Category: Social commentary

South Australia has been in lockdown since 18 November, apparently because someone, somewhere lied to the contract tracers. I won’t go into how casualisation of the workforce or unwieldy visa conditions may or may not have contributed to the person lying, but suffice it to say that hearing the Premier, Steven Marshall roast the person on national TV was probably not the wisest of moves. Our six day lockdown ended on the third day. Thank God. I wanted to pen a letter to the Premier of South Australia, outlining why the lockdown was unnecessary because hotel quarantine is unnecessary. And

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With the prime minster and National Cabinet introducing caps on the numbers of Australians returning home and a user pays system for mandatory hotel quarantine for returning Australians from mid July, taxpayers may be relieved that they are off the hook for this particular bill. I believe that the government’s argument of it being “fair” and “you’ve had enough time to get home” is flawed — the circumstances of expats are more nuanced and complex than they would have Australians believe, particularly if repatriating beloved pets is involved. My cat (and consequently me) is stuck in limbo in Vietnam because

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I first published this letter to civil servants everywhere on 29 January, 2017. In light of recent events — Black Lives Matter and the Stupid Fucking Virus™ — it seems timely to republish it because its more relevant than ever. Dear civil servants everywhere (but especially in America), You have an important job to do. And it is more important than ever. Your job is to speak up and out about things that happen in the government organisations in which you work that you know are not right, or are criminal, or even downright psychopathic. I know that you worry

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There is an old Chinese curse that says: may you live in interesting times. That curse should be updated to a 2020 version that says: may you live in unprecedented times. And that’s where we find ourselves, and will for at least the next few months — riding out the coronavirus lockdown shit show. COVID-19, and all that that entails, means that plans are in limbo, on hold. Jobs gone. Freedom severely restricted. Flights grounded and travel limited for the time being. We are washing our hands with an OCD-like repetition, adhering to the social distancing demands of our respective

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This is the 10th essay in the #26essays2017 challenge that I’ve set for myself this year. I’m doing this because I’m the first to admit I’ve become a lazy writer: allowing guest posts and series and cross-posting to make up the bulk of content on The Diane Lee Project across 2016. The brave, fearless writing that readers admired and respected me for has all but disappeared. This year—2017—will be different. I’m reclaiming my voice—my write like a motherfucker voice!  By Western standards, I am not a beauty. My face does not have those fine features nor the synchronicity that is apparently pleasing to the eye.

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Late to the party, I have become a huge fan of House of Cards. Just like Game of Thrones (of which I’m also a huge fan) HoC deals with the theme of power, and is an expose of what one couple would do to: a) gain (arguably) the most powerful political position in the world and b) retain this power. Murder, manipulation, corruption, lies, cover-ups, abuse of power: these actions are all in a day’s work for Francis and Claire Underwood. From where I sit—intrigued, I might add—they are clearly psychopaths. They are arrogant, callous people who are defined by their lack

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Christmas is upon us once again. I know it’s a cliché, but I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown past. It seems like only yesterday that I was having one of the worst Christmases ever; one that almost broke my heart. I have recovered, but only just. This year, I declared that I wasn’t going anywhere: I was going to do what I always do. Go for a run (weather permitting), have breakfast with my daughter and her boyfriend, usher them out the door around 11am, pour myself a Pimm’s and lemonade, switch on the TV and proceed to binge

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Waaaaaaay back in the 1960s and 1970s, before university ethics committees stamped out these sorts of experiments, two researchers wanted to know more about how human beings reacted to authority, and how positional power impacted relationships. Stanley Milgram, a researcher at Yale, was interested in how Nazi Germany came to be, particularly the horrific and tragic treatment of Jews during this time. He wanted to understand how normal, decent people could be involved with or tolerate or turn a blind eye to state sanctioned cruelty (even psychopathy) of an appalling scale. He was interested in what part authority and obedience to authority,

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My sister shared some sad news with me a couple of weeks ago. Her ex-partner and also the father of her daughter—my niece—has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It’s spread and he’s been told has six months to live. She is deeply saddened by this news, and I felt for her, not least because I admire my sister and her relationship with her ex. Despite splitting more than 15 years ago in less than ideal circumstances, she has fought to maintain the connection with him because of her daughter. They live in different parts of Australia: he’s in far

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Steven Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and we all know he is the pin-up boy for effectiveness. Colleagues, managers and peers love to quote frequently from his book. I’ve read it and it makes a lot of sense. But what I’ve found is that in workplaces in particular (the ones I’ve worked in anyway),  Highly Effective People are often the exception rather than the rule. What is a more common occurrence is having to deal with Highly Useless People or HUPs. You know the ones I mean, and they come with a number of frustrations, particularly

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Monica Lewinsky is someone I didn’t think I’d be writing about on this blog. She of the intern shenanigans and the infamous blue dress and the subsequent less-than-presidential denial from President Clinton. Of course, we all sniggered at the footage of her greeting the President when he was campaigning, and chortled with glee at his “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” claim because clearly, he had. It was obvious. So blatant. And when Hillary Clinton’s first autobiography was a book club book, most of us immediately jumped to the Monica chapter, hoping for an exposé of all

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I was sitting in a writer’s seminar on the weekend, bored out of my brain, wishing the presenter would up the pace and that my fellow participants* would just shut the fuck up. I had paid $60 for the privilege and I expected a lot more for my money than what was dished up. Actually, I wasted $120, because I attended another seminar on the same day (they were run as a tandem) which was only marginally better. I vowed never ever to attend seminars offered by this particular group ever again. Ever. I was over wasting my time and money**.

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