Posts filed under ‘Australia’

Did I stuff it up?

Just over a year ago, I walked the plank. Well, not quite. I offered up my predictions for 2009. The first time I’ve done that – so time to look back and see how many predictions I stuffed up. If I managed to get them all right, then I am going to embark on a new career as a psychic. Dress up with wild red hair in ribbons and gaze dreamily into a crystal ball. That should do it.

To refresh our collective memories, here were my predictions for 2009 with a look at how I tracked against them:

  • Reinvent yourself as a Chief Financial Officer (or CFO) – due to the global financial crisis, I said that organisations would need a financial wizard to navigate them through the mess.  I may have this one right – the Best of 2009: Careers in CFO.com (possibly a biased publication!) declared 2009 as the Year of the CFO, with the role of strategic CFO being prominent. A quick look at seek.com.au and I found 95 jobs for CFOs or senior corporate accountants. So I’m giving myself a tick for this prediction.
  • Formal recognition of global recession: I predicted that the IMF would formally admit the global economy was in recession. Well, that happened in April 2009 with the IMF’s April World Economic Outlook. I thought that despite a new Prez in the White House, Obama’s economic stimulus programme would not put a halt to rising unemployment during 2009 in the US or a deepening recession.  Although hiring is starting to pick up now and jobless figures are dropping, a record 20 million-plus people collected unemployment benefits in 2009 in the US and the unemployment rate hit 10%. In March 2009, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, told the grim tale of a deepening US recession and indeed world recession. Falling US auto sales and increasing home foreclosures signalled a recession that wasn’t going to disappear quickly. Further, I muttered that I wouldn’t be surprised if some US states declared bankruptcy. Well, that happened in California. Arnie ran out of money and basically had a US $12bn deficit on his hands. He ended up giving IOUs to creditors and civil servants. Illinois is in the midst of a financial struggle that could mean tax increases for its citizens. And Business Week laid it all out, highlighting the US states in bad financial shape. Thankfully, hyperinflation didn’t happen. So…basically a tick for these predictions.
  • Banks will screw us. What better example can I give than the Westpac (Australia) outrage and its “mortgages are banana smoothies” ill-judged metaphor. And Australian banks certainly tightened credit in 2009. Tick.
  • I said that Governments would take increasing control of banks. Well, the Austrian Government had to take control of Bank Medici; Ireland became the first European Union country to take de facto control of all of its most important banks; Obama took over control of the bonus pool by capping executive pay at banks that were bailed out; and the Spanish Government took over the troubled savings bank, Caja de Ahorros de Castilla-La Mancha. Tick.
  • Employers could get nasty. I predicted that wages could be cut and more demands made on staff to “do more with less”. This certainly happened – Hewlett-Packard imposed wide-ranging pay cuts including Executive council members who took a 15% haircut on their base pay; Japan slashed wages across the board in an effort to stem job losses; and the recession was putting pressure on some workers to do unpaid overtime so they could keep their jobs. And the global recession witnessed worsening employee morale. Tick.
  • Trend towards a simpler life. Really, I think this is an ongoing trend and will continue into 2010. But with many people in the US, for example, out of work – people are learning to be thrifty (and enjoying it). Here’s the story of 37-year old woman leading a simpler life after being laid off; USA Today reported that Americans were paring back their lavish lifestyles because of the financial crisis; the DIY industry exploded in 2009 with people doing their own home improvements, learning how to cook at home or making crafts to sell. The global recession even renewed interest in home vegetable gardening.  Tick.
  • Increase in civil unrest and rekindling of socialist ideals. I’m sure you all remember the angry protests against financial institutions in the UK; Greek farmers blocked roads and protested over falling agricultural prices; a million workers in France joined demonstrations to demand greater protection for jobs and wages; Icelandic demonstrators clashed with police in Reykjavik. There was unrest all over Europe; a wave of protests swept across Russia; folks in Connecticut weren’t going to take it anymore and descended on the luxurious homes of bank CEOs and US students at the University of California clashed with police whilst protesting against a hike in tuition fees the university says is needed to raise US$505 million. A Rasmussen poll during April 2009 pointed to a possible shift towards socialism in the US – 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism and 20% say they prefer socialism (I’m going to bet on the high probability that many young people, who don’t know what socialism is, were in that 20% and the 27% who weren’t sure which is better). So…tick.
  • I thought that the cosmetics and entertainment industries would thrive in 2009 – because women won’t give up lipstick (lipstick sales during the Great Depression of the 1930s rose by 25%) and people will want to forget economic doom and gloom for a few hours whilst watching a film. Both are mood enhancers. 2009 saw an increase in Avon representatives (probably as people laid off thought of new career opportunities) and I think there was a trading down to cheaper brands. The so-called “lipstick index” (created by Leonard Lauder, chairman of Estee Lauder) says that when there’s a recession, women buy more lipstick and Forbes reported what women were still buying in 2009, with lipstick high on the list. What I didn’t predict but should have is the rise of natural and organic cosmetics, which increased by 13% to €1.7 billion in Europe in 2009. Although cosmetic companies have taken a bit of a battering, make-up and lipstick is still selling well. Similarly, moviegoers defied the global recession with attendance at US cinemas up 5% during 2009 and box-office revenue up 8.6% in the U.S. and Canada and certain to top $10 billion, an all-time record. Tick.
  • Better leadership from our politicians and more cooperation between political parties. The US and China pledged to work more closely together on political, economic and environmental issues; representatives of political parties from Latin America and Asia-Pacific met to strengthen cooperation amid the global financial crisis; and UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, urged global cooperation at the World Economic Forum in Davos. So I guess a tick.
  • Politically, Afghanistan will start to haunt Obama.  You just have to read the newspapers to know that Obama’s troubles are pretty desperate in Afghanistan and that quite possibly the country will be Obama’s Vietnam. And he’s going to have to spend 2010 explaining to Congress why he needs roughly $100 billion a year and at least 40,000 more troops (surge anyone?) in fighting a war that is increasingly unpopular. Tick.
  • Rise in trade protectionism. Tick, this has happened despite the need for a coordinated economic approach to the financial crisis. Global use of trade remedies rose by 18.8% in the first quarter of 2009 – download a report here.
  • Wild weather due to climate change and skirmishes over water and food. This is not science to say this but when I was a kid, I don’t remember so many days of 35 or 40 degrees.  We seem to be getting warmer weather during winter (eg in August) and very very hot days in summer followed by a day that is 15 degrees cooler. Read about Australia’s weird weather here. We’ve had severe storms and floods, Perth and Adelaide are on fire, and of course Sydney was hit with a red dust storm during September. Wild weather has wreaked havoc in Indonesia and climate scientists are predicting that the year ahead will see El Niño exacerbating the effects of climate change, bringing with it floods, droughts and the hottest years on record. We’ve also seen snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures in the UK, Europe and the US – which the skeptics use as evidence against global warming – but climate scientists are putting this down to La Niña (cooler than normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean) and does not detract from the fact that we are seeing thinning ice and retreating glaciers. Climate experts are predicting that the real heat will set in after 2009 with a surge in temperatures. So I’ll give this a tick.  Crop failures saw 1500 farmers commit suicide in the Indian state of Chattisgarh; there were some reports of a catastrophic fall during 2009 in global food production; and I’ve already told you about skirmishes over water. Tick.

Clearly, I should reconsider my career path and become a psychic. I’ll dust off my crystal ball. But frankly, if you follow world events keenly and note the patterns, you don’t need to be Einstein to figure out what will happen. Next post – my predictions for 2010. Given my track record, I know you’ll be excited but try to get some sleep 🙂

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January 3, 2010 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Awaken the spirit

Happy New Year to all ThinkingShift readers. I think 2010 is going to be year of transformation. I like even numbers, so hasta la vista to 2009. Sydney did its fireworks thing and led the world into the new decade (actually, Auckland NZ really does that). Our Harbour Bridge was once again lit up in spectacular fashion.

The theme for the 2009 12-minute fireworks display was Awaken the Spirit. I think this was an excellent theme to signal that 2010 is about awakening our spirit after a tough year brought on by the global financial crisis. It’s about unity and bringing people together in a time of new beginnings. And of course, indigenous Australians talk of awakening the spirit within the land, water and sky every year. The colour theme was blue. That’s the thing about Sydney: it’s always blue. Bright blue sky with stunning blue sparkling water. To match this, there were some amazing blue fireworks, which is apparently the most difficult colour to create because blue fireworks burn at a very low intensity.

Normally, the Harbour Bridge is festooned with one symbol. My all time favourite being the 1999-2000 “New Millennium” theme displaying the word Eternity in copperplate writing. Eternity was in honour of Arthur Stace – an Aussie reformed alcoholic who converted to Christianity and spread the word by writing Eternity in chalk on footpaths around Sydney.

But to kick off 2010, we chose to use three powerful symbols: the yin-yang symbol, a blue moon and a ring of fire. The blue moon symbol was in honour of the second full moon in the calendar month of December (December 2 and 31 2009).

I stayed home and watched Mad Men (I’m obsessed). I rushed out onto our balcony at 9.00pm to see the blue moon (which seemed more yellow to me) and watch the local 9.00pm fireworks but by 12.00am I was tucked up in bed so missed the midnight display. Boring I know. But I just don’t relish the thought of spending New Year’s Eve jostling with thousands of others trying to get a vantage point to watch the sky light up for 12 minutes. Actually, forget thousands of people – last night’s fireworks attracted over 1.5 million people to the Sydney harbour foreshores.

The fireworks display involved 5000 kg of explosives that cost AU$5 million. This is the only part I question – spending five million on a bunch of explosives that last just 12 minutes when there are many people doing it tough out there. But if it puts us in the right frame of mind to tackle 2010 head on, then maybe it’s spending public money in a beneficial way.

Photo credits: SMH

January 1, 2010 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Water conflicts

Did you read my post about water barons and how multinational companies or private individuals are spotting the opportunities to make a profit from an increasingly dwindling supply of fresh water?  I told you about how we will be slugged with substantially increased water rates, contaminated water supplies or poor service delivery when water scarcity hits us.

Australia of course is the driest continent on the planet and has one of the highest levels of water use per capita – so what happens when an area or region runs out of water? It’s what I’ve been saying – illegal water carriers swoop like vultures to the carcass. The Upper Hunter region in New South Wales has been in the grip of drought. Dams, tanks, bores and streams have been running dry from Cessnock to Murrurundi and thousands of families in this mainly rural area are being forced to buy water for drinking, washing, bathing and stock such as cattle.  Bores in the village of Wingen are dry for the first time in years and I saw a TV show the other night where the publican was being interviewed – he was saying they fear it when people who come to his pub go to the toilet (because it means litres of water being used to flush the toilet and more expense for him).

Water carters are charging between AU $100 and $160 for residential loads. Water loads vary from 9000 litres up to 28,000 litres but the average load seems to be about 12,000 litres. That sounds a lot but remember these people are farmers mainly, so they have stock and soaring temperatures to contend with. Beef farmers are apparently weaning calves four months early due to the lack of water.

And in the midst of this water crisis, you get the opportunists, the water privateers – who are illegally supplying water and causing damage to water mains and hydrants because they are not licensed and not accessing water supplies in the approved manner (which is via a credit card-like key).

I suspect this is our future – a world that will see increasing skirmishes over water and opportunists who will sell us water (a basic human right) at exorbitant costs.

Since the late 1980s, the Pacific Institute has been studying the connections between water resources, water systems and international security and conflict in an effort to track and categorise events related to water and conflict. Their water conflict chronology will freak you out but it’s a reality we must face.  You can view the chronology in a number of different ways, from a timeline to interactive Google Earth water conflict maps. You can filter the timeline to show when conflicts over water occurred by region, conflict type and date range. There’s also a list of conflicts over water starting in 3000 BC with extensive descriptive notes.

Australia is not the only country facing water scarcity. American readers should read this article on water issues challenging the US, including inter-state water battles. If you live in Oklahoma, might be time to consider getting out before corn and soybean yields decrease by 30 to 46% due to the Ogallala Aquifer under the Great Plains of the United States (including important parts of Oklahoma) experiencing a 20% decrease in recharge. And of course when you get crops failing around the world due to water scarcity…you get food scarcity…you get skirmishes and death.

India has already witnessed deaths and injuries over water shortages and Nigeria has recently seen thousands of people protesting over dwindling water supplies. Water covers three-quarters of the planet’s surface but most of this is undrinkable. Less than 3% of the world’s water is fresh and drinkable. Lloyd‘s are already talking of “water bankruptcy” being our future and pointing out that 55% of the world’s population will be dependent on food imports as a result of insufficient domestic water by 2030. That is just 20 years from now.

December 29, 2009 at 2:00 am Leave a comment

Will I be living in China in 2010?

Dear international reader. Here is a question for you: what do Egypt, Iran, China, North Korea, Burma, Saudi Arabia and Australia have in common? Let’s guess. Deserts? Well, Australia has the Gibson desert; Iran has the Kavir desert; China has the Gobi desert; Egypt has the Sahara but North Korea and Burma? Nah, no deserts.  Mmmmmm…what else could these countries have in common? Similar coloured national flags? Nah. Are they all democracies? Last time I looked, North Korea is a dictatorship and Burma (or Myanmar) has been struggling since 1948 to establish a modern democratic political system.

Oh no, wait. I know what these countries all have in common: INTERNET CENSORSHIP. It’s taken me nearly a week to calm down following the Australian Federal Government’s announcement that it will proceed in 2010 with a MANDATORY internet censorship scheme. Now, international reader – you may have thought Australia was a democracy in which we could freely access information. Wrong. As of mid- 2010, we will be a country that:

  • has a secret black list of internet sites banned by the Government of Australia
  • forces ISPs to filter internet traffic and block any material deemed unsuitable or inappropriate
  • possibly blocks innocent or legitimate sites (I suspect that the TS blog might get itself blocked for this very post alone)

The so-called Clean Feed programme is designed to block any material or websites that feature child sex abuse, sexual violence, adult content and instructions on crime. But in March 2009, the proposed blacklist was leaked and showed that banned sites go far beyond kid porn or violence. The list included links to poker sites, YouTube, gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia, euthanasia sites, fringe religions, fetish sites, Christian sites, a tour operator and a Queensland dentist.

Let me get something straight before I continue. It is important to protect kids from creepy pedophiles and whackos. Last time I looked though, this was the job of parents and family (like this). When I was growing up, there was no Internet but there was “stranger danger”, there were pedophiles and whackos. I was warned not to get in a car with strangers or talk to strangers. Okay, so the Internet makes it easier for kids to innocently connect with whackos or for whackos to seek them out. But IMHO the job of parents is to “police” kids’ access to the internet and instil common sense into kids. So why isn’t the Clean Feed scheme an opt-in one – parents can choose to participate in the Government’s internet censorship if they wish. Also, I think the Government might find that pedophiles and creepy types tend to hang out in chat rooms and conduct conversations via Skype or email – will these be blocked as well?

I have some real fears about this internet censorship proposal. Firstly, who the heck will make the decision to block a site? We live under the Rule of Law in Australia (well, maybe no more) – so shouldn’t the judicial system make the decision to block a site rather than some petty, invisible public servant? Then I ask: has the electorate been consulted on this, you know, the AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE?? Will the blocking and filtering slow down our access to the Internet (what little we are allowed to access that is)? I read somewhere that it could slow down internet access by as much as 87%.

I’d also ask: what exactly does “inappropriate” mean? Is it inappropriate to have access to sites on euthanasia for example? The invisible bureaucrat might consider it inappropriate and whack it on the banned list but you or I might consider that it is our democratic right to have access to material on euthanasia. Whether we read it or not isn’t the issue.

Will a blog that questions the cost or effectiveness of the clean feed be blocked? Will I  get access to material on Christian Science? My dad was a Christian Scientist and my grandmother was a CS practitioner. Some people believe CS is a cult and since the leaked list of banned sites referred to “fringe religions”, does this mean CS sites will be blocked?  I don’t practise CS and I very rarely read anything on Christian Science but it is my right to have access to this material should I choose. It is not for some nanny state to tell me what I can and can’t follow in the way of religion.

I am a taxpayer in Australia (and I pay high taxes let me tell you). I have a right to know the following:

  • why hasn’t there been transparency around the year-long tests being conducted with ISPs, particularly around the results?
  • what is the exact mechanism for filtering – by keyword, by URL?
  • will chat rooms (where I believe whackos tend to hang out) also be banned? what about Skype or email?
  • why is the proposed banned list secret squirrel?
  • why hasn’t Stephen Conroy (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy) engaged in true debate on this issue of censorship? I’ve seen him on TV, hitting back at his critics by calling them defenders of child pornography and carrying on about how internet censorship will help protect the children. This is a simplistic defense because the proposed clean feed has serious implications around press freedom and for ISPs (consider this as an example: an ISP’s filter doesn’t work and some creepy dude indulges in some kiddy porn or abuse. Will the ISP be held legally responsible or charged along with the creepy dude?)
  • what is the cost of this censorship? I have read it’s AU$44 million. And how easy do you think this filtering system will be to bypass?
  • have you thought about how industry will react (considering no doubt that many legitimate websites will be caught up in this whacko filtering scheme). Will Australia continue to be competitive, innovative?
  • Conroy might want to remember this name: Tom Wood. Wood was the 16 year old who, in 2007, took just 30 minutes to hack into Australia’s $84 million porn filter. Kids who have grown up with the internet will devise ways to get around a clean feed, I would bet on it.
  • and lastly, I would ask our Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to spend some time reflecting on the meaning of democracy and answer this question: Is internet censorship compatible with democracy?

Meanwhile, please sign the petition against the censorship scheme. Even Google (who you know I rant about from time to time) has expressed its concern over the Australian Government’s plans to introduce a mandatory filtering regime for Internet Service Providers saying the scheme would be “.. the first of its kind amongst western democracies”.  And Reporters Without Borders has written an open letter to Rudd, which you can read here.

This is simply an embarrassment for Australia. I am hoping the Australian people will challenge this mandatory scheme but I fear that our apolitical nature (along with our preference for only ever getting worked up into a lather over sport) will mean in 2010 Australia will have its very own Berlin Wall. RIP Australian democracy.

December 24, 2009 at 12:31 am Leave a comment

Bus karaoke

Imagine my fear Dear Reader. Here I am in Taiwan, invited to attend a study meeting on KM measurement (I’ll blog on the meeting later this week). Nineteen Asian countries participating with me as “technical expert”.

Every day, the participants and I were taken by bus about one hour out of Taipei to the venue. Then on Thursday, we all went on a “field trip” to a leading Taiwan company – to hear about their KM implementation. On the way to this company…on the bus….the representative from the Taiwan host company announced that we would have “bus karaoke”. Each participant was to sing a national folk song from their country.

I was paralysed with fear! My mind scrambled, thinking: does Australia even have a national folk song?  I came up with a crafty solution – being a New Zealander, I would say that I will do the Haka (now, THAT would have been something to watch. Me doing a traditional war dance). But I was listed as the “distinguished expert from Australia” so I had to come up with something Australian.

Then the host, Eugene, announced: “we will sing in alphabetical order”. OMG. Australia starts with A, that means I’m first. Beads of sweat were starting to trickle down my forehead (and it was only 16℃/60.8 ºF). Okay, so should I sing one of these iconic Aussie songs?

  • Down Under by Men at Work – I thought I could probably belt that out reasonably well but lacked the rhythmic accompaniment;
  • okay so what about Peter Allen’s I Still Call Australia Home? A good song, even used by Qantas but heck I don’t know the words to it;
  • so what about Eagle Rock by Daddy Cool. Looking around the bus at the young participants from Vietnam and Thailand, I doubted they had heard of this Aussie band from the dim, dark 1970s;
  • mmm….John Williamson’s True Blue? neh, hate that song;
  • how about Gangajang’s This is Australia (which I think is really titled Sounds of Then)? no hope of singing this one, no idea of the words;
  • anything John Farnham??
  • Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport by Rolf Harris?
  • could I possibly do a Jimmy Barnes and rock out Khe Sanh? nope, don’t have that gravelly voice.

Eugene starts to saunter down the aisle of the bus, microphone in hand, waving it towards me. Those beads of sweat were turning into huge rivers. My eyes must have looked wider than a deer with the headlights beaming on them. But Dear Reader, imagine my relief when Eugene by-passed me and went straight up to J for Japan (they did a fine rendition of Sukiyaki BTW). Then on to Philippines, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand (okay he wasn’t good with the alpha order).

I started to relax, thinking to myself that the “distinguished expert” was to be saved the humiliation of having to sing…what???? Then I heard mutterings: “Eugene, you forgot Australia”. I turned around to give that person the “death stare” but it was the very nice Indonesian man, smiling happily at me.

I was doomed Dear Reader. My number was up. Like a lamb to the slaughter, the dreaded microphone headed towards me, with the lovely host, Eugene, happily chirping: “oh, how could we forget Australia!” (wish you had Eugene). So in a flash, I decided I had only one hope: Waltzing Matilda. But what the heck are the words?

I don’t recall having to sing Waltzing Matilda since I was a primary teacher, haranguing the kids with music lessons. Is it: “once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong” and what the hell was he doing under the Coolibah tree??

Eugene handed over the microphone. Stalling for time, I stood up and went on about Australia being such a multi-cultural country that we don’t actually have a national folk song, so really….I can’t sing anything, sorry. That didn’t work because several of them shouted “sing Waltzing Matilda, we know that”. You do?  Excellent. I thought if they know it, they can sing and I’ll do a Britney and just mime the words.

That didn’t work either. They all looked at me eagerly, silently, awaiting the humiliation of the “distinguished expert” I guess. And then…..reaching back into the mists of time….I remembered the lyrics of Australia’s unofficial anthem. Deep breath. Swallow. And I belted it out. They stared at me. I remember thinking to myself: “If this ends up plastered all over YouTube, someone is going to die”. I finished. They clapped loudly and several asked if I was a professional singer. The Welsh genes finally came in handy 🙂

November 23, 2009 at 1:49 am 8 comments

Thankfully Aussies are good swimmers

My last post brought you rather depressing news about future water wars and food insecurity. Well, there’s more worrying news I’m afraid, especially if you’re an Aussie. No doubt you’ve heard about the latest climate change report that focuses on Australia: Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts. The report is now up on the Department of Climate Change’s website – go here.

If you can’t be bothered wading your way through this meaty report, I’ll give you the bad news:

  • Australia has become a coastal society. Around 85% of the population now live along the coastline and it is of immense economic, social and environmental importance to the nation;
  • all Australian state capital cities are located within the coastal zone;
  • airports, sea ports and almost a quarter of a million residential homes on Australia’s coastline are at risk of disappearing under rising sea levels by 2100, if climate change continues unchecked;
  • up to AU$63 billion of existing residential buildings are potentially at risk of inundation from a 1.1 metre sea-level rise;
  • 157,000 to 247,600 existing residential buildings will be at risk from sea inundation by 2100, under a sea-level rise scenario of 1.1m;
  • basically if you have a house along the coastline, you’re toast and will have real hassles selling;
  • the report offers 47 recommendations such as reviewing evacuation plans (yep, I’d get these plans ready fast) and overhauling building codes to ensure sturdier homes.

Basically dear Aussies, our number is up. Our beach way of life, lazying on the beach, swimming and surfing, golden sand squishing between the toes – all the stuff that makes up our national identity – is threatened by climate change. We’d all better adapt to living away from the coastline and get used to far hotter weather and wilder weather patterns. Insurance companies are already refusing to insure coastal homes and are now tallying up the potential costs (AU$150 billion and counting).

The cat fight I reckon will be over the big question: who’s going to pay? Will owners of beachfront homes get compensation from local councils or State governments? Have State and local authorities got it together yet? – what are their plans for protecting coastal areas and citizens, coastal buildings, public works etc? My bet is that State and local authorities will scramble to protect public buildings and fret over whether angry residents, with beachfront homes sliding into the sea due to soil erosion or inundation, will create public safety issues. They won’t give a toss about the thousands of home owners who will see the value of their expensive beach front homes go belly up. Call me cynical but that’s what I think will happen.

November 18, 2009 at 2:00 am 1 comment

Free 3 month subscription to CHOICE!!

So..you know I recently blogged and twittered about the CHOICE Lab tour and live-twittered the CHOICE Shonky awards – a glittering ceremony where awards were given out for shonky products and services. I had great fun twittering the event. Just in case you missed it, here are the winners and my photos taken at the awards are at the end of this post (I was concentrating on twittering, ergo the photos aren’t that great):

  • Plugging Stuff and Nonsense goes to Reegen Micro-Plug
  • Cheese-Fearing Surrender Monkey goes to Tiffany FP807 Food processor
  • Water at What Price?  goes to Chef’s Cupboard and Massel liquid stocks
  • Honey (Oat crisp), I shrunk the groceries goes to Uncle Toby Oat Crisp Honey cereal
  • Blinding us with dodgy science goes to L’Oréal Elvive
  • Profit Protection Insurance goes to the Credit protection insurance industry
  • Sky high surcharges goes to Qantas and Tiger Airways
  • Teleconfusication goes to Tel.pacific phone cards

Now to the really exciting stuff. CHOICE is GIVING AWAY A 3 MONTH FREE SUBSCRIPTION to CHOICE magazine to a lucky ThinkingShift reader!!! The competition is only open to AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS. Sad face. I know a lot of my readers are from the US. But to win it, you gotta be an Aussie living in Oz. So what do you have to do I hear you ask?

Check out the link above for the Shonky awards and the winners. The ThinkingShift competition is a slightly different twist – it’s the People’s CHOICE award for the all-time shonkiest product you’ve come across.  Leave a comment and tell me what that product was and why it was shonky, just like the Shonky winners above. I’ll select the winning entry and then contact you for details, so make sure you leave me an email address. CHOICE will then grab your details and send out your FREE 3-month membership. I’ll base my selection on what sounds like the most dodgiest, shonkiest, amazingly “What the?” product or service I’ve heard about in a long time.

So you gotta be in it to win it as they say. Competition open until Tuesday November 24th 6.00pm. Happy face!

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UPDATE: Congrats to Mandy who won the free subscription.

November 13, 2009 at 5:02 am 3 comments

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