Bunker bunkum day 114

Tini + me Oct96 008

Me in 1996 while I was living and working in Jakarta. That’s the housekeeper at my lodgings, Tini. She was so nice, couldn’t do enough for me, especially when I caught typhus. I mention this as I remember how fantastic Indonesians are (in Bali and Java anyway, all I know). If you get a chance to go, don’t hesitate. You’ll love Indonesia.

Another beeeyootiful day. Only 15C max, they tell us, but the sun is warm when you’re in it. I’ve been to the doctor this morning and one thing i showed him was two small lumps on the side of the right hand ring finger which get as itchy as hell if I scratch them. He told me they are chillblains! I haven’t had those since I was a boy. I  remember getting them on my ear lobes and pinnae in cold weather. They dried up and the top layer peeled off in those days.

This morning he showed me that it’s poor blood circulation, shown by whiteness under the skin on that side of the finger and other parts of my hands. Remedy – either massage your hands, or wear gloves, or buy warming pads, the type where you mix two chemicals together in plastic to get an exothermic reaction. It hardly seems necessary, it’s not that bad.

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My visit was to see the results of my 3-monthly blood tests and the news is not good. My HbA1c is up to 10, whereas I’ve had it down as low as 7 (good control) a year ago. My cholesterol is also up from around 2 to 4. That’s still under the “bad” line, though. The answer is very obvious, eat less, lose weight, exercise more. I don’t understand the cholesterol change. I never normally have any trouble with that. I mentioned that in the past few months I’ve been following web advice to take a teaspoon of MCT Oil, Medium Chain Triglyceride. It’s supposed to boost your energy levels. I hardly noticed anything so I’ll pour that down the sink.

I feel my diet is OK. I never eat junk food, I usually only eat two meals a day (skipping lunch) and what I eat is healthy stuff. But, too many carbs, including beer, and too much sitting. Yeah, writing these posts. I may have to quiet down.  Ha.

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PB140015

Beijing 2014   © PJ Croft 2020

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Taking her lunch home? Joking – anyone who loves dogs is OK with me.

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Huh? Say again?  Beijing 2014  © PJ Croft 2020

China is a worry. I have nothing against the Chinese people, but their government is a Communist Party military dictatorship and they show repeatedly that they  are bare faced liars, hypocrites, oppressors and their word can not be trusted.

They said today that Australia must stop interfering in their affairs (i.e. Hong Kong) and breaching international law, yet they’ve shown no respect for the 1997 agreement with the UK government and the HK people. Anyone should have known this would happen. The Chinese government simply cannot be trusted or dealt with on a normal level. They breached international law by their annexation of the South China Sea islands, yet despite the ICJ ruling that it is totally illegal, they thumb their nose at us.

We’re in a difficult position. Australia, and Western Australia in particular, is hugely reliant on the Chinese buying our iron ore. Hugely! Any disruption to that would cause massive dislocation here.

That means we have to grit our teeth and be as polite as we can, while still standing up to them. It’s not easy, given the slanderous bile coming from the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

Surveillance of Chinese students here, industrial spying (and every other kind), insertion of Chinese agents in political organisations here (especially Liberal Party groups), one Chinese member of our federal parliament whose loyalties are questionable, political donations to MPs and party functionaries (in expectation of influence, of course). The list goes on.

The clear message is, China is an enemy of Australia and is not to be trusted in the slightest.

What gets me about the Chinese government in all these tactics is that they don’t have an ally in the world, except maybe North Korea. Every country in Asia would oppose them in any conflict. I shudder to think of a military clash, but even though China has 1.4bn people and massive nuclear armed forces, India has 1.3bn people and massive armed, nuclear forces too. Add in this country, Australia, which although small, has some pretty potent firepower and it’s well trained and led. Then add Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, then the US and Europe and you have a very powerful counterforce. China would be mad to start anything. The problem is, they are mad.

The other thing is that history shows that oppression and evil never wins in the long run. How long the long run is, who knows, but the two world wars showed the way. Throughout history every attempt by tyrants to rule the world loses in the end, usually with the tyrants’ death.

Not much point in thinking or talking about this, is there?

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There’s a good article by Paul Keating (former Australian PM 1993-96 and the best PM Australia has ever had, in my strong opinion) in The Guardian today about the Superannuation Guarantee Levy. This is a scheme introduced by Mr Keating which started in 1993 with a small levy on employers of 1% of the employee’s salary to go into a superannuation fund for the employee’s retirement. The levy was to be slowly increased by 1% each year to a maximum of 12%. The whole idea was to take the load of age pensions off future governments and to give the employees a better income for their retirement.

It also had the effect of building a large fund to be invested on behalf of the employees in Australian businesses and enterprises. That fund stands now at around $3trn – that’s three trillion dollars.

Of course, in 1993 the employers objected mightily and predicted the sky would fall. In fact, nothing of the kind happened and the levy reached 9% while I was still working in 1999. But then it stalled when Liberal governments got in. Now it’s supposed to start moving up again, by 0.5%. Again, the right wingers are saying it’s the wrong time.

The problem is, for employers there’s never a right time. I was active in the union in the 1990s and I remember the National Wage Cases well. Every increase was vehemently opposed by the employers. Even when business conditions were the best in many decades, they predicted that any increase in employee wages, however small, would ruin them. It was so predictable.

Paul Keating points out all the fallacies in his article, including that one of the loudest opposing voices is David Murray, chairman of AMP. That company was shown to have committed serious breaches of ethical behaviour, amounting to some criminality in the 2000s and onwards. Their management, led by Mr Murray now, lost me almost all my $20,000 investment in AMP shares. Their management for the last 30 years has been abysmal. Time after time they were led into rotten investments by their top management until the shares fell from around $20 to their current level of about $2. What a fool I was to think they were blue chip. So Mr Murray can just shut up.

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Edifier 1

I mentioned my Edifier computer speakers a few days ago as being marvellous for the money. I got an email from a local computer firm referencing these – these are the big brothers to my desktops. They’re still quite small, but big enough to consider using them for main hi-fi speakers, having an amplifier of 120W per channel built in. They are wireless too and remote controlled. The only problem is, $1039 per pair. I must admit I would like a pair!

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I forgot to mention – War of the Worlds on SBS last night, first two one hour episodes. Phwoooaaar, I loved it. This is my kind of program. I was tense and uptight, it was that good. It’s a silly story, of course, an attack from space, but it still makes a great story.

And it was all the better for being a European TV production. No stupid Yanks. I’m hooked.

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