21 July 2013

Why The PNG Solution is Gillard's Fault

Just when you thought Australia's race to the bottom on asylum seekers couldn't get any more hateful and hysterical, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd 2.0 announced on Friday that all asylum seekers who arrive by boat (and only those who arrive by boat) will be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and, if their claims for asylum found to be genuine, settled there. The would never be eligible for Australian residency. Great! So the world's 12th largest economy is passing off it's legal and moral responsibilities to a nation where per capita GDP is $2532 per annum, a nation where malaria runs rampant, a nation where homosexual activity is illegal. How much are we paying them for this? What did we promise?

I wasn't the only one who had the bile rise in my throat. There were denunciations, and tears, and people tearing up their ALP membership cards (you get a card for joining the ALP? All we get in the Greens is a monochrome booklet on recycled paper). And amongst all that was a plaintive refrain: that this was all part of Kevin Rudd's egomaniacal drive to get elected; it would never have happened under Julia Gillard. Oh really? Far from thinking it never would have happened under Gillard, it is in fact all her fault.

I mean, it's all John Howard's fault, of course; he steered the nation onto a path of selfishness, cowardice and racism we may never recover from, feverishly whipping up hatred of "boat people" during his term of office. When we finally couldn't bear it any longer and turfed him out of office in 2007 - just as worldwide levels of asylum seekers were increasing - new Prime Minister Rudd  1.0 wound back several of the Howard era's harshest measures on asylum seekers, such as towing boats out of Australian waters, and the temporary protection visas which led to the deaths of 353 mostly women and children on the SIEV X. This and other issues saw Labor slip in the polls, a bit, and this and other issues led Labor to turf Rudd as leader shortly before the 2010 election. In came our sparkly new leftist, first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

And what was pretty much the first thing Gillard did? Announce we needed to have a national dialogue on asylum seekers, not to dispel the myths, but to announce how terrified and angry we all were about them. She declared that we weren't allowed to call the people banging on about "illegals" racists or rednecks; that their views were legitimate, that boat people were a bloody great problem we all had to fret about. Instead of differentiating herself as a truly progressive Prime Minister, she opened the floodgates of talkback radio to the kind of people who were always going to hate her no matter what she did, sewing the seeds of her own destruction and pouring fertiliser on the national weeds of hatred and xenophobia. Gillard could have tried to alter the tone on asylum seekers to one of truth and compassion, but didn't; the boats kept coming anyway, and now we've reached a point where shipping desperate people off to a third world country for daring to seek asylum here seems fair and just to a huge chunk of the population. (And if you want a better alternative to all this, there is one).

16 July 2013

A Guide To Using Free Public Wi-Fi

1. Out in public and deciding to call it a day, try to download bus timetables.

2. Notice your normally smooth internet connection isn't working. Realise your phone is trying to connect to  the "FREE PUBLIC WI-FI".

3. Think why the hell not? if I can get a free connection for a few minutes I might as well. Go to sign in.

4. Page takes 90 seconds to load.

5. "Do you accept the terms and conditions?" YES.
 
6. New page takes 90 seconds to load. "Would you like to sign up to our mailing list for exclusive offers and competitions?" NO.

7. "Please wait, you are now being redirected". Wait a further three minutes.

8. Corporate home page finally opens. Close it. Return to trying to look up bus times. 

9. Bus timetable won't download because free public WiFi is slow and buggy as crap. Turn off WiFi, get bus times by 3G.

10. Realise you missed bus trying to use the public WiFi. You have a 40 minute wait for the next bus. You can't attempt to kill time using the WiFi as you've already logged in once today.

Thanks for using our free public WiFi!

14 July 2013

Why My Phone Covers Make Me The Worst Person In The World

After an unhappy two year stint in the prison of Apple, when my contract was up a few months ago I joyfully sold my fruit phone and became the happy owner of a Galaxy S3. I love that thing. It's got expanded memory, and a custom ROM (named Paranoid Android, yet!) and I can tweak it any which way I like and I'm thrilled to bits.

And of course, a fabulous phone needs fabulous covers. I'm not much of a fashionista, but I like a good looking phone, with covers to suit my every mood, every outfit.

A sample of the collection. I'm not proud of this.


BabyG likes to hide phone covers in his room, so these are just some of the phone covers I own. And it occurred to me, owning all these phone covers makes me pretty much the worst person in the world. I buy most of them from eBay, usually for under $5 a pop, and you know at that price they are not being manufactured in ethical conditions. So my phone covers are manufactured from god knows what chemicals in a Chinese sweat shop, then wrapped in bubble wrap, packed with more toxic chemicals and pretty much guaranteed to never break down, then stuffed into (virgin) paper envelopes, put on a plane, and flown 7360 kilometres so they can adorn my phone until planned obsolescence kills the thing, I buy a new phone, and the covers end up in landfill until long after my descendants cease to walk the Earth, all so a fat spoiled white lady can have a pretty phone.

I'm the worst person in the world, if you look at it like that, and if humans are wiped off the face of the Earth it won't be too soon.

09 July 2013

Happy Birthday (From the Office)

"Happy birthday from the office. We hope the automated happy birthday SMS we send to all employees helped get the day off to the right start. We're sorry if it woke you when it inexplicably arrived on your phone at 5am.

"We want you to know just how special you are to us, so we've adorned your desk with a balloon bouquet we appropriated from the Move To Improve promotional kickoff in the lobby; and lunch today will be a platter of sandwiches we acquired from the meeting senior management is having with the director of regional strategic development. They won't miss it. None of these people will ever know your name.

"Here's a card we all signed. Half the people have spelt your name wrong, except for one woman you've been working alongside for 18 months who inexplicably thinks your name is Deidre.

"We do want to thank you for being such a valuable member of the team, and let you know how much we care. No, we're really sorry, you can't leave an hour early today. We hope you can see just how indispensable you are".