I went to an incredibly homogenous primary school (I was one of two East Asians in my grade. My high school, where 75% of the grade were East Asian or Indian, may have overcompensated for that). We were fed symbols of Australiana which we were (rightly) told to be proud of - our beautiful landscape, our weirdass flora and fauna, our sporting prowess. We had special days where we wore the national colours, green and gold, to school. I used to wonder why my parents were so bewildered by my enthusiasm for drawing gold kangaroos everywhere (by my infallible kid-logic, a country with kangaroos had to be the best country in the world). Given my trepidation whenever drunken white males enter my train carriage (augmented by the presence of flags, football scarves or Southern Cross tattoos), I can't imagine the alienation and paranoia my parents felt 20 years ago, as recent immigrants with thick Chinese accents, arriving in a country where, 8 years later, the unashamedly anti-immigration One Nation party would attract almost 10% of the nation's vote. Despite the greater visibility of migrants (no doubt helped by the work of Asian-Australian celebrity chefs), migration (more specifically, intake of refugees) vs. the dominance of Anglo-Australian culture is as big a political issue as ever.
Most Australians aren't overtly racist (cue "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist"). Most groups of drunken white males who get on my train could never imagine themselves hurling abuse at an immigrant. But often, sensible, intelligent, upstanding white people mistakenly assume that other white people also share these same views. My lovely, pasty white boyfriend shook with anger for hours after a girl on the bus repeatedly told me they "didn't like [my] kind" around there. To him it was unthinkable, lunatic behaviour that demanded violent retaliation. I just mentally crossed off October.
So how was my Australia Day? It was fantastic! I didn't witness a single racist incident, and I got to delightedly remind the boyfriend mutiple times that he's descended from illegal boat people, while I am a perfectly legal Cathay Pacific person (he's a tad embarassed about his ancestors, not because they were criminals, but because they were "dumb enough to get caught". Also their cuisine). Not to mention that Lacquerheads of Oz, the blog that a group of Australian nail bloggers/indie sellers/nail techs started for storing ALL THE POLISH KNOWLEDGE, launched!
To end possibly my most humanities-tainted post of all time, here's a shot of my nails (Pretty Serious VT100 with ulta3 glitter and stamping, by the way) with a work by possibly my favourite Australian, Nick Cave (fittingly enough, he's emigrated).
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