Posts Tagged ‘Shopping malls’

Sugar Tax? Yes, please.

January 28, 2019

Image result for sugar drinks

Even though Australia is one of the fattest countries in the world, it still obstinately refuses to seriously consider a tax on sugar including sugary drinks and sugary foods. Twenty eight countries so far have put a tax on sugar. Mexico, another country with enormously large people, introduced it in 2014. Seven US cities and several US states also introduced some form of penalty on sugar.

Anyone who has ever visited Australian shopping malls could not but have noticed the rapid increase in morbidly obese people. They also are getting younger. It is now not uncommon to see large swollen babies in prams being pushed by very obese parents. While there might be other contributing factors for this obesity epidemic, sugar certainly is one of them. Lack of exercise another one!

It is estimated the obesity problem is costing Australia 5.3 billion a year. Even a modest increase in the cost of sugar would return $ 500 million annually.

I could not have been prouder as a Dutch-born Australian than when Australia tackled and won a battle against the giants of the Cigarette and Tobacco industry. Australia was now leading the world. They gave us us a well deserved standing ovation. It was Julia Gillard and her minister, Nicola Roxon, who decided to  stand up for the health of its voters and won. It cost the Gillard Government almost 40 million to fight Phillip Morris.

Gillard and Roxon surely would have to be best politicians of all time. How many lives have they saved from the dreaded lung cancer? Why is this government so loath to follow suit? Thousands of people are getting diabetes of their addiction to sugar. The law to package cigarettes in Logo free and drab brown coloured packaging is helping to prevent and reduce smoking. Many countries including the European Union have followed Australia’s lead in controlling tobacco sales.

The same could be done with sugary drinks. Have them logo free and the liquid drab brown coloured. Put a tax on them equal to cigarettes and watch the shopping malls return to having a more svelte looking shopping crowd…

Of course there will always be large people around, and genetics, as with so much else, has a lot to do with that. This article is to do with the morbidly obese. People who are still walking around but are dying of obesity. Surely, a responsible government could follow so many countries that are now reaping the benefits of sugar tax and have a healthier population?

Sadly , our opposition, the Labor Party is opposed to a sugar tax and feel that personal choices should be made. But walking around, it is obvious that people’s healthy choices against the might of the sugar industry’s advertising might, fails miserably.



The new Fashionista Sista

May 5, 2012


It just never stops;

Good news is hard to come by with the exception of today. The ABC and SBS both came out with news that would gladden anyone’s heart. During the National Garage sale held today, it was promoting that more and more people instead of chucking stuff on the tip, are selling unwanted items at garage sales. Thousands of garage sales were held today. A famous fashionista sista was even stating she wasn’t shy of telling people that the stunning dress she was wearing cost her $2 at a garage sale.  Next breakthrough would come if a well known couple; say Kylie Sandilands and that girl Jacky Oi could be shown on a well presented video clip to lounge on a dated or superfluous mattress. Now, that would really clean our suburbs. Well worn and conjugally proven mattresses would probably fetch quite a bit and fly out of the garage stall and hence off the kerbs on our streets…

Of course, the precedent for the popularity of second hand items especially fashion items were set by the fashion industry itself. Look around and young people spend hundreds of dollars on items that already look ragged and even torn while brand new. I was on a train not long ago and saw a girl in shorts so badly torn and worn I had to be held back by Helvi not to take out needle and cotton to offer a quick repair on the train.  They are Armani shorts Helvi told me, cost at least $499.- a pair on ‘special’, and if you are lucky enough to find them, she added…My mother would have been aghast for anyone to have holes in clothing but all that pauper look is now haute couture and frantically sought after. No wonder no one is knitting and sewing anymore. I believe that some items during their production are mangled with rocks and put routinely on railway tracks to get the desired torn look.

The next good news item came from today’s week-end paper heralding in the business section that those large shopping malls are slowly being deserted, especially by tenants. Tenants are being offered free rents to stay in them. People are returning to the corner shop and are turned off by the driving and parking at those malls. In America they are trying to woe shoppers back with building apartments inside and above them. Not so silly. Not a single mall has been built since 2006 in the US.

Well, let’s hope the US is finally leading the world in something good and beneficial.

Weaning us away from Shopping Malls.

February 12, 2012

Is there anything more demeaning than doing our shopping at those temples of consumerism, the Shopping Mall?  It involves so much more than just shopping; is it just a lack of time or the convenience of it all, or are there more sinister issues at play?

Let’s sit down and discuss, shall we?  We have to get to the bottom of why we insist and justify, strolling around those cathedrals of despair, whereby we furtively eye each other in some hope of recognition by another soul seeking salvation from the terrors of life and of shopping till we’re dropping.

After all, why do we drive and go through the horrors of finding a parking spot at those acreages of echoing concrete jungles hidden below ground and lit by ghoulish blue neon-lights?  The lost trolleys totally  abandoned but sunning themselves in suburb’s grassy kerbs and knolls, lost hope for retrieval a long time ago, no matter how high the rewards. Why haven’t we followed their example? How on earth could we ever have been seduced away from our beloved corner shop and how can we possibly find our way back, make amends.

The friendly corner shop with their owners peering so amicably over their rimmed spectacles, wiping hands on flowery printed aprons have disappeared by the thousands. Do you all still remember the joviality of: “who is next, please?” Also, “I haven’t seen you lately, Mrs. Murphy, where have you been?”

What did they do wrong to deserve their total annihilation by those giants of Westfield- Centro- Merchants and so many other Mecca’s for detergents, away from those well known and much loved suburban shopping strip?  Those strips are still there and students of eras long bygone can study its history by deciphering faded sign-writing on their rusting awnings. A chemist here, a butcher there (with lamb cutlets on special at $3.50 a kilo,) the hardware store with his barrows out at the crack of dawn, remember, it’s all gone…So many now up for rental.  Thai massage parlours with large lettering and arrows pointing to discrete entries from the back lane are now mushrooming, displacing the plethora of those much loved Galanopoulos & Spiros’ milk bars. At least they might give some welcome relief to the ennui suffering lonely Mall shopper, steeped in clear-sighted despair.

Even hardware stores have been hi-jacked by big terminal capitalism. There is now just Bunnings. One here in Mittagong so big it has its own internal climate. The ‘Highland News’ reported a small lightning strike only last Thursday above the caulking compounds division. Pigeons fly around merrily, a stray dog cocking leg against elderly gentleman immersed in studying tap washers. Bunnings don’t have a food-court but does provide barbequed sausages on sliced white Tip-Top bread. They sell those sausages on a crispy roll to raise funds for the Rural Fire Service or sometimes the Lions Club. Last time I was there for a silicone tube, I noticed a woman with FUK- U silk- screen printed on her T-shirt. I avoided eye contact. She was buying a large fiery red painted plumber’s pipe- wrench and seemed in a hurry.

The convenience of doing all our shopping in the one place we had at our communal suburban shopping strip. You walked from shop to shop and with you own vinyl covered shopping trolley. It was very convenient. Often we walked to those shops from our homes and this kept us slim. An extra bonus was the social intercourse with both shoppers and shop owners. Dogs used to cozily saunter in and out of shops, looking for their owners. Kids were given treats and there were mother’s galore admiring each other’s bonnie babies.

Now we get the two fingers up your arse greeting, trying to find a parking spot at the Westfield Mall bunker, after having driven for hours.  By the time we have liberated a cold and heartless stainless steel trolley away from its tightly packed brothers we find the wheels are jammed or it has a will of its own and wants to go into a different direction, wanting to escape to a grassy knoll. I have often seen shoppers taking the tissues out having a little sob and cry behind the margarine division, heaving with bitter regret. Ambulances respond to security having  found yet another elderly, totally confused and de-hydrated pensioner shopper, lost between the corridors of “Travel-Smart” and  “Bra’s for the busty, 16+” She had spent the entire night there, all huddled in fetal position. What a pitiless way to shop and how demeaning.  Shopping till we are dropping? How could our shopping habits have gone so wrong?  Why were we so easily seduced by this farce?

Go back… come back…. Come again to the friendly corner shop. Revive and come alive!