Here’s why: I respect people for the respect they always give me. I use a child polio power wheelchair and many people I meet are curious about my disability. But no one who asks me about my disability asks their question over and over again because they don’t like the answer I gave them. They wouldn’t: it’s just bad manners in all cultures and in any country. George Peterson, Bathurst
I always welcome questions about where I was born, why I wear a turban or why I chose Australia, as it engages people with me, we learn from each other and is enriching for both.
However, when an acquaintance asked me which country I would support if war broke out between India and Australia, I asked if I would ask Tony Abbott or Julia Gillard that question, since they were both foreign-born. Manbir Singh Kohli, Pemulwuy
With a last name like Kamenyitzky, I’m often asked about my ancestry. With a straight face, I sometimes answer that he is Scottish, it used to be McKamenyitzky, but I shortened it. Another variation that I have used is the Irish side of my ancestors with the name O’Kamenyitzky. Peter Kamenyitzky, Castle Hill
I have been in Australia for 37 years and I am still asked at least twice a week what country I am from and I am white. That’s because I’ve never lost my American accent. Like other immigrants, the question annoys me, but I always answer it because it usually comes out of genuine curiosity and a friendly approach. Larry Woldenberg, Forest Refuge
While they are undoubtedly full of noble intentions, your correspondents fail to understand the context in which they ask about each other’s ancestors. Many Australians receive racist comments and abuse on a regular basis. These are reminders to total strangers that “you are different” and can contribute to an ongoing sense of exclusion.
The worst thing that one human being can say to another is “you are not one of us”. It can be told through thoughtless banter, incidental body language, or indeed through uninvited, condescending, personal investigation of the estate. To suggest that this is not racist is easy; no one has ever asked me about my ancestry.
Michael Murray, cameray
Are your correspondents in denial or just not self-aware? We all feel like we’re above being racist, but Australia is a racist country (ask Adam Goodes) and casual racism is firmly entrenched. Wake up people, let’s raise this country that we love so much; let’s relate to people as people (that’s a quote from Tracey Holmes, who recently told us that she has Chinese ancestors. She, of course, looks Caucasian, so no one asks).
For the record, I am a white male who immigrated here as a child, so I look and sound like an “Aussie” and therefore have never been asked where I come from. I see the racist implications in the question every day. Michael McMullan, Aguaca Beach
Are you a harbor dweller fed up with the noise of the party boats? swap with me
Sound definitely travels through the water, so I can sympathize with the harbor residents having to put up with all the noise from the party boats (“Harbor Residents on the Rocks with Party Boats,” December 6). I love my humble home in my very quiet suburb, but I am willing to take one for the team, “Friends of Sydney Harbour”. I will do a permanent home exchange with any harbor waterfront homeowner to give you peace and quiet. Please send photo or video clip to… Mark Nugent, Lugarno
There is a simple and inexpensive way to solve the problem of party boat noise. Have each party boat carry a supply of the type of personal audio devices used by museums and art galleries. Revelers who want to damage their hearing and block out any meaningful conversation with their fellow partygoers can choose to wear one of these items and turn up the volume to suit their personal pain level. Anyone two feet away and those on the shore will not hear any sound.
For added realism, a thumping device can be attached to the ship’s hull to reproduce the bass beat required to complete the party scene experience. With the absence of sound, the inhabitants of the coast can rest in peace. If the lights bother them, they can look away. There is no such escape from sound.
richard keyes, enfield
How does the transient noise pollution from party boats at Cremorne Point compare to the air pollution caused by cruise ships docked in White Bay for days? Cornelius van der Weyden, balmain east
Thinking of the animals at Taronga Zoo: I think they would be prepared to put up with the noise of the party boats if fireworks were banned from Sydney Harbour, not just on New Years but at all other times. I’m with them on that. Adrian Clayton, neutral bay
Great Christmas schadenfreude hearing about the “Friends of Sydney Harbor” loud issue. Tim Schröder, Gordon
Grattan’s comments on GPs miss the mark
As a GP for over 40 years and experiencing the shift from mostly acute and relatively transient presentations to managing chronic and more complex illnesses, I agree with your editorial that the GP business model must change (“GPs must change business model for chronic diseases”, December 6).
However, the change must be radically different from chronic care plans introduced several years ago. These were bureaucratic checkboxes exploited by some as easy revenue collectors and, in my experience, of limited benefit to patients, except that they provide a limited number of Medicare-allied health visits. I’m pretty sure the specialists who took advantage of the plan never read it. Jim Pollitt, Wahroonga
General practice has changed and evolved considerably over the years and it appears that the Grattan Institute failed to appreciate these changes. In doing so, the criticisms and suggestions are significantly outdated and do not reflect the reality on the ground.
I trained as a GP in the late 2000s, at a time when the concept of multidisciplinary care was booming and as a consequence we ‘younger’ GPs are well aware of the role of team care. for chronic diseases. In fact, GPs have long advocated a move towards “medical home” patient enrollment and blended funding models to improve health outcomes. Grattan is quite behind; maybe listening to the real specialists in the field could be an idea.
General medicine is a dynamic field that deals with the whole person in conjunction with all other healthcare providers and healthcare partners. Ashwin Garg, Strathfield
LGBTIQ investigation overdue and police should help
NSW Police have complained that staff are required to take part in the world’s first investigation into alleged hate crimes against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) community (“A judge Angry Criticizes Police Claims,” December 6). They complain that resources are being diverted from homicide investigations that have not yet been resolved. They may be diverted resources in the opinion of the NSW Police, but they are necessary to assist in this essential and long-awaited investigation into historic hate crimes. There would be significantly fewer unsolved crimes today if NSW Police had given enough commitment, priority and resources to solving the hateful murders of members of the LGBTIQ community when they occurred. It’s time to repair. Rodney Secomb, ratin
Childbirth remains open to abuse
When I read this study, I initially thought that it’s not just the way of giving birth (“Women talk about ‘obstetric violence”, December 6). Having given birth 50 years ago as a naive young woman, I assumed it was a trauma best forgotten. It was only when I read about the woman begging the doctor to stop stitching her up that I remembered the experience of feeling every stitch and trying to tell myself this will end, don’t make a fuss. It amazes me that after 50 years of growth in women’s rights, childbirth, the epitome of a woman’s vulnerability, is still open to abuse. Sally Shepard, nelson bay
Do you want soccer to flourish? Reduce registration costs
Blacktown City received publicity during the World Cup for their role in producing six Socceroos (“Players ask bosses to make the most of World Cup momentum”, 6 December). The Liverpool extended area has previously been described as one of the great nurseries of youth players. Soccer has always had more youth players than the other soccer codes.
If the big game wishes to maintain and build on the momentum provided by the returning Socceroos, the task is simple. It costs parents a bomb in registrations, etc. for your children to play. Cut those costs.
That is the most important thing that could be done to maintain numbers, interest in the game and the supply of future Socceroos. John Mcdonald, reyes langley
grammar saves lives
Chris Harrison failed to mention that punctuation saves lives (“How grammar restores order to the world and breakfast,” Dec. 6). We were drilled into it in school that adding a correctly placed comma to the sentence “Let’s eat Grandma” prevents a potentially creepy result. Joy Nason, Mona Vale
No one suggests teaching English grammar at the expense of learning other subjects, as your correspondent suggests (Letters, December 6). Grammar permeates language both in written and verbal form. Whatever the subject, El Niño or quantum mechanics, if the teacher or the student does not master the language, the knowledge transmitted will be compromised. Andrew Scott, Pymble
Your correspondent claims that grammar is useless without knowledge, but it is grammar and its structures that give people the ability to learn, analyze, and convey new knowledge and ideas clearly. We’ve all met the highly intelligent person, who understands complex ideas but lacks the grammatical ability to break down that knowledge so it can be understood. Conversely, how amazing to meet the brilliant person who can convey the most difficult ideas in a simple and engaging way through effective use of grammar. Knowledge is useless unless it can be communicated. Elisabeth Goodsall, Wahroonga
the digital view
Online comment on one of the stories that drew the most comments from readers yesterday at smh.com.au
Australians strongly support energy price caps as states back off
Of Wave: “States must remember that they do not govern to protect their budget results. They rule for their residents. When people are starving, homeless, or can’t afford to turn on fans or air conditioning to cope with waves of extreme heat, they must put people’s needs first.”
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