Margo: Welcome home, P F Journey! It's an honour to publish you again. PF helped me go independent in mid-August, not least by setting up- Webdiary Pty Ltd (PF's opening statement for the independent Webdiary is These walls will speak). . But his greatest gift was to me was being a friend behind the scenes, with sensible advice on life and how to view it. PF's most famous Webdiary piece is Peace like a river, (June 2005), about his favourite protest songs,which sparked Your top ten protest songs. PF did the sums, and came up- with a Webdiarist's top ten:
1. And the band played Waltzing Matilda (Eric Bogle)
2. From little things big things grow (Paul Kelly)
3. Beds are burning (Midnight Oil)
4. Eve of destruction (Barry McGuire/PF Sloan)
5. Masters of war (Bob Dylan)
6. Old man river (Paul Robeson)
7. Redemption song (Bob Marley)
8. Universal soldier (Buffy Sainte-Marie/Donovan)
9. Blowin’ in the wind (Bob Dylan)
10. Bomb the world (Michael Franti And Spearhead)
Thanks for everything, PF. By the way, my favourite PF piece to date is The necessity to accept contradictions.
My debut articles on the old Webdiary back in 2004 were a series articles on China. One of the articles was Pride and Prejudice: Is the third Sino-Japanese war inevitable?. I put forward my analysis that the relationship between China and Japan is still a dangerous one, filled with mistrust, denial and tension:
"The Chinese and Japanese people have many things in common: ethnicity, custom, culture, language, belief and social structure. They have more things in common than differences. One can almost say they are family. However, like any family, when family members squabble, it can turn really nasty. They have a 'love hate' relationship that has been running for thousand of years”.
For the last 100 years or so, China and Japan has fought two wars that have cost millions of lives and untold devastation and misery to both countries, especially China. I argued that China as the rising economic and military super power will not tolerate Japan’s continuous denial of its appalling historical misdeeds in China. In addition to Japan’s support of the USA’s China containment policy and wedging policy over Taiwan, this is really dangerous for East Asia.
In particular, I argued that Australia is playing a dangerous game in supporting and playing a leading role in the USA-Japan-Australia axis, as is evident in the current APEC meeting, where a security dialogue will be held between Bush, Howard and Abe, excluding China.
I wrote that: “With these in mind, has Australia been barking up the wrong tree as far as its strategic foreign policies are concerned? In particular, the closeness of relationships between Bush and Howard has caused concerned in Beijing. More importantly, the Howard Government is practising 'economically warm, politically hot' doctrine with Bush. With China, Australia seems to be doing the opposite in 'economically hot, politically cold'. The Chinese have also expressed concerned about the US-Australia-Japan Strategic Dialogue. It worries that the Dialogue is US-Australia-Japan ganging up against China on issues like Taiwan and China’s increasing influence in Southeast Asia. It is no accident that Japan and Australia are the most staunch supporters of the US policy in Iraq, despite strong domestic opposition.”
Recently, PJ Keating picked up this theme. In his interview with Kerry O’Brien on the 7.30 report on 23/8/07, key points from the transcript of the interview:
* QUESTION: Paul Keating, you have two anecdotes that help explain why you've felt so strongly that APEC should be first and foremost a regional leaders' forum but also that it should have a strong strategic focus. Now, the first anecdote relates to former Japanese Prime Minister Miyazawa. Can you recount that?
PAUL KEATING, FORMER AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Well, I was at a dinner with him one night and I was Treasurer then and he was Finance Minister of Japan. He later became Prime Minister. And, you know, I've been friendly with him a long time and he said to me, "Mr Keating, let me ask you this, do you think the Chinese will attack us?" And I said, "No, Mr Miyazawa, I don't". He said quizingly, "But why not?" And you could feel the hair on the back of your neck go up, a thing like that.
* Another event I had was on the Chinese side one of the three people who managed China in the '90s said to me quite candidly, "If the Japanese ever go to nuclear weapons, we would take them out before they started", meaning they would attack them first. * No good ever happens in that relationship between China and Japan. It's just simmered along in resentment and mistrust since the war. And the Japanese very much resent the rising power of China, and the Chinese resent the fact that the Japanese are still trying to call the war history like some kind of self defence thing. So, the game remains nasty, and anyone in the Australian polity who doesn't know that, knows nothing.
This brings me to one Kevin Rudd, the alternative Prime Minister of Australia. If all the polls are right, he will the next PM of Australia with John Howard losing Bennelong and consigned to the dustbin of history. I have heard that Kevin07 is a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker but I had never heard him speaking Mandarin Chinese, not a speech anyway. I must say, I am impressed. He was good, very very good with some phrases not unlike a native speaker. From the looks, I think the Chinese President was also impressed. But not John Howard and Alexander Downer, especially Downer, who claimed he has also learnt to speak Mandarin Chinese in the last two months.
This is a rather loose translation of Rudd’s speech in Mandarin Chinese (about 3 minutes), which was sandwiched between a short opening and closing remarks in English.
“Mr. Hu Jin Tao, I am speaking on the behalf of both myself and my wife, to express our private welcome to your visit to Australia. To you and our Chinese visitors, you have many many friends in Australia, many many real friends in Australia. They all heartily welcome you.
"In the 80s, my wife and I, together with our daughter, went to China to work. We particularly like Beijing. We like the atmosphere of Beijing, her people and her culture. Twenty years later, my little daughter has now married an Australian Chinese. My son is also now enrolled to study at the Fudan University in Shanghai. My youngest son, who is still in junior high school, usually he is rather naughty and does not like to do home work, but recently he has also started to learn the Chinese language.
"Mr. Hu, I understand that you are from the province of Anhui. The province of Anhui is a beautiful place with many beautiful sceneries, but it is also a poor province. I therefore understand and support yours and your Government's policy of economic development for the whole of China, for all of the provinces of China. I think the path and policy you have taken is an appropriate one.
"Mr. Hu, as you are in our country, you are our most honoured guest. I hope that you can have a good relaxed time, have a look at our beautiful places, sceneries and cities.”
Kevon07 cannot help himself by putting another nail in John Howard’s political coffin by declaring that: “I join the PM in welcoming your gift of Pandas to Australia. Mr. President, should my party be successful in the next election, we would also welcome Pandas coming to my home city of Brisbane.”