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Just4U - Australia
Discussions run-amok, innane banter it all goes here
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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14639
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 4:18 am    Post subject: Just4U - Australia Reply with quote

I found this so cheering. It makes you appreciate the positives in our life and the number of advantages we take for granted. Food for thought.

There's a lot to admire about Australia, especially if you're a visiting American, says David Mason.

More often than you might expect, Australian friends patiently listening to me enthuse about their country have said, ''We need outsiders like you to remind us what we have.''

So here it is, just in time for Australia Day - a small presumptuous list of what one foreigner admires in Oz.

1. Health care.

I know the controversies, but basic national health care is a gift.
In America, medical expenses are a leading cause of bankruptcy.
The drug companies dominate politics and advertising.
Obama is being crucified for taking halting baby steps towards sanity.
You can't turn on the telly without hours of drug advertisements - something I have never yet seen here.

And your emphasis on prevention - making cigarettes less accessible, for one - is a model.

2. Food.

Yes, we have great food in America too, especially in the big cities.
But your bread is less sweet, your lamb is cheaper, and your supermarket vegetables and fruits are fresher than ours.
Too often in my country an apple is a ball of pulp as big as your face.
The dainty Pink Lady apples of Oz are the juiciest I've had.
And don't get me started on coffee.
In American small towns it tastes like water flavoured with burnt dirt, but the smallest shop in the smallest town in Oz can make a first-rate latte.
I love your ubiquitous bakeries, your hot-cross buns. Shall I go on?

3. Language.

How do you do it?
The rhyming slang and Aboriginal place names like magic spells.
Words that seem vaguely English yet also resemble an argot from another planet.
I love the way institutional names get turned into diminutives - Vinnie's and Salvos - and absolutely nothing's sacred.
Everything's an opportunity for word games and everyone's a nickname.
Lingo makes the world go round.
It's the spontaneous wit of the people that tickles me most.
Late one night at a barbie my new mate Suds remarked, ''Nothing's the same since 24-7.'' Amen.

4. Free-to-air TV.

In Oz, you buy a TV, plug it in and watch some of the best programming I've ever seen - uncensored.
In America, you can't get diddly-squat without paying a cable or satellite company heavy fees.
In Oz a few channels make it hard to choose.
In America, you've got 400 channels and nothing to watch.

5. Small shops.

Outside the big cities in America corporations have nearly erased them.
Identical malls with identical restaurants serving inferior food.
Except for geography, it's hard to tell one American town from another.
The ''take-away'' culture here is wonderful.
Human encounters are real - stirring happens, stories get told.
The curries are to die for. And you don't have to tip!

6. Free camping.

We used to have this too, and I guess it's still free when you backpack miles away from the roads.
But I love the fact that in Oz everyone owns the shore and in many places you can pull up a camper van and stare at the sea for weeks.
I love the ''primitive'' and independent campgrounds, the life out of doors.
The few idiots who leave their stubbies and rubbish behind in these pristine places ought to be transported in chains.

7. Religion.

In America, it's everywhere - especially where it's not supposed to be, like politics.
I imagine you have your Pharisees too, making a big public show of devotion, but I have yet to meet one here.

8. Roads.

Peak hour aside, I've found travel on your roads pure heaven.
My country's ''freeways'' are crowded, crumbling, insanely knotted with looping overpasses - it's like racing homicidal maniacs on fraying spaghetti.
I've taken the Hume without stress, and I love the Princes Highway when it's two lanes.
Ninety minutes south of Batemans Bay I was sorry to see one billboard for a McDonald's.
It's blocking a lovely paddock view. Someone should remove it.

9. Real multiculturalism.

I know there are tensions, just like anywhere else, but I love the distinctiveness of your communities and the way you publicly acknowledge the Aboriginal past.
Recently, too, I spent quality time with Melbourne Greeks, and was gratified both by their devotion to their own great language and culture and their openness to an Afghan lunch.

10. Fewer guns.

You had Port Arthur in 1996 and got real in response.
America replicates such massacres several times a year and nothing changes.
Why?

Our religion of individual rights makes the good of the community an impossible dream.

Instead of mateship we have ''It's mine and nobody else's''.

We talk a great game about freedom, but too often live in fear.

There's more to say - your kaleidoscopic birds, your perfumed bush in springtime, your vast beaches.

These are just a few blessings that make Australia a rarity.

Of course, it's not paradise - nowhere is - but I love it here.

No need to wave flags like Americans and add to the world's windiness.

Just value what you have and don't give it away.

David Mason is a US writer and professor, and poet laureate of Colorado.

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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inthedark
Super Member
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Joined: Jan 31, 2011
Posts: 862
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Just4U - Australia Reply with quote

Bravo Zulu Vince!

_________________
Chimo
Ron

War is sweet to those who have no experience of it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach - Pindar 518-438 BC

Be Copy now of Men of Grosser Blood and TEACH THEM HOW TO WAR
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Vince
Super Member
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14639
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Just4U - Australia Reply with quote

inthedark wrote:
Bravo Zulu Vince!

Salute Cheers Cheers

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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Elvis
Super Member
Super Member


Joined: Jul 27, 2008
Posts: 8351
Location: south island New Zealand

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:51 am    Post subject: Re: Just4U - Australia Reply with quote

we "down unders" are a fortunate lot.

_________________
You shot it You pluck it !
Them who eats the most duck eats the most feathers!
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dhc4ever
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Joined: May 26, 2011
Posts: 2658
Location: Ipswich, Queensland Australia

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:07 am    Post subject: Re: Just4U - Australia Reply with quote

Where did you get that Vince?
Tne Afgan daily bugle, or the Iranian illeagle immigration site?

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Pete

Dont do anything you wont like explaining to the paramedics..............
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Vince
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Joined: May 25, 2005
Posts: 14639
Location: Brisbane AUSTRALIA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:14 am    Post subject: Re: Just4U - Australia Reply with quote

From memory, a mate in New York sent it to me in an email Pete.

_________________
Cheers, Vince Cheers

Illegitimi non carborundum
(Never let the bastards grind you down)

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

"Nulla Si Fa Senza Volonta."
(Without Commitment, Nothing Gets Done)
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