Happy New Year
I rarely leave my house (unit), partly because everything that interests me is online, and partly because the moment I leave my house I am subjected to a non-stop string of human rights abuses by smokers (I am very sensitive to cigarette smoke). So I prefer to stay in my bedroom with the windows shut so that I am not subjected to the assholes who smoke outside my window. This frustrates my wife, but I've already explained to her that unless she can get the Australian government to pass a law making it legal for citizens to shoot smokers on sight, that's the way it has to be.
A couple of decades ago the NSW government made restaurants smoke-free, and that was a huge increase in my standard of living, because I could actually go to restaurants (any restaurant) in peace. And some years ago the NSW government further tightened restrictions, only allowing cafes to permit smoking in outdoor dining areas and not closer than 4 meters to the door. Unfortunately asshole smokers violate this law and smoke in the (signed) non-smoking areas near door, so there is no safety even inside a cafe. There is one cafe I used to pass on quite a number of occasions, and I would report the near-constant violations to the NSW government here. Theoretically the business can be fined $5500 when a customer is smoking in a designated non-smoking area. Unfortunately for the case in question, the message doesn't appear to be getting through. I tried ringing the NSW government to find out why they weren't doing anything about the long stream of violations I reported, and they said that they intended to speak to the business in a few months time. For some reason I didn't make a further attempt to get the law enforced, e.g. by writing to the NSW Health Minister. Maybe I'm lazy. Or maybe I'm just too disgusted that the NSW government isn't taking action based on my form submissions. Man, it would be SO great if NSW allowed concealed carry and I could just blast these smokers violating the law (and human rights) whenever I walk by.
Note that I have literally considered seeking asylum in Bhutan, where smoking is theoretically outlawed, but I've never investigated that, and there are other issues like whether I would actually have freedom of speech there to criticize the government and monarch. I don't want to trade one human rights violation for another. As far as I can tell (and I have attempted to test that), I do genuinely have freedom of speech in Australia, even though it isn't formally enshrined in a Bill of Rights. Well, as a nobody, anyway. A newspaper columnist was charged for alleged racist speech. Disgusting.
Anyway, with COVID-19, the NSW government shut down the Sydney New Year's Eve celebrations, except for people who were willing to spend a small fortune ($450 each in our case) for a restaurant booking at the harbor. I hate crowds, especially crowds that contain smokers, so this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the fireworks live. Note that I have seen fireworks before, and I don't really enjoy them. If it was an F111 dumping fuel - THAT I love seeing and hearing, but not impressed by fireworks. But my wife has never seen fireworks before and she wanted to do it with me. So it was now or never. I just needed to fork over the money.
She chose to go to the Opera Bar, but said that it was outdoor seating. I had specifically asked for indoor seating (which I know is smoke-free, at least nominally - some asshole smokers still light up even inside a restaurant). I said I couldn't do that, as smoking is permitted outdoors, and there is no way in hell I am going to be tortured by human rights abusers for SEVEN FUCKING HOURS waiting for the fireworks (at midnight). She tried to allay my concerns by saying that there wouldn't be constant smoking, and I explained to her that asshole smokers somehow manage to coordinate their human rights abuses so that whenever one smoker finishes torturing me, another one lights up, and they keep the rotation going. She asked me to check with the Opera Bar to see if the outdoor area was non-smoking, so I sent them an email, not having high hopes for that, but to my surprise, Opera Bar informed me that the outdoor dining area was smoke-free! Suddenly I had a casus belli if any asshole lit up.
Anyway, there was a lot of confusion in Circular Quay trying to get through the barricades to get to the Opera Bar. We kept getting directed in different directions, by both Sydney Rail and NSW Police. We were scanned in twice because of the misinformation and were let into places we weren't supposed to be let into, and then pushed out again. Everyone was perfectly courteous about the whole thing though, even if they were totally confused. Honestly I didn't expect that from the NSW government. There was also pretty thorough security screening to get into the venue when we finally arrived at the correct entrance.
We had about six hours to kill by the time we were seated. It was certainly a long time, but not as bad as when I had to queue for something like 14 hours to see a doctor at the Royal North Shore Hospital, as if Australia is some sort of third world shithole. There was some light entertainment plus the world's worst music. They had a band playing instead of a DJ playing recorded rock music. Because of the volume, I couldn't replace their crap music with my own music on my dumb phone, which is in fact Tunisian revolutionary rap music (in Arabic).
It is in my nature to do constant "threat analysis". Absolutely everyone is a potential hostile, including the police. At the end of the day we are glorified wild animals, and there is always an underlying violent nature just below surface. However, Australia's democracy is extremely well organized, and so long as you obey an arbitrary set of rules, violent armed men will risk their lives to PROTECT your human rights (again, so long as those human rights are recognized by the government). And this place was crawling with cops and security guards. At one point there were 13 security forces (police plus security guards) overlooking the dining area (sometimes there were 0 though). The biggest baddest motherfucker was what looked to be a New Zealand Maori, who was a security guard. I imagined what would happen if I got into a violent confrontation with him - I would be beaten to a pulp! It would be really good if New Zealanders would stop being dickheads about nuclear-powered/armed US warships, that are designed to protect their fucking human rights, so that they can rejoin ANZUS. Then when the Thai dictator starts a war with Australia, New Zealand would be duty-bound to defend us, and we would have badass Maoris hunting Thai goons in the streets of Bangkok.
At one point I detected smoke, and I looked around to see who on earth had the audacity to break NSW law in front of all these NSW cops. But it turned out to be one of the security guards (I think) smoking in the place that overlooked the dining area, seemingly proud of blowing smoke onto diners. Normally I don't stare at the security forces because I don't want to look suspicious. However, I stared at this security guard, seeing if he was going to take offense to the point that he came downstairs and had a conversation along the lines of "What the fuck do you think you're looking at cunt?", "I was just wondering if it was legal for you to smoke in that area", "Yes it is cunt, so mind your own fucking business", "Ok". Of course, since we already know that he is a human rights abuser, he may have decided to take it to the next level just because he could, as he was probably bigger than me. I think I wouldn't have fought back, and just screamed. There were a shitload of witnesses, and more security forces on hand, including cops that outranked him, so theoretically I could have had my day in court and gotten the human rights abuser for assault, even though he would escape the "smoking with deadly intent" charge. I would SO much love it if this prick went to jail and was raped and killed by Mr Big who is in with the wardens (quote from "The Young Ones"). And don't forget the "cockmeat sandwich" from "Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay" and "please don't let it be Big Bob" and "Hi, I'm Big Bob".
Later on, my wife wanted to stand up closer to the harbor, but I was reluctant to stop securing my belongings. I eventually agreed to go, but near-constantly monitored the table. She thought I was being paranoid. This is an expensive restaurant and you would not really expect people who could afford to be here to engage in petty theft. But guess what? I saw a white girl, almost certainly an Australian, swipe my wife's headband. I immediately told my wife, and she took off to retrieve it. The thief went to a table with a group that included something like 3 males. Normally I would try to protect my wife's human rights myself, but if I got involved in this situation, the males at the table may also feel duty-bound to defend the female thief, and it could potentially escalate into a violent confrontation. Whereas if my wife sorted it out herself, there was almost no chance of a fist-fight. The thief saw that she had been caught and added insult to injury by throwing the headband at my wife, and my wife fetched it from the ground. My wife made some sort of comment to the woman, about her being rude or something, but there was no apology. If it had just been girls at the table, or a single male that was smaller than me, I would have had a field day with the girl. Along the lines of "Why did you throw the headband at my wife? Is it because you are racist against slope-heads?". (slope-heads is a derogatory term for Chinese or maybe Asians, not sure). I'm sure she would have said "no" to that, so I would have continued "Oh, so you're religiously-bigotted against Catholics?". (Not that my wife is a Catholic, or that she could possibly know that). "Oh, are you sexist against women?". "Ok, so are you an Australian nationalist against the Philippines nation?". At that point I've run out of introductory questions, so the psychoanalysis moves to a different phase. "I'm curious as to what made you steal someone else's property and then throw it back in their face without apology. Did your parents not teach you to be kind and respectful towards others? Did the Australian education system not teach you to be kind and respectful towards others? Did your religious institution not teach you to be kind and respectful towards others? What do we need to do to fix this problem? The Australian government actually requires immigrants to sit a test to confirm that they have 'Australian values'. My wife could pass that test, no problem, she has Australian values, doesn't matter where she came from or what her race is. But you don't have these values. What do you think the Australian government can do about un-Australian Australians? What changes would you recommend to the Australian education system to ensure that Australians with very poor quality parents, and a very poor religion such as Christianity which glorifies genocide (Noah only exception), authorizes slavery, and mandates torturing your own children to death with rocks (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)? And what can the Australian government do to break this vicious cycle? Should they forcibly sterilize people like you so that you don't pass on your terrible ideology to the next generation?". My wife actually asked me if I thought the girl was racist against Asians, and I told her that was very unlikely, she's just an asshole.
At another point the singer said "Let's thank the NSW police for keeping us safe!". I clapped for that! I love the police. Willing to put their lives on the line to protect the human rights of others. Although I am quite surprised that female police officers are actually a thing. At the end of the day it comes down to a willingness to use violence. How do women actually accomplish that? Sure, if they pull out their gun, they can easily win the day (virtually zero Australian citizens will be armed with a gun), but that means an extreme escalation of whatever the situation is. I guess it makes it easier to frisk female suspects though.
Dancing was not allowed at the venue, apparently the NSW government thinks that will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. But at one point two Asian women got up and started dancing near their table. I watched them violate NSW law while huge amounts of security forces were in the area, wondering whether the dancing was going to end with 4 male cops pinning the 2 girls to the ground and handcuffing them and dragging them out. They managed to dance for quite a while before sitting down, without anyone confronting them.
Just before New Year, the band finally stopped singing and played a great song - Black Eyed Peas "Where is the Love?". Well, it's certainly a great melody, but it is anti-western-security-forces propaganda, and the NSW police were being forced to listen to this poison. It would have been better if they were playing Stuck Mojo "Open Season". But regardless, the music is so great that I started swaying to it with my wife while we were standing up. I hope the NSW police didn't think that I actually supported those poisonous lyrics. But then some Opera Bar employee approached us and said sorry, that is considered dancing. I stopped moving and the guy actually said "Sorry, I hate my job!". It is very good to see everyone obeying the rule of law, regardless of their personal opinions. I then wondered how still I needed to remain to avoid being accused of dancing again. I had already been warned once about violating NSW law - I was lucky to get off with a warning. Next time might be a violent confrontation and jail time. I'm not sure what the penalties are.
The fireworks went off (if you want more details about that, go to www.youtube.com and search for "fireworks" - fireworks displays are interchangeable) and we headed home. There was a bit of confusion as a police officer asked us to go back to where we came from, and I asked "can't we leave?" and he said "oh", and directed us to the escape route. There were plenty more police, including police on horses. I'm really not sure what the purpose of mounted police are in Sydney with so few people around, but maybe it is like airport "security", also known as "security theater". I asked my wife if she wanted to go up and pat a horse, and when she declined I asked her if she wanted to go up and pat a policeman instead. Circular Quay station was closed for some reason, and the sign directed us to St James or Martin Place, which were quite a long walk away, and difficult to find. Wynyard would have been easier to get to. Not sure what that was about. I was very sore by the time I got home. Hopefully that's the last time I need to get out of bed for a while.
Thankyou to all the security forces of the free world for keeping us safe, and I look forward to seeing (on BBC News) you guys in Bangkok soon so that we can add Thailand to the list of free world countries! A special shout out to female soldiers and cops for being braver than I can ever be.