Australians are a proud lot. And they have done well in various areas. Sports being chief in that – specifically Cricket. There was a time, when teams from Indian sub-continent were just push-overs. Either they were beaten easily or when the Aussies were at the receiving end they would do things not completely sportsman-like and then pound those teams into submission. Those days are over.
Now, the entire world cricket is funded by the Indian sponsors. India goes out of cricket – the game would not survive. That’s the truth now. The center of cricket has moved from England and Australia to India. This has had its own issues. The teams from India (and Pakistan) do not take things lying down. They give it back. Which is somewhat bad for the Aussie psyche, which cannot handle that well… as yet.
During one series in 2007-08, in Australia, there were rather unsportsman-like stuff from the Aussies (like the captain flooring the catch and yet claiming it to be a neat catch). That obviously made Indians mad and then there was this controversy about Harbhajan Singh calling Andrew Symonds (a mixed race player) a monkey.
This created a lot of heated arguments. Aussies were obviously backing their team and Indians theirs. You can see the comment thread on the Ricky Ponting story to get a glimpse.
Student deaths and the cover up
In last one year, there have been extraordinarily high deaths of students. In last few months, there has a very visible rise in the hits to the Indian students in particular. There could be many sides to the story like the Indians taking advantage of Aussie laws and trying to go to some vocational institutes to get the Aussie permanent residence.
I believe that two major factors are involved here:
Recession: When the going is good, then all are good. When the going gets bad, then the foreigners look bad. I believe that may have something seriously to do with the reaction against the Indian students.
Sporting anger boiling over: We know that cricket is taken seriously in the Indian sub-continent and in Australia only their games with England were taken seriously. But the reaction against India – off the field – last year was unprecedented. I believe that has surely something to do with the hits on Indian students.
Even though the Aussie Government is playing the incidents down, the Melbourne newspaper, The Age, has come out with the report that Government misleas the Parliament on the figures.
In February, under questioning in Parliament, the Government said 51 overseas students died in that year, with 34 dying of “unknown” causes. Fourteen cases were cited as accidents and three as death from illness.
But an investigation by The Age has established the death toll is higher than 51 — around 54 — with most coming from India, Korea and China. Nearly half were Indian, despite Indians holding one-fifth of the total student visas at that time.
So, as much as Indian students may seem to be taking “advantage” of the lax laws there, they constitute just ONE-FIFTH of the student population! Still HALF of them died last year! That’s significant!
Its the Money Stupid!
The Aussie Education market comprising of overseas students is a whopping $15.5 billion! The obfuscation of the figures have a LOT to do with that.
So, here is the Aussie dilemma –
- They want the Indians and Asians as students so they bring in the mullah;
- But, they do not like them much.
Specially when the students stay over and become permanent residents, its a big issue during recession.
Australia is a beautiful place from all accounts and a rather tolerant society as a whole, but it has a lot of ways to go until it can match the record of US or Canada in terms of immigrant safety.
The students going to Australia should look at their decision rather seriously. There are probably other countries which may be better destinations than Australia. But if you have to go to Down Under, make sure you have a good Insurance Policy for your parents so they are taken care of!
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