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I am a writer, editor, reviewer and dance teacher based in Perth, Western Australia.

My books

The first two novels of my trilogy, The Talismans, are not available as e-books at present, but I expect to get them back online shortly. However, I do have paperbacks of The Dagger of Dresnia at the low price of $25 including postage within Australia. I also have a short story, 'La Belle Dame', in print - see Mythic Resonance below. The best way to contact me is via Facebook!

Buy The Talismans

The first two books of The Talismans trilogy were published by Satalyte Publications, which, sadly, has gone out of business. I hope to see my books back on Amazon under a new publisher in the near future.

The Dagger of Dresnia

The Dagger of Dresnia
Want a copy? Contact me at satimafn(at)gmail.com

The Cloak of Challiver

The Cloak of Challiver
Available again as an ebook soon!

Mythic Resonance

Buy Mythic Resonance

Mythic Resonance is an excellent anthology that includes my short story 'La Belle Dame', together with great stories from Alan Baxter, Donna Maree Hanson, Sue Burstynski, Nike Sulway and nine more fantastic authors! Just $US3.99 from Amazon. Got a Kindle? Check out Mythic Resonance.

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Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Manchester, UK

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

Places I've lived: Gippsland, Australia

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Places I've lived: Geelong,  Australia

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

Places I've lived: Tamworth, NSW

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Places I've Lived - Sydney
Sydney Conservatorium - my old school

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Places I've lived: Auckland, NZ

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Places I've Lived: Mount Gambier
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Places I've lived: Adelaide, SA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Day
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Places I've lived: High View, WV

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Lynton, Devon, UK

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Braemar, Scotland

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

Places I've lived: Barre, MA, USA

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Places I've Lived: Perth by Night
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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Multiculturalism and genealogy

Yesterday, on my way by public transport to an editing workshop, I had three experiences within fifteen minutes that showed me how much Australia has changed since I arrived here in 1952 at the age of eight. In those days, you could buy two kinds of cheese in Australia: mild and tasty. Well, three, if you counted the processed stuff that came prepackaged and tasted like greasy cardboard. Not that I've eaten greasy cardboard, mind you, but I'd imagine the taste and the nutritional value would not have been much different. These days, we can buy delicacies from all over the world, in many different varieties, and I thank heaven for that because I absolutely adore cheese, and being a vegetarian, I eat a lot of it.

It was a two hour journey each way to attend a three-hour workshop. It's a good thing it was such a good workshop, or I would have been a bit grumpy by the time I got home, but in fact it was excellent, thanks to Amanda Curtin, the leader. She made me think hard about some of the techniques I'd been using and how to improve their worth in my work. But there was added value to the outing. In fact, the interesting experiences started before I'd even boarded the first bus.

As I waited for the bus to arrive, a young man crossed the road and began to read the timetable on display at the stop. He looked a bit bemused, so I asked where he was going. He told me, I gave him directions, and we got on talking. It turned out he was from Africa, had grown up in the UK, and had spent some time in Canada before coming to Australia. He had already found a job and was hoping to buy a car this week.

His accent was fascinating. It sounded North American. Sort of. Sort of English, too. I wondered if he still spoke his own African language but as it was almost time for the bus to arrive there was no chance to ask. I wished him luck in his car quest and took the bus to the railway station.

The station is close to a school that has a specialist dance stream, and waiting for the train were two young people. They looked slightly Asian, the boy more so than the girl. I would have guessed him to be Chinese. The pair must have been to a dance rehearsal, for the boy was practising steps he'd just learnt. I heard him tell the girl that he did not want to forget them. Over and over again he did the same sequence. I didn't like to stare, but from the corner of my eye I guessed he'd been learning a folk dance of some kind, quite possibly a Morris dance. The sight of a Chinese boy practising English Morris dancing on the platform of an Australian railway station was incongruous to the point of being surreal. It would have been impossible only a few years ago. When I was that age, few boys danced at all, there were hardly any Chinese people in Australia, and to my knowledge, absolutely no Morris dancing.

When the train arrived, we got in separate carriages. I wondered if he kept on practising during the train ride!

At the next station, two young women got on. They appeared to be Indian. One had the dark hair and eyes typical of the sub-continent, but the other, athough her features resembled those of her companion, had eyes of a lovely shade of dove grey. She had a dear little toddler in a stroller. His skin was considerably lighter than hers, but he had the same deep brown eyes and dark curls as the other woman. At a guess, I'd say maybe his father was southern European, or perhaps half Indian.

This is not only Australia today: it is the world today. These three brief encounters led me to consider the problems inherent in researching the family trees of the children of this multi-cultural generation. I have blogged my thoughts over on my website blog. If you're interested in family history, please do check it out.

7 comments:

Marilyn Z. Tomlins said...

Where is the British monarchy in all this? I understand that the majority of Australians now want the country to become a republic. I for one can understand this.

Satima Flavell said...

Australia held a referendum on the monarchy issue a few years ago and it was soundly defeated. Most people think it's a bit silly that our head of state should live on the other side of the world, but they would also like to know in advance just what the change would entail. However, the republican camp can't seem to see past replacing the monarchy, never mind what with!

There is a general mistrust of government and authority among Australians, dating, I expect, from the convict era and reinforced by the number of people who came here as refugees, fleeing oppressive and corrupt government. So the general attitude is "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" I think we'll get a republic eventually, but it is unlikely to be soon. Cerainly not as long as the Queen lives, because whatever Aussies might think of the concept of royalty in general, most of them admire the Queen personally. And very few of us, I think, would like to see a presidential style of government like that of the France or the USA, since it seems to lack the checks and balances inherent in the Westminster system, which is designed to stop any one person from having too much power.

Anonymous said...
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Sue Bursztynski said...

I voted no on the referendum because I didn't like the kind of "republic" on offer. It was going to be one where the politicians chose the President and John Howard knew people wouldn't like it and made sure that even if it did go through, he would still have control over who it was. But he fully expected it to fail and held a party to celebrate, with those he thought were responsible as honoured guests. What they should have done - and were never going to do under that government - is ask us, first if we wanted a republic, THEN give us a choice of what kind. That would have been more accurate. But he didn't want accurate. He wanted "no". And he got it.

Satima Flavell said...

The trouble is, they could ask if we want a republic, we say yes, then they sneak something in through the back door that we wouldn't want! I'd rather see it all done at once:
1. Do you want a republic?
2. If so, which of these 3/6/97 options do you favour? Certainly the way the Howard government did it was underhand in the extreme - but then, what else could we expect from that mob?:-(

baobao said...
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bao bao said...
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