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Category Archives: Salt Mine

Some non-fiction read recently 2b – the personal component

See also Some non-fiction read recently: 2a.

This goes back to 2005 and a particularly interesting if controversial event. On the day I was not there, as I had to attend a meeting of ESL teachers at Erskineville – or was it Arncliffe, one of the last such meetings for me as I retired the following year. But I did know all the participants at The Mine end, and I posted on it at the time and the following year. See Salt Mine and Islamic Students; 7.30 Report: The Mine and the Islamists; The Mine and the Islamists: cause for concern?. On Floating Life Apr 06 ~ Nov 07 there is also a major entry from April 2006.

What I found yesterday was a video on YouTube of the complete 2005 Seminar referred to in those entries. The controversy centred on the guest speakers, Sheik Khalid Yassin and Hizb ut-Tahrir’s Wassim Doureihi. These people would fall in one of Michael Burleigh’s inner circles (see previous entry) but not necessarily, of course, into the innermost circle. While I had concerns about the Mine students involved, I very much doubt they would have even considered the innermost circle – quite the opposite in fact. (I also refer to these students in my Cronulla 2005 posts.)

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Stills from the video.

Mine students often show initiative, of course, and these particular students were very bright indeed and participated in all aspects of school life to the full. An earlier generation some ten years before promised they would have Barry Crocker and Kamahl at their farewell assembly. We thought they were joking, but on the day, there they were! The Tamils were especially happy. So were the office ladies.

Now you have to wait for Part C of this post.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, events, ex-students and coachees, faith, interfaith, Islam, multicultural Australia, personal, Postcolonial, religion, reminiscences, Salt Mine, terrorism

 

50 years on – 1: a classmate’s story

While looking for a photo from around 1960 for Memorabilia 17 – Sydney University: Fisher Library c.1960, today’s post on a reviving Ninglun’s Specials and Memory Hole, I came upon a classmate from the class of 1959 at Sydney High. (See also Memorabilia 16 – 50 years on.)

Peter Deli and I were in a number of classes together at school. He wasn’t a close friend, but was certainly someone I talked to. I do remember he had such dreadful handwriting he was called in to read some of his Leaving Certificate papers to the markers. He went on to study History at Sydney University, but was never in the same groups as I was; my History selections were fairly eccentric, a fact that now pleases me: Ancient History I (Near East, Greece, Rome); Modern History IIb (18th century Western Europe, 18th-19th century England); Asian History III. So aside from occasional chats in buses, I saw very little of Peter and never knew – until yesterday – what became of him.

Now I know.

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Peter Francis Nicholas Deli was born on 26 March 1942 in Wellington, New Zealand. His parents, Lewis and Lily, were both Hungarian refugees who had fled Europe just before the beginning of the War. His father, an architect by training, had been a violinist in the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. His mother, who was Jewish, had tried to emigrate to Britain and Australia before settling for New Zealand. They met in New Zealand and married in 1941. After the War the Deli family moved to Sydney, Australia and settled in the Eastern Suburbs at Bondi. Sydney had a much larger population of East European migrs than the whole of New Zealand and the Delis were soon absorbed into the Hungarian community’s protective embrace. Peter’s early school years at Double Bay Primary School were far from typical of the elementary educational experience of most Australian children at the time. The extraordinary mix of nationalities and class backgrounds in the school must have had a profound effect on his early development. In 1955 he won a place to the prestigious Sydney Boys’ High School, one of the best secondary schools in New South Wales. Peter excelled in his studies during these years and matriculated with honours to the University of Sydney in 1960. During his undergraduate years he read History and Philosophy, graduating Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in History in 1964.

Peter was not part of any established campus institutions during his time at Sydney University. They were the preserve of socialites and student politicians and were therefore way beneath the sub-culture in which Peter dwelled. Peter disliked any sort of organised activity. He did however take an active interest in The Push, although he was never part of it. He knew the Push’s Hungarian member George Molnar very well, but the movement really predated Peter’s generation of student activists. Peter instead gathered around him an eclectic and eccentric collection of friends, many of them radically-minded like himself, but not all of them. This group included his closest friend Myron Kofman. Many of them were, like Peter, attempting to throw off some of their middle class upbringing. Clive Kessler, Chris Conybeare*, Bob Connell, Maureen Tighe, Josie Jeffrey and Nina Gantman were among them. Outside the university he collected a gallery of social misfits around him. It was one of these, the ‘Bulgarian anarchist friend’, Jack Goncharoff, who became a major influence on him during his later years at Sydney University. Upon graduation Peter decided to enter the postgraduate Master of Arts programme at Sydney University and began three years of research (1964-67) focusing on Stalinist Russia. During this time he secured his first university appointment, lecturing on nineteenth and twentieth-century European and British history at the University of New South Wales during 1966. He found himself in trouble almost immediately, however, falling foul of Professor Frank Crowley, the doyen of Australian historians at UNSW, because of his long-held and vociferously expressed views on the dullness of Australian History. His M.A. dissertation ‘The Russian Purges 1936-39: Their Image in the Contemporary British Press and their Significance in Historical Perspective’ was awarded First Class Honours and Peter was recommended for the Gold Medal. It was no surprise to his fellow students and teachers that Peter wanted to further his studies after the M.A., but his decision to go to Oxford and read for the D.Phil. in 1967 was an unexpected choice of university…

After a very interesting career, including being in Paris in 1968, Peter succumbed to leukemia and died at home in Hong Kong on 12 February 2001.

The point made there about the cosmopolitan mix at Double Bay and SBHS at the time certainly struck me when I “migrated” from Sutherland (with Ross Mackay, Arno Eglitis, Robert Burnie and Laurence Napier) to SBHS in 1955. On the other hand, much to the surprise of one of my coachees who is now at SBHS, of  206 of us starting out in 1955 only one was Chinese (ABC) and one was Indian – Ashok Hegde, who became a close friend until he went to London in 1958.

* Chris Conybeare: “After March 1996, that culture began to change. The Howard Government was elected on 2 March. The following day, the Secretary of the Immigration Department, Chris Conybeare, was sacked, along with the heads of five other departments. It was a clear message that the Public Service should hold no illusions: everything is politics.”

 

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Revisited The Mine, after a senior moment…

Yesterday I went to The Mine, partly to borrow a copy of Equus. Unfortunately (the senior moment) I ran off with the English Department’s book room key, which I have now returned.

Out in Moore Park was one of those multicultural sights that warms the heart – mine anyway. There was the brass band (non-cadet) marching up and down complete with a baton-twirling drum major – boys from around 12 to 17, all taking the rehearsal for Anzac Day very seriously, and each face representative of the many ethnic and cultural groups that comprise The Mine these days, fifty years on from when I was in their shoes – not that I was in a brass band.

And the band played “Waltzing Matilda”…

Inside I did note the portrait of a certain former Justice seems to have retired from the pantheon display…

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, multicultural Australia, personal, Salt Mine

 

Strange and sad

Such were my feelings as I watched this last night:

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Back in 2007 I had mentioned the key events before: Sydney Boys High School 1955.

The god-like Fifth Form students — High School only went to Year 11 then — included quite a few who became, well, god-like figures…

One of THE most god-like to us in 1955 was Marcus Einfeld, son of Jewish Labor Party politician Sydney (Syd) Einfeld and his wife Billie. He did indeed go on to a distinguished career, and it is sad to read what is befalling him at this time. Just what he did remains to be tested, but if proven it really would make you wonder why on earth he did it, as Legal Eagle does in How the mighty may fall.

It is doubly sad because Einfeld was so often on the side of the angels, as in this talk in 2001

Many on the Right will feel most self-satisfied if Einfeld’s peculiar attitude to speeding fines is proven in court. I will feel sad that my boyhood hero has feet of clay, but I still won’t discount his intellect or achievement over that half century.

Now he is in jail.

See also Legal Eagle today: The final ignominy.

Update 26 March

It is hard to imagine a stronger contrast with Legal Eagle’s judicious and critical but still charitable post than Miranda Devine in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. She is positively crowing.

I say the good the man did – and he did much – remains good, whatever the faults or indeed crimes of the man.

 

Fifty years on – guess what, nothing is for ever!

4shs There’s not much wrong with sport over all at my old school (class of 1959) and former work-place, as a glance at the current High Notes shows. But guess what: sport isn’t everything, and I know the English Department was rather chuffed when SBHS outperformed Sydney Grammar in English in the HSC last year… And there are other achievements, as the photo on the right from the school’s website suggests.

Nonetheless, a large minority – and you may take large several ways – did in the past secure the school a reputation in Rugby which was highly prized, even if never a majority activity. The cultural cachet it attracted is for anthropologists to explain, but while many dedicated staff and friends of the school, and many gutsy if increasingly outclassed students, have done their best to maintain that particular tradition, the writing has been on the wall for at least a decade – though it should be pointed out the game does continue, even if somewhat diminished.

So we read today in the Sydney Morning Herald: Worst XV: Sydney Boys drop the ball after 100 years of rugby – except that curiously I had to go through the Melbourne Age to pick up the story online.

SYDNEY Boys High School’s chocolate and blue rugby jersey will be no more when the Greater Public Schools First XV competition kicks off this year.

Citing safety, the school has pulled its teams out of top-level competition for the first time in 103 years. Instead it will combine its teams with those of Sydney Grammar, competing in the Second XV and B-grade fixtures. Grammar will continue to play in First XV and A-grade fixtures.

For three years, Sydney Boys High has had disappointing rugby results, because of mismatches in size and ability with those of opponents. The Greater Public Schools rugby convener Mark Ticehurst confirmed that the one-sided results had added to the risk of injury to Sydney Boys High players.

In 2007 the school lost all seven of its matches, conceding 633 points and scoring only eight points. Last year it contested only one game, which it lost to St Joseph’s 112-0, before forfeiting its remaining six games. Mr Ticehurst said: "It was the safety issue that saw Sydney High withdrawing. It’s an opportunity to develop their rugby, and although they will still be in a very tough competition, the pressure is off them to perform at the First XV level."

Sydney Boys High is the only public school in the GPS and selects its students on an academic basis. It has traditionally been competitive in rugby, but its students have recently shifted to sports such as soccer.

Last year the school had only 32 players registered in its senior rugby ranks, compared with 79 who signed up for soccer…

Seems the GPS has made the necessary adjustments too, and they’d better watch out in football (the real one) and basketball, among much else… Not to mention Debating of course.

My own contribution to Rugby fifty plus years back was one term as a linesman at age 12, which did score me “took an interest in Rugby” on my school reference. Not much interest, I have to say… I wasn’t in the large minority.

Update 26 February

The Sydney High School Old Boys Union published a correction yesterday, which I have just caught up with. See High Rugby Update.

…As the School announced last year, High and Grammar will share rugby fixtures this year, with Grammar competing in First XV and A-team fixtures and High in Third XV and B-team fixtures.

The High v Grammar first grade match will take place as usual in the last round of the 2009 competition and it is possible that High may play some other GPS First XV teams in other rounds of the competition.

These changes have been temporarily introduced as part of our planned process of building the participation rates, skills, strength and success of rugby at High, from the junior school up.

All other sports at High will be unaffected by this temporary arrangement and there is no impact upon High’s status as a GPS school.

There has been a resurgence of rugby in High’s junior years. In 2008 we fielded four 13s teams for the first time in at least 10 years. Last year’s 16As defeated Newington to record High’s first win in an A v A match for many years.

We are planning to field 16 rugby teams this year compared with 13 teams last season. A coordinated, three-sessions-a-week coaching program for all junior rugby teams commenced last year and we now have about 15 old boys regularly coaching our teams…

There was truth in the Herald story, but it wasn’t really news, and the emphasis was skewed by the angle the journalist took. So “SYDNEY Boys High School’s chocolate and blue rugby jersey will be no more…” is more than a bit hyperbolic.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2009 in Australia, Australia and Australian, education, generational change, memory, personal, Salt Mine, sport

 

And that is as far as you get…

Called over to M’s this morning…

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…and this is on his door, but that is as far as we go.

Then I went to SBHS, not far away, just as a social call. But I thought I would collect something for Jim Belshaw…

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I also caught a bit of Old Sydney for Ninglun’s Specials, but you can go there to see that.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2008 in M, personal, Salt Mine, Surry Hills

 

Papal Surry Hills July 2008

Residents in Surry Hills — World Youth Day Co-ordination Authority: the map (PDF) and details arrived in our letter boxes this morning. I am thinking of setting up a stall for my holy relics…

Which reminds me of an earlier Papal Visit in 1986, a scene from which you may see here:

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australian daily: Such a disappointing day for High today

Is this what Delenio had in mind with that question at Yum Cha? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2006 in Australia and Australian, blogging, education, personal, Salt Mine

 

The Mine and the Islamists: cause for concern?

This back link to last year is vital background to what follows. Naturally the links therein to Diary-X no longer work, but I will shortly post the relevant items on my Angelfire blog and reset the links.* The gist: the article above discusses the visit by some interesting people to my former place of work. See also another August 2005 entry, Indigo Jo Blogs Patrick Sookhdeo on moderate Islam.. I have been able to correct the links on that one.

I urge you to read those articles, and also not to jump to conclusions when you read what follows. I do not feel threatened, but I do feel concerned.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Islamic Students Society at The Mine has made some connection with clearly Islamist groups. I have just read a Wikipedia article, currently being considered for deletion, written by some of the students themselves.
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Mardi Gras

Too old and tired to bother much this year, so let’s recycle a bit of the “lost” diaries:

February 10 2001: Mardi Gras Reflections Part 1

Last night Mardi Gras was launched at the Sydney Opera House. I did not go myself, but many did. In Chinatown today I could not help noticing the tourist wave has begun to arrive: a young couple (male) very much in love hand in hand down Hay Street, for example. In past Mardi Gras seasons I have met interesting people from various parts of the world, especially the US.

Yet I have never been to a Mardi Gras Party (or a Sleaze Ball)–and don’t really want to; it is not my chosen mode of enjoyment, and I have always deplored (perhaps hypocritically as a smoker) the druggy/out-of-it side of the event. Nor have I ever participated in an orgy. (Some will think me terribly deprived, or insufficiently depraved!) Mind you the drugginess is also part of nightclubbing in general, to be fair. But delight for me is in the company of some loved and loving friend rather than in bacchanalia: but then maybe I am tight-arsed…

Thirteen years ago I was teaching at a private school north of Sydney. A little boy in my roll class (Year 8) came up to me and asked if I was going to the Mardi Gras Parade. Noncommittally I replied, “Yes–I live nearby so I will probably see it.” “Oh,” he said, “I would love to see that parade: they’re my kind of people!” A cute thing he was too, I might add, so somewhat taken aback I said “That’s nice.” For weeks after he used to give me a big cheesy grin and put the chairs up for me at the end of roll call. I have often wondered where he is now–he would be 26 years old now. On the other hand another young person (not a homophobe) recently told me how much he hated the whole thing–the Parade in particular.

About five years ago I was with a group in a Thai Restaurant overlooking Oxford Street. One of our number was a gay man who had only just arrived from Mainland China. As the parade passed beneath us–the Dykes on Bikes looking pretty scary, the marching boys just looking pretty, and the enormous crowd on the street–his eyes were glowing with happiness. So much freedom he could only have dreamed about before, and he was lapping it up. Interestingly he had seen footage of the event on the news in China, with appropriate commentary about Western depravity–an encouragement in fact for him to come to Australia.

There is more to Mardi Gras than the parade of course. It is a month of sports, art events and exhibitions, film, a fair that even straight families go to…the official program is quite impressive.

Over the next few entries I will continue my personal reflections (and that’s all they are). Some will agree with me, some won’t…

February 11 2001: Mardi Gras Reflections Part 2

I am a beneficiary of Gay Liberation, but did not participate in it until well into the 1980s. Indeed, except for a somewhat self-interested participation in the Gay and Lesbian Immigration Task Force in the early 90s, when I did meet some community heroes, and an association in the later 80s with the then Sydney Gay Youth Group (I ran a writing workshop at a national gay youth conference at the University of NSW) I have had little to do with the political side of gay life in Sydney. This partly has to do with the circumstances of my long delayed coming out.

“Until September 1970, there was no publicly self-identified lesbian or gay man in Australia. Yet today, with lesbians and gay men so visible in our society, it is sometimes difficult to conceive of a time when gay male sex behaviour was illegal throughout the country, with people being gaoled as a result; when anti-discrimination legislation was an unheard-of option; when doctors could unquestioningly carry out aversion therapy, or other medical experiments on homosexuals, with court approval; and when no publicly recognised gay or lesbian community existed in which one could live openly and find support…

“It was therefore something of a shock to most Australians to read in The Australian of 10 September 1970 of the formation of an organisation, Campaign Against Moral Persecution Incorporated (or CAMP Inc), dedicated to removing the stigma which society still attached to homosexuality.” [Robert French, Camping by a Billabong, Sydney, BlackWattle Press, 1993.]

If they noticed… I didn’t, though I soon did, while having absolutely nothing to do with it. For one thing I was in Wollongong teaching; for another I was firmly in the closet. In 1971 I began teaching in a private school in Wollongong, and one of my brightest Year 12 students (Dick Wilson) a year or two later became part of CAMP Inc, though he moved on to the more radical Gay Liberation Front. He was subsequently (but not consequentially) murdered in the Philippines. My current friend the Dowager Empress of Hong Kong was 17 in 1970 at a famous private school on Sydney’s North Shore–where he was raped. (Is this a specialty of private schools?) Ian (the Empress) was early involved in CAMP Inc.

It is fair to say that the Vietnam War, the Moratorium, the Whitlam years, and my personal shift from the Right to the Centre/Left in politics through an exposure to people and ideas I had avoided all through University in the early 60s (thanks to the Evangelical Union), were all gradually broadening my horizons and deconstructing many of my views–essentially my views were a mix of inherited prejudice and crackpot theology, but fortunately I always had a doubting side–a most valuable asset I now feel, and my studies of English, History and Psychology had some effect after all. (The religious Right at the time were always on about how University was corrupting “our” Young People by getting them to read filth by James Joyce and D H Lawrence for example.) Such issues occupied me rather more than the growing Gay Rights Movement–which had nothing to do with me anyway, right?

Meantime, my liberal (definitely small-L) zeal was satisfied by exploring better ways of teaching English, and in due course I was well-known in the English Teachers’ Association. By 1978 I was on the ETA State Council and was lecturing in English Method at the University of Sydney. Ironically, given later developments, I was also running a sociology seminar on Deviance and Nonconformity! I might add that I was madly in love (in an ill-defined way) with an ex-student who is still a very good friend, albeit straight… To sum up, it could be said that I was a champion wanker–in more than one sense. In time I would pay a price, not for the wanking, but for the denial of myself that characterised my life through all this time. (There were relevant family issues of a very pressing nature involved as well.)

When the first Mardi Gras Parade happened in 1978–something of an ad-hoc affair after a political demonstration–and many were arrested and subsequently had their names and suburbs published in the newspaper, I did not even notice. Perhaps I was at a conference? Odd, really, since I was constantly reading Honi Soit, edited then by gays and Trotskyites as I recall–and I even met them, as I took over a double-page spread in one issue for my Dip. Ed. students’ creative writing. Perhaps I didn’t want to know? Ian, the Empress, was there, however…

I saw my first Mardi Gras Parade in 1985. It made me proud. (Actually 1986 😉 See next entry.)

I shall justify that statement and also qualify my enthusiasm at a later time. See you–especially you 🙂

(BTW: In 1978 1634 Vietnamese boat people were welcomed into Australia by the then Liberal government. I was briefly afraid that we were being “swamped by Asians”, to use the expression made popular by the Bitch Goddess in 1996, but moderated my views when I finally met some of them. Meanwhile the Communist trade union boss in Wollongong, blessed with the name Merv Nixon–which he briefly changed by deed poll to avoid association with the charming Dick–was loudly fulminating against our being swamped by Right-Wing Asians! I do hope old Lefties cringe when the
y recall that episode.)

February 12 2001: Mardi Gras Reflections 3

I was wrong yesterday: I was invited to see the 1985 Mardi Gras Parade but did not go. By that year I had been “out” for about eighteen months and had found a local gay bar where I felt comfortable and indeed had many a good time. However, the Oxford Street scene, let alone Mardi Gras, was still more than I could handle.

The Parade where I finally “felt proud” was in fact the 1986 one. At that time a very kind 21-year-old man, Paul, had taken my gay education in hand and had invited me to a pre-Mardi Gras party in East Sydney. I remember it was an enormous warehouse flat which was wall-to-wall with beautiful young men dressing down for Mardi Gras 😉 After the party I went and watched the Parade.

It was the sheer colour and energy of it that drew me in. Forget it on TV with the usually inane commentary! Yes, there were things about it that were not “me”–but it was representative of many facets of gay life, and there was much to appeal. There was satire, sheer silliness, rudeness, beauty, seriousness–political and HIV issues–but the statement it was making was–be proud! Don’t let homophobia hold you back! Celebrate! And I did, in my own way. The other thing that struck me was how friendly the crowd was watching it–even a policeman I spoke to commented on that. People–gay, straight, old, young–were just enjoying the spectacle and the cheeky vibrancy of it.

The following year I took some straight friends and they loved it. Another memorable Mardi Gras was 1989 when I found myself surrounded by my own students: “I didn’t know you were gay,” one said. “It’s OK, it’s not catching,” I replied. Then there was 1991–the first one I went to with M. That is full of nice memories.

This year I may or may not go. Last year I went to the Thai Restaurant for a meal beforehand, but the group did not stay to watch from the restaurant and I just went home. Partly this was that I had after all seen it all before in a way. More so it was that, being short, I couldn’t really see it! The crowd was just too big–so all I could see was the crowd!

So like it or loathe it, it doesn’t matter. Remember however how it started and what it still represents–defiance of the ever-present repression that would prefer we all just quietly went away and shut up. We can’t shut up: Mardi Gras is a brash and confronting declaration of freedom.

March 4 2001: Odd View of Mardi Gras

Yesterday I worked all day, then by about 5.00 pm I struggled up Oxford Street through the already large crowd, larger than the January Federation Parade, to the Albury, where I stayed for an hour or two with PK, Sirdan, DEHK and various others. The problem then was how to get home, as it was impossible to cross back to the Surry Hills side as the roads were all blocked off. I ended up having one of the takeaway dinners the local restaurants were selling on the street (and it was good too) and then set off down the back streets of Paddington, within sight most of the time of the Parade but avoiding the crowd. I ended up walking the full Parade route, as the only place I could cross the lines was at the end–Fox Studios. I then crossed Anzac Parade at Sydney Girls High and came home.

I saw, then, a bit of the Parade itself, and it seemed as lively as ever. What I spent most time observing was the crowd, which was very big, despite what they say about the Party (a rip-off if ever there was one) being down in numbers this year. While the street crowd did thin out by the time the Parade reached Fox Studios (note–this is the place to watch it at street level), there were a number of large viewing stands at that end, and they were packed. Oxford and Flinders Streets were wall-to-wall people. The nice thing was that the crowd was very good–everyone just seemed to be having a good time. I think wilder crowd scenes could be seen at almost any Cricket or Football match!

A highlight was crossing Moore Park in the company of some mums from PFLAG, who were lovely. One claimed to have known her son was gay since he was three! I’m not quite sure how she did that, but they do say mothers know these things. I kissed quite a few of the ladies who were charmed to hear I was a teacher and gay…

On the other hand, a bit of the dark side was witnessed by M, who worked a marathon 6 pm to 10 am straight at a gay venue. Drunk people, drug-f*cked people, mad people–he saw the lot, including one who thought he was the Police Commissioner and said he had come to examine the venue.

Drugs–and it’s mostly ecstasy, speed, and various designer drugs–are a down-side to the gay scene in my view; M. saw that pretty clearly where he sat last night. To be fair, any large “dance party” almost anywhere in the Western world, gay or not, will exhibit this phenomenon.

Yum Cha this morning was myself, The Empress, Clive, James, and eventually M, absolutely exhausted and needing the food. It was a good Yum Cha (The Emperor’s Garden service was friendly and excellent). After that M went home to sleep–he starts again tonight at 6 pm, and I went with James and The Empress to the Albury–yes, I was there this Sunday–where we surprised the bar staff by eating barbecued quail that Ian had purchased, and added a Chinese tonic to our beer (it said it could be used in beer) which caused the beer to look like some Jekyll-and-Hyde potion, but actually improved the taste!

From what I hear, this year’s parade could be good, but I still think the 80s and 90s were when Mardi Gras peaked. The Albury Hotel, mentioned above — where I met M in 1990 — is long gone.

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Mitchell Seow

There are still people coming here looking for information about the Sydney High student Mitchell Seow who died suddenly on 14 January 2006: see my January 2006 archive. Mitchell was in the debating team I supervised in Years 7 and 8. High Notes that reprinted a lovely article that appeared a short while ago, though not online, in the Sydney Morning Herald:
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Posted by on February 28, 2006 in events, ex-students and coachees, personal, Salt Mine

 

Today Tonight on 7: Shock Crisis Scumbag Betrayal of OUR Kids Horror

The Shock Crisis Scumbag Betrayal of OUR Kids Horror of the moment on this flagship of manifestly declined standards in Australian television “journalism” — the mix of microstories tonight was as bizarre as anything on Frontline — is an education panic story tantamount to an infomercial (is that the correct spelling of this nonce-word?) on behalf of coaching colleges; for a little while at least, until they get bored with it, as they will, and move on to some new “outrage”, perhaps zoo keepers into bestiality with gorillas while rorting tax payers and diddling pensioners of their life savings.

(I really shouldn’t complain, I suppose, as I get a little return myself in the tuition market. Not enough, mind you.)

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Posted by on February 20, 2006 in Australia and Australian, culture wars, education, immigration, Islam, John Howard, linguistics and language, literacy, literary theory/criticism, media watch, Multicultural, Political, right wing politics, Salt Mine, TV

 

NSW Department of Education and Training Home Page

So you search “retirement” and you find “11 Separation from the Service 1 11.1 Resignation or Retirement 1 11.1.1 Notice of Resignation or Retirement (Separation) 1 11.1.2 Effective Date of Resignation or Retirement 2 11.1.3 Resignation or Retirement During a Term 2 11.1.4 Vacation Pay 2 11.1.4.1 Election of Vacation Payment 2 11.1.4.2 Advantages and Disadvantages of Electing Lump Sum Payment 2 11.1.4.3 Vacation Payment Entitlement 3 11.1.5 Reason for Separation from the Service 3 11.1.6 Long Service Leave – Payment of Monetary …” And you find “Last modified: 2003/09/17 23:30:07”: and of course the document tells you that Casual Teacher Pay is in Blacktown, but it isn’t any more, because now it is in Wollongong. Well, you have sent your yellow retirement form to Wollongong. To the payroll office, and they send the separation certificate to the superannuation office, which is also in Wollongong. Except they haven’t.

So you ring the payroll office.

In Wollongong.

And the phone picks up and the computer voice says “Goodbye” and hangs up. So you ring the Head Office in Sydney, and they try Wollongong, with the same result.

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Posted by on February 9, 2006 in education, personal, Salt Mine, web stuff

 

Mitchell Andrew Seow Funeral Notice – Notices – smh.com.au

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Posted by on February 2, 2006 in events, ex-students and coachees, personal, Salt Mine