I have a dream that one day I will see a truly internationalist city.
London does pretty well. This weekend has been, just for example, I went down to Soho to see Chinese New Year’s festivities. I met people in an Irish bar and had Vietnamese noodles on Greek St. Got some Indian takeaway for dinner. Spent some time in a comic book shop, which is the most American thing I can think of. It was Waitangi Day (or New Zealand Day) this last week. I’m off to Germany tomorrow.
The most Australian moment was listening to my podcasts and catching up with Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope. He talked to Lindsay Fox about trying to save Ansett. And Jimmy Barns and John Swan, about growing up poor in Adelaide.
I’m still doing French lessons, and downloaded the trailer to The Diving Bell And the Butterfly. And, of course, British things everywhere. Oh, and my whiskey is from Scotland. And Isabelle is in Belgium. And I looked at an Italian suit.
I’ll stop making lists now and get to my point.
My point is, wouldn’t it be great if the best of this, was what the world is like? Or maybe some parts of the world.
Because I don’t like that Star-Trek-y vision of the future where everyone dresses the same. Even though there are all sorts of races and creeds, everyone is the essentially the same. Boring.
I always took languages for granted in school. Now I wish I was forced to learn them a bit more. At the Indian place, I wish I could order food in Indian. Just a few phrases.
So imagine a large cosmopolitan city with a flavour of everything. All races mixing, mingling. The best of everything – great food from all cultures. A place you can get an authentic Irish stew in one place, Wasabi peas next door. Every book shop and CD store has foreign language sections as a given. Not just America and Britain. Your average pop culture fan should know the big stars in Swedish cinema. Churches of all kind. All that stuff.
There are reasons against this. I love fact France, and Paris especially, has laws that has stopped big corporations building big nasty skyscrapers. But my history is I was born in a Commonwealth colony of China, and grew up in Australia, a multi-cultural society (we used to be proud of that…). I’ve had a taste of mixed culture overload. I want more. And I don’t feel strongly aligned with anything, so I want a taste of everything.
I got an email today, a general one, from our Israeli office, with a review of an album from Israel’s biggest music web site. Isn’t that great?
I feel like things like the Euro, budget airlines and the Internet are bringing us closer. I can’t wait to see what kind of world my kids grow up in. Dare I dream this world might actually turn out great?