Daily Archives: January 11, 2008

Quickie and personal

1. The cleanup is close to finished. I mentioned to The Rabbit that the degree of mess was an indication of low-level but long term depression. I really think this is so. (Perhaps blogging is also a symptom?) Cleaning up is thus truly therapeutic as well as necessary.

2. I resumed tutoring yesterday, just one coachee — the 17-year-old from Fujian province in China. Now there is an indication of changed times if ever there was. Imagine admitting thirty or forty years back to tutoring a Chinese Communist! Not that there would have been any to tutor, of course. He tells me (so far as he can — his English is in early stages) that he has a new teacher at his language school. “Terrible! He never smiles!”

3. Sort of related: see Following “Racism No Way”: on Aussies, Skips, Anglos and other creatures of our imagination… on Oz Politics.

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Posted by on January 11, 2008 in Australia, blogging, personal


Recycle 9: Myself When Young (17 March 2006)

In my own youth I was an Elder in a Presbyterian Church which took the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646, from what we might call England’s Taliban phase) very seriously indeed. You may peruse this classic Calvinist creed for yourselves. I should add that the current Anglican Archbishop of Sydney is very much a Calvinist, if not quite as hardline as the Westminster Confession, but his followers now, as we did then, admire The Banner of Truth Trust, for example.

From The Westminster Confession, which is vigorous at least, not mincing words:

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Posted by on January 11, 2008 in Christianity, reminiscences, replays


Following "Racism No Way": on Aussies, Skips, Anglos and other creatures of our imagination…

This is not the promised entry on how to teach the White Australia Policy to Year 10, but it is a contribution. It could even be a source of related reference material in approaching the topic in a way that does justice both to facing the unpleasantness squarely but without self-righteousness or ahistorical moral judgement — without the special pleading that people like Keith Windschuttle indulge in to prove, no pun intended, that black is white after all. (See for example Windschuttle’s essay Why Australia is not a racist country.)

I want to draw your attention not to a historian but to a writer — one some would argue is Australia’s greatest living writer: David Malouf.

In 2003 The Quarterly Essay (an excellent publication born out of informed resistance to Howardite orthodoxy but by no means blindly ideological) published Malouf’s extraordinarily perceptive and off-centre contribution to the debate about Australia and Australian values: Made in England: Australia’s English Heritage; the following issue had responses by Phillip Knightley (disappointingly perfunctory in this case), Morag Fraser, Larissa Behrendt, Alan Atkinson, James Curran, Sara Wills, and Gerard Windsor. Together these furnish a goldmine of thoughts. I found Malouf’s essay totally resonant with my own experience of Australia, even if one or two of the criticisms made by a few of the responders are well made. Most of the responders, including Aboriginal writer Behrendt, essentially confirmed the accuracy of Malouf’s deeply subjective but also deeply true reading of Australian life.

Sorry, none of these is online, but you can order back copies or go to a library. I recommend you do.

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