Community News Weekly

This Week’s NUGAS update

NUGAS ‘Ta Leme’ Update

L-R: Steven Tsouparidis, Lukas Theodorou, Claire Aitken, George Nikolakopoulos, Dean Kotsianis
L-R: George Vasilopoulos, Ellenie Vasilopoulos, John Charalambidis, Kyriakos Peristeridis, Georgia Lazarakis, Dean Kotsianis

“Καλώς ορίσατε ξανά στο πρόγραμμά μας!”. Today we applaud another two successful episodes of Ta Leme, hosted by our passionate Greek-Australian Youth.

On the 1st of October, Host Dean Kotsianis invited Greek-Australian entrepreneur, Steve Tsouparidis, founder of Greek-Made Products of Australia, and Claire Aitken, creator of Facebook page “Unapologetically Greek”. The cast were also accompanied by Lukas Theodorou, member of RMIT United Society of Hellenes (RUSH) and passionate advocate for the Greek Cypriot Youth of Melbourne. Finally, George Nikolakopoulos, NUGAS and Monash Hellenic Society member, arrived on air quite late… Greek style… yet the team were still thrilled to have him onboard!
Steve Tsouparidis explained to our audience the significance of his brand and how it supports some successful Greek entrepreneurs during a period of economic strain.

He aims to source products from family-orientated businesses and promote them on our Australian market. These products range from cosmetics to frappe wands! You name it, Steve has sourced it! He notably shared with us one of his most memorable anecdotes, the launch of Replica car Hellas, who export Greek boutique cars to Australia.

Claire also offered some insight into her page with a 23k following. She emphasized that being Greek is more than just a brand – a philosophy which she believes sets her page apart from others. She confessed that she had not particularly explored Greek culture and history to its potential, however in the past year has done so. Whilst embarking on this journey, she also informs her audience by posting various cultural/historic posts. Claire explained to the audience one of her most successful posts regarding the settlement of Greek sailors in Peru in the early 1800’s. Quite astoundingly, a Greek community is still very much alive in the town of San Andreas two centuries on.

Another topic for discussion was the Cypriot Community in Australia and cultural differences between them and mainland Greeks. These differences include cuisine, being greatly influenced by the middle-east, the predominance of haloumi over feta and the distinguishing accent. Our guest Lukas also alluded to an exciting collaboration with Steven which will be revealed in the coming months- so stay tuned!

On the 8th of October, our weekly host, Dean Kotsianis passed on the torch to Georgeia Lazarakis, member of La Trobe University Greek Society, who hosted the show. Georgia was accompanied by fellow La Tobe University Greek Society (LUGS) members Elleine Vasilopoulos and her brother George Vasilopoulos, John Charalabidis and Kyriakos Peristenidis.

The cast identified as students studying Greek at La Trobe, speaking proudly of its language department, Hellenism at La Trobe and the transition from VCE Greek-studies to tertiary level Greek.
The group unanimously commented on La Trobe’s Hellenism in their architecture. The popular social hub, ‘the Agora Centre’, is a Greek word translating directly to “the meeting place”. This building is also surrounded by four trees- the same as those planted by ancient Athenian leader, Cimon. The university also includes a traditional ancient-Greek amphitheatre, used to host movie nights in the summer months. Furthermore, the students raved about the structure of the course, coordinated by Stephie Nikoloudis. The students mentioned how Stephie aims to teach the language, especially grammar, in an engaging and simple manner. This was compared to the way VCE Greek is taught and how the study-design puts students on a time constraint, not allowing them to fully explore the language. Furthermore, it was noted that the electives that the program offers, including Greek-cultural and historical studies, were extensive and very interesting.
-Eryn Dessiniotis

‘How Good is Greece!’

George Vasilopoulos

How good is Greece! How good are the Greeks! That is how I best sum up my visit to Greece in 2019.

Why, you ask?

Well recently, I took some time to reflect on my trip using Socrates’ philosophical methods of reason. I came up with numerous reasons as to why Greece and the people are unique. But today, I will focus on one specific aspect- the moment I entered the country.

With ten minutes before landing at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport whilst in an Emirates A380, I finally hear the long awaited announcement from the pilot with a Greek accent saying “ledees and tzentolmen … 35 degreees celsius”. You know the rest.

From the minute I hear this, I feel a sense of excitement. I glance through the window and notice the terrain of the outer suburbs of Athens near Spata. I begin to think about my exit strategy once at the airport. That is, should I get a frappe and a koulouri from ‘Grigoris’ at the airport or should I just go straight to the hotel? I think you know my eventual answer to that one.

As soon as the plane touches the tarmac of the runway, I feel a sense of excitement and joy. I feel as if I have just returned to my homeland or my τόπο, which are the roots of my DNA. Not surprisingly, I sense these same feelings every time I visit Greece.

After a short walk through the plane’s departure bridge, I hear the Greek language spoken by the airport staff. I see the directional signs in Greek plastered all over the airport. I subsequently hear an announcement in Greek at 5 minute intervals, reminding the arriving passengers to not smoke in the airport.
During this point in time, I notice one airport staff in his uniform with a cigarette in his hand. Hypocrisy at its best!

As I approach the passport check out and wait in line, I notice two airport staff arguing between themselves about how best to disperse the arriving passengers through the exits. It is not long after, that I hear the “m” word used.

Oddly enough, this leaves me with a smile on my face because I know that I have entered a different world, the world of Hellas. It also reminds me that the Greek way of life is more relaxed when it comes to enforcement, compliance and being politically correct.

The laissez-faire attitude of the people and the lax approach of the government is one aspect of what I love about Greece and the Greek people.

-George Vasilopoulos