Copping Abuse, Knobby Tales and Closing the Great Vegemite Divide

“We called him Tortoise because he taught us.”  The Mock Turtle

The Vegemite chronicles continue… but there’s a history to that.

The gap between the  teasers and the actual airing of the series was a nightmare-  harrowing mails and comments (totaling a couple of thousand at the least) directed at us four and Indians in general was incessant, obsessive, threatening  and sometimes scary- it felt good to be really far away.   It was also bewildering because the the series hadn’t even  aired yet. I guess the name was provocative, but that it would draw out the kind of outpouring of reaction it did was unexpected. Or maybe we were naive- and had no experience of the viciousness of a section of  trolls.

It  ranged from sarcastic..
“Amer is clearly a gentleman and a scholar who most certainly enjoys tea and scones in more leisurely times. He cannot be expected to know how to deal with the vulgarity of such barbaric ruffians. He can only be expected to be the light of philanthropy and compassion when confounded with the misfortunes of such pitifully darkly minds.”
“You’re all fair in color, so are obviously Brahmins. What do you know of the plight of the untouchables in your own country. But wait, why should you be bothered by that living in your high-caste world”

to presumptuous..
“Astounded by Amir crying. Have you never lived in India, mate? I have for years. Just a walk out on the streets brings up things much sadder and appalling than Crunalla. What about the violent clashes in India? But I guess you have no idea about them. Grow up kid. An Indian crying on seeing the footage that you cried on- you have to be a rich protected kid who has no idea about his own country.”

to abusive..
” Great to know I’m not the only one who is happy to cop abuse at Indian call-center C***s… they are F****** A******* and I’m saying it to them, and proud of it……”
” I learnt Indian abuse so you brainless F-twits from call-center’s, hear what you deserve. Bomb your country and kill you stink  bombs would be nice”
“How dare you come here and label us Dumb Drunk & Racist, you filthy  faggots and hors”

to repulsive..
“Well we all know what we think of the Indians that live in our country don’t we… which hand did you clean your crap with btw? And of course you don’t wash afterwards.”

to vicious..
” The 4 of you should have died in the Abo attack at Alice, no maybe 3 so one of you could’ve carried the filthy corpses home- maybe that would have got the rest of the trash from your country to go back home too.”
“Why don’t you hug your own slummy black kids back home. I believe they’re sold in your country a dollar a piece…”

Endless rants in hundreds, Comments on the DDR facebook page totaling a thousand at least, verbal threats and  abuse, strange advances and suggestions and a lot more on threads in chat rooms.*

About 50 down, I took Aaron’s advice to us  and stopped reading any of it, changed my settings and  learned to laugh off  whatever Mahi and Amer shared with me from the massive unexpected  reaction on the www.
It wasn’t  surprising that   Julianne Hayes 1st mail to Amer and I just before the live Q & A was so welcome, her friendly reassurance  meant much more than she would’ve known:

“Hi Radhika, wishing you the best of luck on the ABC forum tonight after the show. As I advised Amer, don’t take any notice of the stupid people asking stupid things and making stupid comments. There’s one in every crowd! I assure you that most Australians are intelligent and non racist and you won’t find most of them hanging around on Facebook! As a fan of the show and Joe’s work, I commend you on taking this unusual trip and voicing your opinions. This show will go down in history if not only for the amazing reactions from the public it has brought to the fore. Have fun with it! I’m sure the ABC will protect you from too much silliness that will inevitably go on if the recent threads about the episodes are anything to go by. Good health to you! Friend me if you wish. Cheers, Julianne!”

“Hi Julianne. This is so sweet, Thank you very much. As you’ve guessed, it’s scary and I’m a bit petrified
This much I’ve understood that there are many many lovely people out there. I met plenty, and there’s been great support all along, like yours right now. There are all kinds everywhere, my country has its fair share as well, and more!
It’s been a crazy ride and I’d do it again anytime. I learnt so much about my own self, about people and about pushing boundaries. Most importantly about not giving in to sitting on the fence, which seemed so tempting every single day!
The friend request is not going through, can you send me one so I can accept pl. Am using my daughter’s phone, and I’m lousy at this kind of stuff !
Cheers!frown

“Dear Radhika, try not be petrified, I’m sure it will be quite interesting. My thoughts will be with you. Don’t forget to breathe! X”

“Thank you! I’m writing the next blog post while waiting nervously  for the Q & A, so you can be sure this post will be my best, haha. smileEnjoy the show tonight- Joe’s great in it, as always! I can see you are a fan!  :)”

“Hi Radhika, just finished reading all the questions from last night. I was out at a gig in Sydney (I’m a singer) but I caught the repeat tonight. I really enjoyed it as usual. Wow, lots of questions! That wasn’t so scary after all was it? You are very brave though and I respect your calm dignity. I can see that lots of Australians learnt from you. Again, well done! Have a great day”

It was the start of a  special  friendship.
We went on to share thoughts, experiences and similarities and differences in our cultures and lives. There are plenty of both, and that is what makes it meaningful, interesting and valuable.

Julianne is beautiful, inside out.
And a great performer- singer and dancer.
And so funny.
That, I guess  is where the Vegemite instructional Video comes from.

She told me my  post on my less than pleasant  experience with Vegemite got her thinking-
“……..The Vegemite story is a classic. You cant have it for the first time alone on a cracker! YUK!. Your Vegemite experience has been ruined! gasp
You’ll have to come have breakfast with me and I’ll show you how to do it or I might make a video and show you.” 

” Julo**, Make a video please! Maybe I can redeem that experience yet !!”

I was so touched by Paul and her  generosity-  they actually took  the time out to make that video happen.

“Don’t worry, it will be a high class home production. Don’t forget, Hunto** is a camera man as well as a sound recordist/editor…We have brainstormed ideas already and it should be ready by tomorrow.” ( Julianne’s  boyfriend  Paul Huntingford  did the sound effects for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHjaUp_w8yo&feature=plcp  is so funny! “This is a toaster”  hahhaa.
Julianne should be in the movies.

Just as her Vegemite video was getting famous, this is what happened-

“Hey Radhika, my suburb has been voted the “most unfortunately named suburb” in AUSTRALIA! I had heard about us winning a smaller poll earlier on in the week and decided it was time to move but this is a shocker. Watanobbi. I always say I live right on the knob – it makes for a good joke. I used to live in Watanobbi Rd, Watanobbi. It used to take me 5 mins to write out my address. Oh well, at least my suburb is famous now.  Hehehehe. It was on NBN News!”


Is that word what I think it means?
” Great Julo! But what exactly would it mean to Aussies- the word, and living with it? “

“Hmm… good question. Being a “knob” is a derogatory term here. Slang here for penis is knob. So ‘what a knobby’ can be construed as a huge dick. People giggle when they hear it. You always have to spell it and nearly always get some sort of reaction when people hear it….”

I think there may be another instructional video coming my way  soon.

* A lot changed once the series went on air, and a large section of  viewers went on to see that  we weren’t there to label them DDR.
** Joe’s tutorials to us 4 on Bogan names came in handy- we addressed each other with our  bogan names, though  ‘Boganette’ sounds so much better  for women. Jules, Radhika etc  was so insipid- Julo, Rado & Hunto- so much character. ha

(Next post- Kings Cross and other Aussie hot spots )