Tuesday, November 29, 2005


I'm finding this sensation a little unsettling - I'm leaning to the right side of The Fence on a couple of issues and I don't know how or why.

It could perhaps just be bitterness and twist from the latest revelation that one of my so-called best friends tried to screw my ex/current (don't ask) on the weekend. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, etc.

Whetever, here's what I'm talking about:

Michelle Leslie:I have no sympathy for a woman who pisses on a sacred religion (my objections to the Islamic faith notwithstanding) to weasel her way out of a Bali prison sentence. Does this make me a self-righteous wowser, like the not-so-Jolly Santa who writes for the Daily Terror (link to his specific article on Leslie from last week no longer available but if you've ever read one word of Akerman you can probably figure out the gist of it)? Meh, maybe.

Leslie's not the brightest penny in the fountain, even by underwear model standards. Having seen her lawyer in action I have no doubt who is the puppeteer and who the cute marionette in this stage show.

And I guess that's what pisses me off more than Leslie herself, the fact that our media is actually treating this like front-page news which, objectively on the facts of the case, it's just not. Honestly, would anybody give a shit if it had been a fat ugly bloke caught with two eckies who spent a few months in a Bali jail? Our media is desperate for a Corby sequel story as Corby's hopes of seeing sunlight again fade away and woops, along comes Leslie.

I say we ignore it until it goes away.

Nguyen Van Tuong: OK, first up I always have and will oppose the death penalty. It's a barbaric form of "punishment" that has little to no deterrent effect and should have no place in a civilised nation.

And yes, it's also sad that an intelligent, articulate young man will have his life cut short for one stupid mistake.

But a national minute's silence for a convicted heroin smuggler? I think not.

For me, this all comes back to the Corby/Thomas McKosker tension. When our officials and politicians reply to an Australian's arrest overseas with "he must respect the laws of the country he is in", as our government did with McKosker, we cannot then condemn or try to interfere with the laws and punishments of another country according to the relative youth, attractiveness of or media attention given to another Australian in a dire predicament. We either rely on a policy of non-intervention or we don't; this cannot be selective.

By all means, Australia can and should become part of an international push to end capital punishment across all nations, but in the meantime it's futile trying to save the life of a drug smuggler caught in nation that has executed all but a few of the law-breakers it has condemned to death.

And a national minute's silence is going too far. The guy is not a hero; he was trafficking a dangerous and highly-addictive drug.

I might be in favour of a national minute's silence if his guilt were not conclusive or unambiguous, but that's not the case here. He doesn't deserve to die, but he also doesn't deserve a hero's send-off.

Apologies to the true believers if you feel I'm selling out the team here. As I said, my mind might just be wallowing too deeply in the Dark Side right now.


At 29/11/05 1:04 pm, Anonymous stephen said...

Dear Budding rightist,
(your regular readers note that this flares up from time to time.....I think you (like most of us) are too middle class to avoid this completely).
The issue about the silence, or little Johnny not playing cricket is not about respect for Nguyen...but about a gesture about the offensiveness of the death penalty.
Singapore is not just a casual,occasional executer...it is (based per capita) one of the most (if not THE most) serious offenders in this regard.

At 29/11/05 1:12 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Fair enough point Stephen, but to be consistent we should therefore have a minute of silence for every person executed in Singapore at the time it happens, not just Nguyen. And for that matter in any other country that still has the death penalty.

Probably a fair enough point about my middle-class perspective too, however I've never pretended to be so left-wing that I will always respond in the "left way" to every issue as it arises. I guess that's why I identify as left-leaning, as my responses can vary across the spectrum. I like to think it's being even-minded.

At 29/11/05 1:44 pm, Blogger Gay Erasmus said...

Sam: Sorry to hear about your so-called best friend and your ex/current. Sounds atrocious. Do they read this blog?

Being prepared to cross party lines is a good way of demonstrating that you're not a party drone so much as a thinking human being. So don't fret!

At 29/11/05 2:10 pm, Blogger Riza said...

I agree with you on both issues Sam, and yeah, sorry about the dramas with your friend.

At 29/11/05 2:43 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Thanks Riza and GE.

The ex/current does read it, not sure about the so-called. To be honest, right now I couldn't really care if he does or not.

Thanks for the affirmation about people who cross party lines too GE - although I hope this doesn't make me like Barnaby the Sometimes Senator. God forbid!!

At 29/11/05 3:14 pm, Blogger JahTeh said...

Thank you Sam, the voice of sanity.
Why didn't the media put Nguyen's story out there when he was first caught? The penalty was the same back then as it is now. A trial doesn't sell papers.

On the other issue, your own words, settle gretel.

At 29/11/05 4:02 pm, Anonymous BaznBazza SA boys! said...

The point is yes, he did a stupid and naive thing. He is about to be brutally put to death by an autocratic country, ruled in a one party state by one family. He did not enter Singapore, he was changing flights at Changi Airport. Yes we are lobbying for his life, as we will for the Bali nine. They all did wrong, but not for their lives to be taken. Nobody has the right to play god, when it comes to a human life.

ps. Sam. So you went to St Peters. That is no criteria when it comes to social justice.

At 29/11/05 4:08 pm, Blogger Sam said...

Baz: I never went to St Peters mate, but I appreciate the vote of confidence :-)

At 29/11/05 4:11 pm, Blogger mikey said...

Right-Wing is so hot right now.

Michelle Leslie's clearly an idiot, she was on a reality TV show.

Regarding the whole minute's silence thing, I think it's hypocritical of Johnny to whinge about Nguyen being executed to the Singaporeans yet then decide to go an play a social game of cricket (which he sucks at) on the day Nguyen's executed. Seriously, for a bloke who moistens his undies at any mention of Bradman, he really can't bat, can't bowl.

This country would be so much better off with Malcom Turnbull as PM or any other eastern suburbs IB-er who drives a Porsche (like John Hewson). I'm sick of paying my taxes so Johnny can have a sickie to play cricket. What does he think it is, 1983?

And so ends my RWDB-esque rant.

At 29/11/05 4:46 pm, Anonymous baznbazza(Crows forever) said...

Sam. No we don't have any problems with private schools, if they pay their own way. Instead of taking a bigger slice of the education budget than public schools.

ps: OK! are you a "PACMAN"

At 29/11/05 5:12 pm, Anonymous Harley said...

I agree with Mikey: Right-Wing is so hot right now. Ever check out those uniformly pretty Log Cabin Republicans? To say nothing of their even prettier managed fund reserves. Yowza!

As for so-called best friends who try to screw boyfriends... the last time I heard that age-old tale was in high school. I think it belongs there.

Now let me pretend to be serious for a moment: I think you're confusing the opinion of a Right-Wing identifying columnist with a Genuine Right-Wing Opinion (TM). In this case, the two are not the same IMO.

At 29/11/05 6:29 pm, Anonymous Philip Gomes said...

I would'nt worry too much about your perspective, it shows that you are far more thoughtful than the RWDB's whose positions are set in stone(age)

At 29/11/05 6:35 pm, Blogger Sam said...

If I found MYself stuck in an Indonesian prison, I'd pretend to be pretty much anything to get myself out. So I don't hold that against Michelle Leslie. But the amount of media attention she's garnered... oy.

As for Nong Van Whatever... a minute's silence is ridiculous. But it does suck that he's being executed, even if he did commit that sort of crime in a country where they have the death penalty.

I can't believe I'm being all political'n'shit, EEEEWWWWWWW!

At 29/11/05 7:14 pm, Anonymous maddy said...

Oh no Sam... tempted by the so-called "dark side".. methinks you might find yourself getting more and more tempted as you grow older - just a prediction hehe. Personally, I don't think it's to do with coming from the middle class or that it's "hot" right now.. that's just lefty name calling.

With regards to Ms Leslie I totally agree that the media has gone well overboard with coverage on the issue but (a) she's pretty and (b) young Aussies locked up in SE Asian prisons IS in fact so hot right now (at least in the media). Personally I think that if you found yourself locked up in an Indonesian prison you too might do whatever it took to "weasel" your way out.

Capital Punishment is wrong for all the reasons you mention and the minute's silence issue is a silly one - we can all do what we want when it happens. Whenever I see news and pictures about him, his mum and friends I feel sick to the stomach.

Sorry to hear about your ex. I don't know if this is the same situation you spoke about mid September (the 12th to be exact) but I'll take a punt that being "Open to Suggestions" is often-times a shortcut to relationship turmoil...at the least.

At 30/11/05 3:27 pm, Anonymous kate said...

The death penalty is wrong, and joining Amnesty and writing letters to countries that use it is a good course of action.

What's been really getting to me though, through all of the reports, is the constant mis-prononciation of Nguyen. It's one of the ten most common names in Australia. Every time I hear it mangled, I'm reminded of how segregated our community continues to be.


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