Old Uncle

The Asian cultures have Old Uncles. And Old Aunties, too. These titles have nothing whatever to do with being relatives, but everything to do with being a real someone.

My daughter introduced me to the idea – she says all the Asian food van ladies at her university are Aunties. And I have met Uncles working in Asian businesses. You see, it is an honorific given to the senior workers…because they are workers.

Old Uncle or old Auntie may not be doing quite as much as the rest of the people but they are doing something, and generally doing it well. They are engaged in daily work to benefit their families, their employers, and themselves.

All too often we in Australia see this and scoff at what is happening – saying that the old people are slaves in a culture that has no social security. What nonsense – the Old Uncles and Old Aunties have the greatest security there is – a position in the team. They have not been relegated to the sidelines of the culture – they are players along with the rest.

I have come to admire this…and I hope to be able to continue being Uncle Dick in my daily commercial weblog column. And Uncle Dick at the dance shows, taking photographs that benefit the artistic community. If I am Uncle Dick taking pictures at a wedding or in the studio – or Uncle Dick doing anything useful – I will have retained the dignity we all need.

Note: In my case it is a parlous sort of dignity as I am given to breaking into the occasional fit of folly. Mind you, I am perfectly content with being Foolish Uncle Dick as long as there are drinks and snacks available.

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