Saturday, February 28, 2009


A special report from one of Little Darwin's growing number of informed correspondents written before the ASEAN Summit.

THAI POLITICS have become more stable, less febrile and less fragile. Eton and Oxford educated Abhisit Vejjajiva, a real Bangkok anglophile, has done well as Prime Minister under close to impossible circumstances and will probably hold office longer than originally expected. His personal demeanour has been exemplary. He has, by example, set a new standard for the conduct of politics and political discourse. He has not allowed himself to be unnerved or distracted by the ephemeral, short term trivia which has become the opposition's stock in trade. Against the odds he has managed to maintain some discipline in his party and the coalition.

In the face of the global financial crisis he has wisely made economic policy the focus of his government's efforts. It is much too early to talk of success or failure but at least he has acted intelligently, calmly and usually credibly. The second focus has been the forthcoming ASEAN Summit. Against much advice and opposition he decided early that if he abandoned the summit it would seriously damage both Thailand's and his government's standing both internationally and domestically. His judgement has prevailed and any serious opposition to the summit will only damage his opponents. In relation to the divisive issue of how to deal with the unlawful actions of the PAD protesters who brought him to power he has refused to be pressured into inappropriate action, opting rather to let the law take its course - which it soon will. Very soon. Likewise he has firmly rejected proposals for a general amnesty for all disqualified politicians, there are many.

These proposals are put foward in the name of national reconciliation when in fact they are merely an attempt to rehabilitate Thaksin and the key members of his disbanded Thai Rak Thai party. The proponents of the amnesty genuinely do not seem to comprehend that the behavior of politicians should be subject to the regulation of the law. His greatest vulnerabilities lie in the political histories of some of his colleagues and in the incompetence, indiscretion and venality of some of his ministers. He has to work with some pretty poor material in his cabinet. (One scandalously incompetent minister runs her ministry from an office at home where her disqualified politician husband makes all the decisions and instructs senior civil servants.) The culture of parliamentary politics in Thailand remains very petty, self-seeking, short-term and grubby and this is the climate in which many of the politicians of the opposition Puer Thai and not a few of the governing coalition thrive.

Although the political temperature has been lowered parliamentary stability is not guaranteed. There are also structural problems. The current post-coup constitution is very rigid and, disregarding separation of powers, favours an exaggerated role for the courts in resolving issues which in other parliamentary systems would be the preserve of the parliament itself. This is leading to a highly vexatious approach to parliamentary practice and behaviour which could easily become destabilizing with otherwise well-performing and honourable ministers facing disqualification for very minor misdemeanours or even oversights. Many problems remain. The gulf between Yellow and Red remains. Both groups seem to be getting less public attention at the moment. However, the recent and inflammatory language of the PAD in proposing an "invasion of the North" and the brutish and intolerant behavior of the UDD in Chiang Mai (with the collusion of the local police) have discredited both groups.

Nevertheless the core supporters of both sides willl not be deterred. The underlying problems of social justice have still to be addressed. Despite some short-term relief in the face of the financial crisis and some well conceived initiatives targetting specific problems, the long-term and deep problems of structural disadvantage in rural communities, particularly in the North and the Northeast, still need to be dealt with - land reform, debt relief, price stability, equitable access to water, education. Then there are problems of a different order: the Military continue to lurk in the background at the same time underwriting the present government and by their very support undermining its very legitimacy; the more conservative elements of the Bangkok elite, the almost feudal (Fascist) conservatives are exercising highly undesirable influence in their traditional arena, cultural control - control of the media, control of the internet, obsession with national unity and the reputations of prominent persons and, most perniciously, with an almost unprecedented witchhunt for perpetrators of "lese majeste" - real or imagined; despite the good will of the present government the military are increasingly mired in a worsening situation in the South - their numbers are escalating, they are now speaking of the possibility of a thirty year intervention, they still appear to have little idea of what they are dealing with, there has been little redress of grievances, and the violence continues (death toll now 3,200 since January 4, 2004, mostly civilians and overwhelmingly Muslims); and finally there is the unspoken issue of succession to the throne.

Thaksin is not dead yet. He is certainly on the run and increasingly starved for oxygen in much of the Thai media except for his own "D (democracy) chanel" which is watched for 24 hours by the true believers. He is a driven man and literally a resourceful man. Many of his supporters do not seem to understand (they never have) the enormity of his abuse of the system - financial, legal, procedural and moral. However, he has lost face many times over and some of his supporters do seem to understand that. He has been convicted by the courts. He is a fugitive not prepared to face the legal consequences of his actions. Many of his assets have been frozen. He has divorced. He has been denied visas by significant foreign governments.

Both of his "nominee" governments have fallen. His Puea Thai party is seriously divided, greatly weakened by the defection of his allies in the Newin group, and effectively leaderless (apart from his numerous nepotistically appointed relatives). His loyal henchmen regularly belittle themselves by trotting off to Hong Kong to receive inspiration and instructions. He talks big on his phone-ins but delivers nothing. And greatest humiliation of all, he has been rejected as persona non grata by Manchester United.

Much of this will be treated by his core supporters as evidence of a monumental conspiracy against the man. But many others are probably beginning to have doubts. He is sidelined but it is still conceivable that he could make a come back - if the military concurs. Unlikely. However, there is one other scenario. Black Magic. Thaksin's illustrious cousin, General Chaisit Shinawatra has sponsored an elaborate ceremony in Chiang Mai. He hired nine monks to perform rites to extend the fugitive's life and to bring him back home. Then a medium was "possessed" by Thaksin from one of his previous lives who confessed to evil acts of removing a Buddha image and stealing when leading a military action in Burma two hundred years ago . This clearly was the source of his present bad kharma and the table was laid with two pigs heads, nine dead chickens, rice wine, sweets and fruits as offerings while cousin Chaisit secreted a sum of money behind a Buddha image to atone for the past wrongdoing and to purge his bad kharma. Then there were prayers to vanquish his four major enemies the current Prime minister and his deputy, Chairman of the King's Privy Council, General Prem, and one other privy councillor. Who needs rule of law, constitutional government or democracy!

This would be melodrama, a soap opera or a trivia show if it were not serious. It is not an isolated incident and many people take it seriously. It may have little to do with authentic Buddhism but it has a lot to do with Thai popular folk religion .

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Territory Country Liberals are going through another fashion change. As from April 1 they will wear double-breasted suits like those worn by the Liberal Party idol , Sir Robert Menzies, also known as Ming the Merciless and “Pig Iron ” Bob .

Double- breasted suits are the ideal bag of fruit for the tropics, inducing prickly heat, carbuncles, shortness of breath and low semen count, which is not all that bad as it will stop conservatives breeding like long- eared New Zealand lapins.

Sir Robert was a classy dresser . Sporting a starched white dicky , he caused our gracious young sovereign to blush when he told her that because of her royal plumage he would remember her until the day they put his ashes in an urn and kept it locked up in a safe. Continuing as a celebrated Australian leader of fashion, he took on the important post of Keeper of the Cinque Ports. As everybody knows, Tories like sinking port, followed by scotch, champers and several Darwin stubbies. If this results in an upper class chunder, drycleaning will restore your suit to its glory.

Sir Robert had the slick manner of the head of a bespoke gentlemen’s clothing salon. In parliament it was said that he had lost touch with the common man in the street. Flicking a speck of dust from his immaculate , double- breasted , sombre suit, he denied this lefty claim. Just the other day , he had been in a car at a set of traffic lights when a truck pulled up alongside, and the driver had called out, “ Good on you, Bob !”

Rowdy Labor member Eddie Ward scoffed, and replied, “ That man should have been arrested for drunken driving!” Menzies reportedly laughed at this uncouth working class joke.


At a time of tumbling prices , Nicholas Paspaley attended the recent World Pearl Forum in Dubai. There he delivered a speech entitled IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES IN TIMES OF CRISIS and was a panelist in a discussion on the economic outlook for pearls. The managing director of Linney’s, Broome,Bill Reed gave a talk on setting up and sustaining a pearl farm.

The two day forum called for united action by the pearling industry to overcome difficult times. According to a media release, the forum witnessed healthy debates and thought provoking presentations from more than 25 international speakers in front of a global audience of more than 200 participants. Leading pearl producers of the South Sea, Tahitian, Golden, Freshwater and Akoya pearls were asked to be part of the first ever global focus group for pearls.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Little Darwin seems to be lacking in its knowledge of the facts of life. It came to this conclusion after hearing a local ABC newsreader referring to UNREQUITTED love . We presume this is what modern liberated girls say to guys who become amorous , “ Don’t QUIT your tickling , Jock.”

Over the years, members of the Little Darwin task force, raised in repressed times, experienced much unrequited love, which explains why they are such liverish curmudgeons in their blog rants.


Our Broome correspondent tells us that the price of pearls has plummeted and this is having an impact on jobs. Very few pearling boats are putting out to sea to gather pearlshell for cultured pearl operations . This downturn is said to be hurting the Paspaley empire ,resulting in job losses, some in Darwin. In an ever deepening global economic crisis,pearls, like other luxury items, are seen as an indulgence.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


According to scuttlebutt , influential NT Government spin doctor, Chips Mackinolty , has emailed arty farty groups indicating some kind of career move. Could it be another case of hooroo Mr Chips , an act which will be regretted by many? If anybody deserved a gong for his contribution to promoting far flung culture it is Chips. From Sydney , he went to Townsville where he fought the tyranny of distance and the high cost of mounting travelling shows to help overcome the northern stupor . There he also supported the successful campaign for a community radio station , 4TTT-FM. In the Territory , apart from teaching pollies basic finger painting, he also contributed to the growing appreciation of indigenous art.

Monday, February 23, 2009


The opening of a huge new garden centre in Darwin by an eccentric Pommie businessman is expected to start a fierce price war among Top End nurseries. Head of the venture is mystery millionaire , Basil Fawlty, who made his fortune running a chain of friendly holiday hotels throughout the UK. Mr Fawlty sold up his business after his wife, Sybil, eloped with a German World War 11 veteran with a wooden leg .
Mr Fawlty was advised to invest in the Northern Territory after being told about the fabulous Territory lifestyle . He has sunk millions of dollars into a huge garden centre called Fawlty Flowers which will open at Humpty Doo in the near future. In an exclusive interview with Little Darwin , Mr Fawlty this morning revealed he will be bringing his head gardener , a Spaniard , Manuel, and his pet hamster, to Darwin. Mr Fawlty outlined his grand plan to turn the Top End nursery industry upside down and also revealed his secret recipe for making compost out of health inspectors.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


An avid reader of the Little Darwin blog who is a shining example of Charles Darwin’s revolutionary evolution theory – especially when he swings along the promenade of a salubrious Sydney seaside suburb - has drawn our attention to an article about the sickly naturalist in the Australian Doctor journal . Written by Dr Jim Leavesly , it highlights the fact that soon after Darwin,27, returned from his journey aboard the Beagle he suffered from lassitude , flatulence , abdominal pain and vomiting that reduced him to semi-invalidism throughout his life which baffled doctors.

It is now thought he suffered from Chagas Disease after being bitten by the Triatuma infestans bug in South America ; by the time he died, aged 73, our esteemed patron looked a haggard 90 year older . One of his daughters, Etty, came down with fever at the age of 13 and a doctor told her she should stay in bed until after breakfast. She followed this instruction religiously – having breakfast in bed for the remainder of her life, which spanned three score and 10.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Realising that wearing suits is making them look like moaning southerners ( spit) , the Country Liberals have decided to disrobe and go about like Mahatma Gandhi , the Indian leader of the self government movement .

From today, the CLP cross dressers will be clad in cotton Actil bedsheets and carry sticks with which to kill canetoads , belabour the Henderson Raj and keep at bay the Untouchables and Unspeakables in the local media . On special occasions, like a royal visit, the CLP fashionistas will wear velvet loincloths similar to the one worn by the famous swaggie who jumped into the billabong , got stomach and leg cramps , and drowned after turning a jumbuck into a tasty Mongolian hotpot.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Buckling under pressure from the fashion conscious Country Liberals, Chief Minister Paul Henderson now wears ermine robes when he greets visiting heads of state at Darwin Airport.

Designed by Royalty’s fashion guru , Norman Hartnell, the splendid robes are similar to the gear worn by Prince Charles , as the Prince of Wales, when he declared fealty to his stayput mum in the grounds of a ruined castle. At the time he was wearing white stockings, fancy garters, robes made from the fur of six koala bears , a starched dicky , an ill- fitting crown stolen from the Tower of London , gold winkle picker shoes and a jewel -studded athletic support , while carrying an orb and sceptre .

Accompanied by a company of trumpeters to herald his presence , Chief Minister Henderson wore his stunning outfit for the first time when Jose Ramos Horta of Timor Leste passed through Darwin. Horta took one look at our resplendent Chief Minister and his impressive entourage, fell down laughing hysterically and was rushed to Royal Darwin Hospital emergency department where he is being treated with nitrous oxide.


Little Darwin can reveal the Country Liberals are about to strut the cat and dog walks of Darwin in new stunning suits. Persil white in colour and made from durable canvas , they are worn back to front and have exceptionally long sleeves which enable wearers to drag their knuckles on the ground without getting blisters.

These same long sleeves can be gathered at the back and tied with brass buckles, thus immobilizing the wearer and making it easy to place the pollie in a padded cell. Trussed up in bondage fashion, the pollie can then undergo shock treatment : listening to never ending Legislative Assembly debates about the fabulous Territory lifestyle. Even with his hands tied behind his back , one member is expected to engage in lengthy FaceBook chats using his nose and tongue to punch the keys.

Southern advisers from the Liberal Party’s flirty tricks department have told the Country Party that Territorians are suckers for people who dress like door to door encyclopedia salesmen of yesteryear.

The Legislative Assembly bouncer, Madame Speaker , Jane Aagaard, will wear extremely dark glasses to prevent herself being blinded by the Opposition members in their dazzling new zoot suits, all looking like the gaudily- garbed American wrestler, Gorgeous George , who sprayed the ring with Chanel No. 5 before head - butting , kneeing and gouging opponents.

Monday, February 16, 2009


High achiever Malcolm Turnbull may have failed in his glorious attempt to convert Australia into a republic but the Coalition he is currently leading is increasing looking and acting like a banana republic.

The former Shadow Treasurer caught a bad dose of bud sigatoka and suddenly headed off overseas for treatment. On the same day , without warning, the former admiral of the Coalition’s largest bumboat fell out of a coconut tree. Another leading plantation owner appears to be suffering from over- indulgence in fiscal betel nut and is in self - imposed isolation while he kicks the cat and the habit. Overnight , Harry Belafonte has been heard singing the banana boat song on a continuous tape in the Liberal Party jungle juice factory in a secluded spot near the Canberra Zoo.

Trying to keep the bunch of laissez faire Ming money mimics from slipping on a banana skin is a new hausfrau who will stand no monkey business, administering boarding school corporal punishment to offenders.

In between important betting tips for The Phantom, jungle tom toms tell of an imported 500lb gorilla who is expected to dominate future packing shed debates .

Sunday, February 15, 2009


For some odd reason, the ABC has a problem pronouncing the Queensland border town of Camooweal. One newsreader in particular makes it sound like a tea growing plantation in Darjeeling – Camomile? - or a version of the frilly undergarment , camisole .

It may have been due to a power surge at the Casuarina substation that caused Camooweal to came across on the brekky radio show as Camel’s Bile , which made this figure -conscious writer become queasy and desist eating his special K, also not wanting to be spat in the eye by a dromedary. Little Darwin fears that the repeated ABC bad- mouthing of Camooweal could cause its residents to become shirty , repeat shirty, and they might , with justification, slam the border gate shut and refuse to allow Afghan camel teams in and out of the Territory , severely disrupting the flow of food and commerce.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Sophistication will break out in Katherine when the Academy of Tap Dancing throws open its doors. Chief Minister Paul Henderson will launch the centre next month in a bid to make Katherine residents feel happy , funky and loved by the NT Government.

No expense has been spared by the CM , a renowned tap dancer himself , as well as a certified U-bend mender. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers have been hired to teach local yokels how to do the soft shoe shuffle down the main road to the public conveniences while the town band , conducted by Les MacFarlane , plays the Bombay Belly Waltz .

June Tapp wishes to make it known that the academy has not been named after her. “ There are two Ps in my name, not one,” she told Little Darwin’s Ballroom Dancing Reporter, "Stumbles " Mercurio, while doing her early morning rhumba exercises. Katherine residents are eager to sign up for a tap dancing course as they do a lot of singing in the rain dance routines after a night out on the town.

Friday, February 13, 2009


The Americanisation of Australia is just about complete when you hear learned professors and ABC newsreaders using infuriating American pronunciations of words . Take the case of the ABC newsreader I have twice heard offend by pronouncing laboratory as “LABRATORY ”. ( A pause here while I take blood pressure pills. ) …

That’s better . Then there is the growing use of “ ROWT ” for route ( another pause for pills )… Route is a delightful word devised by those cheese eating surrender monkeys . I have heard local professors , town planners and bus drivers rowting around . No wonder President Bush , the tongue tied barbarian , made us the deputy sheriff of Asia as we are increasingly sounding like Okies from Muskogee in our speech .

Is it any wonder uni students need crash courses in remedial English when academics , like so many of our golfers , soon begin to sound like Yanks ? Surveys reveal the average Hexed (correct spelling as they are being influenced by evil forces ) student lolls about in front of the plasma brain cell destroyer , eating junk food, watching CSI , Oprah , third rate Hollywoood movies , celebrity hogwash, Sex in the CBD , Sex in the Suburbs , Sex Down Under , Sex in the Cabbage Pack , Sex in the Alamo , Two and Half Brains , ER, ET , BO , DTs and the Big Bang . Thoroughly brain damaged as a result, our undergrads inevitably speak and spell like Americanos .
A whole book could be written about our wretched country and western singers who ape the Americans- drawling , moaning and sobbing a la Hicksville . Tamworth is undermining the Aussie way of life, not promoting it . Mind you , I would applaud any Aussie songsters who could copy those great Americans, Kinky Friedman and Little Jewford .

There is a compelling reason why Australian troops in Baghdad and Afghanistan commonly use the American pronunciation of route . They have to communicate with the Yanks daily , often in life threatening situations , and a misunderstanding over a word like route could result in being wrongly directly deep into bandit territory , up the Potomac without George Washington’s paddle. Then you would be well and truly routed.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


In the event that Malcolm Turnbull steps down as Leader of the Federal Opposition in sheer frustration or due to MI5 dirty tricks ( remember the Spy Master case in which Malcolm shafted British spooks and the Iron Maiden ?) , who would step up to the plate? The suggestion that the Mad Monk – Tony Abbott – could be the leader of the Coalition was reportedly received with instant “ horse laughs ” from within the Libs.

Every mug punter, however, knows dark horses can come from behind and have a surprise win , especially when they are from the old Opus Dei stable in a state where there are many political religious zealots who have been known to inject nags with performance enhancing blessings at the ballot box.

All jokes aside, who could possibly lead the squabbling Coalition after the departure of Malcolm, its Liberal members still convinced that they are born to rule, most of the Nats overdue for the knackery ?

Vociferous Fatty Arbuckle , whose mock indignation rivals that of the Academy Award performances of a past actor , would be a disaster. So too would that ambitious chapee with the undescended testes . Silver- haired Minchin?-Nein. Iron Bar ?- More suited for A. G. Sims scrapmetal, certainly not as the leader of the pack. Any woman ?- Not on your nelly in the male chauvinist Libs club ; see how they scarified Kerry Chikarovski in NSW and what they are now doing , behind pantry doors, to Julie Bishop .

There are just no other leaders in sight except, in an annus horribilis like 2009 , Costello . It is suggested, in some Canberra spiked cafe latte circles, that he is about to emerge from his cramped shipping container of remainder books, like Superman from a phone box, to save the party from destructive asteroids , thicker than a plague of Bogong moths . To do so, would be a comeback like Lazarus with a triple bypass, a brain transplant and a cheesy grin cosmetic surgery insert.

With job opportunities for politicians in the financial world as rare as hen’s teeth and CEO’s still left standing reluctant to let in any new blood in case they get the boot themselves , it is opined that Costello has no future outside of parliament. One bizarre scenario is that Jeff Kennett will step down from Beyond Blue and Costello will become his replacement , a depressing thought if ever there was one.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The ABC documentary about the man inside Dame Edna reminded one Little Darwin possum of a strange NT happening. Brandishing a gladioli stalk like the Fairy Godmother’s wand , Director of (Aboriginal ) Welfare, Harry Giese presented an unusual sight when he strode down the corridor of power in Block 3 back in the l970s. Triumphantly, he announced a giant leap forward in Aboriginal horticultural ventures- growing the flowers that would make Dame Edna and Australia famous /infamous.

Gladies, he trumpeted, were being grown at the Maningrida farm, now regarded as a tragic place because of the allegations surrounding Bob Collins, and could become a moneyspinner for the settlement . Despite Harry’s enthusiasm, a check revealed that the corms of glads grown in the tropics tend to be small and subsequent flowers inferior. In those days, the NT political sport was known as harrying the geese –giving Giese a tough time – just like Dame Edna does today with her celebrity guests. .


Children are warned not to accept lollies from strange men , and rightly so. But what about irksome ladies, especially in banks, who offer you lollies? My first encounter with a lady pressing sweeties on me was in one of the four pillar banks . (Wish Sampson could flex his muscles between those pillars and bring their CEO’s crashing down to earth . ) She was one of those beaming have – a- nice- day types , trying to placate grumpy customers waiting for service .

Out came a basket of Fantales which probably caused many fillings to fall out resulting in expensive root canals , pain filled nights, bankruptcy , house repossessions and divorce. At the time I and other ungrateful customers were being tempted with a lolly, there was a wild- eyed man parading up and down outside with a placard claiming the bank had robbed him blind . Obviously, he had lost a lot of lolly and the vital statistics of Marilyn Monroe on a sticky wrapper would not satisfy him.

No doubt due to insurance company instructions and cost cutting measures, banks seem to have abandoned bribing customers with lollies. Now, as you fume in a queue at Casuarina , the tellers encased in glass cubicles like unfortunate Thai fighting fish, you are bombarded with infuriating commercials about their “products “ from a monitor perched on high . Trying to communicate with a teller through a tiny hole in the wall while the rotten l984 idiot box is making it hard to hear is an abomination.

Monday, February 9, 2009


When Chief Minister Paul Henderson started making statements on TV about matters educational , this hack, horizontal in his recliner, asked why , immediately sensing a classroom change . When it was subsequently announced that Marion Scrymgour is stepping down and the CM will carry the schoolbag , political reporter types said there was no warning of the change. Phooey!***** Good to see Paul Keating back on Lateline .He still has the Big Picture attitude to economics , saying there has to be a radical international approach to money matters in which the old clubby system is discarded for a more inclusive one that accommodates countries such as China and India . .**** Peter Costello is notorious for his smirking, but in a rerun of the ABC’s Q and A he came across as the man with the instant , false laugh .**** Here is a Turnbull Tip : He will tire of leading the Coalition rabble with its cabals and depart the scene

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Former PM , John Howard , sails out of Sydney for the Arctic circle this morning aboard the SS Aurora at the head of a daring expedition to prove that global warming is a myth .

Wearing three sets of thermal underwear, Mr Howard told reporters he will follow the trail of tragic 19th century polar explorer Sir John Franklin, the colonial governor of Van Diemen’s Land , who perished while attempting to find the North West Passage.

Mrs Howard , wearing a fetching mink fur , is in charge of the expedition’s cute huskies - Amanda , Bronwyn , Paris, Susan, Oprah , Peter, Paul and Hairy. Mr Howard says he firmly believes the world is about to enter a new ice age and should be stocking up with napalm , anti freeze , faggots, fire wood and Aussie coal to survive. Progress reports will be posted as the expedition ventures into Titanic country .

Saturday, February 7, 2009


( With extreme apologies to Samuel Beckett and Darwin’s heterogeneous commuters )

The travails and idiosyncrasies of mankind are revealed by Darwin’s bus service. As I waited at a bus stop for my wife, two middle aged Aboriginal women , smelling slightly of alcohol, arrived and sat down in the shelter. One of them addressed me as a gentleman ( was it my grey beard , wrinkles and glasses ? ) , and proceeded to tell me that we are all born equal , but some people have bad luck and lead difficult, sad lives. Indeed , the slings and arrows of adversity are plain to see, as are the swellings of the heart , not to mention the Temple of Mammon - Wall Street- collapsing like the walls of Jericho.

A young Aborigine ambled up ; the philosophical woman greeted him thus : “ Hello, big boonga (penis ) .” Obviously not expecting this unsolicited testimonial , he giggled and shyly shuffled about , glancing sheepishly at his thongs. I smiled surreptitiously and my sunglasses steamed up due to an instantaneous spike in blood pressure. When asked where he had been all this time , he replied , “In jail.” The lady from the college of hard knocks exclaimed, “ No! - Bloody hell !” They moved outside the shelter and walked about talking , later joined by several others.

Carrying a plastic bag in one hand and a can of alcopop in the other , a tattooed young Caucasian , glassy eyed , arrived at the shelter , sat next to me and immediately struck up a conversation. He had been shopping at Crazy Clark’s, which he called Crazy Cricket’s , where he had put down a can of alcoholic drink and it had disappeared. A search of all the shelves with the staff had failed to find it , an example of that sudden bad luck one encounters in life which is both mystifying and spooky and could lead to dehydration. .

The two aforesaid ladies popped their heads round the shelter and said hello to him. He informed me that he did not want to get involved with that mob outside the bus shelter because when the Woolworths bottle shop closes at night they run up and down the street beating each other over the head with sticks.

From the plastic bag he extracted a Ford car manual , bought in an Op shop for only $15 , saying he has a car which needs some work done on it to get it back on the road . During our conversation about cars he admitted having lost his licence several times in Victoria and that he wants to lay off grog so that he does not lose his Territory licence. In between swigs, he emphatically stated the guys who share his pad would have to get off their bums and help him fix the car if they expected to ride in the vehicle once it was back on the road.

An Aboriginal man accompanied by two teenagers , one a girl, came to the shelter. The tattooed guy warmly welcomed the man , the apparent father of the young ones , and asked him the name of his country. When he said the Arnhem Land settlement of Maningrida , the would be mechanic enthusiastically said he must know Raymond who is from Maningrida and spears stingrays at a nearby beach… No . You must … No. Perhaps due to frequent swearing by the fellow whose can of booze had been beamed up by Scotty without prior notice , the man moved away with the children.

The tattooed man continued his praise for Raymond who , he told me, is so skilful he could throw a spear from the bus shelter, over the busy road , through the parking area and hit the centre of the letter O in the fish shop sign across the way . ( Obviously , Raymond should represent Australia in the javelin event at the Olympics.) Suddenly, he jumped up , had a quick swig, ran onto the road , waved down an oncoming four wheel drive , and clambered aboard the tray .
As my wife was not on the next bus , I walked about the shops and supermarket to kill time until the next bus arrived. During my perambulation an Aboriginal woman gave me a big hello , calling me a young man . Methinks she is in need of attention from the Fred Hollows Foundation. It was indeed an interesting time waiting for the bus that day but there were other memorable caravanserai moments to come .
One day , my wife and I did several laps of the Nightcliff shopping centre in an attempt to hand in a wallet we had found in a street to the police station , which was closed. A short distance from a bus stop, we came across a man, Caucasian, who had no need for a Number 4 bus as he had his own transport : a bicycle on which all his worldly possessions were tied . Wild-eyed , he was sitting on a bench , where he had apparently overnighted, nursing a large plastic container of water. Much to our surprise , he raucously demanded if we had heard what had happened to the Catholic priest in Alice Springs... No . A nude man had run down the aisle and jumped on the altar, he informed us, an event we were later able to confirm.
Then he proceeded to rail about young people who threw stones , caused trouble and had forced him out of his flat. Wound up , he declared law and order was out of control in the Northern Territory . Shouting , he said the then Chief Minister, Clare Martin , and the Commissioner of Police were weak when it came to law and order . They should model themselves on the way things were done in NSW . In Sydney, he had been arrested and placed in a hospital after taking off all his clothes to do some washing on a beach . He had been kept there until the doctor said he was fit to be released back into the community . Territory troublemakers , especially the young ones, should be similarly treated, he said.

It being a pleasant dry season day , I boarded a bus for town. Near the old Fannie Bay Gaol , a passenger reeking of tobacco caused my nostrils to twitch when he plonked himself down next to me, after uttering a big hello . As the bus trundled on he began to mutter in what seemed a Continental accent . I listened more attentively when he suddenly broke out into bursts of La-la-la –la –la- la , punctuated by assorted chuckles . The subject of role models then entered his outpourings. From the corner of my wonky eye , I noticed he was having an energetic one- man debate about the said role models. Abruptly, he swung about as if addressing the jury in the O.J. Simpson trial , glared at a rear corner of the bus, and firmly stated that the best possible role model – before the war - was Germany.

When the bus arrived at the CBD , he bounded up and was the first in line to exit. However, he stepped aside and waved other passengers out , somewhat in the gracious Sir Walter Raleigh style , especially in the case of females . Then, his environmentally friendly green shopping bag thrown over his shoulder, he jumped out and walked jauntily along the footpath .

At the Palmerston interchange, an Aboriginal woman entered and sat up front . An Aboriginal male, a barefoot beanpole, entered and sat on the other side of the bus , engaging in conversation with her . They began to argue , she in her language , he in good English. He told her to keep quiet, that she talked too much and moved his fingers on a hand to imitate a mouth opening and shutting. Undaunted , she continued. He declared he was not stupid and that he used his mind to think. She persisted . Finally, he threw his hands up , hitched his pants up over his snake hips, said he was going bush, and stalked out . When the bus set off, the woman alighted at the first stop , a short distance from the interchange, probably intent on catching up with the man to give him some more tongue.

A mangy, but friendly dog caused people in a bus stop to wince when it bounded across the road in front of traffic, narrowly escaping being run over several times. The animal’s apparent owner yelled at it, brought it to heel, and then began to de-tick the nervous canine . Many ticks were extracted from within its ears and rear end and squashed on brickwork upon which weekend adherents of the Darwin good life sit . It got to the stage where the man caused people to shudder and feel queasy by wetting his tick catching/crushing fingers with his tongue.
( Part 11 of Waiting for Buso will be posted soon -unless the author is run down by a Bondi bus driven by the Grim Reaper .)

Friday, February 6, 2009


The eager new Health Minister , Kon Vatskalis , will be put through a car wash-like cricketer Andrew Symonds- before he is allowed to enter the Royal Darwin Hospital. Health Department germ control honchos were horrified to hear the minister tell Stateline he is prepared to get his hands dirty in his new portfolio. Dirty digits can lead to the spread of golden staph , carbuncles, teenage acne , salmonella , warts, welts and Pauline H******’s Disease.

After emerging from the car wash wrapped in a towel souvenired from the Australia movie set , a recycled hospital toothbrush in his gob , the shiny new minister will be ready to tackle the Health Department which caused the previous minister third degree burns to most of his body.

Little Darwin can reveal that the scrubbed up new minister will order a dramatic change to bland hospital tucker. Wholesome Greek Glendi –type food such as souvlaki , dolmades and calamari will be provided. In welcome news for nurses, they will be allowed to blow the whistle on every day of the week , but never on Sunday.

A government source this morning told Little Darwin that arrangements are being made for the famous health expert, the Goddess Hygeia, to carry out a review of Health Department activities in the Northern Territory . Unfortunately , Dr Hygeia’s arrival has been delayed because she is busy treating people injured in riots over the lousy hospital and other community services in Greece. Staging the two week long Athens Olympics just about sent the country broke and the Olympic insignia is now regarded as the sign outside a pawn shop.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


The battle of the bulge is the hidden reason behind Japan’s slaughter of whales. Japan has discovered that obesity is such a major problem in the West that many celebrities secretly wear whalebone corsets to make them look trim .

These expensive corsets will soon be the leading must have fashion garment and the Japanese plan to corner the lucrative market. Whalebone corsets were all the rage back in great grandma’s day. Lace up corsets turn a blubber-gutted person into a skinny fashion model.

It is reliably reported that Nicole Kidman would look like a Japanese Sumo wrestler but for her heavy duty whalebone corsets . During filming of Baz Luhrmann’s epic Australia at Stokes Hill Wharf , Darwin, sweaty Nicole narrowly escaped being harpooned by a short sighted fisherman .

Nicole’s wedding trousseau consisted of an entire container load of state of the art designer label Nippon clip-on corsets . Spiteful Hollywood gossip writers said Nicole’s husband , country music star Keith Urban , went into shock when Nicole unbuckled her frilly corsets during their honeymoon. Urban was so rattled by the sight he reportedly began singing the whopper burger blues .

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


The Society for the Eradication of Repulsive Personal Habits is tonight expected to award Ricky Ponting its Grot of the Year Medal . Ponting’s repeated acts of spitting on his hands during tense moments in cricket matches horrifies the Society . This disgusting habit is undermining the Northern Territory Government’s campaign to teach kids to wash their hands after going for a splash. As a result, several hand pumping pollies have developed itchy palms

The Society relentlessly campaigns to eradicate breaches of personal hygiene from plasma screens throughout the nation. Another Ponting habit which infuriates the crusaders is his open- mouthed cud chewing, instead of shutting his cake hole.

Then there are those shuddersome moments when he is seen in close ups playing with his nasal hairs , or worse. In fairness, it must be pointed out that the average Tasmanian male toys with his hooter, despite childhood warnings from his mother. At least Ponting , unlike Prime Minister Rudd, does not nibble his ear wax during drinks breaks .


Every Australian will be given a magic pudding to help the nation breeze through the global economic disaster. Magic puddings are splendiferous creatures ; as fast as you eat them , they regrow and you can go back for seconds and thirds, even fill a doggie bag . Never, ever, do they reduce to mere crumbs, like some conservative political parties.

For a nation hooked on gluttony, most of it junk food, and chardonnay , Prime Minister Rudd has hit on the perfect way to make sure our never ending picnic does not falter and we become anorexic. In shape and appearance , a magic pudding looks like our PM’s angelic, well-scrubbed face . Admittedly, a magic pudding also looks a bit like a former PM, but overcooked.

As we poke our Chinese chopsticks into our free government pudding each day a mighty cry will surely ring throughout the grateful nation, “Thank Heaven for Kevin!” Mr Rudd has appointed Norman Lindsay director of magic pudding distribution and instructed him to watch out for those evil Banksia men in suits who might try to starve the nation of credit.

If Australians are not content with an endless supply of tucker thanks to magic puddings, Mr Rudd has another brilliant plan. In the junk mail , each household will receive a cute little Iggle. Iggles, once all the rage in America, will turn themselves into anything a person wants them to : money, jewels, popcorn, film stars, Cadillacs , mud cakes and boxes of chocolates with hundreds of soft and hard centres .