22.2.03

Today's Good Weekend magazine has an article on being unAustralian. Most contributors think the phrase gained popularity here about the time of "unAmerican" behaviour and all the things that went with that.

Here are some examples, both serious and tongue-in-cheek:

  • Speaking any language than English (from Pauline Hanson.)
  • Putting a wedge of lime in the beer
  • Pouring beer from the can or stubbie into a glass
  • Deserting one's mates
  • Being against a fairgo for all
  • Rupert Murdoch
  • Overt displays of patriotism
  • Not standing up for a Mexican wave at the cricket. Here, "Mexican" is defined as "Victorian." Sorry, Darren.
  • any activity not involving an Esky (portable ice box)
  • Losing at sport, particularly if it involves the Kiwis.
  • Lighting bushfires


Now these are somewhat less than serious, but there is a definite feeling all Aussies understand as to what is meant by the term.

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Shane Warne is suspended for twelve months. I'm sure he will be devastated. I'm equally sure that this was something which had to be done. Whether he took a diuretic to mask other drugs is, in one sense, irrelevant. His defence was that his mother gave him the tablet and he took it. How puerile was this! Even my young friend in the elite gymnastics squad has known since he was eight, that to behave like this is pure stupidity. This guy plays at the top level in cricket. There's no way he didn't know the rules.

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18.2.03

I'm back feeling somewhat more refreshed and looking slightly tanner after several trips to the beach. I spent a lot of time just relaxing and managed to read several books. I was able to pick up four books for $4 at a secondhand store at the station before I left. One was by Maeve Binchy. I bought this to read on the 5 hour train trip but it was finished in considerably less time than that. It actually wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought it might have been. Certainly not wonderful, but readable. Another was a book of Scottish short stories, 1993. A bit like the curate's egg - good in parts. A third was Austen's Mansfield Park which I have read but did not own and the last was one by Margaret Drabble. This was finally worth the effort it took to get into it.

It was good to spend time relaxing with my sister before what we hope is her last operation in a series resulting from breast cancer. She's a survivor. Since the original diagnosis, she's been on an archeological dig to Cyprus, done remarkably well as a mature age uni student and gained her BA with very high marks. She then undertook a Masters which was open to all students from Australia. She was the only non-aboriginal student and won a scholarship to do the course. About 18 students started the course and three Koori women and my sister graduated with a Masters in Indigenous Social Policy, the only people in the country with this qualification. She also had three breast cancer operations, a total mastectomy and a ten hour reconstruction operation and two near fatal infections in that time. I'm proud of her.

My only regret about the time away is that I missed the massive protest against Australian involvement in a war against Iraq. Indeed against war. I would have attended. I took part several years ago in the march across the bridge for Aboriginal reconciliation. I still remember the amazing feeling which that day generated. Several hundred thousand people walked across the Harbour Bridge in Sydney. Quite incredible. Although I've always had leanings to this sort of action, I never had the guts to follow my convictions. I disagreed with the Vietnam war, but didn't have the courage to show how I felt. Now I'm prepared to stand up and be counted.

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