keywords: Winter

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Mekong coconut workers

    • Brendan Ryan
    • 12 December 2016

    Watch the man in his stained shirt barefoot under the palms. Adrift from younger workers he manages a rhythm, a cigarette-dangling-from-the-lip focus. His lined face belies the strength of his forearms, thrusting each coconut onto a metal spike that is his altar. Seven days a week he splits coconuts with the precision required to not sever a wrist in a country with no health insurance. Upriver, in the seamy heat of the Mekong Delta, it could be the 19th century. I don't know where to look.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Revisiting river country

    • Rory Harris
    • 28 November 2016
    2 Comments

    Echuca is a string of hand held families in the sun, their floppy hats nodding over ice-creams smeared ear to ear. In Bendigo we sit on the bed eating treats from along the road. The Age is our tablecloth. The ghosts of parents past, promenade the High Street, they holidayed closer to home and always travelled with a deck of cards and a bottle in the suitcase ... Hills wrap Castlemaine, the trains have stopped running, the fruit and veg is biodynamic and the sky is scattered wool ...

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    US goes rogue on climate

    • Greg Foyster
    • 17 November 2016
    5 Comments

    Here we go again. Just a few days after the historic Paris Agreement on climate change entered force, another Republican climate denier has snatched the White House. Donald Trump isn't just a closet sceptic, paying lip-service to climate change while doing nothing about it. He's an out-and-proud conspiracy theorist. All signs point to the US returning to its role as international climate saboteur, and for much the same reasons: Republican paranoia over the economic rise of China.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Innovating for a jobless society

    • Rick Measham
    • 07 November 2016
    28 Comments

    Growing up in Geelong, many friends worked at Ford, or Alcoa, Pilkington or any of the other allied suppliers. As each of these stopped manufacturing in Victoria's second city, employers and governments promised retraining. But where are the jobs? Factories are quickly moving to a 'lights out' operation, with no lights, no air conditioning — and no humans. Modelling suggests nearly 5000 Geelong residents will lose their jobs to the decline in manufacturing before the end of 2017, and 200,000 nationwide. Can we find new-economy jobs for every one of them?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Tweeting our way back to the Middle Ages

    • Brian Matthews
    • 03 November 2016
    4 Comments

    Curiously, while privacy continues to be valued and sought in the 21st century perhaps more strenuously than ever before, its milieu is once again the furious turmoil of aggressively public revelation, exhortation and threat that distinguished Johan Huizinga's scarifying portrait of the medieval world, in his book The Autumn of The Middle Ages. In our age, 'all things in life' once again have 'about them something glitteringly and cruelly public'. Or to put it another way, we have social media.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My last poem

    • Max Richards
    • 10 October 2016
    8 Comments

    'You'd be on the beach with me, dearest, and your favourite birds nearby as if making gifts of themselves to you. Sharing was what we were doing, and there seemed no end to it, though there would be, darkness coming on, no knowing when but not yet, not quite yet.' Poetry by Max Richards, who died after sustaining head injuries in a car accident in Seattle on 21 September.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The heart heals itself between beats

    • Elizabeth Smither
    • 03 October 2016
    4 Comments

    I read it somewhere in a journal of cardiology. Sometimes I mention it at dinner parties. The use of time, the clenching of the heart that can be no stranger to the beats of a clock, and all that accompanies the emptying and filling of chambers where silence must be an unknown but still love sluices and cleans and restarts as the surgeons did in the old Middlesex.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    My climate change denial is worse than Malcolm Roberts'

    • Greg Foyster
    • 26 September 2016
    11 Comments

    In January, swathes of ancient forest in Tasmania burned in bushfire. February 2016 was a scorcher - the warmest in 136 years of modern temperature records. By late March I was looking at images of a bleached Great Barrier Reef and feeling similarly blanched. I went for a walk, breathing heavily. It was sunny. Ominously warm. Fifteen minutes later, when I returned to my desk, my mood was buoyant again. I turned off my computer, and threw the report I'd been reading in the recycling bin.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Refugees returning home

    • Jena Woodhouse
    • 26 September 2016
    5 Comments

    Across the black hole of my solitude, the self-indulgent pit where I lick self-inflicted wounds, lightly step returning refugees. They know why they trek through forest, crossing rivers, day by day, on bruised and lacerated feet, in rain, on clay, on sharp-edged stones. For them there is no other way, and they are going home ... They have no doubt where they belong, the dying and the newly-born, no time to squander on regrets: they are going home ...

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Moonlight conventions

    • Ross Jackson
    • 06 September 2016
    2 Comments

    I put in my journal: 'a full moon tonight, crisp and splendidly clear for our walk around the shore and back to the resort' ... What did the Israeli professor remark? 'It bodes well on Hoshana Rabbah that we are casting shadows in moonlight.' Though our Chinese friend had little to say following this evening's lecture, he was right about the yellow plum at the bottom of the lake.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Buddhist traffic light

    • Lesley Lebkowicz, Andrew Madigan, Barry Gittins
    • 02 August 2016
    1 Comment

    My friend, new to Mandalay, never before in Asia, sighs as she sees the east- and west-bound cars and rickshaws slow to a ragged fringe across the intersection. The north- and south-bound take their turn in the same gentle, fearless lack of order. Ah, she says, see how aware they are, each of the other. Such harmony: you can tell it's a Buddhist country. Spoilsport, I point to where, so easily ignored, enmeshed in a thicket of wire overhead, lights flicker: green, amber, red.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Worn and wasted by election day shambles

    • Ellena Savage
    • 08 July 2016
    3 Comments

    The OIC makes a dramatic speech about the integrity of live ballot papers, that there will be no repeat of the Western Australian kerfuffle, that we have our booklets that contain all the answers (and many typos, too). He seems nice. Maybe a little skittish. Not someone I'd imagine would be hired to run an office or manage a kitchen or even wait tables, but he must know what he's doing. This speech is the last demonstration of authority I witness on this day.

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