Sunday, June 12, 2005

Are we The Whingers of Oz?

The Schapelle saga has made its way into the UK's The Spectator, under the rather unsettling title The Whingers of Oz. Writen by expat Australian Eric Ellis, the piece paints a rather unflattering portrait of the Wide Brown Land:

The reaction is deeply unhinged, and baffling to an Asia that has come to see Australia as a no-nonsense, logical country, one trying to shake off the remains of its ‘White Australia’ policy and engage with their region on its own terms. But that’s not how it is.

In many Australian households, Asia is seen as the place where Bad Things Happen. Despite their closeness to the region, many Australians have trouble distinguishing between Asia’s disparate cultures. Where Europeans and North Americans might see an exotic region of boundless economic opportunity, many Australians still regard their backyard with deep suspicion — a threatening, teeming hellhole of unscrupulous religious zealots who have dubious toilet habits, rip you off, speak strange languages and eat cats, dogs and rats (all overspiced, of course) and are desperate to come to Australia and steal Australian jobs.

One other paragraph that told me something I didn't already know about the case and people involved:

Surrounding Our Schapelle is a cast of characters made for the tabloids: a screeching big sister (Mercedes), a dope-smoking Dad (Mike) and a hysterical Mum (Ros). But why ‘Schapelle’? The Chappell brothers, Ian and Greg, dominated Australian cricket when the Corbys’ younger daughter was born. Australians everywhere were naming their boys after these heroes. That was tough for Aussies with daughters. But Ros — or so the story goes — spotted the feminine possibilities in ‘Chappell’, and named her new daughter with what she imagined was a certain je ne sais quoi of Euro-sophistication to give her new daughter a leg out of the grim Aussie suburbs.

So that's where 'Schapelle' comes from.

Check out the full article here (you may need to register, but it's free anyway and you shouldn't be so bloody lazy).

UPDATE, 17/6, 12:13am: Found a link to the article that doesn't require a subscription. If only I found this a week ago...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You'll be delighted to learn that a whole new generation of Schappelles has come unto this earth according to birth notices in the Herald Sun. BIG shoes to fill.

jane