Personal opinions from a denizen of a land Down Under.
Words are like weapons. We use them every day, we know not the way they impact on others. We remain silent when we ought o speak out, we speak out when we should hold out peace. This is an attempt to get it right.
Australian rugby has been so battered and bruised this season — four losses in four games — that anything even remotely better than a hammering is hailed as something akin to the second coming.
That could be why journalists are slobbering over the national team after it lost narrowly to New Zealand at the death in the final international rugby game of the southern season. Australia led for more than three-quarters of the game, but could not hold together in the second half the way it had in the first 40 minutes.
To put the game in context, one has to bear in mind that New Zealand made 12 changes to the team that had beaten Australia the previous week. Given that the silverware on offer for the southern season — the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe Cup — had both been won, New Zealand coach Ian Foster treated the game as a way to test out some new faces and see their worth. Continue reading “Bledisloe II result needs to be viewed in context”
Australia will be able to regain something of its former glory in international rugby only when it is coached by an Anglo-Saxon. The Wallabies, as the team is known, may go as far as the world cup final, but will not win until a coach who can understand the prevailing dominant Anglo culture within the team is guiding its fortunes.
Australia has won the rugby World Cup twice. In 1991, Bob Dwyer was the coach; in 1999, it was Rod MacQueen. Both white men, steeped in the same culture as the team.
But now, things have changed quite a bit. There are a fair number of non-whites in the team, predominantly from the Pacific Islands. This is partly because the game tends to come naturally to people from that part of the world and partly because the pool of youngsters from whom one can select possible players is getting smaller and smaller. Rugby is a game mostly played in private schools and is an expensive and physically demanding sport; thus, the numbers who take it up are small. Continue reading “Australian rugby needs an Anglo-Saxon coach if it wants to win”
The SBS documentary, The Kingdom, deals with – well, I thought it was about the church known as Hillsong until I watched it. Turns out that this isn’t the case; it’s actually about Marc Fennell, the presenter, and his quitting of the church. It is narcissism at its very best.
This would become apparent to the perceptive viewer right at the start of the 72-minute documentary when it opens with a view of Fennell’s chubby face. Such views are common, with the camera sometimes favouring his visage from the left, at others from the right. Not to mention views of him walking purposefully down some street or the other in a T-shirt that is a few sizes too small for him.
There’s one little fact that’s been left out when talking about the incident in the second Ashes Test, when Australian wicketkeeper Alex Carey stumped his English counterpart Jonny Bairstow. And that is the fact that this happened at the end of an over.
There have been numerous other cases of batsmen being run out in a similar manner cited, but none of them was at the end of an over. In earlier years, once the ball had landed in the hands of the wicketkeeper at the end of an over, it was considered to be dead.
As Steve Smith makes his 100th Test appearance at Headingley — the game started at 8pm AEST on Thursday — an attempt is being made to rehabilitate a man who brought Australian cricket into disrepute at Newlands, South Africa, in 2018.
The Australian’s Peter Lalor writes that Smith was joking with his colleagues when the incident with Jonny Bairstow in the second Ashes Test at Lords occurred and the crowd started chanting “cheat” at the Australian players.
Apparently, Smith thought the team would now understand how he had felt after the Newlands incident, when Australian Cameron Bancroft was caught on live TV using sandpaper to scuff up the ball.
The level to which Australia’s government-funded media corporation, the ABC, has sunk is illustrated by the fact that in a slot reserved for its main investigative stories, it ran an American propaganda documentary from the American publicly-funded outlet PBS on 3 July.
Titled “Putin and the Presidents”, the documentary made no effort to disguise itself, conveniently leaving out masses of context in its bid to paint the Russian president as the villain supreme.
It covers Putin’s interactions with American presidents from Bill Clinton onwards, painting the American leaders as trying to get along with the Russian president, while he did everything to spoil relationships.
The hype around AI is everywhere but the actual power of this technology is far from what it is made out to be.
I often experiment with ChatGPT and here is what this great piece of tech was able to produce about THE incident in the second Ashes Test between England and Australia.
My query: Write an article about the incident in the second Ashes Test.
What ChatGPT spat out:
Title: The Ashes Unveil Unforgettable Drama: A Recap of the Second Test’s Epic Incident
The Ashes, the historic cricket rivalry between Australia and England, has always been a showcase of intense competition, raw talent, and nail-biting moments. However, the second Test of the latest Ashes series will be remembered not only for the fierce battle between the bat and ball but also for an incident that shook the cricketing world to its core. In a moment that will forever be etched in cricketing folklore, an unforeseen turn of events unfolded, leaving fans, players, and pundits in awe and disbelief. Continue reading “ChatGPT on the incident in the second Ashes Test”
David Speers, the ABC employee who hosts the Insiders political current affairs show on Sunday morning, is not known for being afraid to confront his guests during an interview. He interrupts them frequently, always trying to get a point across and validate a narrative that he has.
But in front of Ukrainian Ambassador Vasyl Myroshnychenko on 2 July, Speers was like a lamb, never asking the envoy anything that would cut across the latter’s view of the Ukraine war — obviously a sympathetic one — and seemingly unable to ask even a single contradictory question.
Ever since former Liberal Party adviser Brittany Higgins alleged, in an interview with the news.com.au website on 15 February 2021, that she had been raped in Parliament House by a colleague in early 2019, the story has rarely been out of the news. The colleague, who was later revealed to be one Bruce Lehrmann, has always denied the charge.
The case went to a jury trial in 2022 but a juror was caught in possession of material that compromised his/her status as a jury member and a mistrial was declared. The prosecutor said later that a second trial would not be held as it would be detrimental to Higgins’ mental health.