Posts Tagged ‘pensioner’

How 2019 might turn out.

January 2, 2019

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The house is in a scandalous way. The Hoover ‘Freedom’ will have to be re-charged and one of my first task will be to vacuum. I’ll start downstairs first.  My blood pressure this morning was a comfortable 109/73  with a reassuring beat of 82. With the relentless heatwave continuing, and our Government urging people to keep out an eye for dehydrated elderly, we have unlocked the front door in the forlorn hope someone younger will check on us. It would be a nice start of the new year getting my forehead wiped by a strapping young female athlete. With luck she might even do the vacuuming!

The certainties of 2019 will include the continuing march of China towards the new boy on the block of becoming the biggest economy. The poor US will dwindle in importance with an increasingly cranky blood thirsty President bullying the most vulnerable. Heaven knows what will happen. A dangerous country, and with that enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons too!

The remarkable thing of China is that they seem to continue growing in strength without resorting to warring everywhere or bombing the shit out of other countries. Australia would do well to swing over to Asia a bit more. After all, that’s were we are situated geographically. Perhaps teaching the Indonesian language to all school students would be a good move. Indonesia is closer to Australia than the distance between Sydney and Brisbane. Indonesia alone has a population almost the same as the US. And then there is China? Another super power on the rise is India.

We are fortunate of  being in the slipstream of those growing economies which could well rub off on our own economy.  I hold the forlorn dream that with a growing economy, a brave government will try to get more revenue in so that we can finally do something on a social level. Isn’t it finally time to increase the old age pension and the income for the unemployed? They are very low compared with most OECD countries. We can’t call ourselves a caring country if we can’t give the retired elderly a decent income.

Last but not least, it would be nice if those that kept refugee children and their parents in indefinite detention on hellish off-shore camps face an International Court of Justice. It is an international disgrace that hundreds of refugees are now facing their sixth year on Nauru and Manus islands in direct contradiction of international law that prohibits that.

Australia gets away with it because it is the only country that doesn’t have Bill of Rights.

Yes, it would be more than a bit of schadenfreude to see Dutton in front of a Court. I still get this nightmarish image of him each time I peel a potato.

Happy New Year again to all of you, my dear friends.

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Take from the Poor and Give to the Rich.

January 10, 2017

imagesLoaves and fishes

The latest and most exciting new way of economics to hit Australia is the Government’s  novel way to re-vitalize the economy. Our PM  Mr. Malcolm Turnbull, a multimillionaire, had a flash of genius. Why not give the top-end of town much needed taxation relief with juicy superannuation concessions ?  The stroke of his insight did not stop there. He would also use the opportunity to pay for this by cutting back ‘entitlements’ to pensioners, the unemployed, the disabled and other unwanted flotsam washed on our shores of  previous care, consideration and communal empathy.

For some time now, any kind of ‘right’ has been transformed through careful manipulation by the media into an unnecessary ‘entitlement.’ Now there is the wonder of Western democracy, you can change almost anything. Rights now are unneeded ‘entitlements’ that we can’t claim to own anymore. The way to the future as determined by our Liberal National Government, in all its wisdom, is to demonise those that seek support from governments and with some deft manoeuvring, take away their previous rights and transform them into unneeded and bad entitlements.

The government has now taken away pensions  or reduced them away from the most needy. Unemployed are investigated and letters of demand send to return over-payments. There are no explanations of why our revered model of economics is constantly seeking ways to maximise profits by doing away with workers.  The way to profitable businesses is to employ less workers, preferably by paying them ever diminishing wages.  Combined with taxation cuts by successive governments given to the rich, the rows of those needing support is growing.

Increasingly, health and education are seen in the same light. We no longer can hope to see those as a ‘right’ of a country as a people that sees itself at the forefront of civilisation. Both Australia and the inventor of modern western democracy, the US, are falling behind in educating their young. Australia is way down the ladder in teaching language and math skills with the US  35th on the ladder. In Australia it is not much better.

So, where will we end up? Looking at Turnbull and Trump I am driven to despair. Once we are fattening the porkers and baconers of our societies and neglecting the vulnerable I suspect ‘Western Democracy’ is under threat.

Finally, here is one person’s view on the future of the US and I suspect this applies to Australia as well.

“Johan Galtung, a Nobel Peace Prize-nominated sociologist who predicted the collapse of the Soviet Union, warned that US global power will collapse under the Donald Trump administration.”

“The Norwegian professor at the University of Hawaii and Transcend Peace University is recognized as the ‘founding father’ of peace and conflict studies as a scientific discipline. He has made numerous accurate predictions of major world events, most notably the collapse of the Soviet Empire.”

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/us-power-will-decline-under-trump-says-futurist-who-predicted-soviet-collapse

Almost There

 

 

 

 

 

A sigh of relief!

January 3, 2017

new-cover-1704-front-big-book-cover-18april

There is a communal sighing of relief washing all over Australia . Work has started and routine is returning. People are happy again. It is odd how we yearn for variety and change of routine, yet always welcome a return to normality. There is nothing as life-confirming as everyday habits while performing household duties. I suppose, all the extra dishes have now been washed and the last of the bottles put out for re-cycling. We are all relishing a return to the familiar. We enjoy being bored but are just not honest enough to admit except to our most intimate friends under the cover of darkness or an umbrella during day time.

New Year’s day was totally absent of any public expression of joy. Not a celebration in sight. All shops were closed. Even the coffee bars were shut. Some tourists were aimlessly walking around looking for a celebration. Several with strong European accents asked us where they could get a coffee. “No, not here in Bowral, but the Fish and Chip shop is open, try there you might get an instant Nescafé.” Bowral on New Year’s day looked like a post-apocalyptic scene out of the novel ‘On the Beach’, by Neville Shute. I remember when each time we arrived back in Australia by boat it would be on a Sunday in Fremantle. Not a soul to be seen on the streets. The first time back in 1956, before the book was even written

At one stage we had foreign students living with us in inner city suburb of Balmain. They were mainly from Asian countries. Inevitably they would ask us; “where are the people?” They missed people around on the streets more than anything.

I think Australia might have to try a bit harder in the field of public celebrations and joy in attracting tourism. Sure, the fireworks in Sydney and other places were magnificent on New Year’s Eve. Overall, it seems that the Christmas season celebrations are mainly a private affair. A family get together rather than a public event. Our cities don’t seem to have the density required for people to come out in the open in throngs like they do in Amsterdam, Paris or Hong Kong. We live too spread out from each other and with our love for privacy don’t care much for a display of abandoning all our inhibitions, except when we get drunk. Even then we are more likely to bash than to embrace.

A report has come out stating that our economic model of consuming by soaking up our yearly GDP is becoming more and more unstuck. It seems we have reached a level of saturation. There is only so much we can shove in our cupboards and wardrobes or have enough power points to plug in electronic gadgetry.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-04/consumerism-buying-more-stuff-not-answer-to-happiness/8160346

Well, the pensioners will certainly give a helping hand in non-consuming, seeing the government has targeted billions to be saved from cutting pensions or by lowering them. The money saved will be used to give tax breaks to business and the wealthy. We also have this senator advising that pensioners should be ashamed of being a pensioner. Pensioners ought to feel they have failed seems to be his message.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-02/david-leyonhjelm-calls-to-restrict-pension-assets-test/8157924

We should all pull together and show shame. Be proud of your shame.

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.

First day after Bali.

June 24, 2015
Bali

Bali

It shows some courage to begin writing again so soon after Bali. One does not really know how one is affected by surroundings and mood of a country, till one leaves. It is even stronger on the return. While Bali’s airport seems just as busy as Sydney’s if not busier, the smiles were still free. I don’t know if smiles are free in Sydney too. We just did not see them. Perhaps they were in hiding, deep inside the multi pocketed ‘Border Control& Protection’ uniforms.  There were hundreds of them carrying serious frowns and some had guns!

At Sydney’s airport rail station we asked for 2 tickets to Bowral. The man did not look up from his computer; kids or adults, he asked crankely?’   ‘Have a look,’ Helvi smiled back. ‘That’s 42 dollars then’, the man said grimly. ‘We are pensioners, Helvi said!’ ‘That’s 28 dollars,’ the station man said, and ‘show me your pension card’. Fair enough, but does it have to be so unfriendly and with so much officialdom, such sticking to facts and rules? Many foreign people arrive in Australia as tourists. What do they make of that sort of treatment? He could have smiled. He could have advised us the nr of platform and the time of departure. Helvi always smiles. No, we had to ask for each item separately.

And now the train; It was unheated and for us it was a killer of a downer. I mean at 7am Sydney’s winter is serious and at 9c climbing steadily towards a balmy 12c at 10am, it wasn’t tropical. We were prepared but not to the arctic blasts coming through the doors every time they opened. Again, there were some people with huge suitcases. They might well have been tourists. You wonder what they will report back? We had to change trains at Campbelltown. Again, difficult to find out which platform. A loudspeaker kept saying, over and over, that the train at platform 4 was not to be boarded because it had terminated. That was fine, except there was no train to board (or not as the advice was bleating) at platform 4.

Bali (Ubud)

Bali (Ubud)

Another message warned people that all platforms were smoke free. All the platforms were in open air and outside. A strong wind was merrily blowing around. Surely, someone wanting a smoke could have been given that freedom. There were no shortages of Coca Cola machines and chocolate bars, crunchy violent bars and other snacks to tempt the terminal obese with. I would rather see a smoking person than hear a slurping Coke being downed.  Anyway,  both sugar and smoking is bad, so perhaps I am just cranky or being difficult again. The loudspeakers at Campbelltown rail station certainly work and the next dire warning came soon after the advice of not boarding a non-existent train.

Listen carefully to this one now! ‘Will all train passenger, please disperse along the entire platform, please (second time). None of the 4 platforms had more than 12 passengers. I can only surmise the messages were on an endless tape that would just drone on and on, giving the warnings over and over again. The last message now. Again, a beauty for making tourists welcome and safe; ‘All platforms will be regularly patrolled by our police to make sure no criminality will be committed on our platforms or trains.’ Indeed, we noticed police and dogs strolling around the platforms. It made us pass the time as there was 55 minutes waiting for the next train (another unheated one) on platform 4 to take us to our final destination. The loudspeaker was still warning us endlessly not to board the train at platform 4 as it had terminated!

Ah, we knew we were back. All this made us feel home!