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  • prequel

    "Top blog/Renato Obeid's World/Today's pick: This rambling weblog is worth reading not so much for its satirical posts but more for its insight into the minutiae of life in Lebanon, including the etiquette of road accidents and how to hire a taxi.” -Jane Perrone, The Guardian

    Wednesday, February 27, 2002  
    Went to Canberra, the nation’s capital*, with Anthony.
    Anthony was performing at a club called “Insomnia”.
    What’s insomnia in Canberra? - “It’s 10.00pm and I cant’ sleep!”
    Insomnia, as we know it, may not exist in sleepy Canberra but it did while I was there.
    Anthony and I were staying overnight in a hotel that looked a lot like the Watergate, and I couldn’t sleep so I went for a walk all over town at 4.00am looking for food.
    None to be found - all the restaurants and clubs were closed (including “Insomnia”).
    What do they do in Canberra during Ramadan?
    If you can’t sleep in Sydney it doesn’t matter because that gives you more waking time to enjoy paradise – Sydney insomniacs are the luckiest of the lucky (people who call Sydney home).
    Being in Canberra got me thinking as to why culturally attuned broadcasters like the BBC don’t pronounce Australian names in the local accent, as the trend is these days with other foreign names?
    E.g. why don’t they annunciate “Stralia” (Australia) the Australian way just as they do “Chee-lay” (Chile) the Chilean way?Why isn’t it "John Houred" when they’re referring to our Prime Minister John Howard just as they pronounce "Ignacio Luis Lula da Silva" the Portuguese way (God they have a lot of fun with that name)?
    And what’s with calling a Filipino woman a “Filpina”, as the BBC and other trendy media outlets do?
    It’s the feminine form of Filipino in Spanish not English – which even a Filipina will tell you doesn’t have masculine or feminine.And why do they only make this vernacular exception for Filpinas? They don’t refer to Australian women as "Sheilas" - "a Sheila has been arrested on drugs charges in Indonesia".

    *Melbourne was originally the capital of Australia (from Federation in 1901 to 1927) until agitation by Sydney resulted in the capital and parliament being moved to a sheep paddock in the middle of nowhere called Canberra as a compromise. (It’s often joked that that was a waste of a perfectly good sheep paddock).We’d always been told that Canberra was equidistant from Melbourne and Sydney but, although I’ve been to Canberra several times and had always suspected that the distance wasn’t quite "equi" (that it was closer to Sydney) it wasn’t until this trip that the full extent of this "equi" deficiency dawned on me - it isn’t equidistant at all, Canberra is practically an outer suburb of Sydney.It couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes after we’d left the heart of Canberra, that I, just by chance, happened to see a signpost announcing that we had just entered NSW.We’ve been scammed.

    12:00 pm

    Monday, February 18, 2002  
    I just received my new Australian passport.
    At the back where it says ‘’in case of accident or death please notify_____’’ should I just write ‘’a doctor, a mortician’’?

    8:00 pm

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