Last night at about 9:30 I was walking through Melbourne's Chinatown. Walking ahead of me were a couple of harmless-looking locals, best pals obviously. One looked like he might have been Greek – a street famous for its Greek restaurants and cake shops is nearby – and the other, wearing a Santa bonnet, was pale-skinned and earnest and obviously an Anglo.
I didn't see the face of the large figure who was looming towards us but I heard him plain enough.
"Fuck Christmas," he shouted as he brushed past. "I'm a Muslim." Then further profanities (including the c-word) from the self-proclaimed follower of the Prophet.
Presumably, he had been the recipient of a seasonal greeting from the young man in the bonnet.
The latter stood to attention and puffed his chest out. He was shocked and affronted.
But there was no violence. The offender had disappeared into the crowd, and the two friends, disconcerted and a bit confused, resumed their course, muttering to one another.
[I know. You mustn't generalize or stereotype people according to ethnic or religious background. But I am motivated to recount this little story as a reaction against the tendencies – prevalent in the circles in which I move – to self-censorship and to pandering (as I see it) to the feelings of ethnic minorities. Such pandering can actually encourage this kind of crass arrogance in my opinion.]