Sakit!

Bali night fisherman. (C) PJ Croft 2019

I’ve been feeling sick (sakit) all week, and not from anything I ate, not Bali Belly. It’s from something I’ve been force fed until it’s made me nauseated, anxious, depressed and hollow. Another three years of this awful, loathsome government. I wrote a Facebook post about it and I’ve been flamed for it by guys I used to work with, calling it offensive. Well guys, I can’t see what you’ve got to be offended about. You voted for this nasty, cruel, corrupt, callous government, not me. I’m the one who is entitled to be offended.

I was tempted to respond and I may still do, but better to let them backslap themselves while they count their money, because that’s all it is. True conservatives, afraid of change. I’m comfortable, don’t change the system, I don’t care about anyone else, I like it the way it is, benefitting me.

In case you don’t get my problem, this is a government that:

  • uses deliberate cruelty on refugees to the extent of suicides and sending them insane (and for the 100th time, it is not illegal to be a refugee);
  • includes climate science deniers;
  • has no policy for climate gas reductions and transition to renewable energy;
  • is demonstrably corrupt;
  • practices vindictive prosecutions e.g. Bernard Collaery;
  • which is even criticised by retired judges for bias and vindictiveness;
  • is in breach of international law re refugees, and is being censured by the UN;
  • has an attorney general who cares nothing for these breaches, i.e. no integrity;
  • who are deliberately suppressing wages for ordinary workers, while at the same time awarding massive tax reductions for the wealthy;
  • who are deliberately reducing the wages of the lowest paid;
  • who have ministers who are utterly arrogant, lazy and incompetent;
  • who have alienated the indigenous people of Australia;
  • who are demonstrably racist;
  • who are out to cripple the ABC, that great Australian institution, because they don’t like being criticised;
  • who are passing laws which target freedom of speech and freedom of association, fundamental to a free society;
  • which includes members who don’t understand the distinction between ‘propriety’ and ‘proprietary’;
  • which included and defended the most biased Speaker in the history of the Parliament until she was forced out by her own arrogance;
  • which is beholden to Rupert Murdoch and will do his bidding;
  • which is backed up by Murdoch’s totally biased newspapers and journalists, the “Catholic Boys’ Daily”. Yet they accuse the ABC of bias!;
  • which deliberately crippled the National Broadband (fibre) Network to suit Foxtel and Telstra, two private companies, one owned by Murdoch;
  • which tried to do a dirty underhanded deal on East Timor, our impoverished neighbours, robbing them of $billions in oil royalties;
  • which interfered with the mail and prevented a letter I wrote to a refugee from reaching him. It is a crime to interfere with the mail, but this govt doesn’t care.

I’ve compiled this list purely from memory. I don’t need to quote anyone else here. I could go on and on; the list is endless, but I rest my case. This is hopeless. I keep thinking of new examples. People have very short memories. You would vote for a government like that?

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OK, what now? I’m already putting my money where my mouth is. I donate at small scale to several activist groups; I subscribe to newspapers and magazines, I don’t just read them on-line for nothing; I belong – to Getup and the ALP; I sign on-line petitions; I inform myself so that I get my facts together and right.

But I think the time has come to do more, to become more active, because it can’t go on like this, unchallenged.

I was accused of being a “militant” last week. No I’m not! Wrong word, Wal. If I were a militant, I’d be out manning barricades, picketing, carrying placards, hurling eggs. I’ve never done that in my life, never even attended a demonstration, but this will have to change.

The first thing I’ll do is start writing letters, real paper letters, to Liberal politicians demanding answers. Tie them up, take up their time. Hold them to account.

By the way, in 2012 I had been doing just this, emailing the Liberal Minister for Health Dr Mal Washer, asking him how he could live with his conscience after swearing to the Hippocratic Oath, yet do and say nothing about the deliberately cruel treatment of asylum seekers, something as a doctor he should have been very concerned about. “First, do no harm.” Remember that, Doctor Washer? I used strong speech and the occasional swear word, I admit, but I was NOT abusive: I don’t need to be, I have enough words.

He never bothered to reply personally, but one day I got a door-knock to find two black suited police officers who said they were from the “Dignitary Protection Squad” to check up on me. His staff had sicc’ed ’em onto me!!

┬áSo much for free speech. So much for Liberal Party politicians’ ethics. (I could say a lot more about what happened, but no time. My rights were infringed, put it that way, but I was tired, a bit sick and too intimidated.)

Anyway, we True Believers now have to become more activated. Like charcoal, we have to burn! I will start attending ALP meetings, doing what I can. I’m not saying I’ll become militant, but activist at least.

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_1030838

This is the last week here in Sanur and it’s been very quiet but fine. Perfect weather every day, even a couple of times when it got a bit cloudy. Almost no rain, once or twice at night.

Gunung Agung erupted on Sunday night about midnight. V said she felt it a bit here, but I didn’t. There was an airport closure due to ash, but it seems to have passed. I fly out next Sunday afternoon.

We’re off to our favourite restaurant in all Bali, the Beach House but what we call Chili’s, because it used to be called the Stiff Chili. It’s right on Semawang Beach at the end of Jl. Kusuma Sari, about 10 mins walk from here. I’m a bit hot when we get there, but it’s instant relief because you get the beautiful breeze straight off the sea to cool down. Not only that, the food is fantastic, the menu extensive, the drinks cold, the cocktails strong and the prices OK. Can hardly ask for more. It’s owned by an Aussie from Melbourne and we’re regulars there now. They also have a head waiter called Wayan who’s amazing. He always remembers me even a year apart and speaks English, Balinese, Bahasa, Italian and a bit of Spanish and French. All self taught, from TV and the customers. My partner speaks passable Italian so they converse like old amicis.

It’s a Mexican night tonight and Happy Hour starts at 5.30pm, so we’ll be off soon. We tried another restaurant two nights ago called Jack Fish, down the lane, but shall I say, so long Jack. Not good enough.

Saya sedih, murung!

My mood right now. (C) 2019 PJ Croft

Shit! Shit, shit, shit!! I am depressed (sedih). How could we have lost the election on Saturday? So badly, too. We Labor people were pretty confident that things would go our way, but to face the prospect of another three years of these corrupt, lying, incompetent, hard right wing Liberals is just too much to bear.

Unfortunately my neighbour is a Lib supporter too, so I have to avoid any conversations. I’m supposed to be going with V to a restaurant here tonight with a couple we met there last Thursday. They made it plain they are Liberal voters and I don’t think I’ll be able to keep my anger in check, so I don’t think I’ll go. In fact I know I won’t go. We don’t know them, we just chatted last week, so too bad. They will be too smug.

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This means there will be further cuts to the ABC and SBS, in line with the IPA agenda, who want these important institutions sold off to private industry. We all know what that would mean.

This constant cutting of ABC funding and attacks on their integrity amounts to suppression of free speech.

There’s a very good article in the Guardian today https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/may/19/its-not-you-bill-its-the-country-is-this-election-australias-trump-or-brexit-moment that opines that this election marks a turning point in Australia, where the country has become divided in the way Trump in the USA and Brexit in the UK have divided those countries. I feel it. The hard policies of the Liberal party are too extreme for me, and truth and integrity are no longer givens. Nor is the “fair go” a given, where it once was. The Liberal party policy has been shown to be wage suppression. “Wage theft” by employers is now a common term. Wage theft! Can you believe it?! Not a day goes by without the exposure of some new fraud by an employer against the employees.

The decline of unions has produced this. For goodness sake, join your union! Do you want to invite your employer to cut your wages? Are you happy to see the ACTU spending its funds from the few remaining members to argue wage cases before the Fair Work Commission and take the results without paying your share? It seems so. Australia has become a nation of takers. Gutless takers, so afraid of industrial action that they sit passively while their rights are abused.

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I’ve moved upstairs to write this, where I can have the aircon on low and overlook the pool. Negotiating the stairs is proving not too bad. I can go up in full steps (holding on tight to the hand rail, of course) and the basket on the rope is proving to be a wild success. V plans to leave it here when she moves out, whenever that is. She pines for the north coast again, and I can see why. It’s cheaper living up there and she has friends there.

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I developed some ulceration on the back of my left leg soon after I arrived, but diligent cleaning, application of Betadine and waterproof dressing has fixed it right up. It’s still covered, but I’ll leave it that way to keep any nasties out. Betadine = good stuff.

Kembali

I’m back after a break, and also back in Bali. This is the start of week two of four. Would you believe I stuffed up again, booking 31 days when I thought I was booking 30. It means I have to change my return flight, so it’s lucky I booked a Premium Flex ticket as I usually do these days. It means fast check in, extra luggage allowance, seat choice and a meal on the plane. The meal isn’t much, but it’s better than nothing.

They’ve increased the penalty for overstaying a 30 day visa from Rp300,000 (~$30) to Rp1,000,000 (~$100) per day! I got caught for this a couple of years ago, not realising that the first and last days are counted, even though you arrive at 10.30pm on the first day. Yes, I copped the fine of $30. I think this is crazy, counter-productive, because it means I and others are extra cautious and book fewer days than we might have ordinarily, thus depriving the hotels of business. Why does the fine have to be so severe for a mistake of a day or two? Why can’t it be a sliding scale? Anyway, I’ll go home a couple of days early, at least.

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I’m staying in our two storey “apartment” rooms, and the stairs are not proving as difficult as I feared. I can usually go up a full step at a time, slowly and with assistance from the solid banister. There are 12 steps to the landing and another 9 to the top. Each step is about 25cm, higher than I’m used to. However, it’s good exercise, and good exercise for the brain too, thinking ahead, making sure I haven’t forgotten to bring anything downstairs or vice versa.

In fact I used some thin rope and a small basket to make a lifting and lowering system. I feel I need both hands negotiating the stairs, so rather than carry anything, I put it in the basket and raise or lower the rope. It works perfectly. There’s a fridge upstairs, so it’s stocked with beer and drinking water. There’s a TV, so I can be entertained and cool and contained.

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Speaking of cool, the pool is four steps outside the door, so I’ve just done my laps for today. It’s about 12m, I think, so each lap is 24m, so 10 laps is a good workout. I started at four or five when I arrived and find the ten is quite easy now, so it’s working.

I’ve realised that all the water inlet jets are at the shallow end, so swimming in that direction is swimming against a current. Going back shallow to deep is faster. OK.

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I’m needing this exercise because my lower back and right hip are hurting quite badly. Add to that the pain from my pronated left foot and I’m hobbling like an old man. Lucky I brought my walking stick because I really need it.

I think it may be because I’m sitting slumped in a chair a lot of the time with no back support. Time to add some cushions. There are plenty.

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I’m able to do this blog because I’m back on the laptop. Stupidly, I forgot the power supply and cable when I came. I’ve been able to use the laptop a bit each day, but only on the battery charge from home, about 4hrs worth with the screen down low.

Today, after a bit of web searching, I went by taxi to the RTC Centre in Jl. Diponegoro and bought a generic charger/power supply for $60. It took a bit of experimenting but the one I bought was charging the battery in the shop while the laptop was on, so that was it, or so I thought.

But when I got it back here to the hotel, fully switched off, when I plugged it in and turned it on, Dell’s Support software kindly came up straight away and told me the charger I’m using is rated at 90W and the laptop needs 130W, so… take your choice, either proceed or get a better supply.

Since I had no choice, I proceeded and the machine booted OK and was both operating and charging, but the power supply was getting mighty hot. These things are rated to 70degC minimum, so getting hot is not too serious, but I decided to turn the machine off and let the battery charge while I had lunch. That did the trick, as everything was cool when I got back. That’s how I’ll have to operate, charge up at night and run on battery during the day. No problem, and I’ll leave this charger here when I go home.

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The hotel owners have built a new restaurant facing the street (of course) and have named it the See U Gen. See you again, geddit? Not sure about that name, but it’s their choice.

They invited us to a small blessing ceremony on Friday morning.

Ladies tend to the shrine at the front.
A priest chants prayers over the offerings.
Centre is Kasih, the vivacious hotel manager, and right is Gopal, a really helpful employee.
These guys asked me to take this pic. They love to show off.