Q.1 Examine Ouyang Yu’s ‘History is Now Facing Their Direction’ (from New and Selected Poems, Salt Publishing 2004) and Tim Blair’s ‘Last drinks in
Lakemba: Tim Blair takes a look inside Sydney’s Muslim Land’ (The Daily Telegraph August 18, 2014), in light of postcolonial theory. You may draw on
postcolonial notions of otherness, mimicry, ambivalence, essentialism, orientalism, resistance, etc. in your comparative analysis.
‘History is Now Facing their Direction’
(New & Selected Poems, Salt Publishing 2004)
History is now facing their direction
It is not a matter of who will win or who will lose
It’s a matter of geographical psychology
Or psychological geography
In which the sun seems to rise
In the west
Rivers of the world
All run westwards
As the minds and bodies do
A postmodernized weather reigns supremely blue
come true every other second
as ideas are
a white self
having othered all the colours
of the rainbow
is selfing the rest in its embrace
spreading like a flood of quicksilver
things have fallen apart
not for their world
‘Last drinks in Lakemba: Tim Blair takes a look inside Sydney’s Muslim Land’
(The Daily Telegraph August 18, 2014)
THE Lakemba Hotel is one of the last Anglo holdouts in Sydney’s otherwise Middle-Eastern south-western suburb. Frankly, the old joint — it opened in
1928 — isn’t putting up much resistance. Most nights the bar is closed by 8.30pm or so, because by then what few customers it attracts are
insufficient to cover running costs. Still, it’s friendly and hospitable. Staffer Poppy helpfully showed me to my $50-a-night room, which is the only
option in Lakemba for anyone seeking short-term rented accommodation. There are no other hotels or motels. In fact, there are no other rooms besides
number 15 in the hotel’s residential wing. All the others are taken by boarders, one of whom has been here for 20 years.
It isn’t exactly luxurious. The room has a sink, which is nice, but nothing else by way of amenities. There isn’t even a Gideon’s Bible. Instead,
reflecting certain demographic changes in the area, there is a Ramadan eating schedule.
Lakemba may be only 30 minutes from the centre of Sydney, yet it is remarkably distinct from the rest of the city. You can walk the length of crowded
Haldon St and not hear a single phrase in English. On this main shopping strip the ethnic mix seems similar to what you’d find in any Arabic city.
Australia may be multicultural, but Haldon St is a monoculture.
This does have its advantages. If you’re ever in need of groceries at 3am, head to Lakemba, where shopkeepers keep unusual hours, particularly during
Ramadan. The food is delicious, of course. I recommend La Roche and Al Aseel, but all restaurants in Haldon St are good. If you’re unfamiliar with
Lebanese food, just go for anything with the word “mixed”.
And then there are the downsides.
A few weeks ago a large crowd of mostly young men assembled outside the Lakemba Hotel. Waving black flags, the men chanted: “Palestine is Muslim
land. The solution is jihad.”
I asked a non-Islamic local about that night. “You should see them when they really go off,” she said. “That was nothing.” Another non-Islamic woman
said young men sometimes shouted “sharmuta” at her from their cars. She looked up the word online and discovered it was an Arabic term for
Across the road from the hotel is the Islamic Bookstore, which bills itself as “your superstore of Islamic knowledge”. Three books caught my eye.
Here’s an extract from Muhammad bin Jamil Zino’s “What a Muslim Should Believe”, a handy Q & A guide to the Koran’s instructions:
“Question 43: Is it allowed to support and love disbelievers? “Answer: No, it is not allowed.”
Well, that might explain a few things. “The History of the Jews” seems a bland enough title, but the back cover quotes lines from Martin Luther that
were used by the Nazis: “The sun never did shine on a more bloodthirsty and revengeful people as they.”
The book offers this view, on page 16: “No one can deny the fact that the Jews are the worst kind of barbarian killers the world has ever known!!!
The decent great Adolf Hitler of Germany never killed in the manner of the Jews!!! Surely only mad people or those who love killing infants, pregnant
women and the infirm will think differently.”
It goes on and on. Another extract: “Humor and jokes are strictly forbidden by the Jewish religion.” This will come as a surprise to just about every
Jew on earth.
Another must-read is Mansoor Abdul Hakim’s charming 2009 text, “Women Who Deserve to go to Hell.” Turns out there are quite a lot of them.
“Some people keep asking about the denizens of Hell and the reason why women will go to hell in large numbers,” writes Hakim in the book’s foreword
before listing various types of hell-bound females, including the grumbler, the quarrelsome woman, women with tattoos and women who refuse to have
sex during menstruation.
“Men’s perfection is because of various reasons: intelligence, religion, etc,” Hakim explains. “At most, four women have this perfection.”
Mix this level of ignorance and loathing with the Islamic community’s high rate of unemployment, and conflict is inevitable. The Islamic riots of
2012 ended up in central Sydney but began here in Lakemba and surrounding suburbs, where seething young Muslims formed their plans, including
printing signs reading “Behead all those who insult the prophet”.
One of the men arrested in those riots was Ahmed Elomar, who was subsequently convicted for bashing a police officer with a flagpole.
His lawyer claimed that Elomar was “overcome with the occasion”. The occasion continues. Lately, Elomar’s brother Mohamed has posed with severed
heads in Iraq, where he is fighting alongside fundamentalist Islamic State extremists.
Back at the pub, a staffer mentions rare moments of cultural overlap. “Sometimes the young blokes will come in here to buy Scotch,” she says. “They
try to hide themselves under hoodies.” But when the staffer sees them later in the street, they don’t return her greeting. The hotel is haram —
sinful and forbidden. Those early closing hours will eventually become permanent.
It is required that the following sources are used as references in the essay:
Frantz Fanon (1967) from The Wretched of the Earth, Harmondsworth: Penguin
Edward Said (2000) ‘Orientalism Reconsidered’, in Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, Cambridge: Harvard Uni. Press
Sneja Gunew (1994) Framing Marginality: Multicultural Literary Studies, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press
Stuart Hall (1996) ‘New Ethnicities’ in Morley, D. & Chen, K-H (eds) Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, New York & London:
Please be sure to examine both ‘History is Now Facing Their Direction’ and ‘Last drinks in Lakemba’ extensively.
Also, please include the post colonial notions of otherness, mimicry, ambivalence, essentialism, orientalism, resistance, hegemony and exoticism in
If you could also provide information on the context in which each of the texts was written in that would be appreciated.
‘History is now facing their direction’ context- globalisation, the diminishment of culture?
‘Last drinks in Lakemba’- context- significant immigration of ethnic groups to Australia, asylum seekers, global terror threats, etc.
Please feel free to use examples to back up the points.