Arts & Culture

26/01/16 Arts & Culture , Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , ,

In Solidarity on Survival Day

In Solidarity on Survival Day

As a collective of writers, artists, and academics of South Asian heritage, we acknowledge Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islanders who are the world’s oldest continuing civilisation, and the First Peoples of this country, Australia. We remember the dispossession, the massacres, the stolen children, the colonisation, the suffering and pain this has caused and continues to cause them. As immigrants to this great southern land, we acknowledge our debt to them, and celebrate their survival. On January 26, 2016, we stand in solidarity with them.

Below we repost parts of a post previously published on this site, Are We Legit, by Roanna Gonsalves

 

“We are not the perpetrators, the ones who wielded the guns in the forgotten wars between invading white settlers and Indigenous Peoples. We are not the victims. However, as mainly economic migrants from South Asia (we acknowledge the many South Asian refugees from the conflict zones of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka), we are not absolved of complicity.”

“We are beneficiaries of the genocide of Aboriginal people, the dispossession of their land, the loss of their homes, their families, their cultural values, their tongues, their songs. It is such soil that we step on when we first step into Australia, soaked not just with the promise of a ‘first world lifestyle’, but squelchy with the memory of massacre.”

“Today we are living in cities and towns, building our homes, our offices, our restaurants, our shelters, our futures, putting down roots into what once were and continue to be the hunting grounds, the camping places, the sacred sites, the repositories of knowledge of the Indigenous people of Australia. We are the beneficiaries of their dispossession, and we acknowledge their loss. As immigrants from South Asia, we understand about the loss of home, family and cultural values, and we would like to express our deep sorrow to all Indigenous Australians for their suffering and offer our support for genuine reconciliation, for self-determination.”

 

 

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10/11/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , ,

The Trudeau Effect – Diversifying Australian Arts and Culture

The Trudeau Effect – Diversifying Australian Arts and Culture

If you are anything like me, your social media feed for the past couple of weeks has probably been a Justin Trudeau fest. The video of his recent swearing-in ceremony, with the most diverse cabinet in Canadian history, has been re-posted so many times that I am beginning to wonder if any of my Facebook friends really voted for Tony Abbott (or Stephen Harper, or Narendra Modi). Then there is that charming YouTube video of Trudeau performing Bhangra at what appears to be an Indian community event in Montreal, which already has over a million views.

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27/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , ,

The Left Who Cried Wolf

The Left Who Cried Wolf

By Gary Paramanathan

The other day I happened to be having a conversation with a colleague of mine. Much to my surprise, and a pleasant surprise at that, she said she no longer uses the term “Left Wing”, and has switched to “Progressive”. Now this is someone I look up to, someone who has a fairly strong sense of ethics and values that I ascribe to. Here I was, totally blown away that she was also contemplating abandoning the “Left”, at least semantically. I thought, when those of us who are clever with words, start abandoning certain words, it’s usually like the canary in the coal mine. A sign of changes to come.

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15/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , ,

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

By Rashida Murphy

 

When American genealogist Michael Derrick Hudson decided that he would publish his poetry under a pseudonym, on the surface, it wasn’t such a big deal. After all, writers have been using pseudonyms for centuries. Think the Bronte sisters, Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll and most recently, J.K Rowling’s reincarnation as Robert Galbraith. No, choosing a pseudonym in itself appears to be a personal, innocuous choice. What made Hudson’s choice interesting was that he chose Yi Fen Chou’s name, a woman who used to be his classmate in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Even more offensive to Asian writers was Hudson’s confession that he found it easier to publish his poetry under an assumed Asian name, because of editorial bias towards ‘ethnic-sounding’ names. Hudson claimed he submitted poetry under his own name and had it rejected, but his rate of acceptance escalated rapidly when using the Chinese pseudonym.

 

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09/10/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , ,

Reflections on the awkwardly knotted hyphen

Reflections on the awkwardly knotted hyphen

By Meeta Chatterjee-Padmanabhan

 

While rearranging book shelves at home, I came across old notebooks with Hindi and Tamil alphabets in my children’s handwriting. Each carefully formed letter triggered memories. I remember the smug satisfaction that my husband and I felt as we helped our girls connect with their heritage languages. The girls, on the other hand, barely suppressed their annoyance at not being able to join their friends leaping around with water guns in their hands and screaming with delight just outside our door. Many years later, reading Sticks and stones and such like, Sunil Badami’s phrase ‘the awkwardly knotted hyphen’ that inscribes the uneasy yoking of two distinct national cultures: ‘Indian-Australian, Australian-Indian depending on the day’ intrigued me. I have wondered, how awkwardly knotted can a hyphen be before it stops being a hyphen?
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04/08/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Same –sex and other Desires: Asian diversity in the face of Australian decadence

Same –sex and other Desires: Asian diversity in the face of Australian decadence

By Mridula Nath Chakraborty

 

Even as the country is in the grip of issues that seem to beset it from every angle, environmental concerns, racial discrimination, housing crisis, fluctuating dollar etc., the powers and parties that be are seeking to introduce yet another cog in the political machinery. Amidst the chilling winter in Australia this year, one issue seems to be giving many a heat-rash. As the ‘debate’ around same-sex marriage hots up and cries of religious alarm go up, there has been an unusual moment of ‘solidarity’ with Asia.

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18/07/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Meddling Maami , Society & Politics # , , , , , , ,

What level of talent do I need to have/achieve so I’m never pestered into finding a husband?

What level of talent do I need to have/achieve so I’m never pestered into finding a husband?

My dears! It was so so lovely to see you all at the great little bash we had to celebrate the launch of our wonderful Southern Crossings blogazine. Who cared that we were not allowed to reserve tables inside the pub? Who noticed the thunderous pouring rain in the courtyard amid the cacophonous warmth of southerners from the subcontinent and the island-continent? My dear nephews and nieces, you set the bar (ha ha, pun intended) really high with your revelling that night. Joy of joys, some of you even came and revealed your heart’s secrets and appealed to me for comfort, like old times. Now that I have had the time to think deeply and deliciously about your concerns, here’s some skerricks of advice from your loving Meddling Mammi.

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15/07/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On not fitting into boxes: An exploration of borders and border-crossers

On not fitting into boxes: An exploration of borders and border-crossers

By Sukhmani Khorana

 

Born in Jammu, the winter capital of the northernmost state of India, I felt rather like the character of Lenny in Deepa Mehta’s film, Earth. For those who may not be familiar with the text, Lenny is a Parsi girl living in Pakistan at the time of partition whose life is thrown asunder as she plays neutral witness to the growing feuds among her erstwhile neighbourly Hindu, Muslim and Sikh friends and carers.

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01/07/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Australian Border Force Act 2015: a blight on the Australian Government and on the fundamental principles of democracy

The Australian Border Force Act 2015: a blight on the Australian Government and on the fundamental principles of democracy

By Annatina Aguiar

 

The Australian Border Force Act 2015 which commenced on 1 July 2015 is a very concerning piece of legislation because of its far-reaching consequences for democracy, truth and transparency in relation to Australia’s detention of asylum seekers. It seeks to severely restrict the freedom of speech of “entrusted persons” associated with any detention centre and as such, continues to violate the human rights of asylum seekers housed in Australian detention centres.

 

Section 42 of the Act is one of the most disturbing aspects of the Act, entitled “Secrecy”. Pursuant to section 42, a person who is an “entrusted person” commits an offence if he or she makes a record of, or discloses, what is termed “protected information”, without express permission from the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection. An “entrusted person” is defined to mean government employees, consultants or contractors. “Protected information” means any information that a person comes across while working for, or in, detention centres.

 

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16/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Making a Scene: A review of Kiran Nagarkar’s ‘Bedtime Story’

Making a Scene: A review of Kiran Nagarkar’s ‘Bedtime Story’

By Sumedha Iyer

 

As we took our seats in the theatre, the actors were on the stage chatting amongst themselves, rehearsing lines and practising their blocking for the evening’s performance. There was no cocoon of darkness for the audience to make themselves comfortable in as the show started – the lights stayed on even as the sutradhar/chorus A.A. Larry ordered the actors into their places. This departure from the usual theatregoing experience was intentional; the audience was to be involved in the ‘bedtime story’ to come.

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