Understanding HeritageApril 07, 2015

As Australian Heritage Week (April 11-19) draws near, it will be the perfect time to go to the Outback. Our forefathers, curious and fascinated at the vast interior, would share their thoughts about the continent. It was a new life, a new home. They wondered what would become of them. Only the camp fire was certain. As for the nearby bush, it won't say a word. Mateship became an idea, and then a favourite activity. Our identity was discovered there. Nothing like a group excursion these days, hoping to see the Uluru during its most breathtaking moment.

There must be more to heritage than images of our holiday in social media. If not this, then how about riding the waves. Perhaps those who are taking Australian Heritage Week too seriously will be baffled by the unbridled fun. But this is about customs. We are the outdoor type. What's wrong about the laidback image?

We must do an exercise. Let's go out, with a mission. How about introspection? Let's look at the checklist:

What's so special about the Opera House? The lights went out in Sydney Harbour during Earth Hour. We didn't miss the bright image of the Opera House during that moment. As a matter of fact, we look forward to New Year's Eve, when this part of the city is glowing colours. Let's not forget the annual festivals that bring the Sydneysiders out of their home. Jørn Utzon designed this arresting structure. This is one of the reasons why tourists flock to the harbour. Some locals are beaming with pride.

Kangaroo or koala? This shouldn't be an issue in the first place. Both animals look adorable. It's possible to touch them (and in the case of koalas, treat them like toddlers). We know both animals are only found in Down Under. (Those who travel extensively will find out that there are other species, only to realise the abundance of both mammals in our own backyard.) There's no doubt about the delight these creatures bring to spectators. If only we don't take them for granted.

How about playing a game? Some of us are still in Cloud Nine after winning Cricket World Cup. We are the winningest team in the history of the tournament. Why it's not part of the Olympic program? Many countries don't play it. In fact, this is one of the things we share with other nations that are once part of the empire. This leads to rugby. Golf will make its return (to the Olympics) next year, so there's still hope.

This exercise brings us to memory lane. It's neither dull nor trivial. There's a reason why it elicits all kinds of emotions from us. Do you have other ideas? Drop us a line.

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