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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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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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12/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Double–edged Sword

A Double–edged Sword

By Rashida Murphy

 

July 1985. Sahar Airport, Mumbai: In the urgent business of holding a baby in my arms while negotiating the curly line towards the exit, to where a Qantas 747 waits to take me to Perth, I forget to look around one last time. I miss the sight of Mumbai or Bombay as it was then, saying goodbye. It was never my hometown anyway. It was just where I lived. And I was on the threshold of a new life, as a desirable immigrant with double degrees and English language skills. Australia, about which I knew little except that it had large reserves of underground water and farms the size of small countries in Europe, waited.

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09/06/15 Arts & Culture , Australia , Diaspora & Travel , Society & Politics # , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Hipstamatic filter won’t fix your Nostalgia

A Hipstamatic filter won’t fix your Nostalgia

There is much written about diasporic nostalgia for a lost homeland in literature, literary theory, and even media and cultural studies scholarship. As a first generation migrant from India to Australia, I also once longed for the smell of hot samosas on a rainy day, but that is only part of the tale.

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