It’s choir concert season again!

I’ve been doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that this week. I’m looking forward to this weekend though, as on Sunday (Oct 7th), MonUCS are putting on a concert with the MMO (Monash Medical Orchestra) and I will be going to see it. I’ve heard a little bit about the repertoire and it sounds really good. Tickets are selling fast. 😀

Here’s the Facebook event with ticketing link, should you be interested. The blurb says,

“MonUCS and MMO are thrilled to present to you our first concert together, ‘Convergence’. Led by the amazing Robert Dora, ‘Convergence’ features an exciting choral-orchestral repertoire.

Be blown away by Fauré‘s Requiem Op.48, featuring solo performances by Maria-Cristina Keightley and Oliver Mann. The popular hit This Is Me from The Greatest Showman Soundtrack will leave you dazzled, and an enchanting medley from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will get you pumped for its second movie release in November.”

Should be heaps of fun.

I’ve also heard of a number of other performances coming up this month, as October really is choir (etc.) concert season around here (and I love it).

This Friday and Saturday there’s a joint production by Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance and Vision Australia. Facebook event here.

“Monash University Centre for Theatre and Performance and Vision Australia join forces to present FIGMENT, a work of immersive theatre created for sighted and vision-impaired audiences alike.
Created by Jolyon James and Simone French in collaboration with graduating students from Monash University’s renowned theatre program and clients from Vision Australia, this is a new approach to inclusive storytelling.
Figment questions how we perceive the world, exploring a colour cycle through non-visual means. The production aims to set a standard: creating work as exciting and accessible for vision impaired audiences as it is sighted audiences.”

In Perth, WA, the Perth University Choral Society (PUCS) are performing on October 13th. Facebook event here.

“The Perth Undergraduate Choral Society presents “A Light in the Dark”. Listen to composers through the ages conjure a magical journey of shadow and light. Be dazzled by the shimmering luminescence of Eric Whitacre, Thomas Tallis and J. S. Bach. Be chilled by the moving depths of Susan LaBarr, Gabriel Fauré and Morten Lauridsen. This will be a performance of truly beautiful choral music.”

The other one I have for you today is one from the FedUni Arts Academy, in Ballarat Victoria. Ticketing link here. It has a number of shows, from Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th October.

“Spanning one hundred and fifty years of toil, hardship, and devastating etcetera, The Sovereign Wife is one woman’s epic journey across our sunburnt country – from country Victoria all the way to the Simpson Desert.”

I’ll tell you about others as I know about them, or as the promo materials are released.

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Fandoms, Updated

Hi all. In the first few months of this blog, I posted about my fandoms. It’s a category all of itself on this blog because I’m a voracious reader who also watches a few different shows/ movies from time to time. I thought it was time to redo the actual fandoms post, instead of just editing the original – as I’ve done a few times.

Image taken from the header of this post via Google. Image is white writing on black text and reads: keep calm and join fandoms

Potential spoilers in the links and also a content note as I have to mention why I’m glad the Dr Blake Mysteries was removed from the ABC.

The link to the original is here. In it, I describe my love of Harry Potter (JK Rowling), Tortall and Emelan (Tamora Pierce), and a huge list of others, ranging from the well-known to the more obscure.

I’ll get to the old favourites in a minute, but first I want to celebrate two new ones. The first one is a series which has its first book in my original fandoms post. I’ve now read the second and discovered that not only is there a third book due out this month, but that the collection has a name: introducing the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. The two books so far are A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit, and the third book that’ll be released soon is Record of a Spaceborn Few. I can’t wait! Becky Chambers has a really good way of worldbuilding her stories, and the story of how she became published is interesting. Books in the series have won some prestigious awards as well.

The second series I am adding to my Fandoms wall is, as promised, The Chaos Walking. I gushed about it a bit under a month ago, but I really like the character development of Patrick Ness’ stories, and the way he asks questions about human nature.

I’m going to also promote The Moorehawke Trilogy here, because while it was first placed in the “read once, really liked it, searched for more” section of this post, seeing it on the list made me realise I hadn’t done the final part of that. Celine Kiernan has other works out too, and judging from my memory of Moorehawke, they should be good.

Now, onto the “old favourites and other things” section of this post.

I separated Harry Potter and both of Tamora Pierce’s series from the rest because I think that they’re the ones I keep returning to. HP was my first major (second remembered) fandom and I love it for that, and the depth of many characters, and the idea of the magical world existing beside our own. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to critique it, when I see ways it could be better.

Tamora Pierce’s Tortall and Emelan worlds are put here because they’re fun mediaeval fantasy – that has lots of diversity, magic, and deep world-building. The Tortall world has had some new books come out relatively recently: Tortall: A Spy’s Guide and Tempests and Slaughter (book 1 of the latest series, the Numair Chronicles). I engage with her series’  critically as well, when I need to.

Some of the series on the original list I liked more when I was a teenager than perhaps now. I’ll still enjoy them if I pick them up but perhaps some of that is nostalgia.  LIke Rangers Apprentice, Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin series, Rondo trilogy, Saddle Club, Warriors, and books by particular authors like Roald Dahl and Jackie French.

Some titles on the list, I’ll keep being involved in the fandom even if they’re not my primary ones at present. Most of the ones on the list fall into this category: Star WarsStar TrekHunger Games, DivergentTo Kill a Mockingbird, LotR and The Hobbit, His Dark Materials, Doctor WhoChronicles of Narnia* and Call the Midwife. Also to a certain extent it includes ones I read/watched once and liked, and maybe looked at the other works by the authors for a time: Earth’s Children series,  New Tricks, Vera, Dr Blake Mysteries*.

Two in that list have asterisks next to them because as I’ve mentioned before, I enjoy my fandoms with a critical eye, and for those two, in particular, there are parts of their stories that are uncomfortable. With Narnia, it’s CS Lewis’ treatment of Susan in the later books that gets my goat (as well as certain preachy elements). With Dr Blake Mysteries it’s that, while the show was fairly decent (especially series 1-3, and parts of series 5), the actor who played Dr Blake (Craig McLachlan) turned out to be Not Nice behind the scenes. (There was a big expose on that at the start of this year/ end of last year.)

 

What now for Manus?

Urrrrgh.

I bloody hate this situation.

I’ve made phone-calls, including to Peter Dutton MP (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection). I’ve also sent an email to my local member, Bill Shorten MP (Opposition Leader) and Shayne Neumann MP (Shadow Minister for Immigration).

See that below. This sickens me…. and I feel so hopeless and helpless about it.

Check out the statement from Shadow Minister for Immigration here:  http://shayneneumann.com.au/news/immigration-and-border-protection/former-manus-island-regional-processing-centre/ A lot more mealy-mouthed than I’d hoped for. Luckily I saw it when looking up his contact details and could address the icky bits in my email (they’re the bits in red). In the email, when I speak of the “current situation” I’m referring to the situation today. The angle I took was influenced by a phone-chat I had with a staffer from Shayne Neumann’s office.

 

Dear Mr David Feeney MP, Mr Shayne Neumann MP and Mr Bill Shorten MP,

My name is Clare Keogh and I am a young university student living in [suburb], Victoria. I am deeply concerned about the situation on Manus Island that has been unfolding for several weeks and escalated today. I am also keeping the people detained on Nauru in my thoughts, as they should not be forgotten either.
I know that the current situation is not Labor’s doing and that the centres, when Labor restarted them, was intended to be used for regional processing rather than indefinite detention. 
 
However, the fact remains that the current situation is not the responsibility of PNG but of Australia. There have been reports of AFP involvement in today’s crisis on Nauru, after all. 
 
By what right are the men’s phones being seized? By what right are their few belongings being taken and destroyed? By what right have their only means of getting water and shelter been destroyed? By what right has their access to even the most basic medical aid and food been removed? Why has Behrouz Boochani been arrested?
 
I understand that, as you are in Opposition, it makes it harder to make concrete change. But you and your colleagues should speak up about the situation still. Perhaps you are advocating for them behind closed doors. Can you explain, concretely, how? 
 
I am particularly concerned by some of the information that has been presented in the statement produced by Mr Neumann an hour ago: 
 

The situation at the closed Manus Island RPC could have been avoided if Malcolm Turnbull was clear from the start about refugees’ access to essential services at the alternative accommodation in PNG.

Turnbull has a moral obligation to work with PNG to deescalate tensions and guarantee the ongoing safety and security of these people.

Labor accepts that the former Manus Island RPC has closed as the result of a decision of the Supreme Court of PNG.

The men at the closed centre need to relocate to alternative accommodation – such as East Lorengau – to access security, health and welfare services.

Footage and reports from advocates who have visited the East Lorengau site make clear that the “alternative accommodation” at East Lorengau is not ready. No water, toilets, or showers. No power. Inadequate shelter for the tropical conditions. No security and no safety. The locals do not want them there. After all, Manus Island is a tiny part of PNG, with scarce resources for the local population.
 
Has anyone from Labor attempted to go and see conditions for themselves? Where has this idea that the offered alternative accommodation is acceptable come from? Why is the onus on the men to move there, rather than the violence to stop? The men have been asking us to listen to them about this. Why are you ignoring their voices? 
 
 
Nauru is also a small place that is struggling to care for all of its people. Yet today I heard news of a new contract being given to Canstruct to build more facilities (described as “garrison-type”) for those held there. There are children and vulnerable women on Nauru. Can nothing be done for them? 
I thought Australia was better than this. It makes me sick at heart to think of this going on, when it would be so much cheaper and more humane to fulfil our international and moral obligations and either bring them here or resettle them in another country who are willing and able to take them – like New Zealand – while working with other countries in the region to create a viable long-term solution. 
 
The idea that these measures are in place to “save lives at sea” or “protecting Australian borders” is rubbish. There are far cheaper and better ways of preventing people risking lives on boats to Australia, like investing in real regional dialogue and processing, providing support and resources to countries, like Malaysia and Indonesia, where the boats set out from. 
 
The current situation is a punitive measure created to encourage asylum seekers to think that going to Australia is worse than staying where they are. Now that has led to desperate people being treated like animals, denied even the most basic human rights. 
 
Please do something. This is a major sticking point for myself and many others in terms of voting. More than that, making a stand is the right thing to do. Have some political courage, listen to those who are experiencing the crisis, and act, please. The situation has gone on for far too long! 
 
If you reply, please don’t use an automated response but something real. 

Marriage Equality Essay

Last year I took a subject as an elective called Sex, Gender, Identity. It was an introductory subject that encouraged us to explore different aspects of those three things and how “the personal is political” (original quote author unknown). The final assignment for the subject was an essay which we could choose the topic from a list. I chose to examine marriage – the feminist critiques and marriage equality movement. The resulting essay gained me the highest mark I’ve ever received on an assignment. But more importantly, the research I did educated me about the topics and reaffirmed my stance on the issue. Below is an edited version of that essay. Please read.

I’ll note that I’m in a privileged position in writing this article. I’ve been raised in a heterosexual environment, I’m in a heterosexual relationship and I’ve had to learn about these things second-hand. So these are my opinions backed by evidence collected from academic sources as well as personal ones.

 

Marriage: an institution which involves formal recognition of the union of two people, conferring legitimacy on an intimate relationship (3). This formal recognition usually grants a range of social, religious and legal benefits, rights and responsibilities (3) and has existed in some form for centuries (14). At the moment, the most easily-recognised and legitimised marriage is monogamous and opposite-sex – it’s still considered the norm. Challenging this norm, same-sex marriages have begun to be recognised in many countries after the hard work and activism of advocates. For many, this is a positive step for LGBTIQA+ people and society as the gains are seen to outweigh potential negatives. However, other activists are not as sure, as they take a more radical view that marriage should be either changed completely or left behind together. I investigated these two competing discourses and drew conclusions for this piece.

Firstly, the positives. 🙂 It has been suggested that access to marriage is tied, metaphorically and/or physically, to full citizenship rights in society (9). Also, as the phrase, “equal before the law” suggests, in democracies, the law is a place where all citizens should be equal (8). Hence, marriage is seen as a pathway to acceptance and legitimacy, a way of demonstrating that what people feel for each other is real and valuable. A chance to throw a big party and show how much they love each other. The exclusion of LGBTIQA+ people could be and has been argued to be an intolerable discriminatory practice. It has been suggested that in order for LGBTIQA+ rights to advance, all formal barriers to full equality must be overcome (2)(4) before or while other steps are taken – like fixing anti-discrimination laws (10). Due to the prominence of marriage in society, it can be seen as symbolic of other rights and some have argued that governments which do not afford equal respect of and protections for both LGBTIQA+ and heterosexual intimate relationships enable and participate in systemic homophobia and heterosexism (4). It has also been argued that this inequality harms LGBTIQA+ people in substantial, material ways – from subtle exclusion to violence (1)(2)(4). I agree with this – I’ve read very compelling personal accounts from people over the last few weeks and before that (not to mention hearing the lived experiences of my friends) which demonstrate the truth of it (6) (11). I also agree with the contention that one way of combatting the harms is to work towards full equality, including in marriage, for all regardless of sexuality. Research shows that there are particular social, legal and psychological benefits to this.

Marriage can reinforce partnership bonds, facilitate parenting and generate levels of social support for those who participate (7). LGBTIQA+ participation in marriage widens the scope of marriage norms, as non-traditional roles and practices are expressed, intentionally or otherwise (1)(7), providing additional choices and freedoms. For example, with children. It could be said that the very presence of LGBTIQA+ people and families in so-called public spheres changes and destabilises the unconsciously accepted heteronormative view (1) of society. Hmm, maybe that’s why the conservatives get so grumpy about it. Well, they can suck it up, because change is a thing that happens. Changes to societal views of family and so on include what is seen as normal by children – everything from the gender of their parents and/or extended family members, to how gendered or egalitarian their household is. Research shows that in observing and learning about these practices and by educating each other, children become directors of change (1). After all, we’re products of where we come from, influenced by the personal world(s) we inhabit. And if those worlds are more equitable, so much the better. The presence of children also highlights discriminatory practices which occur within the current system which privileges marriage, particularly heterosexual marriage, over other relationships (4). To many LGBTIQA+ people, the idea of only being allowed something separate-and-different to marriage does not work if it’s not seen as legally and emotionally equal to it. Even if/when marriage alternatives were given equal rights, benefits, protections and obligations as marriage, it can be argued that LGBTIQA+ people are still discriminated against simply because they’re still unable to choose between marriage, a civil partnership, or something else (14).

But what about the feminist/queer case against marriage? Feminists have criticised marriage as being oppressive to women due to patriarchal structures of power for many years (14). These power structures are those which reinforce a socially conservative breadwinner model (5) – an opposite-sex relationship of mandated monogamy, working husband and dependent wife bearing the brunt of housework and child-rearing (9). If you think about it, this model has been – and still is – at the core of public policy for some time (5)(15). Non-traditional families – such as single parents, mixed-race partnerships, and LGBTIQA+ families – challenge the model. You can tell this from the way conservatives react. However, I’ve read concerns about whether the model is really being challenged (15). There’s an argument that marriage equality campaigns are being turned into binary debates of for and against. These leave little room for valid critiques of the social and economic institutions of marriage, and how the societal privileging of marriage marginalises other intimate relationships (9)(13). The argument continues that while the potential benefits of marriage should be recognised, the next or concurrent step should be to push for those rights to be expanded to all intimate consensual relationships. There’s a risk, activists argue, that not doing this would go against hard-fought-for feminist freedoms (12) and create a new tiered system within the LGBTIQA+ community of the socially acceptable marrieds held above the rest of the queers. This could lead to a reinforcing of conservative heteronormative marriage ideas, merely expanded slightly.

Despite this, there’s no question that many LGBTIQA+ people do want to get married (4), even as they recognise its pitfalls. Marriage as an institution isn’t necessarily seen as a good thing – but the equality before the law is (2). Marriage is a complex institution and we should resist the urge to press it into one box or another (5). If and when marriage equality becomes reality, then the contradiction of being separate-but-equal (13) is removed. It then becomes a choice for all, heterosexual and LGBTIQA+ alike, as to whether we’ll participate in marriage and how we could or would change the institution for the better. As it currently stands, some of the population have only a restricted choice and how is that choice then free or fair? Alongside this, we then work for the expansion of legal and economic protections, currently enshrined in marriage, to all relationships so that all intimate consensual relationships are valued (5). We could even go further and ensure that welfare rights are fair for all regardless of relationship, employment and monetary status (5). This then challenges the conservative understanding that defending the rights of women, LGBTIQA+ and other marginalised groups undermines committed caring relationships. At the same time, it dismantles the patriarchal heteronormative one-size-fits-all approach and works towards a more caring society, away from the outdated universal breadwinner model to a universal caregiver one. In this latter model, LGBTIQA+ people would be just as accepted for caregivers and caregiving as heterosexuals (5). This opens up possibilities for greater awareness on and attention to other intersectional issues. After all, attending to one issue does not prevent us from working on others and “those of us who are interested in fighting for justice and the flourishing of sentient beings in any of these contexts should be interested in fighting for justice in all of these contexts” (4, p. 77).

 

In other words, I’m in favour of marriage equality, as I’ve previously discussed. Btw, for me, my religious beliefs influence that view positively, as I’ve mentioned before as well. I’ll be unpacking that side of the argument soon too. If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

If the postal survey goes ahead I’ll be participating in it and voting yes. I hope if you’re an Australian reading this that you will too.

 

References (these got a little muddled when rewriting this into a post, but I’d really encourage you to check them out):

  1. Bernstein, M. (2015). Same-Sex Marriage and the Future of the LGBT Movement. Gender & Society, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 321–337, DOI: 10.1177/0891243215575287
  2. Bevacqua, M. (2004). Feminist Theory and the Question of Lesbian and Gay Marriage. Feminism & Psychology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 36–40, DOI: 10.1177/0959-353504040300
  3. Budgeon, S. (2009). Marriage, in Encyclopaedia of Gender and Society, O’Brien J, (ed.), vol. 2, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, pp. 505-508.
  4. Callahan, J, 2009, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Why It Matters—At Least for Now’, Hypatia, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 70-81.
  5. Ferguson, A, 2007, ‘Gay Marriage: An American and Feminist Dilemma’, Hypatia, vol. 27, no. 1, pp.39-57.
  6. Gadsby, H. (2017, August 17). “Probably a good time to repost my anti-plebiscite piece…” Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhannahgadsbycomedy%2Fposts%2F10155675309518000
  7. Green, AI, 2010, ‘Same-Sex Marriage: Lesbian and Gay Spouses Marrying Tradition and Innovation’, Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol.35 no. 3, pp.399-436. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org.ez.library.latrobe.edu.au/stable/canajsocicahican.35.3.399
  8. Harrison, JB, 2015, ‘At Long Last Marriage’, Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, vol. 24, no. 1, pp.1-60.
  9. Josephson, J, 2005, ‘Citizenship, Same-Sex Marriage, and Feminist Critiques of Marriage’, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 269-284.
  10. Lawrie, A. (2017, July 29). A quick guide to Australian LGBTI anti-discrimination laws [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/07/29/a-quick-guide-to-australian-lgbti-anti-discrimination-laws/
  11. Lawrie, A. (2017, August 9). 2,756 Days. Frustration and love [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://alastairlawrie.net/2017/08/09/2756-days-frustration-and-love/
  12. Marso LJ, 2010, ‘Marriage and Bourgeois Respectability’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp.145-53, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990572
  13. Merin, Y, 2002a, ‘Chapter 2: The Changing Institution of Marriage and the Exclusion of Same-Sex Couples’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 6-60.
  14. Merin, Y, 2002b, ‘Chapter 10: Alternatives to Marriage and the Doctrine of “Separate but Equal” ’, in Equality for Same-Sex Couples, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp. 278-307.
  15. Wilson AR, 2010, ‘Feminism and Same-Sex Marriage: Who Cares?’, Politics & Gender, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 134-145, DOI: 10.1017/S1743923X09990560
  16. Young, C & Boyd, S, 2006, ‘Losing the Feminist Voice? Debates on the Legal Recognition of Same Sex Partnerships in Canada’, Feminist Legal Studies, vol. 14, pp. 213–240, DOI 10.1007/s10691-006-9028-8.

 

#MIV2018 Update: Registration is OPEN! 

I’m so excited right now. If you’re interested, follow the links below from the email I received overnight. I’ll be doing that tonight after placement. It’s going to be a blast. Come along!

____________________________________


From the Convenors’ desk…

Hi groovers,

Exciting things are happening in Melbourne. At our AGM a few weeks ago we welcomed Cameron, Gemma and Justina to the committee and we’re glad to have them on board.

And now, for the news you’ve all been waiting for. We are so incredibly excited to announce that registrations for MIV 2018 are officially open!


Register now for the festival and secure your place in the Summer of 69.
We can’t wait to see you – there’s only 6 months to go!

Peace and love,
Alex and El xoxo

Reblog: Resolutions: Good or Bad

I find resolutions interesting. As I commented on Noelle’s post (linked below),

I like ones that are “commitments to try”, so to speak. You know they’re goals and things you’d like to do, but they’re not “have-tos”.

Setting unattainable resolutions can lead to trouble or so it seems – we gain only negative emotions when we revert to old habits after promising to keep to a path for a year.

I remind myself that these are goals, to be practiced and worked on during the year but not mandatory.

With that in mind, some ones for this year are:

  • Do well in my Masters coursework etc.
    – Ask for help if I need it and monitor myself so that the changes of this year don’t cause my grades to drop.
  • To listen twice as much as I speak;
    –   I’ll be addressing this in more depth later, but as I’m a talker and social person who also is a “Feeler” (high F in Myers-Briggs, for example), I worry about my ratio of talking to listening. So I’m working on it.
  • Alongside the above is my want to actively practice my Feeling
    –   Again, I’ll explain in another post, but cultivating my empathetic presence is important to me. These first two are very connected.
  • To get back into blogging
    – I fell off a regular blogging schedule a bit over the second half of 2016, but I’d like to be more consistent.
  • To get back into writing my story.
    – I’ve done quite a lot of backstory-work but haven’t actually done any story-writing for a while. I need to get back into that.
  • To be more active and finding more walking spaces.
    –   I’m not naturally a person who gets active, as I’m not sporty. But I like nature and I like walking and I know I ought to be sitting less. I’m not interested in overdoing it though, as I’m skinny enough as it is.

Idea taken from the post linked below:

What are your thoughts on setting New Years Resolutions? Have you completed yours in the past or are you one of those who forgets what they are? Come read about the good and the bad of setting reso…

Source: {DISCUSSION} Resolutions: Good or Bad

#BringThemHere

https://www.getup.org.au/campaigns/refugees/bringthemhere/upload-your-own-bringthemhere-message

I did this yesterday:

ESP Bring-Them-Here_photo 1.jpg
The Equality, Sustainability & Peace (ESP) Group at La Trobe says: #BringThemHere!

We stand with those on Manus and Nauru – we love you and support you. It’s past time for the government to stop stuffing around and close the camps. Set up some humane processes, open up onshore and offshore detention centres and #bringthemhere to #letthemstay.

Momentum is building – join us!

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/17/this-is-critical-103-nauru-and-manus-staff-speak-out-their-letter-in-full?CMP=share_btn_tw

 

 

 

Life Update

I wrote this over the weekend, listening to the Les Miserables soundtrack. I kept getting snippets in my head after hearing songs from it the other week, so played the soundtrack to hear them fully. That led me to think about timelines and such, which led me to this interesting blog post, “Enjoy Les Mis, but please get your history straight“.

Anyway. The day you read this, I’ll be back on placement, ready for the next seven weeks. My last weeks of university for my Occupational Therapy course. The first week was good; may the rest be even better.

Below are some nice nature shots I’ve taken lately. The other weekend, I saw a camellia bush that had been bred to have two different colours of flowers on it (red and white with red stripes). Other highlights from that day out photographed included lots of wattle trees and other plants, as well as a koala in a gum tree that was a bit too far off to photograph properly.

 

 

 

Feminism…

I had hoped to write a bit more this week but haven’t. Today, I feel like sharing a couple of articles from Clementine Ford, Melbourne-based feminist and writer. Please read and consider them.

Men Continue to Show Themselves to be Uninterested in Women’s Lives

Clementine Ford on How Men Are Harmed by Toxic Masculinity 

Edited to add: read that reddit thread mentioned in the second article. It drives the point home very strongly. Stupid patriarchy. -_-

Here’s a picture of a kookaburra from a few weeks ago, because I feel like it.

Kookaburra sitting in a gum tree (only branches of the tree are visible, no trunk) in front of a building with covered windows.

End of a good week…

This week has been busy, tiring, fun, challenging and motivating.

My placement is going to be a ton of fun, I can tell, and a great learning experience. I have such a lot to learn, but my enthusiasm for Paediatrics has been noted.

I’m at a school, so for the next two weeks placement pauses due to the Victorian school holidays. I’m going to use that time to brush up on a few relevant things, including my knowledge of Auslan.

There are also a few fun things happening, as well. Events that mark the approaching end of semester. One of those is tonight, so I’m off to have a good time with my OT cohort.

Btw, happy Bi Day of Visibility! 💖💙💜

Lovely to see Spring showing up today. Blossoms and sunshine! Have a good weekend everyone.

Sunset behind trees, with a lake in front

Endings and beginnings

Yesterday, after two years on the executive committee (one as vice-president and one as president), I stepped back. I gave up the LaTUCS presidency, and the position was successfully turned over to the new president. I’ve had a lot of fun and given a lot of time and effort to the role. Now it’s someone else’s turn! 😀

Today, I start placement, working in Paediatric OT at a specialist school. I’m excited and looking forward to it – I wonder what’s in store? It’s my final placement, in the area that I really want to work when I qualify. So let’s see how it goes!

 

I’m back! What a lovely holiday…

Hi all. My holiday was awesome, I had a great time. Since I got back on Saturday, I’ve been tidying up a few things and getting others sorted. My placement starts next week in Paediatrics (yay!!) after all.

For the holiday, we stayed in Ubud in a villa there – Kano Sari. Our suite was lovely, and the place had a pool, massage facilities, and a common area with things to do. Plus aircon and free wifi. 😉 Breakfast was provided each day on a rotating menu; it was very yummy, with fresh fruit, muesli, fresh juice and different hot options. Our suite was near a river that ran next to the villa, which was nice. The one downside was the number of stairs we had to climb to go between the common area (pool, dining, lounge room) to our suite.

Ubud is located in the “uplands” of Bali. Nearly everyone keeps chickens – we were woken by the roosters most mornings (who then proceeded to crow all day – “up at cockcrow” should really be “up at first cockcrow”…). The surrounding area has lots of rainforests as well as terraced rice paddies, and Hindu religious practices are a big part of life and the local culture.

 

Activities

We fell into a pattern of doing things around Ubud in the morning, then coming back to the villa after lunch and spending the afternoon relaxing. A nice balance of seeing the sights (it was, after all, my first trip to Bali) and having some chill-out time. Bliss!

Apart from activities around the villa, which included reading, swimming, and a couples massage (highly recommend getting the traditional Balinese one – so relaxing!), our activities including local exploration on foot and, via a hired driver arranged through Kano Sari, a few activities further afield.

I’m glad we arranged this, because the traffic and driving conditions are best navigated by a local. Most locals travel by motorbike due to the narrow roads – the main cars are chartered vehicles and taxis. About the latter – unlike Australia, in Bali it’s perfectly reasonable and acceptable for drivers to ask if you want a ride. Get used to saying, “No.” very firmly as you walk past the calls of, “Taxi?” (they tend to leave the “you want a…” bit out – faster that way. 😉 ).

In Ubud, we visited places such as:

The Sacred Monkey Forest, where macaques live – bold enough to steal anything interesting right out of your hands! We saw a macaque investigating a stolen bottle of hand sanitiser…wonder what he thought of the taste! Very curious animals.

Brown macaque sits on a wooden bench, biting at a plastic bottletop. Behind them are trees and shrubbery.

The Ubud Central Market – come before 09:00 for the local market, and from 09:00-17:00 for the tourist one. We got a couple of souvenirs here – mine were earrings and a packet of rosella tea. I also spied Luwak coffee for sale here too! (If interested, check out this blog post of another tourist pair’s trip to the local market.)

Photo of a market stall piled high with tea, spcies, boxes of cooking knifes and other implements

The Ubud Palace and Saraswati Temple – both largely closed on the day we went there, but still interesting to look at. There are particular rules about visiting the temple – if it’d been open, I’d have had to wear a “temple sarong” and also would have been obliged to avoid visiting under certain circumstances.

The Neka Gallery, a collection of art from notable Balinese artists, Indonesian artists, and international artists, with paintings “inspired by the people and culture of Bali”. We were followed through the gallery by the caretaker, who made sure all the lights were on as we explored its two levels. It’s got a bit of an indoor-outdoor feel, with the rooms structured around an open courtyard.

Sign reading, "Neka Gallery since 1966 Ubud Bali"

On the last day, we walked around Ubud again to see parts of the town we hadn’t seen before, before checking out of the villa and going exploring further afield.

Photo of a giant Hindu statue in the middle of an intersection at the top of the main road in Ubud - the statue is gold and white, a humanoid figure holding a bow and arrow

Further afield, we visited:

Petulu village (on Thursday evening) where the white herons roost each night (quite the spectacle). We sat in a little rooftop family-run cafe/bar and watched the herons come into roost on a nearby tree.

Green tree silhouetted against blue dusk sky, with white herons perching in the tree.

The Rice Terraces, which one could walk along and through using special paths, paying “upkeep payments” along the way. The walk was fun, though at times you had to watch your step!

Green terraces of rice fields going down, with coconut palms and other trees around

At the terraces, they had a giant swing which swung you (in a harness) over the fields!

Clare, wearing an orange dress and facing away from the camera, is sitting on a large swing - a plank of wood suspended between ropes. She's secured by a harness and is swinging out over the rice paddies.. Green terraces and palm trees are nearby.

On our way to the airport to go home, we stopped by Seminyak Beach for a look. Nice sunset, but not much else for us. (Plenty of stalls selling booze, but no ice-cream!)

Sun sets on the horizon across the water as waves come in. A collection of beach umbrellas are in silhouette in the foreground.

Food

We ate out for lunch and dinner during our stay, meaning we got to try a few different places, and dishes. Sometimes we planned where we’d eat, other times we found them when hungry. We usually ate in warungs (“small eateries” or “general stores”, depending on context) or occasionally at restaurants.

Hands down the best place, in my opinion, was the Wild Ginger Warung, where we had our first dinner in Bali. A true family-run restaurant.

I had Ayam Goreng Kecap – “Chicken cooked in Putu’s Special Sauce with White Rice” as a main and a Pisang Goreng – “Fried Banana with Coconut and Brown Sugar” for dessert. Also, I had a Ginger Fizz – “Lemon, Honey, 7Up, and Ginger” to drink.

Another place I enjoyed was called Bebek Bengil. This was a restaurant that was the priciest of the trip, because it specialised in the Balinese speciality “bebek bengil”, which translates to “crispy duck”. It was lunch on our first day.

I ended up having a very spicy Nasi Campur Bebek (“mix of everything”): “Balinese Nasi Campur with Crispy Duck, Boiled Egg, Fish Satay, Balinese Vegetables and lot more”.

My partner had the actual Bebek Bengil: “Half a duck steamed in Indonesian spices and deep fried for a crispy finish … served with steamed rice and Balinese vegetables”.

Three plates - two big, one small - sit on a wooden table with some cups containing sauces. One plate, the furthest from the camera, has half a cooked duck on it with rice and fruit, with the small plate next it its accompanying Balinese vegetables. The other big plate has a collection of things on it, including rice, nuts, beans with chilli, egg with salsa, chicken or duck cooked two ways and fresh salad vegetables.

For a drink, we had a fresh coconut each.

A whole coconut sits on a plate. Its husk has been removed and a hole cut in it to allow the insertion of a straw. On one side, a stylised design has been stamped on it - "bebel beng" with four duck silhouettes.

Other food places included the following:

Casa Luna, which was dinner on Thursday evening. I had a special vegetarian dish of tofu and Cassava, Moringa and other green things, accompanied by black rice and a spicy sambal dressing.

A bowl sits on a plate. On the plate is a serving of black rice with a sambal in a banana-leaf basket. In the bowl there is a heaped pile of green leafy things in a yellow sauce

To accompany it, I had a glass of brem, Balinese rice wine. Quite potent – I drank it “straight”, but there were options for adding fruit to it to turn it into a cocktail-style drink. It was closer to a spirit than a wine in a sense.

A glass of brem, a pale thick liquid, sits on a table. The glass has a straw in it and a slice of lime on the rim.

Warung Semesta was lunch on our last day, at a vegetarian “eco-friendly” place. I had Gado Gado and a strawberry milkshake/ smoothie.

Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka was our destination for lunch on Wednesday. I can’t remember exactly what I had – maybe nasi babi guling, which is rice with pork. “Babi guling” is a special Balinese dish made with suckling pig. It wasn’t as nice as the Bebek Bengil, in my opinion. (No photo for this one – my phone must have had a low battery.)

Nomad was where we had lunch on Thursday. It was clearly geared towards tourists, but still yummy. My partner wanted pasta and we ended up there. I had Tagliatelle A’la Nomad – “Homemade tomato tagliatelle with chicken, spinach and red onion… in a creamy white wine sauce and parmesan cheese.” I had a delicious mango drink that literally tasted as if fresh mango had been liquefied into a drink. I really like the freshness of Balinese juices and drinks!

Jaya Fried Chicken was where we had dinner on Wednesday. My partner spotted it on our travels and suggested we try it. It’s the Indonesian version of KFC. We had a special of theirs and due to a language barrier, it ended up being slightly different to what we’d imagined. But still an interesting experience. Plus iced tea, so yay!

Two glasses of iced tea, two burgers wrapped in paper and a side of yellow fries.

Maccas: included because we got this as an easy dinner on the way to the airport, to compare Indonesian Maccas to other countries. I had a McSpicy, which had nice chicken in it. Indonesian Maccas provides a complimentary chilli sauce with their orders.

A poster of the Meal Deals at the Denpassar Maccas we went to. There are 18 Meal Deals and four Happy Meals advertised.

 

 

On holiday!

This week I’m off overseas for a short holiday to somewhere I’ve never been before. It’s been planned for a while and I am very glad that it’s here. I hope to not do much while I’m there.

My flight leaves 🛫 in a few hours. First I have to get to the Airport though. The busses providing Melbourne’s outer-Metro link will get me there.

Oh and btw: a friend dyed my hair yesterday. See the red tips?

See you later!

#WearItPurple

A young white woman takes a selfie, wearing dark purple jeans, a light purple jumper and a mauve top underneath as well as dangling mauve and white earrings. She is smiling.

All-purple outfit today! #WearItPurple is a day to celebrate LGBTQIA+ diversity, and “To foster supportive, safe and accepting environments for rainbow young people.” See more at the Wear It Purple website.

The 2018 theme is Empower Together. Wear it proud, people!

I’m happy; I can now say that I’ve finished the project. Just a few little things to tie off before my holiday next week beckons.

Take care of yourselves this weekend!

Spring dawns anew – once the cold blows through

Around me, the signs of spring gently creep in. The trees that I call “early-budders” – often fruit trees whose leaves start as budding flowers in August. When I lived in my hometown, there were a few of these in the back garden, and my spring-and-sunshine heart would eagerly await their coming after the long dreary weather of winter.

In Melbourne, the First Australians consider this time of year to be “pre-Spring” (see my calendar post). I love this time of year and its heralding of new growth and sunshine after dark dreary days – it’s no wonder I’ve posted about it a few times before.

There are other signs of spring beyond the early-budders near my current home. The wattle trees are in full bloom, all yellows and golds with green leaves. The wattle took pride of place in a local event that happens annually a few suburbs over from me – the Wattle Festival occurred on Sunday. It was fun, with steam trains, live music, market stalls, plenty of food, and glorious sunshine. Here’s a picture of some wattle close to home!

Wattle tree illuminated by a street light, next to a cement footpath and road with zebra crossing. Silhouetted gum trees are in the background.

That’s not to say we aren’t still getting cold days. The temperature in my area wobbled below zero, then above, then to zero, then above again between 06:00 and 08:00 this morning. At 09:00, it was still only 4*C!

Another sign of spring are the lengthening days. We’re very close to being able to say that daylight lasts beyond 18:00 – and you can tell. It feels brighter of an evening, and of a morning too, where the sun rises before 07:00. It’s lovely! I’m going to enjoy travelling to and from placement in a couple of weeks because of that, despite the early hour I’ll have to wake up.

As you might have gathered from my absence last week, it was a busy week. I am so close to finishing the project. Huzzah! Once that’s finished, I have a few little side quests that I will do between now and the start of my final subject. As usual, the year speeds along. I will enjoy the chance to slow down next week, when I’m off on a holiday for a few days (more on that in another post!).

Tbh, the project work was useful in other ways last week, as it meant I was too busy to be wrapped up in watching the farce that took place in Canberra. They can swap PMs all they like, the fruit is still rotten at the core. Same policies, similar slogans, different salesman. Boo. As for our new PM, well – a “moderate” conservative wanker is still a conservative wanker, and a hypocrite to boot (worships the Prosperity Gospel, bleurgh). I wish that we could just have a Federal election already, to toss them out! (Dare we hope that the by-election Turnbull indicated will happen in his seat in the near future will speed that up?)

There’s better news in state politics. The RentFair bill has passed the lower house (yay!). This morning there was an announcement that the Victorian government will create a suburban Metro rail link. I’ve been saying there should be one for five years! (There used to be one, that Sr John Monash built, but lack of patronage closed it in the 50s.) It’s a massive long-term project, not a quick fix – starting in 2022, completed by 2050! Wow. Read more here. It’s a great idea – but the timing of the announcement is no coincidence, with a state election just under three months away. (Might be a good time to check if you need to update your details, Victorians.)

 

Let’s see, what else have I been up to?

On Thursday, I went to an event at uni. It was very swish! Yummy food, a few drinks, dancing… I love a good night out.

Table decorations - on a black table cloth sit large black paper roses in a black and white dish and a bottle of 3i "black water". A table number card is behind the roses, with white writing "29" on a black card. In the right-hand top corner of the picture there are wine and water bottles visible, and in the left-hand top corner is a plate of butter and bread.

On Sunday, after the festival, my partner and I went to the cinema and watched MEG. It was a good movie, scary with some silliness to lighten things up as needed. It had a good cast, with competent women who took no bull from the men, and heroes with personal quests and failings, as well as a Rich White Dude as the human antagonist. They made the megalodon of the title appropriately scary, as well – not overblown, as I feared they would.

Oh yeah, and on Saturday I went to an AFL match for the first time in ages. That was a bit more tense than I’d expected, but as I was with people going for both teams, it was still fun. Quite the game, too!

A selfie of a young white woman. She is grinning at the camera, wearing glasses, a Richmond Tigers cap and yellow-and-black scarf. The rest of her clothing is also black with hints of yellow writing. Behind her is part of a big screen scoreboard, as well as lots of Tigers fans in team colours.

What have you been up to?

 

Btw, as I mentioned in an earlier post, on August 1, Facebook stopped allowing automatic syncing and sharing of posts. I’m sharing this one on my personal profile, as I’m not sure if I want to get a public page. If you’ve come from Facebook, please sign up via email or WordPress in order to keep in the loop!