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Culture Events

20 years on, Cathy Freeman creates a legacy of hope for young Aboriginal women

Australian flag and gold medal
Image: iStock

Tuesday, 15 September (AEST) marked twenty years since Sydney hosted the Olympics.

I was eleven when the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000. While I wasn’t really into sport, I knew that it was a major event. I even got enthusiastic about it.

Australia claimed a number of new gold medallists; joining the history books with former swimmer, Dawn Fraser and hockey champion Nova Peris. Swimmers like Grant Hackett and Ian Thorpe won Australia’s heart as well as gold medals.

So did sprinter, Cathy Freeman.

Cathy Freeman inspires generation of young Aboriginal people

According to ABC Life, a number of Aboriginal women were inspired by Freeman’s success. Author of the article, Molly Hunt described Freeman as “a legend” that “forever changed the hearts of many young black people and the nation”.

Hunt, who was an aspiring runner herself, saw herself in Freeman.

Maddie Whitford said that she felt “proud” of Freeman’s success and that she was experiencing so much media attention.

Even though Jash doesn’t consider herself a ‘sports person’, she felt inspired by Freeman’s victory sprint:

I think it was so powerful when she had two of the flags because it reinforces the statement that, firstly, she is an Aboriginal woman, and that she won that medal, not only for Australia, but for her community.

I can appreciate the impact that Freeman’s win had on young Aboriginal people. It must’ve been great to see their heritage represented on the global stage.

Torch relay

The torch took off around the world, like it is every four years. 1500 people were involved in the Oceania leg of the relay. Freeman ran took the torch to Olympic Park in Sydney where Freeman ignited the Ring of Fire.

The beginning and end of the Australian torch relay was significant. Nova Peris – Kneebone started the relay, and Cathy Freeman ended it.

It was a spectacular coincidence; two Aboriginal women both started and ended the Australian Olympic Torch Relay. Aboriginal pride was there for all to see. I’m sure for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it’s an event that they’ll never forget.

400 m sprint

25 September 2000: The great moment – Cathy Freeman’s 400m sprint victory.

 

At 49:13 seconds, Freeman won gold. It was just short of the world (47:6 seconds) and the Olympic record (48:25 seconds).

Even though that was a monumental achievement, Freeman told the ABC that she was disappointment at her time. She thought she could do better.

 

The Sydney Olympics were a great chapter in Australian history. I’m sure it’s been etched in the minds of most Australians. Personally, I don’t think the 2000 Olympics have been repeated. Maybe it never will.

Media coverage 20 years on

I haven’t seen one negative article on Cathy Freeman. I’ve been pleasantly surprised that her victory wasn’t marred by politics.

The ABC, Alan Jones on Sky News Australia have expressed awe at what she achieved. It’s nice to see a news story (or history in this case), not be marred in controversy.

 

What are your memories of the 2000 Sydney Olympics? Feel free to leave any thoughts in the comments below.

 

Categories
Culture

Study shows children’s books lack ethnic diversity

Boy reading book in library
Image: iStock

Competency in reading and writing in school – aged children has been a major concern for parents, teachers and commentators for some time.

In 2018, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Report claimed Australia’s 15 – year – olds were just above average in literacy. All the results in English, Mathematics and Science were the worst they’d been since 2000.

Children books lack ethnically diverse characters

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Edith Cowan University professor, Dr. Helen Adam studied the cultural diversity in books aimed at kindergarten/ prep aged children.

Out of 2413 books, only 18% (approximately 434 books) featured non – white characters.

Even the most anti – politically correct crusader could see something wrong with this. Right?

The UK has been worse, with less than 5% of children’s books having at least one non – white character.

 

Immigration and ethnic diversity is a reality

Immigration is a major part of Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ 2016 Census, most of Australia’s immigrants come from the UK and New Zealand. However, between 2006 to 2016, the rate of immigration from those countries slightly decreased.

Conversely, immigration from Asia has increased. There has been soikes in immigration from China, India and Nepal.

Could this disparity lead to white supremacy among children and young people?

The Sydney Morning Herald feared lack of diversity in characters could create white supremacy in Caucasian children. To be honest, I think that’s a bit alarmist.

However, when I first read the article, my immediate thought was how would it affect the education of children? Would children from non – White/ non – English speaking backgrounds and their families feel so discouraged that they’d isolate themselves? Maybe refuse to speak English at all? If we expect migrants and their families to assimilate, I think we need to meet them half way. They should be included in  all facets of society, including in literature and pop culture.

 

Will their ethnic diverse authors in the future?

Looking briefly at Booktopia’s Top 50 Favourite Australian Authors of 2018, most of the authors listed were from a European background. The exception was Vietnamese – born, Anh Doh.

Authors should be able to write about characters who are not the same as them. Characters can have different ethnicities, sexual orientations, life experiences, etc. Not all characters have to reflect the exact identities and experiences of the author/s.

Having said that, it’s not surprising that most authors create characters who somehow reflect their knowledge and experiences. And ethnicity may play a role in that.

Will diversity in characters change in the future? With our current trends in migration – an increased South and East Asian migration rate, it’s possible that we’ll have more authors from different ethnic backgrounds, hence characters.

Of course, publishers need to be open to potential authors who were not born here. Then there’s the Australian market. How popular are books from non – European migrants/ second generation Australians going to be? Only time will tell.

 

All children deserve a decent education. Children should be able to read about characters they can relate to. This includes children who’s family has cone from overseas.

 

What do you think about ethnic diversity in children’s books? Is there enough? Do you think it’s important? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Categories
Retail and Marketing

David Littleproud attacks Coles over milk. Too little, too late

Coles sign on side of store

MP David Littleproud attacked grocery giant, Coles for not passing extra A$0.10 from their milk on to farmers. This has triggered an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) inquiry.

Apparently, Coles have finally buckled, donating an extra A$5million to farmers.

Why has anyone only spoken up now?

Coles and the other grocer mammoth, Woolworths were in a longstanding war over grocery prices.

Woolworths entrance
Woolworths has been part of the ‘price wars’ since 2011, resulting in them quashing competitors.

This started in 2011. Both supermarkets offered low prices and started a home brand that has covered a wide range of items.

The “down down” prices have proven to be sinister.  A number of smaller, independent grocers couldn’t compete went out of business.

Coles and Woolworths were accused of quashing small businesses in rural and regional areas.

To add insult to injury, last month, the price wars ended. Prices rose again. Everyone has lost out instead of Coles and Woolworths.

 

Yet, to my knowledge only recently has any MP publicly spoken out against Coles and/ or Woolworths. What took them so long? Is it just save face and make itlook like they’re doing something for the farmers after the disastrous Murray Basin plan?

Aldi: a saviour?

However, it’s not all bad news. Coles and Woolworths do have a competitor – German supermarket, Aldi.

They first opened stores in Australia in 2001.

Since then, Aldi has had its hits and misses. Many people like their prices, not just for groceries, but also household appliances like Dyson vacuum cleaners, which are cheaper than in other stores.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring back any small businesses in rural towns that have collapsed.

 

 

I think the Federal Government has really shot themselves in the foot over the grocer wars. Put simply, Coles and Woolworths are too big. Criticising them now is pointless.

 

Coles and Woolworths have proven to have no regard for the ‘little guy’. They’ve been able to bully their way to dominating a major part of the retail sector.

If they had no regard for the independent businesses, then why would they care for farmers? Unless it tarnishes their image (and threatens their bottom line).

U.timately, the CEOs of Coles and Woolworths only about one thing, and that”s profit.

 

Categories
Culture Film, TV

Uber Eats ad is noice

This is a new Uber Eats ad. It features Magda Szubanski as her Kath and Kim character, Sharon Strizlecki and Kim Kardashian-West. It’s very well done.

Categories
Culture Film, TV Pop Culture

Taboo: black humour with compassion

 

For the last two Thursday’s, I’ve been watching Ten’s controversial show, Taboo.

In the show, stand-up comedian, Harley Breen meets people facing adversity. After getting to know their situation, he uses their experiences as part of his stand-up gig.

This is not the first time he has attempted this. Last year, he did an episode on disability. I wasn’t aware of that.

In the first episode this year, Breen went to the Hunter Valley, New South Wales, to meet terminally ill people:

  • Matt: former infantry soldier who was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour
  • Lauren: cystic fibrosis, osteoporosis, depression and anxiety sufferer.
  • Nicole: new mother who was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer
  • Michael: father of two girls, diagnosed with lung cancer (not caused by smoking).

Matt, Lauren, Nicole and Michael opened up about their diagnoses and how it affected them and their loved ones.

My favourite part was when Breen and the guests started talking about medications they all take. Breen then joked that tgey were all “massive druggies”. I think that worked because the guests cinsented and in on the joke.

There was one joke Breen made that I thought was miscalculated. That was when Breen talked about parents losing terminally ill children. This was after Matt confided in him how much it upset him and indicated that was his personal boundary. I don’t think Breen was being callous, but if I were him, I would have left it out.

 

Breen tackles racism

Last week, Breen tackled racism and prejudice against Muslims.  Breen admitted on Studio 10 that it was the episode that he was nervous about.

This episode was well done; maybe better than the terminal illness episode.

I found this episode more satirical. Breen mocked the attitudes that the guests faced. He tackled intrusive questions, (i.e. ‘where are you from?’) and ostracism that some Muslims face, especially in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

My favourite part of this episode is when Breen tackled cultural differences between himself and Sara. Because of her faith, Sara doesn’t drink alcohol. Breen treated this like a language barrier in his stand up gig.

 

 

My take on the Taboo series so far

Overall, I think Harley Breen should be applauded. I like the way he has seeked consent from and bounced ideas off his guests upon the show.

 

This style of black humour isn’t for everybody. For some, the topics will be too raw and upsetting. Some may think that there are some things that “don’t have funny” in them.

Taboo  dares to test the boundaries of comedy. This is what makes Harley Breen so commendable.

 

The next episode tackles mental illness.

 

Taboo airs Thursday, 8.45pm EST on Win.

 

Have you seen any of the Taboo comedy series? Let me know your thoughts about it in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Culture

Elizabeth Warren aims to break up tech giants to increase competition

 

U.S. Democrat presidential hopeful, Elizabeth Warren has vowed to break up the dominance of major tech companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook. To three hundred of her supporters, she said:

 

We have these giant tech companies that think that they rule the earth. I don’t want a govenment that is here to work for the giant tech companies. I want a government that’s here to work for the people.

This isn’t the first time that Amazon has faced fierce criticism from Democrats. Last year,  Bernie Sanders put pressure on Amazon to raise the wages of workers. Amazon CEO caved in, promising a US$15.00 wage for workers.

Severe lack of competition

There is a severe lack of market competition in the tech sector. While there are a numbe of different apps, they are mostly owned by single companies. For example, Facebook Inc owns Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Branding of products

Senator Warren is also critical of Amazon, Facebook and Google doing ‘in – house’ advertising; for example, Amazon preferring to advertise their own products above that of an outside company/ publisher. It makes sense that a company would prefer to market their own products, but a lack of competition gives Amazon an unfair advantage. Senator Warren wants to limit the number of places in – house products can be advertised and sold. For example, the proposed law would make Apple choose between selling apps on iOS or their App Store,  but not both.

Potential pitfalls of the proposal and solutions

While supporting the premise, Kevin Roose of New York Times has reservations about the move. Austin – based independent tech workers ferared that the legislation could backfire, given it’s lack of clarity.

Roose also offered ideas so the proposal doesn’t fall through: be specific in present problems and offer specific solutions that’d suit each platform, (Roose argues that a sweeping law targeting Amazon and Facebook wouldn’t work given the different nature of the businesses). He pointed out that for some reason Cloud technology was absent from the proposal. Companies like Apple and Google should also be forced to drop their 15 – 30% tax on new developers. Roose also warns Senator Warren to avoid the censorship debates.

 

I really applaud Senator Warren and other Democrats for trying to implement moves to make the online market more fair. I’m a huge critic of major companies killing the possibility for competition. In Australia, I’ve hated how Coles and Woolworths were able to knock off independent grocers and fuel market. Now, it’s too late. However, competition has come back with Gerrman Aldi and Us’s Costco entering the Australian retail market.

 

It boils down to consumers

Despite it’s flaws, Facebook still held the record for most monthly users, according to Dreamgrow. Instagram came in third after YouTube.

It seems that Facebook is still widely trusted. Unless people use it simply out of habit.

I’ve written before about some of the benefits of Amazon, especially when it comes to music and how other music stores often fail to offer the range of albums that Amazon does. So who can compete? Who can offer the same range of books, CDs, downloads that Amazon has done for years?

There are slightly more competition in the social media market with WeChat, Tumblr and TikTok, however, Facebook Inc is still the most powerful tech giant.

 

It’d be great to see more competition in the online retail and social media sectors. Along with legislation, companies need to somehow win over consumers tge way Facebook, and Amazon have for so long.

 

 

Categories
Retail and Marketing

Is SPF 50+ sunscreen worth it?

Ultra 50 plus sunscreen
Popular and alleged ‘Cancer Council’ approved sunscreens come under scrutiny

Australians are repeatedly urged to ‘slip’ on a sleeved shirt, ‘slop’ on sunscreen and ‘ slap’ on a hat.

Now, being sunburnt is not fun. But is sunscreen all it’s cracked up to be? Maybe not.

Are sunscreens worth the hype?

Here’s a real kicker. Tests, including one reported on by Choice in 2018 revealed that most sunscreens they studied did not meet their marketed SPF claim. However, when manufacturers were contacted, most defended their product and claims. 

Cancer Council: can they be trusted?

A number of sunscreens have been found not to live up to their ratings. But what about the ones with the Cancer Council signature and logo? Surely if a product has the logo of the biggest cancer charity and education resource that the products would be reputable?

Well, not really.

According to news.com.au, the Cancer Council received a furious backlash from parents of toddlers after their children received severe rashes and burns after applying their Pepper Pig sunscreen.

Take this next finding with a grain of salt, but I found it interesting. Cancer Council sunscreen has been reviewed on Product Review, and from what I’ve read, many customers were not happy. A number of customers report severe sunburn, even when they applied the sunscreen as recommended.

So maybe take logos, as well as SPF claims with a grain of salt.

 

So, what is the answer? 

People have told me that zinc sunscreen is better than cream.

People are often warned to avoid the sun in the afternoon completely, if possible. If it’s not possible or you’re at an outdoor event, (like The Red Hot Summer Tour where I was burned to a crisp) here’s what you can do:

Shirt

Don’t where sleeveless or short sleeved t – shirts. Best to have the sleeve go around the elbow, if not below.

Shorts/ pants

For heaven’s sake, women, DON’T wear short shorts or skirts, you’ll regret it, trust me! Your knees will cop it. For about a week, I’ve had to apply Aloe Vera cream and put up with, at times, excruciating pain from sunburn. Make sure shorts/ skirt cover the knee at least. 

Hat

Wide – brimmed, of course. It helps if it has a string around the neck to hold it in place, too. The hats you could buy from the Red Hot Summer Tour were really good.

Shoes

Although they may be uncomfortable in Summer, I think closed is best. Wear shoes that cover the top of your feet, because they can get sunburnt, too. For me, I did get sunburnt on the top of the feet, (I wore sandals at the RHST).

 

Could festival/ event organisers make changes for the future?

There was a bit of shade around the outskirts at the RHST, but not actually in front of the stage where all the performers were. Could this be a possibility for future festivals? I’m not sure. You weren’t allowed to have summer umbrellas in front of the stage, either. I get that would have been due to safety concerns. I just wonder if there could have been a tarp or some sort of covering over where most people were sitting. Or at least have the event in an area with plenty of trees (there was surprisingly very few at North Gardens in Ballarat, Victoria where the RHST was).

 

If you’d like to see some pictures, check out my Instagram @saraharnetty.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Culture Events

Australia Day is here to stay

The dabate over Australia Day hasn’t raged too much this year (yet), but I’d like to add my own view.

Why January 26 and why is it controversial?

January 26 has been Austaralia’s official day since 1994, after it was agreed upon in 1988. Before 1994, January 26 was celebrated, but not in every State and Territory.

This has become a significan’t day, not just for many Australians, but also many migrants who are eligible for citizenship. Citizenship ceremonies are held by local councils across the country on that day, (and if Prime Minister Scott Morrison keeps getting his way, it’s staying that way).

Achievements are also acknowledged and various awards, such as the Australian of the Year and Young Australian of the Year are given out. People are nominated by the public and are chosen by a panel. These people are believed to have made a great contribution to Australia, whether in science, education, charity or a sociaal cause.

January 26 1788 was when the First Fleet from Britain came to Australia. This is when the world for Aboriginal people started to crash down; a start of a number pf years when many Aboriginal people lost their home and culture.

This is why Australia Day is such a controversial and sensitive topic for some Aboriginal and non – Aboriginal people alike. It’s dubbed Invasion Day by a number of critics. A number of people equate it to the loss of culture, family (i.e. the Stolen Generations) and grief. I’m really sympathetic to people who feel that way, I do.



Why Australia Day is hear to stay

Despite debate and controversy, polls suggest that the majority of Australians favour Australia Day remaining on January 26. A Guardian Essential poll from 2017 revealed that 70% of respondents wanted Australia Day to remain on January 26. An article in by the ABC reported that a poll indicated that most people aren’t too fussed about what day Australia Day is celebrated.

Why is this? Maybe people don’t think too much about the history of the day. Unfortunately, I think it’s fair to say that many people may be apathetic to what has happened in history. However, it may be a bit more complicated than that.

Aboriginal people who support January 26 being Australia Day (or don’t protest it).

Not all Aboriginal people support in changing Australia Day. Alice Springs councillor, Jacinta Price is one of them. She argues that the 26 January, despite all the negative impacts of colonisation, is an important day in Australia, shaping the way it is today.

It’s a very significan’t date in our country’s history.

Jacinta Price, SBS 26 January 2018

Price argues the positive of British settlement, including her own existence (her mother, Bess Price is Aboriginal and her father is Caucasian. Price has been more critical of social issues, like domestic violence (Aboriginal women are more than thirty times more likely to be victims of domestic violence than non – aAboriginal women. She goes against the narrative of blaming the trauma caused by settlement, and instead has been critical of attitudes about women that are common in a number of Aboriginal communities.

Former Labor president, now member for Liberals, Warren Mundine has mixed feelings. While he is uncomfortable ablut January 26 and its meaning, he has resolved not to protest it. According to The Australian, Mundine argued that there were more “pressing issues” facing Aboriginal communities.

I’ll alwa6s say that, if you don’t like the day Australia Day falls on, you have every right to not celebrate it. If you have mixed, uneasy feelings about it, that’s OK. Nationally, however, momentum to change the date isn’t stron enough.

What do you think about the date 26 January for Australia Day? Let me knpw in the comments below.


Categories
Events

Happy new year and plans for Glycerine Queen Media in 2019

Happy new year everybody! I hope you all had or are having a great New Year’s Eve. Mine was great.

I’m quite pumped about this year and am determined to make this blog grow more. Thank you to everyone who supported Glycerine Queen Media in 2018.

No doubt there’d be a lot for me to write about this year. There often is. What lacks is hours. However, this year, my hope is I can update the blog more consistently.

The last few days, I’ve wondered to myself whether I’d like to make a YouTube channel as an extension to GQM. I do have a channel, but have nothing uploaded onto it. Has anyone here got a YouTube channel as well as a blog? Do you have any tips for juggling both? Feel free to drop any tips or insights in the comments.

Anyhoo, happy new year! May 2019 be everything you hope for!

Categories
Culture Retail and Marketing

It’s been six months since the ‘single – use’ plastic bag ban at Coles and Woolworths

Woolworths material ba
It’s been six months since Cooles and Woolworths introduced a ‘ban’ on traditional plastic shopping bags, instead introducing thicker plastic or material bags

Maybe Coles and Woolworths were on to something.

Despite the initial backlash against grocery store monopolies for their decision to ban ‘single use ‘ plastic shopping bags, women’s site Mamamia reported that around 1.5 billion less plastic bags have become waste.

Also, the National Retail Association also confirms that other major retailers have started to follow suit. I know that Big W have had both thicker plastic and material (nylon?) bags on sale for a while.

I haven’t been against the move by Coles and Woolworths in introducing the material/ thicker plastic bags. But I do think the way they went about it was bad PR. Due to public anger, both Coles and Woolworths have made concessions. Woolworths had their bags free for a limited time. Coles backtracked completely and reintroduced the plastic bags. Then they backflipped…again.

Even after that, to save their image, Woolworths claims that all proceeds made from the bags (A$1.00 for the material and A$0.15) are donated to environmental and education charities.

Reactions to the change

There have been mixed reactions about the changes from both members of the public and the media.

While many have praised Coles and Woolworths for trying to phase out thin plastic bags, there have been plenty of criticism as well. Some reactions  against it have been arguably exaggerated. Gay Alcorn from The Guardian Australia pointed out flaws in the San Francisco study that claimed that people died of food poisoning due to dirty material bags. The study was not peer reviewed and has been dismissed by PolitiFact.

Personally, I’ve never had any problem. Generally, I take one bag for shopping and nothing has been spilled or broken. In regard to meat, raw fish and chicken — food that can produce e – coli — I make sure that I have a cool bag with me. That seems to work well.

I’m not against the move, but I do find it ironic that mini plastic bags are still used to buy fruit and vegetables. I can’t see why they couldn’t have found another (possibly free), alternative for that. Plus, not having fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic would be good too.

Any other alternatives to plastic bags? Yes. Paper bags. They can be useful to use as bins too, so there’s less need for home bins that need liners.

I’m actually surprised about the impact that the changes in bag policies at Coles and Woolworths have made (or tried to implement). Now, let the  war on plastic straws begin. And plastic bin liners. And… fill in the blank.

What do you think abouut the move that Coles and Woolworths ban? Let me know what youu think in the comments below.