Ditto provides the backbone to this piece. No, I am not referring to the English definition, (dit·to: used in used in accounts and lists to indicate that an item is repeated) this reference refers solely to the Pokémon character ‘ditto’. The ditto who is able to take the form/shape of pretty much anything.
Before I continue, I have a confession. Never in my life do I recall watching a single episode of Pokémon. *cue surprise and horror*
Sure, I’ve seen bits and pieces. Enough to know that there is a cute yellow Pokémon with black stripes called Pikachu, and that at the end of a Pokémon cartoon, the bad guys fly off into the distance and turn into a star? (I’ve never understood that) But there has never been a time where I’ve sat through an entire episode from beginning to end. However, thanks to a crash course from a Pokémon ‘expert’ in English last week, I think I know all I need to. If you’re wondering what on earth Ditto has to do with identity and belonging, I have but 4 words to say; patience my friend, patience.
Scrolling through ninemsn recently, a headline caught my eye. It was about the ‘forgotten Australians’. The forgotten Australians refer to the survivors of the roughly 500,000 children who found themselves in institutional or other form of care, away from home and their parents, in the last Century. This topic brought me back to a few months ago, where I, along with a friend and a love for all things to do with history, ventured into the Immigration Museum in the city, which was showing an exhibition on Britain’s child migrants.
What I learned and discovered while visiting that exhibition will most likely stay with me for a very long time, if not forever. Taking an innocent, young child, by young I mean a 4 year old, away from their parents, away from the only home they have known, to a land far away where they are horribly mistreated and abused, to me, is simply horrendous.
As terrible as what occurred is, and as much as I would like to have 5 minutes, just 5 minutes alone in a room with the perpetrators of such horrific abuse, I believe that the jelly like pink blob with small beady eyes (also known as ditto) was, and still is a part of the lives of those who suffered.
Something I picked up during my crash course in Pokémon was this. No matter what shape or character Ditto takes the shape of (transforms into) his/her eyes ALWAYS stay the same. The same 2 small beady eyes. Nothing changes. They are a constant; always there, always the same.
To me, the unchanging eyes of ditto represents the unchanging values/personality/traits which we are born with, and although may shift to fit in with different situations and environments, remain inherently the same.
Although I know for a fact that the ‘forgotten Australians’ have indeed suffered greatly and have had to mould themselves to fit in with their circumstances, there are traits within each and every individual person that has not changed. Something that has remained constant through all the changes, the suffering and the pain. Something inherently present. Something forever present.
Just like ditto.