The original title of this article is ‘Last drinks in Lakemba.’ It is a snapshot of a former Multi-cultural suburb in Sydney that is now exclusively mono-culture.There is no assimilation here. There is no Australian culture here.Recently I posted about an Australian woman/refugee who fled a suburb just like this one and took her family to live in Tasmania to escape the racism and discrimination she and her children faced there as European Australians.
Was she exaggerating what she faced? Read the below article and decide for yourself.
The Lakemba Hotel, Haldon St, Lakemba / Picture: Adam Taylor
THE Lakemba Hotel is one of the last Anglo holdouts in Sydney’s otherwise Middle-Eastern south-western suburb. Frankly, the old joint — it opened in 1928 — isn’t putting up much resistance. Most nights the bar is closed by 8.30pm or so, because by then what few customers it attracts are insufficient to cover running costs.
Still, it’s friendly and hospitable. Staffer Poppy helpfully showed me to my $50-a-night room, which is the only option in Lakemba for anyone seeking short-term rented accommodation.
There are no other hotels or motels. In fact, there are no other rooms besides number 15 in the hotel’s residential wing. All the others are taken by boarders, one of whom has been here for 20 years.
It isn’t exactly luxurious. The room has a sink, which is nice, but nothing else by way of amenities. There isn’t even a Gideon’s Bible. Instead, reflecting certain demographic changes in the area, there is a Ramadan eating schedule.
Lakemba may be only 30 minutes from the centre of Sydney, yet it is remarkably distinct from the rest of the city. You can walk the length of crowded Haldon St and not hear a single phrase in English. On this main shopping strip the ethnic mix seems similar to what you’d find in any Arabic city. Australia may be multicultural, but Haldon St is a monoculture.
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