January 30, 2009
i postponed the visit to Tuol Sleng as long as i could. Didn’t want to face reality and find out what happened. Strangely i felt conscious of the whole genocide thing as soon as we landed in Phnom Penh .. as though the soul of this country was still deeply wounded and grieving.
At the museum, i ended up stumbling on a small room, filled with dust and storage. i don’t think this room was meant to be open. There was a big box of skulls and bones, not organised for display, just sitting; this was more disturbing than viewing the skulls on proper display.
Many skulls in another room had been given proper display cabinets, with airholes so that the victim’s souls could enter and connect. This was a compromise between giving them proper burial, and allowing the world to see the evidence of what happened.
i took some photos in the not-display room, but felt like i shouldn’t .. so perhaps i won’t publish them here. i’ll put other people’s photos instead.
So the genocide researchers have found 389 burial sites .. most with 500-1500 people. There was one site with 150,000 people and the biggest site had 510,000 dead bodies. Tim and i tried to work out how big that would be.
At the start of the revolution, people were marched out of the cities into the country to become honourable peasants. If the inner bourgeoisie couldn’t be marched out of them, they were killed. Doctors, teachers .. anyone educated was killed.
Ironic, because Pot and some of his henchmen were teachers who’d had a very elitist education in Paris.
These days in Cambodge, they don’t kill people so much, just sell off land to developers and march the peasants off to another part of the city, possibly with a skerrick of compensation. This article at the bbc gives detail, via Kylie in Phnom Penh.
- The survivor of Tuol Sleng, work of artist Vann Nath.
- Official photo collection .. many of the people who died.
August 18, 2008
So now i find out that John and Bob were lying all the time. It was just a game to them.
But i miss something.. my house!!
John signed a legal document saying that his family would move in after we vacated. He assured me that Bob was moving in. I even thought that it would be good for them.
We spent so long thinking that John was a good and decent man who would treat his tenants respectfully. i think back to the time when he said to my mother (!) that i was like one of his family.
Now i find out that they’ve doubled the rent and put new tenants in the house. So their annual income goes up from $10k to $20k overnight.
Trouble is that if you say family is moving in, you are not legally allowed to rent the place out within six months
.. and i hope the potential fines are really big.
As i say this, i know i’ll have a battle getting my full bond back, because they’ve been disputing the amount that Angelina originally paid.
John looks at the original (bond) receipts Angelina sent me and says, “That’s not my handwriting, and it’s not my signature.”
Ugh. Somebody’s making a monkey out of me. What is going on!
Plus: there are no fines for kicking out tenants under false pretences, doubling the rent and re-letting the premises. Apparently there’s a difference between ‘illegal’ and ‘unlawful’; which means i can sue them for the cost of moving, but nobody will lock them up or fine them. Damn.
June 9, 2008
- “Sparkly Square” is a much more fun than Northcote Plaza;
- Walking distance to miles and miles of parkland – but i’m walking, not jogging yet;
- Hundreds of new restaurants within minutes of home ..
- many more cheap variety stores, with all manner of precious junk (which i am not thinking about buying, at all! Too much junk in my life already, which i still haven’t cleared out.)
Sydney road has a different character from Northcote High Street .. can’t quite describe the difference just yet. Larger range of ethnic diversity? More established cafes and hotels?
But all these new cafes, i need a local tour guide ..
and where are all the musicians madly improvising?
Thank Evans i’m still cycling distance from the Northcote hill.
June 6, 2008
One of the best moments during the whole moving-house extravaganza, was waking up at 7.30am on the Saturday, to find Bethany in the hall pushing the piano with a friend toward the front door. With bravado and gumption.
i don’t usually think of a piano as something easily shifted, but Bethany and gray and all their gang hoisted it up on top of gray’s ute, and after much hilarity, drove it away down the cobblestone laneway.
The fun bit was when Ricardo started playing the thing on the ute, at top volume. At eight in the morning. Neighbours did not complain. His playing is much better than mine.
As soon as i can get a photo or two from B., i shall post here.
May 22, 2008
Lucky me to have such wonderful friends and colleagues helping me out !!!
Annie the angel comes over and completely re-organises the garage sale, so that it looks like useful things rather than a pile of junk; and then spends all day over here packing boxes for me. What a darling.
Tim brings croissants for breakfast. Ooo yum what could be better. Not only that, but then he packs up all my telephone and internet gadgets neatly into a box. Plus, he’s going to take away the fish and his tank. Yay Tim.
Jude and jody-Lee go mad on the council rubbish collection pile. Just keep piling they say.
Lovely Czek offers me a room even though he really doesn’t want or need a housemate.
Will and Jodie lend me their van on two separate days, meaning they have to get all thinkie on their schedules. So sweet!
Margot spends hours packing up all of the precious ceramic art, and then takes it back to her place for storage.
Amarina lets me store a mountain of boxes in her huge Land Rover called Keith. Plus, she brings up so many coffees for Louise and me, when our kitchen is not functioning. Am is a very generous and wonderful woman, so kind.
Lou does such an amazing job on the kitchen, cleaning it like it hasn’t been cleaned before (well, since Jude and Jody lived in the house, and Jude scrubbed every last bit of it.)
Then plenty of people – Ben, Maggie, Daryl, Deb, Zoe, Libby, Amarina – send across possible ideas for rooms or houses.
Fraser asks every time he sees me, and offers cardboard boxes in case i have to live under a bridge. Later i find out he’s been asking Syl, “Can michael use that space under the cupboard?”
Some days i feel like i’m surrounded by angels.
thank you all .. so much !
May the universe bless you all with this kindness and more.
May 20, 2008
So, the final party was a bit wild and messy.
One of the neighbours (overlooking from James St) came up and said, “i don’t usually complain about your parties .. because you’re finished by one or two .. but last Saturday was just too much”.
“i agree,” i replied, “it was awful”.
Kept going ’til dawn; people thrashing away in the music room and chattering drunkenly. We imagine that there’s a cone of silence around our little rustic village castle, because people never complain. But no.
“oh, if it was your swansong .. i guess it’s okay,” said the neighbour when i told her we were moving out. And got back on her bike.
Now i have temporary housing in Barkly St Coburg (phew!)…
will start looking again when i can muster the energy.
Thanks so much to all who came along, much appreciated!!
May 10, 2008
Normally you expect titles like “When only the best will do” and “Perfect position” etc.
Here’s a sensational effort from some real estate agent in the northern suburbs:
“When Anything Will Do”
oh yeah, spell it out for me.
.. ‘ideal shared student accommodation’ etc
May 6, 2008
Don’t know what’s going on with the Rental Market, but when i heard Ju-Yuen and her partner were given notice – for the second time in a year – i sighed with despair.
Two weeks ago, David came into work looking depressed, and told us that with his partner and child he’d been given notice. Four years they’ve lived in this place, and they’re not looking forward to the idea of having to find somewhere else.
Rohan at work is telling stories of boarding houses in West Heidelberg that fit whole families into a room (for under $200 a week). The Four Corners episode on Debt – a month ago – was horribly depressing. Apparently the number of mortgage repossessions by banks in the last twelve months is higher than during the entire early nineties recession (in Australia i think).
So .. anyway.
Fingers crossed, eh ?!
i read today that Melbourne is growing at a furious rate. 1500 people moving here every week. Nice to be so popular.
(News check: “Supreme Court files show lenders claiming a record 57 homes a week, triple the level of five years ago.” from the Hun, feb ’08. )
April 21, 2008
This was hilarious. Saturday morning, Lou and i went out searching for real estate joy; and found the most bizarre setup in Coburg, just behind the train station .. minutes from the mall. Amazing house .. just really strange!
One of those weird houses that must have been built in bits .. an enormous garage, with room for six cars; a tunnel from the outdoor (covered and concreted) area to the garage; extra toilets and baths deposited here and there throughout this warren.
Two front-ish rooms with two doors each, ie thoroughfare; and with no hallway, so if you made these two rooms into bed-type areas, you’d always have to go through somebody’s room to get from the front door to the kitchen and back.
It was advertised as a three bedroom house, but everyone had to go and ask the agent, “Which rooms exactly are you claiming to be bedrooms?”
She said that the previous tenants had hooked up some kind of curtain arrangement around the covered / outdoor living area, and turned that into a bedroom.
Okay. But you’re renting this out without the curtain arrangement …?
It’s great the way you get to see inside all these insanely different houses. Great.
April 11, 2008
Which means probably a PaRTaY on the 2nd of May, and possibly a garage sale at some point too. Will keep you posted.
If you know of a dream house in East Brunswick – large, ramshackle, beautiful.. please let us know. Any leads much appreciated!
kind regards, michael
(image by minifig at flickr, thanks!)
March 26, 2008
Well i took the latest letter down to John this morning. It’s fully legalese. He wasn’t so happy. “Oh you’re going the legal road are you? But we’ve always been friendly.”
Well until you gave us half the legal requirement for notice to vacate, yeah.
i hope things don’t get ugly.
March 20, 2008
Good news, everyone!
When we consulted the very wonderful Tenants Union o’ Victoria (tuv.org.au), they told us that the Notice to Vacate was legally invalid, and the minimum period is 60 days – even when you’re not on a fixed term lease (ie month-to-month).
So, technically you could just ignore the letter, the lawyer told us. but if you’re on good terms with your landlord you might want to tell them, so they can draft another letter. Give them a chance to get it right.
Hmm, let me think ..
March 12, 2008
So John comes around yesterday evening and asks to see me. He’s got a letter, and he says, “i don’t think you’re going to like what’s in there.”
Sure enough, our remaining time in the beautiful house on the hill has shrunk dramatically. From “the foreseeable future”, to 31 days. Notice to vacate.
No, it didn’t say ‘vacation’.
Ick. Now i’m upset. Don’t know exactly what’s going on in John’s family situation, but somebody wants to destroy their father’s vegetable garden as well as the best rental home in Melbourne.
Ouch. So if anyone has any leads on a new and marvellous place for michael or lou to stay, let me know. Thanks.
Yes, i’d like two large well-lit rooms, gorgeous views of city or parkland, music room, polished floors, big kitchen, huge backyard, plenty of really good heating, good eco-design, close to northcote and city, lovely housemates and friendly landowners, all for under five centi per moon.
Yep, that’d be good.