dimanche, février 26, 2012

Guest Writer : Stafford Ray

I would like to introduce my special guest writer and good friend, Stafford Ray from Sydney, Australia. With his permission, I have reproduced his excellent article, In The Loop which subject matter is, to me, of great interest to all of us.

When I was a little girl living in Tasmania, my Mum's landlord and foster mother, Mrs Ruth Bowling often took care of me. Her logic was crystal clear. And her wit, simply marvelous.

How wonderful now that I have met Stafford on-line. Stafford reminds me of my Mrs Bowling. An amazing writer, Stafford puts thoughts into delicious chunks of concepts that all of us can understand. He cuts into the subject matter with clarity. I wish politicians would stop their rhetoric and read what Stafford has to say.

And borrow his amazing wit at times!

Stafford blogs here.


In the Loop

I am worried about Jim.

Jim is in an outer loop of the economy, a very precarious place to be. But first let me explain ‘loops’.

Primary Producers are at the centre where all loops begin. They grow and raise food so they are not working in an expendable industry. My maternal grandfather was a farmer who used horses for everything from hauling logs to powering the sulky that took him and Grandma to town. But that all changed when he bought a tractor. Tractors do not eat grass and do not self propagate, so his purchase started a second line of loops that include tractor manufacturers, whose demand for materials created the next level of loops of miners, oil drillers, refiners, service mechanics, you get the picture.

More tractor manufacturers joined in so dealerships sprang up and new loops were formed that managed sales for manufacturing, a services not directly producing food or an object we can see and feel. But soon the dealer no longer had time to sweep out his showroom so he hired a cleaner and yet another loop was created.

Then the cleaner became so busy he hired Jim’s Pooch Grooming Service and now, every Thursday morning, Deefer gets a wash and a brush, her claws trimmed and anal glands expressed and yet another class of loops was added. We need these loops to create employment as productivity increases and industry continues to automate but we now have more people in outer loops than inner loops and it is these outer loops that are first to go when money gets tight.

Outer Loop jobs depend on our discretionary dollar. They include restaurant staff, tour operators and Jim’s Mowing, the specialist BBQ cleaner and I must not leave out the busty blonde who bursts into the blue-collar work place in her van offering espresso coffee and hot pies to blokes who gather around to admire her legs and torso while spending twenty times the cost of a cut lunch and thermos of coffee.

When the Great Depression peaked in the late 30’s, over half the population here worked on the land so when sons and daughters lost their town jobs they came home where there was a cow to milk, some chooks for eggs, a few fruit trees and a veggie patch so they did not starve and were hale and healthy when the economy recovered.

Now, Agriculture here in Oz employs less than one in forty so where do our sons and daughters go if unemployment hits 30% or worse?

We are facing fundamental and worldwide shifts in energy, environment, population and wealth distribution. We need a survival plan and leaders to explain it and guide us through it.

It seems they are here, but their voices are being drowned out by populists of the Right, who insist the Market (that gave us the 2007 GFC) will fix it and the Left which seems more interested in same sex marriage. Both are aided and abetted by media continuing to direct our attention to which celeb is cheating on whom, obscuring the fact we are in crisis and desperately in need of a global plan and a social contract to deliver it.

That mix of undermined respect for leaders, voyeurism, platitudes, scandal and lies leaves us confused. Confusion leads to anger and so we get Greece. What happened when the Greek Government tried to bite the bullet and balance its budget? Opposition voices condemned the austerity measures so people became confused then angry and then rioted.

Political opportunists are popping up everywhere as they do whenever we are in crisis and some of them are talking war. Should we be surprised? Of course not.

War will drag our attention away from their appalling economic management and the diminishing habitat of the brown breasted miniature whistling duck! To fight each other is in our genes so war it will be and our last chance to address the issues of environment, energy and population will be abandoned.

Are we really that stupid?


Note: No disrespect is intended towards the many good people who work in service industries, including Jim's franchises. I am really concerned for their futures, as I am for Humanity as a whole.


More loops from Stafford here http://staffordray.blogspot.com/2012/02/more-loops.html.

vendredi, février 10, 2012

My Langkawi

Je me suis réveillé aux baisers et la vue sur la mer.
Je savais que ça allait être une journée spéciale.

. woke up to kisses and the view of the sea. I knew it was going to be a special day.

Où est le petit poisson?

Rudy, Girish and Sam together with his wife, Kristie were to join TJ's luncheon on a yacht. But I am not really fond of the sea so I decided to take a walk in Pekan Kuah by myself. And explore. This lovely little divider caught my eye. Little fishes were swimming lazily under the kiambang of my childhood.

I smiled to the sun.

Then I spied a little restaurant with a bookshelf full of German and English books. Intrigued, I entered and discovered an unexpected delight - and a treasure of stories.

This is Azizah, she helps the owner Dee run Domino and is a professional dancer.

While I had a lovely breakfast of pancake and maple syrup, Azizah sat with me and told me the story of Mountain Raya, Mountain Mat Cincang and Gunung Mat Sawar.

And the story of how Telaga Air Hangat, Pekan Kuah and Belanga Pecah got their names.

This is Paul, Dee and me, new found friends of mine in Langkawi.

Dee has worked at Domino for 20 years. When the owner, a German expat, Wolf, passed away,
he left Dee a small inheritance and Dee took over the restaurant. He updated the place and for the last one and a half years, Domino has become a renewed novelty in Langkawi.

Try out this lovely lovely eatery, the lamb chop was excellent and the hospitality was charming, warm and genuine.

And if you happen to drop by Domino, have a look at a
new book on the shelf called
Srikandi by ninotaziz

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