Category Archives: Life

Have we, as Australians, lost our unique identity?


Back when we were throwing ourselves onto an outdoor cooking appliance to try to be noticed, we knew (or at least knew we thought we knew) who we were.

We were fun beachgoers who didn’t take ourselves too seriously, had a permanent cheeky grin, didn’t care if the world liked us as we we were or not, and loved a bit of mischief with tongues firmly planted in cheeks.

Then we completely forgot where we were and became rather demanding (“Where the bloody hell are you?”), refused to call prawns shrimps anymore, used outside for lonesome walks instead of social gatherings, knew we had your attention and thought we deserved more, and smugly believed we were better than most (mainly because we were).

Now we are overconfident, look down our noses at others (“No more boats!”), know we are the best at everything except for keeping our talent from leaving Australia, haven’t got time to go to the beach anymore because we constantly worry about working harder for less money, suffering hidden inflation (eventually we will be buying chip bags with only one chip in them and drinks with only a few drops to quench our once mighty thirst), hidden unemployment, an average income apparently of around $72,000 when HECS debts start being repaid at the ‘average income’ of $54,000, can’t buy a home and don’t know who our Prime Minister is (mainly because half the time we don’t have one).

The concept of a ‘fair go’, once the core of our essence, has been redefined and mostly abandoned (just ask a pensioner). We pay relatives $250 a fortnight to be full time carers when the market rate is $2,000, have not increased social security payments in over thirty years yet the cost of living (CPI) has increased light years beyond official figures (which the Australian Bureau of Statistics agrees, and now calls ‘Cannot Prove Inflation’), have the highest electricity prices in the world, an absurd ‘Australia Tax’ made worse by adding GST, and currently have as our nation’s leader a guy who we don’t know, don’t really care about, or for.

I think I prefer the old Australia, even if I have to call a prawn a shrimp.

At least back then I wouldn’t have to call our Prime Minister “temporary”, or pretend that everything was under control. In particular I wouldn’t have to listen to the words “humble, grass roots, servants of the people, we really care” every year when the next PM is sworn in.

I’ll take some unknown food cooked over a melted female doll anyday.

It’s enough to make you choke on your shrimp.

Everything in life comes down to one thing – Timing


Well, alright, there are just a few more things involved, but for me timing is the most important.

I suppose it relates back to that ‘sliding doors’ moment. Had you not turned left when you got off the bus this morning and turned right instead, you might have bumped into the love of your life.

Depressing but a possibility.

But more to the point, I am referring to those who rave about how great they are because they made lots of money when they sold their house, or bought shares low and sold very high and gave their lives a freedom from financial woes that ninety percent of us go through each month (or at least every few months when the dreaded power bill arrives).

These people are not geniuses, they have not discovered the secret to the financial markets. Yes, they would like to think they have, and indeed tell us so, but no they haven’t.

How can I be so sure?

Do a quick search of the main so called ‘expert’ economists, financial ‘wizards’ and see what they wrote as their predictions at the beginning of last year. They are there for all to see. And the one common thread throughout? They are almost all completely wrong.

I saw one the other day, adamant that inflation would reach twenty percent by the end of last year in the US. I have seen others who predicted a major crash in China (which will no doubt occur one day but no-one knows exactly when).

Timing. It is like predicting an interest rate increase. If you predict one publicly and loudly and one actually occurs within a month you are an instant expert. You could have been predicting an increase every month for two years but because you finally got one right you know everything, right?

Wrong!

Or if you predict that the next Apple iPad will be a total flop, which very senior people have done every year since the first model was released, and that year you happen to be right, suddenly people think you know everything.

Sorry, but it was just a lucky guess.

The markets are mainly driven by emotion. Yes there are some facts in there that a very, very few can follow and predict how people will react, but no-one gets it right all the time. Not even Warren Buffett.

The vast majority get it utterly, completely wrong, especially now when our markets are so wildly unpredictable.

So the next time someone tells you of their great gain when they sold their property, think how lucky they were to find the one buyer who fell in love with it and had to have it. Or the shares that could easily have tanked because of a bad asparagus crop out of Croatia.

It is all timing. Yes some call it luck, and I suppose it is lucky to get the timing right, but I prefer simple timing.

So next time you get off the bus, walk a different way to work.

You never know.

The Royal Wedding – why it is a great advertisement for a Republic


Warning: if you love the Royal Family you may want to stop reading.

Before this event was shown on millions of televisions worldwide, I read an article that said over two billion people would be watching. This was quickly changed to a few hundred million, and I think that is part of the problem.

Hype.

The Royal Family changed their surname in World War I to Windsor, as they are all of German descent. But no, that is not what I do not like about them. What I don’t like is people holding positions of power and influence simply because of who their mother is, and the industry of hype that surrounds them.

Take Royal Commentators. Who would employ these egotistical windbags if they didn’t have the Royal Family to be interviewed and written about? No one I suspect. Also losing their jobs would be their voice coaches, who teach them to speak with an overly exaggerated posh English accent that millions fall for. Margaret Thatcher employed one of these voice coaches and went from a backbencher to Prime Minister.

Oh how gullible we are as a collective.

I am from a business background and had to work very hard for everything I have, as have the other nearly six billion people on this planet. Sure, people can be born into wealth and that happens on a daily basis, but they are not also born with power over how countries are governed. Unless of course you include North Korea, and gee isn’t that going well.

Yes we are very fortunate that the British Royal Family seem relatively sane, but if Prince Charles had married Camilla when he had wanted to, and there was no Diana in their bloodline, I believe we would already be a Republic.

My main point is that we already should be a Republic. Why?

Glad you asked.

We currently have a Governor General who can wield massive power over our country (just look at the 1970s) and answers only to their boss, the Queen. Residing on the other side of the planet the Queen mainly understands our society from what her advisors tell her. She could be receiving good advice, yes, but there is also a fifty percent chance that the advice is bad.

Bottom line is she is not Australian and is not immersed in our society, so why is she our ultimate ruler? We get upset when a politician doesn’t live in the electorate they are campaigning in, yet we bow to the Queen of England who doesn’t even live in our country?

Which brings me around to those projected television audience figures.

For some reason people become so overly excited that everything about the Queen and her family is highly exaggerated. How can billions become millions? Media hype.

The media see dollar signs in the Royals (and not much else). Television stations jack up the prices of advertising during the wedding. Countless photographs of the happy couple adorn the covers, insides and everywhere else on magazines and newspapers for weeks on end. Newspapers in particular temporarily forget that their job is to inform us about what is happening in our own country. Granted, this doesn’t happen much any more because Mr Murdoch has sacked all the good investigative journalists, instead his newspapers copy stories to fill pages (pick up a paper from Melbourne and you will read the same articles in the paper in Adelaide).

Hype turned up to 11, blaring at us from every direction, because of one wedding that is taking place on the other side of the world. And the only reason many of us are interested is because the people involved were born into wealth and power? Are we really that discontented in our own lives? Do we really believe that they should rule over us instead of a democratically elected Head of State who, shock horror, would be an Australian?

Granted they do some good work in raising funds for good causes but so do thousands of families in Australia, and they don’t get to live in a castle with servants. The amount of money spent on this wedding could save thousands of lives amongst the two billion people who currently make only $2 a day. Same with the homeless, who I suspect were removed from the route taken by the horse and buggy show before the cameras arrived.

There, but for the grace of a few missed pay days, go the rest of us.

If you want to watch a wedding and cry at the love and devotion two people have for each other, there are hundreds of them that happen every Saturday. They may not have veils longer than a football field, but they are displays of love and therefore, in my opinion, far more ‘tear worthy’ than the one on every television last weekend.

Thank god for Netflix!