Australia – The Great “Down Under”
This land is not my land
This land is not your land
This land is God’s land
To inherit it you’ve got to be fit
That you love one another
Sharing with one another
Caring for one another
Giving and not just taking
Working and not shirking
Then the land will prosper
Only then the land will be ours.
How big is Australia? You didn’t have to ask when you look at the two maps above. With a land mass of 7,706,168 sq km compared to Europe’s of 3,483,066 sq km, it is no wonder why Australia has invariably been called “The Lucky Country”. Its population is only 21.8 million (official estimate end of 2008) whereas Europe has 830.4 million or about 11% of the world’s total (as of 2009).
Australia is richly endowed with natural resources, and was acclaimed the richest country in 1885 & 1900, until overtaken & replaced some 50 years later by US & Canada. In terms of climate, recreation, literacy & personal freedom it stands supreme. It rates a perfect 10 for climate & recreation along with France, Italy & the US. Renowned as a great sporting nation, its prowess in swimming is second only to the Americans. It is a definite “S” country excelling also in sand, sea & surf.
Its long-held position as the rich man of Asia has been assailed by Japan, S. Korea including its closest Asian neighbour Singapore and of course the great emerging economies of India & China. Such economic ills prompted the then Federal Treasurer Paul Keating to refer Australia as the “Banana Republic”.
It’s said that one cannot be tied to his mother’s apron string all through life. For far too long Australia has looked towards UK & the West for its trade & economic activities. In a changing world, none so true as the present, we cannot afford to be rigid & fixed in our policies. We need to be dynamic, adapt, adopt & adjust according to the direction of the economic wind. Fostering a closer economic link to China & the other Asian economies won’t be such a bad idea.
Way back in 1982 when I first migrated here in Perth, the country was besieged with recession, “Bottom of the Harbour Scheme”, union strikes, political leadership challenges . . . summarily not the best of times. My thoughts at that time are best portrayed in this poem of mine published in the local press on August 23, 1990 entitled: “Think Big”
In this vast and lucky country
We have yet to be complementary
We should be in the “Think Big” league
But smallness and pettiness we dig.
Traditionally, by virtue of our isolation
We tend to be restrictive in our constitution
We are even confused about our identity
Even finding it hard to accept our originality.
We need to relate well to the Aborigines
Accept and help them towards our destiny
The “Wogs”, the “Chings” are here to enrich
Rather than make the country perish.
Having a closed mind or closed society
Is more detrimental than you can see
There’d got to be unity in diversity
Together shouting to the troubled world of our victory.
A Chinese by Descent
An Australian by Consent