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Some personal reflections...

By Winfred Peppinck

As a voracious reader of newspapers, and news time on the radio is sacrosanct, I reflect that my generation and subsequent ones are leaving a different world, not necessarily a better one.

I was an original, “baby boomer,” being born on January 2 1946, immediately after the end of the Second World War.

When my family migrated to Australia in 1951, after time in the Dutch East Indies, which after its colonial cloak, became Indonesia.

My brother’s birth document said “Batavia,” which simply said Jakarta in his Australian passport.

For those early days, my father, a well regarded journalist, worked as a truck driver for a jute factory, later as a bus and tram driver. Immigrants worked in any job available.

Later, he hitch-hiked every Sunday, 120km to small Western Australian town, where he got a job working for a small regional paper, Friday night hitch-hiking home, years later he got a job working for the States main newspaper.

No “multiculturalism” then, Dutch, Germans, Italians, Eastern Europeans, retaining cultural ties, with festivals and sports clubs.

Instead, everyone became, “New Australians,” maintaining cultural ties, but regarding ourselves as Australians.

With it, came manners, and social etiquette, children and youngsters stood up for older people on buses, trains, never addressed someone by Christian names until asked, treated all people, irrespective of race in a humane way, although the “aborigines” were very poorly regarded, regrettably, the nation still grappling with the issue of including them in the Constitution, health and welfare matters.

The world today, through the policy of mainly men, is a less safe place, than in my day.

Leaders, who see themselves as “strong men,” not believing in climate change, the benefits of free trade, alliances, intent on building barriers between people, fences and walls, keeping people out.

Yet, millions, seeking security from conflict, starvation, impoverished people wanting “safe” countries believing there are economic opportunities.

Refugees from war-torn places, such as Somalia and other parts of Africa, who are willing to risk their lives and leaky boats to get into Europe, walk into countries where they were once welcomed.

Venal “people smugglers”sending many to their deaths on boats to Greece, Italy, once acceptance open armed.

Not any more, many “immigrants” bring prejudices with them.

Australia has stopped the boats.

No longer “assimilation,” now multiculturalism” is the new functionalism.

Some Australians are questioning the number of immigrants now coming there, infrastructure not keeping up with regional requirements and services.

Bahrain’s universities are churning out graduates like sausage meat; how will society absorb them, employ them?

A recent letter to GDN stated jobs in the public domain should be won on merit, not just on family basis.

In the old days, jobs aplenty, most people started at the bottom and worked their way up, wasn’t just in vogue, but mandatory.

Sure, in the high tech world, where countries are run by tweeters, things have changed inexorably.

Is it a better world? Somehow I doubt it.

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