Posts Tagged ‘Muslim’

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?

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It is all too confusing

April 30, 2017
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It is all so confusing.
 Our Prime Minister Turnbull, while waving his hands up and down, waxes on the TV endlessly how on the world stage, we take prime position in being the  biggest and most successful MULTI Cultural nation in the world. We are a blend of many cultures, it seems. I knew when garlic made its entry into the Australian kitchen back in the late fifties and sixties,  Anglo-Australia would be in for an irreversible change if not doomed as well. Blame the Italians and Greeks for that.
Yet, at the same time but on a different day, Mr Turnbull is urging us to turn into a more nationalistic focussed citizen. A good and special type of Australian not found anywhere except perhaps in the bars of Kuta’s Bali… (Totally drunk and disorderly!) A unique Australian. We are urged to become aware and stand up for a more mono cultural identity.
In fact ‘Unique Australian Values’ is what we should be sticking up for. Migrants will have to do a test on those unique Australian values with a good knowledge and sound understanding of these.  There is no more mucking about with those that don’t want to blend in. I thought this new requirement was obliquely, but none the less pointedly aimed at the foreign Islamic migrants.
Mr Turnbull, our Prime minister is brutally resolute in trying to pick up those voters that have left the Liberal party and who have drifted into the warm bosom of Pauline Hanson’s  far right anti-Aboriginal, anti- Chinese and now anti- Muslim ‘One Nation Party.’ There is nothing wrong with Mr Turnbull also adding the word ‘terrorism’ or ‘Isis’ to his plea for us to become more Aussie.  It is not direct Muslim bashing, is it? It goes down well with some, who think that a bit of xenophobia thrown in this multi cultural soup, it can’t do any harm.
Turnbull talked about ‘respect for the law, tolerance, giving everybody a fair go.’ The aspiring migrant is given 4 years to brush up on Unique Australian Values in order to get permanent residency status. ‘It is something one has to ‘earn’, he said, looking a bit shifty. I am asking if there are many other countries that don’t have respect for the law or respect, treating people disrespectfully? Are we the sole owners of those traits? Is that what makes us so unique?
People that were first looking for their lost new paradigms are now herded into finding Unique Australian Values. I have taken up to shouting Oi,oi,oi late in the afternoon, and trying out my waltzing techniques listening to Waltzing Mathilda. I tell, you when it comes to waltzing around the joint, Helvi reckons I am a formidable maelstrom. Would smearing vegemite around this town help?  I have picked up a couple of good Australian traits from watching ‘Crocodile Dundee’ with that big knife many times. I would be most grateful if someone can show me other Australian Values that I can add.

A previous prime minister, John Howard felt that we should all be interested in cricket and a good intimate grounding in a famous race horse ‘Phar-Lap’, and learn English. While many managed to learn English and dutifully viewed Phar-lap’s pickled heart in a jar, it was the reverse with cricket. It is a game that for many remains a mystery. I must admit, I fall under that category and am surprised I haven’t been kicked out. Even so, during John Howards reign as a PM, it was all so simple and sweet. Thinking back it was much easier to become an Australian with Unique Values.

It is all so confusing now!

Rosaria from Gozo ( Mustafa’s dilemma)

August 12, 2012

Hzanna was somewhat piqued after the evening and it wasn’t the pinot. It had all turned a bit fluffy. Never mind, it was a nice meal and she blamed the imbibing of just a mouthful too much alcohol that made her friends step over the limits of what could perhaps better have been left alone. The vegetable confession would soon be forgotten.  Perhaps club venues were at fault. All those lights, the faux bon jolliness of it all, the whole place somehow reeked of failure; a downgrading of what getting together ought to be about. These couples’s sittings together in the lounge, waiting for the meat raffles to start. Why the vacant staring at the blown up TV screens, the yawningly emptiness of it all? It was called ‘a night out’. Hooting of the locomotive and the rattling of coins, somebody had a reprieve from permanently losing money, their home and family. Hzanna thought it more of a night lost.

She still remembered, sitting around with friends in Gozo. It was different then. This was another world though, just as valid. Was it? Perhaps it was still settling down, finding its legs.

Hzanna’s husband thought that the pork crackling could be the catalyst for a renewed business venture.  He was working on it, doing back of the envelope calculations. Hzanna noticed his familiar furrowed brow. Deep in thought, he had to weigh up the sensitivities amongst his customers that were opposed to pork and those on the other side, that loved pork and for whom crunchy crackling might well be a most desired snack. Still, the Islamic community was far more tolerant than most thought. They stayed away from pubs and gambling but did not object to those that did frequent those venues. If some chose to eat pork, so be it.  For Muslims it is an unclean animal, doesn’t even produce cud, and would happily eat human excrement. But, if there are those who bought pork and ate it, let them.

He decided to seek council from one of his best friends, Mustafa, a devout Muslim and known for his endless storytelling, a wit that made the world in Rockdale laugh, and a born raconteur whose parents came from Lebanon.

Mustafa has his own business. It is a good business, somewhat hot in summer but a bonus in winter. He had a Doner Kebab with Falafel franchise tucked in between a newsagent and a T.A.B. It couldn’t be better positioned. Even if it wasn’t sign-posted Halal, it was expected to be so. No self respecting Doner Kebab merchant would ever sell pork kebabs. The T.A.B shop of course would not hold too many Islamic customers for Mustafa’s Kebabs; they would never step inside any horse betting shop. On the other hand, many, especially the locals, some of whom might have lost a bundle but still liquid enough would queue up to purchase a kebab. For those, the ache of a loss would be compensated with a tasty Kebab roll.

Mustafa would be busy slicing the lamb or chicken with a mountain of pre-sliced onions proudly showcased under a small glass cabinet. The spicy aroma of freshly chopped parsley, coriander tomatoes would spread far enough to entice others as well.

Opposite Mustafa’s take away was a massage establishment ‘Sally’s Therapy’ discretely advertised on a flickering pink neon sign. The entrance was hidden at the back. There was a steady toeing and froing of tense looking men, seeking spinal relief or just getting a full service for all sorts of undefinable stresses or ailments. Whatever they received from Sally, it did not lessen their appetite. Most seemed ravenous or at least very hungry afterwards. Mustafa was busy with the ever diminishing rotating pyramid of compressed meat, heating the pide, packing it with the fore-mentioned onions, parsley and tomatoes. ‘With or without chilli sauce’, was the burning question. Most ordered ‘with’.

While Mustafa was catering for the hungry and Sally for those in pain or lost for love, Mr Azzopardi decided to seek council from his friend Mustafa. ‘What would you, do my friend, about my idea of nice salty pork crackling’? Mustafa, who in his alcove of rotating towers of meats, (not unlike the swirling dervishes of his youth) always took time for philosophical discussions, no matter what the subject.

He was devout but not one suffering from idée fixe. His tolerance towards others and beliefs was generous and he had, in his Doner Kebab world, met many different types of people, of whom to be tolerable of. Some were better than others but he wasn’t easily upset or disappointed in the general environs of Rockdale’s mankind.

His parents had come from a war torn country and embraced their new country without condition or bias. Indeed, his parents had wholly accepted this new world but insisted on the children to stick to Islam and a general following of the Quran. Not that they were at all fanatic. ‘It soothes your soul’, they used to tell their son Mustafa. It doesn’t do much harm to have a belief in what is good, have respect for the world you live in. ‘You don’t get respect out of thin air, they often added. ‘You have to earn it”.

Mustafa sometimes riled his parents,’ my idea of what’s good might not be yours’, he said. ‘We all share what’s good if you don’t do harm to others,’ his mother added.  Well, I don’t, Mustafa shot back quickly.

He had however, in a moment of weakness of spirit but not of body, darted across the road to seek the healing and stroking hands of Sally. He had stuck ‘back in twenty minutes’ into the rotating compressed lamb tower but otherwise left his stall open. Afterwards, with his pleasure subsiding, his conscience nagged a little. Had he now failed in the department of ‘respect’? Sally seemed accepting and cheerful enough. ‘I give pleasure for money’, she simply stated. He found himself now questioning his moral stance, the essence of his beliefs. How could something that felt so good be possibly bad?  Could he now also be swayed to accept pork crackling next?  For many, the eating of crackling also felt good!  What next; pork chops?

What will become of me now, Mustafa asked himself?