JOURNALISTS and politicians like to talk about the human face of a conflict. But when it comes to the war in Afghanistan and the Australian Government’s arbitrary discrimination of Afghan refugees, we don’t have a human face. We have a series of human numbers. The first is 1005628.
I WAS born in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. I was born in Kashmir, between India and Pakistan. I was born in Iran. I was born in Iraq. I was born in Sri Lanka.
I worked as an architect, building up my business. I worked as a negotiator, liaising with the government. I worked as an engineer. I worked as a veterinarian. I worked as an accountant.
I am a member of the Hazara ethnic group. I am opposed to the government’s occupation of Kashmir. I am a firm believer in women’s rights. I am a whistleblower for government corruption. I am an ethnic Tamil.
I was held down while I watched my father beaten to death. I was kidnapped by the government and taken to an interrogation room. I was knocked out with the butt of a rifle. I was shot three times. I was arrested and put in a camp.
“We’re going to focus collectively as a group to streamline our growth so we can hit the ground running with a win-win. You know what I mean?’’
No. I have absolutely no idea. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat in a meeting, heard a manager regurgitate buzzwords onto the boardroom table and then nodded as if what he said was perfectly understandable.
A HALF-EATEN sushi roll. Paperwork stacked in different-sized piles like a bar chart measuring inefficiency. A computer desktop strewn with the debris of some digital cyclone. These are the first signs of Obsessive Compulsive Multitasking (OCM), a disorder that affects hundreds of thousands of clerical workers around the country.
WITH all the hullabaloo about the Kindle™ and the iPad™, it’s easy to overlook the e-reader’s centuries-old rival. But the Book™ is alive and well, with a sleek new design, lightweight packaging and wireless mobility to suit today’s busy bibliophile.
I have to admit being a little baffled by the Book™ at first. No matter how hard I looked, I just couldn’t find the ON button. After much fumbling I managed to start the device, and all it took was turning the front cover from left to right. No loading screen, sound effect or grand hurrah. It was an elegant beginning to what proved to be a charming piece of technology.
CAN newspapers get any more desperate? Since Apple launched its newest bit of consumer electronics a week ago, newspaper editors everywhere have dedicated acres of space to the gadget, hoping to hold the attention of “tech-savvy” younger readers.
The day after the world’s least aesthetically pleasing dresser, Steve Jobs, released the world’s most aesthetically pleasing hunk of metal and glass, the iPad, the Age ran four articles in the “Focus” section, the Herald Sun ran a double-page spread asking if this product will “change the world” and the Australian ran three reports, an editorial and an online survey.
HI! I’m Greg, I was born in 1983, which kind of makes me Gen Y. Being Gen Y is really cool, ‘cos we’re ‘technologically savvy’ (I just looked up ‘savvy’ on my iPhone dictionary app) and ‘globally aware’ (I’m going to South-East Asia next year), and we’re the most ‘materially endowed’ generation, like, ever.
It’s true, I read it in The Age on Saturday, even though I didn’t finish the whole article ‘cos I had to check Facebook and tweet my friends to let them know what I was up to, just in case they were wondering. And then I got the BIGGEST laugh when I went back to the newspaper ‘cos the journo wrote that Gen Yers have ‘nomadic online tendencies’ and I thought, that is totally me right now.
THE sun beats down upon the necks and arms of 200 people facing a brick building by the banks of Melbourne’s Yarra River. The rays don’t seem to worry the onlookers. The sun’s power is, after all, the reason they’re here.
The building houses Solar Systems, a company that was, until recently, developing a way to put sunlight to good use. A world leader in its field, the renewable energy start-up spent 15 years and $150 million designing and demonstrating a 154-megawatt solar farm in Mildura that would have produced electricity for 45,000 homes.
Then the dark day came.
IT sounds strange, but the attacks on Indian students in Australia really should have made for boring headlines. Despite the media reports of “curry bashings”, the true culprit wasn’t prejudice bubbling to the surface, but policy buried deep in our bureaucracies. Laws and regulations are to blame, and they need to be subjected to the same scrutiny as the spineless thugs who punched, kicked and stabbed their way into the limelight.
ACCORDING to recent reports, the Brumby government plans to export brown coal to India. For those who don’t know, brown coal is one of the most emissions-intensive ways to generate electricity — even more polluting than oil, gas or black coal. The Brumby government is desperate to capitalise on Victoria’s abundant coal reserves before a global emissions treaty or carbon price takes effect. After that happens, burning brown coal will be socially unacceptable and considerably more expensive.
But isn’t there a simpler way to offload the stuff? After all, how do most people get rid of a dodgy product in a hurry? They auction it on eBay, of course.
So that’s what I’ve done.
STEP right up folks, and witness the amazing energy-producing properties of Chocolate-Coloured Fossilised Carbon! See how this ancient substance magically turns black and vanishes under increased temperature! Marvel as a beautiful Dioxide Mist materialises before your very eyes!
What will the Victorian Government come up with next to describe the process of burning brown coal?
ON Wednesday, while deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in India defending Australia’s dodgy colleges, foreign students were in Melbourne doing some campaigning of their own.
They gathered outside Parliament House, unfurled banners with the words “Fair Fares” and demanded transport concessions for all international and postgraduate students.