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Les beanz

Jan. 8th, 2009

05:02 pm - Stuff White People Like - Australia Edition

Stuffwhitepeoplelike.com

I must be one of the only people who discovered this awesome blog AFTER stumbling across the book at Kinokouniya. It appeals to me on so many levels – I love its insight, sardonic writing style and like most people who read it, the reaction it incites as those who feel targeted try to argue the blog is ‘racist’ in dimwitted and defensive posted comments. (Yeah, it’s not nice having huge generalisations made about you, is it? The rest of us have had to put up with it for centuries, in anthropological, historical and even ‘scientific’ studies.) I’m guilty of quite a few of the things mentioned – see the posts on Facebook, Grammar and 80s nights. But mostly the blog is spot on for describing my white, inner-westie, trendy, do-gooder friends ie the friends I had at Fort St High when I was in High School, and the friends I made at university. Even though I finally had friends that liked a lot of the things I felt alienated for liking at my very ethnic high school, it came at a price. I felt the pressure to be more ‘white’ for the first time at university.

The blog is brilliant – my favourite posts are about indie music, study abroad, organic food and ‘diversity.’ One of the most common criticisms of the blog is that the stereotypes have more to do with class, not race as the ‘type of white person’ referred to is urbane, wealthy, socially ‘aware’ (the post on ‘awareness’ kills me every time!), university educated etc But I argue that those type of whites are the ultimate – they enshrine Europe as the pinnacle of development in terms of culture, intellectual legacy and lifestyle, which to me really just smacks of the darkly buried belief that most white people have that Europe is the most civilised place in the world, and colonies such as Australia and America just haven’t caught up yet.

I think with Australia’s endemic cultural cringe and Eurocentricism, especially in the Arts, and our incredibly awkward relationship with the black, Asian and Arab world, we should do a “Stuff White People Like – Australia Edition!” What can people come up with?

Newtown : White people like Newtown for many reasons (see SWPL posts on “Diversity” and “Gentrification”), particularly because it safely protects them from people with different musical and fashion tastes while giving them the feeling of being edgy. Newtown is a place where people can do such coveted white person things like shopping at organic food co-ops, op-shops and attend indie music gigs while eating Thai food. They get the cred of hanging out in a place that used to be a slum but now has lots of expensive cafes and chic clothing stores where you can buy clothes that look as though you got them from Vinnies for $4. As a result, Newtown is full of white people. (If you think there’s ethnic diversity in Newtown then you’ve obviously never been to Fairfield, Blacktown or Campsie.) But there’s a different KIND of diversity – Newtown is a place where people from all kinds of sub-cultures can come together and live in harmony, whether they’re Goths, punks, emos, indie, hipsters or hippies.

However, be warned that non-white subcultures such as hip-hop/rap/RnB will be met with a degree of hostility.
I remember when 50 Cent had a concert at the Enmore, and some white gay friends of mine were complaining that his fans were coming to Their suburb. Why couldn’t the promoters have scheduled the event for a more ‘appropriate’ venue? When I tried to tell them that what they were saying was “There goes the neighbourhood” instead of admitting bigotry, in full defence and denial worthy only of our good friend Keith Winschuttle, my friends went on to earnestly tell me that it had nothing to do with snobbery or parochialism, but rather that they felt Their streets were ‘less safe.’ I still didn’t understand how this was different to residents of Camden saying they weren’t racist, but they were just Concerned for Their Community. But maybe that was because I’d forgotten that these were white gay men, and therefore knew more about oppression than anyone else.

Alex was there at the time, and didn’t mention that his brother likes that kind of music and is hardly a thug. But I didn’t want to make too many enemies by implying that what really upset my gentri-friends was the idea of large groups of non-white men in their hood, when they’d spent their whole lives trying to get away from music that non-white people like. That would be rude of me.

Melbourne – White people love Melbourne because it allows them to wear cool clothes (see ‘Scarves’ and ‘Sweaters’) and it’s full of important white people institutions like chic café bars and private schools. Also, white people can pretend they’re in Europe. In fact, when a white person says that Melbourne has more ‘culture’, what they really means is that Melbourne is full of Europeans, who have real culture and trams, as opposed to Sydney which is full of scungy Asians and high-rise. White people from Melbourne are particularly fond of Melbourne, and will tell you it is more ‘diverse’ and cultured than Sydney. Don’t rock the boat by asking how much of Sydney they’ve actually seen, because when they realise they’ve only been as far out as Summer Hill they will feel bad.

I await your comments, wrath, and hopefully good humour.



Current Location: work
Current Mood: inspired

Jan. 2nd, 2009

05:33 pm - Happy New Year!

My New Years' Resolutions:

- Have a better year than I had last year (shouldn't be too hard!)

- Do more creative things.

-Get our flat more organised.

-Go about getting skilled up for a job I'd enjoy more (ie teaching or youth work)

- Get onto couchsurf to meet amazing travellers who can stay in our guest bedroom.

I was going to make a post called "My Big Fat Filo Christmas" about my experiences with Alexander's family, but it's going to bite me in the arse in ten years time when I'm a famous anti-rascism advocate.

I was going to write a post called "Fat, Lazy and Stupid" about Denis Leary's new book and the correlation between rich private school kids getting disproportionately more special consideration, but it's going to bite me in the arse in ten years time when I'm a famous disability rights advocate.

If you're interested I can give you the rant in person where I can then categorically deny it later when I'm famous.

Be safe in the New Year, love to all x

Tags:
Current Location: parent's home
Current Mood: relaxedrelaxed

Nov. 25th, 2008

09:55 am - Primeras Impresiones de Chile

I leave Chile tomorrow for another six days in Buenos Aires after making a brief overnight stay there en route to Santiago. I love it here and have had an unreal time - no doubt helped by the fact I'm now reunited with Alex. I don't really feel as though I can make comments with any deal of authority so these are my initial impressions:

- It's hot here, being a steady 30 degrees since I arrived but with none of the humidity or stickyness of Sydney. Unlike Sydney, the pace is much more relaxed here. People get up later, eat later, party later, sleep later. We had a dinner party on my second day here and of course, the guests didn't get fed til about nine or so, but I was told in Chile it is not unusual for dinner to start at eleven. We went to a party afterwards at Cuerto - the Santiago equivalent of Stucco - and didn't get there til about one or two which I'm told is normal.

- There are much fewer people in business attire here. Everyone walks around in cool casual clothing with only the odd suit.

- This is going to sound really dumb, but on my first day here I was struck by the fact that Chile is full of...well...Chileans! I must admit I was a bit culture shocked when I arrived, even though I thought my time living in Kolkata would have put me way above that. I worked out later is that what I realised is that there is an entire continent full of a people that have so little visibility in Australia. Sydney is a multicultural city and I found it overwhelming to be in a country that had surprisingly few gringos (foreigners) but so many Latinos. It wasn't like being in India - I'm used to seeing lots of Indians in Sydney. I realised just how huge the world is and what a teeny slice I get of it back home, even in a cosmopolitan, international city like Sydney.

- My nose is super sticky here and I'm not sure if it's the pollution, all the smoking here or all the lines of coke we've done here. Even the most hardened anti-smoker picks it up in days here. And I admit a little sheepishly for fear of fulfilling stereotypes that on my first night here I was offered coke within my first minute. It costs 10,000 pesos for a gram ...which roughy translates into $25 Australian dollars. Tui tells me that until two years ago in Argentina you could smoke on the bus, in the cinema and even in hospitals! Her theory is that in such an obscenely unequal society like Chile, most people have very little to look forward to, very few prospects. So you enjoy the moment and invest in having good times with the people around you. Her theory is pretty plausible in the sense that the data all over the world is that working-class people smoke more, as do people in marginalised groups (I know lesbians statistically smoke more than most other groups in Australia.) It makes sense - people smoke not because they are dumb, but because they don't envision their future or because it connects them socially to others.

-EVERYONE makes out here. Not just young people either - middle aged and elderly couples kiss passionately in parks, on metros, in supermarket queues. Alex's theory is that this is because everyone lives at home until they're married and often the only time they have to make out is actually in public. An American guy was telling me last night that teenagers have sex here when they're like 14, so there's all this lip-service to conservatism when really Chileans are probably as sexually active or even moreso than a lot of Westerners.

-The public transport system is fantastic here and certainly puts Sydney to shame!

-They eat so much meat and greasy foods but still everyone is skinny compared to Australians.

- Everything is designed to provide employment to people. In Supermarkets, bag boy and girls pack things into plastic bags for measly tips. In a pharmacy, you can't just grab a toothbrush or sunscreen off the shelf and pay at the counter. You have to see an attendant behind the counter who will get it for you, meaning a single pharmacy will have eight or so people working. Any level of bureaucracy, any simple task like buying a bus ticket often requires you seeing several people so that more people are employed. It seems inefficient to Australians but I remember that Australians are some of the most overworked people in the OECD.

Anyway amigos, that's all I can think of for now. Stay tuned for updates from Argentina and Brazil. And there are many awesome photos on Facebook!

Tags: ,
Current Location: Alex's flat in Santiago
Current Mood: curiouscurious

Nov. 20th, 2008

11:57 am

Argentina is full of hot people. Seriously.

Current Location: Santiago, Chile!

Nov. 18th, 2008

04:01 pm

Reasons to be happy about being Bina right now

- 1) Obama won!

In one of my favourite episodes of South Park, the children have to vote between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich for their school mascot. Stan abstains and is reprimanded for being anti-democracy. The closing lesson? "I've learned something today...I've learned that in a democracy, it's always going to be a choice between a Giant Douche and a Turd Sandwich, because only Giant Douches and Turd Sandwiches get high enough within the ranks of their parties in order to run for office." (or words to such effect.) That pretty much sums up my view on democracy pretty well. It's always going to be the same dynasties, the same voices, the same big picture with just a few variations of detail.

With the victory of Obama, I'm no sudden convert to democracy, but I think the symbolism alone is definitely worth celebrating. My white friends seem to think they're terribly sophisticated for pointing out that Not A Whole Lot will change, and that it's not THAT symbolic, to which I answer 'suck a fuck.' No one but me will notice when a woman finally wins an Oscar for Best Director, but it will sure matter to me because I've seen myself excluded from that scene so categorically. This Isn't a Big Deal to white folk who are *used* to seeing themselves represented, but it sure meant a lot to my Baba who was arrested in the early 70s as one of the first non-whites living in Australia for his anti-apartheid work here. Cops back then weren't used to seeing Indians and assumed Baba was Aboriginal. When they found out he was actually from India the copper said: "Go back to your own country. We don't want your kind here. You're a troublemaker" to which my Dad innocously replied "I was invited to come to this country. Were you?" And made himself my hero forever...Anyway, Baba was in India at the time and sent me this truly touching email saying he never thought he'd see a black President in his lifetime. And Eugene Robinson, one of the most prolific black journalists from The Washington Post, wrote so movingly about seeing Jesse Jackson with tears pouring down his face, truly humbled by the Obama victory.

The best bits for me? Being able to shove it in the face of my truly bigoted co-worker ("We have to pray for McCain!" Silence. When it looked as though Obama would win I told her she mustn't have been praying hard enough...nasty I know, but she makes work so fucking painful for me sometimes that there's only so many times I can bite my tongue while she projectile vomits her ignorance onto the rest of us...)

Going to the Official Democrat party at Slide Bar. So many crying and hugging and ecstatic expatriate Americans! The vibe was sensational and we all drank expensive champagne. It was like a New Years Eve party for a new world order...

Watching Ms Palin go home. I must say, by the end I was uncomfortable watching a lot of the criticism directed at her. There were plenty of legitimate reasons to attack her and so I was always disappointed when the commentary delved into sexism, not dissimilar to the sort of venom unleashed upon Natasha Stott Despoja here. What comes to mind were the French-Canadian comedians who, after running out of their planned material for a prank phone-call to Palin where they pretended to be Nicholas Sarkozy's office, made a reference to "Nailin' Paylin." Not cool. Granted, they were ad libbing but it still made me uneasy. I think one of the best analyses I read was in The Guardian, where someone remarked that Sarah Palin epitmised precisely what Republicans claim to hate about affirmative action - an unqualified candidate getting a post for purely tokenistic reasons. Which of course is precisely what Palin was - a most cynical attempt by the GOP to capture disgruntled Hillary supporters. What they seemed to miss was that Hillary supporters liked Hillary not because she was a woman but because she was highly competant, intelligent and experienced (ok I'll admit, I started liking her a whole lot more after her concession speech during the Primaries...I'm just glad that after a Bush, a Clinton, and another Bush, we didn't get another Clinton).

I can't tell whether I'm happier now or when we got rid of Howard. I think now - it's bigger, it's a huge day for the whole world. That said, because of the two-term limit we were always going to get rid of Bush, it was just a matter of who replaced him. With Howard he was ousted after it felt as though he would be in forever...and the icing on the cake was that he lost his own seat...sweet Shadenfreude!

Anyway, that's a huge part of why I'm so happy. Obama's victory was like the best week of my life. But there are other reasons:

--This morning, after my routine morning Skype date with Alexander, I deleted it from my computer. Why? Because tomorrow I fly out to Buenos Aires, meaning the next time I see my darling boy will be in the flesh and there will be no need for this stupid, time-laggy, pixelated and non-pubbelly software that can only offer me some facsimile of my boyfriend. We’ve done it!

- Anna got her placement at RPA! I'm thrilled - and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving person.

- Beau has moved to Marrickville, within walking distance of my place. Yay!

-There's talk from a Quaker friend of mine about starting an Inter-faith choir. Sounds awesome!

-I’m almost finished work, which means one month of not having to come to this shithole.

-My Leonard Cohen tickets arrived in the mail.


- I'm on the home-stretch for a very difficult year, and I cound't be more content and excited for what the future holds for me.

I'm gonna make it after all!

Reasons why life is shit?

- I wrote a post very similar to this on Sunday night, but LJ ATE it seconds before I posted! Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all.

Tags: ,
Current Location: Work
Current Mood: buzzing!
Current Music: In my head - "I'm Going to Make it After All" Mary Tyler Moore theme

Nov. 3rd, 2008

08:18 pm - Home stretch

Dear readers, it's been far too long since I've last posted. I have a rare evening to myself and plenty on my mind. In a little over two weeks I will be back in the arms of my darling boy, separated from me for far too long. We meet in Buenos Aires, have a night in a hotel and then our adventure together in South America begins. You know what? We deserve a fucking medal. I don't reckon there are many couples who can survive a year apart and still be crazy about each other. But in many ways it's worse now than it's been all year. I'm wired with anticipation. All year I've just had to put it out of my mind, not dwell, not deal, just arse my way around this crazy year and hope for the best. Now that it's in sight it's almost unbearable. And now that we're on the home stretch it's hitting me just how long it's been and how difficult this year has been. I want to forget all the yucky stuff...so here are some recent highlights:

- I saw Patti Smith. One of my heroes since I was about sixteen, she's now sixty-one and still so rock and roll. I honestly could not articulate how incredible her show was, other than the highlight which encapsulated the whole evening was when she invited The Drones to play on stage with her band. And she says in her humble New Jersey accent "I'm here with the Drones. We've never been in the same room before. I'm sorry, I don't know their names. I don't know the individual name of each drone. I just know that they're the collective drones." And I'm thinking, what the hell are they going to sing? How the hell are they going to do this? Is she going to be there going "C sharp, F" under her breath? And she breaks out the only song she played off "Twelve" - her covers album which I honestly thought there was no chance of her playing seeing that for the rest of her show she remained pretty faithful to her back catalogue. And so they break out into her chilling rendition of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" - der! The only song that you can guarantee pretty much every band in the world can play. Kurt Cobain always said that lyrics were the least important part of a song to him and I tend to agree a lot of the time but it was incredible to hear Patti Smith, punk performance poet, sing a song that is normally so garbled with such convincing diction, where every word mattered with that brutally sincere voice of hers. Honestly one of the highlights of my life. Dear Patti, I salute you!

- I went to Club Kooky. I was truly with all of my people. If I ran a utopia that's what it would look like. Happiest place on earth. (There's a really funny trashed photo of me that Carl posted to my Facebook wall...) The highlight was a song which i have seriously beatboxed to like a billion music- savvy friends in the vain hope that someone would be able to know what it was (Who's it by? No idea. Where did you hear it? Late night on rage sometime. What are some of the words? I don't know, I don't listen to lyrics...) was played on the dancefloor while I was peaking. I jumped over to the DJ and asked her WHAT? IS? THIS? SONG? and she grinned and told me...yet another problem solved by the magical land of Club Kooky! (P.S. The song is "Someone Great" by LCD. My fave song of this year, infectious, melodic and earnest.)

- I went to the best party all year at the Viking Halloween Treehouse Housewarming. It's been far too long since I've hung with Fatjam, AC, Tombo and the boys. Again, all of my people. In fact, it was kind of like Kooky, but we got to decide on the music...and it was in a house... and there were two rooms, so variety of music. One of the high points of the night was a room full of us, high as kites, in Fatjam's massive room and he put on Aenema. It was a room full of new-metal heads or, in my case, nostalgic ex-angry teenagers and we screamed along every word in each movement of the song, and I giggled in my state thinking there was something so beautiful about so many people having this profound, personable connection with such an anthem of alienation. Similar thing happened when "Beautiful People" played later in the night...and "Fuck the Pain Away" played like a billion times... Everyone was high and friendly and comfortable and it was an absolute buzz. Norrie was sitting on AC's bed, grinning ear-to-ear, and I asked her what was on her mind and she just said in that delightful accent "I'm wonderful! It's like all my best friends have put on a party just for me!" And in my moment of ecstatic profundity I said "Isn't that all life is?"... I stumbled home when two delightful lads (one of them being my dearest of friends, B) walked me back to my house. The other guy was this dude with a killer English accent and an old-school punk hairdo who I met for the first time that night but impressed me thoroughly ("Look, I'm no communist, but I reckon the government should supply us all with socks and tampons, and if you wanted those fancy padded socks you could just get them on the black market,right?") I woke at midday and went back to the treehouse and we all sat around daft, smoking and laughing...I earned a new nickname "PP" for "poo pill" because I announced to everyone in my state that I'd pooed on a pill for the first time. Then Tombo and Fatjam came back to my house, riding bikes through the back alleys of Enmore, and we had tea - a glorious, scattered footnote to a truly wonderful night.

(As a post script, I heard the funniest anecdote I've actually ever heard about a friend over the course of these discussions of nicknames. I found out one of my friends is called "Oporto" after a trashy night where he woke up and thought "hmmmm...what a vivid dream..."and then looked at his socks which were absolutely filthy and worked out that 'vivid dream' must have been true. He had, in fact, stumbled down the road to Oporto's in nothing but his socks and underwear and walked straight into their kitchen, grease and all. His friend's went back a few days later and asked management if a guy had walked into their kitchen in nothing but socks and underwear, to which the staff giggled and was like "Oh yeah, that guy. He was harmless." So this guy, who shall remain nameless other than his new name, shall be forever known as 'Oporto.' Kind of reminds me of those kids movies when the protagonist wakes and thinks 'it was all a dream, but it seemed so real?' and then looks in their palm and they still have the magic crystal or the scar or some other such indicia that the vivid dream was not a dream at all...)

So yeah, lots to celebrate. Eleven more work days til I leave (I'm doing the Seinfeld thing of "sixteen days, but when you think about weekends, sleeps, meals, it's really like five days...")

And maybe, we will see a new American president...I don't think my dad would ever think in his life time that he would see a black American president. I'm going to the Obama Election watch party at Slide Bar after work on Wednesday and I'm considering joining the Facebook group called "Obama will win and we will have a huge fuck-off party!) I don't want to get my hopes up, which was my strategy for Kevin07, but I must admit I have quite a good feeling. They're on the home stretch too!

Oh and I'm getting singing lessons...you should hear the improvement to my singing already!

Now I just have to get rid of this damn insomnia.

Love yous all, let me know if you want a postcard!

x

Current Location: the land of more stan
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: none - just watching Good News Week

Sep. 19th, 2008

08:08 pm - It's not you who will change the system, it is the system that will eventually change you...

I can't say I'm feeling very bad-arse or anarchisty today. I spent all day at work writing a pointed dispute letter to the NSW Electoral Commission for effectively disenfranchising me from voting in my local council election by failing to update my enrollment details despite my application over a month ago.

If that wasn't bad enough, I then emailed my local Greens member at Marrickville council and cc'd him the letter as an attatchment and asked if it would be appropriate if he could lend me his letterhead, because if there's one thing I've learned from being a public servant it's that letterheads pack far more of a punch than individual representation.

I know I know, gross.

We're through the looking glass here people...

Tags: ,
Current Location: the land of more stan
Current Mood: itchy
Current Music: Esther's Sense and Sensibility soundtrack/study music

Aug. 21st, 2008

07:12 pm - Halfway mark

It's August 21st.

Exactly three months since I've see Alexander and exactly three til I see him again.

It's the equivalent of Wednesday 'hump day' I guess.

From now on it's closer til I see him than since I've seen him.

I guess that's something to be happy about.

Been a bit miserable lately, was in a filthy feral mood yesterday at work and finally snapped and screamed at my colleague and called her a bigot. She is a bigot. I shouldn't have to fucking put up with it at work.

Had a yarn to Sue and Lou yesterday about it. If anyone would know about racism it's those two!

Feeling better today - cleaned my desk which quite miraculously improved my disposition and also I got serious about budgeting. I created an itemised Excel spreadsheet of fixed expenses, predicted expenses, mutable expenses and calculated an average amount of disposable income to stick to throughout the week, indexed to reflect inflation and one-off expenses. I'm serious. I've been working in the accounts department for too long.

That's also made me feel better about my life and like I'm not just killing time til Alex gets back and I stop having to do everything on my own (expense wise, anyway. I can see why marriage and capitalism go hand in hand!)

I'm thinking of becoming a youth worker.

And I think I've started a weekly thing at the Duke on Tuesdays - Trivia! We came second this week - we won on points but lost the bonus question which was Harry Potter related, which made me miss Alex even more! Anyway, do come along, it's a blast.

In other news I'm going to be on ABC2 on a HackTV segment about pornography. I hope none of my relatives end up seeing it by accident. Fingers crossed.

That's all I'll write for today. This rant is probably as erratic and non-sequiterish as I feel. And anyway, Bree's coming over for our Thursday-night-blah-nights.

Tags: ,
Current Location: the land of more stan
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Current Music: Psycho - Beasts of Bourbon

Aug. 5th, 2008

06:10 pm - Missing Persons

I've been reading the case of Matthew Leveson on the news religiously. I've been following the story for months now after receiving a message on Facebook - his mother's heartfelt plea after his disappearance last September.

I've been trawling through the articles on various news sights and I can't stop this sick feeling I have.

I don't know why the story resonated so strongly with me. It could be because he was a young man, only a little younger than me, from Syndey. It could be because his mother's words were just so agonising to read. It could also be because it was suspected for a long time that he was the victim of a gay-hate crime.

Now, it looks as though his boyfriend was responsible all along.

I think another reason this story has bothered me so much is because when I was in Year Seven, one of my classmates at school, Quanne Diec, went missing on her way to school one morning. That was July 27th 1998. I remember the day well - the rumours, the announcement at school, the letters home advising us not to talk to the media, the film crews, and the feeling of dread in the air. I remember feeling scared. It was my first experience of a young person dying. Sadly it wasn't the last.

She's never been found.

She went missing somewhere between her home in Granville and Clyde station - only a short walk away but though a highly industrialised and quiet factory area. There's a security footage photo of her as she passed the large Australia Post truck depot near her house. About 50m behind her is the shape of a tall man in a white hoodie. She was only a few months into Year Seven and there's been speculation she'd been followed for months.

Some months later, there was a report that a man rang up Crimestoppers, sobbing, revealing she had come to a horrible end. But no details of where she was or what had happened to her.

I can't imagine what the families of missing persons go through. The heartache, the constant worry, the searing adrenaline every time the phone rings. I saw what Quanne's friends went through over the years and I wouldn't wish it on anybody.

I'm feeling so fucked up and sad right now. It didn't help that I spoke to the distraught mother of a dead three-year-old today.

There's just so much sadness in the world.

I want to just hug my family and friends.

Be good to each other, say you love people every time you say goodbye to them, and no matter how shitty your days are be grateful that your life didn't change forever today, for the worse.

At least that's what I try to do.

Current Location: the land of more stan
Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: Those Anarcho Punks are Mysterious - Against me!

Jul. 22nd, 2008

06:34 pm - Ask a simple question...

About twice a week I go to the bank for work. This is a nice excuse to get out of the office for an hour or so, drive a company car (WITHOUT my p's!) with the radio at full blast and have a coffee in Leichhardt. I look forward to it.

So I went into the Commonwealth Bank in Leichhardt and had to wait around for a bit because I was doing some complicated stuff with an overseas cheque. And then the middle-aged teller drops me the question that I get really sick of hearing every time I go into a CBA for work related shite:

"Where do you do your personal banking?"

Treading carefully, I replied St George.

"But it would be convenient to do it here. You already come in here a few times a week for work banking."

I didn't want to offend her - I felt sorry for her. I know she probably has some ridiculous target she needs to meet, some dumb quota.

I replied that I liked the Visa Debit card I get with St George. And then a little more boldly I added that I used to have a CBA account before having a really bad experience with them when my wallet was stolen a few years ago and the bank was negligent after I cancelled my card and allowed some random to use my Drivers' Licence and forge my signature and clear out my bank balance. (I got the money back but the whole thing was an incident I could have done without.)

I trailed off and changed the subject, feeling guilty for naval gazing to this teller and spelling out why exactly the institution she worked for licked balls. Then I stopped myself. Why was I trying to protect her feelings? How dare she accost me about my banking and put me in this uncomfortable situation when I'm supposed to be running some innocuous business errand. I don't care what her orders or expectations are - I took a stand against aggressing marketing and upselling enough to leave my job at Showbiz and endure months of gruelling, miserable unemployment. And every day while I agonised over finding a new job I wondered to myself whether it was worth it, whether I was a hero for taking an ethical stand against a practice I find appalling or a naive idiot for deluding myself that we are ever in a position to be ethical in a capitalist world where we all have to work. And after all that pain trying desperately to avoid upselling to be faced with it while I was trying to mind my own business seemed insulting.

So I made one final remark.

"To answer your question" I began, "I decided I couldn't bank with CBA because they are some of the major investors in Gunns Limited which is one of the key players in the logging of old growth forests in Tasmania. It's the same reason why I would never bank with ANZ because they are some of the major beneficiaries of the reconstruction of the War in Iraq. "

She started talking about how CBA gave to many small charities...and then it was her time to trail off when she saw the look in my eyes.

Ask a simple question...

Tags: ,
Current Location: the land of more stan
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: A Fairytale About Slavery - Miranda Sex Garden

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