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rikyuu last won the day on July 18 2012

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About rikyuu

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  1. rikyuu

    UK passport renewal counter signatory

    phew, thank you so much for that information.
  2. hi all, We were hoping someone could advise please; were in Australia and have to renew our children's UK passports for a trip back to the UK later this year. This is now done partly online and then the forms printed to be completed and sent to the UK with the old passports. One thing we're stuck on however is the counter signatories, which are required for children. It has to be someone in Australia, with a British passport, who is professional and has known us personally for 2 years. The passport office can check up and there are heavy penalties for lying. Well, we just don't know anyone like that. I know 1 British person who I met twice and drives a truck. Has anyone else had this problem? Are we the only people without close, professional British friends? What happens if you've only been here 18 months, it would not be possible to have known someone here for 2 years! Any advice would be most welcome. Thanks!
  3. rikyuu

    Child abductions and school security

    So am I right in assuming you wouldn't be bothered about a suspicious man hanging around your children's school and the school taking no action and leaving the gates open for any stranger to walk into the kids toilet block, whilst your 5 year old goes there out of sight of any teachers? If I compare it to industry; we have to risk assess everything. eg. grown men go on the roof to do maintenance, they've done it all their lives, it's their job and they are very careful. Yet the company identifies it as a very small risk of falling off, but with very big consequences and is therefore required by law to take action. They have to build an expensive guard rail to protect the worker, because in the VERY UNLIKELY event he did fall, the company would get screwed. We compare that to our school. Our young children go there, there is a stranger hanging around with the intent of abducting, abusing and murdering a child. It's a very small risk, but with absolutely catastrophic consequences, resulting in violent death and traumer for many people. We could take action to lock the gates during the day, which would be no cost and take just a few minutes, but the school doesn't bother, because someone (whose child isn't at the school) decided it should be ok. A year later, a child gets abducted, abused and killed. But it's not the schools fault and it's only once, so that's ok. Ah, I see the difference between industries protection of adult workers and the protection of our children. Seriously.....a very small risk of the terrible death of a child.....and all we need to do is to spend 5 minutes to lock some gates. How unlikely does the death have to be to take some small action? 1 in 500? 1 in 500,000? How many times have you had a serious car crash with your child in the car, compared to how many journeys you have made? I guess we've done over 5000 journeys with the kids in the car over the past 6 years, but never crashed, let alone had a serious accident. There must be hundreds of thousand of people who can say the same thing. So having a serious crash with the kids in the car is very very rare, perhaps 1 in a million chance. So why do we use seat belts and child seats? Because, even though the chances are very very small, the consequences are enormous. The death of a child through an adult's failure to take a simple action. That is why it is law. I don't see a difference with school security.
  4. rikyuu

    What annoys you (most) about Australia(ns)?

    DISCLAIMER: the OP asked the question, so I'll answer with my personal views and experiences which aren't necessarily an accurate reflection of Australia or its society!!! PS: if you ask me what annoyed me about England, I'd answer that too, but that wasn't the question. The driving: it's the worst and most dangerous I've ever seen (having driven in most of Western Europe, Turkey and Japan). The general attitude of drivers is; 1) if I kill or injure you or your family whilst I'm trying to make up precious seconds to get somewhere, then that's your/their fault for existing. 2) I have right of way for any manoeuvre I make and I can make these manoeuvres for no reason and without warning. If you don't get out of the way or avoid me then see (1). Not speaking out: it is un-Australian to speak out or try to change anything for the better. Just keep your head down and muddle through. If you do speak out about anything that is wrong, you must be a whinging pom or another foreigner, it which case you'll be told to leave the country. Being Australian: You are only Australian if you are white and were born here, which gives you the right to vilify anyone who isn't. The Best: Australia is the best country in the world, and no Johnny foreigner is going to tell us otherwise. This has been proven for all of eternity by the fact we managed to keep selling lots of dirt from the ground whilst other countries struggled during the GFC. The UK: Because the UK particularly struggled during the GFC, this proves it always has been and always will be a carp country compared to Australia and therefore all Poms should stay there. Property: The housing market will never fail and everyone's number one priority, as endorsed by the government, should be an investment property, because once recently, house prices double in just 7 years, hence they will always double every 7 years from now until eternity. The Australian housing property market will never go the way of the rest of the world, because Australia is different (actually because it's the only housing market in the developed world which is entirely controlled by a government and banks which of course have vested interests). Advertising: Ads that constantly ram health insurance and guaranteed property investments down your throat. Made in Australia: Australian goods are the best in the world, made in Australia for Australian conditions, which no other country could possible understand or achieve such high quality. Hence they are sold at a price to match. In fact they are so good, that they are sold to no other country in the world. A back up plan: The digging of dirt and the property market, the loans for which support the banks, will never fail. Hence we need not learn the lessons from other countries which have relied on property and banks, whilst letting manufacturing and other industries collapse, because it'll never happen here. Regulation: control of our people is so important that you can't change a light bulb without a license, so we don't need to have regulations for common sense stuff eg. you can pass your driving test in India (quite easy as I'm told by an Indian) and 3 months later be driving on Australian roads with a full license and no P plates. and.....the fact that no Australian will be able to read this without telling me to bugger off back to my own country if I don't like it here! LOL.
  5. This thread is only for parents with kids currently at school it seems recently, there are more and more reports of attempted abductions of children in or near school. They also seem no longer isolated to dark alley ways, where no-one is around, they are happening in broad daylight, at the school, during busy times, such as recently the 11 y.o girl in NE Melbourne was snatched near school as her mother was driving away by a guy in a very distinctive van. She only just managed to fight off her abductor. We have 2 young girls, one in grade 1 and one will be starting prep next year. The thought of someone taking them, then more than likely sexually abusing them and killing them is enough to make me feel sick. It is quite simply the worst thing that could happen to any parents and their kids. Then we had a letter from my daughter's school that a strange man had been hanging around the school, which had been reported to the authorities and the school had taken 'appropriate actions'. Now this is where the problem is. The school is surrounded by a high fence, with about 4 gates, some of which are quite secluded and near the children's toilets, which are hidden away in an outside block behind the main buildings. But, despite the present risk and the indescribable impact that an abduction or even an attempted abduction would have on the child and family, these gates are left open during the day. Some parents have complained to the head principal who has responded saying that 'no child has been abducted yet'!! Can you believe it. There's actually more security for the Ipads and laptops at the school than for the children which we entrust to the school. They also send the kids to the toilet in three's 'for security'. But how secure are 3 five year olds? I'm certain an adult could still over power one of them! The principal also said they've asked the kids to be vigilant, but come on, how is a 5 y.o. meant to distinguish between a good and bad adult who has been allowed to enter the school because they leave the gates wide open. And how is that going to stop a child from being grabbed by an adult when they're going to the toilet or playing outside? We find the school's attitude to the horrific consequences of such an occurrence to be appalling. For the sake of a few minutes to lock the gates each day (when they've finished drinking coffee in the morning) to prevent the potential devastation of a family and their child's life, it seems ridiculous. My wife is starting a petition of all the parents to ask the school to improve security, but to be honest, a lot of parents don't seem really bothered. Despite the recent incidents and the reports of a strange man with a white van hanging around the school, they still think it will never happen, it just happens to other people, and besides, it was only the attempted abduction of the 11 y.o. girl in the NE, she managed to escape. What do they think he was going to do to her, sit and watch TV and drop her back at home??!!! It's ruined the child's life and her parents life. So, are we worrying about nothing? Should we not think about it and just burry our heads in the sand? Or are other parents seriously concerned? Should our school be improving security? Thanks
  6. What is it with dogs in Australia? We watched DJango the other night and there's a terrible scene where a guy gets torn up by a pack of dogs, so terrible that the cameras didn't show most of it. Then you hear that it actually happened just the other day to a guy in a park in Melbourne. He was so badly attacked, medics could see his heart through his ribs. The owner of the dogs may get a small fine and the dogs put down. This isn't an isolated incident though, most people will have heard about the little girl mauled to death by dogs in Melbourne last year. When I started looking into dog attacks, I actually found there were more in NSW last year, than the whole of the UK!! Before I continue, if you don't like the fact the I'm making references to the UK on a Poms in Oz forum and think I should therefore leave the country, please don't bother replying! For those who have kids especially, this is very disturbing indeed. There are very good reason for these attacks; 1) a large proportion of dog owners, have dogs which are dangerous breeds or cross breeds. In the UK, it was generally low lifes who had this sort of dog, but in Australia, it seems most people have, but particularly tradies, which account for most people. 2) most dogs in Australia are not kept as part of the family, they are left outside in caged areas and are given very little attention. They are so wound up, that they bark at anything and everything, often all night. We live in a fairly decent area, but all 3 neighbours (both sides and behind) have Staffies/pit bull type dogs that are caged outside, bark all freakin' night and I've never seen any of them taken for a walk. On the rare occasion I see someone outside with their dangerous dogs, they are off the leash and often walking past kids in the park or on the beach. The owners seem to think it gives them some sort of power to walk a dangerous dog past kids that it could easily kill in a moment. It's no wonder then that when these dogs escape from their cages, they attack and tear to bits the first living thing they come across whether it's an adult, child or another animal. Yet no matter how much this happens and how incredibly high the number of attacks is there are very few rules and very little punishment if you dog eats a child alive and very little is done about it. I just find it unbelievable, that this sort of thing is generally ignored, when it does happen the owner always says it's completely out of character for the dog and was completely unprovoked, yet people still maintain that their dogs would never hurt anyone!! Why there isn't more control over these animals, I'll never know. The authorities really need to sort out their priorities, rather than fining people for things like driving with their elbow stuck out of the car window!
  7. rikyuu

    Australians Wealthiest in the World

    isn't a majority of that 'personal worth' tied up in housing? Seeing as though the houses here are amongst the most expensive in the world, it's no great surprise that many people's money is sunk directly into keeping a roof over their heads, whilst having to cut back on items which don't add to ones wealth. Where-as in countries with reasonable housing costs, people have more money to spend on non-physical items that don't directly add to people's wealth. It's a bit misleading, just because people spend all their income on a stupidly expensive house, doesn't mean they are wealthy. In fact, in another recent survey this week, it was revealed that the average amount of cash Aussies have saved is barely $20k. So what's more wealthy; to have fully paid off a $100k house with another $100k cash in the bank, or to have paid off $250k of a $500k mortgage with only $20k in the bank?
  8. rikyuu

    Lets Talk Black Pudding......

    I too loved Bury BP as a kid, especially from the outdoor market, followed by hot potatoes and butter! Not had it here yet, will have to have a look around.
  9. I probably seem biased with an agenda as I post mostly negative comments about Oz, although sometimes positive. But that is just based on my experience in Oz, the difficulties I have, what I gave up in the UK (some of which changed significantly for the better within 12 months of me leaving) and it's despite my damndest to make a go of it and support my family. I work in a horrendous company, commute through the traffic from hell, work with social retards who talk about nothing but how much money they have (living with mums) and their next property investment, in constant pain due to a bone disease which was discovered weeks after I decided not to have health insurance (and now can't afford it due to the loading for being 10 years over 30), can't hope to buy a house in the foreseable future, too tired by the weekend to do anything nice, have the fortnightly guilt laid on me by family in the UK who miss the kids, feel bad about my Grandma who might never see them again etc etc. I would gladly swap with my wife who looks after the kids (which I love to do), does enjoyable activities with them and chats to the mothers at school each day (some of which are very nice!), drives in light traffic. Hard work, but enjoyable. I'm a different person after a few days off work and much of the pain subsides. So my opinion is going to be biased based on my experiences and I guess everyone's will be. It's impossible to say what the good and bad things are about Australia, on the whole for everyone, because everyone's experiences will be different.
  10. you should be able to manage. I support a family of 4 on $70k pa, renting a 4 bedroom house in Melbourne, although it has no pool.
  11. rikyuu

    Monitoring Energy Usage

    ah, in that case, I think you need the one which clamps onto the supply cable. If it's not visible, it's probably hidden behind a panel, which you will probably need to be qualified to remove. Or you can get the ones which plug into the mains socket, but that will only tell you the usage from that socket. Good news is though, if you connect a few solar panels you can get the meter to spin backwards, so you effectively sell the solar power back at the rate you paid eg 25c/kwh, as oppose to 8c/kwh which is what they now pay you with a smart meter (in Vic).
  12. rikyuu

    Monitoring Energy Usage

    If you have a smart meter, you can monitor your usage online, down to each hour if need be. I use; https://electricityoutlook.jemena.com.au but other supplies have similar facilities.
  13. rikyuu

    What does it mean to be British?

    Everything you say, plus being proud of your history; for me in particular, the industrial revolution and the amazing engineering feats of years gone by. But also further back than that, the kings, queens, conquests and battles to protect our island. The art, music and literature. In fact all the history going back thousands of years, the Druids, the medieval period, the Tudors, the Romans, the Vikings etc etc. It's all something to be proud of and it's what's made the people of Britain what they are today. Some countries have very little history compared to Britain and much of that is not pleasant. I also believe British are modest in their achievements, but strong enough to stand up and speak out against what is wrong, even if they can't do anything about it themselves, they try and don't just stick their heads in the sand and let someone else sort it. They are not afraid of change, nor listening to outside advice, because they have a nation to be proud of and they know it, so critisism is easily accepted. British people are highly multinational, they have a keen interest on issues world wide, not just what happens on their door step. It's easy to look at the effects of the GFC over the past few years and dismiss the entire history and success of Britain based on the financial performance of a few banks recently, that is just a tiny blip in a monumental and glorious history. Being British is about being proud of the past achievements of your country and everything it has fought and stood for and looking forward to future achievements.
  14. rikyuu

    Its better for kids.

    It's difficult to say, my wife always says the kids are better off here, but when we left the UK they were 2 and 3 years old, how could we know how life was going to turn out for them? I have to say my eldest goes to a nice public school, it was easy to get into the one we wanted and easy to find a good kindy for the youngest. My wife enjoys not working and socialising with the other mothers who are very friendly and chatty, although that means we can't buy a house, so she'll have to work eventually. During the school hols, the shops are great (like Bunnings) as they always have some kids activities. The weather is generally dry (although slip, slop, slap is a pain in the bum every day for 2 kids) so I guess they could potentially get out more if we weren't so exhausted as parents; me from having an exhausting job and commute and my wife from looking after 2 kids with no break ever. Also we can generally get an appointment with the doctor, which was difficult in the UK. However, we gave up lots and lots and became financially crippled to have these 'pros'.