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I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...




Aussies aren't friendly?


I'm in the middle of writing a post about when I was 13yo, but it's still a work in progress and I've been working on it since Monday. So in the meantime, I thought I'd post this story about American students leaving Aussie unis because of "hate attacks".

A couple of sections stood out:

"Griffith University student Ian Wanner, 19, from Oregon, said abusive Australian students had repeatedly called him a "sepo" – short for septic tank. "It is so disrespectful. It's not exactly the most welcoming atmosphere here," he said."

Actually, it's short for "septic tank yank" - rhyming slang that's been used by Aussies for Yanks since WWII. We called all of the American exchange students "Seppos" when I was at college, but I was good friends with many of them. It was used more as a term of endearment than disrespectful - like calling a guy with no hair "Curly". And I know that they found the Aussies at my college very welcoming, despite the fact that they tended to come over here for an American college year and so were arriving mid-way through our university year and leaving mid-way through the next one. Admittedly, this is back in the early 90's, but still, that was around the time of the Gulf War and Americans were certainly not universally loved.

"I have had a few incidents in bars. I had a guy and he heard my accent and he said: 'I hate your president. I hate your country.' "

I heard a few Americans complain about this sort of stuff when I was travelling. Most responded with "well, I didn't vote for him and neither did most of my countrymen" or something similar. After all, most people of my age and younger dislike John Howard as well.

"She said some students suffered culture shock because of the belief that everyone loved Americans."

Really? Do American uni students honestly believe that everyone loves Americans? I wouldn't have thought that was possible. Are they not aware of the impact of their country's foreign policy? Or the general ignorance of American tourists causing problems and/or hilarity? Admittedly, this is mostly middle-aged Americans, not students, but the taint is certainly there.

I do wonder if the reason why these particular students have problems is due to their attitude. Aussies are generally a laid-back people, but we are proud of our country and our country's achievements. And never more so than in the face of rampant nationalism of a "furrena"! ;o)

Listening to: speedstar - Forget the sun, just hold on

4 Comments:

Anonymous Kayla said...

G'day.
Interestingly enough, I am on the SRC at Griffith in Brisbane and I can tell you a thing or two about yanks.
With the exception of a few, the men are loud and drunk and the women are tanned, have chunky legs and whingy (and also loud) voices. Maybe that's a generalisation in the states, but it's pretty accurate for Griffith.
So I can't say that we are suffering from a bad case of "Tall Poppy Syndrome". We're definitely a laid back bunch of people, and on the whole that means we're too lazy for jealousy, even if it means not even being jealous of the all conquering yanks.
I think we can put it down to plain old cultural differences.

P.S. We forgive yanks for their crass attitudes because of their sexy accents.

11:59 am  
Blogger OLS said...

Really? I'm actually not a fan of American accents - I much prefer Canadian or European accents - I particularly swoon over the Edinburgh accent (ie Scottish I can understand) and I'm still a pretty big fan of Irish and southern English accents.

- OLS

9:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet that OLS couldn't even tell the difference between an "American" and a "Canadian" accent, especially those derived from the West Coast. Preference in accents usually amounts to prefering (or being ambivalent about) certain groups of people.

No matter how you choose to dress it up, Seppo is a derogatory remark. Imagine Australians collective outrage if their nickname in the US was invented around 60 years ago and meant "full of shit" or the like. I can't imagine that you'd be too pleased.

Let's not kid ourselves. There is a lot of hateful prejudice against Americans in Australia. Certiainly more than there is for Aussies in the US. The loud and drunk thing for example. Do you really think that Aussies on the whole are a more sober, humble and quiet people? I've done too much traveling to ever believe that old chestnut.

1:18 am  
Anonymous OLS said...

My reply to the above anon comment is here

- OLS

8:30 pm  

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