In one of our interviews with a Making It in Australia interviewees, this person told us a story of how his/her daughter suffered serious incidents of schoolyard bullying in her primary school until she had to change to a more multicultural school.
The family came here in the early 1980s, they settled in a suburb 40 minutes drive east of Melbourne CBD. The girl was constantly teased at school. They either ignored her or teased her and singled her out as she was the only new girl in class.
In an attempt to help her daughter become more popular or make her fit in better, her parents actually invited her classmates to a theme park on her birthday. The classmates came to the party, enjoyed the food, the theme park and brought a cake for the birthday girl.
The parents were in for the shock of their life when they found out that inside the cake were grains of sand which their daughter had almost swallowed! Only after spitting them out did she realise that it was sand indeed. That incident was the last straw that prompted them to not only change school but to move out of the suburb altogether.
The interviewee, who is a successful entrepreneur today, does not want this story to be made public as he/she does not want to upset anyone unnecessarily who might misunderstand his/her intention. I was told this story when I asked him/her about the challenges of settling in, fitting in and assimilating to mainstream Australia. I was told that I can share this story but never to reveal his/her identity.
My interviewee, however, did also mention that Australia in 2010s today is very different from Australia in the 1980s. He/she does not believe that new migrants will share the same fate nowadays.
Having shared this story (above) with our readers, I just want to say that I am also aware that schoolyard bullying is a problem that is getting out of hand in just about every corner of the world, not just in Australia. I am sure the Malaysian and Singaporean parents among our readers know what I am talking about here.