Monthly Mailbag – October 2019
How Good is God
Dear Pearl – Your most recent article (How Good is God, The Beast, September 2019) misrepresents the truth three times in the first paragraph.
You wrote that PM Scott Morrison “commandeered the podium of Hillsong Church”, when in fact he was an invited guest. You wrote that “evoking the name of God (in a church) on behalf of all Australians is an attack on a secular Australia”. Australia’s democracy seems to have survived such attacks every Sunday since the first open-air Christian Sunday service held on February 3, 1788. Christians believe that the once-killed, now alive-for-ever Jesus is the key to life for all people. The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples is said in Parliament each sitting day. A secular state can happily coexist with people of faith or no faith so long as no one expression of faith or no faith is favoured over others by the State.
You also wrote, “this merger of state and church” (your false claim) “has gone unnoticed by aspirational Australian masses and the tabloids”. Pearl, when you write about the “masses and the tabloids” we hear your patronising, ‘progressive’ accent. We hear echoes of Hillary Clinton’s speech about ‘the deplorables’. Actually, people of all types and backgrounds noticed that Scott Morrison likes to sing in church with raised hands. So what?!
So, Pearl, please rediscover your sense of humour, deal in truth, stop demonising people you disagree with and have a go at respectful disagreement instead.
Pearls of Brilliance
Dear Beast – Please thank Pearl Bullivant on behalf of many grateful readers for her last Pearls of Wisdom (How Good is God, The Beast, September 2019). Brilliant! So much so that it’s being circulated beyond the boundaries of the beachside suburbs.
Gee, those God-botherers sure are a thin-skinned lot, judging by the angry, humourless rants of Liz, James and Kiara in the September edition of The Beast.
It seems all very well for these people to attack gays, safe schools, feminists and other progressive groups but when their narrow, bigoted, entitled views are challenged, all hell (or heaven) breaks loose.
Don’t be intimidated by them James, Dan and Pearl. Keep telling it like it is. And well done Pearl for your excellent piece, How Good is God, and for correctly giving God the personal pronoun She so rarely gets!
Bondi’s Latest Clandestine Backpackers Hostel
I write with anger and dismay at finding out that 19 Ocean Street, Bondi, which used to be a building consisting of six 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom flats, has recently been converted to six 4-bedroom, 1-bathroom, fully furnished, short-term rental flats, managed by Express Realty. My theory is that this was done as it is an old building and there is only so much you can get for an old 2-bedroom 1-bathroom flat, whereas if you fully furnish it and add 2 more bedrooms and get 8 backpackers in it… well, you do the maths – there’s all of a sudden so much more income for the landlord!
When I raised concerns with Express Realty about maximum occupancy (in my opinion, and from the clear unobstructed view from my apartment into said flats, it seems that there are far too many people residing in a flat with just one bathroom and one toilet), Express Realty said they had explicit permission from Waverley Council for each flat (which is now a 4-bedroom flat, achieved by converting the former dining room into a third bedroom and the back sunroom after the kitchen into a fourth bedroom) for eight occupants in each flat! Multiply that by six flats and you have 48 short-term dwellers (mainly backpackers from South America including countries like Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, etc.) whose aim is to party on like there’s no tomorrow, no matter what day of the week it is, talk real loudly at the top of their voices, shriek as loudly as possible when greeting a fellow lodger and then keep up that decibel for as long as the ensuing conversation lasts. You get the picture.
My question to Waverley Council and Express Realty is when were the residents of Ocean Street told that a hostel business with 48 short-term dwellers (which is really what this is) was going to be unleashed on them? When were the residents given the opportunity to object to this? Instead, the residents have to put up with the constant barrage of disrespectful attitude from said dwellers and chaotic noise on almost every night of the week to late hours of the night, to the point where Waverley Police have to be called out to said address (like they don’t have better things to do or our taxpayers’ money couldn’t be put to better use).
The latest police call-out was on Tuesday, August 27, when after midnight (it was about 1am by the time two uniformed policemen attended the scene) I was told by Waverley Police that they had already received several calls about the excessive noise coming from 19 Ocean Street again and they would attend to it as soon as they could. I also saw a poor hapless neighbour in his pyjamas, obviously at his wit’s end, who also turned up at the same time as the two policemen were in attendance, as he had had just about enough of this ongoing intrusion of noise keeping him up when he had to get up early to go to work the next morning.
I think Waverley Council have a lot of explaining to do and that these flats should not be allowed to be let on a short-term basis. If they are, then they need to be to permanent citizens and definitely not to itinerant travellers on travel or similar short-term visas, otherwise it just makes 19 Ocean Street a backpackers hostel in disguise.
A very disgruntled, sleep deprived and unfortunate neighbour of said building!
Missing the Point
Dear Beast – I just read your article on The 3 Steps Cafe (3 Steps: Original, Brave and Exciting, The Beast, September 2019). Was this article supposed to be funny? Ironic? A piss-take? Intentionally patronising?
It was a lost opportunity to profile a Bondi Road institution, run by people with a massive heart, who provide more than just a great value feed for the local community.
Sometimes it’s better for media to just leave such venues alone, so that the locals can enjoy it in peace.
3 Steps friend and patron
50 Years of 3 Steps
Hi – I found the article regarding The 3 Steps Cafe most interesting (3 Steps: Original, Brave and Exciting, The Beast, September 2019) as it is the backdrop for many of my younger memories.
When did The 3 Steps actually open? My parents, Jim and Fay, opened the original 3 Steps late in 1969, replacing what was a defunct aquarium/pet shop. I’m glad to hear that it’s still going strong today after 50 years.
Back then it was the classic Greek takeaway but also serving meals in the Laminex dining area with the mirrored walls. Hamburgers were 15 cents and many Kiwi ex-pats would sit down and order a mixed grill or a T-bone steak with three eggs and chips. It was an icon in the early ‘70s, frequented by all types late at night and in the early hours of the morning, from the wine bar three doors down to the taxi base across the road, to the Waverley and Paddington Police, all looking for a late feed.
Hope it kicks on for another 50 years.
Dear Beast – I know you are small, but must you abandon journalistic standards? The unbalanced reporting of the glyphosate debate is very poor journalism. Yes, Roundup has just joined a long list of commonly encountered substances which can, in very uncommon circumstances, cause cancer. Examples from the list include radium in concrete, ethanol in alcoholic drinks, formaldehyde in furniture and various components of tattoo ink. Can we look forward to shocking news of the “frightening health risks” associated with these items?
Since you have mentioned Slasher Weedkiller, the active ingredient in this product is an acid (naturally occurring, just like tobacco or ricin). It must be handled with greater care, and at greater risk, than Roundup, and is at least 11 times more expensive.
Thankfully you included the voice of reason near the end of the article, where Waverley Council General Manager Ross McLeod states that glyphosate “can be used safely”, however the article is clearly biased towards the banning of a substance which is used responsibly by many, including myself, in order to maintain the outdoor spaces we all enjoy so much in acceptable condition.
An appropriate outcome to the glyphosate debate would be to call for greater restrictions to its use. I would like glyphosate removed from the shelves of supermarkets and hardware stores, etc., and only available to trained and certified chemical users. I would like to be able to continue using glyphosate when it is appropriate to do so.
So, no, not “everyone is soiling their undies over exposure to glyphosate”. Some of us would actually prefer a world in which responsible discussions could be had, not trials by public opinion supported by unbalanced, Murdoch-style sensationalism.
Australia poem in Centennial Park
Good morning James – I am a lover of all things ‘East’ and its part in the Australian psyche and what it brings to our blessed way of life.
One of the great traits of our Australian character has always been to see through bullshit, realise we are being conned by the establishment and big business and smile at them and hope that they don’t do too much damage.
This of course is very annoying to our masters and they use various means to try to make us more subservient and less cheeky and inquisitive.
Now, while we are all used to the psychotic ramblings of the Murdoch media and Alan Jones, Andrew Bolt, etc., this new paranoia has taken a sinister turn with the removal of the poem ‘Australia’ from Centennial Park. A line from the poem was around the Federation Pavilion and it has been surreptitiously rendered unreadable, and the whole poem was on a brass plate under a tree nearby and that has disappeared completely.
The poem was written by a great Irish/Australian political figure, Bernard O’Dowd, and posed the question, “Would this great newly discovered island become a tribute to Mammon or could it be a millennial paradise?”
How paranoid are these conservative folk and what on Earth are they up to that they feel threatened by a beautiful poem that is part of our heritage.
Wentworth Courier Major Polluter
Does anyone else’s heart sink when they see The Wentworth Courier strewn across our suburbs every Wednesday? The plastic wrap around this abomination is the biggest contaminant of recycling in our community (source: Waverley Council).
The Wentworth Courier claims to reach 64,000 readers per week… imagine the wastage per year! Friends, let’s all remove that soft plastic before putting the magazine in the recycling bin (soft plastics can be recycled at Coles or Woolies). And if you agree that News Corp’s advertising-driven, slip-hazard of a publication needs to do better, please join me in contacting our local councillors and other elected officials.
The Dangers of Generalising
I’m not sure whether Dan Wyllie was trying to be clever, funny or just stupid when commenting on his dislike of South Africans in the Eastern Suburbs (Dan Wyllie – The Real Deal, The Beast, September 2019).
Having a personal preference or dislike of any group should be a private matter. However, making these sentiments public and then having the editors of a magazine publishing such opinions is not only hurtful but potentially damaging and threatening to social cohesion.
I’m curious as to how Dan Wyllie identifies these South Africans? Is it the cars they drive, the clothes they wear or how they speak?
As an ex ‘South African’ who has lived in the Eastern suburbs for the past 40 years, I wonder if I am one of ‘them’? As with everyone, I like to be treated as an individual, not a member of a group that someone has decided to assign me to because of some superficial characteristics.
Prejudicial generalisations are based on ignorance and can be dangerous. They are often the precursor to the rise of discriminatory and repressive regimes such as the Apartheid system in South Africa.
I expect better editing from The Beast!
Why Encourage Hate Speech?
In the recent interview with Dan Wyllie (Dan Wyllie – The Real Deal, The Beast, September 2019) Mr Wyllie was asked two questions by interviewer James Hutton.
“What really annoys you about the Eastern Suburbs?” and, “What do I hate about the area?”
“South Africans,” was the answer provided by Mr Wyllie.
Mr Wyllie then asks Mr Hutton if he was allowed to say “South Africans”.
Mr Hutton then answers, “You can say ‘South Africans’ if you like”.
What if Mr Wyllie’s answer was instead, “South Africans, Brazilians, Israelis and Jews”?
Ex “South Africans” who immigrated to Australia are actually “Australians” and deserve an apology from the editors of The Beast for allowing and encouraging such racist hate speech to be printed.
An ex South African living in Clovelly
In reply to your questions put to Dan Wyllie (Dan Wyllie – The Real Deal, The Beast, September 2019), “What really annoys you about the Eastern Suburbs?” and “What do you hate about the area?”, Dan’s reply: “South Africans”.
I find his answer hurtful and offensive. For such a high profile person to single out an individual group can be very damaging to that group.
We are Australian citizens formerly from South Africa, who have lived in Australia for thirty-one years. We love our adopted country and try and contribute and give back wherever we can. We have worked extremely hard and contributed to the tax system. We have always tried to pave our own way and not rely on handouts. We are quiet and respectful to all who cross our path. Our fellow ex South Africans who we know are law abiding respectful people who have contributed to the well-being of the country in many spheres.
There are all types in the Eastern Suburbs, some pretentious but mostly decent people.
Dan, while you are entitled to your opinion, as a high profile person you have a responsibility to be fair to your fellow countrymen, so please think before you single out a group of people that you may not be fully informed about. After all, we live in a multicultural country and everyone should be treated fairly with understanding and respect.
During the course of a short interview (Dan Wyllie – The Real Deal, The Beast, September 2019), Dan Wyllie managed to insult lawyers, NIDA, Logies, Hollywood and South Africans (repeatedly).
I am amazed such an obnoxious actor returned from Tinseltown, still unheard of and with his tail between his legs. With an attitude like his, he should fit right in there and leave the Eastern Beaches to people just trying to enjoy the sun and sea.
The Bondi Mural
I’m glad the temporary mural provoked such a strong response amongst local residents, even if it ended up focusing on freedom of expression. Here in Bondi we are lucky enough to have freedom of expression. The irony is that people seeking asylum, whose plight inspired the mural, do not have such freedom.
In your article (This Was Never Supposed to Be About Us, The Beast, September 2019), you suggested that your readers help people seeking asylum by donating to a particular Victorian-based charity. As a local magazine, why not support a local charity? The dedicated team of human rights lawyers at Refugee Advice & Casework Service (RACS), hosted by UNSW in Randwick, have been providing crucial legal support for over 30 years to families and individuals seeking Australia’s protection. It receives no Commonwealth Government funding and is reliant on the generosity of the community to support thousands of people every year through the very complex and difficult legal process of seeking protection.
People don’t choose to be refugees, they are fleeing persecution in search of a safe life, but without the all-important visa they will be returned to danger. So, yes, it’s uncomfortable to reflect on this mural on a glorious winter morning but, as a community, let’s make a difference and help provide free legal support to desperate people reaching out to us for protection. Visit www.racs.org.au.
Vandals or Vigilantes?
Your correspondent Pearl Bullivant will undoubtedly have something to say about this, but how good is the way that mural on Bondi Beach was defaced? I mean, I’m all for freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean marauding lefties can just willy-nilly criticise the government. With art, no less.
Sure, art has never hurt, defamed or vilified anyone, unless you’re the government of course, which has been cut to the quick by all this truth-telling on asylum seekers and whatnot. Speaking of which, don’t get me started on Indigenous recognition. Hint: no.
So, good on you anonymous mural defacer. Your country thanks you from the bottom of its cold, black heart.
*not his real name
PS. The cheque’s in the mail.
Hi Joanna Savill (Letters, The Beast, September 2019) – Come down to Coogee someday. The butcher, baker, pharmacy, florist, newsagency, takeaways, cafés and also Ella Bache, Vinnies, Maloney’s and a couple of dress shops, not to mention The Coogee Bay Hotel and The Legion Club, all manage to get on with Woolworths Metro.
I have lived in Coogee for 80 years. There is a lovely check-out “chick” in Woolworths, whom I always talk to when bagging my own groceries. She gives me extra Ooshies for the grandkids. For a heavy shop I drive to Woolworths at South Maroubra, when I am on my way home from The Coast Centre for Seniors at Little Bay. Flat parking so I can take my trolley straight to the boot of my car. The staff there are also friendly and helpful. South Maroubra has the added advantage of The Sands Hotel, who stock my preferred brand of Scotch. The Coogee Bay Hotel doesn’t.
Lesley N Taylor
4th Generation Coogee-ite
Scomo, Schools and Solar
In the August 2019 edition of The Beast, Dan Hutton writes that “Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra Councils’ Solar my School programme has won the Local Government Professional NSW Excellence Award”. This has happened not “because of” but “despite of” coal-into-parliament-carrying and Adani-approving ScoMo. ScoMo’s coal antics show that the man is either incapable or unwilling to understand the magnitude of what we are facing.
One man who has understood what the world is facing is Leonardo DiCaprio (youtube.com/watch?v=D9xFFyUOpXo), another is Australian actor Damon Gameau, maker of the movie 2040 (whatsyour2040.com). While ScoMo is, most likely, not going to watch Leonardo DiCaprio’s After the Flood or Damon Gameau’s 2040 (now showing in Australian cinemas), more schools (and private residences) will put solar panels on their roofs – whether coal-loving ScoMo likes it or not.