A billionaire’s life can be really tough, right?


Rich man versus rich park

Do billionaire Seven Group and Seven West chairman Kerry Stokes and his fed-up Darling Point neighbours in Sydney’s leafy east have a leg to stand on in their stoush with Woollahra Council over their local green, McKell Park?

According to a meeting of the council’s community and environment committee in November last year, bureaucrats admitted that while McKell Park is one of the smallest parks in the local government area, it “contributes approximately 40 per cent of the total income generated from special events in Woollahra”.

In a locale that also includes the expansive Lyne, Cooper and Trumper parks, that’s one helluva disproportionate fund-raising contribution to local coffers by the TV baron’s closest public lawn. And when you’re paying eight figures for a harbourside pile, why wouldn’t you be irate if you have a parade of bogan bridal parties turning your serene neighbourhood into a sea of cantilevered bosoms and stretch Hummers every other Saturday?

Rear Window also hears that, in addition to Sydney car dealership king Laurie Sutton, Stokes is joined in the legal bunfight by another neighbour: Stan Howard, brother of former Prime Minister John Howard.

Reading about Cuba’s “lines”, ie queues

There is an article in today’s Havana Times that compares the Cuban way with standing in line with the way travellers, particularly one group of Australians, cope with that.


I am not sure what the message is. Maybe its just a description or observation of tourist behaviour, and how that can carry the “imperial” mentality. Maybe its suggesting how in Cuba there are just too many “lines” and that “under Cuban socialism” this is part of the trial of daily life. That the way the tourists do it has something going for it. Maybe.

My experience in Cuba. I like the Cuban way for waiting for your turn. Its relaxed, its friendly, its cooperative (not competitive). Its humanist. That’s an apt word from a previous commentator. There are queues in Cuba, but for the traveller who tries, its a great chance to practice Spanish and learn from the people. If you want to.

Make no mistake, there are queues in Australia and other places. In Australia enough people stand in line with great impatience to make the queue a trial … as if they are blaming the others in the line, or the workers doing their best to handle each enquiry. I dont like Australian queues. At airports there are security guards everywhere to make sure your frustration is kept under control. There are usually long queues in post offices because of staff cuts in the name of efficiency and doing things better.

In the USA there are queues all over the place: the homeless trying to get a meal, for example. The people in the queue are waiting also for decent health care, coherent public transport, and a few other basic things like language and literacy support. Those people seem to be pretty patient. Or, are they just worn out? Or maybe they enjoy watching the queue across the road where a few – usually overweight – in smart clothes wait for their gigantic cup of coffee.

The worst queues in Australia are the Help Desk queues. That is your telephone queue. Except no one sees each other getting frustrated.

Don’t tell me that Cuba’s queues are bad. Capitalism can do queues really bad.