I love the National Multicultural Festival. It’s on at the right time of year: shortly after all the new students and public servant grads have arrived and begun to settle. Viewed from afar, Canberra is a sterile, cultureless place and the thought of having to live here for work or study is thoroughly depressing. But the multicultural festival works to break that perception down. Hidden beneath the surface is a vibrant life, diverse and rich. The problem is knowing where to look.
True story, I was in Canberra for several years until somebody pointed out that a nondescript, run down building hidden amongst trees across the road from a pub was actually one of the best places in Canberra to catch live music. Until that point, the music scene here in Canberra was entirely invisible.
Better yet, it allows people moving to Canberra from abroad to know that there are support groups and networks available, all while a bunch of Anglo-Australians happily consume a sausage and beer from every country on Earth. Nothing eases racial tensions like food.
It is therefore disappointing to find hidden amongst the tents various groups fringe political nutters.
It’s shortly after you’ve finished shoving poffertjes into your face that you bump into the Australian Republican Movement tent. Precisely which cultural group they’re representing is a bit of a mystery, but whatever. Is it worth starting a row about how we’re never, ever going to be a republic in our lifetime because the monarchy is actually working out pretty well for us? I’m still fighting off a throat infection, so I give it a miss. Next time, ARM.
After looping around a giant pineapple, you bump into the army cadets. They are marching around the place, somewhat inexpertly. Which culture is this being represented? Everybody seems to be Anglo-Australian, which is a bit of a worry. And why aren’t they offering up some sort of delicious sausage and beer? Lame.
But it’s a few dozen feet up the road when we see a poorly printed sign hanging woefully from a table. A low resolution dog and pig float above a one-line question: ‘Why do you love one but eat the other?’
I’d freaking eat a dog if it were delicious. We eat pork because it is funking amazing. Science has proven that eating meat makes you more intelligent, attractive, and more capable of eating more meat in the future. As a former vegetarian, I say with authority and conviction that eating meat is great.
But do I really need a tent of pasty vegans moping about at the multicultural festival, implicitly judging all the other countries for not entertaining the privileged viewpoint that we should only eat highly processed soybeans? Who invited these killjoys?
While I was reeling from the presence of species-traitors at the festival, I walked towards the eastern stage only to be confronted by a large poster displaying dead foetus.
I had reached the ‘Pro-Life Association of Canberra’ tent.
Why the funk are these funking funkers here? How do these people reflect the spirit and culture of the festival? We don’t have a Mens Rights Activist tent or a Guns Rights Lobby tent, so who let these misogynists into the party?
Regardless of whether or not you’re pro-life, these people didn’t belong at the festival. They’re not part of the multicultural theme. They’re not part of the ‘diversity of Canberra’ vibe. They don’t contribute to presenting Canberra as a warm, safe, welcoming place to work, study, and play. They shouldn’t be here.
It’s time to clean up the multicultural festival: boot out the fringe groups that don’t celebrate the vibrancy of Canberra.