Categories
Opinion/Commentary

Thai massage therapists are being asked for ‘happy endings’

Man getting massage with hot stone
Image: iStock

CW: sexual harrassment, including descriptions. If this is a triggering topic for you, feel free to skip this post.

Massage therapists are being asked to give male clients ‘happy endings’.

According to SBS News, Susan* has been working as a massage therapist in Australia for a decade. The Thai – born visa holder did massage therapy in Sydney to comply with the conditions of her visa.

Massage is easy for a non – English speaking visa holder to get into. Unfortunateky, these workers are easy for people to take advantage of.

Clients ask for ‘happy endings’.

Susan told SBS News:

Ninety-five percent are good clients. When you are given good feedback, it feels really good… I love my work.

Yet, some of the five percent are… well sleazy. Men have asked Susan to give them ‘happy endings’, i.e. to masturbate them to orgasm.

Susan also says that clients have tried to touch her while she was performing the massage.

University studies sexual harrassment victimisation among migrant communities

Needless to say, this is sexual harrassment, pure and simple. Unforrtunately, Susan is not the only one who has been harassed.

Monash University has partnered with Harmony Alliance and Women’s Alliance to get a glimpse into sexual violence suffered by migrants and refugees. According to Associate Professor Marie Segrave, migrants and refugees are often overlooked in sexual violence studies in Australia.

When the SBS article was published last week, 1,000 people had responded to Segrave’s questionnaire. More people were expected to respond.

How Susan protects herself

It’s disgusting that this is happening. However, experienced therapists are able to deal with potentially sleazy clients. They often have to read between the lines.

Susan told SBS News:

My experience, when the guy asking about full body, I have aware what is meaning [sic]

Massage isn’t sex work

Let me start with a statement. If someone wants to do sex work, erotic massage, etc, that’s their perogative.

If someone wants to give clients ‘happy endings’ or sexual services, that’s their perogative.

This is NOT what massage therapists are about. In fact, massage therapists vehemently reject the idea that they are sex work services. If you look up massage and sex work on Google, you will see link after link with the same arguments.

This message should go out far and wide. Because what is happening to many massage therapists is sexual harassment, pure and simple.

The race aspect

We obviously need to talk about race, too. Many massage therapists that face sexual harrassment and indecent assault are often migrants or visa holders from non – English speaking backgrounds.

Why aren’t those with a working visa in Australia being offered transalation services? Aren’t they being told what their rights are? What the laws are?

Are migrant workers being told who to turn to if they are being harassed or indecently assaulted? If migrants and work visa holders aren’t being told this, then there’s huge flaws in our migration system. Then again, I guess it isn’t surprising, given how many migrant workers often get financially exploited.

This shouldn’t be happening. No one, regardless of where they come from, should be abused, harassed or exploited at work.

Anyone facing harassment at work can contact the Fair Work Commission: 1300 799 675

To get more information, you can go to the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

*Not real name

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
Opinion/Commentary

The Left will get what they protest against

 

Violent protests broke out last week when Canadian commentator Lauren Southern and philosopher, Stephan Molyneux were speaking in Melbourne. According to Andrew Bolt, Victorian Police made a controversial move and billed Southern just under A$68,000 to keep protesters under control.

I’m not a great fan of Lauren Southern and I know she’s controversial. Her views on immigration and Islam in particular are seen by some as hate speech. It’s got to be said that Southern denies the accusation.

The more I see Secular Talk on YouTube, the more I buy the argument that free speech should  be (almost) absolute, (excluding threats of violence and defamation). To my knowledge, neither Southern, nor Molyneux have been guilty of any of those offences, either in Canada or anywhere else (feel free to prove me wrong).

 

There is something else.  Intimidation and violence are not only morally wrong, they are a sure – fire way to not get what you are supposedly fighting for. It won’t make people more empathetic towards refugees and asylum seekers. It didn’t make the US get Hillary Clinton as President. It could have destroyed any chance of Australia winning same – sex marriage, (luckily things picked up in the end).

It seems that everything the extreme Left touches turns to dust. Campaigns become unwinable. And history shows us that when there is retaliation against the extreme Left or Right, the pendulum almost always sways too far the other way. Extreme multiculturalists end up giving power to neo – Nazis. Islam sympathisers and the like achieve talks about the Qu’ran being banned as what was debated in Holland.

History has seen huge pendulum swings both ways, both often having deadly consequences. In the 20th century, Russia and Cuba have been two extreme examples. Maybe Iran could be mentioned to. In Europe, where immigration has exploded in recent years, there has been a worrying rise of far – Right and Neo – Nazi parties and groups. Australia hasn’t had such a backlash (yet), but a rise in Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party does suggest that people are unsatisfied with how things like immigration debate is going.

In 2016, the Left was sent a warning with Donald Trump becoming President of the United States and Republicans holding the power in both SCOTUS and the Congress. This set panic to many on the Left, with the Republicans being condemned for their stance on immigration and has also worried people  about LGBTQ+ rights. While no one in the Repulican Party has challenged or planned to back pedal SCOTUS’ ruling on nationwide legalisation of same – sex marriage (yet), the status of transgender and gender non – binary people, as well as same – sex couples and their right to access goods and services have been challenged. A number of the Republicans, like Sarah Huckabee – Sanders and Betty DeVoss are known for being behind banning transgender people from the US Forces and suggesting that Government – funded schools should be able to legally fire staff or expel students for being LGBTQ+.

 

UPDATE:

On Saturday, Andrew Bolt wrote a scathing attack on the New South Wales Police after they told Southern to move away from a mosque in Lakemba, Sydney in order to avoid a ‘breach of the peace’.

At first glance, I understood Bolt’s defence of Southern. Then, I read this comment:

Comment on Andrew Bolt’s blog regarding Lauren Southern’s interaction with NSW Police

The comment reads:

May I suggest that the police concern is not that Southern is a young woman, but that she is going to the mosque with a microphone, a camera crew and a ‘security detail’ in tow.

A couple of weeks ago, a male Daily Telegraph photographer went to a mall one (sic) his own and caused a breach of the peace. He picked out a target group purely on the basis of their appearance. This group had done nothing wrong and were behaving exactly as other groups of people the same age act, who were not considered worthy of media attention. But the group was black, and the photographer wanted a picture to go with a story on ‘African gangs’. A confrontation ensued, police were called and the photographer got and reported his story, never mentioning the part he played in producing it.

These kinds of confrontation narratives are self – fulfilling prophecies.

Comsider what Southern was wanting to achieve. People are peacefully attending a place of worship and a camera crew and reporter with a microphone (who describes herself as anti – Muslim) arrive and ask worshippers to justify themselves. These are more than a little tired of having to justify themselves to the media because of the actions of criminals who share their religion. There may well be a confrontation. That is what the police pfficer is trying to avoid.

I don’t know how much truth their is to this commenter’s narrative about one of the Daily Telegraph photographers, so I’ll leave that alone. I do get the person’s critique about Southern, though. Couldn’t she at least have given worshippers and imam a heads up and ask permission to be filmed or interviewed? Most libraries and community organisations, at least, have to ask permission and a signature of consent before taking and using images and footage of clients/ users and distributing them on social media. On one of my assessments in Certificate IV in Professional Writing and Editing, I had to seek consent and a signature before filming a discussion I needed to have for an assessment. If Southern didn’t, why not?

ANOTHER UPDATE:

Southern was on The Bolt Report tonight insisting that she wasn’t trying to cause a stir and that she had conducted similar interviews in the UK without any issue. Now I’m not sure what to think. Make up your own mind.