Search Results: humour

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Asian women breaking free of the stereotype straitjacket

    • Tseen Khoo
    • 20 March 2017
    7 Comments

    Last week, an interview by the BBC with a scholarly expert on Korea was interrupted by the scholar's young family. What fascinated me most was the assumption in certain commentaries that the woman in the video was the nanny. Or, even when that was resoundingly countered, that there would be trouble for her when the interview was over. Because she is Asian, and her husband is white. And we all know what that means, right? Whether she's the nanny or the wife, she must be oppressed.

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  • RELIGION

    Larger principles underpin Pope's beggar belief

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 08 March 2017
    27 Comments

    We often find ourselves invited to respond to people who ask us for money on the street - beggars, homeless people and so on. We can respond in different ways: give them something, decline as a matter of course, decline as a matter of principle, or not notice them. Last week Pope Francis recommended that we always give coins. To many this will seem to be too categorical. However as has so often been the case, Francis' throwaway lines illuminate much larger social issues.

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  • RELIGION

    Luther’s challenge to the Church then and now

    • Bill Wright
    • 05 March 2017
    4 Comments

    Speaking of reform in the church can mean many things. Often it's about practical matters: sorting out the Vatican Bank, changing how bishops are chosen or clergy trained; that sort of thing. Occasionally, however, reform is about seeking real religious change. Martin Luther, I want to suggest, is one of those reformers who was not concerned with tinkering with structures of the church but with reforming the Christian message so that it might reform the believer.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    How to survive the crucible of school bullying

    • Barry Gittins
    • 23 February 2017
    7 Comments

    Squarely back into the school year, dinner conversations with our kids have included strategies for dealing with bullies. A 2016 survey of 20,000 Australians students found one in four respondents reported being bullied, and bullying 'was more common for year 5 students and year 8' - the grade levels of our boy and girl respectively. I'd love to be the 'parent nonpareil', with the right words and advice, but it's not that simple. The variables of personality and situation mean there is no easy, perfect answer.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Tips for surviving Christmas angst

    • Barry Gittins
    • 05 December 2016
    5 Comments

    Cricket games, feasts, the origami orgy of Christmas present wrappings rent asunder ... the underlying truth in all of this, for many of us, is deep emotional pain and loneliness that's gone unheard, unnoticed, all year. Family is both a lodestone and a millstone at Christmas. It's a truth magnified by aspirational love. As Pope John XXIII once said, cutting close to home, 'Mankind is a great, an immense family. This is proved by what we feel in our hearts at Christmas.' It's a big ask that carries a price.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Forestalling disgrace amid a welfare nightmare

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 22 November 2016
    5 Comments

    The welfare system Daniel experiences is a bureaucratic nightmare, populated by condescending Health Care Professionals, shadowy and calculating Decision Makers, managers who loom over their clients like stern parents, and caseworkers who stifle any human compassion for their desperate supplicants. He is grilled by a welfare officer about every aspect of his health except the only relevant one, his heart. Later, he runs afoul of the agency's 'online by default' processes. Daniel has never used a computer in his life.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Flagging patriotism in a divided world

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Before I turned five, I was in the serried Monday morning ranks of children who had to swear, among other vows, to honour the flag. Years later I watched, shocked, as a Greek friend burst into tears at the sight of the emblematic blue and white stripes at a soccer match: big, strapping Panayiotis sobbed helplessly for quite some minutes. Today the American elections are almost upon us, and Old Glory has naturally been very much in evidence throughout this most gruelling and worrying of campaigns.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bobbling their way from innocence to experience

    • Barry Gittins
    • 12 October 2016
    1 Comment

    I attempted at one stage to lodge snippets of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience into the minds of our children. Emily complained that 'symmetry' didn't really rhyme with 'hand or eye'; Ben was and is more into dragons than tigers. The question later pondered of Blake's tiger 'Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?' regularly confronts me, as my wife semi-mourns and I embrace the maturing process that is taking our children towards adulthood.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Luckily for Australia, winning really isn't everything

    • Michael McVeigh
    • 21 August 2016
    9 Comments

    Australia appears likely to fall well short of its pre-games medal target. This has led to criticism of the government's funding strategy, which has seen money poured into elite sports where Australia has traditionally been most successful or where medals seemed most likely. This approach inevitably leads people to calculate whether Australia has received 'value for money' for its investments. But it doesn't have much to do with what people actually get out of watching or being part of the Olympics.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Dying with dignity in Madrid

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 18 August 2016
    6 Comments

    The film's quiet humour leaves open many spaces for reflection on getting older, and on mortality. Tomas is uncomfortable with the subject of death, but Julian is determined to confront it with honesty and dignity. His activities during those four short days reveal he possesses a well formed conception of his own humanity and mortality that is not short of admirable. We are as sympathetic to Paula raging against her cousin's resignation, as we are to Tomas' growing acceptance.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Food for thought in atheist inspired animation

    • Tim Kroenert
    • 11 August 2016
    1 Comment

    There's a bagel character, coded as Jewish, and a lavash (Armenian flatbread), coded as Palestinian, who clash because they have to share an aisle. 'Isn't the aisle big enough for both of you?' asks Frank. In this and other ways the film points to the destructive power of religious belief corrupted by self- or socio-political interest. On the other hand it ignores the role religion can play in developing robust ethical thinking about the ways in which we can interact meaningfully with others and the world.

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