More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Group or Gang?

With the latest controversy about the Government reducing the number of immigrants due to them not integrating into the community, I wanted to discuss this issue. Recently, a Sudanese teenager was bashed to death. This sparked outrage from all side. There were accusations that the Sudanese youths were trouble makers who hung around the streets all day. Leaders from the Sudanese community replied by saying they were misrepresented, and only a small number of youths were causing trouble.

Personally, I think this same argument has been rehashed many times already. It happened when the Greeks and Italians first arrived and then the Vietnamese and the Chinese. There is always a fear of what's different and new arrivals are always said to be isolated from the rest of the community. Speaking from personal experience and having lived so long in Australia, I can see both sides of the story.

Firstly, from the perspective of the new immigrants, it is hard to integrate into a new society. The obvious problems with language are one issue. The main problem I found was the difference in cultural outlook. When you are not used to doing things in a certain way, it's not that easy to just change over night. It's easy for the "Australians" to say people need to integrate, but they don't know any other way. Moving to a new country where you are clearly different is not just like moving to the next suburb. There is comfort in sticking with people you know and who are similar to you and can understand you. Hence that's why we make friends with people who have things in common with us.

I know that seeing things from the other point of view, it is good for all types of people to unite and make this country one. When people are segregated, there is a sense of us versus them and what's best for you might not be best for me scenarios can occur. Now that the Italians, Greeks, Vietnamese and Chinese are fully integrated into this society, they too are now seeing the Sudanese and other Africans as different.

I remember when I was younger, when a whole group of us would walk into a shopping centre, the shop staff would watch us with eagle eyes, like we would steal something. To me, we were doing the most normal thing, just walking around together. There wasn't any hint of violence or theft at all on our part. But I guess from the external observer, they would not know that. There we were talking in mixed English and all these other languages. Some had their "cool" Country Road duffle bags while others had their hair covering their eyes. It is a slightly threatening sight I guess.

I know that when I see lots of other Asian kids in groups, I can generally pick which ones would cause trouble. However, when I see a group of Sudanese kids for example, I can't tell the difference. Hence I have found that when I see a whole group of them just loitering in the shops or around car parks etc, it is a bit threatening. I've become Aussified. I'm so comfortable living here and being used to how things are, something new is seen as a threat. I still remember when I was being perceived as the threat, so I don't judge the Sudanese that way. Nevertheless, my natural instinct is that I should be wary.

I constantly argue with my friend Kin about this issue. He says that the Sudanese are different to the other immigrants that arrived. I say that they are just the latest victims and things will change once they are here longer. However, Kin thinks that the major difference is not in whether communities are willing to integrate or not, it's what they contribute to the society. I agree with him to an extent on this. I mean the "wogs" and "nips" are now running businesses, working in high level jobs and influencing the culture. I mean who doesn't know what a souvlaki or a dim sim is nowadays. The problem that Kin points out is that while the previous immigrants all have a culture of hard work, the Sudanese might not have this. I'm don't know any Sudanese well enough to judge that. It might be true, but until I have more evidence, I will not make a judgement on just outside appearances.

What will happen with these new African immigrants will become more apparent with time. If they can, like all the previous immigrants, start to contribute to the society, I see now reason why the Government should reduce their immigration numbers. However, if they become a drain on society financially and culturally, then they should not be allowed in. I know that there are issues regarding refugee status, but there are many other people from other countries around the world who are also trying to escape equally bad conditions. And if they are willing to contribute to the country, they should be accepted instead.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Them Sudos ain't gonna adapt. They used to the lazy life. They ain't gonna start working here.

Look out for them at the nearest Centrelink and your ATMs.

10/30/2007 1:40 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I'm an aussie, but when we first came back from living overseas I had a lot of trouble integrating - mainly because the other kids (I was about 7 or 8) didn't want anything to do with me because I spoke with a different accent, had different ideas, and had seen different things. (the town we lived in was more or less settled by my ancestors, BTW).

So if *I* had problems, of course others will. Just a shame that not much has changed in the last 20 yeras. And also, as you say, the people who are now integrated, are giving the same grief to others that they experienced themselves.

11/04/2007 12:16 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Anna, people are always afraid of what's different. It is a shame that some people who are now integrated are applying the same critcism to new immigrants, forgetting how hard it was for them when they first got here. I will reserve my judgement for the current batch of immigrants until more time has passed. If they don't contribute to the country, well then maybe the numbers taken in should be decreased so that other refugees can come instead.

11/04/2007 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the new crop on immigrants is that they come from shitty country where violence and unlawfulness is a daily thing. They bring that attitude and belief over here. They should be shot on the spot if they do any NO NOs

11/05/2007 12:09 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Anonymous, some do bring in violence and unlawfulness, but I don't think that's the majority. There's always some rotten apples that spoil the whole barrel.

11/05/2007 6:31 PM  

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