23 January 2012

Changing Times


23 January 2012
51 years old
Melbourne
I went back to my old stamping ground Prahran, yesterday, to take some photos that might (or might not) be used for my book cover. A large part of ‘All Windows Open’ is set in 1980s Prahran.
Across the road from where I lived, the old derelict house has been spruced up and converted to a cafĂ©; and many of the small nearby workers cottages have been knocked down and replaced by architect designed townhouses – plate glass sliding doors, textured feature walls, water features. Changes have even reached the Greek sweet shop on Chapel Street. When I peered inside, a woman of Chinese origin was behind the counter. I think that shocked me most of all. Outside, the shop signage is still in Greek and English, and there is baklava in the glass front window, but the people that ran the shop, I suppose, have retired. And in their place are employees. The shop owner’s children, my generation do not want to run a Greek cake shop, they are probably lawyers or accountants, as their migrant parents hoped they would be. I know my parents put great stock in us all getting a tertiary education.
Later in the day, at home, my mum called to tell me she saw my picture in the Greek paper. She and dad had even received a couple of calls from their friends, who had also seen the article about my win in the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards. When I got off the phone I texted Craig to pick up a copy of Neos Kosmos, while he was out. As it happened he was in the city and so he went to the Greek precinct. In the 7/11 there, a Chinese man sold him a copy of the Greek paper.
We truly live in a globalised time and the times they are indeed a changin’.

3 comments:

  1. The street I live on is like the United Nations. Seriously...we have many regions in the world represented.

    As far as changing...I work right where I grew up - my primary school was right across the street from the hospital. Notice I said "was" - it was torn down a few years back. I was surprised how sad it was. I am honestly surprised a strip mall isn't standing there now. I am glad that those buildings are still standing for you.

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  2. Can make a safe bet that the Chinese woman would be encouraging her children into a tertiary education. The next wave of immigrants paving their way into Australian life. Hardworking and enriching our lives with diversity...we are all very luckey. Sat at a cafe the other day, watching the proprietior's son sitting at one of the tables, writing Chinese in his textbook, occasionally looking up at the other boys on skateboards. You could easily read his thoughts in regards to what he would be rather doing. I admired his discipline, he doesn't know it now but in later years he will be thankful that he retained a piece of his cultural background. Cheers, enjoyed your blog one I can relate to.

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  3. Yes the Chinese are not dissimilar to the Greeks (and other migrant groups), re their children's education. And I totally agree about retaining one's cultural heritage.

    Thank you for your comment.

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