Sydney is Irish, Melbourne is Chinese’
FFA's NCIP should reflect who we are, not what they think we should be28 March 2015 | Bonita Mersiades
It was interesting to read this piece from Mark Boric about how racism is defined when it comes to football in 2015.
I was in a coffee shop in Germany earlier this week and overhead an English man (probably around 28-30 years old) talking with a Japanese woman of around the same age, each talking about their respective visits to Australia in recent months.
“Sydney’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s full of Irish people. Everywhere you go, there are Irish people and they really know how to party.”
For a brief moment, I wondered whether he might have been Tony Abbott’s script writer, but I digress.
“And Adelaide is full of Italians. Great food. And the best coffee,” he enthused.
The young woman responded. She hadn’t been to Sydney or Adelaide but she had been to Melbourne and the Gold Coast.
“You should go to Melbourne. It’s full of Chinese. You walk the streets and they’re all Chinese. Nearly every restaurant in the entire city is Chinese.”
I almost intervened to ask if she meant the area in Little Bourke Street between Spring and Swanston streets, aka Chinatown - but I also couldn’t wait to hear her assessment of the Gold Coast.
“And the Gold Coast. It’s beautiful,” she said. “Beautiful beaches, great shops, friendly people. And it’s full of Arabs and people from my country.”
“Cool,” said the young man. He summarised their discussion.
“So Sydney is Irish. Melbourne is Chinese. Adelaide is Italian. And the Gold Coast is Arab and Japanese.”
They both nodded and took a sip of their (not very good) coffee.
“It’s such a great country. I can’t wait to go again,” he concluded.
At first, I was a little bemused. ‘Irish Sydney’ wasn’t my experience of where I live. ‘Chinese Melbourne’ takes no account of the whole of the city. ‘Italian Adelaide’ ignores so many other influences. And ‘Arab and Japanese Gold Coast’ is more a reflection on global tourism than the antecedents of the residents.
But that’s the point, isn’t it? We see what we want to see – because we are all those things and more.
The NCIP should get with the times; embrace the strengths, not the weaknesses, of our multiculturalism; and not impose a ‘whitewashed’ view of our history and geography.