The Exotic Rissole
It’s a whimsical treatment of Australian multiculturalism and suggests our national experience with this subject is a happy and positive one. This was one of the points I made last night launching Tanveer Ahmed’s book The Exotic Rissole (UNSW Press) at Glebe Books Sydney. Tanveer is a psychiatrist, writer and stand-up comic who born in Bangladesh grew up in Toongabbie, a working class suburb in Sydney’s west. He recalls that his father told him that while their family came from a 20,000 year old culture, Australians were only interested in drinking. He recalls slang terms Bangladeshis used for Chinese; the term meant “flat nose”. At university he and his mates could cheerfully refer to the wogs – Lebanese and Greeks – and generally say things that would have an Anglo-Celt indicted for racism. A funny book, and a true one, it suggests our version of multiculturalism works because it’s non-prescriptive and imbued with a casual Australian spirit.