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Rostrum: Homeward Bound Edition

August 30, 2013
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The “do-it-yourself” dentistry kits available from the local hardware shop.

Tomorrow we head back to Melbourne. I’ve been coming to Penang now once or twice a year for almost twenty years. It’s a fascinating place. A unique blend of cultures where the native Malays mix live in relative harmony with Indian and Chinese immigrants, despite cultural, religious and political differences.

The landscape here is what can best be described as “pedestrian hostile.”  The “pavements,” where they do exist, are cracked and ruptured, as if there’s been a recent earthquake and no one thought about making any repairs.  Huge gaps in the pavement make way to gaping drains, and if they don’t get you the traffic will.    Traffic signals and other customary road rules are generally ignored here which makes crossing the road a task not for the faint hearted.

It can be frustrating at times. So-called “trades people” like builders, electricians and plumbers are on the whole unskilled and ill-prepared to carry out any sort of satisfactory level of workmanship. As a result, we’ve contended with a number of problems with our apartment.  During our last trip we discovered that whoever installed the air conditioning thought it would be a good idea to dispose of any left over cement by tipping it down the air conditioning pipes, a plan which ultimately caused our waste water to over-flow into the apartment downstairs. To rectify this, we had to get contractors to break through the brick walls with a jackhammer and install new pipes.  Apparently this is a common problem throughout the building.

During this trip we discovered that there’s water leaking into our apartment from upstairs. The ceiling in the bedroom is stained and the paint is peeling, which one imbecile from the management office attempted to explain away as being the result of us using “poor quality paint.”

But I guess it all makes it an experience.

One thing I find interesting is the way in which some things we take for granted in Australia are hard to find here, while other things we find difficult to source are freely available.

Take the hardware shop across the road for instance.  For all intents and purposes it resembles any ordinary hardware shop and sells tools, paint and step ladders etc.  Yet when I enquired about the availability of some self-tapping screws they had no idea what I was talking about.  However should you find yourself in need of a do-it-yourself dentistry kit, you’ll find one here next to the pliers and spanners for a mere $3.

It’s almost impossible to buy a decent bottle of wine anywhere in Penang after 9:00pm, but should you find yourself in need of some semi-lethal pepper spray (mace) you’ll also find several sizes and brands conveniently located next to the check-out counter at the hardware shop across the road. When I enquired about tasers, they told me that they had none in stock, but they had just received a batch of telescopic police-grade batons if I was interested.   “For crowd control” the sales guy explained, while making a striking motion with the baton.  “Impressive” I said, nodding in agreement.

Smoking here is a national pass time, and at $3 a pack who can blame them. I almost felt like taking it up again.  Drinking alcohol, especially to excess, which here amounts to anything more than three standard drinks, is generally frowned upon.

The other day I decided to take the ferry to the mainland just to see what it was like, and realised I was the only non-Asian person onboard.  Not that this bothers me, but it does make you feel a bit “conspicuous.” From the jetty I took a bus to what’s called “The Megamall” which is more like a hawkers’ market housed within a run-down concrete block. Here you will find your fake Oakley sunglasses for $5 and a conglomeration of shops and pop-up stalls selling Hello Kitty vinyl bags and an assortment of “bling.”

After wandering around for half an hour or so, I decided to take a taxi back to the jetty.

You have to bargain with the taxi drivers here, particularly if you’re a westerner and so I negotiated a fee of 12 ringit (about $4) for the short trip to the jetty.

The driver was an Indian guy in his mid-forties. He had slicked backed hair and brilliant white teeth that seemed like porcelain against his black skin.

We started for the jetty, and glancing in the rearview mirror he asked me what my name was and if I was here on holiday.

After exchanging a few pleasantries about the weather and how hot it is, he asked “How come you are here on your own, are you not married?”

“No, I’m not married” I replied.

“Why not, why not married, sir?”

“I guess I’ve never been all that interested.”

Are you married?” I asked, trying to change the focus of the conversation away from myself.

“Yes, I am married sir. I have two childrens” said the driver.

“That’s nice,” I said.

I sat back in my seat hoping that would be the end of the conversation, and stared out the window with envy at people dying in the blistering heat.

I could tell that the driver was still puzzled and it wasn’t long until he piped up again.

As the traffic slowed, he turned and tapped the back of his seat to get my attention “Sir, sir, excuse me sir….how come you not interested in married, is it you do not like the pussy…. You like the dick, yes?”

“Something like that” I replied, uncomfortably.

However he didn’t seem satisfied with the answer.

“So tell me sir, you like the girls, or you like the guys…?”

“Look I prefer guys, okay….”  I replied.

“Oh, then that is the problem,” he said, nodding thoughtfully.  Like he had just received some bad news, not like “your mother is dying” but more like “she’ll live.”

I thought about explaining how it’s not really a problem if I’ve never really been all that interested in getting married, but decided that it’s probably best to leave the conversation at that.

Arriving at the jetty, I gave him a three dollar tip and caught the ferry back to the island for the princely sum of 70 cents.

At the apartment where we stay, there is a team of cleaners, gardeners and security guards . Most of them are Malay, and I thought it would be nice to learn how to say “good morning” as I pass them on the way to the pool area during my morning walk..

My “good morning” is generally greeted with a nod and a smile, and often a “good morning” in return.

“Your Malay is very good sir,” said one of the guards, and, drunk with praise, I thought I’d add to it with what thought I was “How are you?”

He kind of winced and shot me a blank look in return, and I figured that maybe you’re not meant to get too friendly with the guards.

Later, I tried it again with the gardener, who nodded and smiled and then returned to whatever it was he was doing before I interrupted him, the way I do when it’s easier to simply ignore someone than to try to understand them.

I tried again with the guy who cleans the lifts and another guy who was polishing the floor in the foyer. He smiled and reached for a small brown paper which he unwrapped.  I leaned forward to get a closer look and he presented what appeared to be a dead fish.  Actually it looked more like it was paralyzed than dead, but I wasn’t quite sure how I was meant to respond. Was he offering me the fish as a gift, or was I meant to compliment him on his hunting skills?  Either way it was an awkward moment and I decided it was easier to just smile and nod, and make my way back to the apartment.

It’s easy to get simple things confused. Especially sayings that sound familiar.

Later I discovered that instead of walking up to people and saying “Apa Kabar” (How are you?) I had in fact been saying “Good morning, god is great…”

It’s just as well we’re heading home tomorrow.

Have a lovely weekend.

reb.

 

 

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96 Comments leave one →
  1. TB Queensland permalink
    August 30, 2013 7:26 pm

    Later I discovered that instead of walking up to people and saying “Apa Kabar” (How are you?) I had in fact been saying “Alla Akbar” which has quite a different meaning altogether.

    LOL! Very Aussie of you, Jummy!

    See we aren’t really racist … just iggorant and nieeve … (we don’t GAF what you are or where you come from – are you a good guy or not?)

    Happy flight … Sunshine … oh, and thanks for sharing … makes me feel better … I have had a bit of concern about how I’ll “do” in Asia next year … tally-ho! …

    Chuckle!

  2. public toilet permalink
    August 30, 2013 8:20 pm

    Awesome post, reb!

    Very descriptive. I almost felt like I was there.

    Safe travels.

  3. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    August 30, 2013 9:12 pm

    I’ve been out to a nice local Italian restaurant and had a great bottle of red, I’ll read this when I’m capable of comprehension.

  4. egg permalink
    August 30, 2013 9:17 pm

    It will be good to have you home reb, there has been a lack of spark in the office.

    Cameron has handed back his deputy sheriff’s badge to Obama over the Syrian matter.

  5. TB Queensland permalink
    August 31, 2013 11:39 am

    I’ll read this when I’m capable of comprehension.

  6. TB Queensland permalink
    August 31, 2013 6:07 pm

    The symbol is bit tiny for old eyes … so for all you old folk … it is the sign for “infinity” … 🙂

  7. IPA permalink
    August 31, 2013 10:35 pm

    The Telegraph: ‘George W. Bush was widely mocked by the Left during the Iraq War, with liberals jeering at the “coalition of the willing,” which included in its ranks some minnows such as Moldova and Kazkhstan. Michael Moore, in his rather silly documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, went to great lengths to lampoon the Iraq War alliance. But the coalition also contained, as I pointed out in Congressional testimony back in 2007, Great Britain, Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, and 16 members of the NATO alliance, as well as Japan and South Korea. In Europe, France and Germany were the only large-scale countries that sat the war out, with 12 of the 25 members of the European Union represented. The coalition, swelled to roughly 40 countries, and was one of the largest military coalitions ever assembled.

    ‘As it stands, President Obama’s proposed military coalition on Syria has a grand total of two members – the US and France. And the French, as we know from Iraq, simply can’t be relied on, and have very limited military capability. It is a truly embarrassing state of affairs when Paris, at best a fair weather friend, is your only partner. John Kerry tried to put a brave face on it at his press conference today, by referring to France “as our oldest ally,” but the fact remains that his administration is looking painfully isolated.’

  8. Neil of Sydney permalink
    August 31, 2013 10:41 pm

    It is a truly embarrassing state of affairs when Paris, at best a fair weather friend, is your only partner

    That is too funny.

  9. egg permalink
    September 1, 2013 2:34 pm

    Sceptic preferences flow to Labor.

    http://catallaxyfiles.com/2013/08/31/no-carbon-tax-climate-sceptics-party/comment-page-1/

  10. TB Queensland permalink
    September 1, 2013 2:49 pm

    This would be “funny” too, if it wasn’t so fkn serious …

    “It is not goodies versus baddies, it is baddies versus baddies and that is why it is very important that we don’t make a very difficult situation worse,” Abbott told ABC television Sunday morning.

    You only need one reason not to vote Abbott in as PM … and this is it … he cannot represent Australia on the international stage … he has the mind of a 12 year old (apologies to any ten year olds who may stumble across this thread)

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Happy Father’s Day to any dad’s …

  11. egg permalink
    September 1, 2013 3:35 pm

    Abbott gave the correct answer and a majority of Australians agree with him.

  12. public toilet permalink
    September 1, 2013 3:56 pm

    Very derivative.

    “baddies”=Muslims of all persuasions

  13. egg permalink
    September 1, 2013 5:23 pm

    The different factions in Syria are unAmerican, so they will be looking for a charismatic puppet.

  14. egg permalink
    September 1, 2013 5:26 pm

    ‘US President Barack Obama has formally asked Congress to authorise military action against Syria over alleged chemical weapons attacks.

    ‘He said any operation would be limited, ruling out a ground invasion. Congress is to reconvene on 9 September.’

    BBC

  15. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 1, 2013 5:36 pm

    “baddies vs baddies”

    Underestimating the intelligence of the electorate, will PM Abbott remain determined to maintain that level of stupidity.

  16. egg permalink
    September 1, 2013 5:48 pm

    Abbott is being astute, this is not a foot in mouth moment.

    Jarba is the new leader of the opposition in Syria and has been given the nod from the Saudis. He maybe a charismatic puppet.

  17. public toilet permalink
    September 1, 2013 5:51 pm

    Thankfully, most of the world’s population is unAmerican. Although we seem determined to ape plenty of their distasteful traits, at times.

  18. public toilet permalink
    September 1, 2013 6:06 pm

    Abbott is playing to his base.

    How surprising.

    Go Abbott!

  19. IPA permalink
    September 1, 2013 6:24 pm

    “Abbott is playing to his base.”

    Abbott is a moderate populist. Hawkish Chomskyites won’t like it.

  20. TB Queensland permalink
    September 1, 2013 7:18 pm

    Underestimating the intelligence of the electorate, will PM Abbott remain determined to maintain that level of stupidity.

    There is no change … leopards … spots …

    Abbott is a moderate populist. Hawkish Chomskyites won’t like it.

    Populism is populism .. you sound like you think, that Mickey Mouse should be the PM …

    … your sarcasm (cynicism) is quite correct but lost when you consider the bigger picture is that Abbott actually has to …

    RUN A FUCKING COUNTRY! It falls to pieces … it’s not just a theory … its people’s LIVES …

    Apart from John Howard (who pulls the strings in the background anyway) what has really changed on that Liberal/National frontbench?

    (Disclaimer: I’ll just keep travelling on, whoever wins won’t affect me personally .. my concern is that this Dickwit™ will stuff so many lives up it ain’t funny!)

  21. IPA permalink
    September 1, 2013 7:31 pm

    “you sound like you think, that Mickey Mouse should be the PM …”

    You sound like you’re too involved in what you think to listen to what others say.

    I’ve consistently been critical of Abbott’s populism, paticularly when he said: faced with a choice between “policy purity and political pragmatism, I’ll take pragmatism every time.”

    But I’m an extremist on most issues, so what would I know?

  22. TB Queensland permalink
    September 1, 2013 8:02 pm

    I have just read this article and with The Blogmaester’s indulgence will post it here … just to cut off at the pass that I’m indulging in self-pity … despite the fun we have with my tastes in clothing, wine, shoes etc I’m sure that most lurkers and regs understand that, while The Minister for War, Water, Finance, Solar & Fun and I are not fabulously wealthy we live a very comfortable retirement …

    However, I know (via a family and friends with a wide range of age groups including a 22 and 19 yo living next door) that much of what is ‘discussed” below is really quite alarming …

    The 56% of assets isn’t necessarily “owned” much of it is still “mortgaged” … the banks “own” it …

    If you want to truly be “free” in our society … plunge all your efforts into owning your home …

    What did strike me is that if the BB constitute 5.5 million out of 23 million (not all vote) why do Rudd and Abbott spend so much time in schools?

    An awful reality for many older Australians

    29th Apr 2013 Kaye Fallick

    There is a widespread perception that Australia’s 5.5 million so called ‘Baby Boomers’ are living the life of Riley, spending the kids’ inheritance and ripping off other generations.

    The reality couldn’t be any more different. Older Australians struggle on a daily basis to lead a modest, yet dignified life. Yet this aspect of
    ‘Baby Boomers lifestyle’ rarely gets airplay.

    Australians aged 55 and over form 24 per cent of the population and own 56 per cent of the net assets. As a voting block, their numbers are worth more than two Western Sydney’s. Yet there has been little discussion in the lead up to the September 14 election of the type of lives older Australians are living, their likely experience of retirement (both emotional and financial) and how they view the policies of the major parties.

    The fact that this sector of the population holds more than half of the net assets gives rise to the popular cliché of greedy baby boomers eagerly spending the kids’ inheritance. Images of silver-haired, silver-spooned 60-something couples sipping lattes and strolling hand in hand along the beach abound. But such inaccurate imagery masks an awful reality for many older Australians.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 75 per cent of Australians aged over the current pension age of 65 are on a full or part Age Pension, with only 600,000 retirees who are fully self-funded. For the 1.2 million currently on a full Age Pension, about half are singles who are living on $20,087 per annum (including supplements). This is a full $2,488 short of the $22,585 required for a modest standard of living according to the ASFA Retirement Standard[i]. This modest standard assumes that the pensioner is living in a home they fully own.

    Labor Government Minister for Ageing, Mark Butler, was quoted in June last year as saying that, by 2050, only two per cent of people aged 65 or over will own their homes outright, down from 78 per cent today. To say this is an alarming statistic is to underestimate the life of penury older Australians will lead if the majority
    of tomorrow’s retirees are still paying down mortgages or being forced to sell their homes and become renters in middle age.

    So it is fair to say that tomorrow’s retirees are likely to find life even less comfortable that today’s do. There is a common attitude that such boomers can simply choose to work longer. But over 50s currently seeking work take twice as long to rejoin the workforce. Latent ageism is part of the problem here. The appointment of an Age Discrimination Commissioner, Susan Ryan, in July 2011 has helped highlight the plight of older
    Australians to an extent, but this advocacy has been largely confined to older Australians in the workplace, when there is a much wider conversation yet to be started around the rights of older Australians in many other arenas – in particular financial abuse.

    Many ‘greedy’ Baby Boomers are also struggling to meet the aged care needs of older parents while helping fund the HECs debts and first home purchases for their adult children. Boomers are rarely seen as a ‘giving’ generation, but it may be that, in many cases, they are severely compromising their own retirement income to support other generations.

    Over the past two decades, governments around the world have pushed the responsibility of funding retirement onto the shoulders of the individual. Successive Australian governments are no different. Yet, as financial services and retirement income products become increasingly complex, there has been little attempt to improve the basic financial literacy of those ‘required’ to understand and manage their retirement incomes. For many older Australians feeling compelled to deal with financial planners – think Storm
    Financial, Banksia and Westpoint – has been akin to putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank. And major banks eagerly lent to these retirees so they could purchase risky investments they simply did not understand. So what does the government expect pre-retirees to do to save, invest and protect these investments for their later life?

    Ageism is alive and well in many aspects of Australian life, including the media. Older Australians remain under the radar when it comes to quality reporting and debate. Many Baby Boomers living in straightened circumstances hardly have a life, let alone a ‘lifestyle’. It’s time we moved beyond the generational clichés and started telling it as it really is. Just as Gen Xers are neither generally lazy nor disconnected, Baby Boomers are neither rich nor greedy. 5.5 million people is too large a slab of the population to be labelled as one homogeneous group. The distinct majority of this cohort is heading into later life, underfunded and totally confused by financial products and services. They urgently need affordable financial literacy support, retirement planning 101 if you like. The vast bulk have paid taxes all their working lives – and continue to do so, funding benefits for older and younger generations. Most are happy to work beyond age 65 if someone
    will give them a break and employ them.

    So let’s stop the generational claptrap and start a serious discussion around sustainable retirement income schemes and mature age work possibilities.

    For more information contact Kaye Fallick at publisher@yourlifechoices.com.au.

  23. TB Queensland permalink
    September 1, 2013 8:07 pm

    ToSY … from my post … … your sarcasm (cynicism) is quite correct but lost when you consider the bigger picture is that Abbott actually has to …

    From you …

    You sound like you’re too involved in what you think to listen to what others say.

    Quite the opposite … I used your comment as they would in the Roman Forum …

    Have you read, Rubicon: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Roman Republic, by Tom Holland?

    I know you are well read … nothing is new … 😉

  24. TB Queensland permalink
    September 1, 2013 8:29 pm

    Now Chrissy Pain has leapt to the Leader’s defence and said …

    “In the Syrian conflict it’s important to understand that both sides are deeply unpleasant and that trying to choose a side is a very foolish thing to do,” Mr Pyne said in Adelaide.

    How fkn naïve! There is not just “two sides” … a gross misunderstanding of what is actually going in in the world …

    Pretty frightening stuff when you consider these may be the people making decisions affecting people’s lives and livelihoods …

    Makes you wonder if the LibNits can actually read or bother to read their Ultimate Power’s stories other than the election propaganda …

    This News article gives a “basic” description of what is a far more complex conflict than “goodies and baddies” or “baddies and baddies” …

    http://www.news.com.au/world-news/simple-points-to-help-you-understand-the-syria-conflict/story-fndir2ev-1226705155146

    Read the UK and European news outlets and you’ll see just how complex it is and how it can/will change the balance of power if Obama is stupid enough to let loos the missiles … dumb and dumber …

  25. September 2, 2013 1:20 am

    “How fkn naïve! There is not just “two sides” … a gross misunderstanding of what is actually going in in the world … ”

    Amen.

    Nuance.

  26. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:06 am

    It seems that the ALP are headed for a sizable defeat. They probably deserve it. They’ve been hopelessly inept, mainly under Gillard/Swan.

    It’s simply that Abbott and the Liberals don’t deserve to be the beneficiaries. Bishop as Foreign Affairs Minister, what an embarrassment. Hockey as Treasurer, Abetz in IR, Pyne, Mirabella, Brandis, Joyce, Morrison, Andrews, Truss… it’s all just too much ordinariness.

    There’s more at my local council… and that’s just full of well meaning oddballs.

  27. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:08 am

    There’s more horsepower at my local council…

  28. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:38 am

    “Nuance.”

    OK – nuance it then. Tell us how Abbott is wrong. And bear in mind he was giving a short media grab to communicate his general view to a wide audience most of whom know littel about the Syrian conflict. Within that constraint what Abbott said was reasonable.

    This is a fairly clear case of baddies against baddies. There is no moderate opposition group with any prospect of influence.

    Abbott’s caution on this issue is commendable. Even if you are of the view that it is better to displace Assad and have al Qaeda or an equally disgusting islamofascist group take over, how will firing off a few rockets help? A more cautious approach should be taken and we should definitely understand that there is a plan with an achievable and worthwhile endgame before we start cheerleading for anyone.

    And don’t talk about Abbott’s use of the expression “baddies” without at least mentioning that Obama and Cameron use similar language. If however, Abbott has called any regime “ratfuckers” please let me know.

  29. egg permalink
    September 2, 2013 10:00 am

    Yeah, Abbott’s comments on Syria were fair and reasonable under the circumstances.

  30. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 2, 2013 10:22 am

    This is a good article on the Syria issue:

    Easily the most notable thing in the debate about bombing Syria in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians is the absence of geopolitical considerations, or of any semi-serious thought about what the regional or international consequences of dropping bombs into an already hellish warzone might be. Instead, all the talk is of making a quick moral gesture about ourselves by firing a few missiles at wickedness. In the words of a Democratic member of the US Foreign Affairs Committee, there might be ‘very complex issues’ in Syria, but ‘we, as Americans, have a moral obligation to step in without delay’. Who cares about complexity when there’s an opportunity to show off our own moral decency?

    All the discussion so far has focused, not on the potential moral consequences of bombing Syria, but on the moral needs of those who would do the bombing. US secretary of state John Kerry says failing to take action on Syria would call into question the West’s ‘own moral compass’. Others talk about Syria as a ‘test for Europe’, as if this rubble-strewn country is little more than a stage for the working-out of our values. So intense is the narcissism of the bomb-Syria brigade that one of its number describes the slaughter caused by the use of chemical weapons as ‘a question mark painted in blood, aimed at the international community’. They’re so vain, they think someone else’s war is all about them.

  31. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 11:03 am

    TIME: Syria Intervention Would Reaffirm Obama’s Biggest Flip-Flop: He was explicit in 2007 that Presidents don’t have the authority to act unilaterally except to stop ‘an actual or imminent threat’

  32. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 11:09 am

    NYT: Tripping on His Own Red Line?

    ‘IT started with just 20 words, intended to keep Barack Obama out of a war. The tens of thousands dying in Syria was a global tragedy, he told reporters a year ago, when the worst horrors were still months away, but as commander in chief he had to focus on American strategic interests and could not intervene in every humanitarian tragedy around the world.

    ‘Then he offered his one caveat. “A red line for us,” he said, “is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”’

  33. TB Queensland permalink
    September 2, 2013 12:01 pm

    This is a fairly clear case of baddies against baddies … his general view to a wide audience most of whom know littel (sic) about the Syrian conflict.

    Two poor assumptions … it is NOT a simple case of baddies v baddies … that is a simpleton’s comment from a potential PM …

    “His wide” audience may be far more informed than you or Abbott realise …

    And if you wanted a “news sound bite” … all he had to say was something along the lines of …

    “The situation is Syria is extremely complex with many factions vying for control … etc.”

    Not “goodies and baddies” shite … childish nonsense … Abbott is not capable of representing Australia on the world stage …

    As for the “ratfuckers” comment by Rudd … I and others here commented on how childish that was too … but you choose to defend Abbott? Nuance? You bet …

    And … sb, I agree with the sentiment of the article on Syria you quote … particularly the last sentence …

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    In other news … I’ve just been for a hearing test … and on the way noticed a very large billboard for Wayne Swan … “We Live In a Community Not A Corporation” … go Swanny! LOL!

    I prefer to live in a society rather than survive in an economy!

    Hilarious!

  34. egg permalink
    September 2, 2013 12:38 pm

    ‘that is a simpleton’s comment from a potential PM …’

    I disagree, it was astute judgement of the popular feeling and we are in an election.

  35. September 2, 2013 1:03 pm

    “astute judgement”

    Oh how we laughed and laughed…! 😆

  36. egg permalink
    September 2, 2013 1:10 pm

    Politically astute judgement, welcome back.

  37. September 2, 2013 1:17 pm

    In one week, Abbott will assume the title of Australia’s #1 Cricket Fan.

    Go Abbott!

  38. Ol' Sancty permalink
    September 2, 2013 1:22 pm

    “Any punitive strike, it has got to be targeted, it has got to be proportionate and it has got to be carefully considered to try and ensure that, as far as is humanly possible, we aren’t making a bad situation worse,” he told the ABC.

    He said Australia’s role would be a diplomatic, rather than military one. “We have a civil war going on in that benighted country between two pretty unsavoury sides,” he said.

    “It is not goodies versus baddies, it is baddies versus baddies, and that is why it is very important that we don’t make a very difficult situation worse.”

    I can’t for the life of me see what is wrong with that. Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood have sided with the rebels as far as I can detect. And Assad is an unmitigated cnt.

    More confected outrage I reckon.

  39. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 1:25 pm

    “More confected outrage I reckon.”

    It’s the Labor talking-point du jour.

  40. egg permalink
    September 2, 2013 1:49 pm

    “I think the odd use of colloquialisms is perfectly appropriate if you are trying to explain to the public exactly what the situation is,” said Tony Abbott at a press conference in Sydney on Monday morning.

  41. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 2, 2013 2:20 pm

    Some people seem to be able to talk about ‘bad guys’ without sounding like a hick who has just switched off the midday movie. Tony Abbott isn’t one of them.

  42. egg permalink
    September 2, 2013 2:34 pm

    Abbott sometimes appears B Grade, which is helpful in building up popularity.

  43. September 2, 2013 2:46 pm

    “It’s the Labor talking-point du jour.”

    It won’t save them.

  44. September 2, 2013 2:49 pm

    “Baddies against baddies” doesn’t exactly sound like someone who has his finger on the pulse of the complexity of global issues, just quietly…

  45. TB Queensland permalink
    September 2, 2013 2:54 pm

    I can’t for the life of me see what is wrong with that

    I can understand that …. 🙄

    Abbott sometimes appears B Grade, which is helpful in building up popularity.

    Sometimes? Helpful? B Grade? Keep going …

  46. Ol' Sancty permalink
    September 2, 2013 3:22 pm

    I can understand that ….

    Well of course you can. You’re becoming wuite the Nature5 with the snide asides and the rolling eyes but no actual committed thought yourself.

    Please tell me what you think is wrong with it in the context of a political contest.

    I’ve no doubt that an in depth hour long interview would better explain what is going on, but please, one sentence from you on how it could be better articulated.

  47. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 2, 2013 3:42 pm

    “It’s the Labor talking-point du jour

    And that right there is what is wrong with Rudd’s campaign.

    Abbott must be loving it. He will not lose a single vote over this.

    Rudd was on the right track emphasizing Labor’s reforms at the campaign launch and he should be hammering that:

    We believe in values of freedom, values of compassion and values of a fair go for all.

    These are universal values.

    They are Australian values.

    They are also Labor values.

    The values which caused our party and our movement to come into being more than a century ago.

    The values which inspired people to dream of a better Australia.

    Values which have inspired women and men across the decades to build Australia’s future.

    Values which gave us fair pay, fair conditions and an independent umpire.

    Values that built the age pension.

    Values that built a free public hospital system.

    Values that built a university system accessible for all under Gough Whitlam.

    Values that built Medicare for all under Bob Hawke

    Values that built DisabilityCare for all under Julia Gillard.

    Values that built superannuation for all under Paul Keating.

    These are all values worth fighting for.

    Instead he is fighting over a form of words used in relation to an issue that has no traction with voters. He can’t see the forest for the trees.

    Simply amazing!

  48. September 2, 2013 3:46 pm

    “He can’t see the forest for the trees.”

    When all is said & done, a fatal flaw of the (soon to be) ex-government.

    They’ve clearly outstayed their welcome.

    Unfortunately, the incoming cabal isn’t exactly commendable and will ascend by virtue of no other alternative in a one-or-the-other electoral race.
    I suppose they deserve the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.

  49. Walrus and his Deathstar on Final Landing Approach (5 Days Until We Unleash Hell) permalink
    September 2, 2013 3:47 pm

    “Baddies against baddies” doesn’t exactly sound like someone who has his finger on the pulse of the complexity of global issues, just quietly…”

    “………..THAT’S not to suggest that, you know, you just say, “trust me, we’re doing the right thing, we know who the bad guys are”………….”
    —US President Barack Obama, June 7:

    Google can make you Giggle !

  50. September 2, 2013 3:55 pm

    For the record, when I hear political leaders conjuring ‘baddies’ and/or ‘goodies’ I think it sounds like they’re dumbing down geopolitics, for consumption by kindy kids.

  51. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 2, 2013 3:59 pm

    “I suppose they deserve the benefit of the doubt until they prove otherwise.”

    Sadly, I don’t think that will take very long.

  52. September 2, 2013 4:03 pm

    Nor do I…but the ALP has gifted them a colossal head start & a very low moral bar to aspire to.

    We are about to witness breathtaking hypocrisy from the adherents on both sides…again

  53. Walrus and his Deathstar on Final Landing Approach (5 Days Until We Unleash Hell) permalink
    September 2, 2013 4:51 pm

    Over at the Looney Left Cafe on one thread alone Fed Up who should be renamed Cant Shut Up has made 43 out of 45 comments since 10:00am this morning.

    Is this a record ?

  54. public toilet permalink
    September 2, 2013 5:37 pm

    Go Team!

  55. public toilet permalink
    September 2, 2013 5:40 pm

    I’m at the coast.

    19 degrees, solid 3m swell, exquisite vista, light offshore breeze.

    Honestly, fuck politics. The more things change…

  56. Ol' Sancty permalink
    September 2, 2013 5:52 pm

    Thankfully, and cleverly, Abbott has sensibly said BEFORE the election that Direct Action will stop the minute the budgeted money is spent. Go Tony!! (And note my 3 adverbs!!)

    For the record, when I hear political leaders conjuring ‘baddies’ and/or ‘goodies’ I think it sounds like they’re dumbing down geopolitics, for consumption by kindy kids.

    Quite. Although I think Abbott was making the valid point that whilst Assad is quite the cnt, there are a number of cnts amongst the rebels too so entering a conflict on that basis requires some caution.

    That said, many of the cnts amongst the rebels filled vaccuums that existed when others who could have assisted far earlier in the slaughter didn’t. I reckon I asked the question on this blog a couple of years ago about Syria, not with any intention of rehashing the Iraq debate but with a “given what we know now” bent.

  57. September 2, 2013 6:17 pm

    Mr Rabid will be on the 730 report tonight.

  58. September 2, 2013 6:18 pm

    Enjoy the surf Boss… 🙂

  59. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 2, 2013 6:32 pm

    solid 3m swell

    Shift workers have it so good! I was on the coast yesterday, there was a 0.25m swell.

  60. September 2, 2013 6:37 pm

    I was in bed jetlagged this morning.

    There was no swell.

  61. TB Queensland permalink
    September 2, 2013 6:38 pm

    … You’re becoming wuite (sic) the Nature5 with the snide asides and the rolling eyesbut (sic) no actual committed thought yourself. James …

    You have got to be kidding yourself, Sunshine!

    Please tell me what you think is wrong with it in the context of a political contest.

    You still don’t read posts here (or at least comprehend them) … go back up the thread … read my comments and then comment on them …

  62. September 2, 2013 6:54 pm

    “That said, many of the cnts amongst the rebels filled vaccuums that existed when others who could have assisted far earlier in the slaughter didn’t. I reckon I asked the question on this blog a couple of years ago about Syria, not with any intention of rehashing the Iraq debate but with a “given what we know now” bent.”

    Yes, you did, el snactos.

    Credit where it is due.

    I have no idea what a ‘sensible response’ to the situation now is. All options are fraught, in their own ways.

  63. September 2, 2013 8:18 pm

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Mr Rabid will be on the 730 report tonight.’ ‘ ‘

    Mr-Rabbit(go!) was as boring as bat-shit and didn`t enlighten viewers in the slightest, but maintained the simple, slogany type answers that impress the tards, but else.
    +
    Meanwhile, over in studio-22, the QandaLand team are preparing for a kevin07 `spectaculor`, (which Mr-Rabbit was invited too) but at the moment, it seems Mr-Rabbit has squibbed it, giving Kevin07 the whole hour to himself.

  64. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 8:26 pm

    Is The Black Knight 730reportland still predicting a Labor victory?

  65. September 2, 2013 9:21 pm

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ predicting a Labor victory? ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

    Never did. Fact-check`osy
    Still don`t think Mr-Rabbit is `born-to-rule` tho.

  66. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:26 pm

    “Never did.”

    GUFFAW!

  67. September 2, 2013 9:34 pm

    Come-on fact-check`osy,
    you know damn well l want mr-rabbit to get 74 seats,
    not more, not less.
    *unhinging* *go-watermelon*

  68. September 2, 2013 9:37 pm

    btw, QandaLand crew confirmed Mr-Rabbit not appearing, Kevin07 only.

  69. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:49 pm

    Kelvin O’Sven thinks broadband is a “right”. U betcha.

  70. September 2, 2013 9:52 pm

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ For the record, when I hear political leaders conjuring ‘baddies’ and/or ‘goodies’ I think it sounds like they’re dumbing down geopolitics, for consumption by kindy kids.‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ regurgitation by Limited-News dullards, so they don`t mangle the message within the sound-bite.

  71. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:52 pm

    Kelvin’s gubmnt has made mistakes, he says, but can’t name any. Fairgo for every kid by twenty nineteen. Sloganeer!

  72. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:53 pm

    If Abbott wins it’s all the fault of the dumb electorate. And MURDOCH!

  73. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 2, 2013 9:57 pm

    If Abbott wins… I blame Swan

  74. September 2, 2013 9:59 pm

    😆

  75. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 10:05 pm

    Even Tony Jones has joined The Hate Media. The Goodfolkoutthere know it.

  76. September 2, 2013 10:15 pm

    TJ`s a teabag from way back, part of the problem too.
    Didn`t know you are watching kevin07, osy.?

  77. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 10:16 pm

    Kelvin talks a lot about “folk” “out there”.

  78. IPA permalink
    September 2, 2013 10:19 pm

    Any one who’s not welded-, bolted-, riveted- and rusted-on Labor is a teebag. 🙄 (TJ is no teabag.)

  79. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 2, 2013 10:35 pm

    TJ is part of the hate media. he wants a job with Murdoch after the election, along with that Leigh Sales

  80. September 2, 2013 10:42 pm

    kevin07 nicely arse-fcuked the dog-botherer spouting anti-gay-marriage, reb should catch-up on iview, or abc1 tomorrow about lunch-time

  81. Walrus' View from his Deathstar permalink
    September 2, 2013 11:00 pm

    I only caught the end of Q&A but did see Kev being a bit unnecessarily brutal to a committed Christian guy about gay marriage.

    He should have taken the “chistianity is expressed in many ways approach” but he took a very aggressive approach. Then abc cameras left the guy “hanging”

    A fucking really bad look in western Sydney.

    Then he refused to rule out further superannuation changes .

    Oh well he’s toast anyway.

  82. Walrus' View from his Deathstar permalink
    September 2, 2013 11:07 pm

    730reportland

    “kevin07 nicely arse-fcuked the dog-botherer spouting anti-gay-marriage,”

    Good to see your political antenna is still well and truly fucked 730.

    You and your seat predictions plus now thinking division by bringing up bible references to slavery to counter opposition to gay marriage is a good look

    ROTFLMAO

    Could you give us your prediction of the election seats won and lost by each party on Saturday. I need a few laughs.

  83. September 2, 2013 11:40 pm

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ your prediction of the election seats’ ‘ ‘ ‘
    indi, sophie mirrebella, gone
    .
    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ A fucking really bad look in western Sydney.’ ‘ ‘
    tonights Qandaland was in brisbane not western sydney,

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ bible references to slavery to counter opposition to gay marriage’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘
    the dog botherer referenced the `book-of-dog` for anti-gay position,
    equally fair and reasonable to mock said delusional with content from said `book-of-dog`
    .
    so, got the courage to predict some seats yet.?

  84. September 3, 2013 12:20 am

    l intend to see you here Saturday Night.
    Please ensure the `abacus` on the deathstar is repaired and in good working order. Let`s_Count.

  85. Walrus and his Deathstar on Final Landing Approach (4 Days Until We Unleash Hell) permalink
    September 3, 2013 8:58 am

    “…………indi, sophie mirrebella, gone………………”

    There were many many many other predictions just a few weeks ago. Where are they now ?

    LOL

    “…….the dog botherer referenced the `book-of-dog` for anti-gay position,
    equally fair and reasonable to mock said delusional with content from said `book-of-dog`..”

    Perhaps for an ordinary citizen having an argument it was justified. Not for a PM.

    Using your logic everytime someone in a Western Sydney shopping centre yells out to Rudd to “piss off” his “equally fair and reasonable” response should be …………..

    “Go fuck yourself you bogan motherf**ker”

    LOL

  86. TB Queensland permalink
    September 3, 2013 9:07 am

    So when is Abbott going on Q&A?

    What a fkn coward … if he does romp home as is “predicted” there’ll be a few ‘told ya so’s” here next year …

    Wonder how many of the 15% will get into the booth and say, “Mmmmmm … nah … too risky to go back to 2006 … let’s move on with Kevvie …”

    ALP is the best of a bad bunch particularly when you start to compare the front benches … the LibNits are really beyond it now, most of them should have retired last election … or with Howard’s demise …

    I’ll be sipping lattes (as we lefties do 🙄 ) on the Cairns Esplanade on Saturday … 🙂

  87. TB Queensland permalink
    September 3, 2013 9:14 am

    Perhaps for an ordinary citizen having an argument it was justified. Not for a PM.

    Well I’m not gay or a dog-botherer either but I reckon the pastor needed to be made an example of … he went with his (churches?) own agenda and got torched … play on the big screen with big people and expect big put downs …

    We don’t need Abbott on Q&A to even guess his response … “um, er, arg, er mm, well you may be right, pastor …”

    The man couldn’t manage a caravan park toilet block, let alone a country of 23,000,000 people …

  88. Evil Walrus on his Equally Evil Deathstar permalink
    September 3, 2013 10:13 am

    “Mmmmmm … nah … too risky to go back to 2006 … let’s move on with Kevvie …”

    LOL

    My my you are sounding very shrill as the Evil Deathstar takes its final approach to unleash Armageddon on all self funded retirees on Saturday.

    “Wonder how many of the 15% will get into the booth and say,”

    Haven’t you heard ?

    No one seems to even know where Kev got that figure from.

    More of his bullshit

  89. Ol' Sancty permalink
    September 3, 2013 1:03 pm

    I apologise, TB. I hadn’t read your “soundbite sentence”.

    I still consider the rolling eyes habit offensive but in this instance I was wrong.

  90. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 3, 2013 1:26 pm

    Putin visiting the Deathstar?

  91. September 3, 2013 1:32 pm

    Is anyone else not surprised that The Deathstar is crewed by rangas?

  92. TB Queensland permalink
    September 3, 2013 1:32 pm

    I still consider the rolling eyes habit offensive 🙄

  93. Evil Walrus on his Equally Evil Deathstar permalink
    September 3, 2013 2:03 pm

    “Putin visiting the Deathstar?”

    ROFLMAO 🙂

  94. TB Queensland permalink
    September 3, 2013 2:19 pm

    “Putin visiting the Deathstar?”

    Talkin’ about crossin’ sweaty palms with cash … what have you agreed to, Wally? 😆

  95. Tom of Melbourne permalink
    September 3, 2013 9:37 pm

    Clive James was just on the ABC, interviewed by Kerry O’Brien. What a sensational, independent thinking type he is.

    An intelligent, articulate, literate, multi faceted womaniser…that’s as good as it gets, in my opinion.

  96. Splatterbottom permalink
    September 13, 2013 10:31 am

    Seems someone seems to have snapped a photo of one of the commenters here. I can’t quite make it out – not quite a Walrus, not quite a Cane Toad. Maybe it is their lovechild!

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