Wednesday, 29 June 2005

excuse me while I pass out.

Just what is the state of my fellow countrymen coming to? What in the world are the future leaders of my home country thinking?

Idolising Hitler indeed!

The group leader, a tanned and bespectacled 15-year-old girl, said, "We like him. He led Germany and was very good, although he was evil. Don't you think he's very handsome? He started World War II, but it's okay, he's still our hero."
Everything I want to say has been said by him.

But just on another note, I worry and fear about the logic and intellectual ability of these kids.

They are worshipping the very same person, who if he were alive, would have ruthlessly and mercilessly called for their extermination simply because they are not quite of the white Aryan race.

How do you actually idolise someone who would kill you upon meeting you? Not just you, but your entire race?

Why not try idolising someone else who was a far better leader and who spurred up much more lasting feelings of loyalty so much so that two thousand years later, people still talk about him, people still love him, and people still listen to what he had to say?

Why not try idolising somone who had as much charisma as Hitler, if not more, but who is instead the very epitome of goodness, love, patience and happiness?

And most certainly better loved and with more brain cells?

Excuse me while I bemoan the future state of my homeland.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the other dude I'm talking about? His name is Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, 28 June 2005

Do you believe in miracles?

Do you believe in trust?

Do you believe in faith?

My best friend has just graduated from College.

Normally, this would be good news because we have so many grand plans together that includes moving into a nice apartment and make it our home, making short films, embarking on various projects that involve taking over the world...

The only catch?

She isn't quite legal to live and work in Australia without a visa. And getting the visa has been and will be a rather tricky situation.

Most jobs will only hire folks who are legally allowed to work in Australia. Getting a visa that allows her to legally work in Australia requires a job. How do you answer the chicken and egg question?

Her current student visa is expiring. Time is running out. There still isn't a job available.

What do we have left?




The belief that God has a plan, is in control and will come up with something that will absolutely astound us.

And lots and lots of prayer.

Saturday, 25 June 2005

the last week has been extremely hectic for me, to say the least.

with only one more week to go before the Christian Resources Exhibition (if you're in Sydney July 6 - 8, come visit stand E2!), life has been all about putting it together.

in theory, I believe I've got everything under control. But in the world of events management, you will never know until the day itself. And chances are, Murphy's Law will kick in. But I'll cross my fingers and pray. Very hard.

Kristin moved into the Nurses' Res yesterday! So if everything goes to plan, she gets a job, a work visa, something that will help her stay in Australia, we'll be moving out soon! Apartment hunting has already begun in a small little way. I can't wait to move out...

Attending an Amnesty International forum in the city commerating the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture tomorrow. Should be interesting.

Anyway, it's Kristin's world famous soft cookies, Chicken Run and The Wedding Singer time!

Sunday, 19 June 2005

It's World Refugee Day tomorrow.

It has been reported that "the number of refugees around the world rose by 1 million last year, to 11.5 million."

That is a heck of a lot of folks with nowhere to call their home. Folks whose fate is at the mercy of the government of the country they happen to be seeking asylum in. Folks who, if they happen to be in Australia, are automatically placed under a mandatory detention regime (the only western country with this policy). These folks may never taste the sweet smell of freedom ever again because of the Australian government's ability to hold refugees in detention centres indefinitely.

This means that there could potentially be an entire generation of children born, raised and possibly dying in a detention centre, never having known what it is like to live like you and me - as citizens of a country. And seriously, living in a detention centre is not quite the same as setting up home in a holiday resort.

Children caught in long-term detention are often traumatised. As Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia's Advocacy Coordinator observes, "We have been in contact with a number of detainees who have spent years in detention and witnessed their mental state slowly disintegrate...reading their medical reports that highlight the number of suicide attempts they have made and the way they have self-harmed themselves - for instance, cutting the word 'freedom' into their skin - brings home the damage long-term detention does to children."

Fair enough to say that there could be serious political and economical implications if a country were to accept refugees as easily as they were to accept tourists into their country. But mandatory detention, tearing families apart, encouraging additional trauma in folks already persecuted horribly in their home country is simply not the humane way to do things.

Refugees exist because they are forced to leave their country of residence through no fault of their own. The main reason why there has been such a phenomenal increase in refugees last year is not because being a refugee is the latest fad, but because of the genocide happening in Darfur and people fleeing Iraq (now whose fault is that?) into Syria.

If countries honestly and truly do not want the problems refugees create in their country - political, economical, social, or being hounded by pro-refugee advocates - maybe they should do something about the crisis these folks are facing back in their home countries?

The Rwandan Genocide created an uproar because nations stood by and did nothing while Hutus murdered their Tutsi neighbours in cold blood. Apologies were offered after, but if these nations were truly sorry, maybe they should start intervening in the countries creating refugees right now? (or stop intervening in other countries, for that matter.)

The United Nations was created for a reason and I don't think it was because some random person thought an army with blue helmets looked cool. If countries really did not want refugees, maybe they should help make the world become a place where people don't need to be refugees in the first place.

Governments need to do something about humanitarian crisis happening in other countries, instead of throwing lavishly grand parties to Princess Mary with taxpayers' money.

But in the meantime, while another grand party is thrown for a visiting dignitary, they will simply have to endure the demonstrations, the letters and the calls to free the refugees in detention centres.

To read more about refugees and immigration centres, and take further action visit:
Amnesty International

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

Photos of when Kristin came up to visit during the Queen's Birthday long weekend...(click on the picture to see the rest.)

Tuesday, 14 June 2005

Relevant is just about my favourite Christian magazine that very effectively marries modern day living and Christianity.

Just as its name suggests, it seeks to be relevant to the generation of today, without comprising what is deemed as old-fashioned faith.

In some ways, I feel that the magazine is everything I stand for as a contemporary Christian trying to fit in a modern day culture.

And guess what they just did?

*squeals in excitement*

Friday, 10 June 2005

Long weekend ahead!

The Queen is celebrating her birthday and the whole of Australia gets a day off. Sometimes, having a monarchy seems like a good thing. I mean, it's not like as if Singapore gets a holiday because it is Lee Kuan Yew's birthday. When is it, anyway?

Kristin comes up for the weekend this evening.

What with the Sydney Film Festival happening and wanting to visit Bondi Beach and that lovely cafe bookshop, I think we're going to have a pretty great weekend!

At least I won't have to worry about the Christian Resources Exhibition, or chasing up news stories, or the exhibition for the church's business meeting for one extra day...

Hurray for the Queen!
Read some fantastic news yesterday. Excerpt:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush are close to a ground-breaking deal that would see the world's richest nations wipe out $US20billion ($26billion) in debts owed by the poorest African nations.
In all honesty, I'm pleasantly surprised. Yes, these folks did sign the Millennium Development Goals, but it was beginning to look like they were signed just for the sake of signing.

I mean, anything to keep those activists quiet right? But my respect for Tony Blair would go up several notches if he does go ahead with his plans.

Would be interesting to see what happens at the upcoming G8 summit.

Would be nice if they did eradicate the debts....

Ah, one can hope.

In the meantime, if you want to do more, sign the petition on Micah Challenge!

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Circle of Courage Cycle Tour

It's about time!

If you didn't get enough of the official photos I took while on the Circle of Courage Cycle Tour that's published here, you'll find a whole stack of personal ones uploaded now.

Just click on the swans to go through the photos in chronological order.

Well, sort of.

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

I found it, I found it!

Well, technically speaking, someone gave me the link, but nevertheless, it's been found!

A responsible shopper guide for Australia!

Now I know where to shop with a clean conscience!
my driving instructor cancelled our 7.15am lesson this morning, and so I find myself sitting in front of the computer at the cockroach prison, er, Nurses' Residence at 6.40am checking emails and updating my blog.

I could go back to sleep, but it would probably mean I would end up being late for work...

Anyway, I just finished reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and it is such a brilliant book!

Thought Terry Pratchett was random? Douglas Adams is ten times worse, or better, depending on how you look at it.

Who else would be able to pull together a book that consisted of two humans (one having more or less left Earth a long time ago, the other a true blue Englishman with great lines), a two-headed absolutely ditzy completely narcissistic President of the Galaxy (called Zaphod Beeblebrox, no less), a slightly off-balanced alien who had been stuck on Earth for five years because nobody else from the Galaxy ever passes through an area marked as "dull" and my all-time favourite...a manic-depressive robot full of cutting sarcasm.

If you like control, it may be a better idea not to pick up the book. Just when you think you are understanding where the book is going, it takes off on another tangent that leaves you hanging in the air.

But if you like good old British humour, if you like Prattchet at all (I'm looking at you Faith), and if you would like a really good laugh, HHG is your book. Just remember to leave your logic behind for a while.

And you may even realise where the Wachowski brothers got their idea for the Matrix from...

And speaking of movies, I did catch the movie version of HHG and I have to say, I am impressed.

Not often am I impressed by movies that are based on books. But I guess with a story this random, it's not hard to stick to the "facts", so to speak.

There are many aspects of the movie that are not in the book. There are even added storylines and changed sequences. And yet, at the same time, these changes made the movie work. The changes enhanced the story and gave it a pace that would entertain an audience more used to Hollywood movies than English humour.

The movie is not quite the book coming to live. But it certainly presented the essence of it well.

So yes, read the book. Watch the movie. It's worth it.

Monday, 6 June 2005

the stress is beginning to creep in...

3 more weeks before the Christian Resources Exhibition in Sydney. A major exhibition that I have to plan for, manage and execute.

An exhibition that had been left on the back burner while the Circle of Courage Cycle Tour happened (I still need to upload some personal photos I took on that tour across the country).

An exhibition that got further left behind when I had to return home for my grandmother.

I am fast running out of time and this isn't the only project I have on my table. And I'm not even thinking of the news stories that I have to chase up, or the reports that I have to write.

And they are all due before September!!!

Don't get me wrong, I still love my job. I still love the variety of projects that complements my extremely short attention span.

But I'm still freaking out!!!!

Deep breaths Mel....deep breaths...

Friday, 3 June 2005

The attack on the Indonesian embassy at Canberra in response to Schapelle Corby's sentence is not only childish, but is absolutely ironical for a country with a commitment to help fight the "war on terror" with the US.

Emma Tom makes a very valid point in her article about some Aussies' reactions to Corby's sentencing.

In this bold new era of globalisation, Westerners have become increasingly complacent about foreign travel. But when we choose to take cheap holidays in developing countries we must accept that we may have to navigate alien hospitals, bureaucracies and judiciaries that don't always work the way we'd like them to. And crying "but things are different at home" is unlikely to help.

Thursday, 2 June 2005

Things we do at work...

One of our business partners came by to share some Krispy Kreme Donuts with our boss who is on holiday. Guess who got the donuts by default? Yum!

Wednesday, 1 June 2005

she asks, I obey.

Introducing the Literati Baton...

1) Total number of books I’ve owned:
Do you ask a writer how many pens he owns? Do you ask Imelda Marcos how many pairs of shoes she owns? How am I supposed to answer this question when I buy books more often than I buy clothes, shoes or CDs?

2) The last book I bought:
The last real book I bought was The New Australian & New Zealand Public Relations Manual. For work. But that's boring stuff.

The last book I bought for leisure reading were actually three books. It was on a 3 for $50 special, I couldn't resist!

Notes From a Small Island by Bill Bryson - brings back fond memories of my year in England
Almost French by Sarah Turnbull - spending that one week in Paris with Kristin made me want to be almost French myself!
The third book...well...tells you how significant it is when I've forgotten what it is. Hey, it was 3 for $50! I had to find a third book!!

3) The last book I read:
The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett - after reading his books in a completely random and haphazard way, the anal-retentive in me has called out to me to read them in the sequence they were published. For anyone looking for satire, British humour and utter brilliance, Pratchett's your man.

4) 5 books that mean a lot to me:
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families by Philip Gourevitch - great journalism work that brought out the activist in me. It's not an easy read, not because of the writing style but because of the topic it was dealing with. Makes one realise just how complacent we have all become, sitting in our homes on our soft comfy couches, while genocide, suffering and human rights atrocities goes on in other countries.

The Bible by God - I'll admit I don't read it all that often, and when I do, it's usually only a couple of chapters at a time. But I have this to say about it. Everytime that I do open it, it speaks to me and comforts me in a way that nothing ever can.

Syrup by Max Barry - laugh out funny. This guy is brilliant in presenting marketing, public relations and capitalism from a whole new perspective. He does satire really well and criticises society as we know it in a way without us even realising it. He opened up my eyes to the industry I'm working in. And maybe I'm a little more cynical thanks to him, but I'm not complaining.

The Chronicles of Narnia
by CS Lewis - a children's classic that I only got to know at age 22. Who would have thought one could marry fantasy and Christianity? CS Lewis successfully created a world that would have rivalled Middle-earth. His writings are a source of inspiration to me. Entertaining on one level, but extremely deep, profound and full of analogies if read from a Christian perspective. There are so many lessons and so many layers one can find from Narnia which slowly reveals itself one at a time everytime one reads it.

Nightwatch by Terry Prattchet - the first book that introduced me to the magical, strange and completely random Discworld.

5) Tag 5 people and have them fill this out on their blogs:
the X facta
Where is the Justice?
The Sharona Tree
Idas thoughts
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