Should we avoid getting so angry? You bet

HANG ON: Why all the anger about the promotion of The Everest on the Sydney Opera House sails when it’s been done before? Picture: AAP Image/Brendan EspositoSatirist Ambrose Bierce once said:“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”


Without a doubt, my favourite superhero is the Incredible Hulk.

He’s such a paradox.You’ve got to respect someone who can turn a vice like anger into a virtue, and even a superpower!

Still, anger is a vice and an ugly vice that, if not checked, can lead to dreadful consequences.

How many murders have been committed out of anger?Most, maybe almost all.

I have many vices … see, I’ve just displayed one – lying.

However, I have been blessed with a gentle nature. Even so, I lose my temper sometimes, for there is no person who never gets angry.

However, the better person – which is what we are all striving to be, I hope– keepstheir cool, for we all respect someone who can keep their cool, especially in a crisis.

People with a bad temper often blame their parents.

“I inherited my mother’s bad temper!”No, you’re choosing to copy her bad example.

Or worse,they blame Jesus: “Jesus lost his temper in the temple at those people selling cattle,” they’ll say.

Jesus did this to emphasise the loss of sacred space,which I think is always the first sign and place a society’s peace is slipping away.

But this action of Jesus was an extremely rare situation and his predominant personality trait was gentleness.

Jesus said of himself: “Learn from me because I am gentle and humble of heart.”

Moses, perhaps the greatest figure in the Jewish faith, also lost his temper and said things that were rash.

Again, this was a rare occurrence and the Jewish scriptures state:“Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.”

It’s over now, so I hope people have calmed down, but look at the public outpouring of anger over the advertising of The Everest horse race on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

This event showed just how paradoxical anger can become.

I would have thought that in Australia – where we are proud of having the reputation around the world of betting on two flies crawling up a wall – that we would take pride in having the world’s richest horse race on turf in our backyard.

“Yeah, but not on the sails of the Sydney Opera House,” some might say.

Well, there’s a problem there. In 2015, it was OK to advertise the Australian Wallabies across every sail of the Opera House during the Rugby World Cup.

And there was nothing but pride earlier this year when the sails were lit up in rainbow colours to advertise the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Perhaps the greatest paradox in all this anger towards the advertising of gambling across the sails of the Opera House is that gambling indeed gave birth to the Opera House.

Have we forgotten that the $102 million cost to build the Sydney Opera House was mostly paid for by a state lottery?

The paradox of anger was also recently revealed in the protests against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as a judge on the USSupreme Court.

After perhaps one of the most wicked smear campaigns you are ever likely to witness –and no less than six FBI background investigations into his private life – Kavanaugh came out squeaky clean.

Even so, the angry mobs claimed he was still unworthy of his nomination.

Why? Because he understandably lost his temper at his hearing when his good life and family were being publicly dragged through the mud.

It may beold fashioned, but for a very long timeperhaps the best compliment that you could give a woman was to say that she was a lady, and the best compliment you could give a man was to say that he was a gentleman.

I think this belief is still not too far from people’s hearts.

Nothing can destroy this faster than a good old fashioned meltdown.

Twitter: @fatherbrendanelee

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Nothing fake about the power of journalism

It is difficult not to see the irony in the hunt for the apparent killers of outspoken Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi being spearheaded by the man to whom such people are capable of delivering nothing but “fake news”.


In the blinkered world of US President Donald Trump, journalists appear to exist at about the same level as burglars.

No opportunity is missed to call them out, often by name, even when theirwork turns out to be anything but fake.

It is the same culture of the bully as practised by the likes of shock jock Alan Jones when confronted bypoliter females merely trying to uphold long-standing charters, or maverick federal MP Bob Katter responding to legitimate questions about his Lebanon-born grandfather.

The policy that attack is the best form of defence is not limited to the England soccer team that found itself 3-0 up away to Spain on Tuesday.

President Trump said this week that he had called Saudi Arabia’sleader, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to ask aboutthe disappearance of Khashoggi, whoTurkish officials believe was murdered by Saudi agents two weeks ago.

Trump fighting the cause for journalists is like Japan leading the global investigation into illegal whaling.

American leaders have nurtured a healthy fear of journalists since the heyday ofBob Woodward andCarl Bernstein –theWashington Post reporters whose investigation brought down Richard Nixon, but who recently agreed that the incumbent US president’s numerous misdemeanours out-Trump even Watergate.

Those who foretell the death of journalism will be the first to complain if corruption goes unchecked.

If it was not forWoodward and Bernstein, Nixon’s presidency would have continued well beyond August 9, 1974, and his dubious practices may never have been exposed.

If it was not for Irishman David Walsh, of The Sunday Times, Lance Armstrong would still be a revered seven-time Tour de France winner.

And if it was not for Scottish journalist and author Andrew Jennings, Sepp Blatter would still be ruling over a world soccer landscape blighted by backroom deals, back-handers and back-stabbers.

The medium for journalism may be undergoing a period of change, but the need for it remains as strong as ever.

The platform upon which journalists’ work is consumed is in the process of changing from a piece of paper the size of a towel to a phone screen the size of a banknote, but the power of their words remains the same.

Rob Shaw is a Fairfax journalist.

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Ex-MP Urban avoids arrest, faces WA court

Better late than never – tardy former West Australian MP Barry Urban has appeared in court.Disgraced former West Australian Labor MP MP Barry Urban was almost arrested again – this time for failing to appear in court on 12 fraud charges – but his lawyer took the blame for being “tardy”.


Urban, 49, has been charged with five counts of uttering a forged record, and one count each of attempted fraud and forging a record related to information allegedly provided in WA Police Force applications.

He also faces five counts of giving false evidence before a parliamentary committee.

The offences relate to information Urban allegedly provided about a University of Leeds degree, a University of Portsmouth certificate of higher education, a WA Local Government Association diploma and his claim that he was part of an international police taskforce in 1998 that was investigating atrocities in the Balkans.

He is also accused of trying to gain a benefit of more than $100 a fortnight for working as a detective in 2007.

“I’m here, guys,” Urban told the waiting media pack outside Perth Magistrates Court on Tuesday, but refused to answer questions before going inside.

Less than half an hour earlier, magistrate Joe Randazzo had issued a warrant for Urban’s arrest under the instruction to only execute the order after 10.30am.

Urban made it to court about 9.30am and his lawyer Mark Andrews apologised to the magistrate for his “tardiness”, explaining he thought the matter was listed for 10am rather than 9am.

Mr Randazzo accepted the apology and cancelled the warrant.

The charges were read to Urban and he acknowledged he understood them, but he was not required to enter pleas.

The police prosecutor flagged an application would be made for some of the charges to be heard in the WA District Court.

Urban also had his bail conditions tweaked so he could go to Perth Airport for work purposes, but he has previously surrendered both his English and Australian passports.

His bail includes a $20,000 personal undertaking and $20,000 surety.

Urban again refused to speak to reporters as he left court. He is due back in court on November 14.

If convicted, he could face up to seven years imprisonment.

Urban quit the Labor party in December and sat as an independent MP until May.

He resigned as the member for Darling Range after a parliamentary committee found he repeatedly lied about his education and work history.

The committee had made the unprecedented recommendation Urban be expelled for committing a “gross and aggravated contempt of parliament”.

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First look inside Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct ahead of Thursday opening

First look inside Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct ahead of Thursday opening New: Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct. Pictures: Simone De Peak


Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Kate Murphy said the next 24 hours would be a “flurry of activity” with hundreds of workers and retailers on site at Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Kate Murphy said centre staff were checking in with retailers “every hour on the hour” to monitor progress at Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Artist Scott Marsh has painted a mural inside Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct of a bird of paradise – the centre’s logo from when it was known as Garden City. Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak

TweetFacebook Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De Peak+15Westfield Kotara’s new youth and urban precinct . Pictures: Simone De PeakfacebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappMORE GALLERIES

123456789101112131415 – HUNTER staff at the 30 new and relocated retailersopening at Westfield Kotara this week will be working around the clock to stock shelves before they welcome shoppers from 9am on Thursday.

Centre manager Kate Murphy said she expected between 80,000 and 100,000 shoppers to visit during four days of festivities – including live music, entertainment, pop-up bars and giveaways – to celebratethe opening of its 7000-square-metreyouth and urban precinct on level two.

It’s the start of a $160 million transformation.

Related:Westfield Kotara adds skate halfpipe, kids’ play centre to redevelopment plan

“We’ve tried to pay homage to the surf, skate and lifestyle culture that we have here in the Hunter,” Ms Murphy said.

“It’s about evolution from being a shopping centre to a living centre where we can provide something for everyone.

“We want to be a community hub, a meeting place.”

Related:The Hunter’s mall war sees $1.1 billion since 2010 spent on redevelopments

Ms Murphy said the centre “absolutely” wanted to gain an advantage over rival Charlestown Square.

“We look to be the Hunter’s premium fashion and lifestyle destination and Ibelieve this … will help deliver that.”

Retailers include a combined EB Games and Zing Pop Culture store, a JB Hi-Fi with an area to trial new games, a Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski with a surfboard shaping bay and architectural elements paying tribute to Mark Richards, plusthe region’s first W Hair Bar and Mr & Mrs Jones.

Related:New Zara store and H&M on the cards for Westfield Kotara as part of $160 million expansion

Parrey Skate will open as a pop up for the festivities before a full opening in late November.

Shoe store Billiniwill open in the carpet mall.

The precinct also hasspace setaside for Kmart –which does not yet have a confirmedopening date – Everything Football, which will open before Christmas, and another yet-to-be announced retailer.

Artist Scott Marsh has painted a mural of a bird of paradise –the centre’s logo from when it was known as Garden City – which will be printed onto staff scarves.

The centre will introduce ticketless parking on Thursday that relies onlicence plate recognition technology,as well as reopen more than 380 car spaces spread across level one and 2M.

The extension of the level three dining and entertainment precinct The Rooftop will open from November 15.

Gorman, The Academy Brand and Savant Apothecary will open in the carpet mall before Christmas.

Zara will openacrossthe former Country Road, Seed and Bardot Junior space in coming months.

The centre opened H&M, Shieke and Lotus Express earlier this month.

Work started on the centre’s redevelopment on October 4 last year.

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Sanook Thai celebrates 20 years of success in Port Stephens

Long stayers: Long-serving waitress Mrs. Muangklang and chef Prakob Bunjaroen with owner Sumalee Omnondha (middle).This month Sumalee Omnondha marked 20 years of business since she opened Sanook Thai Restaurant in Corlette at Port Stephens, a good measure of success in any restaurateur’s book.


The restaurant celebrated with a fund-raiser for drought-stricken farmers on October 5, donating more than $2000 to the Buy-a-Bale campaign.

Mrs Omnondha took the time to answer a few questions about her business recipe for success.

Have you always been in the same location?

I have always been running this restaurant from this location. Three months after I migrated to Australia, I got a job in this restaurant’s kitchen because my sister was the head chef. A year later, I purchased the business from the previous owner and opened it as my own restaurant on October 5, 1998.

How did you get into the restaurant business?

I learned cooking from my mum, in Thailand. I remember cooking with my mum since I was 7 or 8 years old, running around the kitchen to help her cook and serve a family of 10, before I was allowed to go and play with friends. I have a degree in Marketing from Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University but I have taught myself all of the skills necessary to run the business.

Do you cook in the restaurant, too?

I do cook in the restaurant, and I also help the kitchen staff and front staff whenever I am not cooking. I find it best to work dynamically, wherever help is needed to ensure smooth restaurant operation.

What are the most popular dishes on the menu?

One of the biggest sellers on our menu is our massaman curry. It is a traditional Thai dish, and generally considered the dish to try to gauge the quality of a Thai restaurant. Ours is widely regarded as exceptional, so a large proportion of customers get it. Our traditional Thai green curry follows at a close second. Our food does reflect a mostly traditional Thai style, I keep it very authentic and the restaurant prides itself on that. It is a fresh change from other, more westernized Thai restaurants in the area.

Do you change the menu very often?

The menu does not generally change much or often at all, but we do put specials on from time to time as seasons and purchasing allow.

Are there any staff who have been with you for all 20 years?

We have no full-term workers, but our longest-working veteran is 14 years, held by Mrs. Manida Harris, who is a waitress, followed by the seven-year service of our cook Mrs. Muangklang and our head chef Mr. Prakob Bunjaroen (3 years). We have around 10 staff in total.

Are there any distinct trends in dining at your restaurant?

Our restaurant tries to retain a casual atmosphere, whilst whisking customers away to Thailand for the duration of their stay.

What is your clientele like?

Our clientele are generally families or couples, as the mood of the restaurant is a bit more intimate. Return visitors would make up a large percentage of our clientele, as we are the favourite restaurant of a lot of patrons. Similarly, locals make up a large proportion of our customers (except during summer holidays, but that is more due to the population of the area tripling in that time). On a busy summer night we may do up to 300 meals. Bookings are only required during long weekends but are not too difficult to get.

You pride yourself on fresh produce. Do you use locally-caught fish? Who are your seafood suppliers? Are there other local suppliers who have been with you over the long term?

Yes, we purchase our fish from the largest local fish market in the area. Newcastle Seafood Market and Port Stephens Eggs have both been with us a very long time.

Do you have family involved in the business?

I have one child, who used to help with the business until he moved on to further his career opportunities.

You mentioned you are raising funds for drought-stricken farmers – what are you doing and where will the funds go?

The charity we are supporting is Buy-A-Bale, a charity formed to purchase much needed hay bales for feeding livestock in drought-stricken areas of country Australia. All proceeds from our major events go to charitable causes, primarily Buy-A-Bale.

What is your business philosophy? What is the key to your success?

My key to success is keeping my cooking very authentic but also original-following my mum’s recipes. Also we only use the freshest ingredients we can get, and do take options off the menu if they are not seasonally available. I work around 42 hours a week on average, and I take very occasional holidays.

Where in Thailand is your family from?

I was born in and grew up in Nonthiburi Province in Thailand, around 50-100kilometres south-east of Bangkok. I was raised in a fruit plantation where my family worked.

What is your favourite meal when you eat out or at home?

My favourite meal is seafood, in Asian styles. And spicy! What else would it be!


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