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Current Affairs

Dear Dad, we don’t need to turn the boats away, we need to send them back for more…

Dear Dad,

Imagine if there was a civil war in Australia. Not like the State of Origin dad, a proper civil war. With guns. Imagine if the indigenous population teamed up with all the other non-white recent immigrants in an attempt to remove white Australians from power in a game of black people vs. white people. A bit like chess I guess, but without castles.

Imagine if Team Black’s goal was to remove any influence Christians had over Australia and its culture. I’m not just talking about banning Christmas either, I’m talking about a war with the sole goal of removing all white Australians from positions of power and erasing as much of white Christian history as possible.

Now, imagine if Team Black didn’t just cause a bit of a ruckus in the suburbs where there’s a big majority of black people, imagine if they actually won the war and were now starting to make life hard for white Australians. They start murdering all white politicians and removing any influential white people from other positions power immediately. You can’t be a mayor if you’re white, you can’t be a manager at a company, you can’t even be a school teacher. They imprison anyone who dares speak out against the new regime and they kill anyone who tries to resist. They ban the bible, they ban white TV presenters. They take away all our passports and they ban us from traveling outside the country.

Worse still, for you, they are hunting down anyone who has ever been a member of a church and they’re putting them into forced labour camps. Even praying is now a crime. Remember the time in 1995 when we went to Pizza Hut with the church group and all the grown-ups sang grace at the table. Not softly, but loud enough for Jesus to hear? There were kids working there who knew me and I had to go to school the next day with them. They thought I was in a cult. I got beaten up. I wanted to stone you all to death with frozen cheese at the time, but if they got caught doing that now under the new regime, I could stone you all to death with frozen cheese. In fact, I’d be given a medal for it.

Not only is being Christian now a crime under this new regime, but anyone who was ever a vocal supporter of white Christian culture has to try and leave the country or they will almost certainly be killed. They even do background checks on people’s parents to find the children of preachers. Your parents were missionaries Dad, and you have been going to church since you were born. You even say grace at McDonalds. You’re screwed.

In fact, not only are you screwed, there’s a price on your head. They want you dead because as a business owner, they fear you’ll try to lead a Toowoomba-based uprising against the new regime. You can’t just turn up at an airport and hop on a plane because they took your passport and if you do get caught trying to leave, you will be taken away and forced to dig your own grave and mum will be tortured. And you have a beard, which they’ll find scary.

Imagine you kiss mum goodbye and go into hiding in the bush with a few other Christians you know and you all pray for a solution. For a while nothing happens and you start to lose hope, but one day, out of the blue, word reaches you that there’s a small boat leaving from Broome and it’s heading to China. It’s operated by a people-smuggling operation. You’ve heard the Chinese don’t like the new Australian regime very much and have offered asylum to white Australians in the past. The boat sounds dodgy, but you know if you stay in Australia you will certainly be killed and mum will be tortured, so you decide to take the risk. You can’t speak Chinese, but you know enough about China to know that it sounds better than death and torture in Australia. You’ve heard there’s a large community of white Australians living there and you decide to go for it, mum can follow as soon as you get to China and are granted refugee status. You get to Broome by bribing state border guards with every scrap of cash you can raise and meet up with 100 other white asylum-seekers and get on a tiny boat.

You’ve heard some rumours and seen patchy news broadcasts about other boats carrying asylum seekers which have been smashed up on rocks in bad weather, and while it all sounds a bit scary, you figure it’s not likely to happen to you and you can’t afford to waste any time because the longer you wait, the more chance you have of being killed.

You make the voyage and arrive in Chinese territorial waters three weeks later. Instead of setting off some fireworks and giving everyone prawn crackers, they tell you to go away because they’re full and threaten to sink your boat and lock you up on a remote rat-infested island in the scorching sun and throw away the key. Stories of your arrival run on the Chinese version of Today Tonight and the public decides there’s no way in hell a boat full of outlaws from Australia should be let into the country. Every other nation in sailing distance says they will sink your boat if you enter their waters because they can’t take on any more refugees.

The Chinese navy tows your boat back to Australian waters and your are met by an Australian naval vessel manned by the new regime. As soon as the Chinese vessel is out of sight, they take you all prisoner, ferry you away to a secret military base near Darwin, torture half of you to death and send the other half to a forced labour camp where you build railroads in the desert for the next 20 years.

Oh, and they make you cut off your beard.

That’s what we’re dealing with here dad. It’s what happened in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. It’s what happened in China in the 1950s. It happened in Cambodia in the 1970s, Rwanda in the 1980s and Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The same thing is happening right now in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran and Sudan.

You like Chinese food dad. You’ve probably never had Cambodian food, but you’d like that too. I know you like chicken soup. Everyone likes chicken soup. OK, vegetarians don’t like chicken soup, but the Jews invented lots of tasty non-meat things too. Like bagels. The point is, when Australia throws open its doors to boat people we get cool things, like chicken soup, and kebabs, and rice-paper rolls, and culture. I know right now you’re thinking “gee, it’s really really sad that some boat people died, but what we need to do right now is get really really tough on border protection and turn back all the boats and not let anyone in to the country and that will solve the problem.”

It won’t solve the problem Dad. If we get all huffy and cranky and turn back all the boats they’ll probably stop for a while, just like they did when John Howard pretended they were throwing children overboard and everyone got cranky then. But the only thing that will change is that, at best, they’ll become someone else’s problem, or at worst, the people who were trying to come here on boats will be sent back home and tortured to death for trying to leave in the first place.

There are around 798 genuine refugees waiting to come to Australia from the Indonesian port Puncak right now and at least another 1,769 whose refugee status is pending. Do you want to know the best way to stop people smugglers Dad? Put them out of a job. Australia is a massive place. Like you, I’ve seen rather a lot of it. We’re not full. Western Sydney is full. Toorak is full. Everywhere else is far from full. In fact, everywhere else is empty. We don’t need to turn away the boats Dad. We need to send them back for more.

Matt

Categories
gluten-free Lunch salad Vegetarian

Barley and Pomegranate Salad

When you date a gluten-free vegetarian you have to like salad. It’s easy to get sick of lettuce too, so when we had this amazing barley and pomegranate salad on the weekend at a BBQ I was blown away.

Pomegranate

By gosh, was it delish. We had to go before I could grab the recipe, but I think, *think* this was what’s in it:

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups of wholegrain barley, washed, and then boiled for 35-40 minutes in 5 cups of water. You could also probably soak it overnight in 3 cups of water and lime juice and then quickly cook it off. Don’t soak or boil it for too long or you’ll end up with mush. Let it cool down before you serve it.
  • A block of good, strong, Greek goat feta, cut into cubes, or crumpled. 1cm Cubes would look better with the round pomegranate seeds
  • The seeds from three pomegranates, or more if you’ve got heaps. Go nuts.
  • Juice from two limes
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • A good handful of roughly chopped coriander
  • A cup of mint leaves
  • Pine nuts, if you want

Method

Put the ingredients in a bowl.

Categories
Blog

White Hipster Seeks New Sub-Culture. Apply Within.

I’ve been sensing it for some time now. The warning signs have been there. I was on the beat poet bandwagon at age 17. I bought a synth for my band in 2008. In the past I’ve had friends tap me on the shoulder, take me quietly aside and point out the fact that my thick-rimmed glasses had no prescription in them. But I didn’t want to believe. I’ve been in denial. “I couldn’t possibly be one of them!” I’d tell myself in draft posts for my personal blog. “My bicycle has three gears!” Or the classic, “Sure, I used to have completely clear Ray Bans, but I went to an optometrist last year and he said I actually have a slight astigmatism. I need them for reading!”

It didn’t matter that my wardrobe was made entirely of American Apparel and skinny jeans. It didn’t matter that I was dating a girl from an indie radio station, could name more typefaces by sight than the designers in my web agency, that I went to gigs of bands I’d never heard of and tweeted my dissatisfaction through their sets, or that I’d dabbled unsuccessfully in vegetarianism but still refused to eat red meat on the grounds that it might be unsustainable. I just couldn’t bring myself to admit that, despite my complete indifference to Wilco, which borders at times on disesteem, I was, in fact, a hipster.

But then, as I lunched with a fixed-gear friend who had been seeing a therapist for some relationship issues, I was introduced to an analysis technique designed to help a person look within to understand more about their lives.

“Write down what you did this weekend,” my friend said. “Write down all the little things. Who you hang out with, what you bought, what you saw, where you went. It’ll tell you who you are.”

So I did. Here is the list.

On the weekend I:

  • Rode a fixed-gear bicycle
    • In Surry Hills
  • Went to a gig
    • of a band you haven’t heard of
  • Attended a photography exhibition where I bumped into Benjamin Law
    • and tweeted about it
  • Bought a necklace with a large retro camera on it made from beads
    • as a present for my friend who is a 20-year-old photographer with a moustache
  • Drank pear cider
    • On a grassy knoll
      • With a bunch of friends from triple j
        • Whilst reading a classic hardback novel
          • Through thick-rimmed underpowered wayfarer spectacles
  • Played chess on my iPhone 4 with a friend who was sitting opposite me
    • In a vegan cafe
      • In Surry Hills
        • and moaned about our jobs in digital
          • whilst convincing my girlfriend
            • who is a photographer in her spare time
              • to work on her personal brand
                • then came home and blogged about it.
                      • a bunch of friends from triple j
                        • Whilst reading a classic hardback novel
                          • Through thick-rimmed underpowered wayfarer spectacles

As the dude from the ‘How much hipster can you pack into a jazz‘ video said: “As Jack Kerouac Said,  ‘Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.'”

If I want to achieve greatness I’ve come to the self-realisation, like Jack Kerouac, my hero, that I need to stop being such a hipster. It may seem at first that writing a blog post about my problem is like a heroin addict shooting up to avoid the cravings. It’s not, it’s a segue into a joke:

Q. How many hipsters does it take to change a lightbulb?

A. It’s a really obscure number, you wouldn’t have heard of it.

Given that no one has heard of me either, and that I’ll never make it to head hipster anyway because my hair is too short/thin to quiff, I think the only way for me to gain any serious social credibility is to join another subculture where I can be ruler. I’ve already been an emo, and have the black nail polish to prove it, but I dislike their music so it’s out of the question. I’m too hairy in the face to be a metrosexual, and I can’t stand flouro, so being a clubber is also off the list. I’m too white to be a rapper, too skinny to be a footballer, too dumb to be in Mensa and too gay to be a skinhead. I do like girls though.

Do you think they’ll let me be a lesbian?

Also, does anyone want to buy a used Micro-Korg and three pairs of thick-framed Ray-Bans? They’d suit someone who likes Empire of the Sun and doesn’t need glasses.