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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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21/09/15 Society & Politics

A Darker Shade

A Darker Shade

by Salvin Kumar

Fairness creams
Lighter shades of foundation
Indoor football
Well lit selfies

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18/08/15 Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , ,

Nahin Hindi Kuch Nahin

Nahin Hindi Kuch Nahin

By Gary Paramanathan

Growing up brown in the Western Suburbs of Sydney in the 90s was PTSD level trauma at worst, and character building at best. For those who were lucky enough to share this wonderful experience with me, you’ll know that the West was not what it is now. Parramatta the heartland of Western Sydney for example never had an Eat Street back then. If it did, I never found it with my own eyes as I looked past the flashing neon lights of the franchisee run take away joints. There was the old Westfields, there were odd shops along the station, and there were the video game stores that were my little safe haven amongst the chaos, aggression and the downtrodden folks in the capital of the West. Blacktown, Cabramatta and many of the buzzing hubs of the West today were on the South Asian version of the “do not travel” advisory guide.

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16/08/15 Australia , Society & Politics # , , , , ,

At the Laundromat after the Day of Freedom

At the Laundromat after the Day of Freedom

By Sukhmani Khorana

So it is a sunny-enough Sunday with a cool breeze
and a short stroll to the local laundromat
with its chained antique television set
and its stash of women’s magazines.

Do only women come here?

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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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21/07/15 Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I Am Half Spanish

I Am Half Spanish

By Gary Paramanathan

My best friend and I have this running joke, I’ll say “I’m half Spanish” and she’ll ask “which half?” usually this rapport is met with slight amusement or dismay by the rest of our friends. I am not half Spanish, I’m entirely Sri Lankan (whatever that means?) So why this joke? It is our special little jab, we pull it out when we sense someone is in denial of his or her South Asianess.  By in denial, I mean trying to fabricate an identity that is a bit more mainstream, more appealing, and more special than the average South Asian. This kind of identity transition seems important especially in the dating world, where “mixed” is in and single origin is out. You only have to browse through any of the top dating apps to see South Asians, readily selecting “mixed” heritage.

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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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