30 September 2010

Tifatul Sembiring -- The Minister for Stupidity & Nonsense...

There is nothing funny about HIV / AIDS and there is nothing funny about Tifatul Sembiring (aka TitS). It would seem that TitS via his Twitter account (@tifsembiring) thought that a joke through a play on the letters of AIDS would be something amusing to send to all his Twitter followers.

Now, AIDS for just about everyone else stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. But, for @tifsembiring it stands for, in Indonesian, Akibat Itunya Ditaruh Sembarangan, which in English means in essence "caused by the reckless putting of one's penis" presumably into places where penis' should not be.

This sort of reminds me of a time way back when, perhaps in the mid to late 1980s, a time when I was just a youngster, and when AIDS was still very much considered "a gay disease". The "joke" then was Anally Injected Death Sentence which was neither funny nor representative of what sort of tragedy was to unfold on a much broader scale, and a tragedy that continues to unfold on a large scale even today in places like Africa.

TitS tweet is offensive, but then it is hardly surprising as he is an offensive man. He is very much a sufferer of PKS or Perennial Klown Syndrome. But, when it is all said and done, his tweet proves that old cliche, "if you have nothing positive to say then perhaps it is better not to say anything at all." Or that other classic, "it is better to be thought of as a fool for five minutes rather than open your mouth and confirm it for a lifetime."

It is pretty sad that the Minister for Communication and Information knows diddly about both the primary elements of his brief. If he was in command of the elements then he would have known that there was no other possible outcome from putting a tweet out there like this than bad.

The Minister needs to exhibit a little class, and show a little remorse for making a joke of, and mocking those that are suffering with HIV / AIDS. Perhaps he could impose some community service hours on himself and go and work at a HIV / AIDS charity doing good work in Indonesia. I would highly recommend Yayasan Spiritia, they are doing good work. Perhaps, the Minister would learn a thing or two about some of the challenges that people living with HIV / AIDS face every single day in Indonesia, like struggling to be able to get a regular supply of affordable medications or simple discrimination.

The real question is whether the Minister has the testicular fortitude to man-up and admit that his joke was not a joke but rather it was nothing more than a chance for him to offend and pretend that it was all fun and games. My guess is the Minister will not be able to escape from his Perennial Klown Syndrome woes and try and redeem himself on Twitter while holding out hope that others will come to his rescue with piss poor support like, "lighten-up it was just a joke".

As I said, and many others will continue to say, there is nothing funny about HIV / AIDS.

The support for TitS can be found in some of the comments in response to the article at The Jakarta Post. It would seem that the claim is that the offending tweet is part of a much longer logical sequence that makes the tweet less offensive. The tweet is not TitS' personal belief but rather just a comment on, and relaying of, something said by a former Health Minister of Indonesia (Professor Sujudi).

However, it probably is worth pointing out that the series of tweets, to which the supportive commenter refers to, has a very distinct homophobic viewpoint suggesting that HIV /AIDS is a "gay" disease and represents God's choice of raining down destruction and death on those that practice "deviant" behaviours. The postscript was added about 40 minutes after the original post.

Disclaimer: Oh, and if anyone picked up on the PKS theme relating to the TitS...no offense is intended to any other organisation or group that uses the same letters to represent themselves. If you look at the accompanying photo you can see that the Minister has in fact got the "Krusty the Klown" (from "the Simpsons") thing happening.

29 September 2010

Supreme Court, Gender, and Backlogs -- Indonesia

There was an interesting article in The Jakarta Globe that suggests that a recent appointment to the Indonesian Supreme Court can thank her gender for her appointment.

Sri Murwahyuni who previously sat on the Surabaya District Court has successfully negotiated the fit and proper testing procedures conducted by the House of [not so] Representatives to take her place as the 51st member of the Supreme Court bench. Yes, you read right, 51 members of the bench.

The other appointment was Sofyan Sitompul. Unfortunately, it would seem his gender was not of any assistance as he only just scraped through with 29 out of 57 votes of Commission III on legal affairs.

There are now six women on the 51 member Supreme Court bench. Not truly representative in a population sense, but certainly a move in the right direction.

However, I would be somewhat concerned that the perception is being allowed to develop that she was appointed based on her gender rather than her qualifications and skills, and more specifically what she brings to the Supreme Court as one of its newest members. This perception has developed and will continue to develop if legislators and other commentators do not re-orient their sound bites.

Let's face it,when the Head of the Commission suggests that gender played a role and was an advantage this immediately detracts from the appointee. This is plain and simple sad. This is even more so when the following sentence runs along the lines of "Oh, and she was also qualified too!" But, to add insult to injury, Benny K Harman, the Head of the Commission went one step further to reinforce a stereotype about women being more emotional than men and relying on unknown and unquantifiable other skills.

In this case, Harman said that "A female judge can use her intuition more than a man can and this is what the people want." Huh? What the people want, Benny, is consistency and equitable application of the law. The people want fairness. The people want to know that when they enter the legal system in pursuit of justice that they have every opportunity to find it.

Sad, Benny, sad!

But on a slightly different note. Ruhut Sitompul, no relation to the candidate, stated that there was no corruption in the process because he had never met Sofyan before the vote. I have to say, Ruhut, this hardly engenders any confidence in the process. So, if you had met him before then you might have been open to some good old-fashioned horse trading? But, this is about par for the course for Ruhut in pursuit of getting his head on TV. After all, it was not all that long ago he was seeking support for an idea to amend the constitution to allow SBY to seek a third presidential term for no other reason than all prospective candidates were lousy (in his view).

Sad, Ruhut, sad!

On a completely different note. There are now 51 members on the bench of the Supreme Court. There really should be no delay in seeking justice at the Supreme Court. There should not be any backlog of cases. A country of a similar population size, the USA, has a Supreme Court bench of just nine justices. They seem to manage their workload pretty well in comparison.

Ho hum...

28 September 2010

The History of Video Porn in Indonesia...

For anyone interested in the history of video porn in Indonesia then you should check out this site. If you are a non-Indonesian speaker then you will have to utilise a translation software program. But, it does give a short and sweet little overview of the history of video porn in Indonesia.

The other thing about this site is that it in essence acts as a short review of each of the "biggies" that have appeared on the Indonesian scene since 2000 starting with Anak Ingusan through Bandung Lautan Asmara to Video Casting Sabun and Belum Ada Judul, then culminating with the most recent addition to the ranks of Indonesian amateur porn classics, Peterporn.

The last being probably well on its way to being the most famous of all, particularly considering that Miyabi (aka Maria Ozawa) is apparently up for some extended threesome action. It also seems another porn star of some note Vicky Vette (@vickyvette) would also be keen for Ariel to make his way, with Luna Maya, to the good ol' US of A for some hot threesome action. Vicky wonders whether her skin flick with Ariel and Luna would be a hit in Indonesia. My guess is that is a no-brainer! Sure fire hit, all the way!


Indonesian Porn Reporters -- Rewarded

There is nothing quite like getting the public involved in your own personal porn crusade. The Minister for Communication and Information, Tifatul Sembiring (aka TitS), has decided that the best way of ratcheting up his porn eradication scheme is to enlist the public and to reward them for their participation as social media experts.

The scheme seems simple enough; the public report to the Ministry any porn site that they know of and receive a reward from the Ministry. Any prospective reward hunters can contact the Ministry of (+62 21) 3899-7800 or at aduankonten@depkominfo.go.id. But you can only call between 09.00 and 14.00.

Nah, this is where it gets a little problematic by my reckoning. The Ministry has not exactly said how it plans to reward the porn finders, specifically it has not said whether this is a cash-based incentive scheme or perhaps something a little more sinister, like jail time.

When it is all said and done, how do you report a pornographic internet site if you have not had a sneak peak to check out whether the content is actually pornographic or not. I can see a lot of emails starting off "Well, a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend of mine told me about www.xxx. blah, blah, blah dot com."

I am not in Indonesia, so I cannot rightly say, but according to TitS, but Indonesia has supposedly blocked 90% of the internet pornographic sites that were once available to Indonesians. Nevertheless, I am sure some of my Indonesian based commenters might be able to enlighten us on the true state of play. But, to be honest, if 90% of internet porn sights are already cactus with respect to access from Indonesia, then the reporting role of the public really is nothing more than tidying up a few loose ends to get it up to 100%.

Personally, I think TitS is kidding himself on the block rates, but hey to each their own.

26 September 2010

Paris Hilton Opens a Store in Indonesia...

It would appear that there is nothing that Paris Hilton will not try her hand at. She has already tried acting (sitcom reality shows, movies, and porn / skin flicks), drug taking, and a few others not necessary to note here. Her latest venture, although she already has 28 of them already opened, is designer shopping stores. The majority of these stores are apparently in the Asia and Middle East Region. The shops cater for those in need of handbags and accessories.

The Indonesian store, which opened just this weekend, is located in Grand Indonesia. It is the Grand Indonesia because, even by Indonesian mall standards, the place is pretty grand. So, it would make sense of Hilton to open a store in one of the grandest places in town.

The intention was that Ms. Hilton would personally attend the opening of the Jakarta store. But, as most of us who are followers of Ms. Hilton know, she did not make it past Japan. The Japanese customs authorities decided that a young woman with a drug conviction was persona non grata and barred her from entering. Unfortunately, this meant that she took the next available charter back to the US. So, there was not going to be any short store-opening stop over in Jakarta.

However, not to be deterred, Paris did attend the store opening by video conference and Tweeted all the necessary bits and pieces related to the opening.

So, now that there has been a post about Ms. Hilton, it is time for the obligatory photos.


25 September 2010

School for Virgin Girls Only...

They obviously do not have a lot to do in Jambi.

Jambi is a province in Indonesia. It is located on the island of Sumatra. It now has a new claim to fame in Bambang Bayu Suseno. Suseno is a legislator in the local parliament up there in Jambi. He has decided in his infinite wisdom that all young girls intending to enroll in a state school must first undergo a virginity test.

Yes, punters, a virginity test. It seems that in Jambi only virgin girls have a right to get an education. I am guessing that Suseno must be thinking that a girl who is no-longer a virgin probably has nothing else left to learn so why waste time getting an education in school?

Suseno seems to think that this is a way of protecting the girls and maintaining their dignity. Protecting them from what? And, maintaining what dignity? Since when has it been a good idea to base access to education on your virginity status? Perhaps we could tie young Suseno to a stake and set him on fire. If he lives he is not fit to be a legislator, and if he dies he is...oops!

Which gives rise to my next point. Are these virginity tests infallible? Is there a right to appeal? Who makes this life-altering judgment? I wonder what "age" are we living in now? Are there any exceptions where a non-virgin might be granted a reprieve to enter a state school although she is no longer "pure"? I only ask because I am wondering how constitutional it is to exclude students based on their virginity status from state schools. I am also wondering whether it is right to exclude a victim of rape from gaining an education?

But why test for just virginity? And, why just the girls? Why not test all girls and all boys to determine whether they are virgins? While we are testing them, why not check out their IQs and exclude anyone below 99 as being a little too slow for state school and anyone over 101 as being too demanding, and therefore too difficult to accommodate in a state school. From there we should also start testing for medical conditions. So, anyone wearing glasses are excluded from state schools. Let's face it, there would need to be too may resources devoted to providing the necessary facilities for sight-challenged students. The list can go on and on and on and on.

The whole idea that you would want to test for virginity as a pre-requisite for entry into state schools is absurd.

Not to be deterred though, Suseno is focused on his plan of drafting a regional law that mandates entry to state schools in Jambi be based on the successful completion of a virginity test. Successful here being you test positive for virginity.

I am still shaking my head as I think about how silly this is. Maybe it is just a publicity stunt? Then again, they test for virginity in Africa, and give the girls a certificate if they pass the test (make the grade so to speak).

Indonesian Celebrity Sex Videos -- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly...

It was not all that long ago that there was huge debate in Indonesia about the moral decay among Indonesians as their celebrities who all seemed to be more interested in making sex tapes or being associated with them than setting solid moral and ethical examples for the youth of Indonesia. As a matter of fact Nazriel "Ariel" Irham of Peterpan fame is still languishing in jail awaiting a trial on charges stemming from a sex tape that he starred in.

While Ariel is biding his time in a jail cell and dreaming about past, and perhaps future, sex-capades with beautiful young starlets (or maybe even Miyabi assuming the offer is still on the table or bed), a candidate for the District Head position in Central Lombok, Suhaili Fadhil Thorir, is set to win his way into office.

Apart from leading the election, Thorir's other claim to fame is that he starred in a five-minute sex tape uploaded to YouTube back in May. The police are still investigating whether a crime has been committed with respect to the tape finding its way onto YouTube. However, it is highly unlikely that the people of Central Lombok are not aware of Thorir's sex-capades. So, it seems pretty obvious that most people could not give the proverbial "rat's" about what Thorir does in his own time and how he likes to document it. Besides, Thorir is claiming that the woman in the video is his wife, which presumably makes it all okey dokey (or is that hunky dory?)!

Although, this might be only partly true as the two main candidates, Thorir and Lalu Gede Muhammad Ali Wira Sakti, trade accusations that the other cheated by bribing potential voters with gifts. Sakti alleges Thorir of giving voters IDR 10K and Thorir returns fire that Sakti gave voters cigarettes and roosters.

A sex tape is a sex tape and porn is porn. So, I wonder why Ariel is languishing in jail while Thorir is enjoying the fruits of his labour and internet popularity to get elected to the top job in Central Lombok.

23 September 2010

Ear Fetish -- Kim Kardashian...

Maybe if I do another Kim Kardashian related post people will start to think that I have a Kim Kardashian fetish. But, hey, she is good for some really interesting sound bites.

The latest being that she has professed that she is extremely turned on by men with small lobes. Although, I am told by those who have watched her in action in her previous life as a "celebrity sex tape" star that she also gets pretty turned on by things not so small either. I will just have to take their word on that one.

Anyways, Ms. Kardashian has indicated that she might be one to consider the size of a man's ears when considering whether or not he would be the perfect mate. The idea being that the combination of genes from the two pools will incorporate the features of the donors to that pool; Ms. Kardashian is worried about what her kids will look like, and big ears are not in this year.

Nevertheless, any small-lobed men out there thinking you are in like Flynn, think again. Ms. Kardashian is taking a break from dating after her recent bust up with the now former boyfriend, Miles Austin. No matter how turned on she gets by the little lobes she is not going to be pursuing her fetish for a while as she is more concerned about what people might call her if she is seen out on dates with different men, namely: slut. Personally, I think she worries too much!

Oh yeah, the obligatory pictures...

Kim Kardashian & the Look-Alike Sex Doll...

There has been some fun stuff on the news sites over the past couple of days. I post this for no other reason than a brief exploration of the legal issues surrounding ownership of one's image. If you are thinking that this post is just an excuse to post sexy pictures of Kim Kardashian, you are wrong ;)

Ms. Kardashian, through her lawyers, is arguing that the release and sale of a sex doll violates her right to publicity. The sex doll, aka Kinky Kim Filthy Love Doll, is clearly a rip-off of Ms. Kardashian's image and presumable fame. The pictures on the marketing material don't lie. The right to publicity is a simple concept, it really is. Generally, the idea is that an individual should be able to profit off of their image and likeness in all commercial settings.

Therefore, Pipedream, the makers of the doll are attempting to profit of Ms. Kardashian's image and previous notoriety, as a willing participant in a publicly released sex tape, without her express consent. It is worth noting that, at least as I understand it, federal law in the US does not recognise the right to publicity. However, on a state-by-state basis there is recognition to varying degrees of this right.

Ms. Kardashian and her legal team are threatening to take the doll makers to court if they do not immediately withdraw the item from sale.

And, so as not to disappoint those of you searching only for the sexy pictures of Ms. Kardashian...here ya go!

Will -- A Morning in the Park...

It looks like Will has been enjoying his time with his Mum while his Dad has been away. During the week there was a trip to the pool and to the park.

Looks like the little fella is enjoying himself on that swing.

A Little Fun With Sunglasses...

It is funny how small things amuse small minds. But, when I saw this picture again I found myself once again shaking my head because I would never have thought about a connection between sunglasses breast size and over-compensation linking the two.

I have posted this picture before.

The Captain's Walk -- Cootamundra...

Less than 24 hours to go on my focus week! I am looking forward to getting home. This is not because I have not enjoyed Cootamundra, the high school (staff and students), or the White Ibis. It is simply because I miss my family. Although Sydney is not all that far away at about four hours drive, it is too far away to drive to and from school everyday!

That said, I am looking forward to coming back to finish off the final four weeks of my practicum life as this represents the culmination of my Masters. I get a satisfactory grade on the practicum and then I am applying for a casual teaching number, and then I am on my way. I have casual teaching work lined up for the first working day after I finish. However, all that depends on successful completion of this practicum placement. So, there is a need to remain a little focused.

The focus week has been relaxed. I was expecting it to be. After all, it is the last week of term 3 and both the students and staff have wound down in preparation for the school holidays. Nevertheless, I have done what I needed to do; found out what I am teaching and who, and observed plenty of classes. I am thinking that I might get roped into helping out with the LOTE class as the LOTE stream here is Indonesian.

I must add that "roped in" is said in the most positive of ways. It is something that I would enjoy doing; passing on my enthusiasm for Indonesia and the Indonesian language to others. Going to Indonesia and learning Indonesian was a wonderful experience and has provided me with a lifetime of memories already. Not to mention that my better half is Indonesian and my Will is half Indonesian as well!

Anyways, I digress. This post is about this really cool walk that they have here in Cootamundra. It is called the "Captain's Walk". It is just a short winding path through a small park just down from Cootamundra High School. I think the park is called Jubilee Park (I will check on my way to work in the morning). The path has brass busts / sculptures on either side of the path of each of the men who have captained the Australian Cricket Team from the very first to the current.

I photographed each and every head. Unfortunately, I have not formatted the photos in order to decrease their size. So, I will only post a few here. I am not sure that it is worth coming to Cootamundra just for the Captain's Walk, but if you were ever in town then it is certainly worth a look. I figured that I would be able to use them at some point in teaching Australian / Modern History. I am guessing that I could put them into a PowerPoint presentation and add some biographical information to each slide.

The first captain is an Aboriginal gentleman by the name of Unaarrimin (Johnny Mullagh - there seems to be an alternate spelling of his Aboriginal name; Unaarrimim). He was part of the first ever Australian team to tour to Britain in 1868.

The following is Australia's greatest ever cricketer, Don Bradman.

And the last, is the current captain, Ricky Ponting.


It is a little weird how things appear. I was having a discussion within the past several days about the term necropolis in a historical context, then low and behold I am reading The Jakarta Globe and come across this story of necrophilia in Kediri, East Java.

Anyway, it is a story that I do not recall having heard before in Indonesia. Maybe I have and just cannot recall it. The standard fare has generally been bestiality where lonely men are having their way with an animal or two, goats and cows being the animals of choice.

The story goes that Eko Santoso is a married man of 27. He is married to a young woman of just 19, Tri Wayuni. Tri accused Eko of continuing to sow his wild oats after their marriage with sex workers. Unfortunately, Eko was offended by the suggestion and thought the most appropriate course of action was to strangle his wife, then have sex with her dead body, and then try and cover it all up by hanging her from a fan in their house.

What I do not get is the need to strangle her because of the accusation. I am not sure how that enrages one to the point of murder. I can appreciate that it happens, and it seems to be the way this crime unfolded. However, what I really do not get is how then this reaches a point of defiling the body by having one last round. I guess this is why I am not a psychiatrist.

Maybe I need to read a little more on this subject. I can probably justify it by classifying it as necessary research to teach history subjects. Maybe I could even buy a book on the subject and claim it as a tax deduction.

Life in a Small Town...

I am now into the fourth day and, I have to say, it has been enjoyable. Cootamundra High School is a good little school and the staff are very accommodating and helpful. I am looking forward to spending four weeks here to complete my final practicum. It would have been nice to have Dyah and Will here as well, but they are house and dog sitting...so, I will just have to go this one on my own.

As a consequence of my newly minted "early to bed, early to rise" philosophy, I was awake and chirpy by about 5.15 this morning. So, I figured in my early morning zeal and vigour for life that I would go for a walk. I did not bother to look out the window, it was on with the clothes and out the door.

Perhaps a quick look-see would have revealed an alternate plan.

The road home appears to be a foggy one, at least really early in the morning!

Not to be defeated in my mission I ploughed ahead and walked the streets of Cootamundra. There is a great little early opener called "the Outback Cafe". It serves good, and fresh, hot bread. There were plenty of cakes too, but I figured that would defeat the purpose of exercising. That said, it was a tempting thought to just buy some cakes and eat them while I walked.

It was foggy and cool, but surprisingly there were lots of people out and about.

On my wandering ways I passed a little clothes shop, one of several in bustling Cootamundra. It was not the quality of the clothes that caught my eye, but this t-shirt certainly did.

I guess Cootamundra is not as "small town" as I thought it might be :D

22 September 2010

All Blacks Rugby...

If anyone wants to see why the All Blacks are the No. 1 rugby team in the word at the moment then you need look no further than this video.

There are a few questions as to whether this is real or whether it is just some well-crafted viral video marketing strategy leading into the Rugby World Cup. Me says, who cares! The tricks real or not are still amazing to watch.

A Single Bar Association for Indonesia -- No Way!

Sometimes it is not the law in Indonesia that is the "ass" but the lawyers themselves!

I must add, I know a lot of Indonesian lawyers (maybe more than I will ever need to) and the thought of them standing toe-to-toe and slugging it out with their fellow lawyers is something I find mildly amusing. It brings a smile to my face for reasons I cannot properly explain, but just the thought of these upstanding citizens slugging it out....arghhhhhhhhhhh!

The law in Indonesia demands that there is a unified and single bar in Indonesia. This is designed to ensure that there is some degree of consistency and uniformity in the way that Indonesian advocates are certified and come to practice. After the enactment of the Advocates Law back in 2003, this is PERADI (Indonesian Bar Association). PERADI was set up in 2005.

PERADI is inherently infused with politics, some of them personal, and as such it was a no-brainer to expect that sooner or later, and probably sooner, that things would start to heat up around the fringes and then start to unravel, probably in increasingly ugly ways. And, they did. The reality was that the birthing of a new organisation from eight rival bar associations where those eight bar associations were not wound up and dissolved completely meant that simmering tension would remain.

A lot of what has transpired most recently is unbecoming for a professional bar association; it is an embarrassment to all involved. However, the events of today that has seemingly seen lawyers come to blows and the police get involved is a low-point that even some of the more seasoned lawyers might not have thought they would get to see. Some of the scenes were allegedly reminiscent of scenes more likely to be scene in a Taiwanese parliament than at an advocate swearing-in ceremony in a five-star hotel, the Gran Melia, in Jakarta.

Nevertheless, this is what happened when the more recently formed Indonesian Advocates Congress (KAI) turned up at the hotel to protest the swearing-in of the new PERADI advocates by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Indonesia. KAI believes that it is the legitimate organisation to represent the interests of Indonesian advocates. This is based on an argument that PERADI from its inception has been legally flawed. However, this would not seem to be the case in the strictest of legal senses because in a Constitution Court decision from 2006 the Court states that PERADI is the one.

It might be time for the KAI to either suck it up and get on with life under PERADI or continue to pursue ever-dwindling legal options to overturn the PERADI monopoly on certificating Indonesian advocates practicing in Indonesian courts. It is time that KAI recognised, whether it wants to or not, that the Supreme Court has issued a Circular which is explicit in stating that KAI affiliated lawyers cannot practice in court until they have satisfied the PERADI requirements for certification. This Circular was hotly contested by KAI, but it only resulted in a mediated deal that still requires the establishment of a single bar association by 2012.

It really does not matter what the single bar association is called; PERADI, KAI or AA (Advocates Anonymous -- AA considering it is a bar association). What matters is that a unified bar can be formed. This will require a commitment to disbanding all rival associations and congresses once a unified bar can be agreed to. This process is not going to be an easy one; too many personalities and too much politicking, but it has to be done.

In many respects, the future of the Indonesian legal system demands that there is stability and that there is uniformity in the certification process for lawyers. This is necessary, of for no other reason, to ensure the rights  of those who enter the Indonesian legal system to seek justice for themselves or those that they represent.

Two rival advocate associations coming to blows in a five-star hotel is an embarrassment on a grand scale. Shame on you all!

Shame, shame, shame.

(The photo is apparently from twitter and comes via here)

21 September 2010

White Ibis -- Cootamundra...

I am staying at the White Ibis while I am in Cootamundra. It is described on its website as "boutique accommodation". It is a renovated hotel / pub that was originally built in 1876 (I will post some more photos in addition to the one here, later). I might have described it as quaint. I like it the rooms are big and the beds comfortable, which are two keys to a good stay.

However, if you are looking for internal bathrooms and kitchen facilities, then you probably need to remember this was once a pub. The bathrooms are shared. They are, however, big and clean with lots of hot running water. There is a kitchenette upstairs attached to 'the lounge' and it has a microwave, a toaster, and a kettle. It also have all the necessary crockery and cutlery.

Last night I was here by myself, no other patrons in sight. Although, judging by the voices wafting in through the room door from the lounge area, I am guessing there are people here who have checked in through the day. Or, there are very chatty ghosts that I have not heard in the past.

So, if you are ever in Cootamundra then this is a pretty good place to bed and breakfast from.

Oh, Cootamundra is also the Birthplace of Don Bradman. I am pretty sure Bowral takes most of the credit for his cricket, but hey you are born where you are born, and the Don was born in Cootamundra. The actual house that he was born in has been bought and converted into a museum. There is also this thing called the "Captain's Walk" just down from the high school. It is a walking path that has a bronze relief of all of the Australian Test Cricket Captains from go to whoa. And, as we all know being Prime Minister of Australia is the second most prestigious and important job in Australia after the Captaincy of the Australian Test Cricket Team!

See you in Cootamundra!

In The Country...

The posts the past few days have been floating around in my skull while I figured out an internet connection. I am currently doing my third, and last, pracitcum placement. I am doing this in a town called Cootamundra. I cannot remember exactly the last time I was in Cootamundra, but it must have been 25, maybe 30, years ago. I used to live in a neighbouring town, Young (the Cherry Capital of the world). And, before that, a really small town called Monteagle.

I am teaching, or at least will be, at Cootamundra High School (photos in a later post) for 4 weeks next school term. I am here this week to observe. Unfortunately, being the last week of term, it has been as most schools are, relaxed. Relaxed in the sense that the classes I am scheduled to teach, Year 11, have just finished exams and have had a camp organised for today. Tomorrow they are on sport and Thursday they get results back, and Friday is expected to see very few students make it to class. So, on the observation front, I have done lots but just not of the students I was hoping to.

Nevertheless, I am getting to observe some other classes. They have a LOTE (languages other than English) stream. Funnily enough, it is Indonesian. So, I am getting to test out my Indonesian in a teaching setting with Year 7 students. Sadly, they are not seemingly all that keen...oh well!

Cootamundra is about 40 minutes from Young. So, seeing I drove out here for the week, I figured I would duck on over to Young and visit my childhood home (there is a ghost story there, but maybe that is for a post for another time).

Visit in the Baiton sense was drive past, park, get out of the car, and then photograph it, jump back in the car and leave again (that photo is attached here). Young has many good memories for me, as does the old home.

It is funny how the memories work, things were so different in how the yard looks, yet there was also something that remains forever familiar.

My Nan used to live next door, so it was good to see both houses again. It was an opportunity to have a little chuckle about the mischief that my brother, sister, and I used to get up to in our youth.

Life goes on!

17 September 2010

Will with Mum and Dad...

This happy family snappy is from a few months ago...I have finally stumbled across the right little cable to connect my mobile phone to my computer (I probably could have used infrared come to think of it, oh well) and transferred the photos from the phone.

Random Churches...

This is a random church picture I snapped on the mobile phone while waiting for the lights to change from red to green. It is somewhere in Auburn (Sydney).


Just some miscellaneous stuff that came off the mobile phone.

This is a picture of a brocciflower. Not too hard to work out, is it? A cross between a broccoli and a cauliflower. This specimen was taken at out local Woolworths supermarket a little while ago now.

16 September 2010

Teaching -- What Makes it Worthwhile...

This is just a short personal reflection.

I am writing it partly as a means of refocusing on why I want to be a teacher. Doing an accelerated Masters program while trying to juggle the processes of surviving life often leaves me tired and somewhat bitter, twisted and jaded. These things are often exacerbated by organisational bureaucracy and dealing with people who seem intent on making things more difficult than they need to be. So, to all intents and purposes, this is my own little pep rally...Go Rob Baiton, Go!

I tutor a couple of kids in addition to trying to juggle everything else. I do this for a number of reasons; putting it all into practice and to see whether I really have the skills and patience necessary to make this teaching gig work. It is one of these kids that sort of re-grounded me and showed me why I want to do this teaching thing for a crust.

What makes teaching really rewarding for me is that "lights on" moment where someone that you have taught finally sees all the pieces of the puzzle fall into place and the light goes on. This is almost always followed by a smile and an exclamation of surprise, "I can do it!" I had three of those moments in one day today; a young bloke in Year 6, a young girl in Year 8, and a soon to be doing the HSC lad. Each are studying different subjects, which is a challenge for me, but this is not about me.

It might have just been a fluke of coincidence, but each of them today had a "lights on" moment where they realised that they can actually do the work, and do it well. In most respects, all I do is help them visualise the pieces of the puzzle and facilitate in getting the pieces into the right spots. It is nice, and it feels good, to watch children understand that they can be successful and grow into that new-found confidence.

It is for these moments that I want to pursue a career in teaching. I am not naive enough to think that I will have them every day, but if I can have more lights on days than lights off days throughout the course of my career then I will be a happy teacher. I must add that the disillusionment I was feeling with my course quickly dissipated.

This sort of got me thinking. I did a lot of teaching while I was living in Indonesia. I worked with, and taught, many wonderful young women and men (and some older ones too) who have gone on to achieve excellent and wonderful things in all manner of fields of endeavour. I hope they remember me as fondly as I remember them (particularly because when they become famous I will be forever telling the story..."I remember when ..."). It was these experiences that drove me towards returning to Australia and formalising some teaching qualifications to make it all academic looking.

Onwards and upwards, I say!

Pregnant Nuns, Ice-Cream and Catholic Outrage...

Truth be told, I am not a really religious person. I do have my moments of Zen and other spirituality from time-to-time though. However, the fact that a pregnant nun advertising an ice cream product so outraged Catholics that they complained to the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) seems a little over-the-top at first look.

The ad is clearly satire, some might even say it is taking the piss out of the religious concept of the immaculate conception, but when it is all said and done it is best described as an ad of questionable taste (no pun intended considering it is for ice-cream).

The ad campaign was using a slogan "ice-cream is our religion". The ad itself, shows a heavily pregnant nun with the words "immaculately conceived". The beef that those that complained have is that the ad makes a mockery of Roman Catholic beliefs. Maybe it does, but I wonder if these same complainants are so similarly outraged by the excesses of Roman Catholic priests that rape and abuse little boys, and who have done so for centuries. These men parading as priests have ensured that the mockery begins from within the Roman Catholic church itself.

Nevertheless, the ASA decided that even the light-hearted use of such an image was likely to cause serious offense to some, and then banned the image. The advertising agency had argued that its use of religious imagery was legitimate. Unfortunately, the ASA did not buy into that argument. It is not the first time that Ad Agency Antonio Federici has come into conflict with Catholics and the ASA. An ad from last year suggesting a kiss between a nun and a priest was also banned. \

As I said, a nun and a priest getting down to it in a full-on lip lock is hardly offensive compared to some of the things the Catholic Church has been complicit in allowing to occur and then go unpunished for decades upon decades. It is time to take stock and seek out a little perspective. If you are Roman Catholic and you are offended, then that is your right. Express that displeasure through boycotting the product, writing letters to the editors of magazines and newspapers, get your priests to preach from the pulpit. But to seek to ban all expression that runs counter to your beliefs is no different from any other religious group that seeks to control freedom of thought and expression in order to achieve some kind of world domination plan. It is ultimately destined to fail.

When it is all said and done, if you truly believe in an all-powerful omniscient God, then s/he is likely to ensure on the coming judgment day that Antonio Federici and his cohorts get their comeuppance for their poor sense of humour. I am sure that one of the main lessons of religion was something about letting those that are free of sin cast the first stone. And, there was that other one about people who live in glass houses not throwing stones.

Final point, perhaps some of these complainants and those that get to rule on these complaints need to do a couple of Sunday Schools sessions and get back in touch with what Roman Catholicism says about the immaculate conception, it is enlightening; it is not about virgin births but rather it is about freedom from original sin (feel free to correct me if I am wrong).

Ho hum...

15 September 2010

Arranged Underage Marriage -- Australia...

Arranged marriages are not events that are common in Australia, particularly underage ones. Uncommon does not mean that there are not those who do not try. A recent case has seen the Family Court of Victoria become involved. The Court has required the family to hand over the young girl's passport and issued an order prohibiting her removal from Australia until she is 18, and placed her on a Federal Police "watch list".

The family is originally from Macedonia and the 14-year-old has been engaged to a 17-year-old Macedonian youth. The only contact the girl and her prospective husband have had is a photograph that she was allegedly shown of him. The marriage plan was only uncovered recently when the girl stopped attending school and the Child Protection division of Victoria's Department of Human Services became involved in the case.

This may have been a touch of good luck on the part of the Human Services people because at the interview to find out why the girl was not going to school, she said that her father did not approve of her going to school and that it really did not seem to matter as she would soon be heading overseas to get married anyway.

This is where it becomes really interesting, the girl also added at interview that she was not pushed or forced into this arranged marriage. In fact, she stated that her parents said she could back out if it turned out that she did not like the prospective spouse after meeting him.

Nevertheless, in the infinite wisdom that is contained in a number of affidavits that the girl did not understand the concept of marriage or the likelihood of sexual intercourse with her prospective spouse. Furthermore, it was suggested that a marriage at this age would deprive her of good educational prospects.

It is hard to fathom, to work out, why in the 21st Century there is still a belief that it is wise to marry off pre-teen and teenage girls to men that they have never met in countries they may never have been too. I am all for promoting cultural diversity and the maintenance of cultural traditions.

However, in this case, I am also very much pro the idea of protecting those that are most vulnerable. And, our children are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. We, therefore, must ensure that we protect them to the best of our abilities. There is not a good reason that I can see why an arranged marriage of a 14-year-old is necessary. But, that's just me.

Ho hum...

George Michael -- Jailed...

It was only a matter of time before someone sent Georgios Panayiotou, or as he prefers to be known George Michael, has been sentenced to eight weeks in prison.

It is expected that Michaels will do four weeks and then be released on special conditions. Michaels was sentenced at the Highbury Magistrates Court in North London for a car crash on 4 July 2010. At the time of the crash, Michaels was under the influence of cannabis.

Judge John Perkins told Michaels that he had no choice but to send him to jail as this was a culmination of too many drug and driving offenses. Perkins noted that Michaels' addiction was no longer merely a danger to himself, but that it was now very clearly a danger to the public.

This goes to show, once, again, that celebrities are no different to the rest of us; they have demons, they have addictions,they have problems that they have to stare down each day. Some days are good days, and some days are not so good. That is life. But more than anything else, this case highlights that sooner or later your demons take over and the law will catch up with you and you will be punished.

Prison is no summer camp. Irrespective of whether Michaels is separated from the general prison population and enjoys the comforts of an individual cell, there is no doubting that his freedom will be curtailed. He simply will not be able to come and go as he pleases or do whatever he wants. This, let me assure you, plays with one's mind. It affects different people in different ways.

In addition to the jail time, Michaels has been banned from driving for five years and fined about 2000 dollars.

Hopefully, this incident was the wake-up call that Michaels needs.

Good luck George!

14 September 2010

Confused, I Think...

I have bought a few books in my time from Amazon and I subscribe to get updates on books that I might be interested in. I received an email earlier today suggesting that I might be interested in a book on "Elastic Waves at High Frequencies ...". Amazon thinks that I would be interested in this book because I had purchased and rated Ian Brownlie's Book, "Principles of Public International Law".

I am not quite sure why Amazon would think this. I really, really sucked at science at school. In fact, I sucked so bad at science that I have done everything in power to avoid having to do it again. The only time I have even been remotely scientific since high school was during a course I did on forensic law at university. The forensic law course was excellent, but I was not inspired to go back and revisit science on any grand scale. I had pretty much determined that if I was ever to need forensic skills in law, then I would hire an expert to give that testimony and commit myself to gaining a sufficient skill set to examine in chief and cross examine without looking foolish. Period!

Anyways...Amazon, thanks but no thanks on this one!

Calling President Obama Names...

I was reading a story earlier on today about a British teenager who sent President Obama an email message. The message is allegedly a drunken rant, but the gist of it was that the president was a "prick"!

I am sure he is not the only one in the whole wide world that thinks that, but he is probably one of the few that have bothered to get online and track down a working email address for the White House and fire off his little tirade.

Unfortunately, for the teen, Luke Angel, the FBI intercepted the message, made a few calls to the British police, and the local coppers came around to his house in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, and reprimanded him.

For his efforts, Mr. Angel is now apparently banned from travelling to the US for life. Yep, I had to read that twice myself. I find it hard to believe that calling the president of the US a prick warrants quite such an extreme measure. There simply has to be more to it, doesn't there?

Let's face it, there is a big difference from calling someone a prick and threatening to kill them. There is a big difference between calling someone a prick and using a racial epithet, even.

According to the US Department of Homeland Security there are 60 reasons why someone might find themselves on the "banned from the USA" list. I only have 59 others to track down. Hopefully, they are a lot more serious than this one! I wonder if Mr. Angel would have been banned had he called President Obama a wanker? What about a clown? Or perhaps a Nazi?

On a personal note, I like the fella and like the idea that Obama is president. I actually would have voted for the fella if I was a US citizen with the right to vote. I reckon that he is doing a pretty good job in a very tough gig. I always thought he had much thicker skin than that. After all, the president lived in Indonesia for three or so years in his formative years, and you have to be tough inside and out to survive that!

This story surely must be a beat-up...the US is not really banning people from travelling to the US for calling the president names, are they?

13 September 2010

Detachment 88, Torture, Australian Funding...

There is nothing quite like getting rolled as Prime Minister, winning your seat in a hung parliament, being commissioned as Foreign Affairs Minister, and having to have discussions with your nearest neighbour as to whether Australian money is being used to fund torture; such is the life of Kevin Rudd.

I am guessing that Kev '07 has not actually had to have any discussions on this hot potato just yet, but rest assured these happy chats are on the horizon. Some officials from the Australian Embassy in Jakarta have already done some preliminary leg work in determining whether the allegations have any substance. It would be a rare occurrence in Indonesia if this sort of smoke was not based on a little fire somewhere. The chances are that there is some substance to these allegations.

So, what are the allegations? Detachment 88 is a special Indonesian police unit that was created to be at the forefront of counter terrorism initiatives in Indonesia. The unit receives substantial levels of funding, and training, from the Australian government. Detachment 88 was formed in the wake of the Bali Bombings. The number 88 represents the number of Australians who lost their lives in the first Bali Bombings. Other meanings for the number 88 range from the number 8 looks like a pair of handcuffs to 8 being a lucky number.

The allegations are that Detachment 88 were responsible for the torture of a number of activists / separatists in the province of Maluku from 2007 through to 2010. The torture includes beatings with wooden and steel bars, forced sexual activity, being burned with lit cigarettes, plastic bags being placed over prisoners' heads, and being stabbed with nails and other sharp objects.

This is a "no brainer". Australia must stop all funding to Detachment 88 pending a review of the allegations. If the allegations do not pan out, then the funding can resume with a much greater level of confidence in the understanding that the money is being used for the purposes intended. If the allegations are proved, then those guilty of committing crimes must be prosecuted to the full extent possible under Indonesian law.

Paying others to do our dirty work in ensuring that we remain safe as we travel in Indonesia does not allow us to hide behind the claim that end justifies the means or that we should turn a blind eye to the occasional indiscretion.

Are we prepared to let Detachment 88 torture Indonesians under the guise of counter-terrorism when really what they are doing is seeking to suppress domestic political dissent? Are the human rights of our neighbours negotiable because they are there and we are here?

What price are we prepared to pay for safety and freedom from fear?

Ho hum...

12 September 2010

Japanese Precision...

It would be generally the consensus that the Japanese have a knack of making precision instruments and electronics, but this display of synchronised walking must take the cake. The part where two groups of walkers walk through each other in a forward motion then stop and do it in reverse is simply amazing. The only time I have seen anything remotely like this is some precision car driving stunts at the Easter Show last year in Sydney.

This was amazing. If the video is not going viral, then it should be!

Religious Tolerance in Indonesia...

The past week has seen the President, SBY, supposedly send a letter to President Obama asking him to prevent a clown pretending to be a pastor somewhere in Florida from going ahead with a plan to burn the Koran. Supposedly, the letter talked about religious tolerance and the need for Obama to show some leadership on this front. This post is not going to be a critique on the pros and cons of burning books, or even more particularly religious tomes, but it will pick up on the religious tolerance theme.

If religious tolerance is such a concern Mr. President, then why do you remain silent when your citizens are finding themselves victimised and the victims of violent attacks because they follow a minority faith in your country?

Mr. President, if you are a real leader of men and women, then why is it that you cannot ensure that the constitutional rights your people have to practice their faith is not only enforced but protected from those who seek to create an Islamic state?

Mr. President, religious tolerance is a two-way street. You cannot have your cake and eat it too! If you want to talk the talk, then perhaps it is time to walk the walk. I wonder, if President Obama was to send you a letter asking you to be more pro-active in promoting religious tolerance in Indonesia, maybe even specifically President Obama may mention a Batak Christian congregation being hounded and victimised in Bekasi, would you do it? Would you take a principled stand and enforce the Constitution and the prevailing laws to ensure that these fellow human beings of the Christian faith were protected from those seeking to do them harm?

The truth be told, religious tolerance in Indonesia is quite often nothing more than an intellectual academic debate among elites...those at the coal-face see every single day the ugly side of religious intolerance. It is time, Mr. President, to practice what you preach.

Ho hum...

11 September 2010

Oops -- Goalkeeping Blunder...

In a penalty shootout in the Coupe du Trone in Morocco Maghreb Fez defeated FAR Rabat. The FAR goal keeper thought that he had saved a penalty, but his celebrations were a little premature to say the least. His team ended up losing 7-6 on penalties.

A lesson in going from hero to zero in seconds. I am guessing it is a mistake that Khalid Askri will not be making again anytime soon.

Tom & Jerry -- The Final Show...

I obviously have too much time on my hands if I have the time to find things like this. However, it must be noted that I am not the only one with too much time on their hands. Someone had to go to all that trouble to create it in the first place.

I am not sure that I will ever be able to watch Tom & Jerry ever again. I think I might now be scarred for life!

Should this have a "viewer discretion is advised" disclaimer?

10 September 2010

Honest Lawyers...

If in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer.

-- Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) - 16th US President.

Golf Trick Shots?

To all my readers out there who enjoy a round of golf or two, watch this!

This has been labeled a trick shot. However, to my mind it is just an awesome shot, period! Bubba Watson is taking a tour of the Ping golf facility. He grabs a right-handed driver, flips it over, and then proceeds to drive a golf ball some 305 yards left-handed.

If you are shaking your head and saying something along the lines of "bugger me, how'd he do that?" Then feel free to watch the video of it here.

I know a few golfers, myself included who would be real happy to hit the ball with a club in the manner in which it was designed to for 305 yards!

By any stretch it was a wonderfully long drive.

Distinctive Voices...

I am currently trying to craft a unit of work for English based on the idea of "Distinctive Voices". The distinctive voices that the students are required to study are prescribed by the New South Wales Board of Studies. However, teachers do have some flexibility in terms of the specific / actual activities that they use to teach the material.

The "I Have A Dream" speech by Martin Luther King is an excellent speech to study. This excellence derives as much from the content of the speech as it does from the structure and techniques that Dr. King uses in conveying that content. I have always enjoyed the images that this speech allows us to create in our own heads (note to self: critical literacy).

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.’ But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check – a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilising drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

I attach the speech for your viewing pleasure. Any one with ideas for lesson plans or activities, then feel free to share! I am currently focusing on this little section of the speech below looking at things like alliteration, lists, tone, repetition and anaphora.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. 

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’ 

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood. 

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. 

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

There is Silly, then There is Stupid, and then There is Matt Nicholls...

This post needs to be premised with a disclaimer of sorts. It is based on facts currently available to me. I reserve the right to amend this post should "other" facts come to light which force we into a back down and apology to Mr. Nicholls.

Here we go!

There was a recent shooting death in Sydney of a NSW Police Officer. Constable William (Bill) Crews was involved in a raid on a house in Bankstown (Southwestern Sydney). The raid was drug-related. During the raid Constable Crews was shot in the head and subsequently died. One man has been charged with discharging a firearm with the intent to kill. Another has been charged with the possession of an illegal firearm.

The charges in themselves are interesting in that they highlight the forensics team is still trying to work out who fired the fatal bullet. There is current speculation that Constable Crews may have been shot by a fellow officer. Ultimately, forensics will reveal all with respect to who fired the fatal shot.

However, I digress. Constable Crews is from a reasonably small rural town in NSW called Glen Innes. I passed through there not long back on my way to Moree for a practicum placement. The editor, Nicholls, of the local newspaper, the Glen Innes Examiner, has updated his Facebook status to suggest that the paper can capitalise on the death of Constable Crews and the devastation of the family he has left behind because of his history with the town of Glen Innes.

For Nicholls, the death meant that it was a perfect opportunity to boost the circulation of the Fairfax-owned tome. Not content to leave it there, Nicholls decided that it was worth noting on Facebook that the paper must be looking at exploiting the death for all it is worth by making the most of the tragedy.

Now, Nicholls has denied that he made the offending Facebook posts. Nevertheless, he has been stood down effective immediately. Fairfax has issued an apology for any offense that has occurred to the Crews family.

Here is the commentary part to this post. Even if you were thinking that, and even if you believe that, where was the common sense kick in that said, "do not post this publicly on Facebook?" If we were to be perfectly honest about this whole thing, then it is fair to say that papers, as do magazines and television, endeavour to capitalise on the tragedy that befalls people and their subsequent suffering. That is the nature of the game, is it not?

What is not done is confessing this in public spaces such as Facebook within 24 to 48 hours of the tragedy unfolding. We as people, as consumers of news, are a little more savvy, perhaps cynical, than this. We certainly do not need the editor of the Glen Innes Examiner to be telling us this on his Facebook page.

Final point. The alleged Facebook posts of Nicholls are disrespectful more than anything else. The decision to become a police officer and dedicate your life to the protection of others and the community as a whole is one very few men and women take. Perhaps it is because, for some of us, we are not prepared to lay it all on the line and make the ultimate sacrifice as Constable Crews has done. Maybe this is what we should be considering in this case.

My condolences to the Crews family on your loss.

Armenia: The Case For A Forgotten Genocide...

Truth be told, I am packing my bookshelves into boxes in preparation for a move later this year or early next year, once I have finished my masters. It is a long process, not only because there are thousands of books to be packed away, but because I find myself stopping ever now and then to read a few pages or more of a book before putting it into the box.

I came across a photocopied version of "Armenia: The Case For A Forgotten Genocide" by Dickran H. Boyajian (LLM) in my collection of books. The original version it seems was once held by the Permanent Mission to the United Nations of the Republic of Indonesia. I guess, this means that I probably picked it up through my previous work.

Anyways, it is a book I have read a number of times before. I read it and used parts of it in an honours thesis that I wrote for my LLB (Bachelor of Laws). Although for some reason it never ended up getting graded and the rest is history so they say. The book is a challenging read and makes a compelling case. Nevertheless, there are always two sides to any interpretation of history, and this is certainly the case here.

The fact that the Armenian genocide is still so contentious after almost a century having passed is testament to the passionate opinions and interpretations held on each side of the genocide claim.

The purpose of the post is not really to review the book. It is really more to recommend it to anyone that might have an interest in matters such as these. I have been doing some reading on the holocaust of the Jews during World War II. Having read Boyajian's book it has certainly provided a lot of food for thought as to how I might go about teaching subject matter that relates to genocide more generally with respect to people's ability for inhumanity against their fellow human beings.

So, if any one has a fascination for learning in this area or about the history of the Armenian genocide, then this book might be a good jumping off point.

More than anything else, for me this time it was really about wanting to get away from the compulsory reading I have had to do to complete assessment tasks of late. But, in the end, I still find myself thinking about ways and means to teach the material and content that my reading illuminates for me.

Ho hum...