Archive for May, 2008

From Pain To Prejudice

May 27, 2008

One of the biggest tragedies today is the plight of the Sudanese refugees. After escaping from torture, trauma and war in their homeland, they sought out sanctuary in countries of opportunity like Australia. Unfortunately, they didn’t realise how xenophobic the population is over here, and subsequently were vilified and accused of creating gangs to intimidate and attack people with. Please take a look at this clip:

As you can see, the media has taken a couple of incidents and run wild with them, completely distorting the truth and using it to push its own agenda, of supporting a cutting down of our Sudanese refugee intake. The sad thing about this is that too many people take this kind of news as gospel in Australia. We are a very uneducated population when it comes to the reality of politics. But whats worse is the media taking advantage and sustaining this by fueling the fire with controversial reports for commercial gain.

There are over 2 million refugees from Darfur. Most of them have seen their friends and family killed, have experienced torture and other such traumas and are extremely emotionally scarred. They come from an environment of horrors, to what they hope will be a successful and happy future here in Australia. They have no concept of our culture, nobody taught them what Australian life would be like, and we are quite ignorant of them. Hence, miscommunication occurs.

They are a very family and community orientated people, boys gathering in groups are not standing around to intimidate at train stations and shopping centres. They are doing what was normal for them back home, what makes them feel part of their community, and if you said hello to them you would be surprised by the warmness of their response.

It has been difficult for Sudanese people to integrate into Australian life because approximately 60% of refugees have literacy and numeracy problems in their own language, let alone with English. They are put into classes based on their age and not education level. The rest of the Sudanese who were once doctors and other high profile or professional roles find that their qualifications are not accepted here, and are forced into menial work. Without proper English skills, finding a job in Australia is almost impossible, despite how motivated and eager they are to start their lives over again by working.

We need to think about the social and structural changes necessary when welcoming refugees into our country. Education on both sides, for better social cohesion, is a must. Housing, jobs, counseling, community activities and financial support is needed. Instead of filling up the newspapers and tv news reports with xenophobic nonsense, we must be realistic and supportive to our new neighbours. Because the fact of it is, statistics for crime by the Sudanese are actually quite low, and misrepresentation of both sides from the media is turning people against them unfairly.

Have you given them a chance? Have you spoken to any of them? I can tell you that they are sweet and kind, very welcoming to conversation and accepting once you’ve given them the opportunity to be. And yet, people prefer to throw bottles at them in the streets as they drive past, or scream racist abuse at them.

Its the age old Australian way of fearing those who are different. We’ve gone from hating Asians, to ‘wogs’, to Muslims, and now we have an old favourite, the white vs black, which first began with the Aboriginals. We look at them with prejudice, associating being black with the gang warfare types of groups in America. But they are not forming gangs, they are hanging out with their mates just like you or I do in pubs.

Will Australia ever be welcoming to those who are different?

Losing Guys

May 23, 2008

“I cannot escape

No matter what I do, can’t get away from you

Call me everyday

And that shit ain’t never cool

Gettin on my nerves, I think its time you knew..

Only gave you my number coz drinks made you cuter plus

You were lookin sad and lonely..

But thats all it was, just put you in the game and

Here you go complainin, whats up with you?”

Losing guys is a very delicate skill which most do not possess. I’m pretty sure I’m one of those wenches who for the life of me cannot accomplish this amicably. But it gets to a point where you don’t give a fuck about that, you just want them out of your face.

I’m a panicker. I’m already quite reluctant to be held back by being committed to a guy I’m not sure about, but when one who I know I don’t and won’t ever want comes pushing himself into my life, I get antsy. I wanna put that shit out, and fast. Thats just too bad for him and I don’t care. Its fair game as far as I’m concerned, if you put yourself in it then rejection is an option you better be ready for.

However much this situation occurs, I’ve never known the right way to go about it and its one of those things I’ll actually ask advice for. My business is my business and I like people to stay out of it, but once the pressure is on for me I get desperate for the loopholes and easy way out clauses. That said, I know there are many girls as frustrated as me when it comes to this and so I’ll validate their feelings with some pearls of wisdom. Bad advice is better than no advice.

The Guy Who’s Rolling In On The Friend Vibe (That Sneaky Bastard)

Has it gotten to the stage where any platonic friendship you had with a guy is automatically forfeited once you haven’t seen him in a while? Any intensive background work you had done in the past turns to shit, they forget completely how you stabilised them as a friend. This one is tricky because there is no feasible way that you can avoid giving them your number if they ask. And once you’ve given them your number, you’re practically forced to reply to their messages in the name of said friendship. Coz you know you write back to your mates. And they know that too. So its a catch 22.. He gets his reply, even though you don’t want to, but you have to because you’re trying to keep on the light and easy friendship side.

A variation of this, which is also quite common, is the guy who’s already your friend but decides his slice of the cake isn’t big enough and now he wants the whole thing. The greedy pig. I mean, this guy could be someone you thought was a close mate and suddenly he switches shit up on you. Maybe he just broke up with the girlfriend that was holding him back, or a drunken night out gave him the wrong idea. Whatever, its happened, we’re here, lets deal with it. You have to decide whether the friendship is worth keeping, because honestly theres not much left of it now that he’s butchered it with his new found emotions.

This guy has the upper hand as I’ve already mentioned, because he knows you’re gonna reply. Well my dears, if thats how he wants to play, then fine. We’re gonna turn the tables with some retaliatory sneaky shit like he’s served us. When you reply, be blunt, half hearted and rude. No smileys, no lol’s, no xxx. If the conversation has gone to a whats on for the weekend type thread, mention seeing some ‘guy you like’. Always name this guy, so he can be in no doubt that its not himself. And if he replies too much, you can prematurely decide the convo is over and stop replying. Friends know that friends don’t care when this happens, because someone is always more busy or less bored than the other.

“So many times you guys will come step to me

I guess you call yourself booking me

But do I look easy? It ain’t easy..

Well it never hurts to try

I just might let you call me

I hope you don’t plan on buggin me

That would be ugly..”

The Rejected Date

You’ve gone on a date with this guy who you thought was okay, and who you’ve realised is a douche for whatever reason you pin it on. Basically this guy thinks he’s onto a long term thing, when you know its lost the magic. Unless you want to keep going on boring, awkward dates to make him happy then you have to say something slightly more potent than ‘I’m busy’. You can just ignore his messages, but c’mon girls, that’s just plain rude and you hate it when guys do that to you. Man up where they can’t (the pussies) and give this guy an end line. Make it cliched, who cares, but say something. Some favourites:

“I don’t think I’m ready for something like this, sorry.”

“I have to concentrate on my career/study right now.”

“This just isn’t working for me.”

Be nice about it, thank him for good times or whatever. He’s probably going to hate you even though you do this, but he can’t hate you with valid reason and thats the clincher. When you walk past and he tells his mates you’re a bitch, he won’t be able to give them a reason thats not pathetic. “She barred me,” is just code for “I’m a reject,” and most guys don’t want to say this.

Bar/Club/Supermarket Guy

This one is kind of awesome because he’s just met you and doesn’t know a thing about you. You can get creative and tell him you’re leaving the country to pursue a career in journalism over in Palestine, that you have strict parents who plan to arrange a suitable marriage for you, or that you just plain old have a boyfriend. The more outrageous the better, because even if its unbelievable he knows he’s just been barred. Also, you get the ego boost without any of the traumas.

It’s easy to leave someone hanging, but you leave yourself open to continued contact later and its generally not nice to be so cold. A sense of decency is what separates the dogs from the mutts, and if I’m going to be a bitch I’d prefer to be a purebred with pride intact and not a mongrel from the streets. Think about how you would be like to be treated before you take action.

“Well I don’t think you realise

That you don’t even have a chance

When I spit my g at you I bet you won’t know how to act

Its that bad..

I lick my lips and then I think about how sweet my touch is baby

So to feel me must be hot

Well if you didn’t know, you know now

Exactly how its going down..”

The End Of Days

May 21, 2008

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, however I’m alarmed myself. It seems the death of the world is no longer an issue for my children, or grandchildren, but instead will come about in my lifetime. Being that greenhouse gas emissions are no way near zero and will not be for some time, I can safely assure you this is the case.

I’m sure many have seen the startling images of the melting ice shelves in the Antarctic and up where Santa lives, but it is the Greenland Ice Shelf which is causing the most drama at the moment. This is because at the rate it is going, scientists estimate it will be completely melted in 2013. This will raise sea level 5-7 metres.

Once that has occurred it is only a matter of time before both the polar caps melt, which will raise the sea level up to 25 metres. All coastal countries of low altitudes will turn to underwater mermaid cities, some islands have in fact already gone under. It is estimated that there will be something like 3 billion environmental refugees.

This my friends, is not the worst of it. The melting of the caps will turn the ocean acidic and all marine life will die. It will also release deadly methane gases from the permafrost which will surely poison the earth. Last time this kind of thing happened, the only thing that survived was the cockroaches.

We are going to die in a matter of a few decades.

In the future, I’m sure the companies who refused to go green and the leaders who would not force them to will be considered criminals. The sad thing is that help is well within our grasp, but we push it away. Renewable energies such as wind power and solar are cheap and just as effective as the environmentally damaging ones we use today. Countries like Germany, China and Denmark have already begun converting thousands of households to these renewable energy sources. Nuclear power is not an option. For one it is like 50 times more expensive than using solar and wind, and two the plants have a lifespan of only 25 years. Then there is the problem of the toxic waste, which has never been solved.. There is no way to properly contain it and today sits in rusting barrels polluting the earth further.

We can fix this, but we are at the point where if it is not immediate then it will be too late. We’re almost past the point of no return. And no offense to the human race or anything but we’re not usually good with fixing the worlds problems, and without large scale government intervention anything we do is basically going to amount to pissing into the ocean.

Even with all the countries who have ratified Kyoto, the United States greenhouse gas emissions are bigger than the emissions of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th biggest offending countries put together.

Not that I can say much for Australia, who is the biggest offender on average per capita.

I’m pretty scared.

Fighting The AM

May 16, 2008

It’s interesting to be awake at this hour, ten of the AM. I try to avoid the AM at all costs unless forced into it by uni or work, or something equally as depressing, a hangover. The latter is todays case. Its just that I don’t think the AM has much to offer me. Sure, the shops are open, but is anyone in them?

Thankfully, I can remember most of what I did last night so I can be confident that a bout of the guilts won’t bring me down today. I’ve spent many an hour laying in bed wishing I hadn’t spoken ever in my life. Last night I think I was ok though, I could have even be considered loudly demure.

This is an area I am an expert of, the hangover. I think that with such knowledge comes a certain responsibility, to educate and help others, like batman. Though he mostly educates with his fists. Nevertheless, we must push on.

Awakening In The AM

As terrible as this is to say, you will be waking up early. Its got something to do with the water in your body running out. My dad also told me its when the alcohol finally wears off. To combat this, one must rehydrate themselves as well as they can, get back into bed and sleep that dirty AM off.

The Shakes

If you’ve got the shakes, like I do right now, its safe to assume you haven’t slept long enough. Don’t worry what the time is, get back into bed and force yourself until you wake up without them. Trust me, its the only way. The shakes is pretty much one step away from being violently ill of the mouth in the bathroom. I hate being violently ill of the mouth, but for research purposes, and for the people, I’m willing to go on and write. They won’t be able to say I never did my part for humanity.

Headachey / Gong of Death Pounding In The Brain Cavity

The alcohol has drained all your body water, in some magical way. I don’t know how this happens, only that it does and thats enough for me. You need hydration, perhaps also ibuprofen. In an everyday situation all you will have around is water, which works fine. For the elite there is Powerade. I’m an advocate for red, but I guess any color can be effective. What they won’t tell you about Powerade is that its formulated for athletes to hydrate them fast. This means super effectiveness. Now that I’ve told you the secret, you would be crazy not to take advantage of its powers. Once hydration is taken care of, go back to bed.

General Queasiness Yet Unexplainable Hunger

If you’re having trouble deciding whether to be violently ill of the mouth or stuff yourself with food, then your body is just trying to figure out how to get rid of the alcohol in your bloodstream the fastest. Option number A will be the most efficient solution and its only a matter of time before your body cottons on to this. The best thing to do is get back into bed and sleep it off. When you have awoken eat something greasy to soak up any remaining alcohol-blood cells. I recommend KFC twister combos. You get the freshness of the lettuce, tomato and pita bread but with the added goodness/oiliness of the chicken and chips. And pepsi, which is arguably way better than coke, where can you go wrong (note that this is counteractive to your hydration efforts)?

The Guilts

This is the worst part of a hangover, remembering all the dumb shit you did/said the night before. Things that seem ok in the real world transform themselves brutally in the hangover world. There are only two ways to cure yourself of this terrible feeling. The first is actually preemptive, it involves trying not to do or say silly things while in the drunken state. Some argue this preemptive method is BS, as who could stop themselves in that essence of being? Others say it can be done. I have not yet met these drunken Jedi, but their existence is whispered on the winds, I know they’re out there. The other way is to somehow see those things as they are, silly little things lost in time and memory. Life will go on, but get back into bed and have a sleep to be on the safe side.

3 O’clock Sads

Unavoidable. You may not have noticed yet, but around this hour you will start feeling pretty sad. I think its just a come down from the joy of the previous night. No one knows why its at 3pm, my theory is that 3am was probably the peak of your enjoyment the night before and so its natural opposite must occur twelve hours later, as is sciences way. I could explain it to you deeper, but its all physics and I’m not gonna bore my seven readers into abandoning me. Try to watch an uplifting movie around this time, or sit outside in the sun and look into the sky, remembering that many others in the world have it much worse than you do. Out there, some people are spending their hangover in the bathroom.

Hopefully I have enlightened you all to a better way. Maybe in time you could progress even further by actually being productive on a hangover day. Don’t get your hopes up though, that shits unlikely. I wish I could end this by telling you all I’m crawling back into bed to sleep, but sadly my partner in crime has come over (my sister) and she needs me to accompany her for some hangover food. Sigh.

Oh I almost forgot. NEVER toast your twister. Something that seems like a good idea should never taste that wrong. And those new flavours look shit, huh? Just keep it simple, you don’t want to be too ambitious. Anyway, good luck you crazy drinkers!

Minchin VS Carr: Carr KO’d

May 15, 2008

I was watching Question Time tonight and the ineptitude of Senator Kim Carr, the Minister of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, was almost embarrassing in response to a question from Senator Nick Minchin about the effect the luxury car tax would have on working families, in regards to making it more difficult for those who are not wealthy enough to buy such cars.

My god, after accusing Minchin of having his own interests in heart, (which may or may not be the case, it was still a good question that I would like the answer to) Carr continued to waffle his way through an answer, having said nothing was cut off by the speaker for running out of time.

Lets think about this, to the truly wealthy, what would a luxury car tax really do? Those rich enough to afford them would not even feel a tax like that, it would go unnoticed. For the rest of us, it would push such vehicles even further out of our reach. Not that these are a necessity, or even important, the issue being raised here is the increase of taxes on living to everyone but the rich in Australia.

Increase their taxes, don’t widen the gap. How does this help anything? It is a weak mask for including the wealthy in the attacks on income that the rest of us are feeling. This tax solves no problems.

This government, and the last government are fond of these quick fixes that do nothing in the long run. Take for example, the hike on drink prices to stop young people (mainly girls) from drinking them. All this does is stop the poorer people from purchasing that type of drink. And what does that help? The girls who bought them before, will still buy them now. As my father is fond of saying, beer once went up to 33cents a pot, or something as ridiculously cheap, and all over Australia people vowed not to buy them. But here we are, at $3.50 a pot still going strong.

Fuck it, lets widen the gap. With any luck it might incite enough rage to overthrow the fat cats upstairs.

The RuddKip

May 13, 2008

I’ve been thinking about you a lot Mr Rudd. I’ve never been the biggest fan of yours, in fact I choose to be with someone else instead. The Greens were always the apple of my eye. And to be completely honest, I never thought much of your looks. Your flat hair and nerdy ways never floated my boat. My first impression was that you were a weakling.

Prior to choosing I had a lot of background on you, and your ideas. Seemed your ‘Education Revolution’ was little more than the same performance pay for teachers tripe that Howard was pushing us towards. How on earth would that improve teaching? More pressure on teachers would lead to more stress, possibly those wanting to cut corners for their own sakes. This kind of thing has lead teachers in America to helping the students with cheating on tests and so forth. And a national curriculum, where children would be taught the history that the government wanted them to learn. A rewritten history, with the blunders and foibles erased. An Anglo-centric version, ignorant of the Aboriginal side, focusing mainly on dates and the voyage of the Endeavour.

Funding for schools based on need, whether private or public. “Labor will increase its investment in every school across the country. Some will need a bigger boost than others – maybe their results are under par or their students come from disadvantaged families – but not one school will lose one dollar of federal funding.” However, by refusing to distinguish between private and public, Rudd ignores that almost 70% of children, who are in public schools, clearly have the greatest need of increased investment.

Health.. Well privatisation is already well under way, isn’t it? Why should we have to pay for the right to be given health care? If I am sick and I cannot afford the treatment, must I suffer?

Truth is, apart from WorkChoices, Aboriginal reconciliation and a better attitude to the environment, your policies all but echo that of the Howard Regime. A plague on both your houses!

What kills me more than anything about you, is that while you had the guts to criticise China about human rights and Tibet, you do not extend that voice to other people who would also benefit from it. You gave a speech on the 60th anniversary of Israel congratulating it as a nation, with not even a hint, NOT ONE WORD about their treatment of the Palestinians, many massacres and infringements on human rights.. You did exactly what the rest of the world does and IGNORED IT.

Damn you Rudd. I’m glad I didn’t vote for you. I am ashamed that you are our international representative. I can’t curse you enough!

Strong And Silenced Throughout History

May 10, 2008

“Now that was the sin that did Jezebel in

Who you gonna call when the repercussions spin?”

I love stories of the heroes in ancient times, especially when they’re women. Queens, princesses and fair maidens who used their brains and talent to get ahead of patriarchy always floated my boat way before I knew how to spell feminism.

I always picked the female characters in video games, these days my favourites are Ling Xiaoyu, Jun Kazama, Michelle Chang, Christie Monteiro and Asuka Kazama. Somehow it always feels like a bigger achievement when I kill Jinpachi with the tiny Xiaoyu, as graceful and fast as she is her attacks aren’t as strong as the others. Playing Xiaoyu looks beautiful, but playing with Jun is like I’m fighting the opponent myself. With Jun, movement is fluid.

Tekken aside, I love the story of a strong woman. Here are some of my favourites.

Atalanta

The huntress who was born a princess, but was raised by bears. I’ve read Atalanta’s story dozens of times, its my favourite Grecian myth. Atalanta was to be married to her true love prince Meleager, but when his mother found out she burnt him inside out by lighting an enchanted stick. Atalanta went on to reclaim her lost kingdom and decided to put off marrying by challenging suitors to a foot race. One after the other, their heads fell from the chopping block, but the smart Hippomenes who prayed to Aphrodite for love instead of one of the other gods for speed, agility or strength, was blessed by the goddess’s visit in his sleep. She gave him the three golden apples he would later use to distract Atalanta in the race. They fell in love and were later turned to lions for desecrating Zeus’s temple.

Nefertiti

The beautiful Nefertiti was the Queen to Pharaoh Akhenaten. She played a huge role in converting their multi-god religion into a monotheistic version, however this was never fully accomplished. Her status as Queen rose to one equal of the Pharaoh himself, and she was often portrayed in pictures the same size as him. During the first five years of his reign there were more artworks made of her than of him which shows her importance. At this time, the famous bust of hers was created. Its one of the most copied artworks from ancient Egyptian times. Towards the end of his reign Nefertiti disappeared from records and what happened to her still remains a mystery.

Jezebel

A Phoenician princess who married King Ahab of Israel. History portrays her as a wicked woman, a harlot and a whore. But then, history was always written by the winners, wasn’t it? Jezebel worshiped the religion of her ancestors and of her home, paganism. Her husband tolerated it and even built her a temple, but the Hebrews were having none of this. So, the Prophet Elisha massacred her and her followers and cursed against her name so much that it carries the meaning it has today, of a shameful woman uncontrollable by man. This brilliant article by Janet Howe Gaines pieces together the story of Jezebel by pulling apart the misogynist lies and formulating the truth. Its so interesting to think that much of history may have been this different, but how will we ever find the truth?

Cleopatra

Anyone who has seen my avatar will know I’m a fan of Cleopatra, despite the idea of her beauty being sullied by roman coins. A woman who used her brains and quick wit to seduce two of the most powerful men in the world to secure her country’s future. You all know the story. I loved ancient Egypt as a young girl, and dressed as her to many a costume party in my day.

Ku No Ichi

Translates to “Dragon lady”. This is the name of the female counterparts to the Japanese ninjas who fought by their side in the Tong wars. However, these ninja women used more subtle methods such as poisoning, darts and disguises. They used their ‘womanly wiles’ to gain trust and found creative ways of killing without using weapons, or concealed small ones within their garments. These women were widows or orphans of men who had died and were often remarried to the new household owners. A common weapon of the kunoichi was the finger blade, dipped in poison which was used to slash at the eyes or other weak points. Brave, silent, fast, intelligent and resourceful fighters.

These are the powerful women I would love to emulate. Damn, what I’d give to perform a perfect back flip.. Sigh.