America is America and Australia is Australia… Folly of the first, ignored; while of the other, hyped up.

“Wo Katal Bhi Karte Hai To Charcha Nahi Hoti
Ham Aah! Bhi Bharte Hai To Ho Jate Hai Badnaam”
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We can imagine several well meaning Aussies almost reciting this couplet.
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Victorian Police Chief is known only from his statements in the media. Simon has repeatedly been shooting her mouth off and at worst times. The classic one to my mind is the statement by him in mid June 2009 when he detailed the crime statistics for Victoria and despite being fully aware of the scale of media hype gave out stats that grouped all those with “Indian appearance” as “Indians” leading to a belief till date that there were about 1500 cases of reported crime against Indians in Victoria in a year.
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“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.”
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This quote from someone (possibly Ozzie considering the analogy) may bring a smile here but is completely applicable to the game of statistics being thrown around.
I have stopped believing in statistics completely as it is these statistics that got India’s assessment level as Level 4 for the University sector even though every University knows that it was the packaging of diploma students into degree that fooled the system. All to the disadvantage of the genuine students. The Australian Government still wants to stick to keep referring to the same statistics is what baffles me even more. Afterall, a British politician once said:
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“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
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Now going back to Simon Overland…
In recent weeks his appearance was on the Indian TV with his advise to Indian students to dress down and look “poor” to avoid attacks. On the face of it and keeping the background in mind, it appeared to be such an insensitive statement. We cut-pasted the word POOR and headlined it and hence in the process totally lost out on the entire essence of the statement. Did he really say anything wrong? Let me quote his statement to enable me to drive the point here (see link):

Don’t display your iPods, don’t display your valuable watch, don’t display your valuable jewellery. Try to look as poor as you can,” Overland was quoted as saying by The Age.

The Victorian police chief commissioner said students could take some steps to protect themselves. “If you can live somewhere safer, live somewhere safer,” he said. “If you can avoid public transport into high-risk areas late at night, avoid it.”

Victorian Premier John Brumby defended his top cop, saying the advice to the overseas students to avoid crime, as per Overland, was a comment about high crime areas. “He may have been making the point that in some areas, there are higher crime rates than in others,” the Premier was quoted as saying by AAP.

Brumby said he and the police chief condemned in the strongest possible terms “acts of violence, and particularly any violence which is racially motivated”.
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What is so wrong with this statement that the self imposed leader of the Indian student community goes to Indian media and gets quoted prominently:
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“What is he (Overland) saying? Indians don’t have the right to be rich? And if they look rich, do they may be have to get bashed? On one hand, everyone should look poor. On the other, don’t live in poor areas (where crime rate is high). I don’t understand.”
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Hold on guys, you are just attempting at simply underscoring the vital advise that Simon is giving. He is a cop and not an English teacher. He has used wrong words, possibly, but the point that he is making is of critical importance and is made regularly by police to students at campuses of Universities around the world.
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Yes… it is not just the Victorian Police in Australia that issues such advisories. To elaborate my point check out this YOUTUBE link. This video is from USA and gives exactly the same advice.
I am also now quoting from one of the many such advisories in USA available on the internet and it seems to be the similar message albeit using different words…
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In addition to being traumatic, a mugging can result in the loss of possessions with emotional value as well as credit cards, cell phones, and other expensive items. Numerous police departments offer recommendations on what to do during a mugging to avoid physical harm and maximize the potential of retrieving your lost goods. The most important thing to do during a mugging is to stay calm and keep your head. Being able to think logically can prevent you from getting into a worse situation.
Being able to avoid mugging altogether is the first step. Because muggings tend to follow certain patterns, people can avoid victimhood by traveling smart. Try to avoid being alone on the street or on public transit between 8:00 PM and 2:00 AM. Travel with a group after dark, and stick to well lighted areas where there are other people around. Make sure that your valuables are hidden and secured, as well. Keep things like cell phones, cameras, and personal music players out of sight and out of temptation.
It is very important to be aware of your surroundings, and be especially alert when you reach cross streets or areas with poor lighting. If you feel you are particularly at risk for assault or mugging, you may want to consider taking a self defense class. Numerous urban areas have self defense courses at minimal cost. You can learn basic ways to defend yourself, as well as the best way to carry yourself on the street to project a confident, secure image.
If you are caught in a mugging despite your precautions, the safest thing to do is to comply with the mugger’s requests. A mugging can turn ugly, especially if the mugger has a knife or gun. If asked to empty your bag or pockets, obey calmly. Remember: you can stop payment on credit cards and file a stolen phone report with your cellular phone provider, so it is better to simply let go of these items. Respond neutrally to any questions the mugger asks, and be non-confrontational. Try to end your interaction as quickly as possible and get somewhere safe.
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(Can you guys imagine what would have happened if the same advise was issued in Australia. My favourite TV anchor, who is known for his well researched coverage of the OZ issue, would utilise the Newshour to engage a learned gentleman from Kolkata through a satellite linkup on the breaking exclusive news: “Australia asks students to learn Karate and give in to attackers”.)
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My advise to the Premier of Victoria is to ensure that all police chiefs achieve a 7.0 band score in the IELTS before they can make statements. (I am willing to sponsor even the training for this to Simon Overland, as he will most definitely need it.)
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Australia can also hope that one day an OZ educated Indian becomes a Cabinet Minister in India. A news item caught my attention (regarding a statement on OZ attacks made by Mr S M Krishna, India’s Foreign Minister) and I quote (see link)…
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Krishna said New Delhi had received no such complaints from the US, where nearly 100,000 Indian students are studying.
Krishna was speaking on the sidelines of a function to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the US-India Education Foundation that awards the Fulbright scholarships.
Krishna, a Fulbright scholar himself and was the chief guest at the function.
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Possibly he was being generous to his hosts and the sponsors of his scholarship and hence had possibly imagined that students in USA are not mugged or attacked late at night.
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It is a fact hence that what Australia needs apart from getting the Police Spokespeople possessing good communication skills, is to offer an Aussie equivalent of the Fulbright to a potential future cabinet minister. The only Indian politician with an Ozzie education that comes to my mind with political parentage and political acumen to one day become a Cabinet Minister is Netaji Mulayam’s son Akhilesh. Being doubtful of his academic capabilities, Australia can instead focus on giving me the scholarship instead!!!
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I am often told by a journalist friend to keep my blogs short to sustain interest. A quote from which he wants me to take inspiration from is…
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“A good speech, they say, should be like a mini-skirt, short enough to be interesting, and long enough to cover the essentials.”
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I am learning slowly… Keep advising.

18 Comments

  1. Ravi Cool down. Australia has failed completely in handling the situation. The truth is that the damage is already done and done by the media only and it will take atleast two years to repair. No mini skirts, no bikinis , I believe in nudity and we have to expose the media to the public. But how???

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    1. Venu,

      Your intentions are noble but how exactly you propose to action them… In India we are already at the nadir of our beliefs and soon we will debunk several of our TV channels as mere serials. Maybe Ekta Kapoor should start a news channel of her own and she will do well…

      12 colleges closed in OZ over six months and it was big news and students were interviewed. 200 colleges have been closed in UK in weeks and there is no big hoo haah. Do we even know if there is a TAS in UK that gets other colleges to absorb the students as was done in Australia…

      Clear double standards.

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  2. Breaking News " AUSTRALIAN ALUMNI ATTACK INDIAN MEDIA " LOL might be the headline in your favorite news channel by my fellow Assamese of the year soon..This is making too much sense for comfort, for a few of the Indian media

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  3. Breaking News ” AUSTRALIAN ALUMNI ATTACK INDIAN MEDIA ” LOL might be the headline in your favorite news channel by my fellow Assamese of the year soon..This is making too much sense for comfort, for a few of the Indian media

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  4. i think much have been spoken about safeguarding our business interest towards australia. now it is time to sit together and think together on the matter so that it does not take longer than the recovery of economic downturn of usa

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  5. The only thing I can say is that "We live in a world in which politicians & politics has replaced philosophy"

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  6. As I have said earlier, I have stopped watching news channels and successfully completed 2 months. Nothing really changed in my life since then except for one change ” That I am happy now”.

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  7. Your positive contribution for the policy makers to understand and deal with the realities are noteworthy.Yes,your suggestion for a minimum of IELTS score 7 for public sevants in Australia daling with public and students is innovative.This was the missing link that had made police appear ineffective!

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    1. Jag, This is indeed one of the most well written article and gives concrete suggestions for the future. Very taut and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks for forwarding it to me indeed.Try and post comments on my main blog ravilochansingh.wordpress.com as that has more hits and I would like more and more of my visitors to see your comments. Please also drop me an email.Ravi

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  8. Well , Well ,Well . RAVI in a different mood, a romantic one ,is more than welcome. I like all the quotes starting from Urdu on the top till the bottom ones and was regretting that these quotes should have been quoted by me as it is to my liking and in fact I dwell in them which makes the reading absolutely interesting as well……I also like the idea of IELTS being suggested to most of the public servants in Down Under and I can say without any hesitation that they will be much Down in their required levels. Well Akhilesh can be a potential for a political position as he must have improved his english skills rather than academic skills but then politics doesn’t require much of that and MOREOVER, he rightly inherits what is required for politicians all over the world…..

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    1. Wow Bubbly. It’s always a pleasure learning things from you. Should we call it OZmosis. A journo lady friend coined this term for my efforts in educating all on OZ. We all learn from each other…

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  9. Ravi your blog reminds me of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru…where he said in his biography “To fight is a biological need and is the root cause of all evils”.

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