Feeling ‘Advance Australia Fair’ as a Minority
| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( January 27, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) January 26, is Australia Day and I do feel that this day is special. As usual, this morning I looked across Coogee Beach and prayed – just prayed. Today it felt good to be Australian. I feel that it was last year that I started feeling this was a special day. Prior to that I respected but did not ‘feel’ special on Australia day. Last year I was in Sri Lanka’s North – and I was scheduled to attend Courts in relation to the Testamentary case of my brother in law. I usually seek the blessings of Higher Powers on such occasions – not so much to have outcomes that are favorable to me but for me to derive value from the experience. At the cottage next to our family temple, I mentally went through the words of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ before going to Courts. I feel that what we seek when we are in the power of our own belief - is a prayer. At the Courts the Judge asked me a couple of questions based on the Affidavit submitted by us and had strong words and said that the lawyers were trying to run a Court outside that courtroom. I was pleasantly surprised that the Judge had picked that very point – that the legal team for the other side had served documents on us without going through the Court’s Administrative system. We had done the Affidavit – as per our understanding – and irrespective of the final outcome – the substance of our Affidavit helped improve the Administrative Process of the Courts. Under similar circumstances, here in Australian Federal Court – my contribution was ignored and usually it was the expensive opposition legal team that was given credit for presenting my documents. I thanked in my mind, those who facilitated lay litigants to present their cases. The more I appreciated this value, the more I got over the form of the outcome particular to that court . I was then able to carry the wisdom across to Sri Lanka where the Judiciary obviously needs much support to remain independent.
This year on Australia Day - at the beginning of the cricket match between Australia and Sri Lanka – the Sri Lankan National anthem was sung in Sinhalese followed by the Australian anthem in English. Our family at home stood up for both. But my feelings when the Australian National anthem was sung were much stronger than when I listened to the Sri Lankan National anthem. The reason definitely was the language. If the Sri Lankan National anthem had been in a common language or in both languages of Sri Lanka – my feelings would have been as strong as they were when I was listening to the Australian National anthem and having the experience within.
Like belief – when we feel – it generates positive energy for all concerned. I felt sad that Sri Lankans (including myself) were missing out on this stronger power that I am capable to generating when I feel. Common activities generate exponential powers. To my mind, this is the highest value of globalization.
Later when I read the Bigpond news under the heading ‘Small steps to reconciliation on Oz Day’ that ‘The Aboriginal and Australian flags were slowly raised on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to mark Australia Day’, it felt as if I had contributed to this through my own feeling of Oneness as an Australian. I said to myself that if I kept wanting to have the exponential feelings during Sri Lankan National Anthem – it would certainly help someone somewhere looking to feel One.
Governments could show us the common path to realizing this exponential value. But we do not have to ‘wait’ for governments. We could develop the feelings of ownership - through our own experiences. In my case here in Australia, I needed to go down to the lower level and live as per the Truth I discovered through my own experiences as a minority. Beyond a certain level there was no merit basis nor sense of equality. But when I went down to the lower level of minority and felt One with them – I had company – not only through current migrants but through all migrants before our generation and beyond Australian borders. When we get together we do invoke exponential powers through our common losses and failures. We could wait around for the Government/Others to confirm our equality/ nationalism or we could realize ownership at the lower level – the level of majority Australians – and declare to ourselves.
As per the news ‘In Sydney, NSW Governor Marie Bashir said Captain Arthur Phillip knew he was an intruder who would change the lives of Aboriginal people forever.
"We are walking together, I believe, as one people," she said of steps being taken toward reconciliation.
The message of "one people" rang true on Saturday for the more than 17,000 people from 145 countries who took the citizenship pledge to become freshly-minted Aussies.’
These migrants would also go through at least some of the pain and loss that I went through as a migrant. But to the extent I pooled my credits into the Common Public Memory – as Corporate wisdom – at least some of them would be helped and feel that they are not alone. To me this is the special role of the media. Our predecessors also would have gone through similar problems one way or the other. When we feel Australian – we take the problems with the opportunities. The opportunities that naturally come our way, confirm the power of this Oneness for which all we need is belief – irrespective of whether others endorse us or not.
Sri Lankans on both sides of the ethnic divide would do well to appreciate that minorities are never alone due to their predecessors who gave them the corporate wisdom. That is our real heritage. The wealth (including the status of government) that is seen on the outside changes hands but this real heritage comes with us beyond time and space boundaries. If we feel the pleasure and pain of others as if we are the ones experiencing them – we are One. Once we are One – it matters not whether we got there as a Tamil, Sinhalese. Sri Lankan, Aborigine or Migrant Australia. As realized persons we empower every place where we feel homely and free. A Government that facilitates this as a priority develops uniting powers. It costs very little to show equal status where there are only two languages – at least in countries like Australia where there are fair numbers from both ethnicities – Tamil and Sinhalese. Today is Poya Day (Full Moon day) . In Sri Lanka it is a spiritual day for Buddhists as well as Hindus. It is a holiday because of Buddhists. I believe that true believers are empowered on this special day. If we are able to believe – we have already crossed the borders of time and place – getting close to Nirvana / Independence from form by identifying with our true selves.