Australian Elections

Prime Minister elections are tomorrow in Australia.  Kevin Rudd is the current prime minister and polls are predicting that Tony Abbott is on track to win.  Australians are actually required by law to vote which is why elections are traditionally held on Saturdays because most people aren’t at work or church.  The penalty is a fine of up to $170 Aussie dollars.


More fun Australian Election facts can be found in this BBC article.  My favorite is the strange political parties.  Pirate Party Australia!?  It evidently isn’t about pirate’s booty and the high seas but instead about intellectual property.

It is also interesting to think about the logistical challenges that face a country as large and sparsely populated as Australia.  The smallest and most densely populated voting area is in a Sydney suburb and is just 30 square kilometers.  In contrast to the largest area which is about three times the size of France.  It is part of Western Australia and covers 1.5 millions square kilometers.

Please pray as Australians all over the country go to the polls.

Treasure Hunting aka Sorting and Tossing

Recognize this?  My old Hollywood Video card is one of the treasures I unearthed as I sorted through boxes yesterday.  When I left for Papua New Guinea, people actually went to the store and rented DVDs.  The world is definitely changing around us.


It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate over the years.  And I did find a lot of things that I could toss while doing my sorting.  However, there were other things that need to be saved or adapted to new digital formats.  Remember film, you know the stuff you use to take pictures?  I have lots of it and even a good number of advantix rolls from my brief stint with the new technology before digital took over.

Yesterday I was determined to find out what was in the boxes in my closet and get all my ‘treasures’ into manageable piles at the very least.  Two full trash bags, one large giveaway box and lots of shredded papers later, my room is finally beginning emerge from the clutter storm.  I found a few things I had been searching for, things that I had forgotten I couldn’t live without but, like usual, I also found many things that I can happily live without.  Before I started traveling more I saved everything from airline luggage tags to maps from the places I visited.  I had every bus ticket from my first trip to Europe on my own and lots of chocolate wrappers.  But now I am happy to say that I am just left with memories and pictures.

Floppy disks!  Not just one but a whole container of them.  Here’s another blast from the past that was promptly thrown away.  I can’t even remember if my last computer had a place for floppy disks but my new one certainly doesn’t.  The windows icon seems to be the last holdout from this outdated technology.

This key also doesn’t seem super modern.  Although I don’t know for certain, I think it was from my dorm room in Africa.  And if I remember correctly the keys were special and would open the door for the same room number on the floor above and the floor below.  This fun fact was found out when a friend got home late and forgot to climb the last flight of stairs and since the key worked, walked into someone else’s room.  This unlike the floppy disks makes me smile so I think I will turn it into a Christmas tree ornament.

While we are already in Africa, I might as well share another find from my room.  Doesn’t everyone have chest xrays from Africa lying around?  I have this one from my time at the University in Ghana along with a few others that were taken before PNG.  For those of you who don’t know, a chest xray is the best way to confirm whether or not someone has tuberculosis.  Maybe I should come up with an art project displaying my tuberculosis free ribs.

And the final treasure I have to share is the stack of newspaper clippings from when Obama was announced as President elect in 2008.  At that time I was in the village but everyone was super excited to share the news with me about America’s first black president.  These articles are fun to read because of PNG’s distinct informal reporting style.  I also can appreciate the little details like them clarifying that Obama was the “first African-American (black) President of the United States”.  In PNG those things aren’t necessarily interchangeable.

Finding treasures is never a bad thing and sorting and tossing should be one of my hobbies.  I move so much that this is a regular activity for me.  Do you have a box full of unknown treasures sitting in your house?  Open it up!  Sort and toss! And see what kind of things you will find.

A Coup in PNG

Politics in PNG is always interesting.  When I left PNG there were two men claiming to be Prime Minister and I understand that the issue is still being disputed.  The first is Sir Michael Somare (pictured right) who has been Prime Minister on and off since PNG’s independence in 1975.  The second is Peter O’Neill (pictured left) who was chosen Prime Minister while Sir Michael was having health issues and was out of the country.

And then once I was already back in the US there was an attempted military coup.  I first heard about the coup from my aunt who told me that my uncle had heard about it on NPR that morning.  Although political instability is never good for any country, I personally am not worried about PNG.  My hope is that my friends in PNG are still able to function through the uncertainties.  The details are not really clear in any of the news articles but that seems pretty typical PNG.  Here are just a couple of articles:  News from directly after the coup., The current aftermath. It’s the land of the unexpected for a reason.