If 2013 had to be described in one word, it would have to be, ‘happening’. While most people will have ‘hectic’ at the top of their lists, ‘happening’ best describes the year gone past for us.
In Australian politics, a lot has happened in 2013. We had three Prime Ministers in one year and yes, democracy proved to be at its very best. No blood was shed and those we chose to lead either changed those who were leading, or were changed themselves. Julia Gillard survived the first leadership challenge, but lost to Kevin Rudd in the second. Mr Rudd became Australia’s second Prime Minister in the year as a result.
Meanwhile, the opposition Coalition did not change much, including (as some said) their views from the 1990s. So the Australian public who wanted things to happen in government, elected Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. And so we have our third Prime Minister in one year!
Rudd bid an emotional adieu to politics in Parliament, much to the joy of newly-elected Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten.
On the international front, the most happening thing was the surveillance tactics of America and its allies. While the targets have changed, it seems the concept of eavesdropping remains the same as during the cold war. With Edward Snowden’s revelations, President Obama had to apologise to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and currently, PM Abbott is going through a rough ride when it emerged that Australia had been snooping on phone calls in the higher echelons in Indonesia.
Positive news comes from the Middle East where some sanctions have been lifted from Iraq and were welcomed by its denizens and the reluctant international community, but the political situation in Afghanistan seems relatively unchanged. Syria continues its civil war and Egypt is experiencing political problems too.
In India, though not a lot happened politically with the same argy bargy tactics between the two major political parties, an increase in inflation and a drop in Indian economic growth resulted in a review of India’s credit rating. The most happening thing in sports beyond the IPL match fixing scandal was the retirement of cricketing god Sachin Tendulkar.
Many natural disasters have stirred up more debate about global warming and its effects. The typhoon in the Philippines, the earthquake in China and the Uttarakhand flood disaster in India were just some of the many events resulting in serious loss of life and property. Closer home were the NSW bushfires that created a haze of smoke over Sydney that lasted for days!
Manmade events of destruction like the Kenya mall shootings and the Syria chemical attack allegations shocked the world, while the US shutdown shook the world.
In the local community, a lot has been happening too. While we had great opportunities to interact and promote our culture at various melas and get-togethers, the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas in Sydney could have been a great happening, but ended up being a non-happening event. We were graced with the presence of Shah Rukh Khan who made the audience wait for over 90 minutes before anything happened.
So what will 2014 bring? Will a repeat of the Rudd-Gillard scenario occur in the Coalition Party? Will PM Abbott’s visit to India develop Indo-Oz relations? Will India choose a new government to its helm? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
But from all of us at Indian Link, we wish you a very happy New Year and all the very best in 2014. And if you have to pick a word to describe the coming year, start with relaxing, adventurous, prosperous, fun, family, positive change, healthy and happiness. Here’s wishing that they all come true for you.