Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious – Oscar Wilde.
For any of my international readers, if you haven’t surmised yet, I am of an Australian background. That is what is shown on my passport, despite my clearly Asiatic surname and my scowling mien of a photo.
I am probably the antithesis of what is expected from an Australian. I dislike the beach, due to the smell, my weak swimming ability and admittedly the inability to shake off the fact that the sea is really … full of fish semen and shit.
I am a teetotaller, a highly un-Australian trait, that probably alienated me more than any other aspect of my personality. I just don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol. It is almost as if I can taste the OH bonds in a drink.
I’m not blonde either, another common misconception, due to all our famous exports being famously fair-haired. Margot Robbie, Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth, Elizabeth Debicki, Nicole Kidman … to name a few.
Perhaps the only famous dark-haired Australian, is Hugh Jackman, and to a lesser extent Rose Bryne (who was one of my crushes growing up, upon seeing her in Troy (2004). What was it about curly-haired Mediterranean women for me?).
I am also exceedingly pale and a touch overweight, (hence my B30 Challenge) a far cry from the usual tanned, fit bodies portrayed in media.
Yes, I am aware of Vegemite, and yes, I hate the spread. It just taste like a strange soy sauce paste and is far too strong for my liking on … anything really.
The final stereotype I like to address is the idea that most Australians are easy-going. Anyone aware of my personality, aura or presence, know this to be the opposite.
I am anything but “easy-going.” I can range from charming to menacing, debonair and ruthless to warm and elitist, introspective to brusque but I am anything but easy-going.
In fact, I am probably one of the most terse and tense people you will met. But then you can probably tell that, in my writing.
So what does Damocles have in common with Australians then?
Uncouthness probably. I swear like a sailor, a terrible habit I developed during high school, after realising I could use bad language, simply because my parents weren’t around.
I do strive for creativity in my cussing though.
Perhaps, another concession might be my accent. Although, I personally believe it is very neutral and not particularly Australian. It probably doesn’t help that I barely use the word “mate” or use a lot of slang.
Beyond that, very little of me is stereotypically Australian.
Which is why I wanted to explore this topic of patriotism.
Ever since I figured out who I am, I have always held the belief that I am just “me.” I don’t identify as Asian. Nor Australian. Nor anything else for that matter. Life has always been a lot simpler, choosing not to pigeon-hole myself into a certain category.
After all, if you choose to identify as “something”, you limit yourself and have to adjust emotionally if you want to break out of that box you’ve chose to be in. Even admitting there are flaws in that box, is a tough pill to swallow after so much mental investment.
Accepting everything about me, as a multi-faceted, complex, diverse person; the sum of many parts, has really allowed me to explore all the things I enjoy and love, without feeling I sacrificed something for the other.
I can be a writer. I can be a shooter. I can be a racer. I can be a music collector. I can be a LEGO Builder. I can be an archer. A fencer, a gamer, a confidant, a leader, a friend, a lover … the list goes on.
I can be anything I want, without feeling like I betrayed something else.
This freedom in who I am has really granted me the ability to never lack in self-esteem.
Thus if I saw myself more as an Australian I get the feeling I would probably feel a lot more shame at the moment.
I get this feeling, I would be a lot more politically active. After all, most politicians come from a good place. They see something is remiss in their country and want to do something to fix it. They’re all inherently patriotic, all of them idealistic and eager to fix the country.
But only their way will suffice.
Would I have more Australian flags strewn everywhere? Already on my military gear, with my morale patches, I like to fly flags. My shoulder, my cap … it’s standard procedure to have your nation’s flag emblazoned across your uniform.
But I identify more with the Union Jack, than the Australian flag. I’ve always saw myself as a bit more of a Brit, than an Aussie. Even when I was considering military service, I wanted to join the 22nd SAS Regiment of UKSF not the SASR of the ADF.
Perhaps racism might be a stronger factor in my life, colouring the way how I view the world. Seeing outsiders as undesirable people to my country. What a fucked-up way of looking at the world, especially as I am technically an outsider. We all are. One way or another, we emigrated, moved away and made a life elsewhere, in our ancestry.
What do I associate with patriotism? I guess I judge it by the American standard.
- Overwhelmingly positive perception of country: America is the greatest country on Earth.
- Unyielding respect and support for members of Armed Forces: Thank you for your service.
- Strong symbolism is regards to colours, aesthetics and display: Heavy use of blues, reds and white as well as the American Flag being considered a sacred symbol.
- Strong loyalty to head of state: POTUS, and the mythology around the President’s role.
- Heavy repetition of values: Truth, justice and independence. The rights to bear arms.
I don’t think anywhere else in the world, do you see such willingness to be patriotic and worshipful to the mythology of America, despite its’ clear struggles. From the very poorest to the richest, Americans love to parrot how great their country is, how blessed it is, like it was chosen by God.
I doubt I stomach it for very long. But then I wasn’t born there.
My indoctrination isn’t as strong.
Out of all of those traits, I only engage in the second, due to my natural affiliation with men in green.
I probably share the same disrespectful attitude to our Prime Minister with all other Australians, I am unsure what “Australian” values are, beyond the cliches of “mateship, fair dinkum and a fair go for all.
I don’t really like the Australian flag, from a purely aesthetic standpoint, hence my preference for the Union Jack and I definitely do not have a rosy viewpoint of our country.
Am I proud to be Australian?
Yes and No.
Yes because honestly, it’s objectively a very nice to live.
No, because honestly, it’s subjectively could be a much better place to live, if we could actually get off our arses and do more.
Nothing annoys me more, than wasted potential.
Australia has a lot of that to be brutally honest.
I mostly blame Canberra for that.
This one was a struggle to write, because it is such an antithesis of who I am. All the other scenarios seem plausible in alternate dimensions. A military man on Earth #479. A desperate and dangerous degenerate on Earth #34. A love-struck and swooning Damocles on #Earth 69.
But a patriotic Damocles? That seems like an inherent betrayal of who I am.
A more vicious, a more blind version of myself, that if it was possible to meet, I would probably hate him. Blind loyalty to anything or even anyone, is so …. unattractive.
(I couldn’t think of a better word. I kept flashing back to my horror at the idea of having an insipid girlfriend, who clung to my every word and action. No thank you. I want someone independent and confident. Partners should be doting, but never clingy.)
At the end of the day, I don’t think I have much allegiance to anyone or anything just yet, beyond my friends, family and the people I actually know and can respect. I’m fiercely close-minded that way.
Life is just easier, when you care more about the people around you, instead of worrying those far away.