Friday, December 30, 2005

A certain airline...

There's an airline, which may or may not be the only realistic competitor in Australia, that I've always been a little unsure of. Perhap's it's the rumours of their staff employment policies, or just the flagrant self-promotion of their owner. Anyway, I've found them a tad irritating.

Nevertheless, I was a little surprised when one of their employees informed me that the guitar, made in Burma, given to a colleague and subsequently to me (being my colour and all), lovingly wrapped in several sarongs and carried from Bangkok to Sydney, wasn't allowed on the plane.

It's a dangerous weapon.

Thankfully the ground staff were a little less concerned. And since the most recent flight attendant told us to inflate the life jacket and use the whistle to attract mermaids, I might just forgive them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I went to the movies today, for the first time since February.

I am not in the mood for fantasy (Hollywood romance), violence (Hollywood humour) or product placement (Hollywood hair). So a historical dramatisation in black and white was perfect. It was not used to entertain, amuse, distract or insulate. And it was used well.

So, on the day David Hicks might actually get British citizenship, and therefore be protected by a country that upholds the right of its citizens to a fair trial, rather than our own, I was reminded of the culture of suspicion that existed in 50s America and exists now. The perfect rendition of the announcers voice, the raised eyebrow and the severity of the presentation speak more directly than the glitz and gaudy graphics of today. And the message – of the power of the media and the exploitation of the public’s fears by those in power – was a wonderful antidote to the tinsel of the last few days.

Thanks, George.

Good night, and good luck.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

A child is born.

The world changes.

We grow, learn, teach, love, die.

May the innocence of Christmas enter your heart.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Safe and sound.

Just a little time-shocked. Culture - let's not go there yet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Just checking in

Thanks for your messages of support recently. It's been a challenging few weeks, with lots of reflection and frustration but not much of it that i'm going to discuss publically - at least anytime soon.

Am one third of the way home - that is, in Paris. The obvious way back to Australia from Thailand. Eating confit du canard and tarte tartin, and wearing 5 layers of borrowed clothing. The swelter of Bangkok is calling me back...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Crappy TV analogy

I watched a few series of Survivor. They have all started to seem the same.

During a period of intense challenge, people with no shared history are thrown together. Generally there's a lot of teamwork, but also a hell of a lot of politics. Alliances are formed and become the underlying assumptions for a lot of decisions made. But underneath, the alliances may not be as strong as they seem.

Then the big meeting, where all speak - some idealistic, some tough, some with absolutely no clue. The decision is made. As the result comes out, we are sometimes able to see the expectant face of one who is doomed, but has no idea.

The votes tally up, and - bam - there it is. Blindsided.

But in Survivor Burma the stakes are higher than on a beach in fucking Guatemala.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Slight posting hitch

Have tried several times to share my (of course, brilliant and completely original) photos of Angkor, I'm giving up.

Yesterday, I spent several hours traipsing around a village, doing a house-to-house survey. This was rather like my first week here, and prompted some reflections:

I can wear a sarong! I even got complemented on the fact that I wear it properly (by a woman in the street, who had no idea that I could understand her). Admittedly, I use a safety pin - a fact I kept to myself.

I can speak - a little. I certainly can't say "safety pin".

The houses still seem precarious.

It's still bloody hot.

The level of community still impresses me, but I also know it's not as idyllic as it looks.

But the biggest change was that I feel at home. I can walk up the hills without nearly collapsing. I can happily thread amongst the herd of buffalo. And most of all - I don't keep falling over. Yes, I've managed to recover my instincts to negotiate this most challenging of environments: a village road. And, given my usual level of clumsiness-induced injuries, I'm proud of this fact.

So proud, I mentioned it to my friend over dinner.

And promptly spilt scalding soup down my front.