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19 April 2018

Sean J


I got bullied at primary school because I have an unusual birth mark on my head. I felt different to everyone else. It made it tough for me. Other kids used to beat me up. I didn’t have many friends. Most kids just ganged up on me. School felt like a prison to me. But the teachers were very nice and tried helping me catch up on the subjects I was struggling with and with the homework. High school was a bit better. Thank God that’s all over!

Because of all this I took up karate and did it for two years. I have made it to blue belt. My dad had a brown belt years ago. He was really good at it!

In the past I worked at Bedford Industries in Pooraka for five years. Now I also work as a gardener in Alberton. My social worker helped me find it. I work two times a week. I like doing it. I do a bit of landscaping and planting. I’m on the disability support pension. I was born with Asperger’s syndrome.

I first heard about The Big Issue from my friend a few years ago. She was a vendor. I needed extra money and she told me to give it a go. I’ve been doing it since. I enjoy selling the mag. It’s good to have something to do, a bit of a routine. I like meeting new people, a lot of them say hello.

I like hanging out with my dad, sometimes we go out for something to eat. I have three stepsisters and a stepbrother and a half-brother. I’m the oldest one! I live mostly with my mum, but sometimes I go and stay with my dad. It’s more fun staying at Dad’s. He’s got two dogs, a Rottweiler and a Miniature Pinscher. I also like visiting my grandma. She will be 94 in May. She came to Australia in 1959. She is German. My grandpa was Polish, but he passed away when I was 16. My father is German, too, but I was born in Adelaide and have always lived here. I would like to go to Germany one day.

I enjoy doing different things. As a kid I liked playing with toy trains. I also played football and sang in a school choir. Now I play cards, I also like bingo. I used to go to bingo with my grandma, but it’s getting too fast for her. I have a group of friends there now. I enjoy watching funny old movies. My favourite is The Three Stooges. I like American Westerns. I listen to a lot of different music. Sometimes I play music on my pitch, it’s more fun this way. I like rap, rock’n’roll, pop and some German music. I go to Schutzenfest when I can, it’s good fun.

I work pretty much every day, except when it’s raining. It’s hard to make sales when it’s wet. I work at the Adelaide Railway Station. I have a few regular customers. It’s good to have some extra money. Some people buy me a coffee, which is nice of them. I just want to keep selling The Big Issue and meet new customers and vendors, take it one day at a time.

Sean J sells The Big Issue at Adelaide Railway Station.

Photograph by Nat Rogers

Interview by Alicja Clisby
Adelaide, SA