8 Common Stereotypes and Misconceptions About Australians

As someone who was born in Australia and has lived here for most of my life, some stereotypes, myths and perceptions about Australians ring true. And some don’t.

Australia is a diverse country, with the outback and city side by side as I wrote in this blog post about the geographic land of Oz itself. Naturally, Australians are a pretty diverse bunch in general, diverse in terms of what they like, the way they choose to live their lives and who they chose to be.

Australia, a land where Australians are all shapes, sizes and personalities.

Australia, a land where Australians are all shapes, sizes and personalities.

There is the tendency to think of the average, person-next-door Australian like this:

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Why Are We Afraid Of Standing Up Against Racism?

I’m no stranger to racism in Melbourne. As an Asian Australian, racist encounters have been a part of my life here for as long as I can remember. But I don’t remember doing much about this.

Over the years, I learned there are different types of racism. I’ve had insults about my non-Aussie accent and yellow skin thrown verbally in my face by non-Asians. There have been times where I met new people who immediately assumed I wasn’t Australian and asked, “Where are you from?” That is, there is direct racism and casual/everyday racism, one of them more subtle than the other.

Light zig-zagging over chess pieces. No matter our culture, we're all in this world together | Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.

Light zig-zagging over chess pieces. No matter our culture, we’re all in this world together | Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction.

It’s not hard to spot either kind of racism. But it’s not always easy speaking up about either one, at least in Australia.

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Why Asians Like To Queue

Queuing up. Lining up. Standing in line for something free, something new or something on discount. Most of the time we’ll see quite a few Asian faces in these lines. If not a few, then a lot.

I’ve been guilty of queuing on a few occasions. At one point while living in Singapore, I joined humongous Singaporean queues at McDonalds to collect all eight stuffed monkeys that came with McValue Meals during the Chinese New Year month. I did it, sometimes waiting half an hour to buy a meal. A few weeks ago, I saw a short queue in the Emporium shopping mall in the city. I joined it and after a five minute wait, got to the front and received a free macaron. I did notice there were some elderly Asian ladies in front of me, haggling at the top of their lungs for more than one sweet treat.

Queuing for Magnum ice-cream. Queuing for hours should be a sport in itself | Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance.

Queuing for Magnum ice-cream. Queuing for hours should be a sport in itself | Weekly Photo Challenge: Endurance.

It seems Asians all around the world like to get in line for a new deal. The iPhone 6 launch lines in New York were made of up of many Asians. So were the lines in Melbourne.

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Why Some Of Us Are Shy

I’m shy. Very shy.

At university, I hardly said anything in tutorials unless the tutor asked me a question. Hanging out with others whom I barely know or just met, I usually don’t say much either.

It’s never easy being a shy person.

Autumn along the Yarra River. Stories change. Seasons change (Photo 2/2)

Autumn along the Yarra River. Stories change. Seasons change (Photo 2/2)

When we’re shy, we feel confused. Words don’t come easy out of our mouths when others talk to us. Some of us are shy because we’re not used to being around others or certain people: it’s intimidating, and we don’t know what to expect.

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What Do We Think Of When We Meet People?

It’s always interesting meeting strangers on the street. It can be exciting. Awkward. Maybe a little scary.

The other afternoon I was taking photos of Federation Square in the city, minding my own business.

“Excuse me? Can you take a photo of me?”

"Hi". "Hello" Words that are perceived differently by different people we meet | Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective.

“Hi”. “Hello” Words that are perceived differently by different people we meet | Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective.

I turned around. The summer-in-autumn sun shone right into my face. Eyes squinting, I made out a tall, dark-skinned guy towering over me, compact camera in hand. Why are you looking at me? Why are you coming towards me? Right. Photo.

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