When we aired the possibility that we were considering visiting Malaysia rather than our initial choice, Thailand, we encountered the same stern objection from several well-meaning friends: “The Muslims”. We were warned that Aussies don’t go to Malaysia any more because “The Muslims” hate the West and are inhospitable and rude to travellers from Western countries. Since most of the folk who offered us this advice acknowledged that it derived from hearsay rather than personal experience, we decided to take our chances. Continue reading Malaysia’s Modern Muslims – Leave Your Stereotypes At Home
On returning to my hometown of Perth in 1985 after two years overseas, I decided to flee to Sydney. For me there is an amnesic quality about Perth (although perhaps it’s the same with any place you’ve grown up in) such that time spent away – even years – seems to assume an unreal, dream-like state very soon after returning; I was determined not to forfeit to the encroaching mists the fertile experiences of my time away. Nothing much seemed to have changed back in Perth, but I was not the same person who had left. I had developed a dread of family, and sensed (or maybe just anticipated) an agenda to absorb me back into the fold, where I would soon return to ‘normal’ as part of an homogenous blobby structure that rejected change as some potentially lethal threat to its existence and like white blood cells attacking bacteria, sought automatically to eradicate it. I felt that I would concede some hard-won independence of spirit if I hung around longer than a few days, so before the week was out off to a new life in Sydney I went.
It surprised me just how different Sydney was from Perth. Continue reading Perth 2007 – More Brass Than Class
Tessa is the teenage daughter of a professional couple known vaguely to me through the social network of a friend. A poolside announcement during a gathering last weekend that Tessa had decided to follow her father into law was greeted with congratulatory cooings and nods of approval by those present – at least, that is what I am told by an impeccably reliable source (happily, I was otherwise committed on that day and was not among the recipients of the glad tidings). Continue reading The lawyer mindset epidemic