Friday, March 27, 2015

Lili's thought for the day

I was watching one of those amusing characters played by the talented Australian Aboriginal comedy actor Steven Oliver in the Black Comedy Australian TV series, and a sense of deja-vu grew a grew. A campy fellow in the habit of bursting into scenes to make brief uninvited over-familiar comments about people, and then he's gone in a flash? I feel I've seen this behaviour before, but in a white presentation. Of course! He was my favourite character in the classic American comedy movie Flying High! (US title Airplane!). It seems a little bit strange that these roles that are so alike have been played by actors with such similar names. Rest in peace Stephen Stucker, you will never be forgotten by those who love a laugh, and Steven Oliver, you are the funniest man in Australia today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lili's alarmed thought of the day

I have read reports that West Papua leader Benny Wenda is being detained by PNG immigration authorities and faces an immediate threat of deportation from PNG. 

PNG Immigration: +675 323 1500

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Lili's sad thought of the day

Goodbye and thank you Malcolm Fraser. Even as a child I felt that I was looking at an essentially decent person when I saw the former Prime Minister of Australia on TV, even though at the time I was witnessing one of the most controversial events in Australian political history, The Dismissal, and Fraser was cast in the role of the villain, and one of the adults in my family was incandescent with rage. We probably watched the political coup in black and white, as we weren't wealthy enough to be early-adopters of the exciting new colour television technology. 

Even in grayscale, at a glance I understood what type of person Mr Fraser was; a serious, thinking man in the business of ruling, not entertaining or charming, but who has demonstrated throughout his life a willingness to stand beside those who were locked out of a place in society: the refugee and the victim of racism and racist govermnent policies. Fraser was the only Liberal Prime Minister of Australia in living memory to welcome refugees to this country, was a champion of multiculturalism (we can thank the Fraser Government for SBS), he opposed apartheid as a PM and in his later career, and right up the the end of his life he has been a unequivocal and outspoken critic of the cruel and racist refugee policies of Liberal and Labour governments in the 21st century. As a PM Fraser modified but retained the system of universal health insurance created by the previous Labour government, which has served Australia well for many years and is accepted as a normal part of Australian life. 

Now that I have learned something of Fraser's formative years from media coverage of his passing, it all makes sense to me. Many sources describe Fraser's rural childhood in a wealthy family as one spent alone among nature without peers but apparently his best friend was an Aboriginal girl. My faith in individuals of character in Australian politics, (not parties or policies), is always reaffirmed when I think of Malcolm Fraser, but I am constantly saddened that there are so few of these individuals in positions of leadership these days, in politics or elsewhere. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

One big fail - a major corporate recruitment assessment company sponsored the event that built the reputation of a man with a hidden past

SHL Group is a company that offers tests and questionnaires relevant to personality, abilities and aptitudes for use in recruitment selection by companies and government bodies all around the world. Their list of clients includes ANZ, Coca Cola, Oxfam, Qantas, Vodafone, Nissan, KPMGColes and NASA. SHL Group were also the sponsors of Daniel Tammet's now-controversial 2004 "Pi in the Sky" memory record event to raise funds for the National Society for Epilepsy in the UK. One source is currently claiming that the memory record was not really broken by Tammet in 2004 even though press and official sources from the time claimed that the European/British record for memorizing Pi had been broken. 

Money raised by the event was to go toward a new leaflet from the NSE about epilepsy and memory, which is quite an irony considering that this event was a feat of memory that was publicized as being the result of extraordinary mental powers mysteriously created by an early childhood seizure suffered by Tammet, while the currently-available leaflet about epilepsy and memory from the NSE (now the Epilepsy Society) only discusses memory problems and strategies to help deal with memory difficulties

Expressions of skepticism about claims that Tammet has mysterious savant memory and calculation abilities date back many years, with figures from the memory sport community asserting that Tammet, who competed in memory championships in 1999 and 2000 under his original name of Daniel Corney, used much the same memory techniques as other competitors. Daniel Tammet is clever with numbers but his story never did add up, but that didn't stop a major company, whose business it is today to decide whether countless job applicants get an interview, from sponsoring the event that created Tammet's international reputation as a "genius" and a "savant". I'd say that was one gigantic failure of SHL to identify an issue with the talent.

My book about Daniel Tammet:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ten reasons to think twice about attending that block-buster arts or culture event

1.  Transport?

2.  Parking?

3.  Toilets?

4.  Affordable food and drink?

5.  The crowds could push you to the brink of insanity. 

6.  You or your kids might not get to see or do anything much because of the crowds.

7.  The interests of individual members of the public will not be a priority to the event organizers. They might get you to wait in a long queue for hours outdoors among bored children, or they might change the event without notice leaving you with nothing to see, or they might plan an event that they know most of the audience will not have good access to, due to numbers of attendees compared to space available. If you have a disability, good luck in competing with thousands of able-bodied people attending the event, I'm sure you will need it. 

8.  There's a good chance that many of the workers at the event will be paid nothing for their work, because they are volunteers, work experience people, interns or work-for-the-dole people. Free workers can be placed in such roles by government-funded job service agencies and these workers can be motivated by dubious claims that their unpaid efforts will give them an edge over others if vacancies open for real, paid jobs. Believe it or not, freebie workers these days often have to prepare lengthy "job" applications, pass police checks, sit interviews and undergo time-consuming training just like applicants for real jobs, and they wont even get free parking.

9.  It is hardly an original way to spend your spare time.

10. The show could well be a pretentious load of old bollocks. 

Lili's thought of the day

We love to think of ourselves as a nation of brave souls who are not afraid to openly discuss any topic, but we routinely substitute medico-sciency jargon for words for emotions. We talk about "agitation" not "anger" and we make reference to "adrenalin" instead of "excitement". Why do so many Australians talk such a load of bulls***?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lili's accusation of the day

I think it is pretty clear that there is some kind of policy in action at the ABC24 Australian government-funded television station of having teams of male and female newsreaders/presenters/journalists reading their news and doing interviews, with the female in the team given the job of asking the sentimental, emotional questions in interviews, and of course, it is the female presenter who is slim, young and attractive, often wearing outfits that show lots of skin, while all the blokes are always covered right up in layers of dignified suits, shirts and ties, in a clear rip-off of the sexist and gender-stereotype-reinforcing style of Network 10's The Project. 

F*** you ABC24, and f*** you too Network 10. Please do stick your sexism and occupational gender segregation of journalists where the sun doesn't shine. 

You never see Anton Enus reading the news half-bare, do you? More's the pity. I like Anton. I like him a lot.