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EAST IS EAST, WEST IS WEST, NORTH IS BEST

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Article by Phil Brown

Phil Brown - Journalist - Author Profile | Email | Website
Phil Brown - Journalist - Author As a journalist I am a senior writer with News Queensland. As an author I write about myself and, if that sounds self-indulgent, you don't know the half of it. Mind you if you read either of my memoirs - Travels with My Angst or Any Guru Will Do, all will be revealed.
Available as Speaker - humorist focusing on problems associated with existential angst and life's journey.
Brisbane
QLD
Australia 2000
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EAST IS EAST, WEST IS WEST, NORTH IS BEST


They say that east is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet. Same goes for the north and south, actually.

It may not be as pronounced as the difference between the Union and the Confederacy during the American Civil War but here in Brisbane there are two distinct worlds - one north of the river (our very own version of the Mason-Dixon Line) and one on the other side.

I got to thinking about this the other day when my wife, Sandra, said she was going out to a café to celebrate the beginning of a work colleague’s maternity leave.

“So where are you going?” I asked.

“Oh, just some place on the south side,” she said.

“The south side!” I shot back. “Are you serious?”

She might as well have said the South Pole as far as I was concerned and, as a north-sider, I found this incomprehensible.

“We have cafes here, you know,” I said.

Since moving to Brisbane in 1986 I have always lived on the north side … at Paddington, New Farm, Spring Hill and now Wilston.

I do venture to the south side occasionally but mainly South Bank for the cultural highlights and West End, where my base camp is Avid Reader Bookshop in Boundary Street. I go no further, generally, unless I’m on the freeway heading to the Gold Coast.

Last year we made a rare south side excursion on a mission to buy a puppy. The breeder lived at Brown’s Plains and I had to carefully study several road maps and mentally -steel myself for our foray there.

“Will I need my passport?” I asked my wife on the day. “And shall we pack a picnic lunch?”

On the way out there - or should that be down there? - everything looked so unfamiliar, I felt like I was in another country. When we arrived at our destination, which seemed to take forever, I said: “Are we even still in Queensland?”

I wasn’t comfortable until I had crossed the Story Bridge again on the way home.

I know people who live in Sydney feel the same way. My relatives on the North Shore, for example, rarely venture across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

I spent my childhood in Hong Kong, another divided city. You either lived on the island - known as Hong Kong-side - or on the mainland -

Kowloon-side. My father’s family first moved to Kowloon in the late 1930s, so that sealed our fate. When I was a boy people who lived Hong Kong-side were considered, well, a bit snooty while Kowloon-siders were considered riff-raff. Brisbane is a more egalitarian city but the geographical divide is just as strong.

Mind you I hear there are some lovely people living on the south side and one day I’d love to meet them. As for the east and west, well that’s a whole other thing and I’m not going there.

26 May 2013

Article/Information supplied by Phil Brown

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.

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