OPINION: Multiculturalism gets better and better
JOHNO'S SAY: I recently happened along to Sunday's Chinese New Year Celebration in the Bell Street Mall.
I am not sure why I made that decision, weekends are sacred gardening times, however I don't regret the trip to Bell Street.
There were thousands of people squeezed into, what appeared to be, a very tiny space and may I congratulate the Toowoomba International Multicultural Society (TIMS) for the outstanding success.
Entertainment aplenty, tasty food, trinkets galore and lots of celebration.
Since then I've been thinking about some new words governments have given us to adjust to the range of cultures our nation has, words like ethnicity and multiculturalism.
And, I reflected on my childhood in Moree (God's Country) and the different nationalities included in the community.
The town was blessed to have a large number of Lebanese Christian families with names like Haddad, Mansour and Assef. Beautiful people with successful businesses.
The Greeks had the cafes and service stations, names like Cassimatis, Tzannes, Poulos, oh what entrepreneurs they were.
Chinese greengrocers and department store owners, names like Ping Kee and Hong Yuen. Every Saturday an elderly (probably my age) Chinese man would wheel his fruit and vegetable barrow to our door and scream out "lettucy, tomatocy, kukumber, squash."
A sprinkle of Italians led by the famous Picone family who had an army of bookmakers who would descend on every country race meeting, particularly Clifford Park Toowoomba, every Saturday.
And there was a good representation of Dutch people and Germans, though not as many as Toowoomba - they love it here.
This, I now think, was multiculturalism although in smaller numbers.
I wonder how they all got here. Maybe on the First Fleet, maybe chasing gold in Ballarat in the 1850's.
One thing they had in common was that they assimilated beautifully and became cherished citizens.
The decades rolled on by and they came in their thousands, they came in their tens of thousands and they continue to come.
Naughty names like wogs and dagos and chinks have long gone and now they're just brothers and sisters.
If your heritage is English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish guess what? You're now in the minority.
Australia has developed into a wonderful multicultural society with all the lovely things multiculturalism brings including food and wine, languages and a whole host of new days to celebrate, like Chinese New Year.
Look, I am never going to follow soccer (football) but I accept your right to love the game.
What do you reckon?
This poll ended on 22 March 2016.
Multiculturalism has been good for Australia
Multiculturalism has ruined Australia
Send back all the New Zealanders
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.