Pommy or Pom
The term pommy, pom or pommie, in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa usually denotes a person of British heritage or origin. It was ruled not offensive in 2006 by the Australian Advertising Standards Board and in 2010 by the New Zealand Broadcasting Standards Authority.
Newspapers around the world are recycling the newly released immigration statistics that indicate that Indians have edged past China and Britain to emerge as “the” source country for migrants to Australia. However, this doesn’t surprise me at all since bulk of the IT workers who have been coming on the 457 subclass visas have been Indians and also the huge number of Indian students who were on various bridging type visas over the last few years and so in a way in the queue to settling in the lucky nation.
But what amused me was that the number of people from Britain who have been travelling into Australia as migrants is also quite quite significant and has increased too. Unlike China and India, to an Indian brain, Britain is always seen as a developed nation which would offer less incentive for someone to travel to Australia to settle. This is not the way “Poms” think apparantly and Australia remains an attractive destination for the British…
So I look around for articles which would give some more intelligence on the British thinking and came across this article from The Guardian. I provide some extracts from the same…
Australia is like Britain in the 70s, but without the strikes, the power cuts and punk (too much soft rock here for anyone’s good). Some of the relics are bad. Political correctness doesn’t exist here. British comedy dinosaurs such as Mind Your Language are re-run without complaint.
Sometimes, Australia is so far behind, it’s actually ahead. How I mocked the supermarkets when I first arrived here. Remember Tesco from two decades ago? Basically bearable but with lots of teenagers on work experience, tinned peaches on special, and a 15-minute wait at the deli for two slices of shiny ham? That’s a lot of Aussie supermarkets. THEY DON’T EVEN SELL BOOZE. This, though, has allowed independent butchers, grocers, and vintners to survive and thrive, far more than in the UK. No horsemeat scandal here – most people can name the field or farm where their steak comes from. The Australian food industry’s baby has not been thrown out with the bath water and nothing equine has been added.
Since I’ve lived abroad I’ve realised why we Brits can be so self-deprecating. It’s because we had it all – and lost it all. We know we’re over our peak. We’re the old man of the world. Australia is the young buck nowhere near his peak. That’s pressure. Twenty million people rattle around this enormous continent with potential and optimism. Most come here purposefully for a better life. That makes an enormous difference to a national psyche. The government seems to have incentives for everything. My tax rate (not a Jimmy Carr dodge – completely kosher) as a small business is to die for. The government pays half my childcare bill (not means tested), and Australians – particularly my beloved Tasmanians – will cut off their arm to help you. They are unfailingly friendly and helpful. Just don’t try to change things. They don’t want things changed. Things are fine the way they are unless they say so. Or, as one taxi driver said to me: “You could live here a hundred years and still be our guest. You’ll be treated like a guest but a guest doesn’t try to change the hotel decor.”
So come and give it a go. If you can get through the multiple forms, medical tests, chest X-rays and sniffer beagles at customs (don’t bring foreign fruit – it’s almost like bringing in crack). Just remember, the sun is setting on Australia as part of the empire. This isn’t the place it used to be. Skippy is dead, but long live the new multicultural Australia that is emerging from the ashes of … Ooh – Shhh! Don’t mention the Ashes! They still don’t like losing!