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Australia Snapshot

In the week leading to the 2 July 2016 nation wide elections, the net debt incurred by Australia has hit the one trillion Aussie Dollars mark.

The interbank interest rate, the basis that determines the cost of borrowing and lending money, is at its historical low of 1.75 per cent per annum. In contrast, the average property prices have never before been so high, especially in the capital cities.

Australia as a nation in its history has never been so diverse in demographics, cuisine and social culture. Most of its population still live within 50 km to the sea. Its total population still pales in comparison to its Asian neighbours. 

The income divide between rich and not so rich is at its widest, eroding further the relative socio-economic equity of its past. Increasing inability is not just observed by individuals and families in buying a home, but in sustaining the cost and access to health care, quality education, child and aged care.

Traffic bottlenecks have risen in intensity at rush hour in capital cities. The pace of infrastructure renewal is slower than in China due to financial, political and environmental constraints. The average wifi delivery speed continues to lag behind most nations.

The underlying dynamics and interaction between conservatism and liberalism - and between the genders - continue to significantly play out in contentious micro issues of the day.

Domestic violence, drug and gambling addictions, selective political correctness, increasing corruption and institutional abuses committed in the past seem to dominate the news. The inability of various levels of government to balance their budgets continue to grow.

Yet sporting traditions continue to flourish, together with a high level of personal freedoms. This is against a backdrop of rising obesity, emerging threats to personal security and obsession with social media - echoing what is happening in many parts of the world.

Aussies must not take for granted the enjoyment of wide open spaces, untainted environments and a rather enviable sense of well being. Gratefulness can add to having more of that elusive factor called happiness.


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85 Degrees Bakery Cafe Hurstville NSW

There are several outlets of this bakery cafe for several years now in Australia.  Did they coem from the USA?

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Some of the cake creations would be viewed as rather leaning on the East Asian dimension  - Strawberry Angel (with chocolate base and top) and Mango Cheese ( with yoghurt).   However, to counter this perspective, there are also Death by Chocolate, US Cheesecake, Coffee Brulee and Blueberry Marble options.    

The pastries are definitely filled with ingredients more suited to perhaps Anime loving fans and non-mainstream cultures - for example, garlic, pork, tuna, green tea, red bean, shallots, pork floss, coconut, Hokkaido butter cream and Boroh or pineapple buns.   Sung seems to be a variation emphasised…

Penang - Lor Mee

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The cafe harks back to the seventies or eighties - and maybe earlier - what caught my eye were (above) freshly blended fruit and/or vegetable juices and (below) metal and plastic contraptions of the food trade.

Hot and cold drinks are easily on offer from the cafe (above and below) at very reasonable prices.

Another version of the dish (below) taken whilst Bob Lee was enjoying them in another cafe or coffee shop in Georgetown…