Palestinians up to their old tricks.

Nobody believes that this latest convoy of several ships carrying “aid” to Gaza was anything but a stunt. This convoy was not typical of the usual contraband traffic that Palestinians and their supporters want to smuggle into Gaza. I bet there was no sign of the usual arms and explosives caches on this trip. Not if it was supposed to be propaganda.

Nevertheless, there was a fight which means that the stuntmen had weapons on them. The rest of the stuff would have been toys and diapers and baby formula, no doubt. The whole stunt was concocted by some Turkish group which is on a terrorist supporters list apparently.

Israel had already given permission for this “aid” to be brought into Gaza by land. It had guaranteed that this “aid” would be delivered to Gaza. Egypt had also given permission for this too. But this would not have served the purposes of this stunt organisation. The convoy was looking for a fight and got it.

The truth is that Palestinians are forever trying to bring in weapons. They do it through the tunnels that they have termited between Egypt and Gaza. And it’s not true that they are smuggling medical aid. We have seen actual footage of plasma T.V’s being brought in from Egypt. These objects are then sold at exorbitant prices to their fellow Palestinians.

It’s all about business rather than humanitarian aid. The tunnels are owned by Palestinian businessmen who lease them out to others.

Egypt has closed its borders to the Palestinians who are troublemakers in that country. That is why there are tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.

In spite of what the Palestinians claim medical aid can be accessed in Israel and many Palestinians get treated in Israeli hospitals. Sure they have to go through checkpoints. After all, Israel must protect itself from suicide bombers. There was recently a case of one Palestinian woman who was being treated for breast cancer in Israel. She complained that she had to show her breasts to a doctor!!

Go figure…

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“Foyles War”. Series 6 fails to impress

To say that I looked forward to the latest series of “Foyle’s War” the way a child looks forward to his birthday party would be an understatement. I absolutely loved the first five series of this television drama and I waxed lyrical about it in a previous blog.

So imagine my disappointment when Series 6 came on the screen a month ago and left the impression of a tired school reunion with all the alumni pretending that they’ve still got it. When they obviously haven’t…

There were only three episodes in this latest series. I wasn’t sorry to see it end. That was a strange reaction for me since I really, really admired the first five series. I even bought the boxed set.

But I won’t be buying this latest series, unless Series 7 renews my faith in the whole thing.

I must admit that I was stunned by the lacklustre acting of Honeysuckle Weeks as Sam Stewart who had been such an asset in the previous series. Even Michael Kitchen in his reprise as Foyle seems to be weary too. The verve is gone. The plots are convoluted and there is something definitely missing.

I suspect that the missing factor is the war itself. This series covers the period after the Second World War and the sense of patriotism and urgency are missing. There’s little excitement and hardly any suspense. Sam Stewart, DCS Foyle and Detective Sergeant Paul Milner look lost and disenchanted as if they are going through the motions because all their fans demanded more of “Foyle’s War.”

What a shame that they could not recapture the brilliance of the past series! I remember that John Cleese explained that he only made 12 episodes of “Fawlty Towers” because he had done what he wanted to. And he did not want to spoil the effect by dragging out the comedy.

It’s possible, therefore, that in bowing to the pressure of their fans such as yours truly, Anthony Horowitz who created the series which was produced by his partner, Jill Green, tried too hard but unfortunately failed to reproduce that enchantment that we had come to expect.

Perhaps Series 7 will be better.

Children deserve the right to be bored

I believe that children’s lives are too structured nowadays. They go to school, where they are organised. After school they have organised after-school activities which consist of extra courses, organised sport or even structured playing with a selected “play date”.

It’s as if someone has to timetable their total lives in case they have some free time to do what they want or, heaven forbid, spare time in which to get bored.

Mankind needs to get bored occasionally so that creative juices spill forth to dispel that boredom. In the same way, children need to invent ways to amuse themselves without having to be constantly entertained by someone else.

I can hear complaints from mothers right now. “We can’t let our children get bored cause they’ll get into mischief. We have to monitor them all day. It’s a crazy world out there.”

The truth is that it’s always been a crazy world and it ain’t going to get less crazy. The best thing you can do for your children is to allow them to develop some self-reliance skills. If they get bored then there’s a good chance they’ll make up some games, do some drawing or even read a book because they feel like it.

Or they may just sit there and reflect. Dream a little. Let their imagination take over.

To have most of your day organised for you is like living in an institution. It is stifling and robs a person of autonomy. I’m suggesting that this is true for children as well.

In an age when imagination has been stifled by force feeding from computers, in byte size pieces of information rather than ideas, I believe that it is more important than ever to allow children to develop their own creative skills. Not all the time. Just some of the time.

Prime Minister Rudd reveals his true self

We are used to seeing the Prime Minister of Australia looking calm and composed. He struts around the place with a benign expression on his face. He joins hospital patients on their beds and promises to cure the sickly Health System.

He puts on a hard hat and inspects all kinds of factories and nods away as if he really understands what the workers are complaining about. He hugs babies and reads primers to school children. All this in front of the media who trudge along behind him hoping to get a glimpse of the real Rudd.

We have been told that he is unpopular with his staff because he screams at them. We are told he puts on a tantrum if he can’t get a blow dryer for his windswept hairdo. We are told that he does a Naomi Campbell impersonation when he can’t get the food he likes on a plane trip.

Until now, this was all hearsay. Last night, however, Rudd showed his true colours on The 7.30 Report on television.

He had been asked by interviewer, Kerry O’Brien, why he had deferred the ETS or Emissions Trading Scheme. Now according to Rudd, climate change is the greatest moral challenge facing this planet. Nothing is more important than climate change and Rudd was going to show the world how to tackle it.

He would be the Pied Piper of Climate Change and the rest of the world would follow!

But then in a shocking about turn that stunned the people of Australia Rudd decided to put off the legislation…for a while.

Well, things heated up as Rudd went on the defensive with O’Brien. All O’Brien had asked was why Rudd had not called for a double dissolution instead of deferring the ETS legislation. Rudd bristled, gave no answer and then called O’Brien “mate” in the same way that Americans call someone “buddy” when they mean the opposite.

I always suspected that Rudd had a Dorian Gray portrait stashed away in the cellar. Last night, our Prime Minister gave his inner self a proper airing. I predict that as the polls continue to go south and Rudd becomes more desperate, we will become intimately acquainted with that portrait.

Chinese-Australian hero portrayed by director’s own white son

Apparently, there is a shortage of Chinese people in the world. That’s according to Geoff Davis who has created a film, “The Legend of Billy Sing”, which is about a Chinese-Australian Gallipoli hero.

Unfortunately, Davis has resorted to casting a white man in the role of Billy Sing’s Chinese father. He then went on to cast his own son, Josh, in the role of Billy himself. Why did he do that? Well, it’s because he couldn’t find a 60 year old Chinese actor for the role of the father and if the father wasn’t Chinese it was okay for the son to be Caucasian as well.

Here we are, Downunder, with a substantial Chinese community in Australia, not to mention the substantial choice of Chinese actors to the North of us. Hasn’t Davis heard of make-up? Of course, that shouldn’t even be necessary!

No wonder the Australian Chinese community is upset that one of theirs has been wrongly depicted. Former Senator Bill O’Chee has commented that he is “deeply disappointed” by the production. “We’ll now have people growing up thinking that Billy Sing was white.”

The Chinese community have every right to complain about this misrepresentation. Anyhow, if Davis can’t get the heritage right how can we believe anything else about the mini-series?

This misrepresentation reminds me of the early film depictions of Jesus who was usually played by some Swedish-looking actor. He certainly stood out when he walked among his Semitic people. I thought we had moved on from that sort of thing.