Daily Archives: December 27, 2008

Good news on the Cricket…

It’s the Boxing Day Test Match in Melbourne, v. South Africa. We lost the first Test in Perth. This is panning out to be a good game. But of course the good news really is that I can watch the game as our aberrant shared TV antenna has now been fixed, so Channel Nine is visible again, as you can see….

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At that point in the game Kevin Rudd, our PM, was doing his bit in the commentary box. Soon after South Africa lost their second wicket. They’re 2/43 as I write this.

8.3 Johnson to Amla, no run, OUT, smacked extremely hard straight into the chest of Symonds at gully, who manages to cling onto the catch

8.3 H Amla c Symonds b Johnson 19 (34m 30b 1×4 0x6) SR: 63.33, FOW: 2/39, Partnership: 38 (34m 44b). Jacques Kallis is the new batsman.

Australia had managed to rack up 394 in their first innings.

362471 Next day

What a difference a day makes. South Africa is still in at 8/428 as of 4.15pm!

What a partnership this has been! Surely one of the great ones of test cricket. This J P Duminy person is quite amazing.

And the next day

johnson Australia is now (4pm) in, doing well but probably not well enough, though you never know. The excitement at the moment is waiting for Ponting to get his 100…. Oz now has 200 up… Bowler now is Morne Morkel – quite a name that… Peter Roebuck was pretty scathing in the Herald today: Gloom and Duminy. Ponting now on 98… Not much out of that over. Harris now bowling… Well… Maiden over… 7/201… Morkel’s bowling again…. Mitchell Johnson (right) is on strike. He just got a four! 7/205… Then a single… 7/206… New ball, Harris bowling… So Johnson is still on strike – that means batting, by the way… Not “on strike” in any other sense… 4.18pm. Over ended, with Johnson getting a four, bringing Oz up to 7/210, and Ponting on strike. Forty minutes he’s been in the 90s. Morkel bowls. Ponting gets a single: 99! Johnson gets a single, so Ponting is back on strike… The people in the ground erupt… And then tragedy! Ponting has just been bowled by Morkel for 99!!!!

Well, that’s Cricket.

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Posted by on December 27, 2008 in Cricket, Kevin Rudd, personal, TV


Quick Saturday stats

Shortly I will go stats crazy as both the end of the month and the end of the year are coming up. Today I will post the top individually visited posts in the past seven days for each of the three main Floating Life blogs.


  1. Australian poem: 2008 series #9 — 115
  2. How good is your English? Test and Answers 40
  3. Dispatches from another America 37
  4. The Great Surry Hills Book Clearance of 2005  35
  5. Beijing agrees to Tibet talks 33
  6. To Sirdan’s new flat… 28
  7. From left field, off the wall, and similar Christmas musings 2 24
  8. 2008 in review 18: best pics? 23
  9. And how about that Mugabe…? 18
  10. Christmas drought 16

Photo blog

  1. Darling Harbour video 15
  2. 2008 in order 13
  3. Loving Surry Hills 25: contrast 11
  4. Views from Rosebery 4: south-west 10
  5. 2008 in review: best pics? 10
  6. Loving Surry Hills 18: colourful 5
  7. Links 5
  8. Views from Rosebery 1: towards the airport 4
  9. First 3
  10. Views from Rosebery 5: framed 3

Because each post is just one photo, people tend to read this blog without visiting individual posts. That’s my guess anyway. General views have been: Dec 20 231; Dec 21 44; Dec 22 60; Dec 23 48; Dec 24 55; Dec 25 29; Dec 26 105.

Ninglun’s Specials

  1. Sequel: Art Monthly Australia July 2008 22
  2. Family stories 3 — About the Whitfields 19
  3. 05 — Old Blog Entries: 99-04 16
  4. DSL collection – Chinese Contemporary Art 14
  5. 10. But is it art? Responses to the Bill Henson controversy of 2008 14
  6. Family stories 4 — A Guringai Family Story 8
  7. Shire childhood, adolescence and early adulthood 8
  8. An old picture… 7
  9. About the Whitfields: family pics for my brother 5
  10. Closely watched planes 6: flying boats 5

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Posted by on December 27, 2008 in blogging, site news, site stats


Sydney’s Wayside Chapel, King’s Cross

I went there earlier this year to take some pictures for The South Sydney Herald. As it happens, the pics haven’t been used, but I was glad to have had the assignment. I don’t have all that much direct experience of The Wayside Chapel, a sometimes contentious part of The Uniting Church, but one of my South Sydney colleagues, Blair, is a regular volunteer there. Just about everyone in Sydney knows of its work.

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The Wayside Chapel: photo by Neil

The pastor, Graham Long, has lately appeared from time to time in the press as David Hicks’s mentor/counsellor. There is a South Australian connection, which emerges in a good profile feature in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Let he who has not sinned ….

Long, 57, has been in charge of the Wayside Chapel in Hughes Street, Potts Point for four years, though he was only confirmed as a Uniting Church pastor this month. He is the third controversial man to lead the Wayside Chapel in the past 44 years. Noffs was a charismatic pioneer, whose influence and innovations were felt worldwide. Ray Richmond served for 13 years and opened Sydney’s first illegal drug injecting room, leading to a criminal charge that was later dropped.

An avuncular, bearded figure with a raucous and ready laugh, Long might appear a safer choice: a less heroic but more practical administrator capable of steering the organisation from near insolvency to financial health, and supervising the $7 million redevelopment of the ramshackle premises. Fortunately it is a dry day: water apparently pours through his ceiling whenever it rains…

"I’m not Ted Noffs and I can’t be Ted Noffs," he told the board. "If you’re not ready for a change, I’m the wrong bloke."

There was the added complication of religious politics. Though the chapel was originally set up by Methodists, it now comes under the Uniting Church of Australia. To be accepted as pastor, Long had to go through the Uniting Church’s vigorous training procedure – which could not start until his suspension from Churches of Christ had expired.

Fortunately, "the Wayside board couldn’t give a flying fruit about these distinctions". He was appointed general manager and licensed to perform normal pastoral duties – baptisms, funerals, marriages and so on – until he finally qualified.

The challenge surprised him. The organisation was barely financial and the three separate buildings that make up the Wayside Chapel were a health and safety minefield. Two-thirds is beyond renovation, and must be pulled down. The board obtained planning approval for a $7 million rebuild, and launched a public appeal just before the world went into financial meltdown. So far $1.4 million has been pledged.

"This financial crisis has been a crisis for us too," Long acknowledges. "But from a turnover of $300,000 a year when I joined, we’re now at $1.8 million a year."

Most of that money is self-generated. "Ted’s vision – and it’s the same with us today – is that we don’t want to be seen as a soup kitchen. We are something which helps the community behave like a community. We want the poor to know that we exist only because of the generosity of the rich. And the rich to know that the poor are their brothers and sisters.”

Long fostered corporate ties, got celebrities to serve as chapel ambassadors, recently adapted a suite of small rooms for the recreation of under 25s – "the only drugs-free, supervised space for young people in Kings Cross" – and converted to reality the idea of three homeless young men for Food For Thought, a regular celebrity-speaking session where a changing roster of street kids prepares the food.

But at the heart is the Wayside Chapel itself. "We try to keep the chapel as a quiet, safe, sacred space. Lots of people just come here to sit and think," Long says. "Everyone falls over at some point, and everyone needs help getting back up again."

And another religion/community matter

Also in today’s Herald: Don’t force us into ghettoes: Trad.

LOCAL councils around Australia have been warned they risk imposing a "ghetto mentality" on the Islamic community if they continue to oppose religious projects such as the controversial proposals to build Islamic schools at Camden and Bass Hill.

The warning was issued yesterday by the founder of the Islamic Friendship Society, Keysar Trad, as he opened a prayer centre at St Marys.

Mr Trad said the centre, which took 3½ years to be approved by Penrith City Council, will participate in a number of multi-faith and community events, such as Clean Up Australia Day.

Asked about recent controversies surrounding other developments – such as a proposal for a Muslim school at Camden and a stalled project by sportsmen Anthony Mundine and Hazem El Masri to convert a church into a mosque in Canterbury – he said their rejection would hurt his community….

I’m not always a fan, I have to say, but this piece is worth thinking carefully about.

Using the example of an attempt by Mr El Masri, a prominent Canterbury Bulldogs footballer, to convert a church in Ludgate Street, Roselands, he said some councils and residents were focusing on trivial planning issues to sink projects that would have an otherwise broad appeal.

"Generally, when you think of Hazem El Masri, if he was establishing a youth centre, most people would want to send their kids there regardless of their religion because he’s a sporting hero who could teach their children discipline and help them have sporting success," Mr Trad said.

"But it seems in that area, the conjunction of his name with the word Muslim has created a situation where council took objection to something that relates to that centre. We don’t do those things to our sporting heroes in Australia; in Australia our sporting heroes are good role models, they deserve to continue to have our respect."

The Mayor of Penrith, Jim Aitken, said there was no community objection to the new prayer centre at St Marys but said planning regulations are not the only reason some developments are delayed.

"The issues are the same in any area. Some people will be against other religions coming into our society, and other people just don’t care," he said. "You just have to keep explaining to everyone what’s going so they understand."

The vice-president of the new prayer centre, Mohammad Ruhulamin, said there would be an emphasis on hosting events that involved people outside the Muslim faith.

"If our people want to be part of the community, the community must be accessible to us," he said. "It will take some time to build relationships with people. It will not be easy."

Rather than my commenting further, I recommend you use the Islam category tag to see what I have already said. This is the 136th post so tagged!

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Posted by on December 27, 2008 in Australia, Australia and Australian, Christianity, faith, faith and philosophy, humanity, inspiration, interfaith, Islam, local, multicultural Australia, pluralism, religion, South Sydney Uniting Church


Think space: crystal ball gazing

I have been interested to see that two of The Atlantic Monthly’s writers – James Fallows and Andrew Sullivan – both cite a blog by a Canadian, Robert Paterson of Prince Edward Island (PEI), this month. In particular they refer to this entry.

  • That there is no soft landing. We are not in a recession. We are not even in a depression. We are at the end of an era. The Tipping Point is of course the financial collapse. The Vast Ponzi Scheme of our financial world – with the vast sums in the Derivative Market and the Credit Bubble all in effect lost – cannot be saved. There is not enough money in the national accounts to pull this back.
  • The search for efficiency and the urge to consume has set us all up like a row of dominoes – there is no buffer, no resiliency. As one problem rises it causes another. As one solution is tried it drives another problem. We all pull back and the consumer economy stalls. The auto industry and credit firms feeds the media (40% of conventional advertising). Papers and TV and Radio networks, many subject to LBO’s will have to fail as per the Tribune. Every sector will be laying people off. Sales of all things fall off a cliff – driving more business failures and layoffs. Cities and states that depend on sales tax and property tax and the credit markets can rely on none of these. So they too will have to lay off millions – thus making all the problems worse. National governments will be asked to save us all and of course cannot. As States and Cities get squeezed and cannot borrow, they will too lay off millions – teachers, firemen police. No one will be safe…
  • The world food system is exceptionally connected and tightly coupled. High fertilizer prices in 2008 will drive a food shortage in 2009. Inventories of grain are already low. The collapse of commerce and credit may risk food supplies in 2009. The 2008 rice problem was a harbinger for what is to come…
  • Coupling – the issue is that with everything so fragile – even broken – that problems that we could have stood up too become major or even overwhelming.
  • The problem is our mindset – the Newtonian Machine view of reality. It has outlived its value and become its dark side. We have given up all our power to it and those who control it could not help themselves from looting it…
  • That the leadership model is no longer the dominant hero but the ego-less servant…

James Fallows notes:

This is very close to what I was trying to explain three and a half years ago in my "Countdown to a Meltdown" imagined-history article in the Atlantic. The way that everything really is connected — I recently saw a school in southern China that will be in trouble because its donors are losing money through the Madoff fraud in New York  — and that no one has "any buffer, any resiliency" is something we’ve known in theory but are only now comprehending in its daily, cascading reality. It’s worth looking at the summary for similarly uplifting thoughts. 

“Countdown to a Meltdown” (2005) makes interesting reading today. It is subtitled January 20, 2016, Master Strategy Memo: Subject: The Coming Year—and Beyond.

In retrospect, the ugly end is so obvious and inevitable. Why didn’t people see it at the time? The same clearly applies to what happened in 2009. Economists had laid out the sequence of causes and effects in a "hard landing," and it worked just as they said it would.

Happy New Year!

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Posted by on December 27, 2008 in America, blogging, Canada, current affairs, generational change, globalisation/corporations, other blogs, USA