Thursday, January 26, 2006

National Days

Post from my mum on Australia Day

Today is a holiday in Australia and while most people have picnics, barbecues, or just sleep all day, we are expected to show a little affection for our country and to remember that on January 26th 1788 a few English ships landed in Sydney Cove with convicts on board to set up a prison! No matter that there was an indigenous people here already! It is hot today, about 40 degrees centigrade, and many bushfires are still burning.

Anyway, our anthem is rather peculiar. ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR - with the words 'girt by sea' in it!

Mungo McCallum says; Not much rhymes to "Australia"; the only obvious one is "failure", which is clearly inappropriate. But this is a cop out, as the following modest effort shows:

Prevail Australia!
We'll not derail ya
As long as there's azalea
To espalier.
So inter alia
Unveil yer dahlia
All hail yer
Gay regalia
Our Australia.

Mark Weeks had a go at rewriting the anthem.

Australians all, we've lost our voice,

For we are old and tired;

We've ceased our toil and sold our soil;

Our credit has expired.

We can't afford to pay our board,

And so we say this prayer

On bended knees. Will someone please

Advance Australia Fair

So as you can see I am not very respectful and reverent about anthems, flags or national days. I'd prefer to think that we are all children of a global village, the whole earth and its richness, but with particular affection for place of birth or nurturing experiences.

2 Comments:

Blogger George said...

I cant remember celebrating Australia day but on Anzac day I use to take part in the marches as a boy scout.

I have heard that Autralia day is now more patriotic.

Fiji day here is the same just another holiday with not many celebrations.

8:08 pm  
Anonymous watcher in oz said...

Although our current political leaders want to emphasise a certain kind of pride in our country with a fervent nationalism, and probably a fear of others, at least our humble cartoonist from the Wombat forest, Michael Leunig, who was given the front page yesterday in the Age, gets it right. It's not only about being tolerant of others,as opposed to a xenophobia - fear of others, but in Australia there's a need to actually be positive in our attitude towards strangers. Leunig calls it filoxenos, which is a Greek word meaning - love of stranger. It is an ideal but close to the Australian view to give everyone a fair go. Nationalism is dangerous when we only like people who are similar to us.

9:20 am  

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