Posted: September 8, 2006 in About Melbourne


(Photos taken on a train from work)

I have lived in Melbourne for 7 years now and just like the movie 7 Years in Tibet, I have already formed my opinion and forged feelings and emotions for this place and the people.  From a pinoy immigrant’s point of view, I observed that:

  • Aussies, in general are very ‘serious’ types and not very sociable.  They are a great follower of the rule: Mind your own business or To each his own.  (Unlike the Filipinos who are ‘pakialameros’ and the lot).  Yes, they do try hard to be happy and carefree – but there is no spontaneity at all as everything is taken a bit too seriously. 

  • Recent studies have shown that an Aussie in general would only have 1 to 2 friends whom he or she can call anytime of the day to talk to.  Isolation leading to depression is a common case.  It is hard to strike a conversation with strangers in a public place – as talking to strangers is not a common cause (unlike in the Philippines where everyone is talking to anyone everywhere). 

  • Aussies treasure their private lives.  And there are privacy laws that protect this among others.   You seldom, or never, get invited to your neighbors’ homes or parties – and you can live in a place without knowing your neighbors.

  • Now, this one really gets me.  On my way home and back to work, I observe that people in the tram or the train look so unhappy, lonely, tired, or just simply away in the la-la land.  No one talks to each other.  If you hear noise, it is just someone in their mobile phone.  Everyone avoids each other’s eyes.  No personal contacts!  It’s so damn silent … like people on their way to a gas chambers.  :)  It is really so depressing!   The mobile phones and the ipods are the new gadgets that promote privacy in the public transport.  Everyone is hooked on a earphone shut to world around them.


  • I think that Australia is just like a very wealthy family in the Philippines.  Living in a high walled mansion, with security guards – isolating from the world outside, afraid of getting robbed of their wealthy possessions. (No eye contacts!) With very few friends or relatives.  And leading a very lonely private unsociable life!  Very civilized and advanced and yet so cold and impersonal. Rich in wealthy possesions and yet so bored with life.  

  • Very rich yet so lonely!     

  1. Kyels says:

    I guess every country in this world has their own culture and the way the people behave.

    It’s pretty eerie if there’s no eye contact or they don’t talk to each other unless they are friends. I mean, one can always strike up a conversation if the other party is willing to engage in a conversation.


  2. Sidney says:

    I think it is pretty much the same in Europe. Indeed a big difference with the Philippines.
    I am sometimes amazed on how people (in the Philippines) I never met before succeed to know everything about my life in 5 minutes!
    Where I live, if I am married, how many children, what I do, etc.
    Quite funny actually…

  3. jase says:

    hi Kyels,

    Yes, you are right! Every country has unique cultural differences. In Australia, I think people in the big cities are more like in NY or in England – a bit uptight and just keeping to themselves. I have only noticed one time when people greet each other on the streets – during the Year 2000 night celebration and that was like hello??? what’s happening with you?

    But back to normal life – people here are really like zombies especially at winter time!🙂

  4. jase says:

    Hi Sydney,

    I have not been to Europe yet, but yeah, I guess it is all the same. I guess third world countries like India, Mexico and Puerto Rico would have more sociable culture. Do you think it is about the weather or just because people are poor? They tend to rely and reach out to other people.

  5. Kyels says:


    I guess we cannot expect much and I bet Australia is very different from the Philippines whereby the people there are warmer.

    Even in Malaysia, the people are great especially the older generation but not the young ones because they are too absorbed into having the cool factor. Shucks.


  6. jase says:

    Hi Kyels,

    Yes, you are right … there are upside and downside to things, even in cultures. I bet there are ways to compensate lack of things. And that’s why people in third world countries are warmer and more friendly! As you said, can’t have a perfect world🙂

  7. Jennie says:

    I am quite lucky that most of my Aussie friends are very warm and sociable. I also strike fantastic conversations with people in the shops (David Jones is full of super-friendly people for some reason) and cafes that I frequent.

    I guess there are particular places in Melbourne that house warmer people than others. It’s the same in Manila.

    Weather is another factor as why people here in Melbourne have “different moods” so to speak. Heck, with the cold weather we’ve been having, I myself am in no mood to be cheerful!😀

  8. jase says:

    Hi Jennie,

    Yes, I think you are! I think one of the requirements for a happy life in Oz is to be surrounded with your family and friends.

    Yes, there are places where you could really strike a good conversation. I have heaps of buzzies in David Jones and Myers in the City. I have friends in the cosmetics and perfume departments as well, always willing to help and sell you their products🙂

    Yep, weather here is really crazy. Is it spring or still winter? I don’t know….🙂

  9. Kyels says:


    We are not living in a perfect world and we cannot have a perfect world too.

    It’s Yin and Yang; for everything.


  10. tin-tin says:

    i think i’ll have a very hard time if i’ll live in australia. i might easily die of depression

  11. vina says:

    mabuhay na naman ang mga pilipino!

    mabuhay tayo sister!

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