let’s be honest. every country has its dark side. it just so happens that australia’s has been shoved in the deeper corners of a fabulous closet of progress and economic stability. first things that people usually notice, much like you judge a man by the clothes he wears.
my first australia day was in 2014. looking back, it was a shallow experience of going to a local fair in dandenong where we lined up for fairy floss and brick oven pizza and jeff stuck an aussie flag he found lying on the ground in my hat for picture purposes. i encountered the word “strewth” which, until now, i only have the vaguest idea of what it means, as it’s one of those slangs that’s hardly being used. either that, or i just need to go out more often.
so that was my impression of the event: some sort of a food festival celebrating the day australia became, well, australia. people marking the anniversary of the arrival of the british ships in 1788 with barbecue and beer as a way of saying “cheers!”
it wasn’t until i blogged about our trip to warrandyte that i learned about the history of the yarra river and how it gave birth to the melbourne that we know now. one google search led to another and i discovered the sickening truth about the sneaky transaction between john batman and the wurundjeri tribe, the latter being so trusting to assume that the scissors, shirts, and blankets they were given were tokens of a friendship ceremony. for all their good intentions, there was batman boasting to his fellow europeans that he just secured 500,000 acres of land for practically next to nothing, later on leaving the tribe with practically next to nothing as well, as they were slowly disinherited from their own land.
that’s melbourne’s history for you. you also probably heard of stories about the genocide of the aboriginal people by the early european settlers whose descendants call themselves australians, although that label is quite diluted now with australia becoming a melting pot of different cultures.
while waiting for jeff to pick me up after one of my gestational diabetes checkups last year, there was this lady sitting beside me on the bench. i commented about how cute her dog was even if “cute” wasn’t exactly the proper description for such a massive canine capable of walking me instead.
dogs are amazing ice-breakers. before you know it, she talked about how she and her family emigrated from britain or whatever english country it was to live here in australia. if i remember correctly, this was back in the 1950’s or something and australia was in need of skilled workers. her grandfather had the skills (he was a painter) but it was her grandmother who wanted to go on an adventure of a lifetime after reading the flyers advertising australia’s huge demand for migrants. long story short, her family paid a minimal fee to travel to australia by boat where they were there for weeks and weeks and weeks (because i can’t remember anymore how long it actually took them to get here) before the rest was history.
the thing she said that struck me, though, was when she confessed that even then, there was a bit of racism going on: you needed to look like the quintessential european for your application to be successful. you know — blonde hair, blue eyes — that sort of thing. she said she wasn’t proud to admit that it was a reality then but it was what it was.
i don’t know why i even shared that conversation with you or if it’s relevant to the topic but, what the heck. i spent a lot of time on those last three paragraphs i might as well leave it in there for what it’s worth.
anyway, what i really wanna share with you is that on this day, an estimated 50,000 people turned up in melbourne to protest against australia day being celebrated on the same day it was invaded. obviously, a lot of people find it insensitive and an insult to the aboriginals — the true owners of the land whose population has been reduced to a minority.
i concur. it is a bit like rubbing salt into the wound.
and besides, according to the australia day website, it wasn’t until 1994 that australia day was consistently celebrated as a public holiday every 26th of january so changing the date might not really be a big deal as it’s not exactly as old, or as deeply ingrained, as christmas.
but then again, it doesn’t exactly soften the blow, does it?
anyhow, on the lighter side of things, we went to glen waverly to celebrate australia’s national day off. it was kind of cold for january but definitely better than the full wrath of winter so i’m not complaining.
had a very late lunch at petaling street malaysian restaurant where i had hainanese chicken and jeff’s vegetable fried rice and buttered prawns. i had a major case of food envy.
okay, fine, i eat A LOT.
i keep telling jeff i should start blogging about the food in the restaurants we go to and he keeps agreeing with me but not only do i find it awkward to take pictures of food, i keep forgetting to take them in the first place. my initial instinct is to dive right in and well, you know, you can’t fight nature. but on this occasion, i restrained myself. but only after prematurely demolishing the rice and prawns.
i swear i have no idea how food bloggers resist the temptation.
here i am breastfeeding raven. 8 months and we’re still going strong! i’ve actually gotten the hang of it now. i mean, with the help of the nursing cover may-ann gave me, i can pretty much feed her anytime, anywhere.
the only downside to breastfeeding is not breastfeeding itself. rather, the challenge of looking for clothes that’s nursing-friendly. however, as much as i can’t wait to start wearing my “normal” shirts and dresses, i’m not exactly in a hurry to wish for the days to pass quicker. because i know i will miss it. i miss it already even just thinking about it.
motherhood is weird.
fatherhood probably is too, but then again, jeff is already weird as it is so it can’t get any more weirder than jeff.
as a matter of fact, nothing can be weirder than jeff.
*raven at 8 months old