In recent weeks, one of the major subjects of debate has been around the number of 457 visas issued to migrant workers. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has made it clear that she is against having overseas workers filling in for Australians having recently said, “We will not allow Australian workers to be denied the opportunity to fill Australian jobs”.
While it might sound odd coming from a public figure, she’s right – priority must be given to locals first before opting for overseas workers. But it’s not as simple as it sounds because due to skills shortages amongst Australians say, in the ever-booming industry of Information Technology, organizations have no choice but rely on migrant workers.
PM Gillard would prefer to see young Australians trained in the realm of IT. She added, “It is just not acceptable that information technology jobs should be such a big area of imported skills. This is work for which we should train young Australians”.
However, there seems to be some disparity between the Prime Minister’s perspective on this subject and the Immigration department because the latter is all set to relax rules for foreign students from next week. All international students will henceforth be allowed to stay and work for up to four years after graduation. In a nutshell, foreign graduates with a bachelor’s degree will be allowed to work for up to two years, Masters Degree graduates can work for three years and Ph.D. graduates for four.
In a study conducted by the Monash University this year, about 200,000 migrants have arrived in Australia over the last two years and secured employment in industries such as IT, manufacturing, retail, construction, and food services.
Overseas employees are happy to work on lower wages, unlike Australians who seek a higher income which is one of the sole reasons why recruiters employ foreigners who have also built a reputation of being more sincere and hard-working.
But, migrants don’t always have it their way.
Antonio, a painter/sandblaster from the Philippines, was made to clean office toilets and muck out cow sheds on a farm. And, how often do you spot Indians working as cleaners? Mind you, these are highly qualified people who are left with no choice but opt for cleaning out of sheer desperation just to make ends meet. How many Australians do you spot working as a cleaner?
It’s hard to avoid recruitment from overseas in its entirety because we live in a competitive world where every person, every organization is trying to outdo each other in their quest for profit, success, and fame. Therefore, if the shoe fits, flaunt it.
Make Dodgeball Great Again
Dodgeball is not an ‘unethical tool of oppression’ and to label it so is both ludicrous and dangerous. Have we lost our minds?
I remember it as if it was yesterday. The recently completed gym floor was crisp, clean, and squeaked with almost every step of the overpriced sneakers that graced it. Battle lines had been drawn and there I was, locked and loaded in the far right corner of the gym. I had scanned the battlefield ahead, and saw that the opposition numbers were dwindling- falling like the cannon fodder they were. My fellow combatants were more than capable, some in fact, excelled like this game was art, like it was real battle.
Then I saw my target, arms to her side, nervously looking across from her side of diminishing numbers. Her eyes screamed ‘fear’ (or maybe indifference, but in my mind, it was fear) and I knew that there was only one thing to do. I gripped the foam of the ball with a vengeful firmness, loaded my arm with the fury of a Nolan Ryan fastball and let loose. My memory says the sound of the noisy gym was broken, and that all the fellow combatants and fallen brethren fell silent, stopped and followed this one moment as the ball left my hand to its intended destination. It was a glorious moment. Glorious because unlike most times, the ball flew through the air with unmatched grace. Unlike most times I threw the ball, there was no deviation, no broken flight plan. And unlike most times, where I’d luckily hit my target on the leg, or on the arm, it zeroed in with laser-like precision and exploded itself right in Annie’s* face. Bullseye. Like a bird exploding from a Randy Johnson fastball.
Did I revel in the glory of that standstill moment? Was the brazen destruction of a fellow combatant as cinematically award-winning as a Spielberg movie? The truth is, that wasn’t the case. Amongst the fleeting chaos of the game, no one saw. No one stopped and watched my moment, and that in reality, it was a split second that remains animated only in mind. I recoiled in shock, partly because it was not my intention to hit someone in the face, no matter how unintentionally glorious it was. But partly because my gut instinct was to slink away into the back of the pack to hide unseen- like a cowardly saboteur responsible for the wreckage, eager to hide from the blame. I didn’t even look back at what I had done.
I don’t remember who won this particular game (safe to say it wasn’t Annie), but it was all part and parcel to the wonderful school-time game of dodgeball.
One that has come under scrutiny, and under the threat, by the researchers discussed in this National Post article, who have labeled it an “unethical tool of oppression”. With such hyperbole, you’d think they were talking about a population who lived under a military dictatorship, or a segment of that population threatened during mass rioting. Not surprisingly, I lived through both of the latter, and no, dodgeball is nothing like either. They are talking about dodgeball- a mostly harmless game (unless you are Annie) played by children during recess and PE class.
The article goes on to say how dodgeball, along with other forms of games played during PE class are sports of “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation” and that dodgeball in particular, is “not just unhelpful to the development of kind and gentle children who will become decent citizens of a liberal democracy. It is actively harmful to this process.” Sounds like it was written by someone picked last in gym class.
We can argue endlessly about the participation-trophy culture that has permeated the discourse of children’s sports (they couldn’t even settle on a winner at the Spelling Bee). But the truth is, I fear greatly for the future of democracy if we equate the game of dodgeball to actual, real oppression. Sure, Annie probably doesn’t like dodgeball all that much, but I too was hit plenty on the dodgeball court. Like I was on the basketball court. But it’s all part of growing some thick skin in this very real world where people don’t throw soft, red balls at you. The truth is, most kids would probably benefit from getting hit in the face with a dodgeball a few times, it’ll be good for them in the long run. This I’m certain of.
I had a lot of fun playing dodgeball as a kid. It’s an absolute shame that there are “scholars” and “researchers” who equate it to very real life issues this world faces. Teaching kids that life isn’t fair from a young age is a good thing. Participation-trophy culture is not. I don’t need a Ph.D. to know so.
Dodgeball teaches you a great deal in a simple game. And if dodgeball supposedly teaches children lessons of democracy, then I sure as hell would want the future leaders of whatever world we venture towards to be able to dodge a wrench when someone throws one at their heads.
*Annie is not her real name. C’mon, how much of an asshole do you think I am?