Kate Orman's Writing CV
*writing 5
Published Books and Short StoriesCollapse )

Completed Writing Projects, 2014
Playing For Time, short story
Why Robbie Can't Dance, short story

Books read, 2014
*books 3
John Blofield. Bodhisattva of Compassion: the Mystical Tradition of Kuan Yin.
Michael Coogan. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction.
Barbara Demick. Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea.
J.H. Patterson. The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo.
Salman Rushdie. The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey.
Eric Schlosser. Command and Control. Couldn't put it down.

Janet Frame. Owls Do Cry.
Nalo Hopkinson. The New Moon's Arms.
John le Carré. The Looking-Glass War.
Steven Sherrill. The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break. Superb.
Koushun Takami. Battle Royale. (Trans. Yuji Oniki.) You must read this and then watch the movie, or vice versa.

Hatori Bisco. Ouran High School Host Club vol 1.
Hino Matsuri. Vampire Knight vols 1-9.
Kishimoto Masashi. Naruto, vol 5.
Tite Kubo. Bleach volume 3.
Mayu Shinja. Ai Ore volume 8. Well that was confusing.
Yana Toboso. Black Butler, vol 1. Holy ^&*$^%$. vols 2-11

Books borrowed and boughtCollapse )

Strange Device
*writing hard yakka 2, *writing 7
Turned the first sod on the new novel today, a sort of science fantasy thing. Its working title shall be Strange Device.

*lying face down on the floor*
*books 3
The listening comprehension section of the Beginner's TOPIK exam does not fuck around.

(And I'm only doing practice questions.)

Is Australia a "soft touch" on refugees?
Recently I participated in the comments on an SMH article - worth it to drop in a few facts. In response to the statistic that around nine out of ten asylum seekers are found to be genuine refugees, a counterargument was raised which I thought was worth answering: that other countries have much lower acceptance rates, and that's because Australia is a "soft touch" which uses a "benefit of the doubt" system. (It soon became clear, unsurprisingly, that this was stock Coalition rhetoric.)

I found an article at The Conversation which addresses the argument in some detail. The whole thing falls down at once when you compare the success rates of boat arrivals to those of plane arrivals. Both sets of asylum seekers are subject to the same process, yet those arriving by boat are far more likely to be found to be genuine refugees - unsurprising, when you consider the enormous risk they're taking. The same argument extends to comparisons with other countries; the success rate for asylum applicants doesn't just depend on the processing system, but (for example) where they're coming from.

As for "benefit of the doubt", IIUC, that turns out to play a minor role in refugee assessment in Australia. The Guide to Refugee Law (Chapter 3) on the Migration Review Tribunal - Refugee Review Tribunal's Web site explains:

"Assessing whether an applicant has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for one of the Convention reasons involves questions of degree. The decision maker is entitled to weigh the material before it and make findings before it considers whether or not an applicant's fear of persecution on a Convention ground is well-founded. There is no obligation to give the applicant the 'benefit of the doubt'."
A footnote adds:

"Although the UNHCR Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status makes reference to giving an applicant the benefit of the doubt in circumstances where an applicant is unable to prove aspects of his or her case but is generally credible, the 'benefit of the doubt' approach is not part of Australian law."
So unless I seriously misunderstood what the commenter was getting at, they were simply wrong.

(My favourite comment from the discussion: "If there is a queue then pray tell who is number 73 in line?")

Refugee Update
The ABC explains:The stories of the 41 asylum seekers returned to Sri Lanka include violent political persecution and terrorisation by criminal gangs. The boat's passengers describe a mixture of good treatment and mistreatment by Australian authorities, including being punched , manhandled, and denied medical treatment. One passenger described the "enhanced screening" process: "I could not understand the language and the line was also very bad. I never had an opportunity to tell them what I wanted."

Reports of attempted suicides by ten women on Christmas Island have been dismissed by the government, with Senator Eric Abetz stating that only as "minor self-harm incidents" Trying to figure out what's really going behind the secrecy blanket is difficult, especially since "self harm" and "suicide attempt" are sometimes the same thing. The Shire President confirms that one woman jumped from a roof; she had been returned to the island against the advice of mental health professionals. He states that nine mothers, each of whom have a baby under one year of age and in some cases other children as well, have expressed their intention to take their own lives: "Each of the nine women are saying that they will do away with themselves because they see that the only way that their children can have a future is to be free in Australia and the only way that is possible is they take their own lives." OTOH, lawyers acting for some of the asylum seekers on Christmas Island state that "We have heard from our clients there that in the last day several women have attempted suicide or harmed themselves. They are in a state of utter despair. They are concerned about the health of their children."

Fourteen women, mostly mothers, are under continuous suicide watch by male guards. Four months ago pregnant asylum seekers on Christmas Island pleaded with visiting medical experts to have their children adopted. Babies on the island were suffering from skin infections and weeping sores.

Four families comprising fourteen asylum seekers, including a six-week old Australian-born baby, have been moved from the Inverbrackie detention centre in Adelaide to Christmas Island. This makes a total of 71 babies on the island.

Although far more adult than child asylum seekers are being held in detention, 23% of children are being detained while 18% of adults are.

Twelve asylum seekers, including five teenagers, have gone into hiding after two of their friends were returned to detention. Woodville High School students are campaigning for the release of the two Vietnamese teenagers.

The destruction of a victim of the Manus Island violence continues.

Last word goes to Gosford Anglican Church:


Infinite multiplicity
*goddess bless and protect me, *goddess, *goddess moon, *cosmic code authority, *witch
"To say that the world is entirely comprised of combinations of one hundred or so elements does not in any way deny the infinite multiplicity of all the things in the world, nor does it produce a set of bloodless generalizations. This is because the manifest, diverse phenomena of the world have been reduced to a lowest common denominator, which then becomes the basis for a set of lawful and regular rules of transformation that indeed are capable of generating everything in the world, and of actually producing new things."
— Paul Roberts, The Tibetan Symbolic World: Psychoanalytic Exploration (quoted in John C. Wood, When Men Are Women: Manhood among Gabra Nomads of East Africa)

A Lover's Grudges
snow kate
I finished reading The Great Mirror of Male Love, a 1687 book by Ihara Saikaku. It's about the fashionable "way of boy love", in which an adult man took an adolescent as his lover. Many of the stories are about samurai, so as you might imagine there are plenty of duels to the death. One young man, unable to get rid of a proud suitor who won't take no for an answer, agrees to fight him. But first, he writes a hilariously peeved letter to his older lover listing all of his grudges against him, which includes stuff like this:

"Next: Last spring, I casually wrote the poem 'My sleeves rot, soaked with tears of jealous rage' on the back of a fan painted by Kano no Uneme in the pattern of a 'riot of flowers'. You took it and said, 'The cool breeze from this fan will help me bear the flames of our love this summer.' How happy you made me! But shortly it came to my attention that you gave the fan to your attendant Kichisuke with a note across the poem that said, 'This calligraphy is terrible.'"
(Unlike many of the stories in the collection, this one has a happy ending! :)
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