Men and their digits

You know when you have been living in a city for a long time when you can judge a man by his postcode.

Date #1: 2209 – Beverly Hills
General stats: Male, late 20s, works in IT in the city.

Mr 2209 takes me to Surry Hills (2010) thus putting a lot of distance between himself and his home turf. He seems quite lefty despite the fact that he looks like a young liberal and gets very passionate about the failed emissions trading scheme while he orders me another shiraz. Which all sounds good you would think, but then he attacks me for the Greens failure to pass the ETS. I thought by the dress I was wearing alone he could tell that I wasn’t Bob Brown.

Then the postcode arises, “if he lives that far away, he must live with his parents,” me thinks.

I am on the money, he talks up how he is always in Newtown (2042) and his folks are usually in Hong Kong. Thanks for a lovely night, please don’t contact me again.

Date #2: 2205 – Arncliffe
General stats: Male, late 30s, works in IT in the city.

Mr 2205 takes Miss 2042 (me) to Glebe (2037) and everything is split down the middle. I gag my inner feminist to a chair in the corner of my mind, it’s the first date – cough up buddy. Then the clogs start moving, “Arncliffe, for a guy who’s into foreign films and has a motor bike?” – light bulb moment – “this man has a mortgage!”

And yes indeedy do, after years and years of being a hedonistic tumbleweed across Europe, Mr 2205 wants to settle down. Settle down? *insert comic strip style roadrunner dust between my heels*

Date #3: This is a tricky one; he is close to home and therefore too close to home to talk about. Oh the intrigue, which Mr 2042/2016/2048 am I alluding to?

In all fairness I should point out that I am such a postcode cliché that it is beyond ridiculous – Miss 2042:

  • Has a Lily Allen style haircut
  • Loves Camper shoes
  • Works for an NGO
  • Has a worm-farm and a membership of Alfalfa House
  • Frequents the Courtie, Sando and Townie in the wee hours
  • Knows the staff at Sultan’s Table by their first names

Like all good pirates, I’ll stick to the ‘code. But they are just a guideline.

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Sudan’s looming referendum – not all doom and gloom

Africa: it’s big, it’s complicated and it’s very far away.

When we call a situation ‘complex’ we are essentially washing our hands of the issue and putting it in the too hard basket. Turning our back on Sudan over the next couple of months has potentially catastrophic consequences.

On the 9th January 2011, a referendum is scheduled in Sudan, the largest country on the African continent. The people of southern Sudan have the opportunity to decide whether to remain united with the larger Sudan or declare their independence.

Sudan has endured unrelenting instability due to a range of political rivalries, clashes between tribal groups, natural disasters and conflict fuelled by scarce resources, drought and oil revenues. Over the past 55 years, 40 of those years has been marred by bloody civil war causing Sudan to have the highest number of Internally Displaced People in the world; an estimated 4.9 million

Sounds complex.

Which it is, but that doesn’t mean we should switch off. One of the myriad of issues that result from this complexity: only 56% of the population have access to clean drinking water .

The quote “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is for good men to do nothing” springs to mind in a lot of conflict situations, but in this case it seems particularly pertinent. The origin of the quote was Edmund Burke, an 18th century Irish statesman, philosopher and all round great talker. On one hand he was a champion for liberty but also a firm believer in authority.

In 2009, a dramatic increase in inter-ethnic violence in Southern Sudan caused a significant deterioration in security. For the Sudanese to enjoy a safe and prosperous future there needs to be a carefully measured balance of democracy and power. The international community and the UN have to be prepared logistically and financially to deal with the humanitarian consequences of the months ahead.

Australia increasingly plays a hand in Sudan, and we are certainly ramping up our aid spending in Africa with $140 million in extra assistance towards maternal and child health programs in Ethiopia, Tanzania and southern Sudan announced in September. According to Transparency International, Sudan is viewed as the fourth most corrupt country in the world. Needless to say there has been some noise in the aid and development sector about aid reaching its intended targets.

But it’s not all doom and gloom – Australia has also deployed 27 Australian Defence Force and Australian Federal Police peacekeepers to the United Nations Mission in Sudan. KRudd said Australia would continue to work with the UN, African Union and the international community to tackle security and development challenges in Sudan, in the lead-up to and beyond the January referendum. Australia’s assistance will comprise of:
• $3 million to the UNDP Referendum Basket Fund, to support the referendum, including voter registration and training for domestic observers;
• $1 million to the International Organisation for Migration to conduct out of country voting, including registration and polling of southern Sudanese in Australia;
• $5 million to UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund to provide health, education and other essential services to women and children in southern Sudan.

We as global citizens need to keep watch to make sure Sudan doesn’t plunge even further into violence and human rights abuses. For more info go to Human Rights Watch – Sudan  and listen to the podcast.