Nice, but hot

06 Feb

Over on the photoblog I mention it was 39C today – not what the news says, but that’s what it was out of the wind and in the sun on M’s balcony at noon. I was doing a brief house-sit, for reasons I won’t bother with here… But you can see one of his plants.

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It was at least cool inside, and it did keep me away from the computer most of the day. 😉 (Today’s other posts went up via automatic pilot just after midnight last night.) Called at The Mine too.

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No. Not too close… Photographing school boys is a no-no.

nephew Speaking of no longer school boys, English/ESL scored a visit via my grand-nephew’s (right) MySpace blog. He’d written last year (and I hadn’t seen this before):

With a new school year set to start today, I just thought that I should spread a little bit of cheer in the form of information. Yay!

HSC is a bitch, as we all know, and English is a subject everyone does, and it is a pain in the ass right across all levels. I, however have found a website that takes a little bit of the strain off the extensive English workload.

This website, hosted by former English HT of Sydney Boys HS (along with several other High Schools and Universities) and my Great Uncle…was one of the best resources I had when I was studying HSC English Advanced. But not only does this website cover English Advanced curricula, but ranges from ESL, English Standard, and even to Extension, and includes tips as to how to write proper essays, and guidlines on how to stick to answering the question.

I rate this website to anyone studying the HSC this year as it saved me a few times last year.

So Check it out!

Bookmark it!

Maybe it will save your HSC too…

Go Figure

No, I’m not linking him, but I was also pleased to read (and he is a Shire boy) a really impassioned statement on racism.

…I understand racism still exists. It is appalling that in today Australia, that barriers still exist. I for one am NOT a racist. However, I am an Australian. My heritage is that of English, Scottish, Mauritian, Aboriginal and a bunch of others. I have cousins of Malaysian descent. I was born in Australia and live my life as an Australian. I do not mingle in the business of others, and I certainly do not take offense nor exhibit prejudice to the heritage that of my own nor other around me.

I do, however, take offense to others who label me as a racist, BECAUSE I am what is ignorantly labelled as White Australian. It is an ugly term to be thrown around. My love for who I am and where I live and those who have lived before me does not make me a racist, nor does it make others like me racist. It is, in fact, those who use that term to label others who are the racist ones.

This needs to stop. We need to live together under the one flag. That is what the Australian Flag represents. It represents unity. It represents mutual respect…

Nothing to do with me, I assure you, all his own unaided thoughts. (I don’t see him all that often, though we just had a quick MSN chat in response to the English/ESL link, which I thanked him for.)

I was chuffed though.

Must correct my g-nephew: I was never H(ead) T(eacher) — just a dogsbody crew member, and of course ESL head, in the sense there was only ever one of us!


7 responses to “Nice, but hot

  1. Benjamin Solah

    February 7, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    The last quote is a joke. The Australian flag does not represent unity. It represents racism. From the genocide of Aboriginal people, to the whole history of anti-Asian racism out of trying to assert Australia as a superior power in Asia, to anti-Arab racism today.

    Sorry, really hate that idea. We cannot reclaim the flag as a symbol of good. The whole idea of the world being divided up into nations is a new and reactionary concept.

  2. Neil

    February 7, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I have no problem with the flag. You need to do a bit more work on the rise of nationalism since the 16th and 17th centuries too; can be reactionary or revolutionary, and has been both, and even neither. I am not in favour of mindless patriotism or jingoism, obviously; on the other hand I am sure nationalism has more than a small role in places like Cuba and Venezuela, and that Castro and Chavez are fairly thought of as nationalists, whatever else they might be. Nationalism and internationalism are not necessarily contradictory. We all have a whole gamut of identifications and belongings, family, local, regional, national, international, not to mention others on gender and class lines. Sorting them out and being proportionate about them is the important thing. I’ve mentioned before my great admiration for Amin Maalouf’s On Identity — search my site — and I find that extremely relevant. Avoiding what he calls “deadly identities” is the problem — in other words, any identity that actually encourages you to kill for it…

    Meanwhile you’ve replied, Benjamin! That was quick! (BTW your 25 things was really interesting.)

  3. Benjamin Solah

    February 7, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    Totally agree that nationalism can be seen as different, depending on the history and I guess the imperialist pecking order. American nationalism is quite different to Iraqi nationalism for example.

    But Australian nationalism is inherently reactionary because of its history. I’m actually doing a talk on it at my Socialist Alternative branch meeting.

  4. Neil

    February 7, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Sorry, that is a gross oversimplification. I am not a mad patriot, but I really think the people of the 1880s and 1890s would have resented what you claim, especially the ones who were strongly anti-imperialist.

    Yes, we may one day ditch the Union Jack in the corner, but probably not the history that entails, and not all the institutions and ideas it has given us, along of course with many things from other quarters. You know I am unashamedly multicultural, and almost virulently anti-racist — and I was proud that my nephew at 19 (with very little input from me) had come to the conclusions he has come to from deepest Sutherland Shire. Which was why I quoted him.

  5. Benjamin Solah

    February 7, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Most of the people of the 1880s and 1890s were killing off Aboriginal people or putting them in reserves or enslaving them.

    Ditching the Union Jack won’t remove us of our imperialism either. Australia wants to be imperialist in its own right. It’s part of the justification for existing on stolen land amongst Asia. This idea that were are country with certain special values like mateship, rooting for the underdog etc. that are either in fact not unique to Australia or just not true. John Howard was a friend of no one and no one from the ruling class was backing Palestine recently.

    Individuals can be anti-racist, but it holds you back from getting rid of racism completely if you a tied to the idea of nation states and the history associated with ‘our’ nation.

  6. Neil

    February 7, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    In my nephew’s context “This needs to stop. We need to live together under the one flag. That is what the Australian Flag represents. It represents unity. It represents mutual respect…” is a great improvement on those goons who wrap themselves in the flag and do Cronullas. What’s more, if we put our minds to looking at it that way, naive as it might seem, the problem would probably go away.

    I simply do not accept the Marxist interpretation of racism, or the one you offer. Xenophobia is older even than nationalism, and goes deep into our psyches, and all our fears of strangers — fears probably justified for most of human existence. So far as I am concerned individuals — more and more of them — deciding that racism is rather like enjoying a good vomit or covering yourself in pig shit would lead far more effectively to the end of racism (and other prejudices) than all the revolutions you could possibly imagine.

    You know what I have said about Palestine… I am not going to repeat it all.

    But did you know that internecine problems really have been the curse of the Palestinian cause as well, that the left has been bypassed there, and that the cause has instead passed into the hands of a fiercely religious outfits? Did you know that supporting Palestine creates some very strange bedfellows — the Nazi input having been very strong (e.g via Hitler’s buddy the Mufti of Jerusalem in the mid 20th century) — and that the vilest antisemitism flourishes in these circles — crap like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Tsarist forgery and quintessentially racist, for example. Did you know that in the critical early days before the state of Israel came into existence and soon after there was a string of murders of moderate Palestinians … In fact the whole scenario is just so fucked I hardly know where to begin. Did you know that neighbouring countries virtually forced Palestinian refugees to stay in camps instead of taking them in and offering them a decent life?

    And so on. And yes, I have no respect for the current lot in the Israeli government either. But there was, believe it or not, a time many on the left admired the social experiments in the kibbutzim etc as working models for communism? Seems a long time ago…

    Yes, there never should have been a Jewish State, as distinct from a state — some kind of secular confederation would be best — which may have served as a home for Jews, especially emotive of course immediately after WWII. But there were Jews there long before this century too, and they didn’t do too badly under the Ottomans in fact.

    Can you imagine, even for five minutes, what eliminating Israel would actually look like, how after 60 years it would be done?

    That doesn’t mean there shoudn’t be change — but hey, we really don’t mind violence in a good cause, because what else is “armed struggle” after all… So there we are back into the crap of “just war” again… (I would be a pacifist myself except there probably are times when war is unavoidable, but it is never desirable.)

    OK, it was a damned silly idea with disastrous consequences, but so was the partition of India, so are just about all the post WWI borders in the Middle East, so is a hell of a lot else. So was the virtually man-made famine in China and the disastrous history of collective farms in the 50s through the early 70s; so was the massacre of the kulaks, so was the treatment of the Ukraine.

    So is Darfur. So was Bosnia. And so on.

    By the way, the assumption that race = nation is clearly NOT the case in Australia, and hasn’t been for a very long time, despite stupid people like Pauline Hanson… The nation is whoever is in it, whatever their class, gender or background.

    Sorry, I am ranting and not arguing, and it is, sadly, consistent with my observation and experience that Marxism is as bad as most fundamentalisms, and the best thing to do with it is to get over it… though that usually takes time. That’s not to deny the good dedicated Marxists have also often done — Jack Mundey come to mind because I was just reading about him. But then I would say much the same about the Salvation Army, or even (in some of its doings) the Catholic Church…

    Perhaps my rant is so long because of the heat, and maybe I was touchy that you had inadvertently attacked my family… 😉 My g-nephew is a direct descendant, by the way, of Bungaree, and thus of the original owners of Kirribilli House… (I’m not; that comes through by brother’s first wife, but I am also proud of being apparently descended from the Dharawal. Adds a frisson to my Aus nationalism, that does…)

  7. Neil

    February 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm

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