I believe that institutional racism is a much greater problem in Australian society than we are prepared to acknowledge, and it informs behaviours without people even realising it – even in people who think they are embracing a multicultural society. My “story” is a discussion of my observations and experiences as a first-generation, Asian-Australian woman through an artwork I produced for an exhibition in Munich, Germany.
The following ‘story’ is actually a commentary about an artwork I produced for an exhibition about racism in a gallery in Munich. The artwork was called “(Asian)-Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi”, and it addressed my personal observations/experiences on Australia’s attitude to multiculturalism, political correctness and national pride. The work combines personal histories and experiences with a questioning of how the dominant white culture perceives the “Other”. The artwork also relies on a series of stereotyped and thus, recognisable cultural motifs, combined and layered in a visually humorous, but poignant way.
(Asian)-Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi
After a decade of healthy economic growth, which was achieved, fed and sustained by successful tourism campaigns in the USA, Europe, Japan and Asia, Australia has now found itself in an ambiguous state of denial about the impact of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. One Nation, under the guise of striving for Equality for all Australians, has at its core, a white supremacist attitude that fails to acknowledge or appreciate difference and diversity. It refuses to recognise that Australia must become part of a global culture in order to survive, and instead shirks all responsibility and blames Australia’s social, economic and environmental problems on migrants and indigenous Australians.
Many Australians were genuinely shocked by the rapid and seemingly unopposed rise of Hansonism. In an attempt to alleviate this shock, Australia’s media shared and exposed the variety of emotional states and political perspectives held by its citizens. The headlines and reports included:
“Amazed – Appalled – Disgusted – Offended – No comment – It’s about time – Too right – She is a handsome woman – Fish and chip shop owner tells it like it is – They should all go back to where they came from – Asian tourists vote No on Australia – They take our university places – International Asian students mass withdrawal from Australian universities – At least it’s out in the open and people are discussing it – Asian students assaulted – Asian students arrested – Asian student killed in racially motivated attack”\
So why is it that Hanson’s particular display of racism came as such a shock to so many people? It is because it was expressed within the forbidden realm of the public sphere. Australia has, like many other countries, suffered immensely from the impact of the early ’80s solution to extreme liberal guilt, the construct known as ‘Political Correctness’. Hanson’s public displays inspired others to come forward and provided them with the one thing they had been denied, a “legitimate” forum.
Hanson’s One Nation Party is once again receiving much exposure and public support, and so it is time for Australia to recognise this fundamental truth – that superficial public displays of political correctness have no positive impact on Australian society. Instead, PC behaviour has been used to obscure people’s abilities to comprehend the social reality in which they exist. PC redirects the focus away from an examination of the inherent racial constructs fundamental to the practices of the dominant culture, and leaves us instead with confused liberal guilt symptoms. Thanks to PC, the reality that National Identity/ National Pride and racism are inherently linked almost always goes unrecognised.
The Australian public sphere language of PC – a sociologically determined language, designed and defined by the dominant culture for the comfort of the dominant culture – teaches individuals to utilise ‘inoffensive’ or ‘culturally appropriate’ language within the public space, however it doesn’t help individuals to learn to recognise and respect cultural differences, nor does it impact on the racist attitudes maintained within the private sphere.
Australian PC by design, utilises deception rather than comprehension as its fundamental characteristic. This allows for the continuance of Institutional and private sphere racism, while still maintaining/ presenting a global identity of, at least, a multi-culturally tolerant society, and at most, a multi-culturally embracing society.
Australians reactions to Hansonism highlights the duality of the PC existence, and it also unintentionally exposes to the rest of the world a problem that is present in each of their own back yards.
Multiculturalism is simply a process, it is not the final goal. Within the current western hierarchical social structure, the expression of multiculturalism will always be dictated by the dominant cultural structure. (So ‘other cultures’ become validated only by their alignment with white culture, and are denied any inherent value, or right to exist, outside of these defined boundaries of acceptable multiculturalism). While some celebrate/exoticise cultural difference, others force assimilation (“one of us”), while yet others blatantly emphasise their assumed superiority. A healthy multicultural society respects cultural difference, but also continues to question the validity of all cultural traditions being practised, especially the dominant culture, in relation to progressive contemporary existence and to the rights of the individual.
In Australia today, people of NESB (Non English Speaking Backgrounds – the PC term!) are encouraged to “fit in” by displays of patriotism, ie become more acceptable by acting Aussie. Yet no matter how good an actor, the experience of being Other-ed is the most common. In this, the first era of globalisation, the concept of a monoculture – especially a global monoculture – is still feared, fuelled by the belief that one’s culture is one’s identity.
This artwork, “(Asian)-Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi” explores the dangerous intersections between concepts of national identity, national pride/ patriotism and racism. The work combines personal histories and experiences with a questioning of how the dominant white culture perceives the “Other”. The work relies on a series of stereotyped and thus, recognisable cultural motifs, combined and layered in a visually humorous, but poignant way.
“(Asian)-Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi” is a manipulation of the Australian sporting cheer. Especially after the 2000 Olympics, the world seems to believe that sport defines Australian culture. This title references common experiences of growing up Asian-Australian – the hyphenated uncertainty of cultural identity and the need to display overtly patriotic behaviour in order to go some way in being accepted by the dominant culture, the expected subordination of Asian women, and the “banana” experience of not sitting comfortably inside your own skin – experiencing exclusion from both cultures.
The cheongsam is the most recognisable symbol of the Chinese woman. It conjures up images of the Asian woman as exotic, beautiful, sensual, and also compliant and submissive. Especially in Australia where ‘sex tours’ to Asian countries or purchasing an Asian mail-order bride are still socially accepted, Asian women are stereotyped as submissive. This cheongsam is constructed from vertical strips of green, gold and white Chinese embroidered satin, reflecting the appearance of Rugby League team sporting jerseys. In this work, the cheongsam extends to become a tablecloth, emphasising the servitude and essentially voiceless roles of Asians who do not elect to “fit in”.
Rugby League Player ’9′: Green and Gold are the Aussie sporting colours (gold and white refer to the “banana”). In Chinese culture, the number 9 reflects eternity and power. In western numerology, 9 represents the completion of one cycle and the creation of another – a new beginning and a new way of viewing the world after learning from the past. The player that wears the number 9 jersey in Rugby League, is the Hooker. The hooking role has changed over the years. It used to be an important skill of hooking the ball during the scrum but with the changes in rules, is now more a defending and dummy-half role – the hooker role is essentially a defunct role. Hooker is also slang for a prostitute – another reference to the expected submission of Asian women in Australian society.
In this work, 9 suggests all these concepts – that the struggle to achieve a truly global culture does require commitment and determination by all, but the struggle means that we grow as a society to create a world that is rich, diverse and functional.
A schooner glass is filled with candy bananas. A Banana is an expression for someone who is “Yellow on the outside and white on the inside”. I have traced the term back to mainland Chinese, who used it as a derogatory term for Asians who have been brought up in “white society” and have not maintained traditional Chinese values. It continues to be a derogatory term for Asians in Australia. The Banana also has connotations with “Aussie Identity” (Australian’s have a passion for BIG tourist icons, and in Coffs Harbour, a popular sunny tourist destination, the icon is The Big Banana, a tourist museum!). The Banana also refers to the goldrush era in Australia, when the Chinese came to Australia to seek their fortune and were victims of both violent race-motivated murders (the diggers argued that the Chinese were taking opportunities away from Europeans – interestingly, this is a position that the One Nation Party still maintains over 150 years later), and Institutionalised racism (they were denied Panning permits by the government to deter them from arriving in Australia). However, it was the ingenuity of the Chinese to set up market gardens, especially in Queensland, that saved the diggers from malnutrition and scurvy!
I am interested in the theme of food, and how Difference is made “palatable” to the dominant culture, the consumer of a Multicultural Product. Sickly sweet. In this artwork, the BANANAs trapped in the schooner glass, are a symbol of the identity struggle for those who are bi- or trans-cultural, being forced to adopt a glass skin to hide who they really are.
Can of VB is a symbol of “Aussie mateship”, uncensored expression against authority figures and showing the Aussie battler spirit. In this work, it represents the link between national pride/ patriotism and racist behaviour.
The Pub environment – In Wollongong (where I live) one of the prominent and most powerful motorcycle gangs calls themselves the “Fourth Reich”. Even though I have been told that their ‘politics’ are not like that of the Third Reich, and it’s “just a name”, they have taken over a local pub as their hangout. So I no longer go to this pub, as their opinions, expressed freely and openly and brashly, are not opinions that I agree with …
"Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" is a cheer or chant often performed at Australian sport events. It is a variation of the
"Oi, oi, oi." And if someone says "Aussie", then I'll reply "Oi." "Oi, oi, oi."How did the Aussie Aussie Aussie chant start? ›
Mr Knox, who emigrated from England to Australia and then New Zealand, introduced the chant while playing for the Box Hill Rugby Club in Melbourne in the late 1960s to pep up the traditional 'hip hooray' at the end of matches.Is Aussie slang for Australia? ›
The Aussie slang is the best slang. As you probably know, “Aussie” is slang for “Australian”. Yeah, these people do have a slang term for everything.Why is it called Aussie? ›
Basque shepherds first took their dogs with them to Australia and then to the United States, so Americans called the dogs Australian Shepherds. The breed, as we know it today, was developed solely in the United States.What is Aussie slang for insult? ›
To “throw shade” means to insult or say something unkind about someone.What does Oi mean in Aussie? ›
Oi /ɔɪ/ is an interjection used in various varieties of the English language, particularly Australian English, British English, Indian English, Irish English, New Zealand English, and South African English, as well as non-English languages such as Chinese, Tagalog, Tamil, Hindi/Urdu, Japanese, and Portuguese to get the ...What is the meaning of oi oi? ›
(ɔɪ ) exclamation. In informal situations, people say or shout 'oi' to attract someone's attention, especially if they are angry.How aussies say oh no? ›
If you say “no” with an extra syllable or two, chances are you are actually saying naur, an Australian-ism defined by its listeners, not its speakers, which continues to be one of the internet's favourite jokes.What is the best Aussie greeting? ›
1. “How ya goin'?” “How ya goin'?” is the ultimate Aussie greeting.
The middle finger emoji represents the physical act of raising one's middle finger—considered an obscene gesture in many cultures—and is used for offensive or humorous effect.What do Australians call Mcdonalds? ›
Here in Australia, however, McDonald's most prevalent nickname is “Macca's”.What is the Australian slang for girl? ›
Sheila = Girl
Yes, that is the Australian slang for girl.
Before discussing their language, it's important to know what people from Australia and New Zealand call themselves and their countries. People from Australia call their homeland “Oz;” a phonetic abbreviation of the country's name, which also harkens to the magical land from L.What do Aussies call their friends? ›
Mate. “Mate” is a popular word for friend. And while it's used in other English-speaking countries around the world, it has a special connection to Australia. In the past, mate has been used to address men, but it can be gender-neutral. In Australia, you'll also hear mate used in an ironic sense.Why do Aussies swear a lot? ›
“My research shows the British and Irish working-class introduced most of the swearing we have in Australia,” Krafzik says. “It was cemented in those early colonial days.” The British officer class tended to rotate in and out of the colonies. The working-class settlers – and convicts – stayed.Do Australians say bloody? ›
Bloody, as an adjective or adverb, is a commonly used expletive attributive in British English, Australian English, Irish English, Indian English and a number of other Commonwealth nations.Why do Aussies say mate? ›
What does it mean? Another word for friend. Common in Britain as well, but used even more enthusiastically by Aussies, who pepper the ends of their sentences with a longer, stretched out “maaaaate” that conveys friendliness and establishes a relaxed bond between the speakers.What is the Aussie word for kiss? ›
Pash (pash) / Kiss
An indelicate description of kissing passionately, hence the name. Pashing typically leads to two things: pash rash (red marks around the lips caused by excessive kissing), and/or rooting (the crass Australian term for the birds and the bees).
"pregnant," Australian slang, 1951, from pregnant (adj.
It is expected you respond with a greeting in return or a smile of acknowledgement. Calling someone over by yelling “Oi” can be interpreted as rude or even antagonising.Why do Australians say oy? ›
"Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" is a cheer or chant often performed at Australian sport events. It is a variation of the Oggy Oggy Oggy chant used by both soccer and rugby union fans in Great Britain from the 1960s onwards. It is usually performed by a crowd uniting to support a sports team or athlete.What does it mean when a guy says oi? ›
Meaning. a sound used to attract someone's attention, like "hey!"What does oi BB mean in English? ›
Translation of "oi bebê" in English
Yeah nah yeah = yes. No wonder you're confused! A commonly-used word here is mate, which normally means friend. But pay attention to the person's tone when they say it – sometimes, it's used in a passive-aggressive way, and it probably means the opposite of friend!What is a typical Aussie word? ›
Cozzie – swimming costume • Cranky – in a bad mood, angry • Crook – sick, or badly made • Cut lunch – sandwiches • Dag – a funny person • Daks – trousers • Dinkum, fair dinkum – true, real, genuine • Dipstick – a loser, idiot • Down Under – Australia and New Zealand • Dunny – outside toilet • Earbashing – nagging • ...How do Aussies respond to thank you? ›
1. “No worries” If you say 'thank you' to an Australian or you show your appreciation for something they've done for you, this is often the reply you'll hear. “You're welcome” is still said, but it sounds American, even to me!What is a funny Aussie nickname? ›
Pook, Wozzel, Boof, Bullpit, Foxy, Snake, Sparra, Nobby, Froggy, Bear, Ferret and Stall. And it doesn't stop at nicknames for people.What does 🥜 mean in chat? ›
The Brief: The peanuts emoji 🥜 is often used as an innuendo for ejaculation/orgasm.What does 👁👄👁 mean from a girl? ›
What does 👁👄👁 mean? " It is what it is" It's a modern, emoji take to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ in these new and unusual times. " 👁👄👁 means you feel helpless amidst the chaotic realities unfolding around us, but there is no escape." –
👉👈 — Shy, nervous (usually in the context of flirting)What do Australians call flip flops? ›
The shoe known in Australia as a "thong" is one of the oldest styles of footwear in the world. Worn with small variations across Egypt, Rome, Greece, sub-Saharan Africa, India, China, Korea, Japan and some Latin American cultures, the shoe was designed to protect the sole while keeping the top of the foot cool.What do Australians call money? ›
Currency and banking in Australia
You'll use Australian dollars (AUD or AU$) while you're here. One dollar equals 100 cents. Australian dollars come in $100, $50, $20, $10, and $5 banknotes.
Then when July finally rolls around, this is when Australians celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense since it's colder. Although we know it as Christmas in July, Australians call this second celebration Yuletide or Yulefest.How did Australia say hello? ›
G'day. One of the first things you'll hear when in Australia, is the classic “G'day, mate”, which is basically the same as saying, “good day”, or “hello”.How do you say yes in Aussie? ›
Yes, simply, when you want to say yes, you say nah yeh.How do Australians say beautiful? ›
Beaut!/Beauty!: beaut, beauty or 'you beauty' is a very Australian way to say that something is great.Do Australian girls call each other mate? ›
In Australia, the term mate is used a lot. There is a code of ethics in using it correctly, however. These are some guidelines to assist you: Men use mate, women NEVER do.How do you say ice cream in Australia? ›
Icy-pole: Ice cream or popsicle.Do Australians say soda? ›
In Australia and New Zealand, "soft drink" or "fizzy drink" is typically used. In South African English, "cool drink" is any soft drink. U.S. soft drinks 7-Up or Sprite are called "lemonade" in the UK.
In Australia, "biscuits" are what Americans call "cookies," and these traditional treats date back to World War I.What do Aussies call cigarettes? ›
Durry, a New Zealand or Australian slang term for cigarette.What do Australians call their wife? ›
Aussie Nicknames for Girlfriends and Wives
There are many terms of endearment that can be used for the woman in your life - sweetheart, angel, boo, love, bebé (the latter nicked from Spanish nicknames).
|Name||All rank||Male rank|
Cozzie – swimming costume • Cranky – in a bad mood, angry • Crook – sick, or badly made • Cut lunch – sandwiches • Dag – a funny person • Daks – trousers • Dinkum, fair dinkum – true, real, genuine • Dipstick – a loser, idiot • Down Under – Australia and New Zealand • Dunny – outside toilet • Earbashing – nagging • ...How do you compliment in Aussie slang? ›
A short guide to compliments
Beaut! or You beauty! Exclamation of delight. Bonzer Good, a good thing. Mate A sworn friend – one you'd do anything for – as essential as beer to the Australian stereotype.
Aussies pride themselves on being good friends and neighbours, and not just to people they know. They tend to greet everyone from the mail carrier to the cab driver with a “g'day” or “how ya going?”. For Australians, this emphasis on mateship creates a cheery, welcoming attitude, and one that says anyone can be a mate.What is the C word in Australia? ›
It is used in a variety of ways, including as a term of disparagement. "Cunt" is often used as a disparaging and obscene term for a woman in the United States, an unpleasant or stupid man or woman in the United Kingdom, or a contemptible man in Australia and New Zealand.What are Aussie words for toilet? ›
dunny – a toilet, the appliance or the room – especially one in a separate outside building. This word has the distinction of being the only word for a toilet which is not a euphemism of some kind. It is from the old English dunnykin: a container for dung. However Australians use the term toilet more often than dunny.How do you say thank you in Aussie? ›
Ta. 'Ta' means 'thank you'.
G'day. One of the first things you'll hear when in Australia, is the classic “G'day, mate”, which is basically the same as saying, “good day”, or “hello”. So feel free to use this one from day 1 and watch the smiles around you as people respond with, “g'day mate”, which means “hello, friend”.How do Australians say pretty? ›
Beaut!/Beauty!: beaut, beauty or 'you beauty' is a very Australian way to say that something is great.What do Australians call a pretty girl? ›
Stunner. To start off with a really good all-rounder, “stunner” is a common one that you can use. Most commonly, stunner is used to describe a person—often not to their face. So, someone who is particularly attractive would be a stunner: “I met this total stunner the other night,” for example.What is poor Aussie slang? ›
noun 1. a person who is poor: They can't afford to go - they're real povos. --adjective 2. poor, or befitting a poor person: povo clothes.What are the 4 types of Aussies? ›
Australian shepherd colors and patterns can vary greatly, but the United States Australian Shepherd Association recognizes these four major categories: black, red, red merle, and blue merle (merle being the genetic pattern that occurs in a dog's coat, often appearing as speckled patches of color).Why are Aussies so laid back? ›
The tough conditions of settler times also played a part in Australians' dry, self-deprecating and sarcastic sense of humour. While in many countries it's considered poor taste to find humour in difficult circumstances, Australians tend to look at the lighter side.What are common Aussie behaviors? ›
Aussies are active yet easy-going dogs that love to romp with children. They tend to get along well with other pets. The breed is considered highly intelligent and easy to train. Aussies are known for being especially eager to please their owners.