Don’t shout ‘Ali Babi’ too loud or drink ‘Arabic’ coffee.



It was many years ago when friends used to sit around the fondue set, proudly announcing that some of their best friends were gay. They are just normal people ,you know, adding, just like all of us. A glowy feeling of inclusiveness would permeate the group and the chocolate dipped strawberry tasted even nicer. Afterwards, Zorba would be put on while the Coolabah cask was squeezed to its very end.

With the latest on terrorism and ramped up fear we no longer sit around fondue sets. Fondue sets are now facing customers scrounging bargains on St.Vinnie’s shelves together with the discarded type-writers or dented aluminium pots. If group discussion take place, heads are most likely lifted up from Moses’ Tablets or promised Lands of IPhones.

As a reffo from the fifties I remember the fear of passengers on buses when a whiff of Euro garlic announced itself. People would gather their belongings and stiffen up. A dago was near! My dad with his attaché briefcase was tolerated mainly because he was pale looking and free from garlic odour. We as children soon tried as quickly as possible to lose our guttural Dutch accent and accentuated Australian lingo to extremes. Even today, I notice ageing reffos still being and acting more Australian than the local born ones. It seems to have stayed with them. A supreme sacrifice and surrender of ethnicity in return for approval and acceptance. Some carry this even further. The recent disapproval of anything brown and middle Eastern, worse, Arabic, is often met with more vehement responses from those of the same background than locals.

This is why we need leaders that try and at least encourage acceptance of the foreign or different. I can hear people re-hashing the same things that occurred decades ago. At local dances I used to be so keen to be an Australian. I was fifteen and my accent stubbornly never surrendered. At least I was able to give a reasonable impersonation of Seventy Seven Sunset strip character in the hope of getting A Pride of Erin in. You wonder with what enthusiasm people get accepted with Arabic backgrounds. The dreadful media focus on extremism and the ramped up fear of refugees.

At least in the Chocolate shop it was a delusional individual who managed ramp up fear and xenophobia. Scott Morrison is not delusional. He is in full control of his senses and deliberately doing his evil work in setting up people against those from war torn countries. He is sane, worse he is so utterly and devastatingly sane, it is frightening. He does it all with a smile. Illegal Maritime Arrivals he calls them. Yet, with the stroke of a pen he could set all boatpeople free to be assessed on-shore and able to work, earn a living and restore dignity. It is not in him though. And we think that the Chocolate shop man was evil.

Don’t shout Ali Baba too loud now!

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32 Responses to “Don’t shout ‘Ali Babi’ too loud or drink ‘Arabic’ coffee.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    The chocolate shop man was mad and evil. Of course he was evil with a criminal record.
    I wished our laws concerning asylum seekers could be changed. But we are a democracy and unless people vote for a change nothing is going to happen.
    Ramping up fear and xenophobia, this unfortunately is what is being practiced.


  2. berlioz1935 Says:

    Again an opportune and well written blog. People who have never been to another country have great difficulties understanding the nature of something they have no experience of. To inoculate against xenophobia one has to live in another country, as a stranger among strangers. “Strangeness” is the normal.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lottie Nevin Says:

    A timely post, Gerard and I think that Berlioz has nailed it with his comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. roughseasinthemed Says:

    Ironically, it was a Dutchman working on the dockyard (Cockatoo Island) with Partner, who said, ‘you’re a foreigner in your own land, and you’re a foreigner here’. The status of someone who lives outside their birth country. He was right of course.


  5. Silver in the Barn Says:

    I remember moving to Minnesota from Germany in the fourth grade with my thick brown stockings and my short bangs (fringe to you Aussies, I think) and feeling desperate, just desperate to rid myself of anything vaguely German. Now, I cling to those traces of my heritage. An excellent post, Gerard. (Moses’ Tablets, LOL!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Patti Kuche Says:

    That mad mullah in the chocolate shop is all Scott Morrison et al need in letting the inner racists go nuts with their bigotry.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Funny how we all try to fit in. Except some don’t. I even did it in the past in whatever country I found myself.

    The chocolate shop man was obviously evil and mad. The question is—how many others are there out there?

    A great post Gerard as usual.


  8. la_lasciata Says:

    I have NO memory of any of this, I suppose because of growing up in Perth (just like a village – then). Italians and Greeks were always welcomed, due to the wonderful greengrocery itemsthat accompanied them, I believe.
    But as for Morrison … he is, indeed, the incarnation of evil. And so is the whole TROWC, of course, for allowing him to do whatever he wants.
    AND ! – until the ALP indicates it has something different in mind, so are they. Just not as bad as him. I hope.


  9. gerard oosterman Says:

    I remember Fremantle on arrival back in 1956 and on a Sunday. Boy oh boy was it empty. Not a soul to be seen except other passengers from the boat.
    Fremantle (near Perth) is now a large coffee sipping town with a population walking the boulevards, tending their yachts, speaking in foreign tongues and planning for Venice and Monte Carlo . Mistresses and Gigolos a plenty.
    As for Morrison… a keelhauling!


  10. petspeopleandlife Says:

    A very thoughtful and insightful post. My dad would not allow my mother to speak German to my sister and I for fear that we would have an accent of sorts and that other kids would mock or harass us. It was I, who was shoved to the ground at recess because there were bullies and favorites of the teachers.

    Discrimination is an evil word but I fear there is no cure. Times have progressed but the attitudes of people have not.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Great post. I had a happy day out in London yesterday, eating in a restaurant with other families. Several groups were a wonderful rainbow mix of all the colours of humanity. This morning I read about an MP who had a speaking engagement with a Society, one of whose beliefs is that they should strive to achieve an all pale-skinned Britain… Have they been asleep for a hundred years? I bet they think it was OK that Britain had an Empire, and sent thousands of men and women to live in other people’s countries… Grrr

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I always think of bigots as very small people, so wrapped up in their own feelings of inferiority that they struggle desperately to name someone as inferior to them, or to blame for whatever lack of success they have. Much worse, however, are the would-be leaders who exploit and foster these attitudes for their own political gain. Great blog, Gerard. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Rosie. Says:

    Excellent post Gerard. Great comments – especially Berlioz35.


  14. algernon1 Says:

    Gerard, as you know I have a southern European surname but my family history in this country dates back to at least the 1840’s and possibly earlier. Of course that didn’t stop me receiving racial abuse mostly from ignorant 10 pound poms (ironic as I also have British and Irish ancestry). Possibly the worst was from a Jewish teacher in 4th class whose parents had been in concentration camps in WW2. Her hatred sent her insane eventually. I grew up disliking my name until my tertiary education when I was close the only Australian born in my year or so it seemed. In time I came to appreciate that part of my heritage. I was lucky though my treatment is nothing compared to the discrimination my father received and he was born here albeit to migrant parents who left Europe after WW1.

    Australia is a different country today than 50 years ago. I think the likes of Morrison will be an aberration, nothing more than a skid mark in history. Someone who appeals to a bygone era.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Hello Algernon,
      We are all orphans of good and bad fortune. We make the best of imperfection and are grateful for some crumbs of suger and spice that might fall around our feet.
      Morrison is a throwback to the fifties and Abbott might be from the days of Bob Santamaria. Remember that extreme right wing man. He was so anti communist he would ban the word ‘communion’, except he would take that every Sunday but only after he had confessed his mortal sins having abused ma paw and her five daughters.


  15. bkpyett Says:

    Gerard, I really enjoyed reading this piece and related to the fondu set! I also agree with your assessment of the dire position of our poor refugees. As for Morrison, who calls himself a Christian, I can’t imagine anyone less humanitarian.


  16. gerard oosterman Says:

    Hello Barbara and welcome.
    I wonder if the fondue set will ever make a come-back? I see people now stooped over their Iphone in restaurants while scooping up the smoked duck and noodles.


  17. sedwith Says:

    Love the sriffening up at a whiff of dago garlic…cant get enough of it now eh?
    Strange thing for me was the Arabic women in Broadmeadows Melbourne who were surprised I made tabouleh. They feared going out after 9-11 and were spat at and abused. Where are the Goughs gone in Team Australia? This country has so many accepting people maybe thats why both parties want to hide the refugees behind barbed wire offshore…..and feed the press with bullshit…..we might like them! Je suis reffo!

    Liked by 2 people

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