Sunday, June 27, 2010

Coldest night

Oh yes it was cold alright.

The mercury dropped to 0 dregrees yesterday in the early hours of the morning. Thats right zero! And me being an island man, i swore it was the coldest ever but my housemate from Finland just laughed it off....hahaha.
Honestly i could feel the ice crunching under my feet as i walked on the grass! I guess this is the closest i'll ever get to seeing snow..lol. Weather reports say it was the coldest since June 2006 when it went down to -6 degrees.

This is the Unit 22 view the morning.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Australia's First Woman PM

I never liked politics much.

But today is a day that will go down in Australia's history forever as the day an Australian woman became the country's first Prime Minister.

Julia Gillard became the leader of the Labour Party and Prime Minister of Australia.

For me as i see it, it is political party survival. Im so sure that after Labour's sloppy dealings in Carbon Trading Scheme, the bungled Home Insulation program and the controversial New Mining Tax, the only way Labour was going to win the challenge from the Liberals Tony Abott in this years coming Genreral Electon was to change leadership! With the new leadership, policy changes are sure to follow and this will prevent political point scoring by the oppositions and save some face.
But hey, you got to give credit where its due...Kevin Rudd showed his character and dignity by standing down from the leadership. I think his move showed greater resolve towards party ideals ratehr than personal politics. I also thought that Julia Gillard is the most capable person in the Labour Party right now to be Prime Minster. I think she handled the Ministry of Education, Empoyment and Workplace Relations very well since the ministry had three distinct portfolios: Minister for Education; Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations; and Minister for Social Inclusion. Plus she executed her role as the Deputy Prime Minister role with integrity.
Oh and another thing...After staying here in Australia for a few months now, i can honestly say that Australian politicians are always in the media, mostly because of the consistant 'in your face' Australian media. There is not a day that goes by where you dont see politicians or politics being seen and heard on TV, radio, newspapers or the internet. The aspect of accountability to the people and the voters are always on the agenda and if there is something that needs investigation, the media will find out still.

Sometimes, I've noticed that politicians especially federal MPs, when they are on television interviews or on panel discussions, they are ever so alert and conduct themselves without loosing face. They know how to answer questions confidently without loosing points and they have all the figures and facts on hand. I guess their media advisors work overtime in Canberra!

You know, i wish i could say the same thing for my country - PNG. In PNG politics there is no such thing as standing down!!!!!Even if there is even an hint of corruption or downright misconduct, no MP steps down. They will fight tooth and nail just to stay in office. The MPs who hold ministries cannot even talk to the media and are often inaccessible. The only time, you see them is when there is a grand opening of a project or giving of 'sponsorship' to a project. Even then, they read from prepared statements.

Anyway, enough of PNG politics, this post is to give Julia Gillard a round of applause for being Australia's first women Prime Minister and political leader of 22 million Australians......until the General Elections later this year! Who knows, after they win the General Election, Kevin Rudd might take back the helm next year!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Mining Tax explained

This news report taken from Sydney Morning Herald on 3rd May tries to explain the new mining tax in Australia.

How the new mining tax works
May 3, 2010


The suggested new 40 per cent tax on mining profits is not as far-reaching as it first seems.The tax will sting, no doubt, but it will not apply to all the profits of miners working in Australia. Any profits derived from mines outside Australia will be left untouched.So companies like Anglo-Australian mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have less to lose than the naked headlines would suggest: their non-Australian mining operations are completely outside the tax.


HOW DOES IT WORK?
A mining company will need to calculate how much profit it makes from each of its Australian operations and declare that to the tax authorities. The profit is to be calculated as close to the ground as possible: that is, at the mine gate. But the details on this have yet to be hammered out, leaving wide scope for mining companies to agree on a more flexible approach.For example, a miner with two adjacent operations may push for both mines to be included in one profit calculation for the tax authorities, if it felt this would lead to a lower tax bill.These profit calculations are purely for the tax authorities and are not the group accounts drafted for investors, but they won't be entirely new arithmetic for global miners. South Africa and Canada and the U.S. mining state of Nevada already require them to produce accounts for profits-based taxes.

IS IT ALL PAIN & NO GAIN?
The federal government knows there are very few votes to be lost from taxing rich miners that hire fewer workers per dollar of profit than many other sectors of the economy. But Canberra is still dangling some carrots for the mining industry in the form of a tax allowance and an exploration tax rebate.The allowance represents an amount of profit that is exempt from the new tax. In principle, it is the government's estimate of a fair rate of return on mining assets.Utilities world-wide understand this concept well because their returns on assets are routinely regulated in order to prevent them from unjustifiable increases in power bills.For miners, there is a lot to play for here: the government wants untaxed returns on assets to be set at a rate equivalent to the 10-year government bond yield, now just 5.76 per cent. But, if the miners lose their war against the tax, they could win a decisive battle by raising the tax-free return rate.

GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE
...Say, a mine (not a miner) has assets worth $100 million. Using the current bond yield, the company may deduct $5.76 million from its calculation of the mine's profit."Using a rate higher than the government bond rate would result in a significant subsidy to the resource sector...," the government said. Expect the miners to lobby for exactly that.

THE EXPLORATION FREEBIE
The government is also offering a tax rebate on exploration costs, which will be set initially at 30 percent. That means for every dollar spent on exploration, 30 cents will be available for miners as a tax credit. The industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year on exploration in Australia.And when mines are wound up, the owners can crystallise any leftover tax credits accumulated during the mine's life.

OUTBACK ACCOUNTING
Mines can be an auditor's nightmare: in Australia, they are scattered over the desert, thousands of km (miles) from any place where people go to work in suits. So auditing of a mine's assets could be trickier to confirm than a utility's balance sheet.The new tax calculations will be kinder to mines with lots of assets and conservative accounting for expenses, so tax officials will be on the lookout for any clever accounting. Armed with sophisticated data-matching systems, they will compare public accounts against the figures produced for tax purposes.More than ever before, tax officials will keep an eagle eye on the outback.

Reuters


The story can be found at this address: http://www.smh.com.au/business/federal-budget/how-the-new-mining-tax-works-20100503-u395.html

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Live Radio Streaming!

Wow!

Thats all I could muster after learning about online radio streaming.

For the past two state of origin games, i've been listening to the Continous Call Team of the 2GB radio station online. The team of Darryl 'Big Marn' Brohman, Steve 'Blocker' Roach and Ray Hedley have been calling the game for a long time and often transmitted on FM 100 in PNG. But this time, i got to listen to them online here in Perth. The live radio is streamed online at around 20kbps so its actually easier to download even if you dont have broadband.

I looked at other radio stations that were online for listenership in Perth, i looked at the website http://www.lookatwa.com/ and saw that there are 28 radio stations that braodcast programs specifically and broadly on sports, news, commentary, classic music etc. For most, i believe, is a competition to produce better programs and increase listernership. So one way to increase listenership is to go online.

But i kind of wondered like who would want to listen to radio stations online when you could listen to it on the radio? I think one of the best advantage of this use is listening in from other countries overseas like you have Australian soldiers in Indonesia or Iraq who listen to games like the State of Origin. But others who are here, especially those who live in rural australia that are not in the radio coverage area, can listen to it online. The sound online is relatively clear as it is digital! Another positive is that you can record programs or songs on your computer if you have recording programs.

I also checked the radio stations in Perth for online streaming. On some of the radio websites, i found it hard to navigate around the website to find the streaming icon and had problems opening them such as 927 AM Curtin, 87.6FM, 87.8 Magic FM and Perth Tourist Radio among others.

However, there were others like FM92.9, 6PR 88.2 FM and ABC National Radio are easy to locate and actually easy on the ears. Some even have the radio playlist on you computer so you know what songs are playing or have been played. Others had programs you could listen to when you wanted at your own time. I so desparately wanted to hear the tok pisin service on ABC's Radio Australia service but couldnt do so as the links to their live streaming were difficult to access. They, like most other radio stations also have podcasts available so you can download it onto your computer or mp3 and listen whenever, which i think is clever for those on the move. I guess the thing about live radio streaming is interaction. Being able to listen to an event or news and then call up or send a text message straight to the station no matter the time difference or location is way better than trying to do so with televison.

Most radio streaming require you to download Windows Player or Real Player to be able to access the live streaming but most computers already have Windows Media Player so its ok. The only disadvantage about radio streaming is that you have to be online to access it.

Anyway, i think for a country like Australia, the technology and infrastructure is good enough to have such things like these. But i long for the day when these things such as live radio streaming can become a reality for many developing countries including PNG. Man it would be oh so nice if a Papua New Guinean living in the US or Britain or Japan could go online and listen to FM100's Roger Hauofa doing a live interview with the PM in Port Moresby or Hagen or even having a panel discussion on agriculture...oh, that will be the day, my friends!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random thoughts on advertising and children...

When you sit around with children and watched TV with them, have you ever noticed the food advertising that goes on Australian TV? Sometimes its those Saturday morning shows and weekday afternoon shows that are just full of advertising targetting young children and giving them messages. Other times, they just come on especially cereals and fastfood chains. In these adverts, the themes are colourful, wacky, fun, happy and are often drivers of subtle messages directed at children promting empowerment, unhealthy habits and peer influence. Lets take this advert Coco Pops Creations – an advertisement about Kelloggs new Coco Pops that has four new flavours of coco pops, as an example.

The target audience is definitely children as can be seen by the child who is healthy and full of energy interacting with the animated figures of monkeys. The 30 second advertisement being communicated to a child conveys a sense of optimism, adventure, control, variety, taste and imagination. The two messages I picked up were:
1. Four different flavours, four times the fun – the new coco pops cereal had four different flavours thus making it would be equally fun four times over. Even though there is a mention of 'four choctasticlly' different types of coco pops cereals, they all look the same falling into the plate and there is no mention of how they are different.
The message is lively, music is bubbly and the child interacts with the characters by using his body and facial features indicating fun and excitement. This message and appeal may encourage the child to ask the parents to buy or obtain (Reece, Rifon, and Rodriguez 1999) the new coco pops. I mean what child wouldnt want something that is bright and funny?
2. Mix ‘em up and make your own special breakfast – The child who sees this advert may be compelled to make their own cereal breakfast as seen on TV(Signorielli 2001) because this message reinforces creativity in the child. It also promotes control and adventure in the child when is shows he can be able to make the meal without anybody’s help (as a parent is seen as being busy in the background). The motion of being in control is a theme can be seen later in the advert when the child puts on a mean face to force the crocodile to give back the coco pops back.

The dominant appeals are emotion, animation and reinforcement. There are bright colours, fun, lively background music and sounds, happy, healthy and smiling kid and kids can relate to that. The animated figures (monkey and crocodile) reinforce coco pops icons/branding and the child’s recognition of the Coco Pops Brand name. All these appeals are factors in the child’s ability to make decisions and often such adverts ‘take advantage of the child vulnerabilty’ (Wilson and Mair 1998). These appeals, replayed in each advert, over and over again will promote and shape a child’s perception that such food is fun and healthy (Dixon et al. 2007) and is normal for breakfast.

Another observation is that the scenes are very quick and there isn’t enough time to read the ‘small print’ displayed in the advert. But hey, why would someone want to read the fine print when you have colourful characeters bouncing everywhere! The first of this is the 'fine print' sentence is about the suggested serving size is 30gram. This writing is in white and cannot be read easily against the white background. The other sentence is 'Run around, have fun, eat a balanced diet' and again this sentence is hard to read as it is in coloured letters. It cannot be seen the first or second time as the person watching the advert is constantly watching what is happening between the boy and the animated characters.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children under section 2.12 of Food and Beverages advertising says an advert to children ‘should not create a false or misleading impression in the minds of Children about the nature of the content of the product’. However, the coco pops advert displays in writing that the suggested serving size is 30 grams yet the bowls of coco pops in the bowl is surely more than the 30 grams. It doesnt tell you in the advert that the sugar content is high also. The sugar content is also very high at 11grams per a 30grm serving (Kelloggs 2009), which close to half of a serving and while the energy content is just 6%, the sugar content is 9% per 30 grams serving. This Coco Pops advert is an example of television adverts that do not adhere to children’s television viewing of not promoting healthy eating habits.

Maybe Im baised, but should parents let their children eat coco pops for breakfast? What ever happened to the good old sandwhich and fruits?

Anyway, I think the most important thing I can say about this is that even though some parents dont have the time to make decent meals or lack the resources to do so, they as parents have the ultimate responsibility to promote healthy eating habits for their children. In a society like Australia, suburban children are frequented with television as they are growing up, their choices are influenced by mass media and peer pressure and so the challenge is for parents to still stand up and take charge of their children's health.

References

Dixon, H. G., M. L. Scully, M. A. Wakefield, V. M White, and D.A. Crawford. 2007. The effects of television advertisments for junk food versus nutritous food on children's food and attitudes and preferences. Social Science and Medicine 65 (7):1311-1323.
Kelloggs. Coco Pops - Product overview 2009 [cited 14 October 2009. Available from
http://www.kelloggs.com.au/Home/Products/Cereal/CocoPops/tabid/323/Default.aspx.
Reece, B. , N. Rifon, and K. Rodriguez. 1999. Selling food to children: Is fun part if a balanced breakfast? Edited by M. Macklin and L. Carlson, Advertising to children: concepts and controversies. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
Signorielli, N. 2001. Televison's gender role and contribution to stereotypring Edited by D. Singer and J. Singer. Thousand Oaks, Carliforna: Sage Publications.
Wilson, C., and A. Mair. 1998. Televison Food Advertisments - how they appeal to children: a report by Young Media Australia.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Unit 22

For the past 16 months or so I have been living student accomodation in Unit 22. Unit 22 is a small six bedroom house that sits comfortably on the green grass next to a basketball court. There are around 30 other houses like these that house other people too. Over the past months, I've shared this house with people from Iran, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Finland and of course who could forget Papua New Guinea.
The unit on a bright day....
Looking back to the kitchen...


Where we watch SBS from our $20 TV..lol


Notices put up by whosoever and do whatsoever..


Bicycles bought for $30 at the Belmont Market
Corrider and four rooms...


the place where make-up and shampoo roll together...

I think i will miss this place and memories i shared here...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Truely Papua New Guinean

I wrote this poem some years ago when Ryan Pini won a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. It is titled 'Truly Papua New Guinean'





Truly Papua New Guinean

Truly Papua New Guinean
Was our joy for you
That night when we danced for you
And how you lifted our hearts
And united every man

Truly Papua New Guinean
Was the way you won
In a sport you loved
And how you celebrated
With your countrymen

Truly Papua New Guinean
Was the courage you showed us
Amid the swimming giants
That dreams do come true
Only if we worked hard

Truly Papua New Guinean
Will your name always be
In every home
On every lips
That we won at the Games

Truly Papua New Guinean
You are, Ryan Pini.


At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Pini became the just the second individual from Papua New Guinea to win an individual gold medal at Commonwealth Games, when he won the Men's 100 m Butterfly beating Austrlia's Micheal Klim and New Zealands Moss Burmester. The first Gold medal won was by Geua Tau in Lawn Bowls in the 1990 Commonwealth Games.

One for the Sunday arvo...

This band called 'Te Vaka' performing one of their more popular song 'Pate Pate' in Apia, the capital of Samoa.

Te Vaka is a group of eleven musicians and dancers from Pacific island countries of Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa, Cook Islands and New Zealnd that were brought together by a songwriter called Opetaia Foa'i.

Te Vaka's music is "grounded in the rhythms of the Pacific by the use of pate (single and double log drums) and pa'u (indigenous goat skin conga and bass drums). Most of their songs are written in the Tokelauan language, with some also written in Samoan and Tuvaluan languages.

They have been performing for international audiences since 1997, presenting a rich mix of Polynesia's ancient culture to the other countries around the globe.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Minimum wage

Saw this story in the Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday.

'Australia's 1.4 million minimum wage earners have been awarded a pay rise of $26 a week, just $1 less than that claimed by the unions.

Fair Work Australia announced on Thursday that the national minimum wage would rise from $544 to $569.90 a week, or $15 an hour, on July 1, 2010

The unions had been pushing for a $27 a week increase to make up for last year's pay freeze, but employer groups wanted any increase limited to $12.50.

The new minimum wage will come into effect from July 1.'

AUD$ 15 is rougly equivalent to around K32. It may seem alot but nowadays it is very hard especially for families to survive on AUD$569/week or AUD$ 1,138 a fortnight. Costs like rent, fuel, public transport and food alone usually take up three quarters of the weekly budget.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

AGT 2010 Semifinal Blackbird

I really thought the Blackbirds sang wonderfully on the semi-final of the Australia Got Talent show. The Blackbirds who comprised of two Indonesian men and a Jamaican women ripped the show. They did a cover version of the song 'Use somebody' of my favouraite band Kings of Leon.

I loved the Kings of Leon version but this one tops it by a mile. If they released an album I would definately buy it.

First day of June!

Wow....today is the first day of June 2010. Five months have passed by so quickly. Time sure does fly doesnt it?

This is the last week of school and everyone's doing the last minute thing. I just hope I finish my two assignments and the major paper. The long nights in the computer labs are set to continue....

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Huh????

How many faces can you see in this picture?




I see 9 faces including the baby's.