Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

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Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby bolero » Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:50 am

I found this intriguing. It is more balanced than other editorials appearing in Indian press, which is a lot of breast beating.

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With Melbourne, Australia has taken the first step to join the ranks of yesteryear Pretoria, South Africa and Birmingham, Alabama. Over the last two years, there have been an increasing number of attacks on Indians here. Lives have been lost or severe injuries inflicted upon members of an unarmed, peaceful Indian community.

The city authorities have been able to do little to prevent these attacks, and their public comments have been inciting or less than forthcoming at best. If you are an Indian, there is a higher probability that you will be a target of a prejudicial, physical attack in Melbourne than anywhere else in the world. So it seems.

But, the similarity to the two cities of yesteryear prejudice is not as convenient. Let us remember, we live in 2010 and not in 1958. Gandhi's struggles in a foreign place sit a century away, King's against those in his hometown almost 50 years past and Mandela has walked freely for two decades. The world is more liberal today than it has ever been. Parts of the world where one had to be wary of one's heritage, colour of skin or race have shrunk and become rare, isolated pockets.

So, with that, Australia seems hardly the place where an Indian or for that matter a person of any minority community should walk with a watchful eye. Australia is a liberal democracy. A well-known fact. Melbourne keeps making it to the list of one of the best cities to live in the world. Another fact.

And yes, there are stark differences between Pretoria and Birmingham on one end and Melbourne on the other. The former bring images of darkness, segregated neighbourhoods and a biased civil justice system. Melbourne, on the contrary, is a pleasant city with friendly people sitting across the river having a beer. Sunny skies, the scenic riverfront and the whole environ makes you think you are on the lakeside in Chicago or on the Seine in Paris -- only prettier. Well-formed, open city ways and masterful urban planning enchant the soul as one walks from a coffee shop to a souvenir store to a sushi bar.

As you walk over Swanston Street, above the river, you will notice the city's Coat of Arms on each end of the bridge. The ornate craft consists of a shield, a red cross, a Royal crown, the upper half of a Kangaroo, a black bull standing on a hillock, on each side of the shield a gold lion, a spouting whale swimming in the sea and many other minute details. The motto below the Coat on a flowing ribbon reads Vires Acquirit Eundo, in Latin, meaning 'We gather strength as we go'.

But, to understand Melbourne and its association with India, we need to look back a bit.

Melbourne came of age to Indians in the '80s. With colour television we saw a faraway world. Cricketers in colourful clothes played day and night matches as beautiful people lay on open grasslands taking in the sun. We all fell in love with Melbourne and with Australia. It seemed a faraway paradise.

In the ensuing years, more a generation later, Melbourne saw an influx of Indians. Many found an avenue to their educational and professional appetites 'down under' as the traditional destination seemed to be apprehensive of keeping its boundaries wide open -- an aftermath of 9/11. One heard of more and more people moving to Australia. Friends sent images back of an open country, party culture and a progressive economic climate.

Then things changed somehow. Anecdotal and random responses by Indians present a worrying but a hopeful portrait of the city. Yes, the threat and the attacks are for real and they are brutal, but a good majority of the city residents are disgusted by it. Many locals have even intervened when an attack is in progress.

But, the authorities have done little to provide safety. The taxi driver has a flimsy frame portioning him from the occupants and nothing on him that would assist in his self-defense. They pull out a credit card swiping box to show an item that would serve as a shield. If time permits, a call to a friend could bring civilian reinforcements.

Most remain quiet, fearful that a police complaint would create a record and perhaps an impediment towards permanent immigration. Thus, reads the helpless story of members of a community in one of the world's 'best places to live in.'

So, what happened? A paradise no more? A people prejudiced? A government committing the ultimate sin -- incapable of providing security? Locals despising the influx of students who were deciding to settle down? Are brown folk an eyesore to the unvarnished image of a beautiful country?

These questions have flared in columns and editorials of major news dailies in parts of the world. The Indian external affairs ministry has protested assertively. The Australian politicians have gone out of their way to appease the Indian authorities, at once bothered by the risk of a tarnished image while concerned about the economic benefits the emigrating Indians have brought.

But in all this, we need to remember that urban masterpieces such as Melbourne are built on goodness in the hearts of its founders. Any attempt to tarnish its image needs to be handled forcefully. Melbourne area residents -- all of them need to ask for more from their civilian and public safety representatives.

Otherwise, 'we gather strength as we go', the city's motto, may be brought to life -- in a violent or a non-violent way. A community under attack is bound to run out of patience, as there already are some signs, and respond. And a non-violent movement as an instrument, as history tells us, is more sustaining and bruising to a place's psyche, image and prospects.

Let Melbourne be what it is in our memories. A city indulged in sports -- cricket and tennis -- a hub of commercial enterprise, a vacation destination, a friendly people and a place where people of all types live harmoniously.

Melbourne is twinned with the likes of Milan, Boston and Osaka. Let it not be paired with Pretoria and Birmingham.

The author is a Chicago-based writer

Girish Rishi

http://news.rediff.com/column/2010/mar/03/melbourne-an-urban-masterpiece-gone-wrong.htm

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby raja » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:33 pm

This article does make a decent attempt to explain why many Indians moved to Melbourne or, for that matter, Australia.
I think most Indians knew this background anyway but there is no harm in presenting it to a wider audience.

The article does not however still shed any light on why these attacks have been happening.

I have my own take on this (partly based on something an Indian who lived in Melbourne till recently told me).

There are a lot of Indian students in Australia. Lots of them in Melbourne.
Many of them do late-evening jobs to earn a bit of money.
These late-evening jobs often require them to go to or travel via areas that are not all that safe (let's face it, every city has its ugly spots).
So it is not all that strange that when crime does happen in those areas, it is Indians who end up being the target.
Not that they were initially targeted because they were Indians but more because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This, I think, may have been the start of the issue.
Once the issue hotted up and India began accusing Australia of "targeted attacks on Indians", maybe it only increased resentment towards Indians in Australia.
After that there may have been actually targeted attacks. But this was probably more the effect of the uproar, not the cause, as far as Australia is concerned.

I think we need to recognise that in any society there are dangerous elements. Extremist or frustrated elements that may engage in crime. This is not representative of that society as a whole.

Indians are actually helping in creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. By constantly saying that "Australia is not safe for Indians", India is only worsening relations with Australia and making Australia even more unsafe for Indians.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby hopeinj » Wed Mar 03, 2010 2:03 pm

Raja, i read an article, i think it was in Outlook... it claimed Aussies think Indians are there undeservingly and live on the Govt largesse as a result of bad immigration policies... seems like it is true to an extent ...these "students" mostly from punjab (surprise!) go to Australia to study cooking, sewing, hospitality etc..since the immigration policy allows these "students" to settle down in Australia, this has become an easy way to settle down in Australia... (note: as i have said earlier, i have absolutely no sympathy for these "students")..

there was another nice article in Outlook.. http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264016
excerpts :
"This group of rich Indians partially blames the attacks on their brethren who have arrived recently in droves, belong to small towns, and are completely oblivious to the cultural sensibilities of Australians. They blast their Bhangra music on trains, talk loudly while travelling in public transport and make lewd comments and gestures at young Australian girls. Says Gagandeep Singh, who manages a petrol pump in one of the Melbourne suburbs, “Some months back, while travelling on a train with my parents who were visiting me from Punjab, I felt so ashamed because you could clearly hear the choicest Punjabi abuses from a group of Indian boys who were also in the compartment.” An Indian lady says a young Australian girl once confided in her that she prefers to stand in train coaches than to sit next to Indian boys. Otherwise, she said she’d spend the entire travel time warding off their advances"

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby bolero » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:17 pm

In fact what Srini mentions (and he quotes from the Outlook article), I have heard the same thing from some of my acquaintances based in Australia (and they have been in Australia for the last 25 -30 years)

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby bharathh » Wed Mar 03, 2010 4:44 pm

Yes. The point about the ladies is very valid.

A lot of Indian guys who have minimal interaction with women back home act very weirdly here. Back in India, their staring may not seem out of place ... but in places like the US guys who stare like them stand out.

It is embarrassing when the company you keep acts like they have never seen a decent looking girl before in their lives! I am now comfortable enough to make fun of them for doing so. I hope that by making fun of their behavior they will get out of that behavior.

It's not like the ppl here don't stare at a good looking girl... but the kind of lecherous gaze that a lot of Indians give is very disconcerting for an observer. I can imagine how scary it must be for the recipient of the gaze. I often wonder how girls in India manage to ignore these gazes back home. As a guy I never really noticed these stares that men give the ladies until my sister complained about them.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Howard » Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:24 pm

I am more pissed with Indian Students leader Gautam Gupta. If there is any attack on an Indian, he will be calling all media sources immediately branding it a racist attack. 2 months back there was a report that an Indian was chased and burned by a mob of 4 or something. Mr. Gupta the d******* said that "I don't know what to say, Racist don't leave there business cards. This is a racist attack". well a month later, police revealed that the guy was trying to claim insurance money by burning his car down or something. No apologies from the moron.

Most of the Indians who came here before last 3-4 years will never agree on anything with him. Indian association has infact given a media release stating that this dude is on self-promotion spree and he doesn't represent any of us. His response?


But it has also sparked antagonism against him, particularly in the established Indian community, which disputes his claim of systemic racism and ''curry bashing''. The Sunday Age understands that the Indian consul-general has asked Mr Gupta to tone down his rhetoric and has warned Indian media to ''take everything he says with a pinch of salt''. They have been told he is a ''rabble rouser'' and does not represent the majority of students.

Mr Gupta responds that there is a community generation gap. When the seniors in the community arrived here 30 or 40 years ago, he says, it was in their nature to be subservient. ''They were the sons and daughters of slaves - Indians were all slaves until Independence.

''They came here and were content to open their Indian restaurants and small businesses and shut up.''

Mr Gupta, born in Chandigarh in northern India, has lived in Australia since 1999. He believes he speaks for the generation of the ''new India'', assertive and unafraid to speak its mind. His vehicle is the Federation of Indian Students of Australia, which he founded in 2002. He now claims to head its advisory board, but the federation remains opaque and, say critics, unrepresentative.

''I can answer one question very emphatically: he does not represent the Indian community or the majority of students,'' says Dr Gurdip Aurora, of the Australian-Indian Association of Victoria.
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/disco ... -omro.html


In past 3-5 months, 4 Indians have died where the killers were Indians only but this guy made many statements blaming racism until proven wrong.

Its actually very sad as I love this city. A month ago I had a meeting with an Indian IT company. While I was explaining them the issues, they were more interested to know whether any of them should go out of the hotel after 6. Having arrived in Australia just a month ago, I could see what Indian media has done to their psyche.

I am not saying that "racism" is not at all a factor on any of the attacks on Indians. I am more in favor of waiting till it gets confirmed. Is it that hard to do?

I know many students who are just confused why they are in Australia and have heard some weird theories from them. Most common of those are:

1) IELTS exam is rigged by aussies as they don't want Indians to migrate and they will never ever get required band-score needed to apply for migration.
2) Its better to give IELTS exam in India
3) Immigration department processes applications of non-Subcontinent people faster. They deliberately do that.
4) They change rules to stop Indians from Migration. Its racism.
5) Indians can never get a "proper job" in australia and people like me are just lucky. Interviewers are not at all interested in Indians.
6) I have become an aussies :)
7) They don't know who is Gautam Gupta because they hardly read newspapers/TV News here.


Pakistani students are little bit more suspect of aussies than Indians as they fear discrimination because of being Muslim. There feel they always get harassed at airport because of there name and its the same even when they apply for jobs etc.

The issue of racism has taken a backseat because of politics & media irresponsibility. I am over it.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Roy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 3:07 am

I'm not sure what they expect the Melbourne authorities to do to prevent attacks on Indians...or anyone else for that matter

they could secure the city centre with an increased police presence, but its impossible to secure the sprawling suburbs unless every second person in the city of 4 million is a police officer

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Howard » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:41 am

I got tears in my eyes following this this news whole day. May be its something to do with me becoming a father very soon but it just touched my heart.

I hope the moron who did this gets caught soon. That little boy looked so cute its hard to imagine what kind of person will murder him..

Image

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Roy » Fri Mar 05, 2010 1:00 pm

I can imagine 2 kinds, but I wont speculate until the investigation has concluded

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Roy » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:30 am

strange mystery this one, but it looks like a culprit has been found

no details yet

Police lay charges over Gurshan Singh Channa death

Gurshan Singh's death

The search: Police and SES during their search for Gushan Singh in David St Lalor. Picture: Andrew Tauber Source: Herald Sun

CHARGES have been laid over the death of toddler Gurshan Singh Channa.

An out of sessions court hearing is to be held at the St Kilda Rd crime squad headquarters at 8pm.

It is not yet poublicly known what those charges are or who has been charged.


http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/police-lay-charges-over-gurshan-singh-channa-death/story-e6frf7jo-1225837937797

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Roy » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:42 am

he we go...

A man has been charged over the death of three-year-old Indian boy Gurshan Singh, whose body was found on a roadside in Melbourne's north on Thursday.

Dhillon Gursewak, 23, has been charged with manslaughter due to criminal negligence and is appearing in an out-of-sessions hearing at St Kilda Road Police complex on Sunday evening.

He is not expected to apply for bail.

The man is not a relative, but did live in the same house in David Street, Lalor as Gurshan.


http://tvnz.co.nz/world-news/man-charged-over-indian-toddler-s-death-3396736


now hands up which of you believed this poor boy was killed by a pack of bloodthirsty white Australian racists..
I'm sure there are a few of you out there

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby VFE » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:58 am

It is usually someone a victim knows that commits these types of crimes. For all the paranoia rapes, murder and child abuse are more often than not a family or friend thing.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Roy » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:05 am

there were 12 adults living in that house

ffs

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Howard » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:28 am

now that will make Indian media think a little bit more before printing garbage (read TOI). Looks like an accidental death or something. Still sad. My wife was 100% sure it was someone from the family saying no mum will even go for shower leaving front door open with a crying 3 year old in house. She wasn't correct but still someone from the house was involved.

A lesson for all involved ( read politicians, media etc). A good job by victoria police. that took less than 70 hrs?

Another murder of an "Indian" by an Indian only.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Howard » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:32 am

Still waiting for details but my guess is that the dude got fed up with kid's crying and must have tried to shut him up by something.

I still wonder why you come to visit australia when you have to share a house with 12 people? something is missing in this story.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby Roy » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:33 am

i suspected as much too, but i didnt want to print it before it all came out

its quite scary actually the power the media has...its practically waging a war on Australia

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby VFE » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:28 am

So the 'best' possible theory is that it was an accidental death and the body was dumped. The person who did that is scum. Horrible.

It shouldnt make a difference, but its always worse when its a child. For me I project it on my children and it makes me feel sick.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby bolero » Thu Mar 25, 2010 9:31 am

Oz: Racist e-mails in circulation among cops

Widespread racist e-mails have been found to be in circulation within the ranks of the Victorian police, already battling allegations of being slow to curb rising hate crimes against Indians.

Police launched an investigation after its ethical department found shocking racist content in circulation in internal police email system, a scandal that has already claimed the life of one officer.

"Hundreds of personnel are being investigated," the Victorian chief commissioner Simon Overland told Australian news agency AAP.
While refusing to divulge the contents of the emails, Overland said, "Some were extremely offensive" and were found too shocking to be released publicly.

According to AAP report, up to 100 officers are being probed for sending the emails on work computers that are being dubbed by officers allegedly extremely racist, homophobic and pornographic, officers have told media outlets.

"We're not talking about one item, we're talking about multiple items," Overland said. The police commissioner said those responsible for the racist emails would be fired as he confirmed that an officer Tony Vangorp, 47, had shot himself Monday night after tendering resignation.

Overland said the officer's job was on the line as he was being investigated.

He also refused to confirm if the emails contained racist comments against Indian students or Africans – two minority groups who have criticised police conduct in recent months.

"I'm not going to describe exactly the nature of the material in question," Overland said adding, "If the Victorian public were aware of the nature of that material, I believe that it's of such a nature that it would cause significant concern within the Victorian community."

Overland said some of the emails are so serious that they raise "real questions about a number of individuals' suitability to continue with Victoria Police".

The police ethical standards department has been using computer experts to track the email.

The state's top police watchdog, the Office of Police Integrity, confirmed last week that it had also launched an investigation into racism in the force.

Overland had earlier this week confessed that a small minority of officers were racist following release of a report that said police suffered from a culture of racism.

The Age newspaper reported that the investigations centred on a graphic image of a non-Caucasian man being tortured, around which several policemen had added racist comments and forwarded these to other colleagues.

The scandal comes to light two weeks after an official report alleged that officers beat up African students and taunted them with terms like "monkey".

The Victorian police are already in the fire for their slow response to attack on Indian students.

http://news.rediff.com/report/2010/mar/25/racist-e-mails-in-circulation-among-cops-in-australia.htm

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby VFE » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:28 pm

Good to know police resources are being used to catch criminals and not conduct witch hunts....especially when it results in someone killing themselves.

I hope this doesnt end up like the pointless expenses investigations in the UK.....over a £1million spent investigating, finding £1million pounds to be paid back (most of which is being appealled).

Yes investigate real problems, but jokes on e mail about a photo shopped picture?

Waste of resources.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby VFE » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:30 pm

And why is an Aussie internal police investigation news in India.

Oh yes, rabble rousing.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby asterix » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:52 pm

To be honest, Indians are equally to blame in this situation. Indians started to migrate to Australia when Australian Govt. decided to give quick Citizenship to Professionals coming from other countries to study in Australia. Australian lawmakers hoped that professionals like Doctors, Engineers etc. will use this facility to settle down in Australia.

But the Indians found out a loophole in the system. They launched fake colleges of cookery, beauty courses etc. Thousands of Indian students were roped in on hefty 'processing fees' and they in turn started to do Taxi jobs and all sorts of jobs and getting the citizenship.

Indians from small towns and villages were migerated. These people have no sense of respect for other cultures and were unable to adjust to the rules and regulations of developed countries like Australia. It was and it still a booming business for the agents and middlemen.

Australian Govt. realised the folly and started to crack down on these fake colleges and remove that law which allowed citizenship to professional courses students.

So at present there are quite a lot of Indians in Australia who are actually not supposed to be there.

I remember when I applied for Visa to UK, it was so tough to get through that you felt proud of some achievement to get the Visa on the basis of my qualifications and professional capabilities.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby VFE » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:56 pm

Thats an interesting point.

But of course now what to do?

Send them back or let them stay and integrate?

Or muddle along ignoring the situation.

Of course none of this excuses victimisation, but as you say it wouldnt help and it works both ways.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby asterix » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:24 pm

All the new immegrants should be subjected to tests and see if they are fit to integrate (I've 'integrated' here alright, I just rant on forums)..If they don't fit the criteria, they need to me sent back as it's affecting the images of deserving people trying to settle down in Australia.

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Re: Melbourne: An urban masterpiece gone wrong?

Postby VFE » Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:28 pm

Yeah, I guess its like the few bad eggs in the police ruining the whole.

Weed out the bad ones in any walk of life is always a good philosophy.