What if we buried our loved ones in our backyard?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

At work I'm currently imputing a report which records burials within the Maningrida township. The missionaries tried to start a cemetery in Maningrida in the 1960s but it never quite took. Instead, the deceased are buried next to their house. The photos are fascinating and bring forth more questions than they answer. Some people have flags marking their grave, others shade structures, others fake flowers – what denotes that which will mark your grave? Some of the graves are ‘temporary’ until they can be moved to outstations (smaller communities some distance from Maningrida, as was past practice). What makes you eligible to be moved to a ‘better’ burial place and what doesn’t? Are past mortuary practices incorporated within current burials?

Initially entering this made me quite sad, view the death toll of Maningrida each day, but today I came to the conclusion that maybe it would be nice to have such a close reminder of your loved ones. Travel to the cemetery wouldn’t be necessary, you could say hi each day. They’d literally always be with you. Obviously, given our overpopulated state of most other Australian townships this isn’t practical. Nor would it meet public health regulations, hence the Cemetery Act. And what would happen to people in apartments or places with no backyards? Automatic cremation?

Life in the fast lane

Monday, July 20, 2009

Last week I was struck down by the flu. Besides a valiant attempt to attend work on Wednesday that ended with a colleague asking ‘why aren’t you at home?’, so it was bed to be for me.

Spending this time at home gave me an opportunity to finishRich Girl, Poor Girl by Lesley Lokko over two days. It’s wonderful to be able to devour a book in one or two sittings. You are able to immerse yourself into the story and forget all else. This book surprised me with the direction it took. There were background elements to the characters which I thought would have driven the story further but didn’t, however as a whole I was completely drawn into the story, not wanting to put it down so I could read what happens next.

It’s great when there are elements of the book’s characters that you can relate to or that make you reaffirm yourself. The character of Caryn, in particular her attitude to money, resinated with me. I, like a lot of people, have worked to be where I am and have what I have and sometimes the pride of that gets in the way of me allowing nice things to happen to me. Nic, with her insatiable desire to be liked while appearing as though she doesn’t need anyone also resonated. And Tory’s fiancĂ©’s undying love and ability to always be there reminded me so much of Nick and how lucky I am to have him in my life. Books are wonderful things, what shall I read next?

Sunday Street Art #3

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Meanwhile, somewhere in Fitzroy....




Fired Up - Al Jazeera & Uranium Mines

Thursday, July 16, 2009


1. A few months back Al Jazeera purchased a documentary my friend had produced on the resistance movement in West Papua, titled Pride of Warriors. The documentary was due to air on Al Jazeera English on the 2nd of July. Suddenly, on the day, it was pulled from Al Jazeera’s programming schedule. Reference to it completely disappeared from Al Jazeera’s website.

It is widely understood that the Indonesian Government pressured Al Jazeera to delay until after their July 8 elections, if not pull the documentary altogether. I, for one, am deeply disappointed in Al Jazeera. I would have expected this level of censorship from Channel 9 or Fox, but not Al Jazeera.

In an article in the Jakarta Post an Indonesian Government spokesperson denies that the Indonesian Government put pressure on Al Jazeera to pull the doco. He said that the film was one sided and violated the ‘principles of Journalism’. ‘Principles of Journalism’? The Indonesian Government bans journalists from entering West Papua. The film gives a voice to the West Papuan people, who tell of their struggle with the Indonesian military presence and human rights abuses.

For more info see this article from New Matilda or this one from EngageMedia

2. Another Uranium Mine?! Peter Garrett, our esteemed environment minister (aka wolf in sheep clothing) has given approval to a Uranium mine in outback South Australia (see ABC News Story). In a former life, Garrett used to protest against Uranium mining. Now he approves them. I thought having Peter Garrett in politics would make a difference, turns out he’s more interested in towing the party line.


Sunday Street Art #2

Monday, July 13, 2009




While out one night in Melbourne's CBD we stumbled through Degraves Lane and I snapped these photos.

2007

TV counts as a place

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Have I mentioned my love of television? A wise person once said ‘TV counts as a place’. Every now and then I will use TV as an excuse not to catch up with people. They usually don’t know the real reason. ‘I’m too tired’. ‘I have to study’. ‘I need a night in’. ‘I think I’m coming down with something’ - all mean ‘I need to catch up on some quality TV time’. Shows I love at the moment include Bones, Grey’s Anatomy (so far behind on that one it’s not funny), Gossip Girl, Mad Men (into season two - ahead of the pack), Flight of the Concords, West Wing (boyfriend and I working our way through this one) and 30 Rock. Very disappointed that Dirt wasn’t picked up for a second season and Women’s Murder Club? What happened to that? Couldn’t allow a show to continue where women were the leads and did something other than mothering, chasing men and talking fashion? Not even released in Australia on DVD – disappointing.

I currently live in the Eastside of Alice Springs. Eastside is the oldest suburb of Alice Springs and has always been a bit of a hippy enclave. People here ‘don’t watch TV’ and this doesn’t mean that they watch TV shows downloaded to their laptops. If people here have a TV it’s kept in a cupboard to show how much they don’t watch it. The skeptic within thinks that they do watch a lot of TV and only hid it in the cupboard whenever visitors come over. I hate it when people say ‘oh, I don’t watch TV’ as if they are morally superior to us that do. I don’t watch much broadcast TV either, but if you do that’s ok. A wise person reminded me that maybe I am reading in the moral superiority of the ‘non TV watchers’. Maybe it is more of an offhanded comment, than a pointed dig. But I’d like to think they’re secretly watching their TV, relishing in the delights of the ABC or, god forbid, commercial TV.

Sunday Street Art #1

Monday, July 6, 2009

I have a fascination with all things street art. There’s something about the danger and the publicness of the art that I admire. My fascination most probably steams from my desire to be an artist when I know full well that my artistic talents are quite limited.

Over the years we lived in Melbourne I spent a number of weekends wandering the streets taking pictures of street art. Each week I’ll post a photo or two I’ve taken of inspiring, intriguing, remarkable street art from Melbourne. The photos reflect a moment in time. If you were to visit these streets today they wouldn't be the same. This work would be gone and another would stand in its place. This photo was taken sometime in February ‘07 in a laneway that runs parallel to Brunswick Street, behind Polyester Records. I love the way each different piece compliments and contrasts against the others. Each time you look you see more.

If possible I’ll cite the artist and if haven’t cited the artist and you know who it is, please let me know.

Outdoor Type

Saturday, July 4, 2009

'despite becoming an anthropologist, I am a homebody; the rigors of long lonely stays in places without electricity and flush toilets only appealed to me, as it turned out, in books' – Esther Newton

I came across this quote today and I love it. It explains me entirely. As I said, I lied about being the outdoor type.
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