Category Archives: Asides

50,000

50,000

  • And, now just under the number of hits, This Blog has received.

Just six weeks ago This Blog celebrated 400 posts, and at that time the blog was sitting on 44,261 views. But, in the space of a month and a half the blog has been exploding in hits thanks in no small part to the unexpected success of the blog entry on “Buddha” Boy – Ram Badahur Bomjon which has gone gangbusters. So, unexpectedly this milestone has jumped up upon this humble blog.

I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to read, view, scan, skim, comment, discuss, dismiss or reject any and every item written on This Blog.

Cheers

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My term as leader

With the Australian Federal election coming up Saturday week, and with my apathy towards the two major parties, I thought it might be interesting to discuss just what you would do if you were given one full term to shape the direction of Australia’s (or your own country’s) future?

Being an exercise in fantasy, imagine the past, present and potential issues affecting your nation and the world as a whole remain as is but you however, are blessed with almost unlimited capital to address crippling debt, inflation, unemployment, crime, social issues, crumbling infrastructure, or whatever other maladies blight your homeland.

As for me, if I were declared Prime Minister of Australia following the election to be held on Saturday, 7th September, 2013 – and assuming my party (let’s call them The Australian Evolutionary Party, as for me it’s time Australia matured and evolved in its status, representation, policies and conduct on domestic and foreign issues) wins a clear, unimpeded majority, safe for one full-term after which I’ll bow out of politics. I would set about:

  • Continuing the National Broadband Network, as increasingly nations will prosper or falter in future in no small part to their digital infrastructure
  • Sign a treaty with indigenous Australians acknowledging the crimes and injustices of the past, addressing the issues remaining and working together towards a better future
  • Build a second Sydney airport, it bloody needs one! Personally, I wouldn’t mind the site at Wilton, being just 80km south of Sydney, 30km from Wollongong and Campbelltown, and 150km from Canberra being located right by the Hume Highway and Picton Road, both of which would be further upgraded. It could be linked to the Very Fast Train corridor with a station, and the establishment of a largely self-sufficient ‘new town‘ within the sphere of a larger metropolis a la Milton Keynes or Cyberjaya based on logistics, information technology and light industry; reducing the burden of the housing shortage and crippling infrastructure in metropolitan Sydney and having a local population base for the substantial aviation, high-tech, industrial and logistics industries in the region.
  • Secure the corridor and set about building a Very Fast Train service between Melbourne and Brisbane; servicing Shepparton, Albury-Wodonga, Wagga Wagga, Canberra, Wilton, Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle, Taree, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Casino and the Gold Coast in between.

The current proposal looks a winner to me, though I’ll probably add on a spur line to Wollongong and set about its eventual extension to Rockhampton through the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Harvey Bay/Maryborough and Bundaberg.

  • Build the Cross River Rail project in Brisbane and build a bloody rail line to Tullamarine Airport in Melbourne. Increase public transport infrastructure, facilities and services in all major urban centres, reducing the reliance and necessity of car ownership. At the very minimum, follow through with each of the proposals in the NSW Transport Masterplan.
  • Seek alternative transport options to constructing (partially) public-funded, privately-operated toll roads including light rail, rapid transit, metro, busways, monorails and maglevs.
  • In line with increased public transportation, better pathways and cycle paths, promote pedestrain friendly, ecologically sustainable cities, investigating the establishment of toll tax, initiatives to reduce central city road transport to essential, logistical or emergency services and vehicles.
  • Actively promote and encourage self-sustainability and ecologically friendly practices – water tanks, solar panels, veggie patch, chook pens, etc.
  • Actively promote and encourage small and medium businesses whilst addressing the every increasingly scope, collosion and corruption inherit in oligapolies and multinational corporations.
  • Increase the facilities and infrastructure of cycle paths, playing fields, playgrounds and natural bushland;  actively promoting the benefits of healthy life choices and lifelong exercise
  • Increase the development and impetus towards real, sustainable and logical decentralisation. True, our nation is on the driest inhabited continent and most people are clustered around the coast but excluding the two-thirds of the nation that is arid, there’s still plenty of spots that could and should accommodate more people to reduce the housing costs; crippling infrastructure; and social and economic strains that come with having 75%+ of the population living in the five largest cities. This is a topic I’ve broached before and still believe wholeheartedly in its merits – provided and this is a strong point – that infrastructure, industry and employment are moved, attracted or gown in these centres to attract growth, and that the regions are equipped with adequate water, road, rail and utility infrastructure to accommodate the growth. If that means a dam or two is built in the process so be it. The regional centres outlined as stations for the Very Fast Train are all excellent candidates for further growth plus I’d throw in Bathurst, Orange, Lismore, Dubbo, Griffith, Ballarat, Bendigo, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Toowoomba, Mackay, Darwin, Cairns, Geraldton, Launceston, Kununurra and Katherine – among others – as cities and regions that can and should be larger in terms of population, educational facilites, infrastructure and significance.
  • Legalise same-sex marriages, monitor media ownership lest too much is owned by too few. Provide better services and initiatives aimed at getting unemployed into work with the individual’s skills, abilities and aptitude at mind first and foremost,; providing incentives for companies to provide further in R&D; ensuring separation of church and State; removing funding to private schools – institutions must survive or thrive on their own foot not governmental handouts. Reduce middle class welfare handouts aimed solely at buying cheap votes.
  • Provide adequate resources and facilities in country to accommodate boat arrivals. If that means build new facilities, build them – but not in the desert. Stop outsourcing our issue elsewhere.
  • More money on health and education, less on foreign wars. Greater investment, involvement and participation in Asia-Pacific region. Greater assistance with the aim of procuring self-reliance, sustainability and prosperity in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
  • Analysis into the benefits of a single Pacific union incorporating Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific islands and Papua New Guinea in line with the EU sending feelers out to eventual ASEAN-Pacific economic bloc.
  • Australia could and, bloody well, should be a renewable energy superpower. We have the climate, natural resources, land, innovation and skills to make this happen but not the impetus. No carbon tax? I say yes, the rich hogs securing unimaginable wealth off our resources and throwing crumbs to placate us whilst living on banquets. They can and should be taxed further. The world won’t collapse, in fact it may well save the Earth by a few more years, moving away from dinosaur fuels which make barons and their corrupt sidekicks in politics rich to detriment of the environment and society.
  • Sorry Queen, but it’s time for a Republic and a new flag. We ain’t nobody’s bitch no more, and that includes the United States, let’s stop pandering to this neo-colonial superpower’s every whim, even when they’re to our own detriment. Time for a new flag. I like mine. ;)

  • Less needless representation, less expenditure on unnecessary Governance, less waste. Yes, that’s right, let’s get rid of the States – those lingering, defiant vestiges of our colonial days. No more Queensland, no more New South Wales, no more Victoria. State of Origin, yes. Remember Middlesex technically doesn’t exist anymore, doesn’t mean there isn’t a cricket club baring its name in the English County Championship. My proposal is for 24 ‘Regions- which would roughly average one million people per region. Education, Health, Infrastructure of a national importance, and Policing, to a degree, fall under Federal management; Waste disposal, Local and Regional Public Works and Community Infrastructure fall under ‘Regional’ management. Make it happen. Failing that, I’d settle for the realignment and establishment of new entities to produce nine States as follows:

    - Victoria, capital Melbourne, will lose the north of its current State but gain Mount Gambier and southeastern South Australia. Pop. approx: 4,500,000. 

    - Riverina, capital Albury-Wodonga, will be a new State composed of the Riverina, MIA, NSW Far South Coast, Broken Hill and far west NSW, Canberra and surrounds, and Riverland regions of Victoria and South Australia. Canberra, within its boundary, will remain the Federal capital but be a part of the State but not the State’s capital, which is Albury-Wodonga. Pop. approx: 1,500,000.

    Eora, capital Sydney, named after the County of Cumberland, will contain Sydney and surrounds, the Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and mid NSW South Coast as well as the Central West of NSW. Pop. approx.: 5,000,000.

    - Moreton, capital Brisbane, named after Moreton Bay, will contain the northern third of NSW and southern third of Queensland. Pop. approx.: 3,500,000.

    Capricornia, capital Rockhampton, will contain the middle third of Queensland. Pop. approx: 500,000.  

    - North Australia, capital Darwin, will contain the northern third of Queensland plus the top half of the Northern Territory, Pop. approx: 500,000.

    - South Australia, capital Adelaide, loses the Riverlands district to Riverina and the southeast of its state to Victoria but gains Alice Springs and the southern half of NT. Pop. approx.: 1,300,000.

    - Western Australia and Tasmania remain unchanged from their current form.

That’d probably do me for my first and only term, I’d then pass the baton onto someone else to continue the legacy. ;)

What would be your plans, initiatives, policies, direction for your nation?

Plug

It’s been a while since I’ve had a good ole plug, so I thought now’s as good a time as any. Dad’s birthday coming up? Sister’s husband’s brother got a graduation on the horizon? Need a gift for that co-worker who’s notoriously difficult to buy for?

Maybe, I can help. Maybe the people in your life could do with some Gamma Male. At Gamma Male, there’s anything and everything that may tickle the fancy of that special person in your life. There’s postcards and a jigsaw puzzle of the Great Wall, baseball jerseys with Korean and Chinese characters, and oodles of quirkyness.

You need difference, you need change, you need some Gamma Male in your life.

                             

                                 

Go get it now, tiger!

                               

Baaa … Sheep jokes for the lols

This blog has been too dry lately. Too much dour, dark news. Today’s cold, wet and generally quite shitty really so let’s unwind this Friday evening.

Sheep jokes are funny. Whether you’re a Kiwi, an Aussie, Welsh or from somewhere in the countryside, you’re bound to have been the butt of a sheep joke at one stage or another.

Here’s a couple of good ‘uns.

Remember kids, it’s all fun and games until bestiality is involved!

It’s the friends/ the connections/ family that make the place

Well, it’s just over three years and two months since I returned from my seven year sojourn in South Korea and nearing three years on my move to Brisbane.

To say the time has been completely pain free and carefree would be somewhat of a colossal misnomer. The effects of reverse culture shock, accompanied with returning to an ailing economy – artificially boosted by one particular sector – but largely stagnant, dormant in all others has taken its fair share of knocks, setbacks and pitfalls.

The first prolonged and sustained periods of un- and under-employment have taught me many things, mostly persistence and patience – both of which are virtues in my book – and there was many a time when I pondered whether I had made the right decision. Sometimes, a seemingly fast, spur of the moment decision can ripple down through time into something much more profound, pronounced and indeed, life changing.

I returned to Sydney in April 2010, full of brim and bluster but also with an amount of trepidation about just what the future held – in hindsight, that proved to be not entirely without reason. As the next couple of months followed and situations changed, I jumped at the chance of an offer to stay in Brisbane and give the Queensland capital a shot after failing to reconnect fully with hometown following my return like a prodigal son.

One of my sisters – at that stage, resident in this fine city – offered a few months lodging with the aim of providing a new place and change of atmosphere. I immediately took to the relaxed nature, laidback attitudes, ‘no worries’ air that surrounded Brisbane as opposed to its larger southern sisters.

But, employment wasn’t as forth coming as I imagined, anticipated, or had hoped. For someone who up to this point had had an uncanny ability to land into jobs without much effort, a period of job and soul searching was demanded. I started school the following year, doing a Graduate Diploma in Education with the aim of being a Geography teacher, but the reality of university coursework – which I handled quite well, in all honesty – and particularly in school practicums proved too much at the time. – I lasted one week of prac at a haughty, all girls’ Catholic school before deciding this weren’t for me.

Then, the search for employment – namely library employment resumed. A series of volunteer, casual and seasonal work-things rolled into work in a call centre June last year. This five month experience taught me a lot and I gained many skills, met some good, genuine people, but for the life of me dreaded every waking moment spent at that place. I just found the whole workplace and work itself completely and utterly soul destroying and so detrimental to my physical and emotional health that I’d rather resign with notice yet no other prospect than work any longer there. And, I did.

On came another period of unemployment, punctuated with the occasional ESL tutoring once or twice a week which was the lot until six weeks ago. Since, then I’ve acquired a part-time job more to my liking, though only 20 hours a week regrettably, but despite these job woes for the most part I’m happy as punch – a sharp contrast to the years of 2010 and 2011.

Those above mentioned years were spent as if I were a rudderless ship, a vessel but not soul. No purpose, little promise and little pride. Life had taken a couple of punches and quite a few had indeed landed.

I didn’t feel at home in Brisbane. I didn’t feel at home anyway. I didn’t feel at home without myself. Life’s journey can take us up and it came take us down, for me those two years were quite a prolonged downtime.

What changed?

Meeting my lover, meeting my friend, meeting my soulmate. From there, things seemed to have a purpose, the bad didn’t seem so bad, although everything wasn’t clear there was at least some clarity.

I thank Rosy for seeing what she saw in me and choosing to give me a chance. My mood, opportunities, contacts, connections, trust and hope have all grown immeasurably since you entered my life.

For that reason, I now truly call Brisbane home. For home is where the heart is, and my heart is here.