Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Growing genetically modified crops is our duty as a global citizen...

Trade Minister, Warren Truss, yesterday called for states to drop their ban on the growing of genetically modified crops, not because it would be good for the economy (though there is a certain subtext here...) BUT because "Australia needs the technology to help feed the growing Indian and Chinese populations".

Wow, that's very altruistic of us.

Couldn't have anything to do with transnational agri-business and the US putting pressure on the federal government to allow them to move into the Australian market and grow GM crops, could it?

Yes, GM crops do have tend to have higher yields, but there have been no long term studies to help us understand their affects on the human body.

And, really, it's not like the world doesn't grow way more food than could be consumed by 6 billion people already. We don't need to grow more food; we need to distribute it more equitably.

Oh, and one last shot before I go and do some work. It takes about 7 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of pork, and about 3,000 litres of water to produce one kilogram of beef.

Surely nobody could possibly think this is a clever use of resources.

*The quote above is from an article, Farmers, Minister urge GM in today's West Australian. Can't find it in the online edition, sorry.

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

I was going to...

I was going to post about the budget and how, despite finally being in the target audience, I still wasn't impressed.

I was also going to post about the fact that it looks as though the tide is finally turning against the government, and how scared I am to believe that given how crushing that would make election night if I was wrong again.

I was also going to post about Wolfowitz's resignation and how the corruption that he displayed is such a classic example of the extreme hypocrisy of Western nations who love to point the finger at corruption in the global south, while behaving in just the same way at home.

But instead I bring you more photos of hats with ears!

Lily on the hunt

Pretty in pink...

[I believe that this is called 'baby brain'... Normal posting will resume shortly.]

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

2 Months

Dear Lily,

You turned two months old yesterday and I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. It feels almost like yesterday since you were born and I first felt your tiny little body in my arms. Somehow it also seems as though you have always been here. I simply cannot imagine my life without you.

Last weekend was particularly special for two reasons. First (and most significantly), we finally got to put you in a hat with ears. I have been wanting to do this to my child ever since your papa and I traveled to China and saw countless munchkins sporting all kinds of hats with ears and decided that they were officially the cutest thing ever.

Second, it was my first mother's day. You were particularly tricky for one so young and bought me the item that I was planning to place at number one on my wishlist - 'Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World' (actually it was the reason that I was planning to create a wishlist in the first place). With this and my copy of 'Vegan Lunchbox' you are definitely going to be the cool kid at lunchtime (once you are big enough to both eat lunch and to eat it with other kids your age). Of course, you are probably going to think that you have crazy hippy parents who insist on doing everything in life just to embarrass you, but at least you'll have cute cupcakes to make up for it.

Last week I called up your grandpa and demanded that he come down in order to admire you. "She's smiling all the time," I gushed. And so he obligingly hopped on the Murray's bus and came down to visit us for three days.

Poor grandpa, somehow you managed not to smile once while he was here (granted you did smile on all three days, but only when grandpa was out or not looking). Perhaps it was revenge for being called "Yoda". Perhaps you have simply decided to make him work for your attention. Either way: well done. It was quite an accomplishment.

One person that you do have plenty of smiles for is your papa. You are a real daddy's girl, which is fair enough. I can understand what you see in him. However, the other day I was holding you in my arms when he came home from work and you reached out so that he would take you from me. Cheeky little munchkin. I tried very hard not to be offended.

Another person that you are particularly fond of is Tigger. I think that it is his bold stripes and beautiful orange coat. You spend a lot of your waking moments smiling at Tiger - and then whacking him with all your might.

Thank you for an amazing two months little head. Watching you grow and develop has been the most incredible experience of my life. I can't wait to see what you do next.


Monday, 14 May 2007

with a little help...

With the help of her papa Lily did a fine job on Mother's Day.

I hope that you all had a lovely day!

Friday, 11 May 2007

Motherhood and feminism

I have a confession to make: I have no desire to go back to work.

I find my PhD very interesting, but the fact is that I find Lily much more interesting.

A few years ago I would have thought that this attitude made me somewhat of a failed feminist. But I think that this is completely wrong. This isn't a gendered issue in our family - P. didn't want to go back to work either. Also, while feminism is partly about disentangling women's identities from motherhood, it should also be about recognising the value of such a role and legitimising anyone's decision to identify strongly with it.

In reality my attitude probably makes me more of a failed capitalist (hardly breaking news or something that I am concerned about), since I am not earning any money while I am home with Lily (now that my paid maternity leave is officially over). It is a little more complicated that that though, isn't it? It was feminism that enabled women to join the work force is such great numbers that the double income family became the norm. Enabling women to join the workforce in large numbers was undoubtedly a good thing - a fantastic thing really. However, our obsessively consumer-oriented capitalist society has almost succeeded in turning the double income into a base level requirement. Housing prices and lifestyle expectations are now largely based around a double income (or one partner working far too hard in order to earn a larger salary) and it is financially difficult for many households to only have one partner in the paid workforce.

The result of this is that many families feel compelled to place their children in childcare, not because they feel that it will be beneficial to their children or because they want the time out (both legitimate reasons that some families will relate to), but because they cannot afford not to. Surely there is something seriously wrong with this.

Of course, another complication that I cannot blame on the 'double-income norm' for my personal dilemma is that I have chosen to completely over-educate myself. I have a double-degree, a graduate diploma, a masters degree and am two years into a PhD. If I don't actually join the work force and use some of this education I think that I could justifiably be accused of wasting massive amounts of tax payer's money and that of my parents. [And, of course, I really have no choice in relation to finishing my PhD. I would never forgive myself if I just left it at this stage].

At the end of the day, I will probably quite enjoy getting back to the workforce once the shine of this whole motherhood gig starts to wear off. However, that doesn't mean that I won't be enviously reading about the lives of other women who have taken up a different lifestyle choice - or that I won't (every now and then) be plotting and scheming about doing so myself...

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Eight Weeks

Lily is now 8 weeks old. I simply cannot believe how quickly that has crept up on us, or how big she is getting. She is so different to the tiny little person we brought home from the hospital. She has grown into her gorgeous chubby cheeks by growing chubby everywhere else. She can focus well to quite a distance, and will follow me with her eyes as I move about the room. She is also more comfortable in her own skin, and will sit in her rocker or lie under her little toy arch and play with the dangling objects for ages - giggling and chatting to herself as she whacks them with her hands.

My favourite change would have to be her smiles. She has a beautiful smile and will dazzle us with them first thing in the morning when she realises that it is finally time to get up and there is light shining through the curtains.

The night before last Lily did what in baby terms is called 'sleeping through the night'. That is; she slept for more than 5 hours in one stretch. Unfortunately, I didn't.

I have always wondered why people say that the first night their baby slept through the night, they kept getting up to check on them. Until now, my reaction has always been: "Why didn't you just sleep, you crazy people?"

Now I know.

The thing is that you get so used to waking up every two to three hours to feed your little munchkin that you start waking automatically before they even ask you to. So, when Lily slept through, I responded by waking up and staring at her. I lay there just waiting for her to wake up and demand food. When she didn't, I did try to get back to sleep (after being convinced to do so by P.), but it all just felt wrong...

Hopefully, I'll be ready next time.

Hopefully there will actually be a next time.

Friday, 4 May 2007

World Press Freedom Day

Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day. I had meant to post about this and the wonderful (in a bad way) irony that only the day before Rupert Murdoch launched a (thankfully unsuccessful) takeover bid for the Wall Street Journal, in a further bid to consolidate his global media empire and minimise the number of different voices providing news and information around the world.

The bid was defeated, but the irony stands.

I was also going to mention the fact that, so far this year, around the world:

  • 24 Journalists have been killed;

  • 5 Media assistants have been killed;

  • 125 Journalists have been imprisoned;

  • 4 Media assistants have been imprisoned; and

  • 65 Cyberdissidents have been imprisoned.

  • Possibly the most notorious case is that of Anna Politkovskaya. Russian authorities (almost certainly implicated in her death) launched a half-arsed investigation, which, unsurprisingly, found nothing at all.

    C and I saw Anna Politkovskaya speak at the 2006 Sydney Writer's Festival. She was absolutely inspiring and her tragic death brings Russia one step closer to total information blackout.

    BBC Palestinian Territories correspondent, Alan Johnston, is still missing (he was abducted in Gaza on 12 March). Cases like his aren't captured in the statistics presented above, and highlight another disturbing trend - the targeting of journalists and media workers by political groups.

    Thousands of other journalists everyday around the world self censor and do so increasingly. Not necessarily for fear of their lives (though under many regimes this is certianly the prime motivation to keep things in line), but becuase they know anything they write that doesn't "fit" simply won't get published.

    The Lao People's "Democratic" Republic is a classic case in point, but that's for another post.

    Overall I'd say things are looking grim. More news sources are controlled by fewer individuals, journalists' lives and liberties are increasingly being put at risk by the actions of state and non-state actors in political battles, and the nature, tone, breadth and depth of information available to us (the peoples of the world) is narrowing, despite the growth of online media content.

    I wish I'd written this yesterday.

    Tuesday, 1 May 2007


    Yesterday Lily fed from a bottle for the first time. P. gave her my expressed milk while I was teaching and she took it with no issues. She did, however, take 30 minutes - instead of the 10 she takes on the breast. She also didn't get any reflux - which is likely related...

    I already feed her while lying on my back so the she has to work against gravity. I have no idea how I can slow down the flow any more...


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