‘What does a ‘fair go’ mean for you?’
THE sixth of the Kerferd Oration committee’s eight questions to encourage Indigo citizens and communities to think about ethics in the lead-in to the July 19 oration in Beechworth goes to the heart of an Australian idiom – a ‘fair go’.
Malian-born professional painter Diallo (pictured) had the challenge of answering it – “What does a fair go mean for you? – outside Beechworth Post Office this week.
“Not long ago I heard the expression ‘fair go’ for the first time, but I have understood the meaning for a long time,” Diallo said.
“I have wanted for a long time to find a way to say thank you to the people of this country – and particularly to the people of Beechworth – for giving me a ‘fair go’.”
Diallo emigrated from Mali, in West Africa, to France in his late teens and when, as an adult, he told people that he was moving to Australia they thought him “crazy” to leave his good job.
“Life is good here, particularly in Beechworth,” he said.
“I am surprised at how people accept you, even if you can’t speak the language very well, your colour might be different, or your religion might be different – it doesn’t matter. Nobody judges you.
“When you come here at first everyone tries to help you. You can’t find that everywhere.”
Diallo said that in Mali a citizen had always to carry an identity card, but he had found in Australia that you could go anywhere and no-one would ask for ID.
“In some countries I have been, police would stop you to check you have a valid ID, at least twice a week, just because you might be different, “Diallo said.
“In Australia the police won’t stop you unless you have a problem.
“I don’t even carry a wallet here.”
Diallo also said that in some countries, as an immigrant, opening a business could be difficult.
“What I have noticed in Australia and particularly in Beechworth is that people are honest,” he said.
“If you are an honest person, too, people appreciate that.
“This is the only place I ever worked where I have people knocking on the door to pay for a job I have just finished.”
Diallo said that others had encouraged him to start his professional painting business.
“I had some doubts because I couldn’t speak English very well but I’m happy we did because the business is doing well,” he said.
“I consider myself very lucky to have found a town like Beechworth.
“It’s a beautiful town and my work as a painter is welcome here. The business is doing well – and it’s thanks to the people’s support and giving me a fair go.”
This post is reprinted from the ‘Ovens and Murray Advertiser’, which is supporting the oration by publishing each question of the week.