The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Tibetian protests, and our military past and future

Monday 17 March 2008 at 6:04 pm
  • I’m saddened that what’s happening in Tibet sounds not unlike a smaller-scale version of previous Chinese crackdowns, what with the Communist Party governor denying that anything’s wrong while reports from Lhasa describe dozens of deaths and the Dalai Lama speaks of “cultural genocide” (though in this context he’s a thoroughly political figure, not the saint he’s portrayed as in the West). It’d be a shame if this just gets swept under the carpet and ignored when the Olympics come in August, but that also seems the most likely outcome.
  • Back in WA, it’s pretty impressive that HMAS Sydney has been found, finally — and so soon after that same team found the Kormoran. I look forward to hearing about what they learn when they send down a minisub …
  • It came out today that the Federal government isn’t going to cancel the order for Super Hornet fighter planes that basically amounts to throwing $6 billion into the bin over a few years. Worse, though, is that the announcement basically translates to “the previous government sucked, we don’t think we can do anything about it, la la laa not listening”.
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The Malaysian election: some hope for change

Wednesday 12 March 2008 at 6:00 pm

Here is something I’ve been meaning to post about for days; I’m going to hide behind “busy” as an excuse. (Although I did get to visit Google yesterday — squee!)

Last weekend there was an election over in Malaysia.

This is a big deal because it was the worst result in recent memory for the ruling Barisan Nasional, and the best result ever for the soft-left DAP that is the most sensible of the major opposition parties. Meanwhile the crazy Islamic party didn’t get as strong a showing — which thankfully confirms that their past successes were a protest rather than an actual vote for them.

And five state governments have fallen into opposition hands (since Malaysian elections combine state and federal votes). It’s particularly interesting that the richest states — Selangor (i.e. the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur) and Penang (where the processor in your computer was made) — were among them. I’m reminded of what voting patterns look like in America.

But at the end of the day, the same coalition that has held power since independence in the 50s won the most seats in the national parliament. Despite calls for his head, the PM is wholly entitled to stay where he is. So while there are a few issues worth watching, nothing has really changed, at least not that much.


Some bloke in Canberra is actually doing stuff!

Saturday 1 March 2008 at 10:09 am

Ruddster, oh Ruddster, what are you doing?

Signing the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture? Promising to reform campaign donations, including removing tax-deductibility and maybe even banning corporate donations? Subsidising the construction of rental homes?

Are you sure your government isn’t taking a hard swing to the left? Because it kinda sounds like it is!

(Not that that’s necessarily bad — it’s certainly quite effective at keeping the public happy!)

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