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Sophis? Glam? Bloody oath!

By Irfan Yusuf - posted Monday, 20 March 2006

Last Christmas, I accompanied my Californian relatives on a drive around the North Island of New Zealand.

My uncle was impressed that Auckland's Khyber Pass was somewhat less volatile than the Pakistani equivalent.

I was unimpressed at Kiwistani New Year's Eve advertisments. Who was on the New Year's menu? None other than Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes.


Why would this icon of Aussie working-class blokes waste his time playing across the Tasman? Surely he would rather spend New Year's Eve hanging out with all the other successful Aussies such as Russell Crowe, Jenny Morris and the Finn brothers in Byron Bay or some other Aussie artistic mecca?

As soon as I got back to Sydney, I rang my friend Sue. Now, Sue lives in Melbourne with her funky Egyptian partner, Wal. She's a music freak and also has the benefit of some Kiwi heritage.

I expressed my complete disgust that an Aussie musical icon would usher in the new year by "gittung pust" across the "Tizmun".

"Irf, you dimwit Aussie. Jimmy Barnes is probably a Kiwi Scot! When are you going to learn that all decent Aussie talent comes from New Zealand? And stop talking in that stupid, pretend Kiwi accent!"

I later sought expert advice from Professor Google, and discovered that I was right all along. Still, it's a fact that talented Australia always seems to have Kiwi roots. I still can't believe Kate Ceberano is half-Hawaiian and not half-Maori.

Some readers may be wondering why better-heeled overseas visitors than normal are flying into Auckland or Wellington. Is it the Lord of the Rings factor? Or are the Yanks hoping to be told off by Winston Peters in person in the absence of meeting King Kong?


Actually, the real reason is probably because Australia's tourism promotional people haven't been able to recruit any Kiwi talent. Let's face it, which smart Kiwi would come up with an advertisement showing some girl in a bikini beseeching the world with: "So where the bloody hell arya?"

As I write these lines, I can see my copy of a travel magazine put together by the Australian Financial Review in association with The New York Times. The glossy 46-page read, called Life & Leisure - The Sophisticated Traveller, is now in its eighth edition.

Inside are advertisements for watches made in Geneva, expensive resorts and hotels with a nightly room charge equivalent to ten times the average yearly salary of someone in Bangladesh.

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First published in The Press on March 10, 2006.

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About the Author

Irfan Yusuf is a New South Wales-based lawyer with a practice focusing on workplace relations and commercial dispute resolution. Irfan is also a regular media commentator on a variety of social, political, human rights, media and cultural issues. Irfan Yusuf's book, Once Were Radicals: My Years As A Teenage Islamo-Fascist, was published in May 2009 by Allen & Unwin.

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