When I unfortunately stumble over one of the travel posts by Ben Groundwater, I’m always left with a bad taste in my mouth (vomit?) and not sure if it’s a poor attempt at satirising jingoism.
With his ‘The things Australia does best‘ he manages to make the most ridiculous and baseless claims. Even a few readers points out that his comparisons are cherry picked, which is hardly fair. But that seems to be the point, pick the worst example to make Australia look awesome!
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!
He is not the only person which has traveled outside the borders of his country. Yours truly has lived in four different countries and experienced most the things Ben claims Australia does better than any country.
Time to squash some myths!
Cars barely stop [in Australia] when the traffic light turns red. Not to mention the extreme lack of zebra crossings, making it a nightmare trying to cross any street as a pedestrian.
It is often quicker to walk to the nearest crossing with traffic lights than waiting to cross safely.
All I need to do is to take a five-minute drive, any time any day, and I will at least see one driver do something illegal – usually it’s more.
Worst experience ever when it comes to customer service is here in Australia. Uninterested employees not giving a rats arse about customers. But what can you expect when workers are treated as slaves compared to other countries.
Or they are so nice and pleasant it’s off putting and feels like an obvious act.
Avoidance of bureaucracy
It is far easier for me to wade through the bureaucracy in Norway than for you. Why? Because I grew up with it, the same way you’re used the the absolute mind-fuck of a bureaucracy in Australia. Tax year ends in the middle-ish of the year? Really?
And don’t get me started on how ridiculous it is to get an Australian visa. Even if you are married to an Aussie, it’s an absolute nightmare and a joke.
When I met the missus in The Netherlands, where we both worked and lived a few years ago, because she lived with me, all she had to do was to fill out one sheet of paper to receive a five-year-residency permit. Not to mention, as a resident she was allowed to vote!
Friendly rivalries & Camaraderie
It’s friendly, till you joke about Australia and Aussies and they find out your not from here. Friendly my arse!
Just take a look at the recent decision to exclude Australia from the immigration zone. Reeks of friendliness, doesn’t it?
Even the missus, whom is Aussie, has pointed out that Aussies can be difficult to befriend.
And I’m sorry to burst your bubble. But this traveling camaraderie is not unique to Australians.
Steak and … steak. Yeah, that’s so varied I just don’t know what to choose.
Avoidance of chaos
Drive around Brisbane during rush-hour and you will experience chaos and mayhem. It’s an absolute nightmare. Suddenly road rules do not apply anymore. It’s all about who is first and has the biggest car and ego.
Or try to queue at any place of business. Aussies have no idea how to form a queue. Stand in a bloody straight line! How hard can it be!?
Like any other country, Australia is also swamped with these bland coffee shop chains. To find the right café, you must search for a bit. Usually tucked away and overpriced. Yet it is the first country I’ve met a lot of people who actually like powdered coffee and subpar tea.
Give me a break! So tired of people going on about how great the weather in Australia is. Yet during summer I hear so many complaining about the heat, but then complain when it cools down because of rain or just a drop in pressure. And if the temperature drops below 20 degree Celsius, it’s suddenly a cold snap. Come on!
And no, I’m not whinging because I’m a Norwegian not being used to warm weather. It can easily reach 30-35 degree Celsius during summer in Norway. I even complain less than the missus when it’s warm.
What I complain about is the lack of variation and lack of appreciation for it here. You see, in Australia, especially the really warm states you have one season, which is summer – half is really warm while the other half is nice and cool. In Norway you actually have four different seasons.
The thing Australians do best is going on about how we’re the best. Wake up!!
I could of course have just ignored rebutting some of the myths by just leaving the comment by Simon here. Because he sums it up pretty well in one sentence.
A few makes the claim that all the Negative Nellys are suffering from the Aussie Cultural Cringe. When in reality, I think, the Aussie Cringe has more to do with this inflated ego Simon mentions.
Australia is like any other country. It has some really good sides, but it also has some sides you would be better without. In other words, as I’ve mention ad nauseam up till now, is that the idea of the best country in the world is very subjective and personal.
There is nothing wrong with loving your country. In the same way it is expected that you love your spouse. But that doesn’t give your the right or authority to claim that your spouse is better than everyone in the world. Go ahead, love your country, be proud of it, but don’t think for a second that means it surpasses all other countries on this planet.
But this overinflated ego is not unique to Australia. It is something, after traveling and living in different countries, I’ve encountered from mainly has some kind of British heritage – either coming from Britain or it’s old colonies. So unfortunately, it’s a cultural heritage you can all blame the British for.