Crossing Cleveland St, Danny turned to me and said, “Watch this.”
Standing on a small traffic island, he began waving to the passing cars and within the space of a minute, just about each one was honking at him madly, waving adoringly and shouting greetings.
About a month ago, I spent the morning with Danny Lim, someone who I would easily call a Sydney icon.
An advocator of peace, love, and smiles, you’ll find Danny standing outside most Sydney train stations, walking down a main street or the CBD wearing a sandwich board with a message of love and peace.
Originally from Malaysia, Danny moved to Australia in 1962 and studied communications before eventually falling into activism in response to anti-Asian discourse in Australia over 20 years ago.
“Just as John Howard came into government, people were blaming Asians, discussing migration and pretty quickly this started the ‘swamped by Asians’ slogan that was used by people like Pauline Hanson… That’s when I started getting into activism” says Danny.
Danny has met and developed relationships with several community leaders and politicians as well as developing profound relationships with everyday Sydneysiders from discussions on the street.
Deeply concerned and involved in politics, Danny ran for the Federal Senate in 2018. Now, he’s comfortable in his role as a Sydney icon and activist and plans on staying in that role for years to come.
For many years Danny was known to always be accompanied by his dog, Smartie. After Smartie’s recent passing, Danny feels even more compelled to keep doing what he does.
I asked him if he ever takes a day off, to which he told me no. Danny says: “At home, there’s not much there for me. But here I can do good things and live with purpose.”
You can find Danny Lim in several neighbourhoods around Sydney. You can also find him on Facebook.