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Perspective changes everything

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I grew up in a household where the cooking was very bland. My mother had pepper, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg as her only spices. When she did make a dish that required some different spice- maybe chili for instance, she would treat the spice like it was highly radioactive. She would add the tiniest bit of chili that she possibly could to the mixture in order not to poison her family. Our next door neighbours however, came from Northern India. My friend Darius' mother would add lots of spices to her cooking. You could smell the Tandoori and Vindaloo from her kitchen. It smelled very different from my mother's cooking. To this day, even though my list of food preferences has grown, I still prefer bland cooking to spicy dishes.


When I was young, quite often at street fairs, my mother would buy me cotton candy or fairy floss. I remember quite enjoying it. Now the thought of eating it, makes my stomach churn. It is just so sickly sweet. There is also nothing worse than getting the strands of sugar caught in one's beard and moustache.

Crime rates in Australia and in Canada have fallen over the past 20 years. There is a significantly lower chance of me being a victim of a crime there now then there was 20 years ago. But for those who are victims of crime, they don't see this. Politicians are still using the theme of law and order to get more votes, even though fewer of us are victims of crime.

Perspective. Perspective means everything. Two people can look at the same object and have a very different description of it. Something that I find delicious does nothing for someone else. A heavy metal band sounds excruciating to me, but soothes another soul. Each one of us brings a unique perspective to things. And our perspectives are no more valuable then anyone elses.

Take tomorrow. Tomorrow is a national holiday in Australia. Officially it is called Australia day and it marks the day in 1788 when the British fleet sailed into Sydney harbour and set up their penal colony. For some it marks leaving behind the problems of the old world that they faced and setting up a new country. For some it is a giving thanks for the freedom that they find here in Australia. For some it is a thanksgiving for this new land. But for others, it is not a joyful day, but a day of mourning. They mourn for the First people's who had their land and their way of life stolen from them with the British invasion. These others say that the celebration of Australia Day means that we are celebrating, Imperialism, Physical and Cultural genocide, and Eurocentrism.

Whose right and whose wrong? It is very hard to say. For myself, I approach Australia Day with very mixed feelings. As a newcomer to this country, I am thankful for all that Australia offers. Like Canada, I know that this is a good place to live where people seem a bit more relaxed, more tolerant, and less prone to violence and militarism then some countries. But on the other hand, I have some first nations heritage. I know what pain cultural domination and feeling of ethnic superiority can inflict on country. I have heard too many stories from First Nations people in Canada, Colombia, and Australia, about the pain that cultural genocide and that eurocentrism cause.

So tomorrow, to those who wish to celebrate Australia Day- enjoy yourself. Celebrate the joys and wonders that you have found here. For those who struggle with January 26th, keep speaking your mind so that everyone might realise that the good life we have here came at quite a cost. For those with mixed feelings share your struggles with others. Perhaps we might all learn something as we hear from different points of view. Blessings.

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