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The Cultural Dictionary

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The Cultural Dictionary ...

    The Cultural Dictionary

    Of people from culturally and linguistically

    diverse backgrounds

     Project of the Migrant Resource Centre

    Canberra & region Inc

    A resource to increase cultural understanding for service-providers in

    the ACT

Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 1

CULTURAL DICTIONARY REVISED 2003

    Funded by Commonwealth/State Supported Accommodation Assistance Program, ACT Department of Disability, Housing & Community Services

Project of Migrant Resource Centre Canberra & Queanbeyan Inc

    First edition by Sara Khalidi 1997

    Second edition Revised and edited by Fiona McIlroy 2003

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this document are a synthesis of information from a range of sources, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Migrant Resource Centre. Due to constraints outside editorial control, not all countries have been included in the Cultural Dictionary.

Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 2

    PREFACE TO THE CULTURAL DICTIONARY

    The wealth of cultural diversity in Australia is arguably one of its major assets. Acknowledgment of difference and acceptance of each person‟s unique qualities, as well as their particular blend of cultural influences can assist a people to grow in cultural richness and social strength. However, differences are often screened through our own cultural lenses, and our perceptions need to be taken out and examined. The word „prejudice‟ stems from Latin -

    to „pre-judge‟. As we all form attitudes based on the limited understanding we currently hold, we are all prone to prejudice. The key to cultural understanding lies in an open mind. As we do with our computer when it gets overloaded with junk, we need to press the „Refresh‟ button; to refresh our assumptions, review our attitudes.

    Given the rise in expressions of racist attitudes in recent times, it is vital to remember that general statements about cultural backgrounds can lead to stereotyping. Stereotyping often undervalues individuals and cultures, and can be based on mistaken assumptions. The brief, general descriptions of a culture such as the snapshots in this Cultural Dictionary should never be applied in a blanket way to any individual or group.

    The descriptions can never account for the diversity of individuals and groups within any culture. Factors such as age, education, socio-economic class, religion, gender and personal experience shaping the individual cultural identity has a bearing on a person‟s values and behaviour. Because of this, the Dictionary can only be a first step towards understanding. When in doubt, ask the person for their point of view, needs and preferences.

    While we each receive basic cultural conditioning from the environment we grow up in, every culture is continually undergoing change, and within each one there are many variants. It is therefore advisable to learn about each culture from as many individuals as possible to gain a more balanced concept of their needs and strengths.

    Conversations, listening and the building of trusting relationships with people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds are the next important steps toward developing further knowledge and sensitivity. We cannot know all there is to know about another person‟s culture, but we can extend them respect and interest. Hopefully, the information collected in the Cultural Dictionary will stimulate your interest.

Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 3

    The Cultural Dictionary

    Of people from culturally and linguistically

    diverse backgrounds

     Project of the Migrant Resource Centre

    Canberra & region Inc

    A resource to increase cultural understanding for service-providers in

    the ACT

Original publication by Sara Khalidi 1997

    Revised and Edited by Fiona McIlroy

    Funded by the ACT Department of Disability, Housing & Community Services

Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 4

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I ................................. THE CULTURAL DICTIONARY

    PART I ............................................................................................... 7 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 8 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................ 10 GLOSSARY ......................................................................................... 12 REFERENCES ...................................................................................... 13 AFGHANISTAN .................................................................................... 14 ALBANIA ........................................................................................... 16 ALGERIA ........................................................................................... 18 ARGENTINA ....................................................................................... 20 AUSTRIA ........................................................................................... 22 AZERBAIJAN ...................................................................................... 24 BANGLADESH ..................................................................................... 26 BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA .................................................................... 28 BOTSWANA ........................................................................................ 30 BRAZIL ............................................................................................. 32 BULGARIA ......................................................................................... 34 BURMA (MYANMAR) .............................................................................. 36 CAMBODIA ......................................................................................... 38 CHILE ............................................................................................... 40 CHINA .............................................................................................. 42 COLOMBIA ......................................................................................... 45 CROATIA ........................................................................................... 47 CYPRUS ............................................................................................ 49 CZECH REPUBLIC ................................................................................. 51 EAST TIMOR ....................................................................................... 53 EGYPT .............................................................................................. 55 EL SALVADOR ..................................................................................... 58 ERITREA ........................................................................................... 60 ETHIOPIA .......................................................................................... 62 FIJI ................................................................................................. 64 FINLAND ........................................................................................... 66 FRANCE ............................................................................................ 68 GERMANY .......................................................................................... 70 GHANA ............................................................................................. 72 GREECE ............................................................................................ 75 GUATEMALA ...................................................................................... 77 HONG KONG (S.A.R) ............................................................................. 79 HUNGARY .......................................................................................... 81 INDIA ............................................................................................... 83 INDONESIA......................................................................................... 86 IRAN ................................................................................................ 88 IRAQ ................................................................................................ 91 ITALY ............................................................................................... 93 JAPAN .............................................................................................. 95 JORDAN ............................................................................................ 98 KENYA............................................................................................ 100 Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 5

    KOREA NORTH & SOUTH ...................................................................... 102 LAOS ............................................................................................. 105 LATVIA ........................................................................................... 107 LEBANON ........................................................................................ 109 MACEDONIA ..................................................................................... 111 MALAYSIA ....................................................................................... 113 MALTA ........................................................................................... 115 MEXICO .......................................................................................... 117 MOROCCO ....................................................................................... 119 NEPAL ............................................................................................ 121 NETHERLANDS .................................................................................. 123 NICARAGUA ..................................................................................... 125 NIGERIA .......................................................................................... 127 PAKISTAN ........................................................................................ 129 PAPUA NEW GUINEA ........................................................................... 131 PERU ............................................................................................. 133 PHILIPPINES ..................................................................................... 135 POLAND .......................................................................................... 137 PORTUGAL ...................................................................................... 139 ROMANIA ........................................................................................ 141 RUSSIAN FEDERATION ......................................................................... 143 SAMOA ........................................................................................... 145 SAUDI ARABIA................................................................................... 147 SERBIA, MONTENEGRO, ....................................................................... 149 SLOVAKIA ........................................................................................ 151 SLOVENIA ........................................................................................ 153 SOMALIA ......................................................................................... 156 SOUTH AFRICA ................................................................................. 158 SPAIN ............................................................................................. 160 SRI LANKA ....................................................................................... 162 SUDAN ........................................................................................... 164 THAILAND ....................................................................................... 166 THE SOLOMON ISLANDS ....................................................................... 168 TONGA ........................................................................................... 170 TURKEY .......................................................................................... 172 UKRAINE ......................................................................................... 174 VIETNAM ......................................................................................... 176 ZAIRE ............................................................................................. 178 ZIMBABWE ....................................................................................... 180

    PART II .............................................................. APPENDIX

    CANBERRA - A MULTICULTURAL CITY ...................................................... 183 COMMUNITY SETTLEMENT SERVICES SCHEME ............................................ 189 ACT ETHNIC CLUBS ............................................................................ 190 ACT MULTICULTURAL PLACES OF WORSHIP .............................................. 192 FREE LEGAL SERVICES ........................................................................ 194 ACT ETHNIC MEDIA ............................................................................ 195

    Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 6

PART I

THE CULTURAL DICTIONARY

Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 7

    INTRODUCTION

    How the Cultural Dictionary can be used

    Australia today is a genuinely multicultural society. An abundance of culturally and linguistically diverse ethnic groups in Australia today contribute to every field of activity. Our cuisine is world-famous for its international flavours, and our daily life is rich with diverse cultural practices, vocabulary and events. With migrants and refugees from more than 200 countries, we now qualify as one of the world‟s most culturally and ethnically pluralist nations. For social harmony to prevail in this era of regional and international turbulence, it is essential that cultural understanding and mutual respect take top priority.

    The purpose of the Cultural Dictionary is to look at the experiences of a diversity of people who may be clients of supported accommodation services. The aim is to provide a relevant resource for service-providers to assist them in delivering more culturally appropriate service. It also provides current contact information to increase liaison and networking between supported accommodation services and key ethnic services in the ACT.

    The Cultural Dictionary contains basic information on topics such as population, ethnic composition, language, religion, general attitudes, personal appearance, greetings, gestures, visiting and eating habits, lifestyle, family and marriage practices of people from a variety of ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. The cultural snapshots are listed by country, and in general, residents from the countries in the book are represented in the ACT. The main English speaking countries are not included, as the focus is on linguistic diversity. However, unfortunately not all the NES countries with residents in the ACT were able to be included within the scope of this revision.

    The Cultural Dictionary is a sampling of cultures only. Users need to be aware that cultures are complex and dynamic. National boundaries shift, new nations are formed and minorities sometimes leave their country of origin because of turmoil, persecution or civil war. It is important to recognize that refugees coming here under the Humanitarian Program often originate from an ethnic or religious minority within a country. Therefore the norms of the mainstream culture described in the Cultural Dictionary may not be true for individuals from that country.

    The book is intended to be a starting point to facilitate initial communication, and for accessing basic information about differing cultures as a guide to more appropriate service provision.

    The Cultural Dictionary does not focus on statistical data. The goal is to bring the people and their dominant cultural mores into view, hopefully encouraging understanding and appreciation between people of different nationalities and backgrounds.

    Background to the Project

    In 2001, Australia's resident population was 19,357,594 million persons. (GeoHive: The world's Population Now). Of the total population in Australia, 20% were born in Asia (North-East, South-East and Central Asia). In the ACT, 22% of the population comes from Asia. (2001 Census).

    The total population of the ACT is 311,947 (2001 Census). Approximately 21.6% of the population were born overseas (2001 Census) compared with 22.5% in the 1996 Census.

    From a total number of 95,600 instances of client support, 15.2% were from linguistically diverse backgrounds Australia-wide. From a total number of 1900 supported clients in the ACT, 15.4% were from linguistically diverse backgrounds (SAAP National Data Collection 2001/2). As can be seen above, this means that people from linguistically diverse backgrounds are under-represented in the SAAP services nationally, with a marginally better representation in the ACT. Like all other services and programs, the Supported Accommodation Assistance Program operates within the complex setting of a multicultural and poly-ethnic society, and it needs to accommodate the particular demands of such a society in a positive way.

    Reports on the needs of people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in SAAP services repeatedly identify the importance of „being sensitive to the differing needs of non-English speaking background (NESB)

    people‟ (Challenging the Future, SAAP Conference 1994), and of ensuring „accommodation is culturally appropriate Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 8

    and that the provision of food, sleeping arrangements etc comply with the cultural and religious requirements of clients‟ (Keeping It In the Family ACT 1995).

    The provision of culturally appropriate services is a principle articulated in the „National Practice Principles‟ in SAAP Case Management. This statement includes that‟ each client receives a service that is sensitive to, and

    respectful of cultural and linguistic backgrounds and values including the importance of preserving significant networks and relationships.‟

    Migrants and refugees do not face the same issues or share the same needs. Many people in our community continue to view migrants and refugees as a homogeneous group. This view finds its way into service provision, resulting in inadequate and inappropriate responses. An ethnocentric or culturally blind approach, which assumes all clients share the same value systems and provides only a standardised response, will not meet diverse cultural needs. A culturally appropriate service is one that understands and respects the cultural orientation of the client.

How the Cultural Dictionary was developed

    In response to this need for culturally sensitive service-provision, the ACT SAAP Access & Equity worker, based at the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan Inc, identified the need for a resource that would assist SAAP workers to respond better to the differing needs of people from diverse backgrounds. The original publication by Sara Khalidi came out in June 1997. This involved extensive consultation with ethnic communities and a Reference Group. In 2002, the Migrant Resource Centre was fortunate in receiving funding from the ACT Department of Disability, Housing & Community Services to produce a revised edition of the Cultural Dictionary.

    After a tender process, the Migrant Resource Centre selected my consultancy for the revision project. I was requested to draft 20 new entries, and update and consult on revising the existing 60 country entries. Population and ethnic composition were added, along with the numbers for linguistically diverse communities residing in Canberra. Another addition was a list of dates for religious or secular holidays and special national days. Strong food likes/dislikes were noted. The consultation involved communicating by mail with 80 ethnic communities, inviting their feedback on relevant cultural profiles. Individuals and consulate officials were consulted where appropriate. Thirty-eight replies were received (almost half of the respondents), and their feedback has been gratefully received and incorporated. Where further information was needed, telephone contact was made. Consultation also took place with key migrant services, and feedback sought from SAAP service-providers. The project is by nature a fluid consultative process, with many perspectives, and continuous change. Census data

    Census figures from the 2000-2001 Census in Australia have been used to give a broad picture of the cultural and linguistic diversity in the ACT and Australia. The figures are indicative of the size of ethnic groups in Australia and the ACT, but do not include second-generation residents, and cannot be exact. For one reason,the question about ethnicity allows the respondent to name up to three identified ethnic groups. For another reason, the Census allows a response stating, for example, 'Africa' (not further defined or NFD). The numbers of respondents giving an NFD response would therefore not be counted in the number of people born in a particular country and resident in the ACT. As some of the data from the 2001 Census has not yet been published, I am indebted to Patrick Stakelum, Manager Demographics, Policy Group, ACT Chief Minister's Department for allowing me to use the figures he extracted from the C 2000 database (unpublished data). Statistics were also updated from the DIMIA web-site. The Future for the Cultural Dictionary

    The number of requests for the Cultural Dictionary from trainers and other community and public sector users has been encouraging. It is hoped that the new edition will be available to a range of users as well as the service-providers for whom it is designed. Another possibility for the future is to make the Cultural Dictionary available on-line, in order to allow for continued updating of entries, new entries and wider access. The editor hopes that this resource will be used throughout Canberra and Australia to stimulate interest in diverse cultures and to increase cultural understanding in society as a whole.

Fiona McIlroy

    Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 9

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    Special acknowledgment and appreciation to Brigham Young University‟s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies for permission to adapt their valuable publications, Culturgrams, in developing this resource. In revising

    the Cultural Dictionary, the author acknowledges the help of the online edition of Culturegrams.

For more information and a catalogue of publications, contact:

    Brigham Young University, Kennedy Center Publications, PO Box 24538, Provo, UT 84602-4538, USA.

    The Cultural Dictionary initiative was made possible in 1996-7 with funding from the Commonwealth/State Supported Accommodation Assistance Program (SAAP), ACT Department of Disability Housing & Community Services has generously provided further funding to revise the book in 2002-3.

    The 2003 revision of the Cultural Dictionary was facilitated by the assistance of: ; Sarah King, Manager Community Services, ACT Department of Disability Housing & Community Services ; Killion Banda, Manager Migrant Resource Centre Canberra

    Emiliana Afeaki, Community Project Officer

    ; The author of the revised edition would like to express her appreciation to the members of the 2003 revised

    edition reference group for their support, expertise and interest. Members of the group are:

    Judith Therkelsen

    Sara Khalidi

    Thuy Tien Nguyen

    Noonee Doronila

    ; Thanks to Polly Keightley of the Commonwealth Department of Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous

    Affairs for her support

    ; Patrick Stakelum, Manager Demographics, Policy Group, ACT Chief Minister‟s Department, gave generous

    assistance with updating the statistical data.

    ; Thelma Johnson, Settlement Manager, Department Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs assisted.

    ; Special acknowledgments and appreciation must go to all those ethnic communities that have been consulted

    for revising the Cultural Dictionary. They have provided invaluable assistance to the project.

Ethnic communities contacted by letter:

ACT Latin Americans Senior Centre Inc

    ACT Chinese Australian Association

    ACT Singapore-Australia Association Inc

    ACT Society of Koreans for Mutual Evolution

    ACT Spanish Migrants Co-ordinating Committee

    Afghan Community of the ACT Inc

    African-Australian Association

    Al-Haadi Welfare Association of Australia Inc

    Alliance Francaise de Canberra

    Arab-Australian Friendship Society Inc

    Argentine-Australian Cultural & Sports Association Inc

    Australasian Federation of Finnish Societies & Clubs Inc Australia-Indonesia Association ACT Australia-Nepal Friendship Society

    Australia-Chile Friendship Society

    Australia Sri Lanka Association (ACT)Inc

    Australian Sri Lanka Buddhist Association of Canberra Inc

    Australia-Italy Association-Australian Friends of Italy Australian-Japan Society (ACT)Inc Australian Bosnian & Herzegovinian Community Association

    Australian Croatian Congress

    Australian Thailand Association Canberra Inc

    Bangladesh Australia Association Canberra Inc

    Cultural Dictionary 2003 Project of the Migrant Resource Centre of Canberra & Queanbeyan 10

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