Seawalls, Korea and Binoculars

Subject: Seawalls, Korea and Binoculars
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 11:03:10 +1000 (EST)
Absolutely brilliant engagement with the matter Chris: oh, and there are
school kids of various ethnicities in the Newcastle region whose families
are doing it tough who might also be considered in the stakes.  This
matter is about georgraphy, class, culture, nation, among other things.
That includes birds, knowledge and conservation.


Craig Williams
Newcastle NSW

> The construction of sea walls in Australia versus Korea is a little bit of
> straw person and stems from misconceptions of relative rates of
> development.
> This is implied in the idea that we send old binoculars to "poorer
> countries
> in SE Asia" like Korea. This is an economic stretch as Korea has been an
> industrially developed nation for many decades albeit shattered by a
> couple
> of wars and Japanese colonisation. A quick look at the numbers of tourists
> leaving Korean Air flights at Sydney or the name under many binocular
> brands
> from the '90s such as Kenko indicates a society that is a bit beyond a
> "salvos" exercise. Labour costs in Korea are now far too high for
> binocular
> production which migrated to China. The Kiwis run an interesting program
> in
> alliance with Chinese high schools on migratory waders some of the picture
> show a bus load of Chinese school teen humping their spotting scopes over
> the dunes - no one could suggest this is common in all their school but
> then
> I haven't seen too many spotting scopes in a lot of Sydney high schools
> either. So may be a little patronizing on our part but also a bit like
> sending coals to Newcastle. Countries like China (has never been less than
> 25% of world GDP), Japan (sank the Russian navy in 1911 and gave the yanks
> a
> run for their money) and Korea are not really what we think they are - and
> then again maybe we are not what we think we are...
> There is probably little need to build seawalls in Oz aside from retaining
> the foundations of high rise toilet blocks on the Gold Coast and
> developments like Sandon Point in the Illawarra or Ralphs Bay in Hobart.
> But
> before we look down our nose at Asian economies scrambling to have jet
> skis
> and dishwashers have a little look at the Darling River and the allocation
> of water 'rights'. Probably our most significant wetlands lie in river
> systems such as this yet we think nothing of strangling them to export 98%
> of a commodity to Asia - a commodity which is probably processed behind
> those very sea walls. This is not some historical artifact created by well
> meaning but scientifically ignorant rural communities - arguably the
> Murray
> situation. No, the dramatic expansion of one of these commodities occurs
> in
> the last 15 years. How many Ibis, Spoonbills, Snipe, Crakes, Rails ad
> nausea
> to a pair of cheap jeans from your local hypermarket?
> I heartily agree with the idea of binoculars going to those who can ill
> afford them (I might even have a pair) but let's look at where these
> people
> really are. How about Tiwai or Thursday Island, Timor Leste, Fiji or PNG.
> I
> remember a similar exercise with old spectacles in Africa. Ciao
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