2010 retrospective 6: cricket, boat people, Islam

Now there are three topics that generate sometimes fierce emotions.

The first topic is one I have neglected in 2010 – perhaps just as well. Only three entries! At least in the third one there was something good to say about Australia’s Ashes performance. We’ll be lucky, given the weather forecast, if the SCG Test is not a washout, or perhaps we’ll be lucky if it is. Nonetheless, I am interested to see how the newcomers go, especially this one from NSW:

67213.1Full name Usman Tariq Khawaja

Born December 18, 1986, Islamabad, Pakistan

Current age 24 years 15 days

Major teams Australia A, Australia Under-19s,Australian Institute of Sports, New South Wales

Nickname Usie

Playing role Top-order batsman

Batting style Left-hand bat

Bowling style Right-arm medium

Height 1.75 m

A couple of years ago I had a discussion with our local Indian newsagent in Surry Hills. He was muttering about the lack of non-Anglo faces in the Australian Cricket team. I told him to hold that thought. went upstairs to my place and returned with pictures of the Sydney Boys High teams which wouldn’t exist without a healthy influx of subcontinentals. Before long they’ll be there, I said. Yes, it does seem Australian Test Cricket has  been more than a bit retro, but now, perhaps, the breakthrough has occurred.


And what a stylish player he is proving to be!


He’s a Muslim too, which brings me to one of the major interests of this blog for some time now. Why this is so may be gathered from the sidebar.


Before you even think of commenting, read this post. I’m just sick of arguing!

Consequently there have been only 19 posts in 2010, but they often score long comment threads.

There are some people who believe you can’t possibly be a Muslim AND an Australian, just as in the past there were some who believe you couldn’t be Jewish and Australian, or even, back in Grandpa’s day, Catholic and Australian. Today there are even those who believe only bogans can be Australian – we saw some on Cronulla Beach in 2005 you may recall. They tend to identify as “Aussie” in an exclusive way that separates them from a large part of the citizenry who are happen to be of  different complexion or faith, or perhaps from any who aren’t bogans. (The word “elites” is often thrown into the mix.)

smiley-happy005On bogans, by the way, you really must visit Things Bogans Like.

It need hardly be said that our young cricketer calls such foolishness into question.

So does one of my personal icons, Waleed Aly.


I am very much looking forward to his new show on SBS.

The Late Session with Waleed Aly

An inspired move from SBS, which has announced a new chat series from lawyer, commentator, academic and musician Waleed Aly. Aly, best known to TV audiences for Salaam Cafe, has appeared on Q&A, Meet The Press, The 7.30 Report, Enough Rope with Andrew Denton and The 7PM Project. He has recently been a fill-in host for Jon Faine on ABC Radio in Melbourne.
The Late Session with Waleed Aly promises "insights, revelations, great music and the engaging company" at an exclusive dinner party. The in-house production will bring together Australian writers, musicians, artists, public intellectuals and business leaders to discuss contemporary subjects. The 6 x 60min series will see five weekly guests join Aly with food, drinks and musical performances. In this first episode, Aly is joined by actor Jack Thompson, playwright David Williamson, singer/ songwriter Dan Kelly, writer and teen-lit activist Randa Abdel-Fattah and investigative journalist Kate McClymont as they discuss "storytelling."

It begins Tuesday 4th January, 2011, at 10pm.

I am also looking forward to the new SBS series Australia: Immigration Nation. As that blog notes:

We appreciate our immigrants — if they earn it. Despite past successes, attitudes towards new Australians remain contradictory. 

WE used to have the dagos and the wogs. Then it was the slopes and the slanty-eyeds, the yellows, the balts and the Lebs and the curry-munchers. And more recently it has been the towel-heads and the terrorists infiltrating Australia and undermining our way of life.

If there is a lesson in the past half-century or so of migration, it’s that new arrivals can expect a withering initiation. The nicknames may change, and so too the migrant groups subjected to suspicion, derision and worse, but the fear that drives such insults is persistent and widespread….

…Australian society has been supple enough to adapt to wave after wave of migration in the 65 years since World War II, and by and large we like the society we’ve created. So, although there are myriad concerns about how future immigration might threaten our society, our history says we have reason to be confident. We are nothing if not champions of change.

New Series: January 9, 2011 on SBS One “Immigration Nation The Secret History of Us”.

My 2010 blog had 21 posts on “asylum seekers” – I really thought there were more! The most recent was Asylum seeker debate and the need for Olympian calm, a review, mainly, of Destination Australia : migration to Australia since 1901- by Professor Eric Richards of Flinders University, an excellent book. The comment thread there is long and tortuous. Winking smile