Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Importance of Coming Out

Earlier today, Ricky Martin posted a message on his official website. He writes "I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man".
I know nobody should be surprised or shocked by this coming out. He has been very popular in the Philippines since his Menudo days. His last visit to Manila confirmed my suspicions as I watched his interviews.
His coming out is important because he gives young gay men someone to look up to--he is a very handsome, successful and caring gay father. I grew up with images of weak, insecure and socially irrelevant gay men on TV and it took me a long time to realize otherwise.

I won't be surprised though if he comes out with a new album soon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Karoonda Farm Fair 2010

It is a family tradition in the Mayr family to attend the annual Karoonda Farm Fair. This year's event was bigger than last year's. There were more tourists and more exhibitions.

Steven had been wanting to buy his own felt hat. I am afraid that he will be seen in public wearing this hat all the time. He looks handsome with it though.

There were a few strange sights like this dog who was very disproportionate. We bet it is a cross between a border collie and a corgi.
This year's biggest event is the pig race and pig diving. It was not really serious but it was fun. I never thought that my favourite food can be so playful and funny.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

South Australia Elections 2010

South Australia held its elections last Saturday so Steven and his parents took me to their polling station in Nuriootpa. I cannot help but notice the differences.

They were able to check their names on the list without showing any ID card. That means a person can vote in behalf of his bedridden relative or friend.
The ballot boxes are made of flimsy carton. No locks. No glass windows. Anyone can just put in a counterfeit ballot and nobody will even know the difference.

During the counting, more than one person can touch the ballots. In fact, I saw around six people touching the ballots in a single polling precinct. It is so easy to slip in a few extra ballots if a candidate told me to do so.

I am not sure why the security in Australian elections is so absent. Maybe, they trust each other? I really doubt that especially with the lies that are told during the campaign period. Can someone explain why it is very easy to cheat here?
In the Philippines, we used to have metal ballot boxes with glass windows and pad locks. Only one or two people are allowed to touch the ballots. ID cards are very important--one cannot vote without it.

The upcoming Philippine election will present the first automated system. There won't be metal ballot boxes but an electronic counting machine that will do its job when the voter feeds the ballot in to it. At the end of the day, the results are sent via GSM.
I am not saying that there is no cheating in the Philippines because it still happens despite the security measures. I will not be even surprised loopholes are found in the present automated system. I am actually doubtful if election is truly democratic.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Maria Cecilia Silva considers compensation after wrongful arrest, detention over 'iced tea' drugs

Click here to read the news article.

I felt very upset the first time I heard this news because this is an incident that is bound to happen because of racial profiling in Australia. Just imagine planning your vacation and then being on a plane for several hours and then being escorted to jail and staying for five days. That will drive anyone insane especially if you cannot talk to your family for that period.

Whenever I go to an Australian airport, I always get checked for drugs and gunpowder. When Steven and I flew to the Philippines, he entered the departure gate smoothly but the security had to pat me down. It is very embarassing.

One may argue that it is because I am a Filipino but no, it actually happens without me showing my passport.

Customs has not yet apologized to Ms. Silva and I believe AUD 5000 is not enough compensation as she has been through a very traumatic experience. I think someone should be punished or held accountable.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Got the visa

I am sharing this very personal information to you because it is something that I have been longing for since I was 18 years old. I have always wanted my relationship to be recognized by a government although I originally wanted it to be the Philippine government. I do not think this can happen in the Philippines in my lifetime anyway.

I am so proud and grateful of my relationship with Steven. He has been very supportive of my dreams and aspirations. He is more than I expected my partner would be. He always amazes me with his kindness, generosity and unconditional love.

Thanks to all the people who have helped me with this application. Some of them do not want to be named so I am not going to name anyone. You know who you are. I am very happy to live in a supportive community although Steven and I practically live like hermits.

Thank you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fishing in the Dark

On our first night in Port Vincent, there was a black out. We had nothing to do but fish.

I know it is creepy but this video shows how dark it was. Turn up the volume and you will hear the rushing of water.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fishing in Yorke Peninsula

We had a long weekend here in South Australia because of the Adelaide Cup. Do not ask me what this holiday is about because I know very little. Steven is just keen on taking me out of Adelaide whenever we have a holiday.

We joined his parents and some of his extended family at Port Vincent and that is located in the Yorke Peninsula. All of them stayed in their own trailers or caravans and these are complete with beds, kitchens and dining tables. Steven's parents provided a tent for us to sleep in. It was my first time in two decades to sleep in a tent and it was actually very comfy.

We were on the beach most of the time. We tried catching good edible fish but we ended up with tons of trumpeters and a few tommy ruffs. I also tried catching a squid but I did not even get a nibble. Just the same I want to do this more often.

Steven and I will definitely come back next year and we will be there for at least a week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Facing the Problem

My opinion on this matter is heavily influenced by the fact that I am a non-white. I also have some knowledge on the education provided to migrants and refugees--some of which are comprised by South Asians and Indians. I admire that the federal government spends a lot of time and money helping these new arrivals integrate in the mainstream Australian society and many of these programs are really good in addressing their concerns.

So these new migrants are given the tools in this country but the government has not really done anything substantial to teach racial and cultural sensitivity especially among adults. Racial tolerance does not come inherently so it has to be taught. I have met so many Caucasian Australians who are surprised that I can speak the language and more surprised when they discover that I am quite familiar with non-Asian culture.

Soon the Australian government must realize that it needs to educate people who are already here in how to welcome the new migrants. For now, it has to admit that racial intolerance does occur here not as isolated incidents but as a recurring problem. Please open your eyes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

When one finger is not enough

I have posted a video of my niece before she turned 2 and she was eating a duck embryo in there. It has been viewed thousands of times already.

I think she is a very funny girl so my camera was always on her during my Manila visit last December. That is when I took this video.

I sent it to Australia's Funniest Home Videos but they rejected it. I guess it is not funny enough but I hope this will make you smile...or cringe.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Dusty Wine

One day with the hot sun on our backs and hard clay underneath our feet, Steven and I helped out in a relative's vineyard. Our hands were sticky with grape juice and sap from the vines. Our mouths were dry and yet most of us still had the energy to poke fun at each other.

The next day it was a different vineyard with sandy soil and grape bushes instead of vines. The cold wind hugged our bodies and threw away our pails and hats. We were bathing in sand and tumble weeds were dancing all around us. I have never thought grape picking would look so magical.

Later this year, those fruit will turn into wine and probably, next year when we visit Manila again, we will see them sold in SM.