sharing and non-sharing

i was having dinner last night with jackie and her sister sara when sara said something that struck a chord of recognition in me. they were talking about someone they knew who was had a lot of social ability, was very interested in other people, was very articulate and personable, was interested in conversing at a deep intimate level and yet at the same time left people feeling disconnected.

“she only ever shares that which she’s no longer emotionally attached to,” sara said.

To a certain extent, this is something we all do and I certainly do more of it than less in my relationships but the main reason why it rang a chord with me was because that’s what i do on this blog. Even if some of my entries may come across as quite personal, I’ve already done the processing and come to a conclusion.

In fact, writing an entry is often the process itself and clicking the publish key has become more than just symbolic of letting it go.

Howard’s intervention (2)

One of the lines of argument thrown around by people supporting Howard’s intervention is that critics are only too content to harp on about the intervention and not present solutions.

It seems to me that this is a non-argument. In general the critics do have a solution and in fact, the report itself has over 90 recommendations and even if some of the recommendations are a little sparse on implementation, others have a lot of meat behind them. The problem is that the recommendations are complex, the solution time frame often too long for the public (and it is difficult to fault their impatience given the issue) and most of all, are viewed as ideologically suspect by the government, never mind that the recommendations are the result of many years of hard-won experience and consultation.

Critics of the intervention at last seem to be getting some media space with the Age finally taken a more critical stance. Their arguments bear weight, the one that strikes me as the strongest being that if the people view the new staff on ground as intruders, how can they be helped?

Sure, grog running laws, public drunkenness, public violence, a curfew for children, and perhaps even school attendance laws may be enforced but only for the time that the increased police presence is there.  This is assuming there are enough facilities to house even more aboriginal people. As for sexual abuse, it’s much more difficult to enforce reporting unless doctors and health workers are given access.

But then, I guess at this stage, all the intervention is concerned about is law enforcement and punishment. I can only hope that rehabilitation and other longer term solutions as provided by the report will be implemented in the “stabilisation” phase.

Melbourne skyline from Rucker’s Hill

Melbourne skyline from Ruckers Hill

Originally uploaded by jonckher

On Sunday, I walked around Northcote with Jackie, an old friend of mine who now lives in Armidale. It was a lovely winter afternoon and it was nice to walk down High Street again. I’d lived there for some years before moving to Thornbury and the view from Rucker’s Hill was one I passed by every day. It’s also one that is much photographed as should be evident from my rather crappy phone photo.

Howard’s new intervention

As with I imagine most Australians, I’ve been following this new state of emergency declared by Howard with a great deal of interest, enough so that I’ve taken the trouble of downloading the original report into the protection of aboriginal children from sexual abuse, ““Little Children are Sacred”, that sparked this off and read the “Recommendations” and “Rules of Engagement” chapters.

Reading them, it seems that while the Howard government has taken on some of the recommendations, specifically to do with school attendance (although the report did not make clear how school attendance should be increased) and increased police resources (even if the report did recommend that more aboriginal police officers especially female aboriginal police resources), pretty much everything else seems to have been ignored especially the rules of engagement.

Seeing as the rules of engagement were pretty much designed to empower and engage the community into recognising, developing and then owning its own solutions to its own problems, I fear that the current paternalistic engagement model if continued will fail expensively as have all others. I’m only slightly encouraged that Brough is talking about this rather extravagantly gungho flying in of police and army as being the stabilisation phase followed by two other phases called rather optimistically normalisation and exit.

Nonetheless, I still think that there is a genuine desire to act even if it also coexists with Howard’s political opportunism. It is difficult to read the report and not be moved by it. And I have no real confidence that the Northern Territory Government has the skills and resources to deal with this problem.

The question remains whether the Federal Government does. And much as I would like to think that they do, I fear that they do not.

the insidious attraction of loyalty programs

After years of combating it, just prior to the Darwin trip, i finally succumbed to the lure of Frequent Flyer points.

Now that I’ve done it I do wish that I’ve joined up earlier. All those points I have missed, all the potential free flights I could have boarded. Anyway, better late than never.

The thing about Frequent Flyers of course is that it doesnt end there. My bank also provides a credit card that can earn Frequent Flyer points. I’ve also been resisting this because my current credit card has no annual fee whereas any such loyalty program card does.

But the lure of earning points that are redeemable for frequent flyer points has proved too strong seeing as I do all of my expenditure on credit card if I can help it and from my last calculation, if I’ve been on a rewards program since I got my credit card two and a bit years ago, I’d probably be able to fly to the US on those points by now.

So I’ve now spent a total of $180 on joining fees for the qantas frequent flyer program and my bank’s credit card. I’m trying to think of this as an investment but even though the sums do work out I cant help but feel that I’ve just been had.