the population of Shanghai, and the relaxed (and clean!) atmosphere it allows us, no matter how many disagree. I find enjoyment in informing foreign visitors about the terrors of dropbears and hoopsnakes. And yes, I’m one of those people who like the Dick Smith ad released for Australia Day this year – I mean come on, it was hardly that bad. (uncensored version at the end of this post for your viewing pleasure.)
Fairfax journalist Ben Groundwater published an article last week saying he doesn’t agree with the idea of having pride in ‘the dumb luck of having been born on a certain piece of land that then becomes “yours.”‘ (Read it here: http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/the-backpacker/why-im-not-a-proud-aussie-20130116-2cs1z.html#ixzz2IyEwwxsn )