Unlike any typical European city center (centre-ville) characterized by a church, symbol of religion and spiritual life, a city hall and a popular gathering place like a pub in England; in case of Cabramatta, a city in the suburb of Sydney, the city center is a market. A big one stretched over many roads reminds me of small towns in the South of Vietnam, Soc Trang as an example. And it is not the only common point between Soc Trang and Cabramatta, the two share also the similarity as the melting pot of the Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian community.
I can never describe enough my amazement since my arrival to this city in Australia. If I have told you about this melting pot in schools and streets, we can see it even clearer going to the Cabramatta city center, or more precisely speaking, the market area.
We can see there a clear mingling of Vietnamese restaurants, Chinese junk stores, and some Cambodian fruit shops. Boards in front of shops are written in English (still) and equivalent in Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian. We can see the trace of all the nice things brought from home from these countries to Australia, for example the Thai Massage parlour next to the Head Quarter of the Organisation of Free Vietnamese in New South Wales. As a souvenir, I have taken a few photos in front of this Head Quarter.
The big entrance greeting is marked with famous teachings in all languages, like Uong nuoc nho nguon, and La lanh dum la rach (the two best and most beautiful Vietnamese proverbs, one to advise people to remember and be grateful to their origins and helpers, the other to advise people to help each other). And I believe that same is the case for the wise words in Chinese and Cambodian.
Most importantly these words are accompanied by English ones that are: The world is for us to share and respect, Liberty and Democracy.
There is no more eloquent way to speak about the need of people from different origins to live together, keeping their own cultural traits and respecting the rules of Australia, the welcoming country. And by that Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and many others can share the space and strive together in peace and mutual respect.
I am asking myself if ever the governments of these countries can learn the lesson of Cabramatta in treating with each other as well as treating their own people.
Thank you my nieces and friends for giving me the chance and guiding me through this city in that spring afternoon as beautiful as a dream...