Posts Tagged ‘abc.’

The round-trip to the clinic.

April 24, 2018
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Table setting. Hand coloured etching.

 

Today we drove for the 7th time to a special clinic for radiation. There and back is around 140KM. We drive at around 100km an hour. The car has speed control. However, the use of it gives my foot a cramp. I prefer to keep working the pedal. There is also something frightening of a car going on its own volution. I am not sure about sitting in a self-drive vehicle. In any case we will be driving for many days yet, with a total of 25-35 radiation treatments.

The clinic itself is a jolly experience. This is surprising. Most or all of the patients have some kind of cancer. Perhaps the fear of getting cancer has at least been relieved by the certainty of the patients’ diagnoses. There is no more doubt. Still, jolliness and having cancer seems an oxymoron. The clinic has two waiting rooms. One has a TV which is always on, droning on a commercial channel most of the time.  The inane dribble on channel 7 by incessantly smirking presenters will do no good to any patient, not even those that are jolly and in remission. I change it over to the National Broadcaster’s news, ABC, channel 24. This gives News. Even there, the announcers seem to be laughing all the time too. I wonder what do they suffer from? Is the news from the Trump’s US or Syria so hilarious? Perhaps the TV bosses tell the announcers to be cheerful despite the carnage shown.  It surprises me that no one protests when I change the channel. Mind you, no one watches it much. They prefer to talk.

The other waiting room is a better place. They have bookshelves with many books to either read while waiting or take home in exchange for books patients might like to swap with. In any case, both rooms have patients waiting for treatment. Most have a specific given time and as the treatment only lasts a few minutes, many are in and out quickly. The undressing and re-dressing takes more time. The atmosphere is of geniality. I suppose there is a solid common bond. They all have cancer. The radiation perhaps also aids with a kind of warming glow. Shared problems together is a great binder and the laughter in the waiting rooms reflects this very well. Each time we leave the clinic we are both in great spirits.

Maarten is one of the patients whose time of treatment coincides of that of Helvi. He is Dutch born and 82 years old. He arrived here with his parents in 1953. I did in 1956. His Dutch language is still fluent and so is his brain. His parents settled in Wollongong with his father building a house there. He told me he created a Dutch choir in Wollongong which is still ongoing. Maarten also plays a recorder  and when well enough attends courses run by U3A. http://sohiu3a.org.au/   I think he likes classical music. I will ask him next time.  I am a sucker for classical music.

We meet each day at the clinic together with many others. Many arrive by Community buses with carers. Some are in wheel-chairs. We met a couple. The wife gets her nose radiated. She suffers a melanoma and hopes the treatment will prevent losing her nose. Perhaps in total, we spend at the most 45 minutes at this clinic.  We drive home and sometimes take a lunch at the Sushi take away in Mittagong or the Thai place back home in Bowral.  The daily trip means we have to put travel on hold. But, the experience each day at the clinic is a good compromise. Perhaps not a holiday but a good unexpected bonus of joy with strong people on the edge. The snippets of social exchanges between other patients is very exhilarating.

We  like the daily visits.

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Does Australia attract ‘hard-line’ diplomats now?

February 11, 2018
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The appointment by America of Harry Harris as the ambassador for Australia is hardly something I would normally pay much attention to. Of late, community nurses and lymphatic drainage has been much more part of our world. Not a day goes by without a medical event. Even so, we try and keep up with the ‘real’ world. This morning we discovered through Barry Cassidy Insider program,  that the appointment of the Ambassador was welcomed with open arms by both the Libs and Labor. A warm bosom awaits Harry in ‘hard-line’ Australia.

Harry is known for his ‘hard-line’ approach to China. I would have thought that a ‘diplomat’ and ‘hard-line’ were a bit of a contradiction. But, not anymore it seems.  ‘Hard-line’ is very much in and with the Jim Molan as a new senator, also known for fondness of ‘hard-line’, many politicians are scrambling to be at the forefront of ‘hard-liners’. I fear the day both Harry and Jim will meet up. Can we expect more wars and pyrotechnical devices raining down on hapless populations in sandy regions? I think Harry had something to say about China’s sandy diplomacy referring to islands being used by China to build airfields. Not an unreasonable response seeing Asia is surrounded by the US military might.

I don’t know where this fondness for allowing extremism into our political arena comes from. I do admit not knowing anything about both those men. They might well be very nice and honourable. On our ABC ‘The Drum’ I once experienced Jim Molan giving vent to his rather harsh opinion of refugees, especially the survivors of boat people now locked in indefinite detention on Manus and Nauru. He seemed to have a very ruthless and, in my mind, a cold and heartless view, on how to deal with refugees. Recently he posted extreme right anti Islam videos on his blog. It all went through without too much upheaval. I reckon Dutton was heartened by it all. He too is a hard liner.

I so wish Australia would be kinder to China. I don’t notice the Chinese are trying to culturally impose on us. I don’t see the Chinese equivalent of KFC, or Big Quarter Pounder MacDonald’s plastered all over the place. Instead I notice that sometimes the top HSC students often feature students from Eastern backgrounds.

On top of that, I prefer a nice Chop Suey over a foot long Subway.

Read here about Harry. China’s Foe, Australia’s friend.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/australia-s-friend-china-s-foe-new-us-ambassador-harry-harris

 

 

The annual obsession with School uniforms raises its ugly head.

February 7, 2018

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“Students in NSW, Victoria and the ACT are not required to study maths at all in Years 11 and 12”.

Australian schools continue to fall behind in maths and science – ABC .”

“Maths should be compulsory at school: our future jobs depend on it”
With those alarming headlines one would hope that educational information would be at the forefront of all schools that are touting for students.  Lofty statements would be made at all schools, that maths was already compulsory. (together with a language apart from English as well).
But what do we get?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5355581/Hundreds-Brisbane-students-detention-shoes.html
Over a hundred students were send home because their shoes did not fit the regimented size thickness of sole or heel, perhaps both. The head-master was seen to take the tape out and measure students shoes. A few millimetres out, and the students was marched outside the gate. It is a surprise the head-master had the skill in measuring seeing he probably also went without the compulsory maths. I am gobsmacked.
Maths in Australian schools is not compulsory but uniforms are?
Where does all this originate from?
If education is meant to take a young person to its full potential, surely letting them dress freely ought to be the norm. Isn’t the expression of the individual not at the forefront of the unfolding of a growing person? Why do parents put up with that? It is so stifling.
And while we are at uniforms ,why do we show our love of such blatant inequality when we have high fee charging Posh private schools and Bog public schools.
All schools should be equal and no divisions. All schools have both boys and girls. All teachers have minimal Masters Degrees and be well-paid.
Here another link to a good article by Jane Caro.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-07/school-catchments-best-public-schools-best-private/9381942
No compulsory math?

My free templet to ward off unwanted phone-calls

November 3, 2017

 

 

new cover 1704 front big Book cover 18april

De Kleine Beer, by Else Holmelund-Minarik is the original most loved children’s story I have kept all those years from when our children were toddlers. It has rested peacefully on my bedside table all those decades. Somehow, I still peruse the wisdom and sheer folly of its story. It seems to suggest that folly and wisdom might well be related.

When I get cold callers from a countries with strong Hindi accents, I now, without further ado, start to recite a page taken at random from De Kleine Beer. Most times at the end of just a few lines read in Dutch, the phone line at the other end is blissfully mute and very silent. It works magically. The true wonder of  good literature.

Here is just a one page templet for your free usage for those that are game and brave enough to try it out. It does no harm and is devoid of malice, anger or retribution.

Zo gezegd, zo gedaan. (As said, as done)

Kleine Beer maakt een pan vol soup. ( Little bear makes a pan full of soup.)

De eerste gast is Kip. ( the first guest is a chicken)

‘Wel gefeliciteers, Kleine Beer.’ (‘Congratulation, Little Bear.’)

‘Dank je wel, Kip.’ (‘Thank you very much, Chicken.’)

Hm,wat ruikt het hier lekker.  ( Hm, it smells so nice here.)

This is usually enough for the caller to give up and discontinue the call. I hope it helps. Please, let me know.

As an aside; Lately we talk a lot about Australian values and how they relate and might even be similar in many other countries, or indeed how they might differ.

Australia has as many good ordinary people as any other country we have lived in., perhaps even more… but what was going on when we elected people such as Dutton into power? We put the most inhumane man in charge of asylum seekers.

We must not ask the possibility of Frydenberg’s dual nationality, yet at the same time allow Dutton the freedom to make 600 refugees on Manus stateless.

Please read this link; The world is watching.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-03/manus-island-un-calls-on-australia-to-end-centre-stand-off/9117996

 

 

A state of inertia.

October 31, 2017

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We are now entering the pre-Christmas period. Watch out! We still get almost daily calls on our land-line from people who say they are from Telstra. But the accent and associated hints of turmeric wafting through the line makes me think of call centres. Often there is a delay on answering back with a hum of others talking. I used to be polite and explain we are happy with our service. ‘No Sir,’ yesterday’s gentleman assured me, ‘you have very, very big problems with your internet. You have to let us fix it.

I just don’t have it in me anymore to remain considerate and without any further talk put the phone down. Does all this market calling brutalise the recipients? I mean, there is a real person there on the other side trying to make a living. But the frequency of those callers is increasing. I know there are help sides which can overcome most of those cold callers but new ones seem to pop up. Even on my IPhone I get oddly worded messages with codes and strange pass words or numbers and to deposit $100.- or so. I know the main thing is to never open any of unknown e-mails or attachments which I religiously follow. I just try and imagine what it must be for elderly folks totally innocent of all those crooks lying in wait to take advantage of this IT technology. Oh, hang on. I am one of those ‘elderly.’

I know with the recent ABC 4 corners program highlighting the failures of the NBN to deliver adequate speeds to the outlets must have called out whole nests of cold callers offering ‘help’ to the long suffering consumers of data down loads. In our case, apart from e-mails and the ABC news and blogs we don’t generally down load ‘data’, unlike our grandsons who download in one day what takes us more than a month.

I don’t really know what the etiquette of answering those nuisance calls is. I have no mercy with those that are out there to pillage my wallet but what about those calling for donations to help the 500 000 persecuted Muslim Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar? Or calls from Médecins Sans Frontières?  Then there are those looking after animals or depressed whales beaching themselves. There are so many good causes and all deserve help.

Going back to those ‘Telstra’ phone calls. They are all done by massive call centres in India. I watched a program and there they are all lining up calling the world to change ‘service providers’ or do something with their service, any thing really that earns them some money. They wear a nicely pressed ironed shirt and have to do an English test to get this much coveted job. They proudly wear their name- tags from a  chain or clipped on their trousers. The wives at home, stirring the curry and boiling the Basmati, waiting anxiously and ask  ‘did you get many responses today, dear?’  He might well say he had such a rude Australian who had put the phone down and that could have been me. I once just answered in Dutch and pretended not to understand English, just showing the level one can go down on avoiding the call. Just putting the phone down seems so callous. Yet, it seems I might already have reached that level of callousness.

How do people deal with those calls?

Renewables, Wars, and Same Sex Marriage.

September 25, 2017
Image result for same sex marriage australia

Indeed

Isn’t it amazing that no matter what the science is telling us, there will be people denying the truth that coal fired power is now as outdated as the horse and buggy were in earlier days? The Australian government is beholden to some that just will not budge and will stick to the past, forcing up the cost of energy. They do this with the fervour of an 1810 Leicestershire luddite destroying anything and everything progressive or forward looking in their paths.

Just read this latest from ABC News; http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-09-25/the-truth-about-soaring-power-prices/8979860

We live in a townhouse sharing a joint roof but are considering going the whole hog and install solar panels with the Tesla battery back-up. The cost of doing that will go down as time passes. My guess is that with power bills reaching stratospheric heights there will be a tsunami of home-owners doing the same. It just doesn’t make any sense not to do this. The energy companies are shunning coal power stations like the plague and no one wants to invest nor spend money on maintaining the old ones except our Government staunchly defending anything that doesn’t move forward.

With a keener more forward Government the renewable technology could be hurried along by local shires to install complete off-grid power stations on vacant land that Australia has so much of, and bring affordable cheap energy to those in units or apartment blocks without roof space for solar panelling.

The transition period between the old and new technology could have been made   easier and economically more efficient if we were not burdened by the Neanderthal fogeys in our present Government. Where do they come from and who puts them there?

It is the same with this referendums on SSM. Some of the same parliamentarians taking great delight in venting their hate and torture on refugees are now venting their rage on those who want the chance for love to stand a chance, and pass laws making choice of marriage equal to all, no matter what orientation. They twist and turn to try and prevent the law from becoming kinder and more just towards those who might be different.

Some of those same Parliamentarians take great pride in the bombing of foreign countries where we have no right to be involved in, and do so without asking permission from its citizens by holding referendums or postal polls. Billions of dollars spend on keeping a few thousands refugees in jail, billions on fighting in stupid wars, and now even more billions in propping up old coal powered technology. Were any of us asked our opinion or approval to do so?

So why the idiocy of holding referendums on SSM in the first place? Is SSM more dangerous than fighting wars or holding refugees in jails. Sorry, to be meandering so long about this SSM subject but rest assured I am just as keen to write about much more positive stuff. I suppose the return of Germany’s Angela Merkel is something to celebrate but…, the extreme right has also done well which is not so positive.

Was our previous PM Paul Keating right, when he predicted Australia could end up a ‘Banana Republic? I need a good carpet bowling session at the local RSL club.

 

A normal day with a solid ‘like.’

May 9, 2017

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Has anyone had a normal day lately? It seems to me that we are forever being whipped up by news. Yet, newspapers are going broke. When is the last time you bought a newspaper? I find it almost impossible to get to the news. My computer’s home page offers a constant stream of fake News. The latest ‘News’ offering was the promise of pictures of the Australian woman being held in Colombia’s Bogota jail accused of cocaine smuggling. It promised to be  pictures of her living in that jail. However, when I clicked on the item the only news-item shown were advertisements for shoes and perfume. You see,  the photo is just a lure to entice one buying things.  I suppose, if one persists the promised pictures might eventually appear. But by then I had lost interest.

We watch the National Broadcaster (ABC) for news. Even there, one has to trawl through a constant stream of advertisements before arriving at the news. The SBS channel is still watchable but only just and mainly because it does give you a wider range of international news and above all,  much less cricket and football. So, in summing up; with all the electronic instant-ness about everything, true news is lacking. Commerce has taken over news and perhaps it was always thus.

There is CNN, The Guardian and a few others where one can find some reliable news. It is getting harder though. There are wild allegations that Putin is throwing the spanner amongst countries’ elections for new heads of state. Hackers are stealing megabytes and distributing millions of e-mails everywhere. I too sometimes get mysterious e-mails that don’t make sense. Some that are putting ‘likes’ on my blog turn out to be selling something, or worse, allure to dalliances of which I am not keen. I have heard sad stories of  people getting involved in IT romantics that cost  them their live savings.  A while ago an experienced and savvy bank manager was interviewed on TV. A sad story unfolded whereby he got caught being fleeced by a Nigerian scam on the internet.  He thought it was true love. He told his story as a warning to others.

I very much doubt though that nerdy looking Russian hackers will ever feverishly go over my blog or trawl through my e-mails. No one seems to want to capitalise or exploit me. It makes one think of the insignificance of it all. I don’t even get the chance in saying; “I am deeply humbled by this occasion.” It seems to be the latest most popular answer from people in the lime-light or from those on a stage clutching a trophy or an award.

I was astonished to be offered a batch of three hundred ‘likes’ for a mere $490.-US. That’s right. One can buy blog ‘likes’ now the same as butter or a herring. A while ago, I read a post by someone I knew some years ago. He was always a bit Hollywood and very fond of driving around in expensive  cars with personalized car number plates. He planned a new job by charging people to help improve their ‘status.’  He set up a web-site and asked shamelessly for possible readers to put a ‘like’ on his web-site. He hoped this would help setting up the business.

I do appreciate likes on my own blog but I am pretty sure they are mainly genuine.  I would not remotely consider asking for a ‘like’. I know that people give ‘likes’ and hope for a return ‘like’ on own blogs. Perhaps, we should have a ‘dislike’ symbol as well. It is all so flimsy and silly. Even so, it would be less than honest to admit that I don’t enjoy getting a nice solid ‘like’.

It does perk one up during the day after all the fake ‘news.’

More eggnog from soup bowls with Euthanasia clinics

October 3, 2016

Almost ThereThe Netherland’s Right To Die Movement for the over seventies has been so successful they must have a serious membership turnover. The latest push is to have Euthanasia clinics available at those retirement homes for ‘clients’ who feel they have an uncooperative doctor to sign the necessary papers.

The Right to Live movement also have a spirited body of opposing members. They are much more likely to keep their membership card. They feel the best way forward to senility is to make old-age homes more jolly. The main problem is that for many, ending up in a retirement home is not all that it is cracked up to be. Sure, some get by with the obligatory visit by children. They put off visiting the old fogey with a brave grin, to once every six weeks or so, despite the offering of a little eggnog with a demitasse spoon. At times it is just not enough to keep the old going. Some of those might wish for a way out, either six feet under ground or up through a chimney of the retort.

The Dutch retirement homes do their very best with lots of bingo, goldfish aquariums, community outings to the manicured garden of a Keukenhof, or Swan Lake concert, the twice weekly fitness events, musical soirees and fashion shows. For the oldies to stick around for a little longer is much to the joy of the Right To Live Movement. Even so, a couple of years ago The Right to Die Movement for the over seventies in The Netherlands collected over forty thousand signatures in no time. There seems to be a challenge in giving people a choice. The cost of retirements is going through the roof so one can see that the Governments world-wide would not be all that opposed to a bill giving people a choice in the matter of leaving the party a bit earlier and get a decent rest in the outback of the ‘never never.’

Just reflecting on how retirement homes in Australia are just riddled with incompetent staff. Worse, they now seem to draw on murderers filling vacancies. The oldies are left to rot in their beds.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-25/secret-camera-captures-nursing-home-attempted-suffocation/7624770
I would not like to end up like this poor old man either.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-27/man-dies-after-nursing-home-staff-fail-to-properly-treat-wounds/7877820

And then last week a man was charged with the killing of three old people with overdosing them on insulin. He would text his mates alerting them on a future date when the next one would get the fatal needle.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-31/summitcare-alleged-killer-sent-text-predicting-deaths-court-told/7793484

So, really it seems a neck on neck race with either being given a choice to exit peacefully at own will, or look carefully at the needle or medication that nurse might be give you next when in need. I would not fit in with bingo, or fitness classes either and will probably end up asking for the eggnog in a soup bowl and given a large spoon.

That is enough gloom. I’ll write something more cheerful next time. Gerard.

How Seniors grapple with complications of Governing.

July 7, 2016

Almost There

Almost There


Each evening, and with the demeanour of a black coated undertaker giving a quote for a juicy burial, we get to see our top AEC ( Australian Electioneering Commissioner) scrutineer on the telly, giving us solemnly the latest count on the last Federal Election. This commissioner is without bias and sworn to total independency as far as his political views are concerned. He is neutral. It is why he is very serious in his delivery of the latest numbers. He is so careful and weighs up the words carefully. If he was any more careful he would just cough slightly or wipe his chin adroitly. He looks as if he practised his art in front of his wife, or, in the case of no wife, in front of the mirror.

Now, faced with a battery of cameras he is without doubt having his moment of fame. Not, that he shows any enjoyment. Remember, joy could easily be seen as being biased. It would be surprising if he did not hold a political view. I would bet he is a conservative. How could anyone not become a scrutineer without also devoid of a free spirit? As our chief scrutineer intones the latest figures, the camera takes us to the room where a whole army of scrutineers are counting the voting papers. Row after row of tables covered with both green coloured and white sheets of papers. It is a very complicated affair, and for those not British born, too esoteric too even come close to comprehending. A bit like cricket really. Far too many numbers and variables.

The vote, and that includes all votes apparently, can go elsewhere in a process called ‘giving preferences.’ In a two horse race, ( I just learned this phrase recently) any vote to another party ends up mainly with either the Conservatives (Liberal National Party) or Labor. Labor without the ‘u’ in it! Another mystery. Yet, I remember many years ago back around 1977 or so, when I became an Australian national citizen, things appeared fairly simple. The ceremony for Nationalisation was held at the Sydney Town-Hall. We were given the choice to swear by oath our allegiance to Australia either on the bible or alternatively to the English Queen. I hope I have this right. I remember that it was a difficult choice, as I believe in neither.

Even so, it was a mass ceremony with hundreds of European migrants. No good being surly, and in any case, a cup-o-tea with Arnett’s biscuits, compliments of the salvos followed. I duly went on the stage and was giving a certificate of Australian Nationality. This certificate is in a box somewhere together with my high school diplomas, birth/marriage certificates and other washed up flotsam of time gone by. It is funny, that till this day I am still reluctant to accept so much that seems incomprehensible. This finding of so much that remains incomprehensible is an attitude of the curmudgeon. An obsession with the finicky. Just because I became Australian doesn’t seem to include me in the welcoming psyche of just acceptance on how things can be different in different cultures.

Going back to the voting. I read up about the Westminster system and the Adversarial part of it. I will make greater effort in understanding that the senate voting does not coincide with voting for the lower house except with a double dissolution of both houses. I will try and understand that some senators run for a six year period but others just three years. Further more, I will desist trying to come to grips with the preferential system of voting. I will desists asking; but why? I will resist, writing letters to the ABC, on why I think a multi party system would avoid all those preferential votes going anywhere accept there where the voter voted for.

I want to be a true believer, an Australian.

Vale Bob Ellis.

April 3, 2016

“Legendary Australian author, journalist and playwright Bob Ellis has died from liver cancer.

Ellis started work as a political writer outraged by the Vietnam War, and went on to write speeches for political figures including Kim Beazley, Bob Carr, Bob Brown and former South Australian premier Mike Rann.

He also worked as a satirist and reviewer at the ABC, and went on to pen stage plays and films.

A provocative figure and as unashamedly left-wing as they came, Ellis had a somewhat fall from grace in 1998, when his book Goodbye Jerusalem was pulped because he defamed the Abbotts and the Costellos.”

Please read on.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-03/bob-ellis-dies-after-40-years-in-journalism-politics-playwriting/7295548

 

And so it goes…

Ellis High School Reference