how does the world see australia?

Reposted response to the waferbaby brainstorm - how do you feel other countries perceive your own?

heretic (20/06/02 @ 12:17pm)

i get the impression most other countries see australia as a backwards convict settlement full of beer-swilling inbred rednecks (an ironically adopted word).

i also tend to froth at the mouth when i see the way the world media reports on our immigration problems. our record is not bad compared with other nations; certainly our per-capita migrant intake is huge (top five or ten last time i heard). we are the end of the line for a chain of nations who do nothing to help refugees and practically encourage the people smuggling trade so the refugees don't try to enter *their* nation. because we want to stop people dying when their boats sink or they get dumped on a beach miles from nowhere; we get beaten up by the media as horrible monsters. the truth is we don't have a strong economy and we already have a massive unemployment problem. we don't have endless "room" for more people - huge tracts of the australian land mass is harsh desert.

in less political fields we don't fare much better. i'm horrified that many people think "neighbours" is anything other than a load of fetid tripe - instead they think it's a documentary (eg. years ago when my sister disappointed everyone on her uk exchange trip because she didn't talk like charleen, kylie minogue's broad-voweled character). i know the the "aussie" episode of "the simpsons" was a parody of what americans think about australia but it still riles me - because it's just barely a parody.

for about 200 years the british saw australia as a source of stupidly willing cannon-fodder who would always "run towards the guns, chaps" (think: charge of the light horse brigade). now we're seen as an upstart colony that should stop this "republic" nonsense.

america.... well, the president occasionally humours our visiting prime minister; but the aussie pm is treated like a faintly amusing sub-moron cousin. of course each successive pm swallows whatever bullshit they get fed about american agricultural subsidies - like that will ever change. the us doesn't give two shits whether aussie farmers get cruelled in the global market and never will.

i suspect other nations in the asia-pacific region either hate or ignore us for the most part. for many tiny pacific island nations we're the local america - relative scale and all.

in the end the only thing worse about how other nations see australia is how we see ourselves. there is a serious lack of identity and a major cultural cringe. the awful result is that your average aussie just apes american culture.

i should stop now. calm blue ocean. caaaaaalm blue ocean.

2002.06.20

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