The Asian Century

Australia has released a White Paper (320 pages) on its position in relation to  the Asian Century. An Executive Summary is here. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Gillard on Sunday. It provides  road-map for Australia to navigate The Asian Century. For many years Australia has lived in a cosy western bubble but now must face new exciting challenges.

All children in primary school will be given the opportunity to learn at least one Asian language. The expansion of free trade agreements is canvassed.

The white paper focused strongly on Indonesia – there will be a new Australian consulate, an ambassador to ASEAN to be based in Jakarta, 1000 extra work and holiday visa places and Indonesian language study for Australian students.

Planning for an Australian Embassy in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and consulates in Shenyang (China), Phuket (Thailand) and eastern Indonesia. Pity Chiang Mai consulate is not included!

Australia’s geographic proximity, depth of skills, stable institutions and forward-looking policy settings place it in a unique position to take advantage of the opportunities of the growing dominance of Asian politics and culture.

Australia is unique in having an Asian born Cabinet Minister. Penny Wong is the Minister for Finance and Deregulation.

Reception by Asian countries has been generally favourable.

Daniel Sparingga

Daniel Sparingga, a political sociologist and aide to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, described the Gillard government’s policy as ”a very strategic move”. ”It will bring Indonesia and Australia even closer to a point where our given differences will no longer stand in the way of our thriving relations,” he told The Age.

Several Chinese state media outlets ran short reports on the white paper, broadly supportive, while the website of China Radio International reported that Canberra had acknowledged that it was ”impractical” to stop China’s military growth.

This comment raises another issue. The USA seems to have trouble coping with China gaining world financial dominance and military power which may lead to conflict between the two nations.Although Australia has strong millitary ties with the USA, it is also developing alliances and trade agreements with Asian nations. A bit each way, perhaps!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to Chiang Mai

Well, tonight I leave Brisbane to return to Chiang Mai. The flight leaves at  at the unsociable time of a quarter to midnight on Singapore Airlines to Changi Airport. After a three hour layover, I change terminals, and fly on to Chiang Mai with Silk Air

Silk Air is a full service airline and a wholly owned subsidary of Singapore Airlines, so baggage transfer is seamless. I hope!

 

Although the time has gone quickly here, I am looking forward to returning to Chiang Mai. I arrive there at 10:45 am on Friday morning local time, (1:45 pm) Brisbane time.

Fishing

Sand Whiting

Roger and a couple of his friends went fishing last Tuesday. They put the boat in at the  boat ramp at Jacob’s Well and fished the Kalinga Bank area at Jumpinin in Moreton Bay.

Map of Moreton Bay showing Jacob's Well and Junpinpin

The area is famous for flathead, bream, whiting, and sand crabs.

Well on Tuesday the sand whiting were biting. Altogether they caught 53. Most were between 30 and 40 cms.At that size they make great fillets.

I have attached a couple of photos of the catch. Note that the rulers are 30 cms in length.

Last night I visited Roger and Julie’s house and we had a great meal of crumbed whiting fillets, chips, and salad.

 Chef Roger did a great job!

 

Roger's share of the Catch

The Fish on the Left was 38 cm

 

Roger at my Place for Happy Hour

 

Tax

Yesterday Gary did my tax return for 2011/2012. I had to drive to his house at Coomera Waters on the northern edge of the Gold Coast.

I have known Gary and his wife, Margaret, for many years. We first met in our teens. Gary graduated with an commerce degree from the University of Queensland . Early in his career he worked as an accountant in Companies and later became a partner in a Chartered Accountancy private practice.

In 1988 he received a calling and went to theological college to study to become a priest in the Anglican Church in Australia. I reckon he wanted to redeem himself for the things he did as an Accountant!! He served in various parishes before his retirement about 3 years ago.

Gary has done my tax for many years. He has always retained his tax agent’s licence. It has become traditional that on tax day we have a meal of prawns, with fresh bread, and Margaret prepares a salad. Yesterday was no exception!.

Gary and Margaret enjoy their retirement, spending time with their children and grand-children,and take regular trips away in their caravan.

Gary & Margaret Outside their House at Coomera Waters

Gary Hard at Work on my Tax

After lunch, I drove to Mount Tamborine in the Gold Coast hinterland to visit John and Lorraine.

I have also known John and Lorraine for a long time. They both worked with me in the laboratory of the John Darling & son flour mill at Sunshine in Melbourne where I was Chief Chemist. At that time they were not married, so I often wonder what went on in back sample room!

A long time ago they relocated to Queensland They built a beautiful house at Mount Tamborine which has magnificent views ot the high rise buildings on the Gold Coast At night it is a real fairy land of lights.

Both worked. John did pest control.

Dinner was roast chicken and vegies cooked in the Weber Bar-B-Que.Delicious! Of course washed down with great ozzie wine!

John & Lorraine having a glass or two

They also enjoy their retirement with their daughters and grand children. They also have an off road caravan and have travelled many of the Australian  iconic tracks such as the Birdsvlle track, Strezleki track etc. Lorraine has made excellent DVDs from her video camera.

It was a great drive back to Brisbane this morning. There are many tourist attractions along the way, continental restaurants, and beautiful rain forest.

 

 

Here is a tourist YouTube of Mount Tamborine.

 

 

 

iPhone 5

iPhone 5

Today I pick up a new  iPhone 5. I have always said that I was not smart enough to have a smart phone but, well, things change!

Hopefully I  will  go back to The Apple Shop at Carindale in surburban Brisbane for  a one hour training workshop.

I ordered an unlocked model so I can use it in Thailand. I choose the 32 GB capacity. It has an8-megapixel iSight camera with panorama function.

I hope to be able to use it for those times when i forget my camera.

With all new products such as  iPhone 5 and iOS 6, gripes follow hype. I am confident I can cope with all the issues.

 If you are interested in the iPhone you might also be interested in the mini eye pad.

iPhone 20

iPhone 10 - Tallest iPhone yet!

Bowls Club AGM

Jindalee Bowls Club Bar B Que Area

My Bowls Club in Brisbane, held its Annual General Meeting yesterday morning. I joined Jindalee Bowls Club in 1977 (I think). During my membership period I have served a a selector, Men’s Club President, and Chairman of the Board.

Many years ago I was the Club Champion.

L to R Treasurer Graham, Chairman, Peter and Secretary, Margaret

I was surprised when the current Chairman , Peter Read, welcomed me to the meeting.

The Club has now recovered from the disastrous flood in January 1911 when flood water almost covered the Clubhouse. The Club was also inundated in 1974. This time the level was not quite so high although just the roof was showing above the muddy water. I was home in Brisbane at the time.The interior was completely stripped and refurbished. Many records were lost.  Although heart breaking at the time the Club now looks magnificent.

It was great to say hello to many of my old bowling friends.

Members Bob & Jan

Cllub Greens

Bill Minhinnet, an old friend, was granted Life Membership at the meeting.

Life Member Bill