Tuesday, 16 January 2007

waiting for the green man

As nations, Japan and Australia could hardly be more different. In 1989 at the funeral of Japan's last emperor, the centre of Tokyo was closed to traffic. But the citizens still waited for the green man before crossing the road. I had always assumed that Oz was the opposite, full of rebellious larrikins who didn't give a XXXX for rules and regulations. But word comes back from the cricket writers (I am indebted to the Telegraph here) that it has become a nanny state that makes the UK seem like Nevada (where the criminal code forbids murder, but little else).

In Brisbane anyone wearing eccentric dress was thrown out of the cricket ground (200 people altogether I'm told). A man with a trumpet was ejected. Shouting nationalistic sentiments, such as "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oy, oy, oy" was also a cause for dismissal. A man who sneezed a few times was taken from his seat and warned not to come back until he had stopped. A shoe cleaning machine by the changing room carried a warning: "Beware of serious injury or death."

- Simon Hoggart, Saturday 2 December 2006.

At the Lord Mayor's Show in November a lot of the roads in the City were closed, but walking from the tube to our vantage point it was interesting how people did in general stick to the pavements and cross at the junctions (although I don't think people waited for the green man).

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