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Another Covid casualty. Old travel agency mainly catering to...

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/02/2021 - 8:44am in


Travel, tourism

Another Covid casualty. Old travel agency mainly catering to the local Greek, Italian and Portuguese migrant communities, shut up shop after more than 30 years. With international tourism from here off the menu for another 12 months for sure, can’t see it making a comeback. Edwardian-era building with typical bay windows on the shop-top flats. Marrickville.

Christensen Pleads With The PM To Open Up A Travel Bubble With The Philippines

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 16/12/2020 - 8:13am in

The Government’s member for Manila George Christensen has pleaded with the PM to start working quickly on establishing a travel bubble between Australia and the Philippines, claiming lives are on the line.

“It’s been a bloody long time since some of us have been over to the Philippines, somewhat of a dry spell you could say,” said the member for Dawson. “The Prime Minister has to step in on this, people’s sex lives are in the balance.”

“Not to mention the poor bloody Manila girls ping pong team, who’ve had no adoring fans at their shows recently.”

When asked why he seemed to put in more work advocating for the Philippines than his own electorate, Mr. Christensen said: “As the Minister for Foreign Affairs at large it’s my job to look after the welfare of other countries ladies.”

“You think Marise Payne is trawling the red light districts bars to ensure that young female sex workers are being supported and paid?”

“Exactly, that’s why it’s up to me old mate Georgey boy to get on the job, err…I mean do the job.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Engadine Maccas to see if I can catch the Prime Minister.”

Mark Williamson


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Book for Learning Arabic in Three Months

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 28/11/2020 - 3:09am in

Mohammad Asfour, Arabic in Three Months: Simplified Language Course (Woodbridge: hugo 1990).

I bought this nearly thirty years ago when I was briefly trying to do a postgraduate degree on Islam in Britain. Hugo are a publisher specialising in languages. According to the blurb and the introduction, this book is written for people, who want to speak the language but don’t want to be able to read or write it. There are a number of different dialects spoken in different countries, but the book states that the standard, written language isn’t used in ordinary verbal communication and it’s very unusual for foreigners to use it. The author is a professor at the University of Jordan, and so the form used is the Jordanian dialect, which will allow the student to converse in ‘almost any Arabic speaking country’.

Along with the chapters taking the reader through the language, there’s also sample conversations and an Arabic-English mini-dictionary in the back. Like many other language books, this also includes written exercises, whose answers are also in the back of the book.

I bought it because I wanted to get an idea of what the language was like before learning the script. That’s almost certainly a mistake, if the spoken and written forms of the language are so different. You almost certainly need to learn the standard language if you also wish to be able read and write it. No language is easy, but some are definitely more difficult than others. Arabic is a Semitic language like Hebrew, Syriac and some of the languages spoken in Ethiopia. They’re very different from the Indo-European languages, like French, German, Welsh, Polish and so on spoken in Europe, and so Arabic is particularly difficult. So much so that I eventually gave up.

I think the book was partly written for tourists to the Middle East, as well as possibly people from the English-speaking world working out there, but not in jobs which require the literary language. I remember one of the words in the vocabulary is ‘funduq’, which I think means ‘hotel’. It’s also a sad reflection of the politics of the region that another word that crops up is ‘inqilab’, which means ‘coup’ or ‘uprising’.

Unfortunately since the attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing chaos of the War on Terror, the invasion of Iraq, the Syrian and Libyan uprisings and the rise of Islamic State, much of the region is in turmoil and far too dangerous for western tourists, quite apart from the international lockdown everywhere due to the Coronavirus. Still, hopefully peace will return to this fascinating, ancient and historic part of the world, and Europeans will once again to be able to visit it and meet its peoples in peace and friendship.