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Sydney's multicultural heart still beats strong

Date

Peter FitzSimons

Our curtain opens on a scene set last Tuesday at high noon on Redfern Station. Two Anglo-Saxon mothers are seriously struggling with their prams as they tried to alight from a train that is just about to take off. Quick as a flash an Indian student and Middle-Eastern tradie rush to help, each lifting a pram.

The Fitz Files

<i>Illustration: Reg Lynch.</i>

Illustration: Reg Lynch.

Our curtain opens on a scene set last Tuesday at high noon on Redfern Station. Two Anglo-Saxon mothers are seriously struggling with their prams as they tried to alight from a train that is just about to take off. Quick as a flash an Indian student and Middle-Eastern tradie rush to help, each lifting a pram. A Mediterranean grandma calls out to the Asian guard to hold the train, and the whole operation ends happily. Other commuters even looked up from their mobile phones, interacted with each other, and smiled! Gotta love this city.

MILNE'S GREAT BIG IDEA

Bravo Greens Leader Christine Milne, who last week called on both the Coalition and the ALP to support the establishment of a national version of ICAC, only to be effectively stonewalled by both sides. Why? How freaking obvious is it that just as state versions of ICAC really are making enormous strides in keeping the bastards honest, we need a national version of it. If Bill Shorten stepped up he would be bowled over with acclaim, and isolate the PM on the subject, but, so far, nothing.

PRANK OF THE PAST

Just for fun, try this radio prank on 2SM, from the old days. Good-hearted, clever and – to my humour at least – hilarious.

JOKE OF THE WEEK

One day a florist goes to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he pulls out his wallet, but the barber replies “I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing community service this week.” The following morning, when the barber opens his shop, there is a Thank You card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door. Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and the same thing happens. The next morning when the barber opens up, there is a Thank You card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door. Then a member of parliament comes in. Same thing. The next morning, when the barber goes to open up, there were a dozen Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.

WITS HAVING A BRAWL

I agree, it will be some time before they come up with a better tabloid headline than that Northern Territory News’s effort after the Packer/Gyngell blue, which ran above a photo of the two rolling on the ground, with Gyngell on the bottom: “WHY I’VE GOT A PACKER UP MY CLACKER.” Still, there were a few lines circulating on the internet ran it close. One @ciandante  suggested the best title for a book on the subject would  be “SPLITTING HEIRS,” while @SteveMcClure, posted this tweet: NEWSFLASH: Gyngell's PA “damn you auto-correct, I said LUNCH, Packer on Sunday @ Bondi.” Meanwhile,@randomswill made the point: “If there hasn't been a tearful ‘I f*ckin' love you mate,’ from the combatants in #PackerGyngell, it will be #unAustralian!”

ONE FOR THE LADIES

Thank you, Margaret Pomeranz, may I do this one? It’s about that film,The Other Woman, starring Cameron Diaz. As sexist as this might seem, my advice is, if you’re a bloke and your female partner suggests seeing it, run screaming from the room. Shockingly dull. Wooden dialogue. Predictable outcome. Every cliché of the genre, somehow packed into two hours that feel like 50. But, if you’re a woman, you will likely love it. That, at least was my experience in the Cremorne Orpheum last Saturday night. Throughout this hell on a stick, all the women either roared with laughter or emitted knowing groans, while once the lights came up we blokes stared at each other with glazed eyes, bitter that we had wasted two hours of precious time that would never come again. 

THEY SAID IT...

“I found it very hard to order one of my men in there, you know, they’re all younger than me, they’ve got young kids, so I spoke to the inspector [and] I volunteered to go in.”

Ron Morasso, who in July 2013 waded through thousands of litres of petrol at a refinery to shut the system down and stop it catching fire. Last Sunday Morasso was awarded the NSWFR Conspicuous Medal for bravery. Bravo.

“It goes to show, always wait for the green man. One minute you’re here. The next you are not.”

Steve (would not give surname) who this week saw a man killed on George Street when he stepped in front of a bus.

“Two generations ahead, future extrapolation of current wealth growth rates yields almost a billion millionaires, equivalent to 20 per cent of the total adult population. If this scenario unfolds, then billionaires will be commonplace, and there is likely to be a few trillionaires too, 11 according to our best estimate.”

Investment bank Credit Suisse. Bill Gates is expected to be the world’s first trillionaire.

“I abducted your girls. By Allah, I will sell them in the market place.’’

Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, which means ‘‘Western education is sinful’’, about the 300 Nigerian schoolgirls the group abducted on April 15.

“Why I’ve got a Packer up my clacker.”

Headline of the year, in the NT News, running with the photos of the blue between James Packer and David Gyngell.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it because I knew I had shot some pretty powerful pictures of these guys, but it was just so left field, so unexpected. My jaw just dropped. I thought ‘Wow, what just happened?’ I had no idea why it had gone down or anything.”

Photographer Brendan Beirne, who took the pictures of James Packer and David Gyngell fighting, and earned a reported $210,000 for them.

“Here are the two institutions to whom I have given nearly every ounce of my . . . energy, and almost simultaneously they have displayed massive failures in living up to their highest ideals.”

Kristina Keneally on the Catholic Church and the Labor Party. This week she has a go at being a morning television host. I suspect she will go well.

“As a general rule, things don’t end well if the sentence starts, ‘Let me tell you something I know about the Negro. You really don’t need to hear the rest of it. Just a tip for you. Don’t start your sentence that way.”

President Barack Obama

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

9 comments

  • I dunno guys, when I've been travelling in Europe or America I've been to a lot of places where the people all look pretty homogenous and I start to really miss this town. All the different faces, the different languages, there's a vitality to it that you don't get in a lot of places. Nothing wrong with celebrating that if you ask me.

    Commenter
    kthx
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    May 11, 2014, 2:26PM
    • Its important, because its a common normal scene that is not used as an example of people of different cultures. Its not an Asian waiter, a angry violent lebanese, or some shadey ethnic that the media likes to depict.

      During the Commnwealth Games, we had an Australian of Indian ethnicity, this was not used in the headlines. But the media used xxx born for an Australian ethnic who did do something wrong at the games.

      Commenter
      cecil
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 11, 2014, 2:28PM
      • What a heartwarming story. Now travel into some of the suburban enclaves we have and see if those are enjoyable. Fingers in ears, eyes screwed tightly shut, repeating "Multiculturalism is just fine."

        Commenter
        Notch
        Date and time
        May 11, 2014, 2:37PM
        • Even though they play the PC card when it suits, those on the Left have a penchant for characterising groups on gender and nationality, just have a look at Daily Life!

          Commenter
          Hmmm
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          May 11, 2014, 3:02PM
          • I'm afraid I'm going to have to agree with the first two comments here, I think your comment on the nationality of all these people proves that multiculturalism isn't working as even someone as well educated as you only saw different races of people, not just Aussies helping each other, you even named what you thought was each different race when you have no idea if what you thought was correct i.e. the Indian "student" may have been of Pakistani or Sri Lankan descent or even Aboriginal for all you know, one of my mates is Aboriginal and he is always being mistaken for Indian.
            Even then they may have been second or third generation Aussies, born here, with different cultural backgrounds like my children, I was born in Australia of Greek descent, my wife is of Anglo Saxon descent who's family came to Australia generations ago and yet whenever people see our last name the first thing they say is "Are you Greek."

            Commenter
            GD
            Location
            Kogarah
            Date and time
            May 11, 2014, 3:48PM
            • Would it have helped if he used the word 'Australian' after identifying the possible ethnic/racial/cultural identities that these persons have as part of being who they are or should he have clarified after every one of those terms he used with 'maybe' or 'not that there is anything wrong with that'? While your complaint about racism in Australia and the politics of division is right on the ball and clearly argued, it has no place in a commentary to a happy story about people of varying backgrounds coming together to help one-another at a time of need. Find the appropriate forum to air your complaint and you will find that it is rightly considered rather than politely ridiculed.

              Commenter
              Jon
              Location
              Sydney
              Date and time
              May 11, 2014, 5:37PM
          • Really Peter ! What a wonderful heart wrenching story . Where do you get these moments in Aussie history ? I'm Catholic and the other day I helped my elderly, Atheist neighbour with her shopping . Gotta love this city. And "by the by" how do you know one was Indian, one Middle Eastern and the little granny Mediterranean. OMG .... let me guess ...!

            Commenter
            bbadman
            Location
            mascot
            Date and time
            May 11, 2014, 4:12PM
            • Weird how none of these apparently heart warming moments never happen in the actual multicultural heart that is SW Sydney.

              Commenter
              Tahlia
              Date and time
              May 11, 2014, 6:13PM
              • I am very uncomfortable, is this 1950?

                Commenter
                jrp
                Date and time
                May 11, 2014, 6:51PM
                Comments are now closed
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