Religion

Post #18 – The Parable of the Desert and the Mobile Phone

I’m walking down King Street, a busy shopping street in my neighbourhood. It’s Saturday morning and I’m hungover and tired… and clothes shopping with my girlfriend. Every bloke who has (or had) a partner knows this pain. However, in my haze I spot three young men on the footpath up ahead of me dressed in green t-shirts handing out fliers and greeting people as they walk past. I slowly wake out of my daze as we get closer to these men – I’m curious to see what they’re up to. Also, any excuse to get me out of clothes shopping when I’m hungover is welcome. As they came into focus (my eyesight is shit, so at this stage they’re only about three metres away) I could see that these men were Muslim (it was emblazoned on their t-shirts) and were answering questions and educating people about their faith. As I’ve stated before, I’m not the biggest fan of religion – but I really respect people who are willing to engage others about their faith and at least start a dialogue. We may never agree on certain things, but at least at some level we can relate and try to understand each other.

So ironically the day before I (more…)

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Post #16 – Three Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Voting for Mike Baird

As some of you may have been made aware, I really try and encourage participation on my blog – my posts are as much about me and my observations as they are about you and your observations. Just like my post on Islam after the attacks in Paris, I’m going to base this post off a message I recently got from a friend asking my advice about the New South Wales state election, which will be held on the 28th of March:

Yo JimJam [my uber-cool nickname]… Coz I couldn’t give two shits about politics these days, what’s your view on state elections? Non bias if possible. Apart from the angst of the lock out laws I haven’t heard too much negativity against liberal state govt.

Again, I said it was going to be difficult to sum up my response in 140 characters, and I would take it to the interwebz and my blog – so you can all see my response, and possibly comment and get involved *hint, hint*. I know a lot of my friends voted for the Liberals’ in the last federal election and (just like the rest of Australia) feel dismayed and confused as to how it all went so horribly wrong so quickly. Most people don’t want a repeat of an Abbott-style onslaught at both a federal and state level. So to start my answer to the question posed, I’m going to quote the famous playwright, Shakespeare:

‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.’

– Hamlet, (Marcellus to Horatio)

Shakespeare’s modern day version of his famous play would probably incorporate the Australian state of New South Wales, such is the stench of corruption in this state. Something truly rotten is happening with politics around here, but bizarrely it doesn’t seem to be affecting the current premier much at all, with the ABC stating that:

Bookmakers have him [Baird] easily winning the election with odds of 20 to 1, making a win for his rival, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley, highly unlikely.

The current premier Mike Baird seems to have successfully disassociated himself (in the eyes of the public) from the toxicity of his Federal counterparts and Tony Abbott, plus the foul odour still emanating from the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) inquiries. Just to illustrate how impressive this is, the Abbott government’s continual lack of popularity has partly led to the surprise routing of both Liberal denominations in the states of Queensland and Victoria in the last couple of months – elections the Liberals’ were tipped to win.

(more…)

Post #6 – Islam Can’t Take A Joke, and Here’s Why

I knew it would come, I knew it would stay and I knew it would suck. I am referring to that thing that makes Australian summers’ Australian – the sun. The last few days (before it started raining) have reminded me that this continent cannot (despite what popular science tell me) be more than five miles from the surface of the sun in January. It’s so damn hot, and my portable elevated fan provides little reprieve for the repressive heat that squats like a hobo in our sun-baked unit. It was in my sweat-induced insomnia that I decided to do what any reasonable person does at 02:30 in the morning and log on to Facebook. A friend had recently commented on a Sydney Morning Herald article, meaning it showed in my news feed instantaneously. Like a broken record the breaking news story skipped across my screen. Another possible terrorist attack. Innocents dead. A collection of pissed-off Muslims – but no suspects. Different location. Different time. Different target. Different mode of attack. Same religion. Same story.

I have, on many occasions (as many of my friends can attest to) stood up against the bigoted and xenophobic attitudes directed towards Muslims after events such as this. Hate is not cool, and I won’t stand for it. Nor will most other reasonable thinking people in a civil and respectable society stand for it either. But I’m growing tired, I’m growing weary, of seemingly (more…)

Post #3 – Siege

So I sat in front of my computer at work about 9 in the morning on Monday the 15th, mulling over what to write for my third blog. I knew the government’s MYEFO was to be released at about midday, and a lot had already been leaked to the press – I assume as a way of softening the blow of such a massive budget blow-out. It was big news (I thought) and would most likely dominate the headlines for the rest of the week. How wrong I was…

At exactly 10:19, I received an email from my girlfriend into my work inbox. It was short, succinct and at that stage, confusing. It simply read: ‘Office in lock down :/’

Below this rather vague one-liner with a ridiculous emoticon in tow was a link to ABC News – whose information at this stage was also limited. “Police operation under way. It is believed a police officer has his gun drawn in Martin Place. More to come.” I looked up to the TV screen at work – the news-cast on the box also knew very little. For whatever reason, terrorism did not cross my mind. I questioned the intelligence of the man (or men) who decided it would be a good idea to hold up a cafe specialising in round little chocolate balls. Sure, they might have a few hundred dollars in the till, but an escape route from such a busy, central locale was near on impossible. Then I saw the flag planted – live – on the window of the cafe. He’s not planning on escaping – whoever has done this is right where he wants to be.

I was soon speaking to my girlfriend via mobile, who at this stage was worried. She works directly opposite the Lindt cafe and could see right inside the store. Their faces, the flag, the police with their weapons drawn – everything. Then the panic really set in. Rumours of the airspace shut down, reports of explosives inside the cafe and also strategically (more…)