Seafood Laksa – Diversity in a Bowl

The other day at work a middle-aged Anglo-Australian colleague told me she thought Australian food was boring. By “Australian food” she meant “meat and two-veg” British style food eaten by Anglo/Irish Australians.

She thought that since immigration was broadened post-1965 the range of food Australia was more diverse. She felt that Seafood Laksa was great and was much better than pie and mash or bubble and squeak.

This got me thinking about different cultures I had experienced in my various travels around the world. Like my colleague, I love seeing different places, experiencing other cultures, eating different foods and hearing different music. That probably explains why I’ve been at least a dozen times to WOMAD – the World of Music and Dance under the trees in the parklands. Some of the acts I’ve seen at WOMAD were Tibetans chanting monks, Korean drummers, Serbian fiddlers, Indian gypsies and Arabic oude players. Probably the most interesting act was a group of sub-Saharan Africans who played strange African water drums and Fender Stratocasters.

So as a person who values different cultures, my ears prick up when I hear people say how great “diversity” and “multiculturalism” are. But I wonder how bringing together disparate people from different races and cultures is supposed to be beneficial. Beneficial to whom? Apparently the benefits are supposed to be self-evident. Immigration is apparently intended to “culturally enrich” Anglo/Irish Australians.It is supposed to be a kind of permanent ongoing WOMAD all year around.

But does this Utopian ideal bear up to under any kind of scrutiny? Are there any historical precedents for such diverse yet harmonious societies? Well apparently there are – Babylon, Egypt, Rome and later USSR and Yugoslavia all incorporated multiple ethnicities and cultures into one society. History records what happened to them – they fell into division and spectacular ruin. Take for example, the decline and fall of Rome, as assessed by Gibbon. The main factors leading to Rome’s decline were apparently government corruption, inflation, taxation, low birth-rates, high divorce rates, waning spirituality and disparate immigration. Does any of that sound familiar?

Additionally, studies in the former Soviet Union found that the more ethnically diverse the society, the greater the civil discord. The studies found that the more ethnically homogenous the society, the more peaceful law-abiding and “high-trust” the society. And if “diversity” and “multiculturalism” are so wonderful, why do they require anti-discrimination laws and a well-oiled propaganda program consisting of education, media and government to keep them in place?

And surely after a couple of generations, the original cultures will become mixed and diminished. How does this benefit the immigrants to have their cultures diluted and their children to inherit an alien, mongrel, consumerist culture?

But I have digressed from my original point.

As it happens I totally agree with my work colleague that “traditional Australian food” can be boring. But despite that I like a bowl of Seafood Laksa as much as the next guy, you don’t need replacement-level migration to get one.


Article by Prestoz – Contributor to Zero Filter

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