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The Ugly Australian

The term, the Ugly American, was coined many years ago. We all know the image. But the Ugly Australian? Yes, he and she, is alive and well, as Mike Carleton reports in his weekly column in the SMH:

"Fleeing the menacing police regime that ruled Sydney during the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation forum, I spent a week in Bali shooting more of a television documentary I am making for SBS.

It was nice to be back in a democracy. The Indonesian cops have their faults, but paranoia about the so-called war on terrorism is not one of them. They do not go spare at the sight of foreigners on their streets, although they have good enough reason to do so: the Australian football season is starting again.

At this time of year Bali's tourist traps are infested - it's the only word for it - by hordes of drunken young footballers who have flown in from our sunburnt land to make yobs of themselves celebrating the end of their playing year.

I encountered a gang of about 20 of them hooning up and down Jalan Legian, the street where the bombs went off in the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar in 2002. It was early evening, but they were already howling drunk and spoiling for trouble. The Rovers, they called themselves on their T-shirts and, by the build of them they were Australian rules players, in their late teens or early 20s, although there was no telling where they were from.

On the back of each shirt was a big and skilfully-drawn cartoon depicting a rampant bulldog about to bugger - that, too, is the only word for it - a naked woman kneeling on all fours. Beneath the cartoon were the words, writ large: "Get a dog up ya !"

Lurching from side to side across the street, cans and bottles in clenched fists, they bellowed this slogan in the face of every woman they passed, Balinese or foreign, adding a spray of the F-word and the C-word for good measure. To the astonishment of the Indonesian film crew with me, the sight of our camera sent them into a further frenzy of "Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!" They capered like baboons, mad-eyed and drooling.

If a bunch of Indonesian footballers were to behave like that up and down Kings Cross there would be weeks of outrage. Unlikely to happen, though. Indonesians are too civilised."



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