When dinner is political

24 Feb

We ate Indian food tonight, in support of Vindaloo against Violence.

At a time when Melbourne seems to be suffering a growth in violence of all kinds, but particularly knife attacks/stabbings and racially motivated attacks, it was a small gesture that I hope said a lot. I understand that there has been criticism that it over-simplifies or even trivialises the issues around violence and racial attacks, but to me, it was like going on a march, only in a more convenient way. And with yummy Indian food.

Good to see some pollies and schools taking it on.

I had no idea how popular it would be, when I rang our local Indian takeaway just after 6. While the event really called for people to eat out, it wasn’t an option for us as we had to have a child out by 7pm. Errm, out as in extra-curricular activities, not as in born or anything. Cos ewww.

They told me the usual 15-20 minutes, so I was there just before 6.30. The shop was completely packed – I counted 15 people in the small area – and more kept arriving. It was 5 minutes before I could tell anyone I had phone ordered, and they were still preparing our food – I finally left at 6.45 with our Indian food of choice (Butter chicken, garlic naan, raita, pappadums, 1/2 tandoori chicken, rice). Yeah, I know – but Butter Chicken Against Bashings doesn’t sound as good as Vindaloo against Violence.

It will be interesting to see what sort of follow-on press this event gets.

One criticism though: the choice of hashtag – #vagainstv – was beyond unfortunate … just move the second a back a few spots and you get a quite different sort of event – every time I see that character string, my mind goes to the Naughty Place.

Meanwhile, I had an encounter with yobbery – arrived at school to collect Otto from after-school care and got inside the school to hear squealing brakes and watch as a small car barrelling down the (suburban side) street beside school squealed its breaks and dropped a 180 degree turn before parking in the centre of the road. I watched the driver’s door open and the driver almost fall out, VB in hand, while another VB can fell out of the car. The driver and his passenger then staggered off into the flats across from school.

Now here’s the question: when something like that happens, what do you do?

A: Ignore it because it’s none of your business?

B: Mention it to the Powers That Be at school, and suggest that maybe there should be a reminder about safe road behaviour in the next newsletter?

C: Take down the number plate and call the police

I suspect I will B, because I still hope to save the world, one day.


Posted by on February 24, 2010 in food, school


4 responses to “When dinner is political

  1. Larry Levy

    February 25, 2010 at 1:08 am

    I’m sorry to hear about the increase in racial violence in Melbourne, Melissa, but I think it’s cool that folks have found such a creative way of showing non-violent support for the cause of tolerance. And how sweetly ironic it is that this financially benefits some of those of the nationality being preyed upon! A very cool solution, IMO, and well worth supporting.

    I must also complement you on your choice of food; that’s the sort of meal Sheryl and I would order in an Indian restaurant and consume with great gusto.

    Okay, now I need a translation from Aussie to American. What is “yobbery”? And what is a “VB”? Enquiring minds need to know!

    • Melissa

      February 25, 2010 at 6:35 am

      Heh. Yobbery is, I guess, very close to hooliganism. Mindlessly ignoring rules/social mores without regard for other people. Wow that sounds repressed, but that’s what “being a yobbo” means. (An online Australian Slang Dictionary defines Yobbo as “an uncouth person”):

      And VB is Victoria Bitter. The ubiquitous beer (generally the choice of yobboes, although most beer-drinkers will drink it if there is nothing else on offer).

  2. Friendless

    February 25, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Also, because the response to C will just illustrate why people feel free to bash others in the first place.


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