CNN is having no luck

This time CNN interviewed the Hamas spokesman in Lebanon. The reporter asked him if Hamas would comply with a truce if one can be arranged. He said that he has heard of no truce and that there is a holocaust in Gaza. For a religion which consistently denies that there ever was a Holocaust, they sure help themselves to the term when some of their own are killed.

I really don’t think that the death of around 400 Gazans, the vast majority of whom are militants, can be described as a holocaust.

As a spokesman this Hamas fellow was abysmally incoherent and refused to answer the questions asked by the CNN reporter.

The desperate reporter tried to get some sense out of him, and asked him if Hamas was prepared to stop firing missiles into Israel. He did not answer but continued raving. Finally she just had to give up.

Perhaps she realised what Israel has always maintained. There really is nobody to talk on the Hamas side.

I look forward to seeing whom CNN will interview next time.


Tesltra re re re revisited

For those of you who are not familiar with the company called Telstra, this is Australia’s primary telephone and internet supplier. It also has a partnership with Foxtel which is the cable company for cable TV and this part is owned by Rupert Murdoch. I think that most of you have heard of Rupert who used to be an Aussie but for financial reasons is now an American citizen.

These two companies, Foxtel and Telstra, seem to have generated more complaints than anyone else in business in this country.

We too have had our “fair” share of problems with Telstra and Foxtel and I have vented my frustrations with them on this website.

This morning, the Telstra technician replaced a modem which Telstra had supplied to us about four months ago. I do hope that will result in an uninterrupted internet connection. Fingers crossed… or is that wires?

Telstra cometh not

Twas the day before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring.
Especially the technician from Telstra.

He was supposed to come between the hours of 7 am and noon to replace a modem. At noon we phoned Telstra and were put through, after the initial long waiting period, to Ruis in the Philippines. He assured us that the technician was on the way and would be with us in half an hour. Was there anything else he could do for us?

I have a growing list of things that Telstra can do for us, all of it requiring the flexibility of a contortionist.

We sat down to wait and then the phone rang. Telstra had overbooked its technicians. They didn’t know how this mix-up could have happened. Why would they? I was not in the least surprised by their ignorance. Could they reschedule for next Saturday morning between 7 am and noon?

I’m beginning not to mind as much as I used to, because even if they come they can’t fix the ruddy problem.

Problem with Telstra continues

Internet, oh internet, why are you in such a mess?

We have had problems with our server, Telstra’s Bigpond, for some months now. They blamed it on poor cable connecting and so new connecting screws were put in by Telstra. We were warned that it may not fix the problem and that we would have to have an amplifier installed. That took another long week of waiting for it. It was installed and things improved for a short time. Now we have problems again and as I write, my husband is waiting in line to talk to Telstra to ask for help.

That will mean waiting many more days for someone else to call to see what can be done. I wonder who dares describe Australia as a developed country when we have Third World broadband? Service is abysmal here and it’s so difficult to get proper help from Telstra.

I would phone the head honcho of Telstra myself to beg for help, but I probably would not get through on account of technical glitches.

Inspiring results from a refugee from Afghanistan

At a time when all we get in the news is sadness, it is wonderful to read about the success of an Afghani refugee who came to Australia five years ago. Shaheen Hasmat spoke only a few words in English when he arrived in Melbourne and yet he has achieved brilliant results of 99.8% in the VCE. He will now accept a scholarship to study Medicine at Monash University.

By the way, his older brother was also the dux of their high-school the previous year. There’s no question that this is an admirable family and yet I am not surprised by their scholastic achievement.

When I looked at the results of the top students in Victoria, it was clear that many of them are Asian or from other foreign backgrounds. This is what I have observed in my own teaching career. In Sydney, the newly-arrived Asian girls would win many prizes including the prize for English. Some of the teachers would resent that but deep inside I felt great pride for the Asian girls because I knew what it felt like to be a newcomer.

It would be wrong, however, to claim that genetically the foreign students are smarter. I am convinced that their devotion to studying has to do with being an immigrant. People who have had a hard life in their old country want their children to have a better life in the new one. That is why they encourage educational achievement in their children. And it is a reality also, that in some cultures, educational achievement is more respected than in others.

I remember my parents always telling me when we arrived in Australia, ”they can take everything away from you but they can’t take your education. You will always have that.”

As migrants feel more and more at home in a society and less of a new kid on the block, they seem to be less ambitious in academia. This is a generalisation, of course, and there is always the exception to the rule.

While their immigrant parents were hungry for acceptance and urged their children to take education seriously, the pressure decreased on the next generation. That’s the way of the world. We all know what they say about the third generation of newcomers.

As time went on and the newcomers became more accepted in their adopted country the need to excel in education was replaced by other ambitions like quality of lifestyle, interest in sport etc. It was inevitable that the hunger would diminish. Many of these poor immigrants had to do well to win a scholarship to university or they would not be able to attend. That was no longer the case with the children and grandchildren.

What I am really saying is that when things come easily to you, you don’t appreciate them, but when you have to struggle, then the struggle often leads to more success. I believe that the school of hard knocks is the best kindergarten for life. Just ask the Afghani family who will not only have a good life here but will also benefit other Australians.

I offer my hearty congratulations to Shaheen and his family.