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Daily Archives: January 8, 2009

I’ve been writing an HSC English essay!

It’s been a while since I did. Now I am not sure how good it is. Those interested might like to visit The “Belonging” Essay. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy to do!

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Posted by on January 8, 2009 in education, English studies, personal

 

A rabbi on Gaza

I was going to leave this alone, but in checking my blog roll (which I will soon revise and prune) I happened on Shalom Rav, Random Blogthoughts by Rabbi Brant Rosen in the USA. In particular see Outrage in Gaza: No More Apologies (28 December), Israel and Gaza: In Search of a New Moral Calculus (30 December) and Israel and Gaza: One Geographer’s Prediction (6 January). Really, these have more weight than anything I can say. A brief sample from the first:

The news today out of Israel and Gaza makes me just sick to my stomach.

I know, I can already hear the responses: every nation has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens. If the Qassams stopped, Israel wouldn’t be forced to take military action. Hamas also bears responsibility for this tragic situation…

I could answer each and every one of these claims in turn, but I’m ready to stop this perverse game of rhetorical ping-pong. I don’t buy the rationalizations any more. I’m so tired of the apologetics. How on earth will squeezing the life out of Gaza, not to mention bombing the living hell out of it, ensure the safety of Israeli citizens?…

So no more rationalizations. What Israel has been doing to the people of Gaza is an outrage. It has has brought neither safety nor security to the people of Israel and it has wrought nothing but misery and tragedy upon the people of Gaza…

More on all sides thinking like that and there could be hope. That’s leadership.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2009 in America, inspiration, interfaith, Israel, Middle East

 

Fascinating blogging and cultural phenomenon

Day after day – as all users of WordPress.com will have noticed – the top blog post tends to come from one Alvin Lim whose Coolsmurf Domain is dedicated to East Asian pop culture, Korean especially.

200901061535141Alvin is certainly prolific. The latest to hover at the top of the WordPress hit parade is 15-Year Old Park Seo Jin Semi-Nude Photoshoot Draws Controversy. The range of comments (also prolific) includes some that go beyond airheadedness. Here, of course, one immediately thinks of the Bill Henson controversy of 2008 and the panic ensuing which in turn has affected the Australian government’s approach to Internet censorship, a matter much debated, as mentioned in the previous post. One of the offending images is on the right; all rather Calvin Klein.

I should add that Alvin does not have to have words like “nude” in his titles to attract readers. Clearly Korean pop culture is a very big phenomenon.

I find all this fascinating as evidence both of the amazing diversity of our world and its opposite tendency towards homogenisation. Or perhaps of the hybrid world we are seeing emerge.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2009 in Asian, blogging, generational change, multiculturalism, other blogs, pluralism, www

 

Two from regulars to this blog

Both of these have been mentioned in dispatches on my Google Reader, but I thought I would add a note here too.

From Arthur: Meanwhile . . . The stories told in this post gain from the personal connection to Arthur. They are inspiring stories, but also bring into harsh relief the often shameful approach to asylum seekers that characterised the Howard years at their most Dickensian (or Kafkaesque).

From Bruce: An open resignation from the Australian Labor Party with 23 comments so far. Of particular interest, perhaps, are the references to Senator Conroy and the proposed National Net Nanny. You will have seen my box top right in the side bar, which is clickable…

 
 

Breaking the silence on my English/ESL blog!

I just posted on English/ESL:

I am coming out of mothballs to draw your attention to something very significant from the USA. To quote an email which has just arrived:

Dear Educator:

As a valued edweek.org user, you are invited in for a sneak preview of Quality Counts 2009: Portrait of a Population. The official release date for this highly valued annual report is tomorrow, so you will be among the first to view it.  View it now:  www.edweek.org/go/qc09

In addition to giving you access to this annual report, the rest of edweek.org has been opened so that you will have access to everything premium subscribers can access from Jan. 7 through Jan. 19.

Quality Counts 2009 provides you with the nationwide report card on the continual push for K-12 school improvement you have come to rely on. In addition, the special focus of this year’s report is how English-language learners are putting schools to the test. Specifically, you’ll learn how:

· Immigration transforms communities challenged by changing demographic patterns, straining the capacity of school districts.

· English-learners pose a policy puzzle for states and school districts as they push to boost student achievement overall.

· The rights of ELLs and the case law and statutes to provide them quality education continue to evolve.

· And much more!

Do explore.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2009 in education, ESL, site news, USA