Tuesday, June 23, 2009

i kind of like some of the australian ways

it is most heart-warming to see young children bonding and having fun with their parents on their parents' day off. these kids, ages between 3 and 10, were attending a session on australian football (footie) on a saturday morning. prior to the coaches or instructors conducting the session, the parents, especially the fathers, spent time playing with their own children, nearly all whom were boys.

in singapore, you do not see many parents doing this. yes, some do drive their children to swimming, gymnastic or soccer training sessions but most of the time, the parents are passive spectators or they are there as drivers and/or to keep an eye on the children's belongings.

here, the parents give their full support by not just just being present but also getting involved in the activity. i saw one father on crutches, ambling across the field to get close to his child. when the coaches/instructors took over, most of them did not make their way to the terraces but instead stayed on the field to encourage their children.

i specially enjoyed watching these two boys trying to kick and catch the oval ball. i do not know why they were not with the group although they were properly togged out in jerseys that were similar to the other children. once, when the ball was kicked over the low fence, i picked it and threw it to them and the smaller one - who cannot be more than 3 years old - thanked me spontaneously.

i am beginning to appreciate the australian way of life. they work hard and they play hard. i have been wrong to assume that they do not start work until 9.00 a.m. over at the construction site near my daughter's place, i have watched the workers laying bricks, scrapping, cutting concrete blocks and constructing the wooden fence, all these at around 7.00 a.m.

because of the minimum wage policy here, they do not have pump attendants and so everyone helps himself to filling the petrol tanks. at the car-wash, they slot coins into the machines and do the washing themselves or, if they have company, with the help of a friend.

driving is quite a pleasant experience here because the majority of the drivers make full use of the signal lights - they signal when they want to change lane or when they want to make a turn. everyone travels at about the same speed, so you rarely meet road hogs.

my younger daughter complains that some of the bus drivers are grouchy but i have yet to meet one. one driver stopped passengers from exiting from the front door; but i do not see it as evidence of his grouchiness. the sign clearly states: exit by the rear door. another driver told me that i should raise my hand to hail the bus; i see that not as the driver admonishing me but rather as an advice. what really gladdens me, when taking the bus, is hearing the passengers thank the driver before they alight. most the locals do that.


Victor said...

Typo error - I believe "clutches" should have been "crutches"? Erm... are Australians are also too nice or shy to correct other people's typo errors? :p

yg said...

victor, thanks for pointing out the spelling error.

stanley said...

The Australian drivers, as described, are quite courteous on the roads, but not most of our local drivers who are likely to be quick-tempered if they are horned at.

yg said...

yes, stanley, i feel 'paiseh' when they stop for me even when i am not at a zebra-crossing, like, for example, in a car-park. i guess that's the result of a no great rush kind of lifestyle. in s'pore, we are always in a hurry.

Lam Chun See said...

I often attend my son's kayaking and dragon boating races. I see very few parents. As far as I know only one blogs about these events.

yg said...

chun see, you are not the typical s'porean. come to think of it, when my younger girl went for hockey matches, i only drove her to the venues but did not stay to watch her play. i am more the typical s'porean.

Icemoon said...

yg, I don't understand their minimum wage policy. does it mean their macdonald staff and sweeper earn more than a pump attendant?

yg said...

icemoon, i am trying to find out more from my friend here; will let you know the answer in due course.

yg said...

icemoon, there are no pump attendants. macdonald part-timers and those who work at check-out counters at supermarkets are paid by the hour, and the rate (about $10/hour) is much higher than in s'pore.
one strange thing that i don't quite understand is that the petrol pump prices dip on tuesday evening and remain low up to wednesday afternoon. so, most motorists will fill up their tanks during this period.
another matter related to wages is that a locum is paid a much higher rate (between $72 and $90 an hour) than a young doctor who gets about $26 an hour.
maybe, phil can enlighten us on all these.