Uh-oh. In a recent incident at a Beijing bookstore that bodes very, very poorly for influential bloggers such as myself, one prominent Chinese blogger was stabbed yesterday as a result of his anti-establishment writings. According to the article, Xu Lai, a newspaper journalist and novelist, had published many writings about government corruption and satirical items on the Communist party, censorship and the melamine milk scandal. And for that, he was STABBED. So yay establishment!!! I heart you, wacky federal leader of the centre-left Australian Labor Party. You complete me.
Actually, a lot of Aussies do like The Establishment. On Thursday, Edelman Australia released the results of its 2009 Trust Barometer, which studied trust among 4,475 key opinion leaders in 20 countries, and government ranked higher than business in terms of trust. When it comes to business, however, Australian key opinion leaders apparently listen to too much XTC.
According to the results, 74% of Australians trust business less than they did last year, and they trust business significantly less than every other country/region to 1) act quickly to correct problems, 2) make changes so the problems don't happen again, 3) admit their mistakes when things go wrong, 4) make full public disclosure about the problems and their causes, 5) have execs take a visible lead in communicating about the problems, etc.
Another reason Aussies probably listen to XTC: They are one of the world's least religious people. Coincidence?
But aside from being cynics, Australians are also really fun drunks. And on Saturday night, all of the fun cynical drunks came out to celebrate Valentine's Day with other fun cynical drunks. No flowers? No worries - beer was in full supply at the Carlton Hotel, a local establishment in the heart of downtown. I and one other fellow spent the night with seven single women, which prevented me from 1) drunk dialing an ex-girlfriend, 2) finding new Valentine's Day romance, or 3) staying home eating chocolate listening to Fergie on the sofa in a pool of my own tears.
Well, the Victoria bush fires are still dominating the headlines everywhere in the country. On Friday and Saturday a fire in nearby Healesville caused an eery haze that covered the sky and smoke that filled the air. It really reminds me of the wild fires that plagued California for the past half-dozen years. It's been a sad nine days with 189 now reported dead, but more than $100 million has already been donated, which for a country of only 21 million people, is quite an impressive feat. Aussies do support Aussies and it's great to see the nation come together, even over tragedy.
So I'm almost at the half-way point of my Work & Holiday visa. I feel like I've actually done a lot in these past 25 weeks. I've had two jobs. I've written six press releases for CSG. I've met a lot of cool people and had a lot of great memories. Still, though, I can't help but look ahead and wonder where I'll be come Week 53. There's a good chance I'll still be in Melbourne, but I reckon there's a better chance I'll be elsewhere. London? Sydney?? New York??? Any other ideas? In the meantime, I've got half a year left to see the city and conquer the country and region. And get hangers. I need hangers. Twenty-five weeks down, 27 to go.
Week Twenty-five Summary:
Weather: Was perfect, now getting hot again. Stupid sun.
New observation: It seems as though more Europeans, Americans and Asians make the trek to Uluru than Australians
New activity(ies): Working on Saturdays
New food: seafood pizza
New word(s): spelling words that should have a "z" with an "s", i.e. capitalisation, organise or realise.
New people: the checkout lady at Safeway knows me, and I'm not sure how or why...
What I miss: the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers, cilantro on tacos, my DVD collection of The Office, coupons in the Sunday paper, 3C1W2008 (has it really been a whole year???)