More Mores!

Further to my recent fumings about all the forces unfairly ranged against us cigarette addicts, ‘Butt-out anti-fag nags’ and ‘And now, cigarats!’, I’m absolutely chuffed at the chance to blow some good news your way.

Michael, my old friend, good neighbour, and fellow buffer against anti-smoking huffers and puffers, arrived back this morning from his getaway with his partner Amanda to the UK, Eire and France, and presented me an entire carton of my all-time favourite, flavourite cigarettes, the RJ Reynolds brand More, that he’d bought for me duty-free on his stopover in Dubai.

Though admittedly, following a seemingly endless nicotine-free flight, and in any case having run-out of his own preferred brand by the time he’d successfully sneaked the consignment of my favourite coffin- or at least coughin’-nails through customs for me, he’d been so absolutely gasping for a gasper that he’d had to break-open the carton and one of the packets of Mores and help himself to a few.

But how could I possibly be such a drag as to begrudge him a mere sample of his present to me of so many more Mores that I’d had the chance to feast my eyes on, let alone looked forward to luxuriating in lots of lovely lungfulls of, in living memory?

Of course there are countless anti-smoking snoopers and other such wet-blankets and wowsers out there just dying to snuff-out my and Michael’s enjoyment of the odd More by drawing our attention to the admittedly undeniable drawback that the name of this, my favourite brand, rhymes with ‘mort’.

Which, of course, besides being the French word for ‘death’, has mournful echoes in similarly sinister English words with Latin and Gallic roots, like ‘morbid’, ‘moribund’ and ‘mortician’.

But, thank goodness, hard-core smoke-suckers like me and Michael aren’t fazed by such linguistic coincidences, and so, as soon as my old friend gets his breath back after his trip,  I look forward tremendously to resuming my regular Sunday-morning meetings with him at the local cafe, whose owners, smokers themselves, have reserved a special, sheltered and secluded spot in which we can’t be fined for indulge our filthy habit, and hearing his hilarious tales of his travels and travails.

Over a large cappuccino or two and a More or three or four, naturally, until my smuggled supply runs out and Michael has to revert to his 100-milimetre Horizons and I to my cheap-but-nasty Choice rolling tobacco, unless we can somehow, by hook or more likely by crook, get our paws on some more Mores to stick in our maws, not to mention in anti-smokers’ craws.

 

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Malignancies must go.

Malignancies are very much on my mind as I write this, as my beloved youngest sister, Mercia, was only yesterday diagnosed as having one that was massive but possibly hadn’t yet metastasized, and thus was rushed into surgery in the hope that it could be removed before it could become life-threatening by growing even bigger, or spreading out of control, or both.

And now, following an apparently successful operation to remove this growth, it’s a matter of waiting and watching to see if the surgeons really did manage to cut it out in the nick of time.

But meanwhile, comforted by the fact that my she is under the most expert possible surgical, medical and nursing care in hospital, and in any case still too semi-conscious from the anaesthetic to be allowed phone calls or visitors, I’ve been passing the time while I wait for news of or from her by thinking about malignancy in many of its manifestations.

Not in its medical manifestations, of course, as currently afflicting my sister and countless other cancer-sufferers around the world, as I’m far from qualified to so, but in some of its moral, political and other forms I’m more familiar with.

This project, of course, inevitably puts me in mind of Malaysia, which is notoriously so riddled with the cancer of corruption as to boggle the mind, due to its chronic infestation by a gang of malignancies posing as Magnificencies claiming that they have been chosen by Allah to lead the nation.

When in fact these human tumors, from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his Umno/BN-regime cabinet ministers on down to their millions of illegally public-money-supported minions in the mainstream media, Muslim ‘religious’ authorities and all the so-called civil services, are steadily draining the very life-force out of Malaysia and its populace.

And there are no apparent protections against the depredations of these high-and-mighty malignancies, let alone a remedy for ridding the nation of them for once and for all, as the very agencies supposed to act as antigens against them, like, most obviously, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), are actually on the malignancies’ side.

So that Malaysians’ hopes of relief from this sick situation, aside from foreign help that seems forever possible but never actually arrives, seem to be pretty well nil. In fact the only course of action available to the people in their never-ending plight is, apparently, at least according to one of the very malignancies they’re afflicted with, to get over it and ‘move on’.

In the process of arrogantly advocating this course of action to the Malaysians in an interview with French news agency AFP just this week, Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Muhamed claimed that Malaysia ‘must move on’ from the 1MDB scandal, adding that ‘we’ve learned many lessons and are moving forward.’

‘Essentially we have to move on and have confidence that a number of issues that came to the limelight as a result of 1MDB will at some point be behind us.’

Whatever that was supposed to mean, except that Mustapa had forgotten to take, or else taken too much of and overdosed on, his psychiatric medication, is anybody’s guess.

But at least he had the clarity of mind to then tell the outright lie that clearly tell the outright lie that ‘we have the authorities to go after those responsible for creating the mess. The law is taking its course.’

The law, at least as far as Malaysia is concerned, is doing nothing of the kind, of course, as the magnificent malignancy responsible for creating the mess has long ago arranged to have himself and his accomplices declared entirely innocent of anything whatever.

And as for the idea of ‘moving on’ in general, most of us critics and opponents of Umno/BN malignancies all the way back to the premiership of Dr M for malignant Mahathir, have no intention whatever of forgiving, forgetting, getting over or moving on from any of the regime’s literally countless financial scams, or indeed any other related scandals like the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu or the deeply-suspicious death of Teoh Beng Hock while in MACC custody.

Nor are any of us planning to ‘get over’ the ever-malignant, ever-ruling, ever-drooling-for-more-loot regime’s latest financial atrocity, the multi-faceted rip-off of Felda settlers, or, for that matter, even slightly impressed by Felda chairperson Shahrir Samad’s lame attempt to euphemise  massive thefts from Felda as ‘leakages’.

And as for malignancy-in-chief Najib’s recent efforts to

create a benign new image for himself by means of a ridiculously staged event billed as ‘the first National Transformation 2050 (TN50) town hall session’ in front of a hand-picked audience of stooges and aired ‘live’ by a regime-owned television station, forget it.

Najib’s antics like claiming to be ‘nervous’ in this so obviously staged situation, and having the gall to so stupidly and obviously lie that he ‘really didn’t know what would happen tonight, good or bad,’ or whether he would be stumped for answers simply demonstrated one more time that he’s as incurably mendacious as he’s dangerously, indeed terminally malignant.

And thus, for the sake of the survival and future health of the Malaysia, he and his fellow Umno/BN ugly growths must be surgically or otherwise removed from the nation’s body-politic without further delay, if necessary, or indeed, as far I’m concerned preferably, without anaesthesia.

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Inughuration Day.

The inauguration this Saturday 21 January 2017 of Donald Trump as President of the United States is as ugly an augury as possible for the United States of America and the rest of the world.

As evidenced by the plethora of protest-marches planned for the day both in Washington and many other cities and countries, Trump is the least popular incoming US Commander-in Chief in living memory.

And no wonder, since this former host of the gruesome ‘reality’ TV show The Apprentice, and now apprentice president, has outraged every group of people he possibly could with his barely-coherent rantings on stage, on air, in his rare interviews with selected media organisations and, of course, on Twitter.

And this twit even got his tweeting wrong recently by firing-off a message intended for his wife to another Melania in some other country

Speaking of Melania, of whom I know virtually nothing except that some time ago she shamelessly plagiarised a speech given long before by Michelle Obama, I have nothing else against her save the fact that she’s the latest symptom of Donald Trump’s slavish psychological obsession with everything Slavic.

This curious foible or fetish is amply-evidenced by not only the fact that Melania is the third in a series of near-identical Eastern-European blonde bimbos he’s considered sufficiently worth slavering over as to be marriage material, but also by his apparently endless infatuation with Russia and the power-crazed current head of this corrupt and inept kleptocracy, Vladimir Putin.

All of which seems so bizarre that I’m amazed that the penny or rather rouble hasn’t dropped with conspiracy theorists that he could well in real if not TV reality be a KGB operative named Trumpski, and thus the first Russian agent to not only successfully and safely breach US security, but to actually run for and seize the Presidency into the bargain.

But whatever, as mad about Russia as Trump so suspiciously is, he is similarly deranged, though in his loathing rather than his love for, a seemingly random selection of other countries ranging from China to Mexico.

Especially Mexico, whose citizens so excite his paranoia by presuming to cross the border in considerable numbers, thus threatening his empty promise to make America great – or what I and many others, on the contrary, perceive as his threat to make America grate – again that he notoriously intends to build a wall to shut them out.

This concept to me is so off-the-wall that it could well all by itself eventually precipitate his inevitable Trumpty-Dumpty-style fall. Meanwhile, however, the rest of us apparently have to put up with being the butts of what seems like a very bad practical joke, or, if you prefer, yolk.

Of course the vast majority of US citizens can’t justly complain, as about 25 per cent of them actually voted for Trump, while another approximately 50 per cent effectively enabled his victory by pathetically failing to bother voting at all.

Nor would we foreigners have any right to be critical of the majority of Americans for thus inflicting this atrocity on us if they weren’t forever big-noting themselves about being far-and-away righteous force for freedom and justice on this-here good ole Planet Earth.

But surely, along with all that superior economic and military might, comes the responsibility to be a force for right. Or, to put this another way, a super-power has no business letting itself decline into some second-rate stupor-power.

Whether by covering itself in self-inflicted shame, futility and failure, as most atrociously in living memory in the Vietnam war but also in countless conflicts since, or by, as now, choosing a President as plainly experientially and psychologically unqualified for the position as Donald Trump indisputably is.

But now it’s a done deal, and we can all look forward, for who the hell knows how long, to his rushin’ around staging mind-boggling displays of his trade-mark combination of monomania, megalomania and naked narcissism, not to mention his notorious edifice complex, as he gets to work on pet projects like draining the Washington swamp and turning it into a Trump sump, engineering a series of global-trade slumps, and generally getting us all down in the dumps.

Or, if you prefer, endlessly blowing his own and his old buddy Putin’s trumpets, treating women like strumpets, and contemptuously dismissing all us critics and complainants as nothing but a babbling rabble of like-it-or-lump-its.

So, hey, here’s wishing every enjoyment of his Inauguration or rather Inughuration Day to the greatly grating Trump/Trumpski himself, and also, of course, to all those right-wing or in other words wrong-wing ‘working’ Americans who saw fit to trump everything from truth and commonsense to their own genuine self-interest by choosing to vote for this lumpen chump.

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Fireworks and direworks.

There’s nothing actually wrong with celebrating such allegedly significant anniversaries as New Year’s and Australia Day with orgiastic explosions of fireworks, I suppose.

In fact I have in all honesty to admit that, even as a grumpy geriatric or mouldy oldie, I’m as childishly capable of having my mind blown by such dazzling displays of Freudian symbolism as so many if not the majority of my our fellow Australians so clearly are.

But on the other hand I must say that my own and our entire society’s collective fascination for celebrating purportedly ‘special’ days with fireworks year after year after weary year also sets-off my ireworks. Or, in other words, totally gets on my wick.

As countless others before and besides me have commented, it seems absolutely crackers not to realise that we’d all get a far bigger bang for the millions of bucks that we repeatedly blow on fireworks by spending the money instead on treating our homeless and otherwise disadvantaged fellows to some sorely-needed good cheer, and ourselves to the joys of sharing our good fortune rather than self-indulgently flaunting it.

Let’s face it, sitting around in our mindless millions gawping at health-and safety-approved fireworks for the highly overrated and extremely fleeting alleged fun of it is a woeful waste and a wank when there are not only so many in our community, not to mention in the wider world, who could far better use all that money that’s going up in smoke.

And then there’s the thought that it seems insensitive in the extreme, if not to say outright obscene, for us to be having such a whiz-bang time watching people-friendly fireworks in spite of the horrific fact that at the very same moment untold numbers of our fellows are being attacked by terrorist groups and regimes with barrages of fireworks aimed at killing, maiming, dispossessing and displacing them.

Hails of bullets, showers of shells, rockets and high-explosive, incendiary and poison-gas bombs in Syria, Yemen and sundry other war zones; and gunfire, explosive belts, car bombs and anti-personnel mines in countless other locations ranging from Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey to Nigeria and South Sudan.

It is something of a comfort, of course, that thousands of people who have survived such direworks are now free and safe to watch the Australia-Day fireworks here with the rest of us.

Unlike so many of those unfortunates who in recent years sought refuge here ‘illegally’ by sea, and have been condemned to languish in detention on islands conveniently ‘excised’ from the official territory of the Australia of which they are actually part.

Such UN-charter-defying denial of entry to these people to a present-day Australia obsessed with celebrating its ‘first’ settlement back in 1788 with self-congratulatory displays of fireworks is, of course, paradoxical in the extreme, considering that, as far as the Aboriginal inhabitants of the country back then were concerned, the passengers and crews of the so-called ‘first fleet’ were boat or at least ship people.

Ship people and indeed, as it turned-out, mostly shit people; racist, rapacious, supremely arrogant and armed with superior fireworks in the form of muskets and cannon, they simply proceeded to declare that they now ‘owned’ the country and to ship-in endless more waves of others just like them to occupy it at the expense of the original, Aboriginal people.

Many of whose descendants thus, rather than joining the majority of us more recent arrivals to these shores in celebrating the anniversary of the day Europeans arrived to annexe their ancestral lands and over the dead bodies of so many of their forebears, choose to mark it as a day of mourning.

Admittedly much has been done, or at least attempted, often with atrocious results, to redress the terrible wrongs wreaked on Australia’s aboriginal people over the past two centuries or so.

But far, far more remains to be done. Starting, I suggest, with making the marking of Australia Day completely Aboriginal in both theme and content, and, for all the reasons I have expressed above, dispensing with the wasteful, distasteful and above all direworks-ignoring fireworks displays.

 

 

 

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Who cares about Malaysia?

This is the question that fellow Australians most frequently ask me, and indeed that I frustratedly keep asking myself, about why I keep writing about Malaysian politics.

And it gets more difficult every week to come up with a convincing reply.

Back when I started in 2006, however, my motives seemed as simply and plausibly explicable to others as they were clear in my own mind.

My main motivation, as I recall explaining in the introduction I wrote for the my first book of collected columns, Mad about Malaysia, was to make some meaningful contribution to the country that my wife, daughter, extended family and a great many good friends and valued colleagues called home, and in which, though a foreigner, I was temporarily welcome to work.

Less altruistically, but just as sincerely, I also felt driven to be involved with, and if possible help support, Steven Gan, Prem Chandran and their staff in their courageous  struggle to ensure the survival of their inspired creation, the country’s first source of true news and independent views in living memory, Malaysiakini.

These days, however, now that Malaysiakini is no longer merely surviving but mightily thriving, and my wife and daughter have long-since embraced life in and become citizens of Australia, it’s not so easy to explain to myself or anyone else why I persist in writing columns calumnising the criminal regime that’s still apparently endlessly running and in the process ruining Malaysia.

Mainly what keeps me persisting in this frustrating and thus-far utterly futile endeavour, of course, is my feeling of sympathy, solidarity and comradeship with all those intrepid and truly patriotic Malaysians who have chosen to struggle to save their beloved country, not by leaving it and criticising its criminal misleaders from a distance, but staying at home to fight.

But despite their fighting with all their might, and my own and others’ efforts to support them from beyond the battle-lines if not out of sight, the vast majority of Malaysians are still apparently failing or refusing to see the Umno/BN blight in its true lying and larcenous light, and so Malaysia remains in a terrible plight.

As the head of the blatantly Umno/BN-biased Election Commission (EC) Mohd Hashim Abdullah lamented recently in a laughable attempt to portray himself and his officers as politically-impartial, that 4.2 million Malaysians citizens who are qualified to vote have not taken the trouble to register, and millions of those who have registered can’t be bothered turning up on election days to cast their votes.

What Mohd Hashim failed to mention, however, was that a great many voters have become hopelessly cynical about and thus alienated from participating in the electoral process by the EC’s shameless manipulation of constituencies, which are constitutionally required to be of similar voter-population size with a maximum permitted variation of 20 per cent, but currently range from around 5,000, as in the blue-ribbon Umno seat of Putrajaya, to 150,000 or more.

The Umno/BN-regime apparatchik and propagandist was also using his regret at low levels of voter registration and turnout as a distraction from the lamentable reality that in many electorates a great many of those who do both register and show-up to vote only do so in the expectation of receiving gifts or outright cash payments for supporting Umno/BN candidates.

So clearly, if posed the question ‘who cares about Malaysia?’, Mohd Hashim Abdullah would have to answer, in the unlikely event that he was honest, ‘not me’, or at the very least, ‘I do, but not nearly as much as I care about myself and my meal-ticket, Umno/BN.’

Another Umno/BN bigwig working hard this week to convey an illusion of care for the country more than for himself and his own privileged position as a prominent member of the poisonous Umno/BN regime was attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Despite the universally-known fact that he was promoted over the politically dead body of the former AG to pander to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s dire need to be declared innocent of any larcenous intent or even meaningful involvement in the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial misappropriation and money-laundering scam, Apandi had the gall to hector his audience at a Conference of the Attorney-General Chambers’ Legal Officers in Malacca on the topic of corruption.

‘Corruption is like a termite infestation that will slowly weaken the country without the people realising it,’ he thundered, as if his own legal officers, like the rest of us in Malaysia and around the world weren’t aware that the Umno/BN regime he represents, or rather misrepresents, wasn’t a nest of the nation’s most notoriously voracious – and at the same time least veracious – political termites.

Just as former Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib ‘The Termite’ Mahmud, built a multi-billion mound of money by illegally chomping his way through his State’s rainforest-timber resources, Najib, emboldened by getting away with his scandalous Scorpene Submarine-related atrocities during his term as defence minister, and a number of allegedly illicit amorous or in other words ants-in-his-pants antics dating back far longer, he has devoted his time as prime minister to systematically white-anting the entire nation of Malaysia.

With the aid, support and protection of his hordes of sycophants in government, the judiciary, the police force, the ‘mainstream’ news media, the aforementioned electoral commission and all the other civil services, he has consumed countless billions of Malaysian people’s rightful shares of public money and natural resources, and undermined as many as possible of Malaysian citizens’ civil rights and legal protections.

Yet there he was this week trying to kid attendees at the Prime Minister’s Department monthly assembly that the recent and current string of graft charges against civil servants ‘is a reminder that those in government must not take away what rightfully belongs to the people.’

The rest of us know very well that this just another Najib-style lie to conceal the fact that those being targeted for corruption are either small termites, or slightly larger termites who have made the mistake of failing to pass the expected cut from their country-consuming scams up the line to the termites at the top.

So, who cares about Malaysia? Certainly not Najib, whose premiership has been a disgrace and a source of shame to the nation, and certainly not his partners in crime like Apandi, Mohd Hashim Abdullah and other members and cronies of the Umno regime. Which leads me to the conclusion that it’s up to all the millions of Malaysians who claim that they care about Malaysia but do nothing to show it, to finally summon-up the interest, energy, integrity, courage and whatever else it takes to demonstrate that they truly do give a damn about making a difference.

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Centrelink to get its come-uppance?

Here’s hoping that finally, following media revelations that Centrelink has been harassing and bullying thousands of other age and other pensioners besides me half to death, and some allegedly even as far as suicide, that this ogre of an organisation and its fascist tactics are to be officially investigated.

As I’ve blogged with no discernible result before, in pieces like https://deanjohns.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/taxattacks/ and https://deanjohns.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/dieyoubastardbutnotyet/, being a ‘client’ of Centrelink feels like serving hard time on death row in some kind of high-security Centreclink.

Or, in other words, like being punished for being so presumptuous as to claim payments for which we’re perfectly properly entitled.

Of course there must be the usual greedy minority that try and treat Centrelink as though it was Santalink, but that’s no excuse or justification for monstering those of us who are honestly and genuinely needy.

Here’s hoping that now the penny has finally dropped with the dreadful Turnbull government that its nickel-and-diming of pensioners whose pittances may have been overpaid instead of clawing-back the billions squandered on fraudulent ‘training’ colleges, and evaded by both domestic and international corporate tax-dodgers, is finally costing it lots of votes, that some long-overdue action will be taken against Centrelink. Preferably while I’m still alive to see it.

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Library lib.

Wandering up Australia Street Newtown on the way to get our morning coffee fix the other day, my wife and I spied what looked from a distance like a doll-house, bird feeder or even some kind of religious shrine, affixed to a brick wall on the corner of a side-alley.

Our curiosity piqued, we took a closer peek, and spied through the glass front door of this gabled and gaily-painted structure that it housed not doll furniture, birdseed or offerings to spirits or divinities, but books.

Free books, in fact, as a plaque proclaimed this attractive structure to be a ‘Street Library’ giving passers-by the opportunity to ‘Take a book. Give a book. Whatever. Enjoy!’

Such liberal, indeed libertarian sentiments are far from surprising to anyone who’s familiar with Newtown. In fact ‘whatever’ seems to sum-up the whole suburb and the easy-come, easy go attitudes of its inhabitants to pretty well everything from lifestyles, fashions, hairstyles and bodily decoration to forms of substance use and abuse, sexual preferences and expressions of gender identity.

And there’s even a restaurant in Newtown, the brilliantly-named ‘Lentil As Anything’, that serves fantastic vegetarian food for which patrons are free to pay however much or little they can afford, even if it’s nothing at all, and nobody even monitors the amount you put in the honesty box at the exit.

So the ‘Street Library’ concept of free books didn’t strike my wife and I as in any way surprising. After all, there’s such a glut of good used or pre-perused books in Sydney that some people put their excess volumes in boxes out on the footpath with ‘Free’ or ‘Take Me’ signs on them.

Then there is the wealth of municipal and other public lending libraries with no joining or subsequent membership fees and whose books – not to mention DVDs and magazines – can be borrowed absolutely free of charge as long as they’re returned on time.

And most if not all of these libraries also extend their services to free home-delivery and pick-up of books for borrowers who are too ill, old or infirm to leave home.

Then, for those of us who are perfectly able to get to the library and back, but, as in my case you don’t much enjoy spending hours browsing among all the books because you can’t smoke while you’re about it, or also like me you find it painful to return those extra-special books you’d love to keep for yourself, there are endless sources of books on sale for next to nothing.

My favourite places to buy cheap books are opportunity shops, or op-shops for short, of which there must be thousands around Sydney run by charities dedicated to giving some donated goods away to clients in dire need of them, and selling the surplus at a profit for the purpose of funding their good works.

I drop into op-shops whenever and wherever I can on the chance of picking-up more bargain books, but my regular shopping-circuit around Sydney’s so-called Inner West is pretty much confined to the Vinnie’s (St Vincent de Paul), Red Cross, Cat Protection Society and St Luke’s shops in Newtown and the Salvo’s (Salvation Army’s) store in Marrickville.

And it’s amazing how many great reads I manage to find at prices ranging from 25c on up to $2 each or 3 for $6.

So, to return to the point of this piece, the charm and interest of Street Library my wife and I spotted in Newtown was not so much that it provides free books for both the taking and either giving back or keeping, as we’ve long been patronizing a similarly free but much bigger book-swapping facility that we check-out every week when we buy our groceries at Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre.

What struck us as so special about this Street Library was how much loving care had clearly been lavished on its design, construction and decoration, plus the fact that it also carried a most endearing dedication.

‘Jason Daley Memorial,’ this message read, with added cryptic comment that ‘he dug a good hole.’ Compared with such grave remarks as ‘RIP’, ‘At Rest’ and all those other commonplaces, not to say clichés, customarily employed to mourn the sorely-missed, this struck me as highly distinctive.

And, into the bargain, so replete with double meaning, that it put me in mind of the kind of deliberately ambiguous or confusing clues with which Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, G.K. Chesterton and countless other writers of classic crime fiction contrive to throw us readers off the scent.

I’ve been wondering ever since what kind of digging Mr. Daley did. Did he dig as in excavate holes in the road, or trenches for cables and pipes, or graves, or goldmines? Or was he a golfer who played so badly that he dug holes as in divots out of the fairways and greens?

Or, on the other hand, maybe he was given to digging in the hipster sense of comprehend, appreciate or enjoy, in which case the good holes he dug would likely have been watering-holes, or in other words pubs and clubs, or even, for that matter, fishing or swimming holes.

Intensive research could well reveal the solution to this mystery, but unfortunately, though I have any amount of time for it, I don’t have the patience.

One piece of research I have done, however, has been to take a look at the web address emblazoned on the Street Library in Australia Street Newtown. And if you take a moment to visit www.streetlibrary.org.au too, you could be as delighted as I was to learn that this neighbourhood book-swapping idea is catching on all around Australia.

You can buy a Street Library through the site, or instructions as to how to build your own. The whole idea being to place it on your own property, but within easy reach of people strolling by on the footpath, for the two simple but satisfying purposes of sharing the joys of reading and creating connections within your community.

I sure dig the whole idea of Street Libraries, but unhappily my wife and I won’t be setting one up anytime soon, as the landlady of our  flat would definitely not dig our digging holes in its front wall. So we’ll have to settle for sticking to our same old ways of practising library lib, in the hope that one of the Street Libraries that we visit in the future to ‘take a book, give a book, whatever, enjoy!’ will be yours.

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