By the third generation, an immigrant cultural group will have accepted the host nation’s institutions and adapted to prevailing social mores. While institutions are necessarily durable, social mores will be an on-going feast, with mutual adaptation.
The cohesive influences in this process are public education, habituation (that is, being comfortable in on-going contact through sport or just socialisation with those whose ancestors may once have been ‘them, not us’), and that innate or instinctive reaching out displayed by very young children who have not been taught any prejudice about skin colour, language and other irrelevant matters.
Most importantly, in Australia, everyone is free to pray as they wish, to cook, dress and eat as they wish, and to speak their language freely. They are only required to accept the host nation’s institutions and social (ie. behavioural) mores, and to respect all other cultural communities. Immigrants know all about this as they seek to enter Australia. On what basis, by what right, can they then seek to have the host nation’s institutions altered, especially when religion has been successfully kept separate from governance?
Different laws and different institutions for each separatist ethnic minority immigrant community? How quaint!
In my second book ‘The Karma of Culture,’ initially published under my birth name Arasa, I deal with the cross-cultural impacts of a diverse immigrant intake, and the potential for Asian cultural and spiritual values to influence Western thinking about democracy, human rights, and societal values.
The book also teases out the implications for immigrants who choose to retain their cultural values and practices unaltered, in terms of a possible diminished access to the prevailing equal opportunity; and examines the consequential benefits of relinquishing inconsistent behaviour and attitudes.
I am an 88-year old bicultural Asian-Australian who had published three experience-based narratives with analysis on ethnic affairs, multiculturalism, citizenship, refugee entry, and migrant settlement assistance; and a memoir which overlays a blend of history, sociology, and personal experiences with an Asian spirituality onto an integrated Australian persona, under my conjoined Westernised name.