Saturday, July 23, 2011


From the Scribe’s desk, for the week ending Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Shocking Event

If the indolent avian who is supposed to scratch together this weekly blog had been doing his job, and had done it yesterday when he was supposed to instead of idling away the hours on all sorts of other eruditions, we would not be leading the column with an item on the Norwegian outrage. But he didn’t, and so we are.
    The events in Oslo and nearby on Friday prove yet again – tragically – that lone madmen, or small groups of the same homicidally dysfunctional people, are a great and potent danger to us all. This one, apparently a Norwegian, seemingly has links to the mad anti-immigration, anti-Muslim fringe of the Norwegian (and pan-European) far right.  A so-called jihadist group elsewhere claimed responsibility for the bombing of central Oslo, but madmen of that provenance customarily claim to have done things they haven’t, in order to boost their visibility and to fool themselves that they are relevant rather than pointless.
    It defies belief that anyone could perpetrate an outrage of the sort just visited on Oslo and the poor young people attending a political party youth camp on an island near the Norwegian capital, many of whom are now dead. The shame of it is that the perpetrator is not in the morgue or lying bloodied under a blanket in a paddock in the cruel pornography of violent death with which, via modern communications, we are these days constantly assailed. Instead, the man has been arrested and we shall now have to endure months – possibly years – of legal process and argument presented for and against him.
    He has no argument he can reasonably advance in his own defence.  There is nothing that can excuse, explain or justify homicidal mayhem. There is no social or political cause that justifies meting out vile, shocking, terrifying death to anyone, whether by terrorist bomb or by multiple gunshots. That is the only lesson we can try to draw from these events. It is a message those who advocate or perpetrate terrorist violence – everywhere, of every stripe and including in Indonesia – must learn if they wish to be regarded as members of the human race.
    It is said that to meet their actions with a reaction in kind is to be descend to their level. Rubbish. It is they who have put themselves beyond the Pale. We are not a deadly threat to our communities; they are.

Be a Dhal, Dear

On to happier things: there’s an active and very useful Facebook-based group here in Bali that promotes “Bali Clean and Green,” which is the mantra adopted by Governor Made Mangku Pastika in his quest to clean up the island.
    A lot of it concerns the plastic and other waste that overburdens Bali and, unlike banana leaves, won’t quietly and harmlessly biodegrade in the watercourses and the undergrowth, as in the old days. There is of course a raft of national laws that proscribes polluters, corporate and private citizen alike, and the practice of selfishly and illegally discarding pollutant products. These are not enforced because Indonesia – and Bali as part of it – is adept at passing laws and equally so at ignoring them afterwards.  Acquiring the energy and interest to actually implement and enforce laws, and to stamp out the venal low-level corruption that prevents this, is the real imperative.
    But life is always better when attended regularly by risibility. And so it is that we can advise – courtesy of our good friend Tricia Kim, jeweller of renown, party girl of fine repute and, like Hector, a member of the Facebook group – that we can all help save the planet by eating lentils instead of cows.
    Apparently lentils selflessly die to feed us at far less an impact on global warming than beef cattle. So there you go – be a dhal and save the planet.

Wuffled Feathers

The Empire must be dead! This week the British Prime Minister, a chap who was educated at Eton and Oxford and who, despite the politically driven desire to be viewed as untoffy by the common man, could never manage the swallowed vowels or glottal stops now favoured by the Pommy herd, stood up in the House of Commons and pronounced furore (fuh-rorh) as few-roar-ray.
    Still, poor David Cameron was under a bit of pressure, in the fallout from the Murdoch shambles and his astonishing decision when opposition leader to appoint former News of the World tabloid fixer  Andy Coulson as his spokesman and to take him with him when he moved into No 10. The News of the World is now defunct, as it should be. Rupert Murdoch has been revealed to be an 80-year-old man (surprise!). A grubby newspaper and its grubby practices have created a political crisis.
   Cameron is certainly at the centre of a furore. Political cupidity always – eventually – catches up with people. So it is no surprise that he has been discomfited. But few-roar-ray? Never!

Des Res Designs

Here at The Cage we are in the early stages of working up our next Des Res Acquisition Programme (DRAP). Well, we’ve been where we are for four years and we’re out of paperclips or something. Plus the present digs have a lot of steps. These are no problem at present but, with the passing of an unknown though implacably finite number of years to come, may be in the future. As well, apparently, we need one more room. The Distaff has explained why this particular specification is essential and Hector’s happy with this – anything for a quiet life. He’d settle for twin basins in the bathrooms, but he has always been accused of lacking domestic ambition.
     As part of the extensive “pre-decision to proceed” process – everything’s so codified nowadays – we have commenced examination of stock on the market. We have all but ruled out building a new place, since neither of us is sure our blood vessels could stand the strain. Thus we are seeking something with a view, in a quiet area, with proper plumbing and reasonable construction, at an affordable price.
    Early research indicates that the property we really need does not exist. Unless we're living in it. Just a thought. However, as with shoes in your size and preferred colour and design (“I really like these shoes. They’d be great in a different colour with smaller heels, an open toe and a thinner strap”) the search will go on.
    Phase II of DRAP involves selling the existing des res – which really is desirable and, after much work on our part, also a residence – to someone who wants something with a view, in a quiet area, with proper plumbing and reasonable construction, at a price we will feel disposed to accept.
    For Phase II we are staying out of the hands of realtors, some of whom seem only to be interested in stinging you for Rp2 million a month – OK, that’s only $227 Australian, but it’s still dosh down the gurgler – for “marketing” that may, or more likely may not, be visible.

Layer, Layer

Winter is upon us on the Bukit. Yes, we know this will surprise those of you who live in places where actual winter exists, or if in Australia, a pale facsimile of same, but our bit of Bali juts out into the Indian Ocean at the southern extremity of the island proper – we’re only joined by a mangrove sandbar for goodness sake – and in July and August the breezes can strike you as a tad on the cool side.
    We were out for dinner last night – just locally, at our favourite little spot, Gorgonzola on Jalan Raya Uluwatu, a mere 10-minute fright away, where the pizzas are so good that they attract taste sensationalists from Seminyak – and we had to put on something under the something we were wearing to keep out the night chills.
    It has nothing whatever to do with advancing years. Anyone who suggests it has will be sentenced to an indefinite term of helping us up our steps (see above).

Hector is on Facebook (Hector McSquawky) and Twitter (@Scratchings). He writes a diary in the fortnightly Bali Advertiser and the lovely people at The Yak magazine link this blog to their online site


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