December 30th, 2004

My sister and I are on holidays together.
She works for the Federal Government.
Her specialty is trauma counseling.
She was contacted via a recall list yesterday.
She is on standby.

The fact that this government is prepared to send her (and many like her) to assist the people affected by this human catastrophe impresses me. It shows compassion and understanding.

In these circumstances I don’t think there can be a position of doing enough.
I don’t think doing everything humanly possible can ever be enough. However, if needed, she says she will go.

Some events are just so humanly unfathomable that surviving them becomes a process of assuring safety and then just being with a person to help them get through to the next minute and the one after that and the one after that…

HoWARd not the go-to-guy that survivors had hoped for.

December 29th, 2004

Yesterday Australian tsunami victims criticised the Federal Government, saying it failed to send additional flights or support to help hundreds of nationals stranded on the Thai island of Phuket.

"There was nothing from Australia. We were just left standing there."

"I just got the feeling if it wasn’t something to do with terrorism and if (Prime Minister) John Howard couldn’t get political mileage out of it, then why bother."

A Virgin Blue flight, donated by the company, flew out of Canberra last night with extra consular staff.

The lucky country

December 28th, 2004

"The store had advertised that it would distribute "survival kits" to the first 500 shoppers who raided its post-Christmas stocktake sale. The kits were to contain a cut-price voucher such as a $50 fridge or a $5 DVD player, as well as complimentary sweets, bottled water and coffee. But obtaining a survival kit proved dangerous in itself yesterday, when an unexpectedly large crowd of 2000 swelled the store’s twin entrances just before 7am"

"Early-bird shopper John Kokkinos, 46, who had been camped at the store’s back entrance on the corner of George and Market Streets with his daughter and nephew since 4.30am, told of a "crush" followed by "panic"."

"However, the NSW Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Margy Osmond, said that Boxing Day sales crowds were generally "fairly buoyant but quite well controlled"."

Still some 60,000 people have died as a result of the Tsunami and the number keeps rising…

Update: Relief agencies struggled to rush aid to more than 3 million people in Africa and Asia who lack food and medicine as the number of fatalities from the weekend’s earthquake and tsunamis passed 80,000, with more than half the dead in Indonesia.

Photo: Agence France Presse
A NASA image released Tuesday shows the sequence of Sunday’s tsunami, which caused the deadly tidal wave.

Anonymous donors project art

December 23rd, 2004

Earlier we learned that a work of art titled "Bush Monkeys" by Christopher Savido had been removed from public display because it did not favourably depict the President.

Now the art will be seen by potentially 400,000 people everyday.

"Animal Magazine, a quarterly arts publication which had organised the month-long show, said anonymous donors had paid for the picture to be posted on a giant digital billboard over the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, used by thousands of commuters traveling between Manhattan and New Jersey.

The original picture will be auctioned on eBay, with part of the proceeds donated to parents of US soldiers who wish to supply their sons and daughters with body armour in Iraq."

Image found at Photoshop Jesus

Plastic; the raw material of Christmas

December 22nd, 2004

Everywhere I go there are all manner of visual displays from strangers wishing me a merry or happy or blessed Christmas. My area goes all out for the festive season.

I wonder if they know that the bulk of the Christmas decorations consumed by the west are made in factories staffed by predominantly Buddhist workers in China.

"Mr Cheng’s turnover this year has doubled to $US6 million, but he says rising prices for plastic, the raw material of Christmas, along with increasing salaries, are cutting into profits.

I should start thinking about developing products for other Western festivals, like the Valentine’s Day or Halloween."

Portly, grinning Lion Club Santas sit precariously atop buildings creating anxious images of "shopper squished by Santa" headlines.

Then there’s the shopping-centre parking-rage.
Nobody cares about ‘goodwill to mankind’ there.
It’s BMW eats Audi, the later model with the deepest tan always seems to win.

This year at work I respectfully declined the secret Santa ritual, suggesting a donation to a worthy cause instead.
Santa found me nonetheless.
Funny, I’m not generally known for being nice.