Friday, 7 September 2007

What's That Noise? - Rambalations 4

Just an upfront warning that this may turn into a rather long, rambling post.

Tell you what - it's a fuckin weird time to be living in old Sydney town right about now. I mean, shit. It's all fuckin happening. There is this buzz, this murmur, this energy. The people are talking. And people are listening. Now think about it. People are those beings that work together, day in and day out. People work together and get to know together by talking and listening. After a while it becomes people talking and listening together while they work. The paradigm shifts.

And this is how I see how it happening in Australia.

Most workers here will give you.... wait for it.... here it comes..... " a fair go". When a new person starts working within a team, we give them a few weeks to settle into their new role, to become sociable within the team, to let us get to know them as a person and as a colleague. I mean fuck, we've all been in new teams at some point and know what it's like to feel you have NFI, that you hope your new team members will like you in some way, shape or form, and wandering if you're going to like them. We weigh each-other up for a while. For a few weeks.

And then we say "Fuck it, let's just get on with it".

So we do. And after a while, all that new-kid tension wears off from both sides. We go about our work and we get to know each-other while we do our work. We realise the commonalities we have on personal levels, professional levels, skills levels. We find the grounds that connect us regardless of background, race, age, gender, religion. Those things no longer matter, it's the person that is important. That thing inside that makes you you.

Like it or hate it, APEC has stirred Sydney to bubbling point. You see, we work and live (mostly) side-by-side here. Muslims work with Christians. Americans work with Iraqis. Tibetans work with Chinese. Anglo-Saxons work with Aboriginal Australians (that has taken far too fuckin long to achieve, but it finally seems to be getting somewhere). And we get to know each other, no holds barred, guts 'n all. We don't hold back talking about shit as we work.

No-one seems too fussed about the actual issues being addressed at APEC, rather we're talking about the one that is being un-addressed. The people.

APEC has given Sydney the taste of what it feels like to live under a dictatorship or military rule. Sure, it's nothing in comparison to how it is in some countries, but even a small taste of it is a massive shock to the system. See, down here in Oz we rarely see people walking round with guns in public. Our skies aren't normally filled with military and police helicopters. The public is not usually denied from entering their own city if they can't present identification. Individuals are not normally stopped and searched for no apparent reason. We generally don't live with that fear.

APEC has brought all of that here. And the people are not liking it at all. Not just the activists or the uni students or the hippies. It's the bloke in the suit on the bus trying to get to work. It's the doctor on his way to perform surgery. It's the mum trying to get her infant to sleep as the helicopter buzzes by her apartment. It's the teenage girl on her way to her first date. This shit has really pissed people off. Not the just the inconveniences but also the fear that is being brought into our country.

Australians do not live like this.

Problem is, Australians also have an attitude of 'she'll be right'. This could easily turn into a case of letting it run its course and then get back to how things were. After all, summer is just around the corner and we're all looking forward to long days in the sun, warm nights on the beach, holidays, cold beers, swimming in the pool, drinking at the local beer garden, bbq's, music festivals - all that good shit which comes from living in a country where the people are free to live their lives their way.

I hope that attitude doesn't prevail this time. We need to build on this experience and ensure that our country does not end up accepting this fear and governmental enforcement on an ongoing basis. If anything, we should be highlighting our nation as an example to the rest of the global community of how things can work without having those things. Sure, we are far from perfect, but we're slowly figuring this shit out amongst ourselves. It's easier to do it over a couple of beers at your mate's barbie on a Saturday arvo than it is by bombing the shit out of each-other because we're too afraid to talk to one-another.

May the protest on Saturday be held and received with Australian easy-naturedness, acceptance and good-will.

Songs played while writing this entry:
"Opinions Wont Keep You Warm At Night" Kisschasy
"Iris" Goo Goo Dolls
"Librae Solidi Denari" The Shamen
"Live And Let Die" Guns N Roses
"Sunday Bloody Sunday" U2
"My Happiness" Powderfinger
"Speedway" The Prodigy
"Satisfaction" Benny Benassi
"Every You Every Me" Placebo
"Tennessee" Arrested Development
"Red 2" Dave Clarke
"Beds Are Burning" Midnight Oil

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