I am, you are, we are ‘Malaysian’

Curious parents of children studying in Australian universities often wonder if Aussies are anti-Asian. Media coverage in early June of Indian students being harassed and harangued in Melbourne has understandably stoked parents’ fear about safety on Australian streets and ‘gwei-lows‘ going around bashing Asians – just for fun.

After a short stay though, and getting a feel of the city and suburbs, Malaysian visitors are pleasantly surprised at considerate drivers on Aussie roads, courteous cashiers at checkout counters, friendly strangers on the streets.

“G’day. How are you?”

“Wah, people here so polite and friendly.”

Indeed, visitors are prompt to feel that here’s the place where minorities and foreigners can live, love, work and play as well as the majority local Anglos. Fair go for all.

Coming from where drivers don’t give two hoots to pedestrians, where a courteous ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ is not much of a habit in daily transactions, where strangers on the streets are feared as potential scammers – the ‘Aussie-way’ is certainly refreshing. All it takes to spoil the experience are the occasional middle-finger pointing road-ragers (“Bloody Asian driver!”) and drunk yobos (“Hey, chinks, go home!”).

The isolated street rant is burnished in the visitor’s take-home memory. An otherwise fresh experience soured by isolated verbal abuse.

“Aiyah! Australians are so racist.” We react to unpleasant situations with absolute tags and obsolete labels, pushing the Other down a notch or two on the scale of social acceptability.

Read more at : http://malaysiakini.com/opinions/107749