HESTA Fossil Fuel Fiasco

I am increasingly befuddled by the likes of a doctor who appeared on a radio show yesterday afternoon. A Dr Fiona Stanley was a guest on the show of Tom Elliot on 3AW Drive show, when I was driving home from the station after work yesterday.

Dr Fiona Stanley was to speak about HESTA super fund investments in fossil fuel related companies. Dr Stanley was going to, apparently, seek HESTA divestment of all fossil fuel investments.

I switched off when Dr Fiona Stanley came on. I had enough.

If Dr Stanley wanted to have nothing to do with fossil fuel investment, she should just switch funds. HESTA is not just for medical doctors. It is also a fund for many health sector employees. To many of these employees, what matters more is the return that augments their retirement nest eggs.  If Dr Stanley thinks that is of lesser importance than her views on climate change matters, she can simply transfer her super elsewhere. To impose her own agenda on others is something I cannot stand listening to.

It was easy to tune out of Tom Elliot’s show yesterday, when the likes of Dr Fiona Stanley is on.


Sydney, Premonitions, Light peeks through at Old Trafford

We had a weekend away to Sydney a couple of weekends ago. A cousin got married and a whole bunch of relos descended on the harbour city. We got in to Canberra on a Thursday, stayed with Kiddo and Mic for a night, and pushed on to Sydney the next day.

We checked in to our air b&b home when we got in early in the arvo, and no sooner had we unpacked and tried to sort out a couple of bugs with that place, when my brother rang to say they’re ready for us to pick them up. They had arrived from KL the day before and had stayed in a motel near the bride’s family home and were to stay with us for the rest of their time in Sydney.

We battled our way through Sydney roads and traffic and got to the motel somehow, picked them up and went back to the air b&b home in Willoughby, before going to a pub for dinner with my brother and Jean.

After dinner, we waited at home for Kiddo and Mic who arrived from Canberra late that Friday night. It was good for all 6 of us to be in that same house for the next few days.

The next day, we drove across a couple of suburbs and the wedding saw many relos catching up and it was really nice.

The dinner reception later that night was further across town and we had to go in 2 separate cars. The vino didn’t flow too well that night – it had dried out by the first course (of a Chinese 12 course banquet). We all laughed about it, savaging (in a good humoured way) the well known tight arse nature of the father of the bride… It was just as well anyway, as it meant I could drive home instead of letting Tress take the wheel through the narrow and winding road (riddle with pot holes) of Sydney.

The next day, the relos congregated at Wynyard Station in the city for a bit of a tour around the city, lunching at Chinatown and finishing with a ferry ride to Manly beach.

On Monday, we drove Jean to the home of my uncle (father of the bride), from whence the road trip to Melbourne and back was to embark. We then dropped my brother at the home of another uncle, before he flew back to KL later that night. We then drove back to Canberra to spend another night there before heading home.

We got home late in the arvo on Tuesday, and I then burrowed myself in a busy 3 days of work. We again caught up with the road warriors who had made their way on a 12 seater van/bus from Sydney through to Melbourne. Tress and I shouted them to a Peking Duck dinner at Box Hill South, after which they dropped in to our home for drinks and chats. That was lovely.

Early the next morning, I looked at my phone and saw a mini SOS message. My uncle, the driver and father of the bride, had come down with the Teh family ailment, the debilitating gout. I said I had some meds for that and drove across town to Albert Lake park where they were staying, and delivered the drugs. By the time we got back, it was nearly noon.

Tress had her ethereal stuff later that arvo and I was left in a disorientated state, with my weekend/Sat twirled in a state of incognito. I ended up in a Bunnings warehouse, wandering around before heading home to watch something on Netflix. We were supposed to go over to Alex and Lil Har’s for dinner that night but before Tress went out, she said there was to be a 60th birthday party at Alex and Li Har’s. That put me off as we had been unprepared. I didn’t want to rock up with nothing to contribute to such an occasion so I decided we’d just take our time at St Alf’s that night and skip the dinner.

At St Alf’s we were treated to a wonderful presentation by Greg Sheridan, a veteran journalist at The Oz. He was terrific value, so witty, erudite and knowledgeable as well as extremely well connected. For him to attend St Alf’s on a Saturday night to speak at a “Men’s” event, either spoke highly of St Alf’s or showed what a man he was. Maybe both.

Sunday saw a bit more normality. After St Alf’s we went to lunch, did some shopping, and went home for some cooking and pottering around the garden. It was well past 6 by the time we walked the little guy. Just as we were preparing for bed, I looked at my phone and saw that Mahathir has been to his old styled machination.

I woke up this morning, to mixed news. United had beaten Watford 3-0 at home, with new signing Bruno Fernandez scoring his first goal. Countervailing that is the news of Mahathir ditching his coalition partners to shack up with those twerps of critters at UMNO. Disgraceful but entirely unsurprising. I am too weak a person not to be a touch smug but the more overwhelming emotion is sadness. Malaysia deserves better. The temptation to trumpet my “I told you so” is too great. I wished Malaysians had been stronger than they were, running up to the May 2018 elections. Mahathir should never have been allowed his return.

I said to Tress, over the weekend, that there has been events in recent days, that tend to suggest my premonitions are often right. I feel like a Cassandra and I hope I become more positive in the days ahead. I want to be and I guess only God can change that. Until then…


I can probably replicate my usual Monday memos to this journal, for the weekend that just went by. There was a child safety training in St Alf’s yesterday after the service and that was probably the only departure from business as usual.

Business as usual had Mike McNamara deliver a really good sermon on temple theology, when the series on 1 Kings got to the part where Solomon built the temple.

Business as usual also had me, the only Asian amongst 4 others middle aged Anglo-Saxon white males, inspecting a business premise on Wantirna Road on Saturday morning. We were there to look at the prospects of Steer buying its own office premises, several years after selling and leaving the Court St property.

Business as usual meant I worked on the lawns on Sat, did some cooking on Sunday. I guess Tress at the hairdresser’s on Sat morning was not a business as usual matter, but it’s pretty much the usual type of weekend.

As always, routine is good. I should relish it, I guess.

When you know…

Honestly…” – My boss – a Caucasian – likes to preface his (exasperated) statements so.

Chan Hai Ah…” is the Cantonese equivalent. You hear that a lot from Hong Kongers.

Sit Chai…” is often heard uttered by my father-in-law. That is an old Hokkien expression.

I guess we all appeal to some unexpressed truth of some form. We believe there are universal, obvious truths. Truths that I think make us wonder what others were thinking when they ignore them.

I guess sometimes, distilling what that truth may be, becomes very hard. Maybe that’s when we throw our hands in the air and do a Pontius Pilate to suggest who knows what truth is anyway.

Maybe, truths are “too hard” because they can be inconvenient. Maybe, and I’m guessing often, truths are “too hard” when the vox populi runs counter to them.

This morning, when I read of Margaret Court’s views about reactions to her expressed beliefs, and then when I heard my boss uttered his favourite preface, I wondered when my city will come to read and think about what Jesus said in John 14:6.

Orange Dust (Again) and Silence…

January appears to have whizzed past. It has been a tempestuous month, and Melbourne appears to be in the thick of storms of sorts, metaphorical or otherwise. On Friday, a very hot day ended with heavy rain as well as a dust storm that threatened to again coat the city with a carpet of orange brown muck.

Tress and I braved the unpleasant conditions on Friday for our usual end of working week dinner at a local joint. We opted for Thai and had a quiet unwinding dinner that was quite pleasant. We then went home to enjoy the tennis. January each year is the one time we watch tennis on television, as the spectacle of having the world’s top players battling for a grand slam title is worth every minute. Melbourne puts on a grand party for the event every year and most Melburnian I know bask in this.

On Saturday, the orange brown coating threat was fully realised and I got out the pressure cleaner to clean the car that was on the driveway, as well as the driveway itself. It was to be another rainy day but I didn’t trust the rain to wash away the muck, and I felt far better after the quick cleaning job.

Car quickly cleaned, I gave the little fellow a bath. I took my time working the medicated shampoo into the little guy’s coats, and finished it off by rinsing some vinegar into them. He looked far cleaner and fresher after that.

Pooch and car cleaned, I got stuck into vacuuming. The day got much more humid and I was sweating like a pig when I was done vacuuming. It was well past 1pm by the time I hit the showers. Tress too had done a truckload of work with the laundry, and when we both got cleaned up, we ducked out for a bite at the local shops, and then picked up the groceries.

The night ended with the tennis again, this time watching the young American lady picking up her first grand slam title. Ms. Sonia Kenin had earlier taken out local sweetheart Ash Barty and it feels like Ms. Kenin will pick up more trophies in the years ahead.

I was up early on Sunday morning. There was a game at 4.30am. United was playing Wolves and I thought I’d catch it. I was up from 4am instead, and instead of turning to the iPad as I normally do, I just lied on my bed to take in the silence. I listened to the silence and whispered a prayer.

In as much as I appreciate the routine of work and rest each week, sprinkled with little indulgences of good food and wine and local drives to wineries and beaches, what I long for is to seek some form of “higher” purpose. I don’t know what that looks like though, and I have been asking the Lord “what next”, for a while now. I have been seeking and asking for a little while now but as life is chugging along anyway, it is easy to get distracted. Life can settle into a rhythm and offer enough nice things to keep one’s thoughts away from stuff that is messier or, simply less pleasant.

I have no desire to travel more or make new friends or seek new experiences, I merely want to find some form of service or engagement that gives me a sense of fulfilling a higher purpose. Do I need to have some form of pre-qualification before that happens? Probably not. So why has it been so silent out there? As I lay on my bed in the dark listening, all I hear is silence. I didn’t let the silence linger however, as one of life’s pleasant distractions soon butted in again. It was soon 4.30am and the match had started. I started to watch the game on the iPad but then moved to the lounge room to turn the TV on to continue watching.

United delivered another pedestrian performance, new signing notwithstanding. Bruno Fernandez looked promising on paper and didn’t look too bad on the pitch either but somehow, the overall team performance was all too familiar in its ordinariness. United slogged on for a goalless draw at home to Wolves and yet again, all that is left is unfounded hope.

At St Alf’s later in the day, Peter spoke on 1 Kings 4 & 5, and continued the theme on wisdom – God’s wisdom. He spoke about seeking wisdom to work out practical matters of everyday living. I wonder if eking out a routine not unlike mine, is an example. Probably not.

We then had a very ordinary lunch at a local Indian, before we went home and I did the week’s cook, human and pooch, while Tress went out for her ethereal activities.

Later in the evening, as the day ends with sunny and cool conditions, it felt so lovely that Tress and I spent a little time outside, weeding and fussing with the lawns, flower beds, etc. We kept going until the tennis – the men’s final – started. I had wanted Thiem to win but the magnificent Djokovic prevailed again, albeit he needed 5 sets to overcome my horse.

As I continued reading Tracy Kidder’s book on the train into the office this  morning, I wondered if my reading this book will have anything to do with the trajectory of my thoughts in the past year or so. Kidder’s book on Dr Paul Farmer, the founder of the Partners In Health charity that does great work in Haiti and Peru, has been sitting on the bench top for a while (many weeks). It wasn’t even my book. Tress had picked it up from her workplace but she had then left it on the kitchen bench top and never touched it since. I picked it up only because after reading a Helen Garner book on my first week back at work after Christmas, I had nothing else to read. I simply picked up Kidder’s book on the way out of the house one morning and notwithstanding the crowded trains leaving only standing room and the hustle and bustle and noise of summer commuters, I have plugged away and am nearly done with that book now. I don’t know how this will impact and shape my thoughts on the question of what next. I will soon return to Helen Garner – her “Monkey Grip” now sits on work desk in the office. When I pick it up, Kidder’s book and Farmer’s work will likely ebb away. I hope that doesn’t mean the silence then envelopes me again. It can feel like being covered, again, by a layer of orange brown muck that will again need high pressure cleaning.