Monday, 6 September 2010

In summary: Australia; Israel; Burqa banning; Overseas Aid; Whales; Japan; Okinawa

With busy, modern life starting to eat into my free time and after seeing some interesting (for the most part, anyway...except #8…) articles I decided to make this post into a mini-digest.

1. Malcolm Turnbull is a fiscal conservative and social liberal (can't really disagree too much with this assessment), yet in the current Liberal Party of Australia, I would say he is in the minority…maybe he should form a new political party?

2. Over two weeks after the Australian Federal Election and we are still waiting for a government. Initially I was wishing for a new election, but out of the five independent Members of Parliament I have to agree that the three that are yet to decide who they will support haven't been rushing to any decisions. I would probably not agree with them on many, many issues but at least they are being (for the most part) transparent. Let's hope their transparency lasts…

3. The Labor-Green deal recently announced produced an opinion piece from Russell Trood, Liberal Senator for Queensland. I have to agree with him. Plus, given the Greens' propensity to dictate, I wonder: they may be socially progressive, but at the same time authoritarian…something that we see from the socially conservative extremes in many countries…I know it's overly simplistic, but didn't we finish with fascism and communism already?

4. On the topic of authoritarianism…saw this article about how Israel is facing internal attacks on freedom of speech. Whether you are pro-Israel or pro-Palestine when it comes to the Isreal-Palestine issue, it makes you wonder…

5. There have been several opinion articles on the niqab and burqa – whether it should be banned or not banned in the last few months. This article seems to be the most unbiased of all that I have read – it makes you think without being scared by one side or the other, well worth sharing.

In related news: came across this article that reports some ultra-orthodox Jewish women in Israel wear the burqa…make of it what you will...Also, while I am sure that many people will be pointing to the recent ban of the burqa in Syria (a majority Muslim country) – how many people are talking about the extremists on all sides that seem to be getting louder and louder? Are they the vocal minority or are we indeed living in such a bigoted world?

6. Nice to hear of celebrities that use their fame for something worthwhile: Hugh Jackman writes about aid programs that are not just handouts, but empower the people they help. These economic development projects have been around a while, as have the issues that give rise to people in need, all the more annoying when people such as "40mark" make ignorant and bigoted comments (see comments section of article).

7. Japanese nationalists would be happy at the news that whale meat has been used at least once in one sixth of public schools. My comment: thumbs down, period.

8. There may or may not be a new Japanese PM next week… either way, if you are in Japan you will probably have seen Kan or Ozawa in the news at some point. If you aren't in Japan you probably can't name the Japanese PM. Could they just move on and try and come up with some policies for the country instead?

9. To all foreigners coming to Japan (or living here, for that matter): If you stay in a "minshuku," read up a bit on Japanese culture, otherwise stay in a run-of-the-mill hotel or hostel.

10. An finally, an uplifiting story about Byron Fija and his quest to revitalise Okinawa's local languages. Sphere: Related Content

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