When I moved back to Australia about a decade ago, the typical Aussie ‘hellos’ confused me. When someone greeted me in Australian-speak, it always took a moment for me to realise that they were actually saying hi to me.
If you live in Australia or have travelled around Australia, chances are you’ve heard the word ‘mate’ a lot here. For instance, you might’ve heard, ‘G’day, mate’ or ‘How ya doin’, mate?’
Living in Melbourne, I’ve friends from different backgrounds, different ethnicities and different age groups living different lifestyles. Western, Asian, Indian, hippies, hipsters, corporate business types, baby boomer types – so many of them say ‘mate’ all the time.
The idea of ‘mateship’ goes hand-in-hand with the word ‘mate’. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, very broadly ‘mateship’ is ‘an Australian code of conduct that emphasizes egalitarianism and fellowship’. Throughout Australian history and up until today, saying ‘mate’ is a mark of Aussie culture:
Once a year, our birthday comes round. Once a year, we get the chance to celebrate this occasion maybe by doing something wild, or something low-key.
Next week, it’s my birthday. I’ve never done much for my birthdays and this year will be no different. Part of me simply doesn’t like a big fuss. A big part of me is simply introverted and really does not like being the centre of attention.
Birthdays are a time to have a good time and maybe some sweet treats.
When we celebrate our birthdays, we treat ourselves to me-time. A time where we do something we want to do and really just have a good time. There are so many ways to have fun on your birthday and make each one a one to remember:
All around the world, a good number of us are obsessed with stuffed animals and toys. If you’re Asian or have been to Asia, chances are cute, kawaii-looking toys are something you might be familiar with. Maybe even love.
I love stuffed animals, especially stuffed monkeys. In my apartment I have a shelf full of them collected over the years. I’m particularly fond of this one that I call Mr Wobbles: knitted with light brown wool, long skinny arms and legs, fat belly, sans tail. One of the more odd-looking toys around.
We might be obsessed with teddy bears. Or obsessed with stuffed lions or penguins. Hello Kitty, Sanrio and Rilakkuma plushes are ever so popular in Asia. But no matter the toys we’re fond of, usually the stories of our past, and our desire to find our place in this world, play a part in why these inanimate objects often matter to us a great deal.
Nicknames. Name-calling. Sometimes they’re funny. Sometimes offensive. And other times we have mixed feelings about them.
Nicknames take on some kind of character or thing. Recently at work, my colleague Julien added to my long list of nicknames. Coming over to my desk one afternoon, boisterous Julien said, “Since you love monkeys so much, I’ll call you Cheeky Monkey Mabel. Cheeky Monkey!” I looked up from my desk, wondering if he was serious. And if the name would stick.
When we know someone well, we might give them a nickname out of friendship or love. Nicknames liven up the day, and sometimes it’s why we call each other by nicknames. When I shuffle through the office door in the mornings, eyes semi-closed, it’s actually quite entertaining to hear Julien chirpily say and smirk, “How is Cheeky Monkey today?”
Fact: many Asian girls link arms when they are out and about.
When I lived in Malaysia and Singapore, I saw Asian girls and women walking in pairs through shopping malls with arms linked around the elbows, touching skin-on-skin. Sometimes I saw them even holding hands, walking and chatting with one another. Today whenever I troop down to Melbourne’s Chinatown, my eye will never fail to spy similar scenes.
What does it mean when Asian girls link arms or hold hands? Drawing by Mabel Kwong.
Just what does it mean when Asian girls link arms, and why do they do it so frequently? Googling this trend, it seems Asian men in certain Asian countries do this as well.