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RSS 2.0

I'm not racist but ...

By Graham Ring - posted Monday, 5 March 2007

I don't like Greeks. They tend to hang around together and speak in their own language. They're hard to get on with.

Except for Con and Helena in the flat next door. They're always quick with a smile and a wave, and every so often Helena brings over some of those sweet cakes which taste like heaven - even if you can feel your teeth dissolving while you eat them.

I gave their little bloke a plastic footy in the Essendon colours and he kicks that around as much as he does the round ball. I reckon he might end up playing for the Bombers one day.


Con and Helena are the only Greeks I actually know and they're great. It's just the others that I don't like.

I don't care much for the Vietnamese either. It would by okay if they were all like Tran, who runs the fish and chipper up the street. He's got a good sense of humour and takes the mickey out of me for ordering the same old “grilled flake, chips and two cakes” every Friday night.

I'm trying to teach him how to say “gidday” properly, but I don't think he's ever going to get it.

He keeps the shop open till 10pm most nights, but he's always quick with a joke and generous with the chips. Actually, Tran is the only Vietnamese person that I have much to do with and he's fine.

It's just the others I don't like.

Now you've started me, I've got to say that I'm not all that keen on all the Horn of Africa people who are coming here to settle. They dress strangely and have some pretty odd ideas about religion. Mind you, I've only met one.


Yousef picked me up in his taxi a couple of weeks ago and we ended up having a bit of chat to pass the time. It turns out he drives the cab for 12 hours a day to save as much as he can. Then he sends nearly all of his wage back to his family.

I told him that it seemed like a hard life, but he just shrugged and said that it was a lot better than not having enough to eat, and living in fear for your life. He's hoping to bring the rest of his family out here after he's established himself and done all the official paperwork.

I reckon that anyone who is prepared to work that hard for their family has got to be pretty good value. For my money, Yousef is welcome in this country anytime. It's just the others I don't like.

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First published in the National Indigenous Times, Issue 123 on February 22, 2007

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About the Author

Graham Ring is an award-winning writer and a fortnightly National Indigenous Times columnist. He is based in Alice Springs.

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