Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Spending four days or so working with indigenous women as been one of the most eye-opening experience I've ever had.

It has been one of the most insightful moments I've had into learning about their culture and perhaps realising what is fundamentally wrong with the current white-black tensions.

It may be simplistic in nature, and I could even be completely wrong, but I can't help but deduce that the tensions are based mainly on a big gigantic culture clash.

The thing is, the indigenous/Aboriginal culture is perhaps one of the more distinctive ones in the world.

I'm not an expert on cultures, but I have had my fair exposure to a variety of cultures from my travels through Australia, Europe and Asia. Although these cultures are vastly different, they are also contradictorily similar. Not so for the indigenous culture.

These people move as their feelings demand of them. They have no regard for consequences and no interest in schedules (even if one was kind of plannned). And it is completely different to what I've grown up with and what I'm used to.

As someone I was talking to said, "they don't think in a linear fashion." But a vast majority of the world, including myself, does.

In all honesty, from my pedantic point of view, the conference I attended hosted by them was one of the poorest organised one I've ever attended.

There was no program, and when there was finally one by the second day, it was never actually followed anyway.

One of the speakers was even asked to present a workshop when she were on her way to the conference as a delegate.

None of the scheduled items started or ended on time.

People wandered in and out of the conference as and when they pleased. This meant that there was one evening when nobody actually turned up.

What went on during the conference had nothing to do in achieving the aims that was outlined to me months ago. In fact, the conference actually turned out to be the complete opposite of what I was expecting.

But the funny thing was, it worked. The conference was actually a success. The organisers were pleased. The delegates called for another conference soon.

Although nothing went the way I would have wanted it to, this wasn't about me, or my culture or my upbringing. This was about them. And it worked for them.

Which makes me think of the way the government is trying to address various Aboriginal issues over the years. Have Aboriginal people been consulted? And if they have, are we simply too impatient, or too blinded by our own coloured and tinted lenses to realise that the plans are actually going according to their culture, their plans, and their way?

Maybe there aren't any results yet because we want results served to us according to our culture, and not theirs?

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