Very random but related to our new PM

For anyone out there who wonders who the Prime Minister of Australia is this morning, here is the answer: Scott Morrison. See Liberal Party elders lash Tony Abbott for acts of revenge on Turnbull’s government and Scott Morrison’s ministry — who’s in and who’s out.  I see Wikipedia is up to speed. Now for the random bits.

I return to teaching — 1985

For reasons I won’t go into here, I took a break from teaching between 1982-3 and 1985, during which time I was involved in editing a little magazine and, for about a year, in bookselling in Glebe. In the second half of 1985 I recommenced teaching at Sydney Boys High.

In Surry Hills last Monday — 1

Posted on April 2, 2014 by Neil

The other objective of my Sydney trip was to visit my old workplace.

My association with Sydney Boys High goes back [almost sixty*] years to 1955 when I arrived as a pupil, Ken Andrews having just started his term as Principal. Then in 1985 I began teaching English there on a casual basis, after a year spent working at Harkers Bookshop in Glebe: I’ll never forget the Class of 1986! (Or the Class of 2000 if it comes to that!) For the next 20 years much (but not all) of my work was at SBHS. You can find a sample here. – *I wrote the original in 2005 and said 50! How time goes!

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So that’s thirty years on now since I first met that class of 1986 when they were in Year 11. (Scott Morrison was in Year 12 in 1985 but I can’t recall anything about him.)

I have mentioned the class of 1986 several times – for example Philip Larkin 1922-1985….

Someone who was at SBHS at the same time, but graduated hence in 1988, is Russell Ward. He has posted a somewhat unfriendly account of Morrison on Facebook. Russell now lives in California.

It seems a boy I went to school with is the new Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison. I’ve a few emotions at the news, none of them nice. Shame one of them.

I’m reminded of a lovely guy Tri Phan who was a Vietnamese refugee, a “boat person.” While at school with us he won a state science essay prize on about the cancer-fighting drug interferon that won praise for having scientifically useful insights. Scott Morrison enthusiastically supported the policies that would have put him on an island to rot (a policy btw I protested against all the way over here at the embassy in San Francisco).

I’m also thinking of my brother, a captain of the school while Morrison was there.

My brother and his dear partner Paul O’Grady endured a lot of suffering when Paul came out as the first openly gay NSW politician and in their campaigning for marriage equality. Scott represents the homophobia that causes suffering where there should be love….

I remember (Associate Professor) Tri Phan well, and not just from school. He was a registrar (I think) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital when I had a hernia operation there in 1997. SBHS people tend to pop up like that. (They  — staff and students — account for quite a few of my current Facebook friends!)

Another is Joseph Waugh who commented on Russell’s post:

High had always been a school that welcomed refugees – whether it be from the Holocaust in Europe, from the American war in Vietnam, or post-Tienanmen Square. My vain hope is that he is an outlier (the class of 1992 has a murderer, for example). Had I gone to that outrageous event put on for him, my one question would have been, which gulag would he have condemned Tri and his family to, had he been Minister for Immigration in 1980?

Joseph is referring to Scott Morrison’s time as enforcer of the tough “stop the boats”/Manus/Nauru policy Australia is now (in)famous for. He was invited to some SBHS Old Boys event and many boycotted it/him. Indeed.

Mind you, Tri arrived here, so far as I know, when Malcolm Fraser was in charge, and some on the left were not entirely admirable either back then, as I noted in a comment on a post by Jim Belshaw a few years ago.

On Vietnamese refugees and Fraser: In 1979 I have to confess I worried about Fraser welcoming so many Vietnamese. I wondered how they would, um, assimilate! (We all grow, don’t we?)

And unusual as it is for ne to commend Quadrant, Hal Colebatch is quite right here.

…Labor Senator Lionel Bowen also invoked anti-Asian white Australia imagery on July 27, 1976, claiming Australia was in danger from the “teeming millions in the North … And these people are on the move.”

The leftist Nation Review of June 1–7, 1978, carried an article referring to Vietnamese refugees as “bourgeois capitalist exploiters on the run” and ridiculing efforts to help them. In the issue of August 18–24 it referred to them as “political extremists and soft-life seekers”. The pro-Moscow Socialist Party of Australia organ, the Socialist, of May 31, 1978, carried a headline: VIETNAMESE REFUGEES VICTIMS AND TOOLS OF ANTI-COMMUNISM and referred to them as “right-wing Vietnamese who betrayed their country”. The CPA’s Tribune of June 7, 1978, claimed: BHP PREFERS VIETNAMESE and quoted South Coast Labour Council Secretary and CPA National Committee member Merv Nixon to the effect that the situation was disgraceful and that: “We can do without these right-wing elements.” Tribune elaborated on this in the following issue and warned of “right-wing people organizing private armies”. At the University of Western Australia, ALP Left Caucus member Graham Droppert published an article in the student newspaper Pelican, Number 4 of 1978, under the heading REFUGEES OR RATS?, claiming they included “the pimps, the wealthy merchants, the racketeers, the standover men and other exploiters”…

I was in Wollongong at the time and recall Merv Nixon very well.

No, the White Australia attitude was not dead and buried, and Fraser’s courage in this is highly significant in the story.

Here is a handy list of our Immigration Ministers, and the mind-boggling series of name-changes over the years.

One possibly good thing Scott Morrison has done right now is to divide that monstrous Home Affairs Department into three parts, restoring in the process a Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs! There is also a separate ministry looking at population policy and congestion. Mr Potato Head has been allowed to retain his black-uniformed Border Force, but not as part of Immigration. Back in January I had noted:

Posted on January 15, 2018  Reposts.

NOTE 2018: On Mr Potato Head’s latest frolic see Peter Martin and Benjamin Miller. Oh, and we no longer have a dedicated Immigration Department in Australia. Did you know that? Instead we have this gargantuan thing….

It is at least encouraging that Scott Morrison has rehabilitated the M-word. I gather Pauline Hanson has noted this with some displeasure.

Enough of my random thoughts. Let’s see if Scott and the government can recover from the dreadful thrashing they are getting right now in the polls.

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More yums in The Gong!

Friday was the last lunch with my friend Chris T before he heads off the Europe for a few weeks. We chose the just-opened — after a very long lead-up — Manjit’s on Crown.

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Fantastic. Chris chose a fish curry rather like this:

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I had Rajasthani goat curry — tender as! Check the menu.

Top quality basmati rice too, much like this. Very long grains.

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If Ramana ever comes to Wollongong we now know where to have lunch!

Class of ’95 remembered — and “not Cricket”!

In October 2015 I posted: Class of 95 remembered, and Muslim students today. One student I mentioned there is Jeremy Heimans (now also a Facebook friend.) Do read a great profile of Jeremy by Malcolm Knox in the April Monthly.

He has co-written a book, New Power: How Power Works in our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You, which carries personal endorsements from Richard Branson, Jane Goodall and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. Heimans might be the most connected and influential Australian on the world stage, yet his profile here is minimal. As GetUp! co-founder Amanda Tattersall says, “Jeremy is a complete genius, but nobody here knows who he is.”

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Well, I know who he is! 🙂

No-one surely could have watched Steve Smith’s emotional press conference yesterday without being moved.  Unless of course you are a British tabloid headline-writer, who managed to be as foul as you would expect from serial scumbags!

I just hope this whole sorry episode leads to a renewal of the more traditional manners of test Cricket. Australia’s new captain seems to have made a good start.

Of course there is from many viewpoints something quite bizarre about the whole matter, as Ross Gittins noted in his excellent commentary, and today even more trenchantly Martin McKenzie-Murray in The Saturday Paper.

A good number of Australians may have been shocked last Sunday morning, but the rest of the cricket world had their belief in our hypocrisy deliciously confirmed.

Hard but fair. The gentleman’s game. It’s just not cricket. There’s a surplus of empty pieties this week, usually invoked in inverse proportion to one’s knowledge of the sport. “Cricket is synonymous with fair play,” the prime minister said. “Integrity is written into the heart of this game,” Guardian Australia’s sports editor wrote.

Really? The game of Bodyline and Underarm? Of Hansie Cronje and Saleem Malik? The game of the News of the World match-fixing sting, and Australia’s tour of apartheid South Africa? Or the game of Shane Warne and Mark Waugh’s light collusion with John the bookmaker, imperfectly buried by Cricket Australia for a few years?

See also Waleed Aly, What the ball-tampering crisis says about us.

No other country to have committed its own ball-tampering offences – including South Africa, whose own convict is currently its captain – has kvetched about it in such a self-flagellating way. Sure, those other episodes may have seemed less shady, less ham-fisted, less characterised by appalling footage and farcical press conferences. But those players from other nations to have taken to the field with a pocket full of mints, in the belief that their sugary saliva could engineer a ball that swings more, were doing something no less premeditated and no less illegal. And unless you follow cricket closely, you’ve probably never even heard about them.

Update 2 April:

Excellent reporting and analysis on the ball tampering affair tonight on ABC’s 7.30: see The long road from Bradman’s moral lesson to Bancroft’s ball tampering.

Enoki mushrooms post

You know the ones?

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On Saturday Chris T and I lunched at Fujiyama in Wollongong. At another location it was known as Fuku. Now it has shiny new premises. The food is still excellent and quite often different. There is an extensive hot and spicy Hunan menu these days, in addition to many old favourites, though sadly not ramen.

Chairman Mao Zedong, who hailed from spice-loving Hunan province, once said, “You can’t be a revolutionary if you don’t eat chilies.” The Hunanese food writer Liu Guochu says Mao loved spice so much he sprinkled ground chilies on slices of watermelon.

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The surprise dish was a fried garlic and mushroom dish that looked a little like the following, but much darker. Yes, it was hot and spicy, but delicious.

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Lunar New Year

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M, originally from Shanghai,  is in northern Vietnam at the moment. He has posted on Facebook:

Had very interesting lunar New Years in Vietnam with hotel’s manager and owner’s family, first time I went to temples for a Chinese New Year. Never prayed in my life but I did this time. I felt my ancestors’ roots ,customs and traditions!!! Vietnam’s people are very different to China but both are very a proud people!

This is the New Year feast:

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Here in Wollongong Chris T and I will be lunching at Taste of Xian. See Taste of Xi’an Wollongong.

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Update: Chris T at Taste of Xi’an today.

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