In August this year, Sky News broadcast an interview with a Neo Nazi (who thinks you should beat women to control them). In the ensuing backlash, head of Sky News Angelos Frangopoulos said: ‘It was an error of judgement and we have taken action to ensure our standards, which we are proud of, are maintained.’ A few days after that, a newly-minted Australian Senator said, in his maiden speech: ‘The final solution to the immigration problem of course is a popular vote.’ And a little later, a blatantly insincere defence of the phrase, on the grounds that the words had […]
Paul Keating once called the Australian Senate unrepresentative swill, but the truth is, the description applies just as well to the House of Representatives. Its members are increasingly drawn from a smaller and smaller section of the population, and in fact, an inordinate number of them are political operatives of one sort or another, ushered into parliamentary seats where, especially in safe seats, they become virtually immovable. So whereas less than one per cent of Australians work as political consultants or lobbyists—in fact, the number is so small, statisticians can’t even measure it—a massive 11.9% of them sit in parliament. […]
It has been announced that the judge’s copy of the 1960 Penguin unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover from the 1960 trial of Penguin Books under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959 is to be auctioned. This is exciting news to those of us who still wonder nearly sixty years later why the then highly illegal acts of heterosexual buggery that are at the core of the book’s plot were never mentioned by the judge in his summing up and directions to the jury. But it’s not actually the most interesting copy of the Penguin paperback that was on trial. That copy lies […]
In my grandmother’s day, parents in Hong Kong waited a month before celebrating the birth of their baby. Infant mortality rates were high and families didn’t want to introduce their child to the world until they were certain of his or her survival. My grandma was not unusual in burying two of her eight children—one immediately after birth, and the other, aged two, from meningitis. Nowadays, thankfully, the death of a child is a relatively rare occurrence. But that doesn’t stop us from worrying about it. We put gates on stairs and cameras on cars and fences on pools in […]
My faith is a remnant of empire. In 1521 Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Cebu, put up a cross and claimed the Philippine islands for Spain. The cross and crown interlock. I grew up conditioned to think religion was a gift. That was certainly the early account from visiting Europeans, who marvelled at the civilising effects of Christianisation in the north and middle islands, in contrast to an intransigent Muslim south and the animistic highland tribes. Even today Filipinos express gratitude for the comforts of faith. In a country riven by poverty and corruption, what else is there to […]
When you step into the grey boat it bows to the applauding waves and nods to those retreating and then it settles on its stage, poised to break into another round of curtain calls as the wind from the south hurls petals of spray. There are clouds flexing high and grinding so much sleet out of the air—it sparks against your face and tries to fill the boat like a great bowl of water, to be drunk by the ever-thirsty sea. Your mother is wasting in her bed. Her skin is a poor, bedraggled blanket covering her body and her […]
Trauma is a strange bedfellow. In its company you binge on adrenaline and will anyone to have a go. Don’t push in front of me. Don’t mess with me. Go on, mess with me.
you won’t write what’s recorded in written history? and you believe you’ll only focus on things completely forgotten? yeh, I suppose a thread of sun, hang ing on an eyelash a word that came out of a rice-filled mouth all the drops of rain that rushed into the ear in that, forgotten, instant everything born the second they die Ouyang Yu writes in English and Chinese and to date has published 100 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, literary criticism and literary translation in both languages. His website is www.otherlandpublishing.com.