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.

Good news about Telstra

Today Telstra has been dropped from the Government’s broadband tender. As I said in many, many previous posts about this terrible company, it was very foolish of Telstra to attempt to blackmail the government.

We personally have had so much trouble from Telstra and its mate, Foxtel, that I was wishing that Rudd would tell them to get lost. Let’s hope that he sticks to his guns.

Monopolies are dangerous because they don’t have an incentive to provide good service. Well, they don’t have to if they are the only hombre in town, do they?

For more information on all our woes with Telstra and its sidekick, Foxtel, I invite you to do a search on this website about their abysmal treatment.

“I’ve loved you so long.” film review

I’ve always wondered what ETERNITY feels like. Is it a vast nothingness that goes on forever? Well, I’ve just had a taste of it and it is oh so boring… Remember when Elaine in “Seinfeld” commented on “The English Patient” with Kristin Scott Thomas being so long and too slow? Well, this time Kristin Scott Thomas stars in a film that makes “The English Patient” look like an action movie starring Bruce Lee.

“I’ve loved you so long” is one of those movies that impresses film festivals. It has won awards. But the story is predictable and it is related in a slow and “artistic manner” that offers the audience tapas of facts. Little bits here and there and we find out why Juliette has been away for fifteen years and is out of touch with present society.

Is she a mean and nasty murderer? There are no surprises in this film, but we are left with a lot of questions. Knowing what Juliette knew, why did she not present the facts at her trial? Nobody would have given her a life sentence, so the whole plot is rather weak. It is as if the director wanted to milk the situation for every drop of sympathy.

I nodded off occasionally because of the relentless slow pace. There were thousands of close-ups of Kristin Scott Thomas as she sat around and said nothing. So many moments of silence!

One felt like shouting “Get on with it already!”

Yes, she acted quite well and she will get more awards because pretty actresses who removes their make-up, or put on weight or put on artificial noses to make themselves ugly inevitably win an award. Hollywood loves actors who do that.

You watch Brad Pitt win a prize for making himself look a hundred years old in his latest release.

I won’t tell you any more about “I’ve loved you so long” because, quite frankly, there’s nothing more to tell. The best thing about this film is that even if you get an uncomfortable seat at the cinema you will still nod off and get some gentle sleep. Take my advice, do some post-Christmas shopping and have yourself a little nap at the movies. I promise you that even insomniacs will be cured.