to W-11 Main Page
tram-overheard tram-otherwise tram-overboard  

Woman, woman, woman or woman?


View image at large size
photo: Karen Trist

Post to discussion


A Melbourne tram dressed up as a Karachi bus!!! It is in many ways such a paradox, a clash of the senses, and a dichotomy of meaning. The Melbourne tram is a sleek, efficient vehicle that transports you quietly and unobtrusively from point A to point B. The Karachi bus is a loud, lurching, chaotic animal that allows you no space and little privacy. With its riotous colours, kitch images, flashing neon lights and pulsating music blasting through speakers, it denies personal thought and demands total attention from its passengers as well as those sharing its roads. Traveling on it is as much a journey in itself as reaching a destination. To imagine it on Melbourne roads is akin to expecting raging bulls charging down Swanston Street.

I have spent my life straddling two cultures, which superficially seem so diametrically opposed to the other. But scratch the surface and the similarities become apparent. Merge them together and the beauty appears. W-11 tram personifies all that. The interior of the tram is a laudation to the much-suppressed id in all our personalities. In a world increasingly coveting minimalism and searching for zen, the tram screams its celebration of life, love and fun. The walls, the windows, the ceiling, the seats, the doors, every inch of the tram inside and out is painted in the most intricate and fanciful designs and images. . My personal favourites I have to say were the Pakistan and Australian flags painted side by side and sometimes merging into each other, I felt they spoke to me personally as I’m sure many others on the tram felt the same about other images. Amongst the motley crew of guests cum passengers were a spattering of bemused tourists and slightly more bemused locals. But together we were all a wonderful crowd. An elder from an indigenous community, Joy Murphy, and the lord Mayor of Melbourne, Hong Kong born John So, officially launched the W-11 tram on the Melbourne circuit. Festivities got underway with the passing around of a small eucalyptus shoot as a welcoming of all and everyone took one leaf to represent their inclusion into the community. After which we had good old desi chai and samosa piping hot as if fresh off a Kemari khoka (food stall).

The W-11 tram is an affirmation of the beauty of inclusion and multiculturalism that is Melbourne today. Every now and then on a setting Friday evening spying the W-11 tram doing its usual city circle with its flashing neon lights and the echoes of Noor Jehan singing her heart out - in the heart of Melbourne Australia - makes me laugh.

Aliyah Mohyeddin
Wednesday November 29