|18 Dec 2008|
|Thanks for that insight Kay. If it helps the women and children, there is great merit to the policy. Drinking alcohol comes with responsibilities and if anyone isn't prepared to accept them and act accordingly, then maybe external control can be justified. A rather thorny issue ...|
|17 Dec 2008|
|I've been reading some Australian news stories online trying to tune in a little bit into the news vibe over there and I must say, I am perplexed by the indigenous people issue. I know (you don't have to tell me!) that I have a lot to learn but some things seem mighty odd.|
I am referring specifically to the Nicole Kidman didgeridoo story found at http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/world/5217569/nicole-kidman-warned-after-breaking-aboriginal-taboo-report/. Okay, so maybe a female playing the didgeridoo is viewed as an inappropriate act from the indigenous perspective (and I am sure that it was not Nicole's intention to be offensive) but surely to goodness comments such as: 'People are going to see Nicole playing it and think it's all right,' award-winning actor, screenwriter and Aboriginal language teacher Richard Green told Tuesday's Sydney Morning Herald. 'It bastardises our culture. I will guarantee she has no more children. It is not meant to be played by women as it will make them barren.' ' is truely mean, nasty and offensive in every possible respect, especially when bearing in mind Nicole's history. Methinks some people are a bit thin skinned saying that it bastardises their culture. C'mon - don't take yourself so seriously and lash out in such an ugly and personal (not to mention medically and intellectually groundless) way. I would think they would be proud their culture made it onto international airwaves! As a foreigner you think, 'Wow! Australia! Pretty, talented actress! Fascinating didgeridoo! Koalas and kangaroos! etc.' You don't think anything negative at all! In my view, this sort of reference honours Australia's cultural symbols. It seems as though the hurt runs so deep that no matter what anyone says or does on the subject, it will be construed negatively. I wonder if Nicole is going to reply.
I can safely say that many Western cultures consider it to be extremely offensive to make comments and curses such as these about a woman's childbearing capacity. Two wrongs don't make a right.
I'm also astounded by another news article about plans to make certain indigenous towns alcohol-free. Trust me, I hate the abuse of alcohol and all its terrible ripple effects (particularly the breakdown of the fabric in society and the effect on children), but can one justify this sort of thing in this day an age? Isn't government being a tad paternalistic? History tells us that this sort of thing results in the liquor trade going underground and that could be even more dangerous. If you've got a town with a bunch of heavy drinkers and alcoholics, is it really going to help laying down a prohibition? I'm sure they'll still find their drink somewhere.
Looks like one could get into big trouble by innocently putting a foot out of line when it comes to this subject and then be attacked in a truly offensive way. Does anyone know what the rules are on this subject? I think this is something I must ask our cross-cultural trainer when we see her at the end of Jan!
FYI, this posting is not intended to be offensive and merely contains observations made by a perplexed foreigner.