Vol 26 No 24

04 December 2016


 

  • EDUCATION

    Christmas encounter with an unremembered student

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 December 2016
    9 Comments

    I have no idea how many students I've taught in two countries. I remember, usually, the high achievers and their troublesome and often troubled opposites, but most are a blur: the human memory has its limits. On the other hand I think I can name all the teachers I ever had: this, of course, is much easier to do. There was more evidence of this today. I was in the Kalamata post office, waiting my turn and clutching a fistful of cards bound for Australia, when a bearded young man asked me a question.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Guilt edged smartphones an unhappy Christmas gift

    • Francine Crimmins
    • 18 December 2016
    22 Comments

    A few years ago I woke up on Christmas morning to see a small, neatly wrapped gift under the tree. The size and shape were familiar and I was excited to see my name on the gift tag. I'd wanted a new phone all year ... one with one of those touch screens everyone else seemed to have. A few months later I could no longer feel pride for my phone, instead just guilt. I'd sat down and watched a documentary about how phones just like mine were manufactured.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas story trumps the games that power plays

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 15 December 2016
    11 Comments

    TS Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi' ends with the ambiguous line, 'I would be glad of another death'. If we set alongside one another the birth of a new and sour political order and the birth that is central to the first Christmas story, we are challenged to resolve the ambiguity. We may give up our hopes for a just and peaceful world, retire from it as gracefully as we can, and accept the victory of power and brutality. Or we can return to the Christmas story and to the hope that is central to it.

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  • ECONOMICS

    Financial literacy programs need to get real

    • Rachel Kurzyp
    • 15 December 2016
    8 Comments

    Studies have found that in Australia, groups with the poorest financial awareness and skills are those under 25, those with no formal post-secondary education, those on low incomes and working 'blue collar occupations', and women. While it makes sense to provide these groups with financial information on home loans and super, this wouldn't have helped my mother when she had to decide between, say, buying groceries for the week or getting the car serviced.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fall of Aleppo caps off wretched 2016

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 15 December 2016
    12 Comments

    Assad's victory epitomises, in a sense, the reactionary tide prevailing just about everywhere in this, the Year of the Donald. The hopes raised during the Arab Spring have, it seems, been crushed, with the Syrian regime consolidating its grip over a nation it has oppressed for so long. Yet Aleppo also illustrates how little the Right's victories have actually settled. The Right's biggest asset is often the Left, with progressives seemingly determined to validate all the smears levelled against them.

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  • RELIGION

    My mother's burqa: an irreverent history

    • Irfan Yusuf
    • 13 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Some of my South Asian 'aunties' are very much opposed to wearing any religious head covering. Mum has only recently started wearing a tiny Egyptian number she picked up during her last Haj. Like many South Asians, she has become a bit more religiously observant as she gets older. She grew up in the Indian university town of Aligarh, some 140km South East of Delhi. Aligarh was a very conservative town, and her father, a professor at the local university, was a rather conservative chap.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Christmas blighted by child detention obscenity

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 13 December 2016
    7 Comments

    This year International Migrants Day has called for children to be released from detention. It is appropriate that an event held in the shadow of Christmas should advocate for children. For they lie at the heart of Christmas. The insistence in the Gospel stories on the obligation to respect and nurture children is not exclusive to Christians. It is echoed in the attention to children and concern for their growth into responsible adults shared by other religions and cultures.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Ten movies that really got to us this year

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 13 December 2016
    3 Comments

    Amid the noise of Batman battling Superman, the Avengers turning against each other, and middle aged fanboys whingeing about the Ghostbusters franchise being revitalised with an all-female lead cast, 2016 has actually been a pretty solid year for movies, both in and outside of Hollywood. We haven't had time to see them all (we have a magazine to publish, after all) but nonetheless here is a list of our ten favourite films reviewed in Eureka Street this year.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Moderates must realise whiteness rests on oppression

    • Neve Mahoney
    • 13 December 2016
    7 Comments

    If the political trash-fire of 2016 has taught us anything, it's that white moderates are more than willing to throw minorities under the bus in order to preserve the status quo. It comes out in their tone policing. It comes out in calls for 'respectful' dialogue without considering how socio-political power structures mean minorities are always at a disadvantage in those kinds of conversations. Whiteness has always been a moving target and has more to do with power and privilege than skin colour.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    GOMA's summer of frivolous art

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 12 December 2016
    5 Comments

    I will always remember the first time I saw Giacommeti's statues in in Europe. They were grotesquely thin, elongated people. Giacometti explained how he tried to make people with more flesh, but after World War II and the six million, it was impossible. And so those statues reflect the time he lived in. Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art, on the other hand, is celebrating its tenth anniversary, and has chosen fairy floss and rainbow fuzz to reflect our current society.

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  • CARTOON

    Hark! the climate sceptics sing

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 12 December 2016
    2 Comments

    This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Theresa May's disingenuous Saudi stance

    • Daniel Read
    • 11 December 2016
    7 Comments

    The British Prime Minister is many things. Depending on which side of the political spectrum you're on, she's either a trailblazing female politician set on reclaiming Britain's independent role in Europe, or just another callous, career orientated Conservative ill-suited to the challenges at hand. One quality she does appear to possess, however, is a degree of honesty, particularly when it comes to Britain's controversial take on human rights and foreign trade. Or does she?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mekong coconut workers

    • Brendan Ryan
    • 11 December 2016

    Watch the man in his stained shirt barefoot under the palms. Adrift from younger workers he manages a rhythm, a cigarette-dangling-from-the-lip focus. His lined face belies the strength of his forearms, thrusting each coconut onto a metal spike that is his altar. Seven days a week he splits coconuts with the precision required to not sever a wrist in a country with no health insurance. Upriver, in the seamy heat of the Mekong Delta, it could be the 19th century. I don't know where to look.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Behind Trump's 'Happy Gilmore' moment with Taiwan

    • Jeremy Clarke
    • 08 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Trump's phone call with Tsai Ing-wen is to diplomacy what Happy Gilmore's slap shot was to the Pro Golf Tour. It defies all convention, is appallingly out of context, and should not even work, but it might just augur a new way of doing things. That conversation disrupted previous norms, some of which resulted from decades of delicate, often secret, negotiations. In the midst of the confected outrage it is worth considering the event within the context of contemporary US-China relations.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    When we give ourselves permission

    • Fatima Measham
    • 07 December 2016
    12 Comments

    It is hard to overstate the sort of things that become permissible when the dominant political culture appeals to our darker nature. Take the cascade of brutality in the Philippines, or the stream of hateful incidents in the US. In Australia, white supremacist groups staged 'victory rallies' after the US election, and posters appeared last weekend at Melbourne University telling 'dunecoons, shitskins, niggers, chinks' to get out. This permissiveness isn't just about Trump, though he is a catalyst.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Elderly tourists on border control hit list

    • Catherine Marshall
    • 07 December 2016
    22 Comments

    What does it take to secure room at Australia's inn? For the refugee, it's virtually impossible, with a fraction of the many millions of displaced people in the world granted entry into this privileged country each year. Those who immigrate here, like my own family did, must engage in an expensive and convoluted process. But the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has now subjected a third group of people to its program of suspicion and inhospitality: elderly tourists.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bond notes bode ill for Zimbabwe's currency calamity

    • Tariro Ndoro
    • 06 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Last week, the much dreaded bond notes were released into the economy, in a move hoped to alleviate the cash crisis. Most citizens are negative about the move, with good reason - the last time Zimbabwe had its own currency was 2009, when inflation was so high the currency had to be dropped to salvage the economy. Most Zimbabweans remember that time well: every other month citizens had to drive to Botswana to put food on the table because the country's own shops were empty.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Kids bear the bite of fractured family foibles

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 06 December 2016

    Families can be sites of great love and nourishment, and also of pain and trauma - often, all of these things, to varying degrees. The Family Fang focuses on the lives of adults bearing the mental and emotional ramifications of what can fairly be described as an abusive upbringing. It provides an illuminating counterpoint to Little Men, in which the close and sincere friendship of teenage boys comes under strain from their parents' 'grown-up' problems.

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  • CARTOON

    Stumped and Trumped

    • Fiona Katauskas
    • 05 December 2016

    This week's offering from Eureka Street's award winning political cartoonist.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The wild, normal diversity of the modern family

    • Ann Deslandes
    • 05 December 2016
    6 Comments

    I'm a 36 year old white Australian who grew up middle class in suburban Adelaide. I can count on one hand the number of households in the streets I lived on which were always-already made up of a mum-dad-kids scenario. The research on children's attachment, development and resilience shows kids need meaningful, culturally appropriate relationships with caring and competent adults in order to thrive as human beings. These adults can be pretty much anyone as long as they fit that bill.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tips for surviving Christmas angst

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Cricket games, feasts, the origami orgy of Christmas present wrappings rent asunder ... the underlying truth in all of this, for many of us, is deep emotional pain and loneliness that's gone unheard, unnoticed, all year. Family is both a lodestone and a millstone at Christmas. It's a truth magnified by aspirational love. As Pope John XXIII once said, cutting close to home, 'Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.' It's a big ask that carries a price.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    No vacancy at the inn (or anywhere else in Australia)

    • Marlene Marburg
    • 04 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Please god of the fit and strong, forbid we should become 'the un-lucky country'. Help us to conjure the nerve to say, There is no room for you here in Australia. No vacancies. All full up. You will be turned away while you are trying to give your family respite from poverty or war. We have no room for you. We are using our space for shops. And Christmas trees.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Watching the 'mixed bag' Senate cross bench at work

    • John Warhurst
    • 04 December 2016
    4 Comments

    To say the Senate cross bench is a mixed bag is an understatement. All that is really lacking is an extreme left senator unrestrained by Labor/Green discipline. Amid all the controversy I've grown comfortable with their place in the Senate and appreciative of their collective presence in an otherwise party dominated chamber. They each have their flaws, but they make a generally positive contribution to public discussion and to ultimate legislative outcomes. We are better off for their presence.

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  • RELIGION

    Why the seal of the confessional should remain in tact

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2016
    18 Comments

    One distinctively Catholic practice is personal confession in which an individual confesses to God their sins and seeks forgiveness in the presence of and at the hands of a priest. Some groups and individuals are proposing to the royal commission that the seal of the confessional no longer be inviolable. I was quoted in The Australian saying, 'If a law is introduced to say that a priest should reveal a confession, I'm one of those priests who will disobey the law.' Being also a lawyer, let me explain.

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  • MEDIA

    Religious media cuts undermine harmony

    • Kasy Chambers
    • 04 December 2016
    21 Comments

    There has been a slow trickle of news outlets in Australia winding back their coverage of religion over recent years. Some might argue that this is a good thing in a secular democracy, and that discussion of religion creates division. This however flies in the face of the overwhelming good that religious belief, and religious-based organisations, do in this country. Not to mention the fact that religion and ethics are a major part of the narrative of society, of how we live together and how we form a community.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    How to relieve poverty in India without endangering the planet

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 December 2016
    9 Comments

    Neither India nor Australia can go it alone when confronting a global issue such as climate change. India cannot disregard the effects on other nations when it adopts laws and policies for alleviating the poverty of the poorest of the poor. Australia cannot disregard the effects on other nations when it considers restricting the availability of resources for export such as coal which might help provide electricity for the world's poorest citizens.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Khmer stories illuminate our world's present brutality

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 28 November 2016
    3 Comments

    I spent some summers in the border camps around the same time as Healy. This was life-changing: it made me subsequently look at policies from the perspective of those affected by them. But on reading these stories told by from the perspective of the Khmer people I recognised how much of their life I had not noticed. This gap between perception and reality may be pertinent to reflection on how we are to respond to the startling recent shifts in our world and to the brutality that runs through them.

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