Are Australians that crazy? Seems plenty of people think so. But being one myself I’d say Aussie definitely see things differently, don’t they?
While few are real life crocodile hunters, there is a certain larrikin attitude that permeates both country and city, symbolizing the Aussie way. Mixed in is a willingness to take risks and put your best foot forward (called: “giving it a go”), even if the odds be against you.
On top of that, some people have postulated the reason Australians are also so light-hearted and cheeky about authority is due to their short history. To which I scratch my head and ask, “So what makes them think the Australian Aborigines (who happen to be the oldest civilizations on Earth) are blow ins?”
Methinks it’s just a bit of racist rubbish, promoted through teaching history with white skin. Take the blinkers off and the Aussie history looks remarkably different.
It seems to me the fresh icing on this deeper society has picked up some of the lightheartedness and cheeky irreverence from the existing citizens. Sure, Cockney convicts and Irish immigrants threw their own traditions into the ring. But there’s something unique about Aussies that doesn’t quite fit European thinking.
Like the way Australians tease people in authority. Think of Queen Lizzy, and her grandson Billy and his wife Cat. Or, Angie in Berlin, Frans in Paris, Bazza in the Whitehouse, and well… you know what I mean.
Some wordy fiends developed a term for this cute shortening of names, calling it “hypocorism”. Naturally that couldn’t possibly have been coined by a bunch of Australians because it’s just the normal way we speak.
Originally, I grew up in Melbourne (Australia) in a suburb called Chadstone. Except we called it “Chaddy”, didn’t we? Just like so many other places, including:
Dandenong – Dandy
Holmesglen – Holmsie
Mordialloc – Mordy
Wangaratta – Wang
Broadmeadows – Broady
Brisbane – Brizzy
Adelaide – Adders
… and so on.
Mind you, this knockabout, jokey approach isn’t universal. There are still plenty of Australians who hate anything vaguely Aussie. But because Australians in general are a pretty tolerant lot, both mobs put up with each other’s shenanigans and find something else to smile about.
This means Australians call their bosses by their first name, find saying “sir” to strangers weird (unless you’re a waiter), and distrust anyone lacking a sense of humor.
They expect to have a laugh at work at least sometimes (otherwise they’ll be looking to find someplace else where the company is better), and beneath their friendly exterior they keep a slight unease about authority.
On the one hand, crazy Australians respect their leaders. But as soon as authorities lord it over others or act even vaguely pretentious, the show is over. Nobody likes people like that. Not in Australia.
Yep, mad Australians like the idea of treating everyone fairly. In taxis we sit up the front next to the driver (because it feels too pompous sitting in the back by ourselves).
Aussies generally talk to people of all walks, be they the cleaner or the company director. It doesn’t matter. What does, is whether people are “any good” or not.
If Australians have a major failing (and every culture has some), it’s that we let things slip. Aussies, as a rule, won’t pull all stops out to make anything happen, (unless it’s a barbecue or some other celebration). Not that we’re lazy. Just that we don’t get overly focused on much more than drinking and sport (which makes me a failed Australian because I no good at either).
Still, there’s space for everyone in Australia, crazy or sane. So it’s okay to have a say that’s out of step and make your own choices.
When I travel overseas (which, sadly, is not that often), it’s easy to play “spot the Aussie”. Because, they’re the ones telling jokes, holding a beer, wearing a silly hat and entertaining a crowd. Okay, that’s a wild generalization (But you don’t want to let the facts get in the way of a good story, do you?).
Feel free to laugh all you like about Australians because we don’t mind a bit. In fact, if it makes you happy then we’re glad. Because there’s one thing Australians don’t want to get a reputation for and that’s for “being up themselves” or taking themselves too seriously.
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