There has been a lot of talk about multiculturalism recently, in particular after both the leaders of Germany and Britain came out saying that they think it has failed. I'm very pleased that the Australian government is focusing on it as a policy that is working.
When I travel and visit other countries, I always start by immersing myself in their culture. I love the intensity of a mono-culture, the intricacy and nuance that you get. But after awhile, I find that I miss the variety we have on offer here. There is such a richness and vibrancy to life where walking down the street you see faces of every colour, women in saris, or hijabs, restaurants offering food from around the world - I can't describe how desperately I missed good Asian food when in South America or proper Italian when in Asia.
Of course, not everyone gets along all the time, and the media loves to get millage out of any racial tension, but on the whole we have an extremely accepting society. It is not easy to accept and appreciate those who are different. Sameness is comforting, that is how cultures have developed. One could say that we are in essence fighting against our evolutionary instincts for conformity when we create a society with an aim of embracing difference. But facing those fears, and learning about others gives us such an interesting vibrant society. The recent Multicultural Festival here in Canberra was a wonderful example of how many things there are to enjoy about having a plethora of cultures in your community.
At the heart of the matter though we are intrinsically Australians. We are in the blessed position to have the freedoms to live, love, worship and debate without fear of persecution. This is a country where we afford people respect for their beliefs and practices, even if they aren't our own. And I think that is magnificent.
I was inspired to think about multiculturalism by food (and lets face it, I'm often inspired by food). I had Indian for lunch today and will have Vietnamese for dinner. The freedom to choose is brilliant!
On a side note, I'm beginning to worry about my Flute Bakery addiction - today I saw their truck out making deliveries and I stalked the delivery man. I'm excited to report that Cafe Essen stocks their cakes, and astonished at how quickly I took up stalking to find cake. Hmmmm, something to ponder.