Thursday, July 15, 2010

Aren't WE supposed to be the ones with Tall Poppy Syndrome?

Okay. I like foreigners as much as the next person. And I don't even mind the patriotic ones who want to share the things that are great about their own countries. Personally, I love hearing about other parts of the world. I might like to visit them one day and who better to hear about them from than a native? Please, regale us with stories of your home country - we love it.

However. We all have those ex-pats in our lives - you know the ones - who get a bit On the Whinge. The honeymoon period is over and suddenly nothing is good enough anymore. Everything here is apparently second-rate, and nothing ever in a million-gazillion years could dream to measure up to the sheer amazingness of their home countries, where the lands are always plentiful, the food has this incredible way of tasting oh-my-god-so-much-better-than-anything-that-this-lowly-country-could-ever-dream-of, the leaders are better looking and so much more reasonable - really the most wonderful politicians to ever have lived. And what's more, these states are always, amazingly, the ones that came up with everything first.

If you are one of these visitors to our sunburnt country, land of sweeping plains, then you may have noticed - this bugs us quite a bit, and I'm here to tell you why.

For one thing, I'm not even going to argue with you about how awesome your homeland is, because noone could convince me that Australia isn't the best country on the planet, and rightly so - one should love their own country the most (with a few exceptions - like, the bad ones). BUT. You're being very effing rude and should learn to mind your flipping manners. Coming into our country and disparaging everything about it is like coming into someone's home and telling them how much better your couch, kitchen benches, tiles, bathroom, etc. are. Then commenting relentlessly on the shoddy craftmanship, poor decorating, dusty corners and slightly off smell that simply wouldn't happen in your own home. If you are any kind of decent person, this is not something you would dream of doing - so don't. Because, you know how much you love your country? That's just how much we love ours, and we take personal offence to your insults, as though you were insulting our own homes.

I find the people I have come across who do this are either homesick (which is hardly our entire nation's fault, so grow up) and/or they have a case of The Underdogs. I'm not going to single out peoples from particular nations who do this, but... I usually find unsaid peoples are usually feeling the need to puff up their chests, chihuahua-style, in order to make themselves, and by extension, their own countries feel bigger. And I thought we were supposed to be the ones with Tall Poppy Syndrome?

And I really have to ask - what is it that offends you so? Is it the beauty of the world's largest living coral reef? The adorable endemic species? Perhaps the ample housing for all the people? The free healthcare system (oh wait, that's not for you - my bad. If you became a citizen you could...? Ahem. Okay, no.)? Alright, I've got it! It's the freedom of speech! Or, here in Queensland, maybe it's the horribly glorious weather - like today, in the middle of winter, with a top of 20 degrees and sunshine all day, so much so that I actually lay out by the pool in the sun and picnicked at lunchtime? You're right - O.FEN.SIV. We really shouldn't be allowed.

So, not to sound completely typical about it, but noone is holding a gun to your head, dude. Seriously, there are literally hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, willing to take your place - we won't miss you.

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