Komninos Zervos and Ahn Do’s Experience of Identity

10 October 2016

What do we learn from Komninos Zervos and Ahn Do’s experience of identity in multi-cultural Australia and how are their ideas effectively expressed? Both the poem and the interview emphasise the importance of treating people equally whatever their background. To stay positive and treat people with respect no matter what. Slang and personal anecdotes/family anecdotes are being used in Adam Hills interview with Ahn do and in the poem ‘Nobody calls me a wog anymore’ by Komninos Zervos. Nobody calls me a wog anymore’ by Komninos Zervos explores the importance of being proud of who you are no matter what background is. The poem emphasises the challenges faced moving to Australia with a different background and how to overcome those challenges throughout every day life aswell as Adam Hill’s interview with Ahn Do emphasises the proudness and gratefulness he has for moving being who he is and for having people around him that made his life so much better.

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This is explored in the quote “Mum and dad use to teach us to be grateful for everything, infact they used the boat trip as an example and told us you could have been dead, now that were alive, make it worth something kids”. Both texts also demonstrate self-belief and confidence in facing those who may be biased or racist and that people from other backgrounds aren’t any different to anyone else , an example of how this is shown in Komninos Zervos’ poem is “I’m an ozzie too, just like you, fair dinkum ridgy didge a dinky die true blue” .

This quote has the use of slang to outline the poet’s sense of humour throughout the poem also. Being proud of who you are is important to both Ahn Do and Komninos Zervos as they express their feelings in personal and family anecdotes. Ahn Do uses a sense of humour in the interview with the clothes that people from Vinnies had given their family as a gift to welcome them into Australia and given them girls clothing to wear and the photograph that was shown of his brother and himself dressed as girls.

He uses things such as mentioning his uncle was a sapper in the Vietnam war to express how proud he was of his family and where he comes from. The poem explains how proud he is to be who he is and weather anyone likes it or not, he’s not going anywhere. This is explored in the quote ‘Whether you like it or not I am one of you. ’ I give as much as I take, And I’ve given and taken a lot, and I’ll take as much as I can, and I’ll give as much as I’ve got”.

Australian slang is used humorously in both poems such as “ Fair dinkum ridgy didge a dinky die true blue” in the poem to highlight that he was now a part of the Australian society and that he would be treated fairly. Ahn do uses Australian slang humorously in the lines when he says “all these years Barnsey’s been singing about my uncle in the war when I can’t even understand Barnsey “. “Both texts turn potentially racist commentary into humour for example ‘Nobody calls me a wog anymore and ‘he’s pretty funny for a slope’”1.

Both the poem and the interview outline the importance of being proud of who you are and being accepted of who you are through slang, personal and family anecdotes and humour. “Both texts adopt a personalized colloquial register”2 and explore the importance of being true to yourself. Sources- 1- Class work sheet 2- Class worksheet “Mum and dad use to teach us to be grateful for everything, infact they used the boat trip as an example and told us you could have been dead, now that were alive, make it worth something kids”

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