Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vindaloo Against Violence

Since about the time that I started packing the suitcases for Oz, I have been hearing stories in the news about local idiots in Melbourne beating up Indian students.

No one is too sure why. And everyone seems to have their own theory about it:
- It’s racial
- It’s because Indian students are staying in the outer areas of Melbourne (which are poorer so apparently then more dangerous) & working long hours (so travelling when gangs & “louts” are looking for trouble) - They are just in the wrong place at the wrong time
- As one government guy said to the media: Indian students are “flashing” about their possessions too much, they need to be more discreet about carrying laptops and wearing good watches (Sensitivity is… ! And girls wearing short skirts were “asking for it”??)
- The media is picking up on only these stories & making them out to be racial attacks because the attacker was a white Australian & the victim was an Indian national in Australia. Attacks are happening all over because there are violent idiots in this city. Most of these attacks are not actually racial, we just don’t hear about them.

Whatever it is, it’s been distressing the whole city.

And many people in India.

Indian government officials have been calling for students to not come over here & hurtling angry demands for action over the oceans.

Australia apparently launched campaigns in India to say, “We’re alright, mate. Most of us love you & most of your students have a brilliant time. Don’t stop coming over”.

Which was followed up by The Media, in that typical “sensitive” style of theirs, starting up “dialogue” of “Is our tax payers’ money being wasted in India on campaigns”.

The Oz government also sent Shane Warne over to India to chat to people. Uhhhhhhhhhh. Can someone please explain this “diplomatic” tactic to me. I can’t say that it is the word “appeasement” that springs to my mind when I imagine old Shano rocking up on my doorstep to chat about cultural relations. …. I do think “hairplugs” though.

What has been lacking though is the Oz government launching a campaign here. In Melbourne. Y’know. That site of the attacks. Educate, mediate, bring about awareness and love. A campaign of “Lets love our foreign students cause they are actually the ones bringing in all the money while the local students pay ¼ price fees and get concessions on everything from transport to water bills”.

So some local Melbourne girl decided to take it upon herself and show some form of solidarity & support to Indian nationals who are living in Melbourne. And came up with “Vindaloo against Violence” – last night, people in Melbourne were supposed to go to an Indian restaurant in a demonstration of appreciation for Indian nationals who are living here.

I am not a fan of always emphasising a culture through its food. “We want you here cause we like your food” and “We don’t hate immigrants. They’ve added to this city! Through their cheap take aways & restaurants….and dance as a new form of exercise”. The constant “Food, Dance & Culture” emphasis becomes a bit trivial in cultural appreciation & respect.

But this was a great idea, because other than a mass march – which would probably bump into the 10 other marches that take place through Melbourne each day, everything from Stop Torture In China, The Globe Is Getting Hot In Here, to You’re Killing The Live Music Through Taxes – how are you going to show mass support in a cost-effective manner?

And it was easy. And oh so tasty!

I am still bulging & loping about in fullness of everything the menu had to offer! Mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Why oh why when you finally start groaning under the weight of food & muttering you just cannot eat anymore is that when a restaurant brings you a few extra free courses!

We spoke to the restaurant’s hostess/ waitress about why 12 of us had descended on their little establishment. And she added yet another theory to it all.

She said she’d heard talk about the “V against V” campaign, but she wonders how much it is actually dumb drunk Indian guys picking fights with dumb drunk Australian guys in dodgy areas late at night.

So. We resolved nothing last night. But we ate well! And made at least one Indian restaurant a bit more prosperous!



Rox said...

Wow, and here we were thinking things like that could never happen there. ;)

I had a good laugh at Shane Warne being sent over for diplomatic relations. Wonder why we never sent Joost across the Somalia and elsewhere during the xenophobia shiz we had here a while back - well, aside from the fact that no one would recognise him. They could have forced Benni Macarthy though, would be helped him get back to reality too.

I like the V against V idea, even the 'small' things help and it beats the usual sitting around and worrying.

Guess at the end of the day, people just have to find someone to beat on, race is seldom really a huge factor (although I have to point out that the certain Y chromosome factor is evident almost all the time... sucks this would isn't run by women!)

Don't believe a word I write said...

Nice post! And now I'm hungry.

Champagne Heathen said...

Rox - Ha ha ha! I love the idea of Joost doing continental negotiations! HAHAHAHAHA

It is bizarre. Disturbing. And I will just keep my accent under wraps when surrounded by drunken bogans! (Bogans, the greatest new word to come out of Oz, similar meaning to "CHAVS")

DBAWIAI - oooo man, I am already ready to go back to that restaurant!