Tests for dills as well as pills.

At the risk of possible unpleasant social-media side-effects, I can’t resist injecting my two cents’ worth into the debate that’s currently raging in Australia about the desirability or otherwise of on-site testing of illicit pills to try and prevent the deaths of small numbers of teens who dose themselves with dodgy drugs at music festivals.

And I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with the advocates of such testing, as there’s a body of evidence, mostly, I understand, from overseas, that it reduces the incidence of kills and lesser ills that are apparently caused by prohibited pills.

But I’d go even further and have not just teams of chemists on hand to test the pills, but also squads of shrinks to test attendees for the purpose of identifying and ejecting those whose psych scores rate them as such dills that they can’t get their thrills without stuffing themselves to the gills on potentially poisonous pills peddled by callous criminal shills.

One of whom, on her recent court appearance on a pill-pushing charge, had the hide to plead for the kind of mercy she had so conspicuously failed to show her customers, on the grounds that she was working as a dealer to help her parents cope with a family financial crisis.

The unfortunate police and security personnel saddled with the thankless task of putting the chill on the music-festival drug-trade must have their absolute fill of such such swill from the kind of pill-pushing swill they get to grill after catching them with supplies of their  merchandise concealed on or inside their persons.

And it must also sap their will to know that, like the most recently-deceased pill-dill allegedly did, a good many festival-goers take the precaution of buying and getting themselves flying on their suspect pills prior to entering the event.

A fact that suggests that there should be blood-testing for entrants in addition to chemical testing to determine the content of pills and psychological testing to identify at least some of the dills.

And not just the dills likely to take pills, but also the parliamentary dills like those in the New South Wales and other governments devoted to duping themselves and the rest of us into denying that pill-testing can help reduce the toll of lives that pills keep taking.

The same ‘con’ as in ‘conservative’ and ‘coal’ as in ‘coalition’ governments, in most cases, that are similarly devoted to dopey denial and defiance of the increasingly dire evidence of man-made or at least man-contributing climate change, and also of the fact that own gross mismanagement, incompetence and/or corruption and continued support for the the irrigation of cotton and other disastrously water-wasting crops are as much to blame for the shocking condition of the Murray-Darling and other river systems as the drought is.

The same governments, at least in New South Wales and federally, that, whether or not they get ever get around to supporting pill-testing, not to mention renewable-energy power generation and honest, efficient allocation of our scarce water resources, are both soon fated to face their ultimate political dill-tests in the form of elections.

And as far as I’m concerned, their virtually inevitable failure of these political pillocks to pass their electoral dill-tests will be as deservedly a bitter pill for them to swallow as it will be sweet for the majority of us who are devoted to not only advancing Australia, but doing so fairly and equitably for not just all of us and both our fellow and aspiring Australians, but also for our nation’s priceless social and natural environments.

 

 

 

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Feelings of age.

Having just turned 76, I’m afraid I’ve reached the stage at which there’s no longer any point in kidding myself or anybody else that I’m anything but elderly, washed-up, past my use-by date, living on borrowed time or whatever other expression you can think of for my state of near-terminal antiquity.

But as geriatric as I admittedly and all-too-evidently am, I find I can’t yet resist the temptation to go on trying to geriatrick myself and others into thinking that I’m still neither useless nor youthless.

For such efforts to fake the facts instead of facing stark reality, I have to blame, or thank, depending on how it strikes you, one of my favourite philosophers, the late, great Groucho Marx.

As you may be aware, it was Groucho who had the wit to reject the proverbial wisdom that “you’re only as old as you feel” in favour of his personal adage that “you’re only as old as the woman you’re feeling,” then proceeded to demonstrate that this might well be true by surviving and thriving until the advanced age of 85, or 10 years longer than either of his two most famous brothers, Chico and Harpo.

So, though with the sole retrospective reservation that the “woman you’re feeling” part of his axiom now strikes me as unnecessarily sexist or, if you prefer, politically-erect, and could well have been more politically-correctly expressed as the “person you’re feeling”, I thought it was well worth adopting.

And I must say it’s worked a treat for me so far. Because by this reckoning I’m only as old as my wife, who in Groucho’s heartfelt opinion took 29 years off my then age when I fell for her when she was just 22.

So that now, 25 years later, thanks to the feelings we’ve had for and of each other ever since, I feel not at all like the senior citizen of 76 that I actually am, but more like an admittedly none-too-sprightly and far-from-sightly 47.

Now, if only I could fool myself further by convincing myself I was only as old as not just the person I’m feeling, but all the persons I catch sight of or run into that I can’t help feeling like feeling, but failing because they clearly feel more like fleeing.

Not that I blame them, you understand, as most of them appear to be in their 20s, and thus see me for what I all-too-evidently am: old enough to be their grand-fathers, and thus a spectacularly undesirably if not disgustingly dirty old man.

Which, while admittedly not a great feeling, I figure is preferable to the only alternative I have to look forward to at my age:  declining from a dirty to a dotty, or, even less desirably, deceased, defunct, or in others words dead old man, and thus incapable of feeling anything or anybody ever again.

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Free from mind-fucking, Malaysia-style.

No offence intended by this headline to the finer feelings of any any sensitive or sanctimonious reader who happens to have strayed to this site.

As obscene as it may seem, the term ‘mind-fucking’ was rendered quasi if not quite respectable by the late Fritz Perls, founder of the Gestalt school of psychotherapy, to describe and deride deliberately confusing or misleading double-talk.

Like, by way of contemporary example, US President Donald Trump’s trade-mark practice of falsely declaring the awful truth about him and his madministration to be ‘fake news’, and indeed like his every utterance about just about any topic whatever.

Or like the fraudulent case argued by Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and the rest of the rabble of self-serving Brexshiters for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and then the mass debate that is still raging two years after the flawed referendum that ‘decided’ the issue.

But at least there are some laws and institutions in the US and UK to provide the sane majority of their citizens with some prospect of mucking through and eventually even bucking all the mind-fucking.

Whereas in Malaysia, the country whose politics I recently decided to cease writing about after 12 sanity-sapping years of churning out calumnious weekly columns, and about which my Malaysia-born but now Australian wife recently completed and submitted a highly-critical PhD thesis, the people seem to be totally and permanently at the mercy of a multitude of unmitigated and utterly shameless mind-fuckers.

Foremost of these being the nation’s former Prime Minister and leader of the corrupt 60-year-ruling Umno/BN regime, now reincarnated at the age of 93 as PM and head of Umno/BN’s allegedly reformist former opposition and now government, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope).

PH has increasingly been dashing people’s originally high hopes for a new Malaysia, however, by proving suspiciously slow with promised reforms, and both slow and highly selective in its efforts to bring corrupt Umno/BN members and cronies to justice.

And even less hopeful is the fact that Mahathir’s component party of the PH coalition, Bersatu, is not only as Malay/Muslim-exclusive and thus potentially disastrously socially divisive as the dreaded Umno, but has also been admitting deserters from the disgraced Umno/BN regime into its ranks.

Thus leading many of us to suspect that Mahathir is on a covert mission to, as I’ve said before, to re-form Umno/BN rather than to reform Malaysia following decades of robbery by this rotten regime.

Robbery of not just countless billions of the nation’s cash and natural resources, but also of most of its people’s constitutional rights and legal protections and even, by means of a system of official lies, propaganda and mis-education, of their right minds.

But as I said up front, that’s more than enough from me about the mindfucking of Malaysia, and if you’re interested in any more details of this traditional and apparently continuing process, I suggest that you subscribe to the excellent newspaper for which I was previously privileged to write, Malaysiakini.com

Meanwhile, now that I’ve given-up the mind-numbing task of columnising, and almost recovered from the mind-freaking experience of twice proof-reading my wife’s 75,000-word thesis on a particular aspect of the mind-fucking of Malaysia,I’m free to exercise what’s left of my wits on writing about the wider world.

Much of which, like, by way of just a few examples, China, Russia, North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, not to mention most of Africa and Central and South America, is even more fatally afflicted by mind-fucking systems and styles of alleged government that even Malaysia is.

But first, now that the silly season of Christmas and New Year is over, and things are about to get sillier still as a federal election looms, I’ll doubtless be concentrating my efforts on my native Australia.

Where my mission is to, as the local flocks of crows put it, fark, fark, fark the facts-of-climate-change-faking, in-favour-of-gas-fracking, fear-of foreigners-fomenting, fat-cat-favouring and yes, fair-dinkum-mind-fucking con as in conservative, coal as in coalition government that we’ve been stuck with for far too farking long.

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(Anti) social media.

I find myself increasingly anti the so-called ‘social’ media for the simple reasons that they’re so time-wasting, distracting and, most dire of all, appallingly anti-social.

Not that I’ve sampled them all, or ever will, as I’m alienated enough to be going on with from the only two of them I really know, Facebook and Twitter.

The latter because avoiding any medium of communication with ‘twit’ in its name, and, from what I’ve seen, with far too many millions of twits among its users, the most notorious of them being that pathologically lying nitwit-in-chief, Donald Trump, simply has to be a no-brainer.

And as for Facebook, I’m totally, or, if you prefer, terminally fed-up with the thing. First and foremost because in all the years since I foolishly followed the fad of opening an account with it, and all the countless ‘friend’ requests I’ve accepted on top of the very few I’ve sent, it has never, ever even gone close to generating a genuine friendship.

Even the relatively few attempts I’ve made to convert potentially interesting new contacts into real, live acquaintances if not actual friends by suggesting that we communicate directly via email instead of some stupid, user-unfriendly Facebook function like messaging, writing on each others’ walls, trading ‘pokes’ or whatever, have all utterly failed.

So, in view of both this false claim to foster friendships and also the evident falsehood of far too many of its users’ alleged profiles, I long ago came to think of it as Fakebook.

Or, in light of the fact that a great many friend requests come from people who are not just blatantly obvious fakes but such flakes as to fancy they can fool me into falling for their fetching pictures, Flakebook.

For some reason right now there seems to be quite a frenzy of such Facekooks fiendishly sending me friend requests lately that it’s become a total Farcebook.

And so, having spent hours some months ago trying to delete the damn thing and failing, I’m hoping there’s some socially-minded IT genius out there who’s on the brink of coming up with an app that can achieve Faceblock.

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Textual healing.

Having laboured long and hard this week on the textual healing, or, more conventionally speaking, editing of the 230-page manuscript of a close associate’s academic treatise, I’m sorely in need of some textual healing of my own.

Because as gladly as I agreed, indeed volunteered for this process of nit-picking another’s work for the purpose of improving if not possibly perfecting it for final printing, I can’t concentrate on it for too long at a time without taking a restorative break.

As I’m doing here and now outside a local cafe over a large cappuccino, and, whenever I can be bothered walking far enough away from other patrons to legally smoke one, a cigarette.

But, as much of a tonic as a change of scene and a double dose of caffeine and nicotine can be to the tedium-numbed brain, the most effective tonic is proving to be the turning of my mind to the composition of this blog.

After all, I’m a writer, not a righter of the wrongs of other writers’ writing. In fact ever since I was an advertising copywriter, I’ve had a horror of causing others the kind of anguish I’ve suffered at the hands of self-styled copy-righters.

And the more I’ve taken to entertaining myself and even a few readers by employing puns, double-entendres, homophonic neologisms and other forms of wordplay in my work, the more unwilling I’ve become inflict on other writers the outrageous indignities I’ve suffered at the hands of the spelling and grammar police.

Like SpelChek or whatever this accursed automatic ‘corrective’ function is called, for a start, as it has an infuriating way of changing my intentionally-invented near-words and non-words into their close conventional equivalents, thus rendering my message meaningless until I go back and manually change everything back again.

Then, of course, the version of the copy that I’m finally content with has to go to a sub-editor on its way to publication, and an insensitive or slow-witted sub-editor can do even more damage, if possible, than even SpelChek is capable of.

And in the spirit of the virtually universal ethical requirement to “not do unto others what we would not have others do unto us”, I hate the thought of passing such disappointment on to fellow writers.

But now that I’ve managed to get that off my chest, in the process being a little creative if not creazy in aid of my own textual self-healing, I see it’s high time I got back to acting like the kind of heel that presumes the right to heal the wrongs of other writers’ texts.

Or, if you prefer, to, however unwillingly provide proof of the truth of the proclamation by the great H. G. Wells, perhaps prompted by the realisation that his classic War of the Worlds ran a hellish, indeed single-l-ish risk of having its title amended to War of the Words by some sub-editing idiot, that “no passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft”.

 

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Kids strike back at the kidders.

For years now, the fossils and fools in Australia’s Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison government have been shamelessly flaunting the ‘con’ in ‘conservative’ and the ‘coal’ in coalition in their craven efforts to kid us all that, despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, global warming has nothing to do with the continued combustion of fossil fuels.

And their dogged persistence in this ploy despite clear evidence from public polls, not to mention their disastrous defeats in the Wentworth bye-election and the Victorian state election, that a growing majority of voters are angrily rejecting being force-fed a load of rubbish on this and other similarly burning issues, demonstrate that they show no sign of learning their lesson.

So it’s altogether appropriate, to my mind, that thousands of schoolkids are abandoning their classes today in favour of protesting against being treated like fools.

And altogether fitting that the 15-year-old fellow student who’s inspired their protest, Greta Thunberg, made her courageous stand in her native Sweden.

Because Sweden, along with all the other Scandinavian nations and Australia’s infinitely more enlightened neighbour, New Zealand, regularly rates at or near the top of world rankings for freedom of the press, freedom from corruption and freedom from economic and social inequality.

In other words, as every student either is or should be aware, these nations are true liberal democracies, in contrast to those like Australia, at least under the current    neo-liberal, con as in conservative or fake-liberal ‘Liberal’-Party coal-ition, are actually plutocracies run by and for the benefit of the rich and filthy rich, or, in other words, illiberal doughmocracies.

But, as slow a learner as he and his accomplices in global-warming denial so evidently and indeed deliberately are, Scott Morrison aka ScoMo, or as I think of him in view of his apparently incurable penchant for dissembling, deception or outright lying, ScamMo, has no answer to the kids’ striking rejection of his kidding but to instruct them to be “less activist”.

Admittedly ScamMo and his other members of his alleged government couldn’t be less activist however hard they tried, as they’ve demonstrated by their antagonism to action every possible front, from tax reform through the royal commission into the banking and finance industries that has finally been held over their metaphorically dead bodies, to the establishment of a federal commission against corruption and, of course, any recognition of the existence of, let alone any initiatives to combat, global warming.

But at least the Education Department appears to be doing its proper job, which is, of course, to inform and encourage students to think and act like intelligent citizens, as so many of them are so admirably doing all around Australia today, rather than simply instructing, indoctrinating, disciplining and training, or, if you prefer, deaducating them, as ScamMo and his accomplices would so clearly prefer, to now and forever behave like nothing but docile, dutifully obedient and above all easily-kidded nit-witizens.

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Terima kasih, Malaysiakini!

A thousand thanks to Steven, Prem and the entire Malaysiakini team for the pleasure and privilege of being published by such a courageously independent newspaper for the past 12 years.

Many thanks too to the countless Malaysiakini readers who were prepared to put up with what some others considered my presumptuous interference in their country’s political affairs.

And my heartfelt gratitude to the many Malaysian activists, from Antares,Din Merican, Jaya, Kim Quek and Zunar, to name just a few, to my late, great friend Bernard ‘Zorro’ Khoo, who so kindly welcomed me as a comrade in arms.

But in the course of writing over 500 columns I feel I’ve finally repeated myself so many times, and played-around with so many words in attempting to make my point that their meanings can’t be taken for granted, especially when they’re deliberately misused by misleaders, that I run a grave risk of wearing-out my welcome.

The word ‘grave’ in the previous paragraph serving as an urgent reminder that I’m at an age at which I must be fast approaching my last rites, and had better get a move-on with my last writes.

Which, now that I’ve spent so much time contemplating and typing in hopes of playing some small part in righting/writing wrongs in the now former Umno/BN regime’s version or rather perversion of Malaysia, I’m increasingly impelled to devote to excoriating evils elsewhere.

Or, come to think of it, almost if not absolutely everywhere. As, by way of the most arguably extreme example, in China, or what I personally think of as Chaina, in view of the fact that the country’s fake Communist Party keeps well over a billion of the world’s most intelligent and industrious individuals in chains of secrecy, lies, censorship and now even a form of the formerly-reviled capitalism, in a soul-destroying, mind-numbing, minorities-persecuting so-called ‘People’s Republic’.

And the same Communist Party, or, considering it’s a  complete con, Conmunist Party, is now in the process of striving to buy and bribe as much as possible of the relatively free world into its clutches with chains of debt, a grandiose so-called ‘belt-and-road’ project, and South-China-Sea military bases.

Then there’s that resentful remnant of Chaina’s former rival for leadership of totalitarian Conmunism, the USSR, now reduced to a Russian Federation run by and for the benefit of corrupt oligarchs, organised crime and Putin and his accomplices in the Kremlin, or rather Krimelin, that’s hell-bent on trying to regain its former alleged glory by committing war crimes ranging from the shooting-down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 and forcibly annexing now-free components of its former empire to aiding the atrocious Bashar al-Assad regime in its massacre and displacement of dissident Syrians.

Plus, of course, like or maybe in cahoots with Chaina, using the http://www.web as a weapon with which to wage cyber http://www.war on the West and the rest of the world.

Thus, for example,striving to skew if not outright screw elections in favour of their preferred parties, candidates and decisions, as they are most notoriously and compellingly alleged to have done to bias the Brexshit vote in favour of the UK’s disastrous decision to leave the EU, and to help elevate the dreadful Donald Trump to the US presidency.

How much credibility, cash and clout Brexshit will cost the UK and EU when this dumb and dud deal is finally done remains anybody’s guess thus far.

But there have already been any number of deplorable developments in the the US aka the Home of the Brave since Donald ‘Draft Deferment Due to Bone Spurs’ Trump became its Commander-in-Chief, as well as in the world at large.

There’s been Trump’s suspiciously close cozying-up to such crooked if not outright criminal autocracies as Putin’s Russia, Erdogan’s Turkey, Duterte’s Philippines and the Salman clan’s Saudi Arabia; his simultaneous distancing of himself and the US from countries like Canada, France, Germany and many other genuine democracies; and his apparent indifference to, if not entire ignorance of the existence of, most nations in Africa, Asia and central and South America.

With the exception of Mexico and other countries whose citizens threaten to head North to the US, of course, against which ‘invasion’ he’s still promising to build a wall.

Meanwhile, his much-vaunted trade war with China/Chaina threatens to drag-down the global economy, and the American jobs he claimed he was waging this war to bring back from offshore keep on departing for greener or at least cheaper pastures.

And though North Korea hasn’t been so naughty Korea as to fire missiles toward the US since Trump’s vastly over-advertised and self-praised ‘summit’ with ‘Little Rocket Man’ Kim Jong-un, it is apparently still working towards going nuclear as fast and furiously as ever.

Then there’s the fact that, as if Trump’s personal foreign policy wasn’t sufficiently shambolic as to dash America’s chances of his making it great again on the world stage, back home he’s making a mockery of the Land of the Free by fighting a perennial pitched battle against some of its chief and most cherished guardians of freedom, the independent news media.

And worst of all, Trump and his administration’s spreading of fake news about everything from the media to the evils of environmental destruction and global warming is encouraging other similarly misguided governments, like Australia’s current con-servative Coal-ition, for one, to be similarly dangerously derelict in their duties.

In short, now that Malaysia is in far better shape than it’s ever been, and doesn’t need, even if it ever did, my interference on its behalf courtesy of Malaysiakini, it’s time I turned my columny and calumny in other, more dire directions.

So once again I say terima kasih to all concerned, and fondly wish Malaysia and its citizens semoga berjaya di masa hadapan, while also cordially inviting anyone who’s interested in keeping in touch to drop by my blog from time to time at https://deanjohns.wordpress.com

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