Disclaimer: This is not an article about being a tourist in Australia. This is a video about things our writer Bob Morshidi discovered about Australians and the country after living there for a few years.
1. Australians Are Honest
If an Australian likes you, they’ll like you and you’ll know. If an Australian dislikes you, they’ll dislike you and you’ll know. Doesn’t matter if it’s who you are as a person, or your skin, gender or any of your religious or political beliefs. If they like or dislike you, you’ll know.
Coming from Malaysia and Asia where true feelings are not shown and everything needs to be figured out by subtext, it was quite refreshing to know who I should hang out with and who I should hate without second-guessing it.
2. Australians Don’t Understand How Terrifying Australia Is
One day I was walking with my ex-girlfriend. It was the middle of summer and the weather was hot and we were walking past an area with quite tall grass. This means that it was very likely that snakes would be there. She started clapping while walking along. She said Australian school kids are taught to clap while walking to make sure the snakes know to stay away from them.
I was horrified to hear her say it matter of factly. However, Australians don’t see it as a big deal. They have redback spiders which is one of the most deadly species of spiders in the world, and Australians don’t bat an eye and just shoo the spiders away. Never mind those gigantic bush fires that last for weeks and the flies in summer.
Swimming at the beach and there’s a shark warning? Nah mate, we’ll walk slowly by the shore while having a durry (Australian slang for cigarettes). You can always know who’s not Australian at the beach. They’re the ones who run when there’s a shark warning like their lives depended on it.
Australians essentially go to the beach to get away from the animals and weather, only to meet more deadly animals in the water. I’m not surprised then that the new Pacific Rim Netflix Anime was set in Australia.
3. It’ll Take You Years To Figure Out Where To Party
If you’re a visitor to an Australian city and you Google where to go partying, you’ll most likely be recommended to a famous club or bar. But the hidden gems only show themselves 2-3 years after you’ve lived there. It’s then when you find the karaoke bars where Justin Timberlake once sang in or the theatre where you get good actors coupled with cheap tickets. You have to understand the people to understand what people do there.
4. If You Visit Australia, It’ll Be Nice To You. If You Live There, It Will Try To Kill You
As a brown man, I don’t suffer from sunburn. However, windburn was something I didn’t know existed till my second spring in Perth. I had a friend tell me “Well mate, you’re truly in Australia now. It’s trying to tear your skin off.”
5. Australians Are Masterful At Being Lazy
Five PM is 5 PM. You’re down at the tavern. Overtime does not exist unless you have an event coming or the contract stipulates so. And contracts are taken very seriously in Australia.
Australians have this amazing work ethic. Their work will be immaculate just so they can leave at 5 PM to have a beer. That is their motivation and I, coming from Malaysia where crunch is normal, admire it.
I’ve also mentioned this in a previous article which you can read here.
6. It’s bigger than you think
My first year in Oz, my mom called me and said “Bob, why don’t I fly down to Perth and we can drive to Melbourne.”
I said “No mom. It’ll take us 4 days of 12-hour driving, and we can’t drive at night cause we might hit Kangaroos.” And my mum had a two-year stint in the Australian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. Like most women, she has a strange sense of direction. They seem to place locations to whatever suits them.
Australia is huge. You can overlay a map of Australia on top of a map of Europe and Australia will cover the whole continent plus parts of Asia as well.
7. People In Perth Do Not Know What A Real Traffic Jam Is
When I used to live in Perth, the first couple of years I didn’t drive. I used to hear horror stories of Perth traffic jams.
I then got a car. I discovered that Perth traffic jams are only 20-30 minutes or so. Sometimes it’ll go up to an hour. That’s it.
I’m from Malaysia. Our traffic jams last 2-3 hours, if we’re lucky. I’ve also experienced traffic in Jordan and Dubai, and I have heard horror stories about the jams in Delhi, Bangkok, Manila and Phnom Penh from my mum. Perth is heaven. PEOPLE OF PERTH STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT TRAFFIC JAMS!
8. I Was Called An Honorary Australian After I Started Trolling Tourists
Australians have this tradition of trolling tourists. They’ll spout some random facts that may sound true but are not, like drop bears, or that Australian children are taught to ride kangaroos.
I was called an honorary Australian when a friend of mine from Singapore came down to Perth for a visit, and I told him that Australia has no intercity trains. The Australians who were there with me said “If we could give you citizenship right now, we would” when my Singaporean friend raged as we walked past Perth train station.
I’m not surprised that they choose an Australian, Chris Hemsworth to play Thor, God of Thunder in The Marvel Cinematic Universe. He grew up fighting emus, snakes and kangaroos. Thanos is nothing.
Let’s Play A Game – Choose which of the following is true. The answer is in my next article.
This article will be made into a video on my channel. Do subscribe to it so you’ll get notified when it goes live. For example, I recently did an article about taking a COVID 19 test and made it into a video: https://youtu.be/UHB_8qFy27A – New Malaysia Herald
About the writer: Bob Morshidi is a drama teacher, freelance writer and satirist with a love for absurd comedy, popular culture and the lighter side of the seriousness of life. Follow his Instagram @bearmanwrites