Australians have historically been a quietly patriotic bunch where love of country is pretty much assumed. Sure there was a certain degree of cultural cringe, a certain national inferiority complex where we have thought our culture was not different but lesser than more "mature" nations. But I think we have all grown up. With this growing maturity has come a more demonstrative form of patriotism. We have now adopted a more flag-waving type of love of country that once we saw Americans doing with a degree of disdain. Personally I like the new demonstrative national self as long as it is inclusive and not used as an excuse to exclude the "other". In any event around the South Bank precinct today it was a happy, relaxed easy love of country as Brisbane people came out to celebrate Australia Day. The Aussie flag was everywhere - tattooed close to the heart, on beach balls and inflatable pool toys, on T shirts and hats and towels and flying from the windows of cars. There probably would have been many other displays actually in the parklands itself but I was refused entry. My crime was that I was in the company of an obvious trouble-maker - the fur friend Rumple. I didn't think twice about taking Rumple because we walk at South Bank all the time. I hadn't counted on the beefed up security that now comes with major events. That is another sign of being a grown up nation in a global world, unfortunately.
|And proving there are more stylish ways of wearing Red, White and Blue ... artist and illustrator de Shan|