I have always wanted to live :
On an Island : Checked;
In a 4-season Country : Checked (though yet to experience any snow);
On another Continent, besides Asia : Checked!
That’s what Australia means to me – an Island come Country come Continent (with some add ons). A land for an adventure of a lifetime (maybe someday, literally!) 😉
And today, 26th January is Australia Day! It doesn’t have much significance to me, yet another working Public Holiday. But…what does it truly mean? To Australians?
The amount of controversies surrounding it…well well, it is amazing! But I feel for those who refuse to acknowledge this date as ‘The Day’. The Controversy About Australia Day.
As compared to Malaysia, both our Merdeka (Independence) Day & Malaysia Day means something to us, ALL of us – no matter where we are today…and the same for many other countries, I believe! We do not celebrate the day Tanah Melayu was first invaded by the British, nah?
Is this a more appropriate term for today – First Fleet Day?
I first learnt about this in Sydney – both the museum & Maddam Tussaud’s! Hey, WHO said museum lovers are boring people…I became smarter by reading some history there, especially at the latter. Boy, am I glad I travelled solo there & spent my own sweet time reading those writings on the walls…since I didn’t go to school here, it was very educational indeed.
The Aborigines of Australia today were the very first fleet of people who landed in this great big Island, and who did they have to fight? Nature & Its deadly creations…and it was a classic tale of survival of the fittess. These were the people who created stories…lots and lotsa beautiful tales (better knows as DreamTime Stories) to share some of the wisdom and knowledge accrued for survival with the younger generation in a memorable manner – what else if not simplified stories! 🙂
And the rest is History…
How is it celebrated? Despite all the controversies, Aussies know how to chill out & have fun! Especially in Victoria/Melbourne where the sunny days are numbered, a Summer day off/Public holiday is always welcomed and perfect to be outdoors.
Fancy learning some Aussie slang, mate? Click on the link below the picture for some explanations 🙂
Now now, one thing that baffles me is the fact that Aussies must be the only people who eat their own national animal! (After 11 years+, I ceased being a pseudo-vegetarian few months ago, but yet to try this exotic meat – will do, some day 😉 )
As famous as the Koala-bear is as a symbol of Australia, *surprise surprise* it isn’t one of the national Animals. Nope…unfortunately the cute & cuddly Koala is slow & walks backwards too. Apparently, these 2 animals (one bird) are the only ones that doesn’t walk backwards – thus chosen to symbolize Australia as a progressive, forward moving nation…
Encapsulating the bushland spirit, the national flower/floral emblem is:
which beautifully represents the National colours of Green & Gold too.
The National stone/Gem is no other than Opal!
Sharing from Its An Honour website :
“In Indigenous stories, a rainbow created the colours of the opal when it touched the earth.
Opal, also known to Indigenous people as the fire of the desert, is a powerful symbol of Australia’s arid interior.
Australia is home to the world’s highest quality, precious opal. The most famous is black opal from Lightning Ridge in New South Wales. Black opal has a colour play of red, green, blue, violet, magenta or yellow against a dark background.”
Come to think about it, I learnt more about the above mentioned history of Australia from my 1-day trip to Blue Mountains & the short Sydney getaway last Spring, rather than what I have learnt about this land from my entire year of living here by that point in time.
As the Malay phrase says, Tak Kenal Maka Tak Cinta. So, yup…it IS important to know about the place we live in. Just as important as it is to know our own roots.
Lesson learnt : Travel more. Meet new people!
With all respect to the Official Australia Anthem, Advance Australia Fair,
I can’t help but share this video of the unofficial anthem from youtube, to the catchy-tune of ‘Hey Ya!’
“For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.”
I recall when I landed in Trichi airport few years ago, the customs lady went like “Malaysia…Vanthorey vaalevaikkum boomi your country!”. Well, I thought to myself, we were once knows as Suvarnaboomi anyway!
That’s how I feel about Australia, as the phrase above from their National anthem aptly depicts the Tamil phrase which loosely translates to mean ‘the land that gives life to those who seek it’ – whether a migrant arrives to this land Down Under by boat or flight…she gives us an Opportunity.
She never ever promised us that it will be an easy journey, but there’s an unspoken promise that it will all be worth it in the end of the day…even this very journey – everything happens for a greater reason. So, treasure it, mate!
Along with the Australians like my patient yesterday who told me that he is working on Australia day – ‘I have to work for a living & do not live on Dhol’, and unlike the majority of normal people who get off on public holidays, my colleagues and I continue working today…just like the majority of the doctors around the world who work on public holidays!
For me, it isn’t about the money or higher billing. Given a choice, I’d rather be travelling somewhere today. I was richer in experience and spirit for my New Year Yarra Valley getaway. And I was indeed lucky to have both Christmas & New Year 2015 fall on my days off 😉
But now…as a service provider who works after hours, I’m off to get ready for a work-day ahead. Cheers, mate…once again, Happy Australia Day!
Lamington is considered a tradition on Australia day.