Put a Sock
in it, Sue,
a Good Girl
According to Sue Holder, one among that febrile international collective known as the Schapelle lobby, bad karma is headed The Bali Times’ way because we’re mean and spiteful and write headlines (such as “Corby ‘Home Detention’ Plan a Step Closer”) that are disrespectful to the lady. They’re not, and no one who took an objective view would suggest they are.
In fact there’s one word for the constant mewling of the Holders of this world. It begins with b and ends in t and for readers challenged by colloquial and coarse terminology, there are six letters between the b and the t. The fifth letter in the word is s. Corby herself, and her family and the international supporters’ groups that have coalesced around her cause celebre have milked the world media for years, promoting the view that Corby is an innocent victim of a Balinese scam.
We learn from our feedback line, from Holder herself, that she hates The Bali Times. Well, that’s her choice. She still reads us, apparently. Perhaps this is so she can get into a tizzy now and then and believe that by doing so her life acquires meaning. Good for her.
For the record (we restate this – again – for the benefit of ephemeral readers and Holder): Both The Diary and The Bali Times editorially believe Corby’s sentence was manifestly excessive and that part of the reason for this is that her loud family and her worldwide groupies made such a fuss about the legal process. Indonesian law is just that: Indonesian law. And in any jurisdiction, public reticence and private representation together generally provide a far better route to a solution.
A prisoner exchange agreement between Indonesia and Australia has been in the works for a long time. If it eventuates – and it should, and soon – it would, or could, have benefits in both directions.
Corby and the other Australians currently cluttering up Indonesian jails could go home to detention in the Special Biosphere. And dirt-poor Indonesian fishermen who are only trying to scratch a desperate living from waters in Australia’s economic zone could be sent home instead of winding up in Australian jails because they have no hope of paying multi-million-rupiah equivalent fines such as those imposed (as they must be under Australian law) by Darwin magistrates, as we reported last week.
We saw a sad little post on Facebook last weekend, from Ric Shreves, leading light at the excellent web design and social media operation Water & Stone. He said he was disappointed with the ethics – lack of – and performance of business in Bali.
Well, we’ve all been there. It’s a familiar scenario – not only in Indonesia but everywhere – and we do sympathise if Shreves has had some recent experiences that took his exposure to the malfeasance of others beyond the norm.
In business especially, and we should note that this is particularly so in Bali, the landscape overflows with people who exist on plausibility, profit from resultant gullibility among those they gull, and who invent all sorts of reasons why other people should meet the expenses they themselves so assiduously avoid.
But it prompts consideration of a curiosity of human nature. If malefactors spent as much time doing their day jobs as they apparently do conniving and scheming to unfairly (and often unlawfully) advantage themselves at the expense of others, the world would be a better place. And profits might even be higher.
It’s not solely a modern phenomenon. Gougers and rogues have been among us forever and will always be underfoot. Morality and ethics come from within an individual’s character. In the Age of the Dolt, you don’t have to be bright to get in the limelight or line your pocket.
Speaking of dolts, there’s a chap down at Margaret River in Western Australia – it’s the heart of the whine country, it seems – who has forgotten his manners as well as his brains in some recent comments about Bali.
He’s Simon Ambrose, who is apparently the CEO of the otherwise invisible Augusta and Margaret River Tourism Association (in acronym the AMRTA: it sounds like a collective of South American Guevara groupies) and who says Australians shouldn’t holiday in Bali because it’s a nasty and dangerous place where, if nothing else gets you, the bugs will.
Most of the time the best way to deal with idiot blowhards is to ignore them (Jack Daniels, who in his own search for relevance presented a polemic in response this week, please note) and we shan’t canvass the detail of this little fellow’s complaints, beyond saying that he is clearly playing out of his league.
It’s interesting though that the “vision” through which the 400-odd member enterprises of the AMRTA propose to advance their interests and (putatively) those of their little bit of south-western Australia is a bunch of words that could most kindly be described as Standard Waffle.
“How will we get there... We recognise the most critical success factors will be in our leadership, our people, our planning and our performance. We know the importance of ensuring the ‘right’ product and service for visitors which requires commitment to our Vision from members and support from the wider community. We know we must continue to invest in our assets, be financially sustainable and espouse high standards of corporate governance procedures. We will get there by not losing sight of these imperatives and being focused on our Mission, Vision and Values.”
The Diary will be in Ambrose Land soon. We might have a vintage whine or two while we’re there; but not with Simon.
One of the more tedious elements of modern life is the constant search by so many people to retain the full bloom of youth forever (well, nothing’s forever but you know what we mean). This quest has spawned a global industry – chiefly in the advanced economies as we now know them: they’re the ones that live on tick – and a succession of medical practitioners and scientists, not to mention glossy magazines, who would like you to think that their whole being is devoted to keeping you in your teens your whole life.
So it was nice to read in the American magazine Newsweek, in an idle moment of web browsing, that almost everything you hear about medicine is wrong. Sometimes, even on the greyest of days, a little shaft of light illuminates the gloom. It gave us a hearty chuckle that enriched our day when we read a warning by writer Sharon Begley that alerted us to the danger of whiplash if you follow the news about health research.
Begley noted that according to medical research garlic first lowered bad cholesterol, then — after more study — it didn’t. That hormone replacement reduced the risk of heart disease in postmenopausal women, until a huge study found it didn’t (and that it raised the risk of breast cancer as well). That eating a big breakfast cut your total daily calories, but then didn’t, at least according to a study released last week.
Healthy, tasty eating, sensible exercise (mental as well as physical) and a determination to avoid fads of every kind, and the blandishments of those who make money out of you by promoting them, are surely more life-friendly options. We’re all going to the same destination. It’s far better just to enjoy the journey.
Good On Ya
Among all the gongs handed out on Australia Day (it was on Wednesday) one stood out as of especial interest to The Diary. It was the award of Officer of Order of Australia (AO) to John Dauth, Australia’s high commissioner in London.
Officially he got it for distinguished service to international relations through the advancement of Australia's diplomatic, trade and cultural relationships, particularly with the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and through contributions to the United Nations.
The Diary would add a further excellent reason: He’s a good bloke.
Dauth was consul-general in Noumea, New Caledonia, in 1986-87, and it was in that French-ruled territory that his and The Diary’s paths first crossed. We’ve maintained an ephemeral connection since, fuelled by mutual interests (Dauth’s being official, ours professional) and a shared view that tedious things, and tedious people, are best avoided.
He was once assistant press secretary to Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, the London pad maintained by Australia’s monarch, and press secretary to Prince Charles. For that, a little later, HM gave him an LVO – Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order, one of the few gongs still within the Queen’s personal gift.
Hector's Blog appears as The Diary in the weekly print edition of The Bali Times, out Fridays, and on the newspaper's website www.thebalitimes.com. Print editions are available worldwide through NewspaperDirect.