Kindly Yours - A collection of writings, thoughts and images
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The State of the Commonwealth - Australia
It was not long ago......in the hundred years after Federation, a freshly minted nation thrived on discovery of resources, development of its unique character, defence against intrusive forces, dedication to family, disengagement from old ideas and dedication to lifestyle.
Yet at the same time, underlying dark currents persisted which continue to this day. There is the debacle of not sufficiently and positively engaging with the people of mankind's oldest surviving culture. The land and what else Nature provides has been incessantly exploited with mineral and other resource extraction, without a significant degree of human value add. Small scale farming face challenges to survive. Vast spacious interiors, mostly empty, have been cited as to why we cannot do this or that to compete or compare with more dynamic overseas initiatives. Costs remain high in labour, things get done slower and there is a distinct lack of will to achieve better. Why stress when the waters of the blue ocean bid you to slow down?
Yet music and sports leapt in talent to define Australia ahead of most other countries per capita. Dilution of Anglo culture was inevitable after World War 2 - and this is also a nation located geographically closer to Asia and the South Seas than to Europe. This denial bubble did indeed burst with the rise in economic power of Japan, India and China. Opening the country to more Asians and Middle Easterners in the 21st century has changed the character of capital cities.
Demonstration of union rights in the past has transformed into actions for political correctness, in giving a fairer go for many selective groups oppressed in the past. The devolution of the past in Australian society arrangements, structures and conventions means heading into an transitional environment which can spell discomfort and delusion for some and yet determination and distinguished opportunity for others.
Yet disdain for political behaviour and poor leadership has increased. While a whole diversity of culinary delights are made available by multi-culturism, there has been a rising debacle in the inadequacy of infrastructure and pricing to meet the rising demands of bigger populations. The myth of affordable housing has been debunked for many young couples, along with a reasonable cost of living for everyone. The deescalation of standards in consumer service, privacy protections and compliance practice can make policy and regulation seem ignored. The spectre of a widespread gambling mindset and addiction amongst the population does rear its ugly head.
Depersonalisation has increased in many aspects of Aussie life. Personal drug dependency, electronic screen obsession, domestic violence at home and destabilising driver behaviour on the roads has disturbingly increased - just watch and hear the media. Fitness levels have decreased with the rise of obesity, sitting for too long and the decluttering of good nutrition habits.
Corruption has been escalated by older adults at the same time that quality learning by youngsters has not been maintained. The volume of passengers on aircraft and cruise ships descending on to Australian borders can be described as both delightful for business and disturbing for border controls. More narcotics come in with greater impunity.
Religious practices in Australia are observed in a more variety of beliefs but there is also a marked increase in the numbers belonging to the atheist denomination. There is also a widening divide between the very rich and the middle class. Getting a university degree does not differentiate a young person much anymore, as universities churn out increasing numbers of graduates whilst key innovative skills for the future have not been invested in. Baby boomers live longer with new implications for this demographic. Social support structures that are no longer viable need to be reviewed.
There has been a lack of positive and unifying matters for Australians of various backgrounds to be passionate about. We are figuratively still paddling our national canoe perhaps a bit drifting between our actual past and potential future.
Despite the disparate variety of challenges, Australia continues to drive on. If you believe the official statistics, its economy has not stopped growing since 1992. The blue sky over this continental island is an envy for most populations in the Northern Hemisphere.
There is this opportunity to still make the most of Australia's unique position, assets and advantage in a changing world - as long as it does not continue to selll its family heirlooms, rest on its laurels and allow personal greed deemphasise its national advantage. As a society, it can stop too much distracting chatter and just carry out more actions to resolve key issues.
Australia is called to redefine, be more determined and get less distracted.
There are several outlets of this bakery cafe for several years now in Australia. Did they coem from the USA?
Each franchised outlet is in a busy area, often in suburbs so-called by a diverse Asian demographic. The one in Hurstville is rather roomy and lots of baked stuff on its shelves. The base of Sydney operations is in Chester Hill, a suburb south-west of the Sydney city centre.
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…
Lor mee is another of those street foods that are not commonly available in Western societies, but are easily found in southern China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The dish is iconic of the Teochew Province in China and has been mainly brought to equatorial climes by immigrants over the last few centuries. It combines snippets of ingredients in a thick savoury sauce. Above, the lor mee with roast pork and sliced hard boiled egg accompaniments at the Fong Sheng Cafe, along Lorong Selamat in Georgetown, Penang - the place was introduced by May Wah and Henry Quah.
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…