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Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Personal responsibility

In Australia we are well served by social security. Many Australians take social security for granted and even consider it to be a right. That is not necessarily so.

In many countries there is little or no social security, no dole, no old age pension. For most Thai people their security in old age comes from their family. Old people are usually looked after both physically and financially by their children. So what happens to people without children?

One night when I was staying with my friends (or perhaps brother and sister) Ead and Tong. There was a magazine style program on TV. I usually watch TV quietly and accept the challenge of picking up what I can from the visual clues and the little (very little) I know of Thai language. I was intrigued by this short program about an old man on a boat. I asked what was going on.

The man was a fisherman who was 106 years old. He lived on a small open boat. At night he moored it under a bridge and every day he went fishing. He had never married and never had a family so there was no one to look after him. He'll probably keep on working until the day he dies.

In Australia we would expect the government to take care of this man. But he had no such expectation. He accepted his personal responsibility without bitterness.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Chinese New Year's Eve

Being a multicultural country you would expect that Chinese New Year would be celebrated in Australia. Brisbane's Chinatown is in Fortitude Valley. A friend and I spent a few hours there on Chinese New Year's Eve, Saturday night, enjoying the atmosphere and watching some of the free entertainment. It had an Asian bias but was not entirely Chinese.

We saw Chinese dancers from the Queensland World Dance Academy. The little girl in the picture is one of them. Balinese Jauk mask dancers followed and the evening ended with world music performed by a trio that included Tibetan Australian, Tenzin Choegyal. So you see, I'm not exactly deprived of Asian culture here in Brisbane.

More pictures of these performances can be found on my latest photos page.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Happy new year

To all my readers and friends, may the year of the dog bring you an abundant supply of juicy bones, may you always have a warm hand to lick, may you always have a cool shady spot to lie in, may your coat never lose its gloss and may you always be free from fleas.

Thursday, January 26, 2006


How things change

When I was a kid I went to Yeronga State School here in Brisbane. The school is on top of a hill and there was a view down to the next suburb. But I don't remember being able to see the city from there. Recently I drove past the school and I noticed there was quite a view of the city skyline. I had to stop the car and take this photo. It was only 45 years ago when I left that school. How things have changed in such a short time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Massive bras going cheap

Recently one of the big chain stores here advertised a massive bra sale. I assume that a massive bra sale is a sale of massive bras. Surely that is a bit unfair to the women who only need small bras and I assume have to pay full price.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


If you don't like it...

Lately I have often heard the statement made to non Anglo immigrants to Australia, 'If you don't like it here you can always go back.' The attitude appears to be—don't bring your culture with you, adopt ours.

When our forefathers came here I wonder if they said to the aborigines, 'As we are coming to your country we will adopt your culture.' Of course they didn't. They adopted the policy of assimilating the aborigines into the introduced Anglo culture.

Funny how we always seem to think our way is best and everyone else should change.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


More about Woodford

Woodford Folk Festival has been and gone now for another year. But some of my friends in Asia did ask about it and I thought my readers might like a little more information. Here's the formula.

Take a pleasant country setting and create the roads for a village. Plant lots of shady trees. Set up 19 performance venues of varying sizes each able to hold audiences ranging from hundreds to thousands. Watch the trees grow. Set up restaurants and food stalls sufficient to cater to a large number of patrons with diverse tastes. Plant some more trees. Set up market stalls to provide a wide range of interesting and artistic items from around the world. Invite over 600 acts from around the world including singers, musicans, dancers, storytellers, speakers, comedians, mimes and jugglers representing an amazingly diverse range of performance styles and cultures. Bring in an audience of up to 100,000 friendly, fun-and-peace-loving people to spend six summer days enjoying all of this and much, much more. And make all of this environmentally friendly.

I don't know if I've done justice to Woodford. Perhaps it's more than this. Come next year and see for yourself.

I started up a flickr Woodford Folk Festival group so you can see a range of pictures, not just mine.
  • Woodford pics

  • Woodford Folk Festival

  • Friday, January 20, 2006


    Back again and off again

    I put my computer in for repairs over a week ago. I'm planning to head back to south-east Asia in a few weeks and wanted it fixed before I left. The repairer and I had a few communication problems or should I say lack-of-communication problems. Eventually discovered he had the wrong phone number. Anyway, I have the computer back now. Hopefully it will be trouble free for some time and I'll be reporting to you regularly as before. So please drop back soon.

    There have been changes in the family situation that I returned to Australia for. Now I am free to return to my travels in Asia. First I have a car to sell and then I'll buy my ticket. The plan at the moment is to head to Kompong Chhnang in Cambodia but I haven't bought my ticket yet, so anything could happen.

    Anyone in Brisbane want to buy a nice little car?

    Monday, January 02, 2006


    Peaceful Woodford

    Canadian performer, Ember Swift, has just made her third visit to the Woodford Folk Festival in south-east Queensland. During her act, she commented that despite crowds of up to 100,000 she had never seen one act of violence during any Woodford Folk Festival. I have just attended my fourth Woodford Festival and I have to agree that I have not seen any acts of violence either. Obviously not all Australians are like some who have been making it into the news recently.

    My photos from Woodford will be appearing progressively on my flickr pages this week—see sidebar.

  • Woodford Folk Festival

  • Ember Swift

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