Opinions on Melbourne from Children


This one is a very light-hearted phone conversation between myself and my two younger sisters. This one is for anyone who might be thinking of or is raising some immigrant kids. Hope you derive some value from it.

The Stats

Ages: 10 (11 on 16/6/2008) and 14

Occupations: 10 year old is in primary school, 14 year old is in high school.

The Interview

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Among the things covered are:

1) Making friends

2) Race and relationships

3) Cultural differences

4) The way children treat their parents

5) Is it easy to stay healthy?

6) The first thing you see when you exit Melbourne airport

7) Obesity and the girl with sugar water

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Be blessed and bless others,


No Comments

  • By Carol, June 14, 2008 @ 5:45 am

    I so bad wish I could get to that interview, but due to technical among other problems, I cannot,probably till…….say end of weekend! I know its a helly long time;but I will still make a point,I must. What else do I do here?Have a nice weekend Mwangi!

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 5:56 am

    @Carol: You enjoy your weekend, don’t worry about this post, it’ll still be there when you come back on Monday. I’ll try and enjoy this weekend, thanks :D

  • By rags, June 14, 2008 @ 10:31 am

    Kare and Koi were very cool entertaining and priceless. It is really cool that you decided to see the world thru the eyes of the young ones. They have really insightful insights on the country e.g “The first thing you see when leaving the airport is McDonalds.” “”Your sisters are very funny and entertaining. So how come you don’t have an Aussie accent?

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 10:34 am

    @rags: Yeah, the two of them should go on the road and do showbiz, me thinks ;) I don’t know…my accent morphs into this weird accent from God knows where depending on who I am talking to….the Australian accent was just never that appealing to me. A lot of Africans who come down here end up with an American accent actually as opposed to an Aussie one.

  • By DeTamble, June 14, 2008 @ 2:31 pm

    That was awesome!! Your sisters are really cool! Hahaha McDonalds and sugar water! WTF! You totally have to interview them again! In fact you could just let them talk about whatever they wanted and it would be brilliant!

    Yeah your accent morphs in and out but so does mine. I don’t really like the full Australian accent either, I like ‘em mixed with just a hint of Aussie.

  • By Mzeiya, June 14, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

    Hey Mwangi,
    Good stuff with the audios. I think some of the questions were quite hard for your kid sisters. Like they had trouble distinguishing their friends based on race. Also having stayed away for some time from Kenya they seem to have integrated superbly and so could not quite tell the differences between Kenya and Oz in terms of culture. I also think most of us having grown up in Nairobi also dont notice much differences between western cultures and that back home. You can get anything in Nairobi nowadays.

    All in all I think you handled the interview well and your small sisters were excellent.

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

    @De Tamble: I was pleasantly surprised by how well my sisters did on it. They answered the questions asked, they had jokes….they were absolutely fantastic guests. You know, should there ever be a reason for me to interview them in future, I think I will.
    This constantly morphing accent….aaarrgghhh!

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 9:27 pm

    @Mzeiya: Glad you enjoyed the interviews.
    I know this didn’t come across as much as it should have, but my sisters are actually extremely sophisticated when it comes to understanding race relations. They understand the difference between people fresh of the boat, Indians, White people, African people Greeks and Mediterraneans, not only in terms of looks but cultures. My 14 year old sister could actually lecture about the differences between the races with quite some authority. I think it was just the fact that I put them on the spot that made them unable to answer as best they could.
    The answer on there being no difference between Kenya and Oz surprised me, it was so fantastic that in their mind, there’s really no difference between races, we’re all people. They have integrated very well, and I look forward to seeing the type of people they’ll grow up to become.

  • By DeTamble, June 14, 2008 @ 9:31 pm

    Hahaha the morphing accent! So annoying! Half the time I don’t even know where I’m supposed to be from! Sometimes it’s American, other times it’s Irish or English or Australian and hell, I’m about to add Ugandan to it in a few months. Maybe I’ll learn to enunciate :P

    Maybe your sisters could write a post about whatever they want. Do they have blogs? They were just so cool. You could just let them have free reign. Don’t need to interview them, just hand ‘em the mic.

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 9:34 pm

    @DeTamble: I told the older sister to create her own blog because she had the personality for it, but in typical Oz fashion she “just couldn’t be bothered!”

  • By DeTamble, June 14, 2008 @ 9:36 pm

    Hahahahaha! Pity though. I reckon it’d be one of the most entertaining blogs around. Oh well. You’ll just have to get more interviews or you could have it as your sisters open mic nights on your blog or something :P

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

    @DeTamble: You just made my baby sister’s evening. I just informed her and she said she’ll think about that as she goes to sleep. Thank you for making her day.

  • By DeTamble, June 14, 2008 @ 9:42 pm

    Aww. You just made my day too! Oh and if she does I shall be there with bells on scoring socks and boots left right and centre!!

    Socks and boots are what the Ugandan blogren like to call firsties!! And I shall bring the blogren with me if she starts her own blog. I hope she doesn’t mind Ugandans (me, I think they’re a little odd (I hope they never see this, i’ll be lynched))

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 9:44 pm

    @DeTamble: Should my sister decide to start her blog, everyone is invited, even the weird, as long as they don’t try to scare folks off. There you go, three smiles for the price of one comment, you did alright this Saturday evening, you did pretty alright DeTamble :)

  • By DeTamble, June 14, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

    Nice :-) Thanks.

    I’ve got a question. Non Mwangi sibling related. What’s the best phone card to call Africa with?

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

    @DeTamble: I am biased, I am a Skype fanatic, it’s what I use for all my calls, and I’m really yet to find a phone card that is cheaper than Skype’s rates and that gives all the extras Skype gives. You can check out a Skype review I did a while back here:
    Displaced African Review: Skype

  • By Mzeiya, June 14, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

    actually I second your small sisters about there being not much cultural differences. Because unless someone is a shaggzmondo(a Kenyan euphemism for someone from the rural areas) I dont really think you would be in for a rude cultural shock. If its display of affection well that is also not uncommon nowadays in African cities; binge drinking; flossing cars- actually u dont even get much of that here; snobby attitudes etc are things urban Africa is accustomed to. Once in a while I come across some weird behaviours like the zombies march today in Melbourne city- and well instead of being shocked I was like- I can expect white people to pull that.

    My thoughts though.

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

    @Mzeiya: Yeah, when you grow up in a city anywhere on Earth, 95% of the job understanding other people from other cities is pretty much done in this day and age, kinda sad, but very true.

  • By Mzeiya, June 14, 2008 @ 11:32 pm

    But wait till you meet someone who believes people in Africa live on trees. Ok thats just wrong in this day and age for someone to think that way. But again how do you handle the notion that a lot of people seem to think we (Afropolitans and those straight from African cities) still ascribe to African traditions? If you asked me most Africans would rather see themselves as metro guys rather than some drum beating guy. Honestly I have never played a drum in my life. Also dont expect me to dress in any particular way. Food i ll eat ugali once in a while but my diet will be pretty much what everyone else eats. In other words meat, rice, eggs, bread, greens- its just the same stuff we have back in Africa albeit with different taste.

    My point is that at times people have really different expectations of who we are as a people. If not careful these misplaced expectations can result in the subjugation of our role in the society whereby we are seen as people whose only forte is in the traditional arts.

  • By Mwangi, June 14, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

    @Mzeiya: My opinion on our image in the West doesn’t tend to be the most popular one. I actually wrote a post about it a while back and left a comment on meek meek’s blog, but in short, I really don’t mind when folks are ignorant about my culture and my people and where I’m from, I was equally as ignorant if not more so when I came not only about Oz, but about Asia (like how many of us have been here for years but still can’t tell the difference between a Greek Person, an Italian and an Arab or between a Chinese and Vietnamese). First rule of morality for me is do unto others as you would have them do unto you: if I am ignorant and learning, you can be ignorant and learning too.

    In addition to that, this tendency that we Afropolitan ( I guess it’s officially a technical term now, Yay) people have to be embarrassed or ashamed of our tribal roots really saddens and angers me……my great grandfather lived in a hut, had many wives and used cows to pay for his wives, if the Brits never came that’s what I’d be doing now. I feel no shame about it whatsoever, you want to show my country as a tribal society, then fine, it’s my roots, no shame in that. Let me link to the two articles where I give the different perspectives:
    Comments from Meek Meek’s blog
    Post on Western ignorance

  • By whome, June 19, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

    Just listening to the podcasts… they’re hilarious getting the point of view of young kids is just priceless. the innocence. Ati “curries” and “chingchongs”.It shows aussies as being very tolerant to racial discrimination.
    Lol. They cry more…

  • By Mwangi, June 19, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

    @whome: Glad you enjoyed it. So far this has been my most popular podcast by far and so I think I might bring them in future to do a little something something. Aussies are doing pretty good, I can’t knock them, they’re handling the race thing pretty well.
    Again, where have you been, haven’t gotten a message from you in ages, though I sent one to you.

  • By whome, June 19, 2008 @ 9:12 pm

    Just to touch on that integration thing and the vibe about being in a foreign land, being ashamed how you’re portrayed there.
    It seems to be the consensus-by locals- that when you immigrate somewhere you should unload your previous self and mimic the local norms. Integration they call it.
    This is very limiting and bias. Every society has aspects that are abhorrent and other that appealing. The ideal would be to take in the new societies good aspects, keep the pleasantries of your earlier society and abscond form the ills of both.
    For some reason this doesn’t appeal to either sets of your collective being.
    Your old friends will say your turning away from your roots.
    Your new friends will say that you’re not integrating.

  • By Mwangi, June 19, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

    @whome: I heard this quote most recently from Timothy Ferriss when he was quoting both Bob Hope and Bill Cosby:

    I don’t know the sure way to success, but I know a sure road to failure: trying to make everyone happy.

    The very idea that we need to be abroad in the first place is an ugly, painful one….there have to be sacrifices and growing pains that we have to go through as we try to make best sense of it.

    My 0.02

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