Matrimony, matrimoany, matrimoney.

As the product of one marriage, a participant in several others, and a student of the subject in a terrific university Gender Studies unit called ‘Intimacy, Love and Friendship’, I feel as if I’ve been alternatively mooning over and moaning about matrimony for virtually ever.

And now, with what is variously called ‘gay marriage’, ‘same-sex marriage’ and ‘marriage equality’ very much on the political agenda in Australia, plus a push from some Muslims for what some call polygamous and others polygynous marriage in Australia, it’s time to put my matrimoney where my mouth is.

Starting with polygamy/polygyny, in which my interest has been aroused by a recent Sydney Morning Herald article headed ‘ gains traction in Australia: founder’.

The story made the point that, though polygamy/polygyny is illegal in Australia, founder of the UK-based site, Azad Chaiwala, says he believes that here, as elsewhere, ‘a growing number of Muslims are seeking second marriages in religious ceremonies,’ and that the ‘social taboo’ against the practice is fading away.

Keysar Trad, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, was quoted as endorsing this opinion, saying that he had sought a second wife for decades, and that his wife of 30 years supports him in his search, as ‘she would rather he have a halal relationship with a second woman than an affair.’

‘My wife is a saint,’ he added, ‘she’s one of the best women out there, but I think it’s human nature, God put this drive very strongly inside males so that we can be providers and supporters for more than one woman.’

But executive director of the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, Joumanah El Matrah, disagreed, calling Koranic ‘equal treatment’ justifications for polygamy ‘antiquated and demeaning’ and claiming that many Muslims are convinced that it is impossible to treat two, let alone three or four women, equally.

And I have to say I couldn’t agree more with Ms. El Matrah. Take that well-known not to say notorious ‘moderate’ Muslim leader, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, for example. In what seems to me the highly unlikely event that his current sole spouse Rosmah Mansour would permit him to take another one, two or even three women in addition to her in matrimony, how on earth could he treat them all the same in matrimoney?

Would he somehow have to find a way to create another 1MDB scam so as to skim-off US6 million for each of the others to spend on shopping so as to treat them equally with Rosmah?

Or would he have to settle for splitting the next US6 million shopping budget into equal parts for each wife?

Then there’s the question of status. Would they all be equally entitled to call themselves First Lady of Malaysia, or what?

In short, this so-called ‘equal treatment’ clause is not only nonsense in and of itself, but also by virtue of the fact that it fundamentally denies women the sexual equality to which, as I and many fellow Australians and the United Nations would argue, everybody is entitled.

If a heterosexual man, Muslim or otherwise, is free to marry between one and four heterosexual women, then surely it is by definition only fair and just that a heterosexual woman should be free to marry from one to four men.

And the same principle clearly holds for homosexual women wishing to marry fellow lesbians, homosexual men keen to wed fellow gays, and so on and on for people of all sexes and genders.

Furthermore, just as matrimony/matrimoany/matrimoney is none of the business of religion, society or the state, but a matter of natural justice, whether people marry monogamously or otherwise is none of anybody else’s affair either.

It seems to me especially ridiculous that in Australia, as in many other similar somewhat liberal democracies, formal marriage to more than one partner at a time is a crime, but informal relationships involving more than two people, like adulterous affairs, spouse-swapping and polyamorous co-habitation, to name just a few of many, are perfectly legal.

As, indeed, thank goodness, are such other practices that many perfectly happily-married couples employ to prevent the inevitable monotony of monogamy from souring into mutual borenogamy or outright monughamy, like so-called ‘open’ marriage in which both partners agree they are free to take lovers either outside their core relationship, or to include them inside it, or both.

Or, if you like, to engage in the apparently paradoxical practice of straying together for the purpose of more pleasurably staying together.

To some this might sound far too free and equal, not to mention risky, for words. But on the other hand successful practitioners of it strenuously argue that it sure beats settling for one or more of the all-too-evidently prevalent downsides of monogamous matrimony, like the aforementioned matrimoany or its even more dreadful and dreary close relative, martyrmony.

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Making the write decision.

Overwhelmed, as so often, by the bewildering number of possible crimes, atrocities and other topics I could possibly write about today, I’ve resorted to avoiding the issue by taking a tour of the ads that pop up on one of the news sites I often visit.

And I must say it’s been quite a trip: through a range of offers ranging from the totally irrelevant to the virtually irresistible.

Most irrelevant, at least to me personally, was pretty much a toss-up between ‘#1 Trick to Reverse Your Tinnitus (Do This Tonight)’, ‘New 20/20 Vision Breakthrough Leaves Optometrists Speechless’, and ‘This Man Cured His Nail Fungus in 10 Minutes. Watch How’.

I only ever suffer what sounds like tinnitus on hot summer days in Sydney, but thank goodness the buzzing is caused by cicadas, not some hang-up with my hearing.

As for my vision, it may not be 20/20, but thanks to my shiny new lens implants and a pair of reading glasses when I’ve found them after having forgotten where I last took them off, I can see as well as I could possibly want.

And at least so far, thank goodness, I am mercifully free of the dreaded nail fungus.

By no means as irrelevant and thus easy to ignore as these previous three headlines, however, were ‘DIY Remedies to Tighten Sagging Skin’ and ‘This Amazing Tip Smooths Wrinkles in Minutes’.

But I’ve long ago written my wrinkles off as ‘character lines’, and accepted that sagginess is the least of my worries concerning my skin, compared with how sun-damaged and thus prone to cancerous growths it is.

If I’ve pretty well given up hope of any improvement in my epidermal situation, however, I can always dream of economic advancement.

So for a moment I found myself quite excited by ‘Casula Multi-Millionaire Reveals Success In This Short Video’.

But only for a moment. Because, no offence to the no doubt many fine people living in the Sydney suburb of Casula, last time I had to drive through there it seemed to me far from the kind of place any multi-millionaire would willingly choose to reside or, having struck it tremendously rich, remain.

In other words, while I found the ‘multi-Millionaire’ concept highly relevant, indeed compelling, the mention of Casula robbed the message of most if not all its credibility.

Which brings me to the ad that struck me as most relevant and credible of all that I happened to see: ‘Chinese girls seeking older men’.

This made perfectly good sense to me. I may admittedly

be a bit, in fact a lot, wrinkled of visage and saggy of skin, but presumably these Chinese girls must be smart enough to be aware that these conditions are part of package they are allegedly seeking.

In any event, as I told myself, they would surely be impressed by my freedom from nail fungus.

And any that were less nail-bitingly beautiful that those fetchingly pictured in the ad would likely appreciate that, lacking totally perfect 20/20 vision as I do, I might very well not notice the difference.

But I very soon realised that I was totally lacking in the single appeal that each and every one of these lovely girls would be seeking in an older man: money.

I am not, and must try and console myself that I never will be, an older man with money, let alone a multi-millionaire, be it from Casula or any other location.

And in any case, as I was reminded by the last of the headlines I saw in my trawl through this group of ads, ‘The World’s Most Expensive Divorce Settlements’, I already have a Chinese girl.

Or, more precisely, a half-Chinese wife who is so much my junior that she almost qualifies as a girl by comparison. But you get the point.

Which is that, in light of the risk of possible misunderstandings, let alone divorce, I feel obliged to deprive other Chinese girls of at least one of the older men that they may be seeking, namely myself, and get back to contemplating which of the countless alternative contemporary topics is most worth writing about.


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Giving Umno/BN the finger(s).

As my fellow Malaysiakini columnist Mariam Mokhtar has already commented, a great many people were – or at least pretended to be – offended by human rights lawyer Siti Kasim’s giving hecklers the middle finger after she spoke at a syariah forum.

And I would like to say that I not only endorse every sentiment that Mariam expressed in support of Siti’s ‘up yours’ gesture and general attitude, but that I additionally find it absolutely inspirational.

Because it has pointed-out to me that what I’ve been actually been employing through all my years of pouring scorn and derision on Malaysia’s poisonous and pernicious regime is not just, as it’s most commonly called, a keyboard, but also a fingerboard.

Or, more precisely, given that I have never taught myself to touch-type properly, mostly a middle-fingerboard on an electronic device that is itself aptly called ‘digital’.

So now, and every time I hit a key in the future, I can rejoice in the awareness that I am not just pointing the finger at the criminal, the incompetent and the ignorant, but also assaulting them digitally.

Which is highly appropriate when you think of it, as the problem with all these Umno/BN politicians and their accomplices and cronies is that they can’t or won’t keep their thieving fingers off public property, or their meddling digits out of peoples’ religious beliefs and other issues that are none of their business.

Nor can a good many of them, as in the case of Malaysia’s hopelessly politicised police force and regime-complicit corruption agency, keep their fingers off ‘suspects’ or even some witnesses, like the late Teoh Beng Hock, who happen to fall into their homicidal hands.

And, perhaps worst of all, those properly charged with exposing, punishing and thus protecting the populace from political predators and parasites, like the so-called ‘mainstream news’ media and the grossly-misnamed ‘justice’ system, are so hopelessly under the Umno/BN thumb that they seldom if ever lift a finger to perform their proper functions.

If all that wasn’t sufficient cause for us all to give Umno/BN the digital salute, of course, then there are all the regime’s political, religious and racial finger-puppets, like Rela, Jakim and Gerakan Merah.

This latter group most openly inviting of being given the middle finger, literally bending over for it as they did in the so-called ‘butt dance’ this bunch of bums did for the purpose of insulting then co-chairperson of Bersih, Ambiga Sreenevasan back in 2012, a performance they recently announced that they plan to repeat for current chairperson of Bersih, Maria Chin Abdullah.

President of Gerakan Mera, Mohd Ali Baharom, alias Ali Tinju, has also called Maria Chin an ‘animal’ and suggested to his rabble of ‘red shirts’ (please read the ‘shirts’ word here without the ‘r’, as I’ve suggested before) that she ‘may no longer walk this earth’, which sounded to many of us like a death threat, or at least incitement to murder.

But not, apparently, to Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, or to his henchman, inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, who is presumably too busy with his notorious tweeting to get his finger out and order the arrest of Ali Tinju or any other paid regime troublemaker.

And there’s no point crossing our fingers and hoping that Umno/BN or any of its ministers, members or minions have the slightest intention of getting their snouts out of the trough and their fingers or rather trotters off the levers of power anytime soon.

In fact, far from getting the message that millions of Malaysians are showing them the middle finger, they clearly intend to indefinitely linger, as evidenced by their electoral commission’s current redistribution antics and efforts to replenish their war-chest, or should I say whore-chest, through their standard procedure of contracting-out massively kickback-inflated ‘public works’, in anticipation of the next general election.

All that the rest of us can hope for, unfortunately, is help from the fickle finger of fate, as currently observable at work through investigations by the Wall Street Journal, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and agencies in several other jurisdictions around the world into the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fraud.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, creator of the ludicrously false ‘1Malaysia’ concept, has already been fingered as Malaysian Official 1 in the DOJ findings so far, and proof of his spouse Rosmah Mansour’s complicity in this and possibly other scams has been provided by the millions she has splurged on fashion, handbags and fabulously expensive diamond rings for her fat fingers.

But hey, my fingers have been so busily and happily tapping away here that I’ve almost reached my word limit without noticing. That’s the beauty of my new perception of typing about Umno/BN as typing as showing this disgusting regime my middle and other digits. And once again I must thank the indomitable Siti Kasim for revealing to me how much more enjoyable critical writing can be than I formerly realised.


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Die, you bastard…but not yet.

That’s the mixed message that, as a 73-year-old age pensioner, I feel I keep getting from Australian financial officialdom on the one hand, and the medical fraternity on the other.

Two consecutive Liberal-National Coalition federal treasurers have made it abundantly clear that they consider that the relative pittance that I’m paid from the public purse makes me a parasite on the national economy, and thus, presumably, I’d be doing the nation a financial favour by cashing-in my chips rather sooner than later.

First it was Joe Hockey, with his categorisation of Australians as either ‘lifters or leaners’, and now it’s Scott Morrison with his binary concept of ‘taxed and taxed-nots.’

And I can only plead guilty of being in the latter category in both cases.

‘Guilty’ being the appropriate word here in more ways than one. Guilty first of all of having been so disgracefully improvident back in my working life, when I was earning big money and paying heaps of tax.

And secondly, as Centrelink, the disburser of the pension I’m entitled to evidently suspects, guilty of dying – or rather deliberately not dying – in order to get my hands on more support than I’m due.

Centrelink has me, my PhD-student wife and our joint bank account under constant surveillance lest we earn too many extra dollars in part-time work to supplement my starvation-level pension, and as soon as I report such earnings, as I’m required to do fortnightly, the amount I receive, which at its maximum is less than we pay just for rent, is reduced, in some periods to virtually nil.

And I’m also currently being docked $50 a fortnight to repay $800 or so that Centrelink alleged some time back that an audit of my account had revealed it had overpaid me four years ago.

All this required regular reporting and penalising, plus the fact that I’m obliged to advise any absence from Australia, makes me feel as if I’m on bail or parole, or even serving a sentence for what remains of my life for presumably intending to rort the system.

My only way out of this is to get the message and die as fast as the treasurer of the day and his operatives in Centrelink would apparently like me to, and meanwhile to pay as much of my pension back to consolidated revenue as possible.

Fortunately this feat is proving not too difficult, as 53 years of cigarette smoking is bound to catch up with me before too much longer, and thanks to the savage and constantly elevating levels of excise on tobacco these days, an impost supported by both the government and opposition, I pay about $7 in tax for every $10 I spend on trying to kill myself.

While I’m busy working on obeying the money-saving ‘die, you bastard’ message from the financial authorities, however, and paying through the nose for the pleasure, the medical system is on a mission to make it ‘not yet’. Or, in other words, to keep me alive and kicking as long as possible.

Not only through constantly warning me to quit smoking, but also by monitoring and controlling my cholesterol levels. It has also saved my life several times by discovering and excising melanomas, and regularly checks my skin for and whenever necessary burns-off or cuts-out these and other similarly or potentially menacing growths.

All this on top of having previously provided me with a prosthetic for an arthritic hip-joint, and new lenses to clear my vision of sight-threatening cataracts.

And all with not only supreme efficiency and expertise, but absolutely free of charge.

Similarly free of charge have been my studies for the postgraduate counselling diploma I completed back in 2011 at a private college, and the part-time Arts degree I’m now half-way through at Sydney University, as I surely won’t live long enough, let alone earn sufficient money, to repay my student loans.

Sadly, all I have to repay the government for all this largesse is a piece of free advice. Which is to stop demonising elderly, infirm and otherwise disadvantaged Australians to death as leaners, taxed-nots or other species of freeloaders, and start balancing the federal budget by forcing all those in the big, or rather pig end of town to get their noses out of the tax-avoidance trough.

Simultaneously, I suggest squandering fewer billions of public money on, to name just a few examples of scandalous financial leakages, the over-budget, way over-deadline and deeply efficiency-compromised National Broadband Network, the funding of fraudulent ‘private colleges’, and the fortunes misspent on parliamentarians’ travel and other expenses.

Unless, of course, you’d prefer all those of us you see as scapegoats for your incompetence to consign you to political death at the next opportunity, as we so very nearly did in the recent double-dissolution election.


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Loony leaders.

No offence intended here to most of those ‘ordinary’ people suffering mental illness.

Especially in light of the possibility that I might already unwittingly be one of them, or else soon could be considering what a prime candidate my advanced age makes me for senile dementia.

In any case, both compassion and political correctness forbid making fun of us common, everyday, inoffensive citizens who suffer the misfortune of losing our memories or minds.

But if we were to become so mentally incompetent as to convince ourselves that we were fit and proper candidates to head this or any other country, surely nobody would take us seriously.

In fact former compassion for our cerebral confusion would turn to condemnation, and political correctness to political directness, and we’d not only be laughed to scorn, but locked-up for our own and others’ safety.

As, to get to the point promised by the headline of this piece, it is painfully clear that lots of current and would-be world leaders should be.

Ever since the evidently eminently semsible Barack Obama famously told an interviewer that he considered a great many of the heads of state he had met to be ‘insane’, I’ve been keeping my eye out for nut-cases in charge of nations.

Not that some are hard to spot. Perhaps the most obvious being the ‘glorious leader’ of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. Or, if you prefer, Kim Jong-unhinged, whose latest act of homicidal mania has been to order the execution of the head of his education ministry by anti-aircraft gunfire for falling asleep in a meeting that his hare-brained boss was chairing.

On second thoughts, let’s make that ‘hair-brained’, as foolish follicular fashion seems to be a common symptom of loony-leadership syndrome.

Witness the brutally short-back-and-sides style topped with a kind of mad-cap bouffant that simultaneously characterises and caricatures the latest carrier of the Kim dynasty’s notorious insanity gene.

And that amazing masterpiece or rather monstrosity of the hairdressing arts that the doolally would-be US president Donald Trump persists on wearing despite the fact that, shades of Tricky Dick Nixon’s suspicious-looking five-o’clock shadow, it makes him look like the Tricky Dickhead he is.

Trichological signs of head-of-state insanity aren’t confined to the scalp, of course. The most memorable example of this being megalomaniacal Adolph Hitler’s bizarre below-the-nostrils moustache, since aped, for whatever addled reason, by the deranged dictator of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

Meanwhile, Mugabe himself has gone so mugaga that he regularly reads the wrong speech on those increasingly rare occasions on which his Zanu-PF minders let him out loose to ramble on in public.

Russia’s most notoriously murderous ruling madman, Stalin, famously sported a somewhat maniacal moustache too, as readers as elderly as yours truly will recall.

Though, in stark contradiction of the strange hair theory I’ve been expounding, Stalin’s Chinese contemporary and fellow loony leader, Mao or more accurately Mad Tse Tung, favoured the bald look for his head and countenance, perhaps the better to showcase the physical feature that most effectively proclaimed him as a blot on the face of China, a giant wart on his chin.

But having strayed into the historical, let me get back to the here-and-now. To the batty Bashir al-Assad of Syria, for example, the leader or rather bleeder so power-crazed that he has responded to peaceful popular demonstrations against him and his rotten regime with a five-year war on his country and the majority of its citizens.

Then there is the raving-mad Rodrigo Duterte, recently elected President of the Philippines on a promise to wage war on drug peddlers and users and thus sparked a spate of killings.

Though considering the levels of crime and corruption in the Philippines and many other loco locations in South-East Asia, nobody in his or her right mind could help wondering whether this is actually a covert war by politically-connected drug lords and their police accomplices and enforcers against their civilian criminal competitors.

In other words, it is difficult if not impossible to tell whether the Dutartes of the world are mad or bad or both.

An observation that applies to many of the world’s apparently loony leaders, not least the Prime or, as is widely suspected, Crime Minister of Malaysia, Najib Abdul Razak.

Long before he bought his way into the top job, Najib was exhibiting ominous signs of such insanities as narcissism, megalomania and kleptomania, not to mention pathological lying.

But ever since he was definitively revealed as a major beneficiary if not the mastermind of the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB fraud, albeit identified only as Malaysian Official 1, he’s been acting more and more like Madlaysian Official 1.

Apparently lost in some fantasy world in which everyone will finally come to believe his lies and accept his denials and forget the whole matter.

But, though his Madlaysian cabinet ministers and sundry accomplices in and accessories before and after the fact of the 1MDB fraud and countless other regime-related crimes are still madly ranting and raving in defence and apparent support of him, he’s crazy if he imagines they won’t dump him in a second to save their own skins.

Even Najib seems vaguely aware of this in the dim recesses of his power- and money-mad mind, and has mentioned the possibility of retiring to do some gardening.

If only this dream could come true for not only Najib, but also for every other criminally loony national leader still currently at large, and that the garden in question could be enclosed in a special-purpose, high-security asylum.

It’s a thought that makes very good sense. For one thing it would mean that the untold millions of victims of misrule by these nutcases would be saved the heartache, expense and danger of seeking asylum in alternative countries led by comparatively sane people.





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Mass-debating same-sex marriage.

What a political wank this Australian discussion on the issue of same-sex marriage, otherwise known as marriage equality, is turning into. The Labor Party appears to be in favour of it, but, having formerly advocated putting it to a plebiscite of the Australian people, now opposes a plebiscite because the Liberal-Nationals Coalition wants one.

And clearly the Lib-Nats wants to fob the decision off to the plebs to avoid an embarrassing divorce between its left or small-‘l’ liberal faction and its faux-liberal right or rather wrong wing.

So, while the Coalition may rule, confusion reigns. Especially since the double-dissolution election that Prime Minister Turnbull rashly called to shaft a troublesome Senate has rendered him even more electorally impotent than before.

Confusion reigns in my mind too, I have to confess. Not about whether I personally approve of same-sex marriage, of course. Like anybody else in his or her right mind, I believe that people of all sexual persuasions should be legally free to marry – or not marry – whoever they please.

And that preventing them from doing so, whether by legislative fiat or weight of public opinion, on whatever pretext, from defence of alleged ‘family values’ or fear of giving offence to so-called ‘religious’ or other sensibilities, is a vicious example of what the great liberal J.S. Mill decried in On Liberty as ‘tyranny of the majority.’

It also seems pretty clear to me that the majority of Australians, for a variety of reasons, have no desire to tyranise their fellow citizens in matters of sex and marriage.

But I’ll bet most of them are as confused as I am about why this of all issues should be singled-out for putting to a plebiscite.

There don’t appear to be any proposals for plebiscites on any other pressing matters that we have elected parliamentarians to decide on our behalf, like the budget, for example, or whether the renewable-energy industry should continue to be starved of funds as long as the Coalition has the word ‘coal’ in its name.

So why a plebiscite on, of all burning issues, same-sex marriage? And while we’re on the topic of confusion, what the hell is a plebiscite, actually? The same as a referendum, only different, or what?

Whatever. The point here being that, as far as I and a good many other Australians are concerned, the mass-debate about marriage equality has been going on far too long. And before we all go blind or grow hair on the palms of our hands, federal parliament should put an end to it in a single legislative stroke.


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Bring on the b’kinis!

In a blow for fairness, freedom and good sense, the top French administrative court, the State Council, has stripped towns on the Riviera of the right to ban women from wearing the so-called burkini or burqini.

About 30 towns had banned the wearing of this head-and-body-bag on their beaches on the grounds that they pose a risk to public order in the wake of the recent terror attack in Nice, and transgress secular French laws against the display of religious symbols.

As Islamic as the garment is clearly designed to be, however, it is not exclusively so. As Australian designer and owner of the burkini and burqini trademarks, Aleda Zanetti has been quoted as claiming, many of her customers are non-Muslim women who wish for reasons of their own to shield their bodies from public sight or their skin from exposure to the sun.

In any event, the whole ban was ridiculous, as vividly illustrated by a recent newspaper picture of two French police, both fully-clad in their uniforms, booking a woman on a beach for allegedly being overdressed.

And if it’s not ok for women to cover-up in the sea and on the sand, what about all the surfers disporting themselves on the billows and beaches of the world in full-body wetsuits?

Personally, as secular, indeed atheistic as I am, I would be delighted to see a great many people of all religious and other persuasions covering-up their far-from-bikini-standard bodies with burkinis/burqinis, for aesthetic rather than theological reasons.

For example, I’d be delighted to see streetwear extensions of the b’kini concept for people sporting pot bellies, flabby butt-cleavages and sundry other similarly unbearable sights.

And of course the range could be extended to the barkini or beerkini for big drinkers, the brrrkini for concealing the unsightly bulges and sundry other bodily blemishes of drinkers and non-drinkers alike in chilly weather, and of course the bedkini to enable them to look their very best in the sack.

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