It’s safe to say that this year has been tainted by racism, intolerance and fear.
During this year, I have felt less and less hopeful about the future of Australia’s multiculturalism.
But all of this recently changed. Just one moment on the train is all it took for my hope in Australia’s multiculturalism to be reinvigorated.
I was making my usual commute to work on the train,surrounded by people from diverse backgrounds. People who were chattering away or scrolling through their phones. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then, two young ladies stepped into the carriage and started speaking to each other.
They were both from East Asian backgrounds – I wasn’t completely sure whether they were Chinese or Korean.
They began talking about university and as they talked they slipped easily speaking Chinese. Then they started speaking in Korean. A mere 5 minutes later, I realised they were practicing their Japanese on each other.
All I could think to myself was just how amazing these two Australian women were. All I could think was how incredible their ability to switch between so many languages was, even if they were only speaking in short phrases at a time.
And then I started thinking about how lucky we are to live in a country filled with people from such diverse backgrounds, people who immerse themselves in a variety of different cultures.
That’s the fabric of my Australia. A society that is not only accepting and tolerant of other cultures, but actively engages with them and shares parts of their own.
Whether you’re French, Sri Lankan or Indigenous Australian, it’s safe to say you have shared aspects of your culture with those around you, and integrated parts of others into yours.