Well, it is today.
This is another one of my reprints of articles I’ve written for Australia and New Zealand magazine, this particular piece appeared in their September issue just a few months ago. I’m not sure if they’ve called any of their previous articles in their magazine “G’day Mate!”, but if they haven’t, they have now.
I was standing in a queue at a coffee shop somewhere in Darwin. It doesn’t matter that it was Darwin, it could have probably been anywhere in Australia. In front of me in the queue was another guy about to place an order and there was a man behind the counter serving. Here’s how that conversation went, to make things easy the server is in normal font and the customer in italics.
“G’day mate.” “Hello mate.” “How’s it going mate?” “Good mate and you mate?” “Yes mate, all good mate.” “What can I get you mate?” “I’ll have a long black please mate.” “Okay mate, can I get you anything else mate?” “No thanks mate, that’ll do mate.” “Okay mate, that’ll be $4.50 please mate.” “There you go mate.” “Thanks mate.” “No worries mate.”
I’m guessing they were both Australian.
You may have noticed a quite hefty use of the word ‘mate’ in that conversation. Some of you may even think I’m exaggerating! Well, maybe a wee bit, but not by more than, say, three or four mates.
Yes, it is a bit of an Aussie thing to say mate a lot. These phrases are also popular; “Good on ya.” “All good.” and “No worries.” Then there are questions like “How ya going?” which should be answered with “Good mate.” Let’s try that one; “How ya going?” “Good mate.” “Too easy.” Oh, that’s another one. Rapidly losing ground though these days are “fair dinkum”, “strewth” and “Sheila”.
The thing is though, Australians are a very friendly bunch
Travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler recently took a look at the worlds friendliest and unfriendliest cities through a reader survey. Hobart in Tasmania was voted the second friendliest city in the world and Margaret River, a town just under 300 kilometres south of Perth in Western Australia, also made the top 10. Source: News.com.au
In all the cities in all the world, two in the top 10 for Australia? Not bad.
Last year the World Economic Forum ranked Australia 27th friendliest country in the world out of 140, that’s pretty friendly. HSBC’s Expat Explorer Survey in 2012 placed Australia as the second friendliest country in the world, so that’s even friendlier. Sources: SMH (article no longer online) and Forbes
Digging even deeper I found an article suggesting that the Chinese regard Australia as the friendliest country in the Western world. According to Professor You Ji, a Chinese academic, “Culturally, Australia is regarded as the most friendly country of any Western countries as far as Chinese are concerned“. Source: Courrier Mail
I’m not sure where he got his information from for that, but I’m not going to argue with him. As far as I’m concerned, it’s official; Australia is a friendly country.
“What do you think mate?” “Yes mate, all good mate.” “Thanks mate.”
Anyway, I can talk, I’m from Essex. When it was my turn to order my coffee I opened with “All right?” To which the answer, had I been in Essex, would have probably been “Not bad.” But I wasn’t in Essex, so the guy said “G’day mate” and I said “Hello.”
By the way, Australian coffee is fantastic.