Wednesday, 7 January 2009

"Mummy is sad" - boo frickin' hoo

The Smith Family have been tugging at our heartstrings for the last month, running ads like the one above on the Daily Telegraph website.

The script says that:

“There are over 680,000 disadvantaged kids in Australia that need our help”.

“Kids shouldn't have to worry, but they do.”

“There's not enough money for the things we need.”

As usual, as soon as someone starts blathering on about an enormous number of people being “disadvantaged”, I get suspicious. How do you define “disadvantaged”? How do you count the number of disadvantaged?

Are we disadvantaged because of our material possessions?

Junior classes himself as disadvantaged because we don’t have a single working games console in our house. We have an old Xbox (which happens to be broken), and that’s it. No Wii. No Xbox 360 or Playstation. We have a few ancient games for the PC, and that’s it. You want to play a game, go outside and kick a soccer ball around. He also thinks he’s disadvantaged because at 13, he doesn’t have a mobile phone.

Our youngest kids are dressed in hand-me-downs from friends and relatives. Some of the items of clothing have gone through 2 or 3 hands before they reached us, but they are perfectly serviceable and will probably do a few more kids after ours. Are we disadvantaged because we use second, third and fourth-hand clothing?

Are we disadvantaged because our kid’s rooms are not overflowing with toys, especially those which consume a packet of batteries per week?

Are we disadvantaged because we don’t have a huge plasma TV, or pay TV? Because we have no air conditioning, and battered old sofas in the lounge room?

Fuck no.

We are not a materially disadvantaged family. Far from it. As far as income is concerned, we are doing very nicely (although we’ll see how the next year works out, once Woin Swarn has finished eviscerating the economy). We don’t have certain things because we see no need to have those things. We can live without them. In fact, I believe we are better off without a games console or two in the house.

I was always quite envious that the Chook went for years without a TV in the house, because he didn’t want his kids to grow up watching it. It’s not like he couldn’t afford it – Mrs Chook is a corporate lawyer and Chook was working for Macquarie Bank at the time. He just didn’t believe it was necessary, and the kids would be better off doing their homework or playing outside than watching the idiot box.

I want to know what it means though to be disadvantaged. Does it mean going hungry on a regular basis - like getting only one or two meals a day, as happens in Africa? Given so many kids are fat as pandas, there doesn’t seem to be much of that around, so eating more food than that put away by 5 Chinamen at each meal probably doesn’t count as disadvantaged.

How about clothing and footwear? Junior got some new shoes yesterday - $15 Volleys from Target. Fucked if I am spending $200 on show-off shoes for him. He can have a good pair for tennis – a pair that will support his ankles and all that, but not for slobbing around with his mates. The rest of his clothing comes from the same source - Target.

Interestingly enough though, his old man (who is generally unemployed) buys him expensive designer clothes on a regular basis.

Hmmm. The plutocrat shops at Target, and the unemployed shop at Jag.

Then there is shelter. I can understand that sleeping rough might count as disadvantaged. I’ve spent months sleeping under a small sheet of plastic, trying to make myself comfortable on rocks, mud, sand and sticks, being bitten by insects and generally crawled over by things that I don’t want to see, so I know it is less than pleasant. Shaving in cold water using a small mirror stuck to a tree is no fun either. Neither is doing an “armpits and balls” wash in cold water with a facecloth every day for a week.

But how many kids sleep rough for weeks on end because their parents can’t find proper accommodation (forget kids that have run away from home, and spent one night sleeping rough before crawling home with tail between legs, or those that have slept in a park on a Saturday night after a bender with their mates at the skate ramp). What is disadvantaged in that respect? Do we really have 680,000 kids sleeping rough (or like our PM, in cars with their parents) on a long term basis?

I doubt it. Not even Greenpeace could over count that many. I know second hand that there are men sleeping rough out there. We had dinner with a bunch of relatives last week, and I discovered that two of them regularly man a bus that drives around handing out meals to the homeless – the genuinely homeless that sleep in parks all the time. They told me that the greatest concentration in Sydney is in Parramatta and Penrith, where they sleep in the parks.

That makes sense to me – the parks out that way are much larger than those in the inner city, and having ridden through Parramatta Park, I can see numerous bushy areas where you can doss down for the night with a bit of cover. The parks around the wogopolis for instance are flat ground, covered in mown grass with the odd tree poking out – not a good place to sleep for the night. People don’t like sleeping in the open – it must be something buried in our genes from the African savannah. We like a bit of cover.

I asked how many they fed each night.

“A few dozen”.

All were grown men of course, generally with mental problems from too much alcohol or too many drugs. No kiddies amongst them.

Living in a rundown, cramped house doesn’t count as disadvantaged to me. I’m living in one of them now. I’ve lived in a series of them. A long series of them. J put a foot through our rotting kitchen floor before Christmas. Slugs come up through the cracks in the floor and patrol the kitchen at night. The roof leaks. The lino (yes, lino) on the kitchen floor is so stained, it looks like something from a horror movie. Cockroaches make a regular appearance. The place before the place before had rats.

When I was a kid, my parents bought one of them, did it up (using me as child labour), sold it and then bought an even more run down place (which took 10 years to renovate). I have lived for long periods with cold showers, enormous fridge-sized holes in the floor of the kitchen that you have to walk around, rising damp, mould and mildew, missing windows, peeling paint, the odd bit of ceiling collapsing on your head as you walked through rooms and wallpaper that would flop off the wall and land on your shoulder as you sat in a comfy chair reading a book (great way to scare the crap out of someone). Plus whole sections of the house blacked out due to faulty wiring. Not to mention the years of constant campaigning against mice, rats and roaches.

So what are our poor, disadvantaged dears missing so much that the Smith Family needs to raise lots of money to help them out?

Simple. It appears they are not going to get enough Christmas presents. Some might not get any at all.

Here’s some news, sunshine. There is no God-given right to receiving Christmas presents. We have no Bill or Rights that enshrines the absolute right to being showered with a minimum number of presents at a certain minimum dollar value. You get presents if you are good, and you get presents if your parents put some money aside to buy them. If you parents are useless bags of poo, you might get fewer presents than your peers.


We have “disadvantaged” people living down the hill in a Housing Commission complex. They are on the water. We aren’t. They pay fuck-all rent, we pay $500 a week for a house in worse condition than what they get, and a family of three ferals down the hill probably has more living room than our family of five. Their cars are newer than ours, and include a smattering of Mercedes, BMWs and “performance” Holdens and Fords – recent models too.

To cap it off, when I go past (which is at least once a week), there are generally quite a few of them lounging around in the middle of the day on the (taxpayer provided) outdoor furniture, drinking beer and smoking. Sometimes it will be only one or two of them, and they’ll stroll across to the benches by the water’s edge and smoke half a pack and drink a six pack of VB or Corona. That might be washed down by a $4.95 coffee from Gloria Jean’s. If they are feeling active, they’ll slouch up to one of the pubs in wogville and spend the afternoon betting on the races and drinking their way through a green note.

Their kids wear nice trainers. They carry expensive looking phones, and are almost bent double with the gold chains around their necks. They have a lot of ink on their skin, and that can’t be cheap. Some also have the look of nasty drug habits, but most appear to be simply harmlessly lazy and useless.

If the Smith Family comes around and tells me that this pack of wasters is in need of a truckload of donated presents at Christmas time because their parents can’t afford them, I’ll go postal. I swear I will frogmarch them down the hill to where the white trash live. I’ll collect all the pizza boxes and beer cartons and goon casks and fast food wrappers in the rubbish area, build an enormous bonfire and burn the fuckers at the stake. Those pricks are probably drinking, smoking and gambling away the better part of the average full-time weekly earnings, and then we have to come along and give their little goblins a present!

A punch in the fucking face is what they deserve.

Here’s my checklist as Bad Santa:

Do you parents smoke?

Do they drink?

Do they gamble?

If they do any of the above, you can sit in your room and cry all fucking Christmas Day, because you’re not getting anything from me. Here’s my Christmas message – cigarettes and beer are not staple food items. They are luxuries to be purchased on the odd occasion after all other living expenses have been taken care of, and you should be buying luxuries and treats for your kids before you buy them for yourself. If you want to spend your food budget on VB, don’t come howling to me when your kids don’t have anything under the fucking tree this year.

Do your parents take drugs?

If they say yes, that should be a really, really easy one where anyone could say no. Unless you work for the Smith Family, when every wastoid loser deserves to have their failure rewarded.

Here’s another Christmas message for your kids – the failure of your pathetic, loser parents is not going to be rewarded by me sticking my hand in my pocket to provide you with some Chinese made gimcrack. If you want the nice things in life, buck up, get educated, get a job and leave those idiots well behind.

Do you have three siblings, each with a different father?

Are any of the fathers living with your mother?

That’s a tough one, but once again, I have to say this to the kids – stick your desire for a Bratz doll up your bum, and sit on it. Learn a lesson from the slut that slobs around the house, smoking and swearing and putting out for every loser in the suburb – settle down in a proper relationship when you get older and stick it out. Get married. Be faithful. Live a normal life. Get a job.

There are of course going to be lots of hard luck sob stories doing the rounds as well. So-and-so got fired, and can’t find a job. The car broke down and was expensive to fix. Lots of bills have just come in. We’re drowning in debt. Etc etc etc.

In most cases, I will also have only one thing to say – your stupid, debt splurging lifestyle is to blame. Your inability to stop shopping is why you have so many bills. Your reluctance to move to a different location is the reason you can’t find work. Don’t want to move away from your friends in order to get a job? Boo-fucking-hoo. Live within your means. Let them go without presents for a year – it might shock them into changing their ways. If it doesn’t, then fuck them with a hot poker.

As you can see, I have winnowed the number of potentially disadvantaged children down from 680,000 to perhaps 20,000. Those are the ones with colossally fucked up parents. I have only one present to give those kids – we’re going to take you away from your parents for good and let you grow up somewhere better.

How’s that for an idea?


kae said...

Jeez, another stolen generation... multiracial.

(I agree with you.)

WV: lanet

left out the C, would explain the huge number of homeless.

An Irritating Truth said...

A disturbing aspect of the smith family that few people know:

A friend of my family works for the smith family, and do you know that our generous "hand me downs" are sold for a profit? They're not given straight to families, all of those charity bins full of clothes, we may as well be throwing in money.

They use a small percentage of that money to purchase clothes from vinnies or other places to hand out as people on a case by case basis.

I understand that even charities are businesses and they need money to run, but the fact is people are making a profit from poverty - it's not right.

An Irritating Truth said...

I agree with you about the drugs/alcohol/cigarettes/ generally selfish parents, but telling their children their mother is a slut really won't solve anything except breed further violence in a child who might otherwise remain, well normal (in the relative sense of the word). Sure, he/she may still end up impoverished but at least he'll be well adjusted. Rather than hitting puberty and going postal on his mother as a result of social slander (yes, I've seen it happen).

As for the whole taking children away from their parents - I'd agree with you if I weren't so disenfranchised with the DOCS system. A disadvantaged/neglected/abused child is no more better off in an orphanage or foster home than they are with their own parents. The incidences of children lost in the system, further rapes, abuses and neglect is so high at this point it's actually more reckless to remove them from the care of their ridiculously fucked up parents.

They need to stop putting life time public service employees in charge of DOCS and fucking privatise it. They have no idea what they're doing. They've privatise some jails/gaols. I see no reason why they cannot privatise DOCS.

Anonymous said...

Righteous rant, BOAB.

I see nothing amiss with your assessment.

"Lancet figures" used by by snivelling charities do nothing for their credibility.

Tell me the truth, show me some genuine figures, give me some examples, prove you don't suck 80% of donations for "administration" and I may consider dropping a few dollars your way.

Nilk said...

Our church does a lot of work with one of the local welfare groups, and each year contribute food hampers to needy families.

We got a hamper from our church for Christmas this year, and I was so embarrassed.

Sure, I'm a single parent and I don't get money from Magilla's dad.

I get some benefits, but work between 5-7 days a week on average, and we've got a nice roof over our heads, good food in the cupboard and we do have a working ps2 (although I only bought it a few months ago).

I don't consider myself disadvantaged either. You just do what you have to, and go without if necessary.

No big deal.

The gimme gimme attitude just drives me nuts like you wouldn't believe, especially when people start oozing sympathy about doing it sooooo hard.

Dude, I'm just doing it, and there are plenty of people doing it worse.

As for the Smith Family?

Meh. I support my church, the Barnabus Fund and Kids With Cancer.

That's about it. I know where the money goes.

(I kept the hamper, btw. There were some serious goodies in there, and I know it's because this church family genuinely do care and it would have been insulting to hand it back).