Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Australia Day 2013

Australia Day Fireworks

Today is Australia Day .For many its just another Saturday and a long weekend with a public Holiday on Monday .

Other than my Saturday ride which was a hard one given my level of fitness at the moment , my usual Australia Day celebration in recent years have been doing a Triathlon .The Point Walter Triathlon which is a classic for the hilly ride and the swim in the river.It was with fear I approached it in 2007 but I must say it was a different and unique experience celebrating the Day racing. In more recent years I have given it a miss keeping to a rigid program aimed at an event I was preparing for .

Today was no different and the roads seemed a lot quieter as I came into the city with small pockets of people gathering for vantage spots for the Australia Day Fireworks . I had got dropped by the main club group as expected and struggled .i was sore from my ride /run session on Thursday and the quads were hurting.In addition I had no nutrition as I am trying to drop weight as quickly as possible. so the body was really feeling it today.As I just languished after the ride recovering , I watched Clive James Speech to the Canberra press gallery in 2003. if anything Clive James is a great entertainer and wordsmith.his insights into many subjects entertaining and breathtaking in depth but he is without a doubt an Australian and despite 40 years of living in the UK , a great admirer probably to the degree of being jingoistic about his love of Australia.

So what does it mean. For one in 2013 , I think it is a time to reflect .If anything Australia for lack of a more used term a Lucky country for those who live here.Possibly not always recognising the fact. It had the luck of the location and the resources but also the foresight to have institutions that work possibly not perfect all the time .a democratic government and stable government despite what we read in the news papers. A policy of multiculturalism that has been in existence for 40 plus years and has definitely made life here richer for it .

In my little microcosm of life this is reflected in the diversity of members in the club and the people I come across at work and at play.

It is a tribute to the combination of luck and good policy that Australia is what it is . It is a reflection of what is possible when tolerance is the norm .Where "fair Go " does mean something. There is also a warning , it is easy to shatter the success quickly with strife and extreme views within groups. Something we all have to guard against .There will always be racist and intolerant people about .The sad reality is the Australia of the next generation is shaped today and inculcating these values will provide for a richer country . The young Australian of the year 2013 is an example of this great diversity and where the majority continues to stand up for what is good and decent will triumph all that is negative about the world and will make for an  Australia always punching above its weight limit :

ASHLEY HALL: Now that story that you're talking about involves coming to Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan in 1999. So far you've generally avoided commenting on the politics around asylum seekers. That will be a bit harder now that you've been named Young Australian Of The Year, don't you think?

AKRAM AZIMI: Not necessarily. I'm still the same Akram I was before, and although my background has shaped who I am, it's not a defining feature. You know, there is so much else to me: I'm about to become a common law trained lawyer, I'm an anthropologist, I'm a human biologist, I'm a son, I'm a brother.

There is so much more to me than just this one aspect, and I'm not really one of those political people, I don't particularly like confrontation. And for me, all I can go by is my very personal experiences of Australia, which is a country of the most generous, welcoming people I've ever met. The kind of people who, when they find that your house is empty, would happily give you their furniture so you can actually have a dining table.

That's been my experience of Australia.

ASHLEY HALL: Young Australian of the Year, Akram Azimi.
( Taken from ABC AM Program )