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The Exotic Rissole

September 28, 2011

With author Tanveer Ahmed

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.

5 Comments
  1. September 28, 2011 9:45 am

    Yes Bob it is a good book and the QandA session between Tanveer, Julian Morrow and the audience was interesting and witty. Shame you had to ruin your excellent launch pre amble with a high-jacking of the night with your latest ‘project’ ie: Big Pharma. Are you able to link your current views with policy changes or agitation with the Feds, whilst you were NSW Premier or even earlier as Opposition Leader?

    • Bob Carr permalink
      September 28, 2011 5:47 pm

      No I cannot relate it to anything I have said or done. That’s what happens when you read or think, listen to people etc. YOU DEVELOP NEW INTERESTS AND IDEAS. Is the (stupid) implication in your comment that, after six years out of politics, I am not able to say anything new? Or different? By the way if I am invited to give a speech on a voluntary basis I will speak about whatever I bloody well like. If you don’t like it you can leave and buy a rissole down the street.

  2. John Little permalink
    September 28, 2011 9:03 pm

    I love it when Bob unsheathes his rapier wit.

  3. Peter permalink
    September 29, 2011 9:02 am

    I always take issue with aspersions cast on Australian culture because it is of short duration or that we have ‘no history’. We are, of course, twigs on the European tree which goes back to neolithic man. As a fourth generation Australian, I take pride in my Australian culture although I remain conscious that it is a footnote to my mother culture which is the British-European heritage. Why do so many Australians hasten to Europe each year ? Maybe it is a semi-conscious quest to tap into their true and enduring other cultural roots.

  4. Trish permalink
    October 11, 2011 3:00 pm

    Good on you Bob Carr. Like you ” I speak about whatever I bloody well like”
    Too much “political correctness” dulls the nation!
    I am Australian, an immigrant, of Chinese parentage married to a 5th generation Austrtalian.
    A country doesn’t have to have hundreds of years of “history” to qualify as being relevant.
    I have lived in Australia for 36 years, loved every minute of it, love the freedom, the free speech, the people. I travel overseas 4 to 5 months a year and it’s so nice stepping off that plane to Perth and home again. I would not want to live anywhere else in the world!

    Trish

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