fush n chups… so what’s the fuss?
It’s interesting (for me) that’s there’s been such a fuss over a blog that doesn’t say too much, but what is does is pretty accurate.
Having just returned from a week in Sydney I’ve been mulling over the differences between Auckland and Sydney – and there an so many.
I’m not talking about infrastructure, which is better in Sydney, it’s the people. In so many ways Sydney feels like Auckland – sprawling leafy green suburbs, it’s built around a harbour so there’s plenty of sea, and the climates are sort of similar.
But the difference that struck me was how much more friendly people seem…The customs guy actually smiled at me, in contrast with the scowling individual glaring at me in Auckland. Then the rental car guy engaged in friendly conversation, and went out of his way to help, stark contrast to the old, overweight frumpy cabin crew on the scruffy Air New Zealand flight. The overall friendliness was pretty consistent. Whether is was a discount outlet centre, a cafe, the supermarket checkout, everyone seemed friendly, smiled and seemed happy in their jobs.
You contrast that with the often sullen service received in NZ where people hesitate to make eye contact, let alone smile at you!
Yeah sure, it’s a generalisation, some people are friendly, in fact I was struck how much more friendly people are in the South Island.
But it doesn’t explain why in two large cities there could be such a obvious contrast in behaviour.
Australians seem to be a happier, more assertive bunch of people in general.
Maybe the history of settlement does explain it. It’s easy to fire off a cheap shot about being convicts but it’s worth remembering that some of those convicts were sent off for little more that shoplifting, and that they were people in desperate situations who were showing a bit of initiative. Just maybe, that Australians have gone through the privations that NZ’s original settlers never encountered is what gives them the cheeky pluck and assertiveness. Chuck in the colourful immigrants from southern and eastern Europe, and you have a vibrant eclectic mix… we got lots of conservative immigrants from middle England.
My favorite analogy is the bird life. In NZ we have dull, drab looking ground dwelling birds – hell, we even chose the most boring one for our national symbol. The ones that fly are not much more exciting – at least not compared to Australian birds. Their birds a noisy raucous and colourful. Flocks of bright parrots screaming (literally) across the sky, bright cheeky noisy ground birds.
Let’s face it, we kiwi’s are so like our, well, Kiwi. Shuffling around the forest floor in the gloom, drab, sort of cute, probably a bit shy and self conscious but not wildly interesting. Like fushnchups says, we don’t dress well, shuffling around in scruffy shorts and jandals. For many guys dressing up is putting on a pair of old jeans. I’ve been to the supermarket and seen people in bare feet or fluffy slippers and dirty track pants, and not just one or too people, enough to make it, well, normal.
The Flight of the Conchords piss take on NZ as a tourist destination in the fictional consulate office – “NZ – take your mum” is right on, sure, you can climb up Mount Cook and die of frost bite, but our overbearing PC OSH regulations ensure that so much of that ‘adventure’ tourism is now pretty sterile and tame.
As a people we are a bit dull, shy (which is why we’re often not very friendly and outgoing) not very sophisticated or worldly, dress badly and a prone to over rating ourselves and how people see us – maybe to compensate for knowing deep down we’re not quite as cool as we like to think we are.
I guess this is just the way we are, and you’d think as a group we’d be mature enough to accept it, maybe even embrace it.
We sure as hell should be grown up enough to take the sort of truths that others offer without resorting to silly nationalistic name calling!