OPINION

Sorry, but trash talk can't bring us down, bro

Sorry, but trash talk can't bring us down, bro

Fair dinkum, what's the go, bro? Here we are, sitting down at the bottom of the world, minding our own cancer-curing beeswax (apart from a bit of a "please explain" about coronavirus), when we cop yet another sling from Asia.

Back in the 1980s, when we were living our best lives with big hair and ra-ra skirts, a chap called Lee Kuan Yew - who was the PM of Singapore - predicted we were heading towards becoming the "white trash of Asia".

Ahem. Apart from most of us thinking 'Straya is not a part of Asia, white trash? Please. Have you seen these shoulder pads?

Then, just last week, China sticks the Kmart boot in. We all know we're having a bit of a blue with the Sleeping Giant at the moment - we stuck our necks out and asked where the breach in the Great Wall was.

But geez, fair go, now someone fan-girling over the old Singapore PM has repeated the trash talk disguised as a warning.

"Indeed, further decoupling with China will not send China back to poverty, but will only make former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's famous statement more likely to come true: that if Australia doesn't open up its economy and reduce unemployment, it risks becoming the 'poor white trash of Asia'," The Global Times trumpeted.

I never knew we were a couple. This is also pretty insulting to the more than 1.2 million people with Chinese ancestry who call Australia home. But, guess what? They're Australians. That means they're rowing in our boat. It's small, but pretty damn tough.

White trash? How does China think most of us got here? Apart from the Indigenous population, who were definitely minding their own cancer-curing beeswax until some weird-looking vessels appeared, we were sent here as Britain's white trash. They didn't want us. They packed the lot of us bread-stealing, arrow-wearing troublemakers into a couple of creaky boats and packed us off to the other end of the world.

I am descended from free settlers, but this might apply to you. Hats off to us, we liked it here. We didn't cover ourselves with glory when it came to our pleases and thank yous. In fact, we were the true cuckoos in the nest.

But, even acknowledging white Australia's dreadful report card, we all rub along together in our patchwork quilt of descendants of thieves and people desperate for a better life. We are proud of who we are.

We are not heading towards white trash, we've already been there. So China, you might be a little upset that you've been defriended, but lighten up, bro, there's no need to block us. We are survivors and part of that comes from letting the insults slide.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist based in Gunnedah, New South Wales.