Film Review: The Lady

Watch this film to be inspired by an outstanding woman whose life work has met and overcome extraordinary obstacles, but will only be complete when the long-held military myth of “might is right” is buried forever.

Cappuccino with a Country Monk

On Good Friday, Christians connect with God. But as I ran across Flinders Street station and raced down the stairs while clutching a bag of donuts and a take-away cappuccino spilling everywhere, I found myself drawn to a Buddhist monk on the Werribee train, headed for Melbourne’s outer western region. He was a calm figure […]

Hanoi, Quy Nhon and My Bargaining Curse

Hanoi, Quy Nhon and My Bargaining Curse

From the moment I arrived at Hanoi’s main bus depot late at night after a 27 hour bus ride, I had a bad feeling about what would transpire. The only available transport to my guesthouse near Hoam Kiem Lake was a taxi driven by a sleazy looking driver twirling a toothpick in his mouth. Noticing […]

Postcard from Soweto, January 1999

My doctor tried to persuade me to change my mind about going to South Africa in November 1998. He told me about an acquaintance whose friend had been shot while attending a funeral in Johannesburg. I put that down to bad luck. When he accepted that nothing would stop me from going, he advised me […]

Burmese Army ‘Demoralized’ and Under ‘Great Strain’

Burma’s pro-military parliament has passed a new law paving the way for compulsory service in the Burmese Army for up to five years in the case of a state of emergency. The Public Service Military Law requires both men and women to serve in the Burmese Army, or Tatmadaw, regardless of ethnicity. Rebel groups have […]

Meeting Elvis in Vietnam

Meeting Elvis in Vietnam

Elvis is not dead. The King has come back as an elephant and lives in one of Vietnam’s most famous nature reserves. I have experienced riding bareback on an open path and even sang the opening lines of “Love Me Tender” to him. My intention is not to offend fans of Elvis Presley, but simply […]

Challenges facing Burma with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi

Challenges facing Burma with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi

In Charlie Chaplin’s satirical look at World War 2, The Great Dictator, the comic genius lampoons Adolf Hitler in his memorable role as Adenoid Hynkel, leader of the Double Cross. More touching, however, is his character of a Jewish barber fleeing a German concentration camp for the Austrian border and getting mistaken as Hynkel. Refusing […]

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