So there’s this giant thank you card you should sign

I wasn’t always an optimist – quite the contrary. When I was 14, I wrote this poem about climate change: The earth heats up The sea rises And so we sink Deeper into ignorance It’s good, right? Yeah, well, as much as there was something satisfying about writing emo poetry and listening to Linkin Park – and I still do both occasionally, though never at … Continue reading So there’s this giant thank you card you should sign

Converse and convert

I stumbled upon an interesting website this week. In the wake of the failed plebiscite and planned postal vote on same-sex marriage, there’s so much noise around the issue that it really wasn’t hard to run into The Equality Campaign. Titled Having a conversation about marriage equality, this particular page struck me because it was so, well, familiar. “[R]eal life conversations are incredibly powerful. They’re what … Continue reading Converse and convert

The problem with American

Last week, on my flight from New York back to Sydney, I binge watched Season 1 of The Newsroom. It’s a series created by Aaron Sorkin, the guy behind The West Wing, with Jeff Daniels playing Will McAvoy, an anchorman on cable news.

In the opening scene of the series pilot, Will is on a panel with a Democrat and a Republican at a university, when a student asks the panel: “What makes America the greatest country in the world?”

The question triggers an epic and rousing outburst from Will, who dresses down both major political parties and rails about why America is no longer the greatest country on earth.

“But it could be”, he then says in softer tones.

That first season of The Newsroom aired in 2012, before Donald Trump ever campaigned for president, promising to “make America great again”.

Coincidence? I doubt it. Continue reading The problem with American

Election reflections: Ecuador and Bolivia

A politician who keeps his word? Who would’ve thought! But after a whole decade as Ecuador’s head of state, Rafael Correa is stepping down. Like, actually. Unlike his buddy Evo Morales, who felt a fourth term to be far too tempting to give up that he tried to change the constitution to make it legal for him to continue as president. Correa’s chosen heir, Lenin* … Continue reading Election reflections: Ecuador and Bolivia

How libre is your Cuba?

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of a good cuba libre. Or two. Or three. But despite it being my drink of choice, I never really thought much about the name of this basic cocktail until Fidel Castro died.

There was something about the festivities on the streets of Miami that felt wrong. Tasted sour. It’s a cuba libre, dammit – let’s reserve the sourness for pisco, whiskey and amaretto. Continue reading How libre is your Cuba?

The cynical optimist

I’ve always been a cynic. From the time I was in primary school hearing about French nuclear testing in the Pacific, Aung San Suu Kyi being put under house arrest and the Monica Lewinsky scandal, I didn’t have much faith in people.

Strangely enough, this dark view of the world eventually led me to Jesus, my hope. So now I am this walking paradox, being both a cynic and an optimist.

Two weeks ago, I blogged about democracy and the need for greater participation. On Monday, a bunch of us put that into practice by meeting with over a hundred senators and members of parliament in one day. Continue reading The cynical optimist

Sorry, what do you mean?

I’ve been considering whether National Sorry Day would be more or less controversial if we spoke Spanish. There are a couple of ways to say “sorry” in Spanish: Disculpa/Perdóname Literally “Excuse (me)” and “Pardon/Forgive me”. This form conveys an element of fault on the part of the speaker. A sincere apology and plea for forgiveness would use these verb forms. At the same time, perdón and disculpa are sometimes also … Continue reading Sorry, what do you mean?

The Eurovision you know and love

The Eurovision you know and love.

The song was perfect. The dress was perfect. The hype was perfect.

Okay, so in hindsight we were never going to win the thing. But for a long moment there they really made us believe it was possible.

And the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 is … a Korean-born Australian? One who would have celebrated not with champagne but with a glass of lemonade?

It was too good to be true. For all the logic that Eurovision famously doesn’t follow, this perhaps would not have been in the spirit of Europe – not the Europe of the twenty-first century … Continue reading The Eurovision you know and love