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Thread: Aussie "Pride"

  1. #1
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    Question Aussie "Pride"

    Just read a news story that sparked a thought that I've had before... perhaps on more than one occasion. Now I know this is a survey seemingly commisioned, and certainly reported, by Reader's bloody Digest, of all people, but take a gander, and see what you reckon.

    http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/20...?site=northqld

    So OK.. all very nice. We've had a lot of hardship in the country over the past few months, and communities have come together, some from far and wide, to help folks in need get back on their feet. That's fantastic.

    An exclusive survey of more than 850 people appears in the latest Australian Readers Digest and illustrates just how highly Aussies value kindness.

    Sue Carney, Editor in Chief of the magazine, says that during a time of devastation for many parts of the county recently affected by natural disasters, kindness has been recognised as "a core value" of the Aussie spirit.

    "The nice thing that has come out of so much awful news is how ordinary people can pitch in and help. We all remember those queues of Australians lining up to go in and clean up people's houses in Queensland after the floods."
    My question is... What makes us think that we are so special ? Are we really right to do so ? Are we perhaps just blowing our own horns, as it were ?

    New Zealand has just faced a major catastrophe. Japan has.. well.. damn, words can barely describe it. It hardly compares to the troubles we've seen in Oz, and the suffering in NZ. Such a massive loss of life, property and infrastructure is almost on a completely different scale. It's hard to comprehend, we see these events so seldom in our lifetimes.

    I'm sure neighbours helped neighbours just as much in NZ as they did here. Complete strangers helped each other, I'm sure, just as they did here. I find it hard to believe that the same humanitarian ethos wouldn't have been evident in Japan.

    I've never travelled overseas. I've never experienced other cultures as others here have. But I'm finding it a little difficult to swallow that we are somehow so much more special than other nationalities when our mettle as human beings is tested to the limits.

    Perhaps I'm ignorant, or showing my worldly naivité, or cringe at overt nationalistic zeal (I know I'm not alone when it comes to the sincerity of Australia Day & ANZAC Day celebrants).. but I think there are a lot of folks here more learned than I. I hope you'll share your thoughts.

    Gary
    Last edited by Mentally Saturated; 2nd April 2011 at 01:12 AM.
    Stephen Fry: In 1900 there was a sport where Britain won a gold medal,
    in which the only other country that competed was France.
    Can you imagine what that might have been?

    John Sessions: Arrogance?
    --== QI (Quite Interesting): Season 3 - Episode 4 ==--

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    My observation from travel is exactly as you would expect: people are people. Some wear funny hats.

    Cultural differences can be important, for example differences in habitual personal space, levels of corruption and so on, and Japanese culture looks at first to be distinctly different but these are learned behaviours. The core behaviours and values wind up being the same, as you discover in conversation and especially when there is a crisis.

    Claiming "[country X] values" as some sort of exclusive to country X underpins racism and jingoism.
    There are no good arguments for gods.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Appears to be a very poorly written article, particularly for the ABC.

    There's no mention at all of how other countrys compare.

    I also seem to recall countless reports of looting after the Aus Floods (and similar Aus disasters). Is that part of the "Aussie kindness too"?
    In contrast, media reports are saying there is no looting happening in Japan.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Misguided patriotism. Lets not go the way of America.
    They need to survey other countries and find out that most would be the same.
    It's in our nature as Mr Black pointed out.

    Altruism may even step over religious differences when it comes to a crisis, at least sometimes.
    “It's not my responsibility to be beautiful. I'm not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.” ― Warsan shire
    “Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect. Ideas, books, and beliefs don’t, and aren’t.” ― Ali A Rizvi

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Not to be the odd one out here, and I realise these are purely anecdotes, but I have two things to say here:

    1. A(n American) colleague of mine, who lives and works here with his family, mentioned after all the flooding in Brisbane that he was shocked and awed at the "neighbo(u)rly response" of the people here showing up at total strangers' houses to help the cleaning effort. It was his opinion as an American that you'd never see such a thing to such an extent in the States.

    2. I have many friends and in-laws in Japan (having lived there for many years, and my brother having married a J-girl), and their experience of the disaster there has been mostly that people stand around waiting for orders - they wait for the government to tell them what to do, rather than just pitch in and help each other out. It's definitely cultural, and it doesn't mean they don't want to help each other - there's just a "proper" way of doing everything in Japanese society. So yeah, it is a bit different to how we do things.


    Don't mistake this post for patriotism or parochialism - just wanted to present another viewpoint.
    "The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad."
    Salvador Dali

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Quote Bolero said View Post
    Don't mistake this post for patriotism or parochialism - just wanted to present another viewpoint.
    Thanks for the input. There may some truth to the article, and your personal accounts suggest it has at least some merit.

    See, I told ya, my ignorance / naivity is showing..

    Gary
    Stephen Fry: In 1900 there was a sport where Britain won a gold medal,
    in which the only other country that competed was France.
    Can you imagine what that might have been?

    John Sessions: Arrogance?
    --== QI (Quite Interesting): Season 3 - Episode 4 ==--

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Quote The Irreverent Mr Black said View Post
    Let's consider all the studies on human and animal altruism. Other posts refer (LINKY and LINKY for starters): the matter is quite possibly herd benefit, and therefore likely to be an evolutionary advantage.

    Culture and religion are squinty little views.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/altruistic

    One definition for humans and one for animal behaviour. I just want to be sure we aren't committing a category error here in making these comparisons between unlike things with different attributes.

    When did humans "herd"? We tribed up, but is that a "herd"?
    I miss the good old days when if someone talked to you about god you could just nail the cunt to a piece of wood.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Coincidentally, I just happened to catch the ABC's 7.30 Report tonight. There were two stories vaguely related to this thread, one after the other.

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3184259.htm

    The first was a report from Mark Willacy featuring the cherry bloosom festivals that are apparently so popular in Tokyo at this time of year. The organisation that runs them have actually cancelled the events, not due, it seems, to destruction or hardship at the locale, but because of the mood of the community. No-one feels like celebrating, many are so engrossed in trying to save water and electricity. The mental anguish is palpable.

    Now, a little latitude on the second, if you will.

    http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3184260.htm

    There's a collection of objects from Tutankhamun's tomb and other ancient sites coming to Melbourne, aparently. The curator of the tour is an American Egyptologist, but he's working very hard to save the national relics and antiquities of Egypt. Facing setbacks such as the looting of the Cairo Museum earlier this year, it struck a chord with me that here is a man who genuinely seems to be fighting for the conservation of history for another country.

    Maybe it was the fact that he's a Yank made me stop for a moment. Cynical, I know, but they seem to tend not to care too much about such things in general. I was impressed, anyway. Good on him.

    Gary
    Stephen Fry: In 1900 there was a sport where Britain won a gold medal,
    in which the only other country that competed was France.
    Can you imagine what that might have been?

    John Sessions: Arrogance?
    --== QI (Quite Interesting): Season 3 - Episode 4 ==--

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Aussie "Pride"

    Misguided patriotism. Lets not go the way of America.
    It is funny, I remember my parents in the late 60,s almost envying American patriotism and saying "we really need a bit more of that here" but all these years later the patriotsm displayed now has this really dark side. As said in the original post what makes us think this stuff is unique, I find the same thing on anything related to "values". Ours are often the same as anyone elses in the main.


    Godless

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