Posts tagged ‘Australia’


Found this at the sewer that is the Yahoo 7 News page. Most of the comments make for scary reading.

As for the issue it is addressing, I still cannot believe that Gillard is trying to appease the redneck crowd with the Malaysia solution for asylum seekers. Malaysia has a hard enough time dealing with the human rights of many of her own citizens, what hope will the refugees have. Malaysians who are ethnically Chinese or Indian are discriminated against, with Malays and indigenous Malaysians being the beneficiaries of the policy of bumiputera which ensures they get all the best government jobs, local university places, best land and cheap loans. Of course any attempts to abolish the bumiputera usually ends up with radical Malays and the UMNO Youth threatening to run amok.

Melbourne Motorshow

Last Friday I attended the Melbourne Motorshow.I received a free ticket from some kid whose friend did not turn up. (Saved me $20)
The Motorshow was good, and I enjoyed seeing the Porsche 935 long tail (Moby Dick) but was disappointed that there were only two Italian marques in attendance in Lamborghini and Maserati. (I like Italian cars)
What I didn’t understand were the people milling around the Holden stand wanting to get their photo taken with the latest HSV Commodore. Then again I don’t understand people driving Holdens either.

UPA Retrospective

Tonight I went to the first session of the UPA retrospective at the Melbourne International Animation Festival at the ACMI cinemas. It was a great night with lots of great cartoons. It was good to see such an enthusiastic audience too. It was the first time I have been to see animated shorts on the big screen, and it was good to see people still laugh at these things, although most of the audience seemed to be made up of animation students.

Guest of honour was Tee Bosustow, son of UPA founder Stephen Bosustow. He spoke enthusiastically about the studio and let slip that Sony are finally releasing a dvd box set of the UPA shorts. Actually he said that Sony had outsourced this to two other companies and they will be releasing the DVD. If this is true, and I don’t doubt Tee’s word, this is great for classic animation fans. A UPA set has been a long time coming, and I thikn both John Canemaker and Jerry Beck have in the past tried to persuade Sony to release these cartoons, but failed. If I recollect correctly there was some rights issue with Classic Media owning the Mr Magoo character, despite the Magoo theatrical shorts being owned by Sony.

Most popular cartoon tonight would be a toss-up between

The Jaywalker

Rooty Toot Toot

and Madeline


The last few nights I have been watching the excellent SBS documentary ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’. The premise of the show was to gather six ordinary (white) Australians and have them trace the journeys that refugees have to make before they come to Australia. They get to meet both boat people and refugees who have come through official UN channels, see what the refugees have to face in the supposedly ‘safe’ haven of Malaysia, and then go back to Africa and the Middle East to see what life is like in the refugee camps. In tonight’s final episode they will go to the war-torn countries of origin of many refugees to see exactly what they are fleeing from.

Whilst the refugee issue is something that needs to be discussed further, it is not what I want to talk about right now. You see, the real villain of the show is Raquel, an unemployed 19 year old from the western suburbs of Sydney, who claims on the one hand that she’s not racist but on the other hand declares that she hates Africans. She is a real work of art! The problem is that I am meeting more and more people like Raquel these days. I think that part of the problem is the internet.

The net is great in that it allows people to freely express their opinions. People who otherwise would not normally have a voice are able to use Facebook, Twitter or Blogger and instantly get things off their chest. It also allows people with unsavoury opinions to have a soapbox to spread outright hatred. One person in particular that I have had the misfortune of debating online with is Scott Pengelly from Melton, a white supremacist with a strange fetish for Asian pornstars. (I know it doesn’t make sense.) Scott is all over Facebook and other internet sites, telling everyone that will listen that Australia is being invaded by [insert ethnic/religious group here] and that they are ruining Australia. This loser of a human being has publically stated that only whites can be Australian and that anyone who is not white is a foreigner and should go back to where they came from, even if they were born here. I did ask him if the Chinese in Bendigo, whose ancestors came here over 150 years ago would qualify as being Australians or foreigners but for some reason he did not reply.

Part of this problem has been fostered by our politicians. Years ago I cringed when in the face of some rabid Hansonism John Howard declared that Australia was a tolerant nation. This idea of tolerance has since been echoed by Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. To me tolerance signifies only a willingness simply to ‘put up with someone’. Shouldn’t we be looking more at accepting people for who they are and not just putting up with them? Shouldn’t we be embracing this wonderful diversity and learning from all the different cultures that make up the melting pot of multicultural Australia? The media too, particularly News Ltd and journalists like Andrew Bolt exacerbate this issue through misinformation and by constantly looking for the worst in the migrants and refugees that we take in and then claiming that this is a trait that the majority of them share and that we really should take no more.

Finally I think I will just add a bit about myself here to show where I am coming from. I have been called an inner-city dwelling latte sipping lefty who wouldn’t know what it is like living in the suburbs next to all the refugees, Asians, Africans, Muslims, etc. While it is true that I live in inner-city Melbourne I am originally from the suburb of Noble Park, where I spent the first 22 years of my life. For those that don’t know, Noble Park is recognised as the most ethnically diverse area of Australia. It has a bad reputation but that is unwarranted as most people who live there would say that the place is not as bad as others make out. When I lived in Noble Park I used to think it was great. We had Kiwis on one side next door and Serbs on the other. Across the road there was a Mauritian family who had a daughter who I fancied, while behind us there was a Greek family where the mum always liked to sun-bake naked. The local shop owner was Lebanese whilst down the road there was a Vietnamese church.

At school, University, TAFE and work I have had mates from all corners of the globe. In Uni my best mate  was from Sri Lanka whilst ‘P’ is from Malaysia and my current flatmate is from Hong Kong. My best buddy at work, who I muck around with all the time is from the Philippines. (She’s also a St Kilda supporter and after the Grand Final last year gave me a big whack on the arm after I gloated a bit too much about my Pies’ magnificent victory!) I generally find that no matter what a person’s religious or racial background is their hopes and dreams are usually not all that dissimilar to my own.

This has again turned into a bit of a ramble and I’m not sure if I got my point across too clearly. Again this is more of a way of expressing myself and getting all of these thoughts out than anything else. If you’ve enjoyed this rant (or hated it) feel free to leave a comment.

Go Back To Where You Came From

Special Broadcasting Service logo, as of 2008

Image via Wikipedia

The next three nights SBS is showing one of the most important programs for the year. The three part documentary, Go Back To Where You Came From hopes to dispel the preconceived myths that exist in the Australian community about refugees by sending six ordinary Australians on a confronting 25 day journey to trace the steps that refugees take when they make the decision to leave their home land for the safety of Australia.

The participants will know what it is like to travel in a leaky boat through treacherous, pirate infested waters, spend time in a refugee camp in Kenya or a slum in Jordan. Of course this is just a taste of what refugees go through.

Hopefully the participants will realise that refugees don’t just leave their homes to become economically better off, as no one would go through such a perilous journey with no guarantee of being safe just for monetary reasons. Still, I think that the people who will be viewing the documentary won’t be the real target audience for this show, as that would be the morons who read Andrew Bolt’s blog and listen to Alan Jones, people who don’t watch SBS. I can guarantee that Bolt will have at least one blog post labelling this propaganda, even though he won’t be watching the program and will have to rely on his ever faithful sycophants  readers to tell him about it.

Go Back To Where You Came From airs on SBS on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights at 8.30pm. More information can be found at the SBS website.

Crashed and Byrned – by Tommy Byrne with Mark Hughes

Crashed and Byrned – The Greatest Racing Driver You Never Saw by Tommy Byrne with Mark Hughes

I just finished reading this great autobiography by former Irish racing driver Tommy Byrne. He is someone who I had heard a little bit about, mostly through reading about his incredible Formula Ford and Formula 3 results in the early 80s, but I never had any idea of who he was. I remember telling myself quite often when I flicked through my tome of Motor Racing Results, whatever happened to that Tommy Byrne guy and why didn’t he ever make it in Formula 1. The answer to that question is in this book.

Upon reading the first half of the book I came to the conclusion that Byrne was one of the most arrogant pricks on the planet. Racing drivers are supposed to be self-confident and even quite narcissistic, yet Byrne seemed to take this to another level. He would talk about how he thought that at the time he was the best racing driver in the world and whilst I agree that he probably had more natural talent and ability than any other Formula 1 driver at that time, ultimately it all ended up as wasted potential. Hearing him talk about getting angry when Jackie Stewart came up to give him some advice, when he was started out in F1 with the Theodore team. In the early 80s Jackie was still the F1 wins record holder and someone who had a reputation as being one of the best communicators on the art of driving a racing car ever, yet Byrne fobbed him off with an attitude that he didn’t need anyone to tell him how to drive. This is the ultimate in arrogance.

Byrne also seemed to have a giant-sized chip on his shoulders. He always seemed to bring up his working class, poverty-stricken, Irish background as a reason why he did not make it in F1, yet I believe that his arrogance and ultimate lack of desire (I suppose) to be a F1 driver at all costs, is what did him in. After just one test with McLaren, where he blew away Thierry Boutsen, Byrne gave up his F1 quest, believing that because Ron Dennis did not like him he would never have a chance in F1. (He put all of his eggs in the one McLaren basket!)

The second half of the book, where Tommy realises that his F1 dream has vanished, he is transformed into a different guy. He still has some arrogance about him, yet seems much more humble. It is in the second half of the book where he talks about his time in America and Mexico, where he becomes a lot more likable. Some of the stories here he tells are quite amusing. He also gives little insights into the personalities of other racing drivers such as Gerhard Berger, Raul Boesel, Roberto Moreno, Ayrton Senna and Giovanna Amati.

Overall it is a great book that gives a bit of insight into the world of F1 in the early 80s, as motor racing in general, especially the American scene. Byrne’s transformation is interesting but one wonders what would have happened if he ever got behind the wheel of a competitive F1 car.


Whilst ‘P’ is away I have planned a lot of reading for myself to do, otherwise I will just get bored and waste time on Facebook or get myself outraged by reading the warped views of Andrew Bolt and his loyal goons readers. Here is just some of the reading that I have planned for myself.

Crashed and Byrned – The Greatest Racing Driver You Never Saw, by Tommy Byrne with Mark Hughes.

I picked this book up for just $5 a couple of weeks ago. It had been previously recommended to be by Everso Biggyballies at the Australian Autosport Community message board. I have started to read it and can see just how talented Irishman Byrne was as a racing driver, but the guy’s ego is out of control, even for a racing driver, and he seems like an arrogant prick with a huge chip on his shoulders. I can see why he never made it big in Formula 1 even if he can’t. So far I have only read up to the part where he decided to give up motor racing for drink and drugs.

Does The Noise In My Head Bother You? by Steven Tyler.

I am a big Aerosmith fan and love reading rock ‘n’ roll biographies. I have read a few excerpts of this is various magazines and newspapers and am very interested in knowing about the various excesses that Steven has experienced. From what I have read just by flicking through the book, he tells a little bit about the process that Aerosmith uses when writing songs. I guess there will also be mention of sex and drugs and all the other things we associate with the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. I bought this yesterday from Target for $22.

Life by Keith Richards

Ronnie by Ronnie Wood

I have two books on order from Amazon. Both books I have read bits and pieces of in the shops, but never the complete books from start to finish. Both books are by members of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band in the world, The Rolling Stones. These books are Life by Keith Richards and Ronnie by Ronnie Wood. Currently Borders in Melbourne Central, which is going out of business very soon, has Life on sale for $30, which is 40% off their rrp of $50. Both Life and Woody have cost me just $25 from Amazon. Add the shipping fee of $13 and you can clearly see why I chose to buy from here. Of course Borders and other retailers in Australia like Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman will call me un-Australian and say it’s unfair because I don’t pay the 10% GST when I buy from Amazon, yet if the book was just 10% more expensive at a local bookseller I would have no qualms about buying it there. I am one of those impatient people who like to have an item in my hands as soon as I have bought it and don’t like to wait. Paying just 10% does not bother me, as this would probably just be the cost of shipping anyway. But of course we do pay much more than 10% more than Amazon when we buy something in Australia. Mmm, how did this turn into a rant about the price of books in Australia? Anyway, from the little I have read these are very good, interesting books.

Not everything I have planned to read is autobiographies. I have a number of Penguin Classics that I have bought over the last few months that I really should start reading. I’m not someone who’s big on fiction for some reason, although last year I read a couple of books by Jules Verne (Around The World In 80 Days and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea) and I thought that I would get some more. With the release of a number of Penguin Classics with a rrp of just $10 (20% cheaper in Target and Kmart if they stock them) I thought I would buy a few. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan is the book which the Hitchcock film is based off. I have read the first two chapters and can say that it is very exciting, except that the little bit of anti-Semitism that I have seen (it’s all a big Jewish conspiracy you know?) has put me off a bit. I think that Hitchcock did a better job by replacing the Jews with Nazis as the bad guys. This is just my opinion. The War Of The Worlds by H. G. Wells. I am a sucker for science fiction. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a book ‘P’ bought at the end of last year and I have never gotten around to reading it. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck. I liked the film version of this is one of Steinbeck’s most acclaimed novellas after The Grapes of Wrath. Finally I have Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathon Swift. I bought the hard cover version of this from Borders for $14.

 I do have one more book that I plan to read but unlike the others it’s not really a serious book that I need to spend hours concentrating on. Instead it’s a book I can pick up and read a little bit and put down again. That book is The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes by Jerry Beck. I guess the best way to read this is to do so whilst watching the cartoons. From what I have read it gives a very thorough insight into all the cartoons reviewed in the book although I do have one complaint, Frank Tashlin’s Puss ‘N’ Booty, which is one of my favourite cartoons, did not make the cut as one of the 100 Greatest Looney Tune cartoons. Oh well, perhaps when Jerry gets around to writing the 2nd 100 Greatest Looney Tunes it will get a mention.

This looks like a lot of reading and it is, but I have four weeks off work with nothing to do and no ‘P’ here to talk to or muck around with. I don’t really watch much TV because Australian TV is such crap, even when you add the fact that I subscribe to Foxtel there’s not much worth watching at all. (I have to get around to cancelling my subscription!) The only other option is to go out and spend (waste) money, which is something I am loath to do as I need to save up for some things.