Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Palm Island, Exits, Cyber-Bullying, and Southbank

1. Watched a news video on the Adopt a Cycle Yasi Affected Town's Facebook page.    It's about an Aboriginal community called Palm Island.   Their one grocery store is finally re-opening.   They've had no groceries, and some people (or maybe most) had no electricity for all this time.  How long has it been?  At least a couple of months.  Right?      

The news report talks about how many people are on welfare and living week to week. Therefore they couldn't do a major stock up before the storm.  They've been running out of food.  It's good that the store finally opened.

On a positive note, the local council worked to help people.  They handed out food parcels.

I really need to pay more attention to what's happening with Yasi.  I kind of skip over those Facebook updates, but I shouldn't.  People are still majorly struggling over there.

2. Bothered by the fact that the Gay Marriage of Australia Facebook Page creator felt the need to apologize for two off-topic posts, but happy to see MANY page fans saying no apology necessary.  

The Gay Marriage of Australia Facebook creator is saddened because 24 people have left.  I understand.  I get a bit sad when I see that I've lost followers.  But such is life.  New people replace the old people eventually. And if the lost people are the type to get upset over two math trivia posts, I'm not sure their leaving is a huge loss.   

The Page creator says the deserters are people who contributed a lot to the page.  I can relate to that.   When I had my big blogging drama, the people who ended up being hateful towards me were ones that frequently commented on my blog.  So I felt the loss; and I missed their support.    But I soon got over it.  I realized I didn't want or need support from people like that.

3. Consulted Lord Wiki about Palm Island.  He says it's on the Great Barrier Reef. He also says it doesn't have the best reputation.  It's known for violence and disadvantage.

From the 1920's to 1960's, Palm Island was known as being a penal settlement for Aboriginal people.  It was a way for the Queensland government to get rid of people they felt had committed infractions.  If they felt people were disruptive, they'd send them to Palm Island.   If a black woman got pregnant by a white man, they'd send her off to Palm Island.  If someone had mixed blood, they might get sent to Palm Island.   

Okay, that's bad. But it gets worse.

On Palm Island, children were separated from their parents. I hate hearing stuff like that, mostly because I would be devastated if Jack was taken from me.  

Men were separated from women.

The residents were forbidden to speak their languages.

In 1986, the island got self-governing status.  Finally.  In 2001, they symbolically separated themselves from Australia.  I can't say I blame them. Not that I don't love Australia, but if I had to endure what the Aboriginals endured, I don't think my heart would be blossoming with such love.

There's a lot of information here.  I'm kind of skimming through.

In 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records named Palm Island as the most violent place on earth outside a combat zone.  That was not taken in easily by the Queensland government. They disagreed with the assessment.

The infamous death in custody case occurred on Palm Island. This is the one where an Aboriginal man was beaten to death in prison; and those police officers who beat him to death are still working for the Queensland police.  

4. Read what Lord Wiki has to say about Lex Wotton.  While the police officers who killed a prisoner ended up going free and keeping their job; Wotton got a prison sentence of seven years for inciting riots in response to the death.

Okay. The riot was a violent one.   It involved burning down a police station. I don't at all support that.  But it's not fair that Wotton was sentenced for seven years, and the violent police officers received no punishment.  

In July 2010, Wotton was granted an early release from prison.  He served two years.  That's better than seven.   What's fishy is he's under a media gag.   He's not allowed to speak to the media or attend public meetings.  I guess they're afraid he's going to incite another riot?

Is it fair and wise to silence someone? Couldn't someone else start a riot in protest of Wotton having a media gag?

4. Found a blog about Lex Wotton.  It's hard to read all of it without getting really angry at all the  injustice.  The killer police were put on trial with an a white judge and an all white jury.    The black man was also put on trial with a white judge and white jury.  What if it had been reversed?   What if the police had been tried by an all black jury with a black judge? I think the results of the story would be much different.

5.  Read editorial about the term unAustralian. Doug Conway says, ALARM bells should ring at the very mention of the word "unAustralian".
It's one of those indefinable Humpty Dumpty words which can mean anything you want it to mean.

I never thought about that before, but I think he's right.  People use the term unAustralian, unAmerican, and unWhatever to demonize the opposing side.

Who gets to decide what is Australian and what's not Australian?

Conway says unAustralian is used as a negative word designed to paint opponents as dangerous, subversive and unpatriotic - everything the user is not.  It's very manipulative. You don't think the way I think?  Then you don't belong!  You disagree with me?  Then you don't belong!    

It reminds me of our time in Port Stephens. These women told me that if I wanted to be Australian I needed to go put my child to bed, and not pester my husband. I should to be a good little wife and let my husband have all the fun. Yeah.  Okay.  I would need to do that if I wanted to be the type of Australian trapped by old-fashioned gender roles.  But if I became Australian, I could choose the type that advocates for gender equality.    

6. Learned that Pauline Hanson didn't make it into Parliament.  Instead a Green Party person named Jeremy Buckingham got the position.   

7. Joined Jeremy Buckingham's Facebook Page.   I hope he's not as anti-Israel as some of the other New South Wales green people.   I shouldn't make assumptions, but I do.  It's silly because I'm a Green supporter, and I'm not anti-Israel.  So why should I believe all Green politicians are anti-Israel?  Anti-Israel sentiments may be popular in the Green Party, but it's not going to be universal.  

It would be nice if there was some actual vocal PRO-Israel people in the Green Party to balance out those who are especially negative.  Or better yet, how about a Green politician who was vocal in the fact that he or she supported both sides. I know the Green Party has a blanket statement about supporting both sides, but it's kind of.... Well, I get the sense that it's not really passionate or genuine.   It seems more like a way of saying, We really support the Palestinians and think Israel is awful.  But we're going to say this because we want to look more moderate.

I'm probably being unfair. 

8. Read article about teacher who was fired for teaching his adult students about the F-word.   I totally love that.  Well, I don't love the part where he was fired.   I loved his curriculum.  That's awesome.  High school teachers need to do that.  You want kids to pay attention?  There you go. But you can't have too many f-word lessons. It will get old and the students won't care anymore.

Okay, the teacher wasn't just fired. He was asked to leave the country. He's British and on a Visa.

The good news is it sounds like people are fighting on his behalf.

Why did he teach the F-word?  Well, he's teaching English to adults, and felt that since the word is often used in daily speech, they should be aware of its meaning and usage. That makes sense to me. 

9.  Read article about cyber-bullying.  New anti-bullying laws are going to include the cyber stuff.   That might be good.

The only problem is defining it.  What counts as bullying?  The article defines it as being teased or made fun of online, being sent threatening emails,  having rumours spread about you online, having unpleasant comments, pictures or videos about you sent or posted on websites like Facebook or MySpace,  being sent unwanted messages, being deliberately ignored or left out of things on the Internet or even having someone use your screen name or password and pretending to be you to hurt someone else.

I was made fun of online.  It involved ridicule and encouragement to harm myself.   But the people who I feel bullied me might have felt that I had bullied THEM by publicly disagreeing with something they had said on their blog.  They could say I had left "unpleasant comments".  Now I was polite in my disagreeing comments. I didn't call them names.  I didn't ridicule them.  I didn't threaten them.  But for some people, simple disagreement equals wrongness and impoliteness. Then after I was attacked, my friend sent an email to the angry people asking for peace between all of us.   They then accused her of harassment.  Why? She had sent them an unwanted email.    They responded by writing a very cruel post about her on one of their blogs.  I commented on the blog in defence of my friend.   I could say they were bullying my friend. They could say I was bullying them by commenting on their blog. They obviously despised me, and my comments could be seen as an intrusion.  

So that's where there's a problem.  It's really hard to know what's acceptable, and where to draw the line.   It's also hard know who's to blame.   I feel that I'm DEFINITELY the victim in that story.   But I doubt those other women agree.  I doubt they look back and think Wow, remember when we bullied poor Dina. They probably think, remember when that awful American girl bothered us on our blogs.  Remember how we defended ourselves with courage and wit.  

10.  Decided that if someone doesn't like something happening on the internet and they politely ask for it to stop; if it continues, then that might equal bullying.

I don't think disagreeing with someone's blog post is bullying.   But if someone said to me.  Hi.  I'm sorry, but I don't want anyone disagreeing with me.   I want all comments to be in agreement with my post.  If I kept commenting and disagreeing, than that could be maybe seen as harassment.  

I posted an embarrassing video of Tim dancing on the internet.  He has a good sense of humor, and doesn't mind. So it's not bullying.  If he asked me to take it down, and I refused....THAT would be bullying.   

10. Saw that the article says Cyber bullying is perpetrated not just by young people.   Yep.  When I write about all the stuff that happened to me it sounds like I'm talking about a bunch of girls in fifth grade.  I was thirty-seven at the time.   The women who were hateful to me were older, or at least close to my age.   The woman who tried to politely defend me, and was then attacked; she was in her fifties or sixties.  

In my experience, grown adults can be just as cruel as children.  

11. Decided to look at more walking distances on Google Maps.  I'm looking at the walk from the Eureka Tower building to the aquarium.   Google Maps has it as a 17-20 minute walk.  It involves crossing the Yarra river. Is that a bridge there, or are we supposed to swim?   

Okay, I removed our magical get-directions path, and now I see a little bridge thing.  It's near the Langham hotel.   The hotel is right near the Eureka Tower.   

But still.  I don't know. What if it's not the type of bridge that's good for walking across. 

No....I'm going to guess it is.  Melbourne is known for being a good walking city.  But do correct me if I'm wrong about the bridge. 

I also had the National Gallery on that day. Where is that?  

Okay. It's a short walk from the Eureka Tower.

I would say we go to the aquarium, then walk to the tower, and then to the art museum.

Knowing us we'll plan to do all three, and then end up doing only one. OR I'll be in one of my crazy moods, and we'll end up doing all three, plus a bunch of other stuff. 

12. Saw the price for the Melbourne Aquarium.   Like Sydney's aquarium, it's not cheap.   We'll probably leave Tim behind.   He doesn't usually have much interest in such things.   I'm all for leaving disinterested people behind when tourist attractions are expensive.  Life is too short and expensive to push people to do things that don't interest them. 

13.  Saw the price for the Eureka Skydeck.  It's better than the aquarium, but I'm happy to skip it.   If the height doesn't bother Tim, he can take Jack.  I can take it or leave it.

14. Checked out the National Gallery of Victoria site, and I'm glad I did.   It has two locations, and the one near the Eureka Skydeck has international art.   I'm not really interested in that.   I want to see the Australian stuff.  That's in Federation Square; the Ian Potter Centre.   It looks fairly close to the Eureka Tower and aquarium, so we can probably still fit it in for that day.

The gallery is free.  That's good.  You have to pay extra for special exhibits, but I doubt we'll need that much art.  We're not extremely cultured.

15. Took a close look at the Google Maps walking route.   I'm starting at the aquarium.  I figure Jack and I will go there as Tim stays behind to do his morning run and shower.  Then he can meet us.   We'll walk to the towers, do that, and then all go to the gallery.

We'll have to eat sometime too. 

Google Maps has us walking on the Yarra Promenade.  Is that pretty?  Not pretty?  Scary? 

There seems to be a lot of short-stay apartments and hotels in the area.  Maybe we'll stay around there...if it's affordable.

16. Found a website about restaurants in Southbank.  That's the area I've been looking at today.    Wait.  It's not about Southbank.   It's about all Australian restaurants.  They have the supposedly ten best Southbank restaurants.  Is there anything we'd like?  

I have a feeling these are all going to be too fancy, trendy, or expensive for us.  

BearBrass looks pretty okay.   They claim to have a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.  I downloaded their menu, and the food prices seem reasonable. I added it to the map.  The location is good as well. 

Blue Train Cafe looks nice too.  

17. Decided I may break my no egg rule for some Pavlova.  BearBrass has it on the menu. I want to try it someday.   I had something called Pavlova in the United States, but I'm not sure if it was enough like the Australian version or not.  It pretty much tasted like what we call a Meringue cookie. And maybe that's what it is.  Maybe Americans have Pavlova, and we just call it a different name.