Chadstone Mall in Melbourne is second-rate

This is a tale of two malls, Chadstone in Malvern East and Westfield at Doncaster. Chadstone is bigger and has recently undergone a makeover. Parts of it are quite elegant because the owners wanted to attract the expensive brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton, but the rest is pretty daggy. The bits downstairs in economy remind me of a jumble sale. How can this be left unfinished? And as I have written before there are few facilities for the shoppers. Lavatories are always dirty and there are no paper towels for those customers who hate the hand-dryers that don’t dry. I hate jobs that are half done. If you are going to do something then do it properly.

To think that we are stuck with second-rate is pretty annoying but if I want to cheer up I take the longer trip to Doncaster where Westfield renovated their mall last year. What a difference! Facilities are good. Digital information signs are frequent. Even when you enter to park in the parking area you are informed how many car parking spaces are left. That is a big help on busy days such as the ones at Xmas time. In Chadstone you just keep going around in circles or in long lines and never know whether your search will lead to a parking spot.

The ambience at Doncaster is much more pleasant. There is dappled light on the roof of the mall. There are frequent resting places with plush armchairs and elegant tables. And as for the eating areas, well, there are coffee shops scattered all over the mall and the designated food hall is much better than the one at Chadstone. Quite frankly it is just better all over because it caters to the customers and their comfort.

I write frequently about malls because I have seen so many in my travels overseas. The reason for this is that malls reflect the culture of the country that one is visiting. They are the agora or forum of antiquity in which people met and socialised.

When I think of what could be and how much we have been short-changed by lazy, greedy or simply incompetent mall proprietors, I become very disappointed, especially when malls like Chadstone claim to be the biggest. Well, perhaps it is, but so what?

It would be better if the developers of the Chadstone Mall aimed to be the best at servicing customers’ needs. I guess they are leaving that to Westfield.


Prince William’s noble sacrifice

Prince William sat back in his plush chair and thought about doing a good deed for the homeless. He could invite them into the Palace but people like that would feel most uncomfortable away from their milieu. A fish out of water and all that sort of thing. One wouldn’t want to embarrass them in strange surroundings. Besides, Granny may not approve since she’s counting the pennies after that infernal fire at Windsor Castle.

William is a caring lad, though, and felt he should do something for the poor at Christmas. Since the homeless could not join him, why not join them for a night? Sleep under the stars and all that. How bad could it be? He would wear his thermals under the casual ensemble selected by his P.A. And it’s not as if he would be in any danger. Not with security discreetly disguised as forlorn hobos as well. Then there would be the cameras and the other media. Quite the entourage.

Granny sprayed him with some homeopathic disinfectant which his father had grown organically. And then the Royals bid him good night for his camping out adventure. William learned a lot on that one night, he told the press, although he did concede that he can only imagine how the homeless truly feel. Really, William?

It killed the cat.

The man upstairs is at it again. To look at him you would be forgiven for thinking he is just a mild-mannered retired orthodontist because all orthodontists have that calm and reassuring manner about them. They have to or their patients would run a mile. It’s the same with dentists for they all belong to the “I know that we have hurt you in the past, but that was before anaesthetics were invented” club. They pretend that the soothing aquarium in the waiting room and the Enya music are going to improve matters. And they have been to courses at the local Comedy Club for dentists, orthodontists and even proctologists on “How to laugh your way through the consultation. It does wonders for your patient.”

Anyhow, be that as it may, my new neighbour is affable and his wife is charming…So far.

The past couple of weeks, though, there’s been quite a lot of activity upstairs. There’s been drilling, hammering, moving of furniture. A general ruckus, you could say.

Yesterday, a huge, huge, tub was brought into our building. It was large enough to hold a body. And it was destined for the apartment above us. It came from a landscape designer, or so we were told when I asked the delivery guys. But you never know, do you?

I’ve watched “Rear Window” and I am an avid pupil of Channel 113, not to mention the Crime Investigation Channel. Well, they teach you all about the realities of life and how you don’t know what’s around the corner. I am quite the expert on forensics now and can blissfully give advice on the use of luminol chemiluminescence to detect the presence of blood on a surface, even when the criminal has been meticulous in his domestic duties after the murder. There’s always just that little speck left between the floorboards, isn’t there?

“That was a large tub, wasn’t it?” I remarked to my husband. He who is renowned for seeing nothing and smelling nothing, told the delivery guys that he would send the lift back down for them. Well, that’s how big it was. We couldn’t all fit in.

“What do you think is going on up there?” I asked when all the drilling resumed this morning. My husband took his time but he agreed to have a look outside to see what sort of vans and trucks were parked out the front. He came back with the newspaper and reported “a garden design firm, an electrician, an interior decorator and a couple of vans without identification on them… Now can I read the paper?”

I don’t know why I put up with him. I’m convinced that God created my husband and then He apologised.

There’s very little to go on so far, but I’ve been thinking about the large tub, the electrician, the occasional sound of water flushing and all that hammering. Could it be hydroponics? Could the electrician have installed some artificial lighting? Could it be what I think it’s for?

I really must give my little grey cells a break. I should watch more of the History Channel and all those relaxing programmes about World Wars and massacring Highland Clans instead of the crime genre. I think it may be getting to me. But you have to admit all that activity upstairs is very suspicious.

Kevin Rudd brings out the big guns at Copenhagen

We know that the Copenhagen Climate Catastrophe is failing when Prime Minister Rudd has to resort to quoting the advice of a six-year old kid called Gracie. When I heard Kevin reading a message from Gracie, I winced, I cringed, I shook my head in embarrassment. I can imagine the “hard-hearted” Chinese delegates muttering “Who is this Glacie?” This sort of stuff is undignified.

On reflection, perhaps it suits the atmosphere at Copenhagen with all those peace-loving protesters pelting one another. Undignified and unsurprising

To conclude that Copenhagen is a total failure is not quite true, however. It has brought lots of cash to the Danish nation. It will bring lots of cash to the Mexican nation next year when the climate change juggernaut heads there.

I wonder if it’s time we referred to the climate change talks as a roadmap???

Iran’s Seasons Greeting

So Iran has successfully launched a medium-range missile and this is worrying the West. Now this is in spite of Iran’s assurances that such missiles are to be used as a deterrent. Tut tut. Against whom, I wonder.

Will the West do anything about Iran’s blatant activities? Of course not. Iran can do whatever it likes. So can North Korea and Zimbabwe, to name a couple of countries that the West is also worried about. Instead, we will turn our attention to discussing the weather. That used to be a safe topic but now we have the zealots out in force defending their new religion. Oh what a farce at Copenhagen!

Some people say that the Iranian missile is a boomerang missile. Science Fiction? Watch this space. Yesterday’s Science Fiction is today’s Science Fact. The good news is that this boomerang missile returns to the place from which it was launched before exploding. Now that is mighty impressive.

A Christmas Greeting or something like it.

This week we received a Christmas greeting from our weekend newspaper delivery guy. We didn’t even know we had a weekend delivery guy until he left an empty envelope beside our newspaper with a bit of paper attached to the outside of the envelope wishing us all the best for Xmas.

It took us a couple of bemused minutes to work out why the empty envelope. Apparently, we were supposed to fill it with a bit of green Christmas cheer. 0/10 for finesse…

This reminded me of what used to happen to us when we first arrived in Australia in the Fifties. During the week before Xmas the garbage collectors or “garbos” as they are known in Oz would wake up the entire neighbourhood with their hootin’ and a hollerin’ at daybreak. The first time this happened we asked our neighbour what it was all about. She said it was to remind us that Xmas is coming and we should leave some cans of beer on the footpath for the garbos. We had to do it or else our garbage would be strewn all over the road… “an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

It was a kind of traditional protection racket and if you questioned its ethics, then you weren’t a good sport. This was then and this is now. That sort of pollution would be frowned on today and I hadn’t thought of it in years until our newspaper delivery guy reminded me of the good old days. lol

Another wall on the Gaza border

What will the world media say about the latest wall being constructed on the Gaza border? I can’t hear any outcry nor complaints from all those who condemned the security barrier in Israel, the one that had to be built to keep out the suicide bombers.

This morning, 10th December, I googled to find any report about this new wall in the Australian media and found zilch.

Why not? Well, because this time it is being constructed by Egypt to stop the Palestinian smugglers bringing all sorts of stuff including weapons out of Egypt into Gaza. The other reason is that Egypt does not want Palestinians entering its country illegally. The wall will be made of steel. It will also go down about 18 metres underground to stop the Gazans from digging beneath it.

It’s always one rule for the Muslims and their supporters and another for Israel, isn’t it? Take the latest attack by “insurgents” on a school in Iraq. Children were blown up in the schoolyard, all victims of their fellow Muslims. I haven’t heard any outrage from the Muslim community. It was just reported by journalists without any commentary.

Very interesting, isn’t it how if an Israeli farts it’s an attack on the environment, but when Muslims massacre their own, it’s quite ok. Perhaps that’s because when a Muslim commits an heinous crime it’s what the rest of the world and the Muslims themselves have come to expect. It’s not a surprise.

p.s Just read an Arab blog which discusses the new tunnel. Apparently this is a ploy by the Israelis to stop the Gazans from smuggling food. Does this mean that the Egyptians are quite happy to see their fellow Muslims starve? Isn’t that what I just wrote about in my blog?

Rudd chases Obama all over the place.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Labor Party in Australia was criticising former Prime Minister, John Howard, for being a minion of the U.S President. Howard was too close to him. Howard should have been more independent, according to the Labor Party. So what is the situation now with Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd?

Last week Rudd went to the U.S to confer with Obama. There have been many such visits to the U.S since Rudd became Prime Minister. Interestingly enough, I don’t seem to hear the Laborites complaining that Rudd is too close to the U.S. Where is their indignation now?

Rudd has even postponed going to Copenhagen until his big playmate goes there later on. In fact, Rudd would do nothing without the approval of Obama and this is amazing for a party that wanted Australia to distance itself from the U.S while the Liberals were at the helm. This is blatant hypocrisy.

Quite frankly, I am of the view that we need to be allied with the U.S and I always thought it was wise of Howard to maintain the bond since we don’t have many genuine friends in our region, but it annoys me when Rudd receives no criticism from the Labor Party for doing exactly what Howard did.

We’ll no doubt hear their outrage if Abbott goes to the U.S. Not that he will in the near future, though, because he is more concerned with what’s happening inside Australia than prancing around on the world stage.