The Karmic Challenge – Week 19’s Bloodthirsty Pensioner Strikes Again!!

THE CHALLENGE. A man (Captain Savage).  A woman (Rose). A quest. To earn enough karmic points by Christmas to be reincarnated as Something Nice.  A Meerkat maybe?


Anything but a Boat Person, really.


I’ve been visiting old Mr L (he’s 93 and looks around 75, which is a testament to something!) for three weeks or so now, and every week we have something new to talk about.  On my last visit, we had this fascinating titbit of conversation.

Mr L: These refugees!  Crikey! Another boatload of ’em picked up today! (waves tabloid newspaper) Three hundred…god knows what!’

Rose: Yeah, there’ve been a few recently! (for those who don’t know, refugee boat arrivals are the topic most likely to give Australian red-necks an erection at the moment)

Mr L: Yeah…yer know I’ve got me own solution to that problem..bit unorthodox, but I reckon it’d stop the bloody boats!

Rose (cautiously): Oh yeah? What’s that then?

Mr L: I’d torpedo the bloody lot of them.  Blow them out of the water, that’s what I’d do. That’d stop the bloody boats!

So I suggested to Mr L that the number of refugees getting here on boats is STILL less than the number arriving by air (last year, it was 44%), that boat arrivals are more likely to be assessed as genuine refugees, and that boat AND air arrivals together are just 19% of Australia’s total humanitarian intake – so there’s no need for us to get our Speedos in a twist just yet.  Mr L (probably sensing that he’d been a little politically incorrect, though I didn’t read him any lectures) said ‘Oh yeah…well, could be, could be…’ and moved on to another subject.

What’s interesting about this exchange is not that some old people have xenophobic views (well, duh) but that Mr L in particular is so keen to send a boatload of women and kids, among others, to the bottom of the Pacific.

Considering that every time I’ve seen him so far he’s choked back tears as he’s told me about the heart-breaking slaughter of his Aussie mates by German stukas in the 2nd world war, and how terrible war is, and how we ought never to have another one, on any account… and THEN…

Torpedo the lot of ’em. ??? Makes you wonder if lack of empathy’s not just a disease of teenagers.

POINTS: I reckon 5 (for not decking him – no, just kidding).



  1. Rose, I think I should have given you 10 points for listening to war stories and showing such restraint. My dad was from the same generation and he used to irritate the heck out of me with the same kind of views, but I think he knew that too. CS

  2. I think it is wonderful you share your time with an older person…(I KNEW you were an all around good person with a great heart! caught ya!) Mr L sounds quite spunky! I agree his view ‘torpedo them all’ is harsh..maybe he just feels his home is being invaded or something…and he expresses it with anger…(yeah, I’m making excuses for him) I bet he ADORES you!

    1. I think he thinks I’m a bit too clever for my boots. Speaking of boots, he always notices my footwear ‘oh so you’re wearing PURPLE boots today’. The whole refugee thing here is about stock standard reactions, either ‘poor beknighted creatures, let’s let them all in and be kind to them!’ or ‘they’re swamping us – FIRE!!!!’. It’s not a very rational debate.

    2. Ps, White Lady, if I gave you the What Women Want Award (an award I made up for contributors to the Rose’s Ranch/Goddess Gate series) would you accept it? All you’d need to do is write a couple of paras (or more if you want) laying out your ultimate dream of female bliss – which Darla and I would reblog.????

      1. Sure. I won’t be as good as you two are but I’ll give it a shot if you want me to! If you could give me a few days to come up with something (I’m going out of town for a day or two and then work starts) but, I’d be honored.

  3. It seems to be a generation thing – my parents saw no problem in making racist remarks in front of ‘New Australians’ that horrified those of us who went to school with their kids. The post war influx seems to have felt like a continuation of the war, an invasion of another sort to them. They even took Italian lessons so they could eavesdrop on them – convinced they were talking about them. Doh! What is really sad is that we had some Italians in the house behind us – my parents hated them but when they retired to the country my parents finally realised how much they had missed from their food, culture etc.

    1. I agree, it is partly a generation thing. It’s a pity about your parents and their Italian neighbours. We had Italian neighbours too but we got on pretty well. My parents were vaguely anti-too-much-immigration but not racist about where the immigrants came from. Mr F, my 17 year old son, is a bit of the ‘blow the boats up’ persuasion – seems to be a left-wing/right-wing split thing. And Mr F wouldn’t hurt a fly, personally. Funny how people can advocate murder on a large scale while being very gentle as individuals.

  4. Of course, illegals are a hot button issue here in California, too. My question to you would be why should the tax paying people of a nation be forced to share their largess with people who have made no contribution to it whatsoever? For example – I pay taxes into my local schools every year so my children can have a better education yet I am forced to dilute the quality of that education by sharing it with people who don’t pay for it and, indeed, my taxes effectively pay to educate their children. How does the population of the accepting nation actually benefit from taking in these people? (the answer is we get our onions picked cheap, but that’s by the bye… 🙂 ) and would we be worse off not to?

    1. That’s two different questions, really. Boat people here aren’t illegal, they come under the refugee convention and about 95% upwards are assessed as genuine refugees. If/when they’re accepted (putting aside the question of how they come) they become Australians, get jobs, start businesses and contribute the same way other Australians do. But we also DO have illegals – they’re mostly British, for some reason, who come on a visitor visa and then just stay. The problem for the US seems to me to be much compounded because’re not an island and live next to a third world country. Of course people from that country are going to want to get into your country, I would if I were them. Plus the demand for drugs from US consumers means that Mexico’s a crime-ridden basket case. US employers offer them jobs presumably because they’re cheap – isn’t that the bottom line of the libertarian/republican argument? In any case, if I ran the US, my solution would be to legalise drugs, take the bottom of the Mexican (and US) crime market, and then help Mexico to raise living standards/governance so people don’t feel the need to emigrate.

      1. That is a well considered and logical response, but doesn’t address the emotional distrust of people from other cultures and races coming into the country (which is illogical really as almost all australians came here or are the result of immigration). I agree that ‘boat people’ aren’t really illegal immigrants, they are generally people with genuine refuge status, who will eventually be allowed to become citizens. The issue for me is the queue jumping aspect of boat people, that they use money to bribe their way in, and by doing so create a market or an economy for the people smugglers. So I’d argue that in a way they are actually illegal, due to the often corrupt and dangerous routes they choose to come via. To me the only real solution is to simply the routes in, let in more immigrants, and recognise that more people actually expands our economy rather than creating unemployment etc. CS

      2. Refugees aren’t illegal, full stop, because under the UN Refugee Convention it IS legal for refugees to enter another country without papers or visa to seek refuge. It’s worth reading this paper on it by the Parliamentary Library, who are pretty neutral. There is no queue, as such. There are refugee camps, where people can wait up to ten years or more to have their claims considered. Also I think people smugglers are ridiculously demonised. On one level they’re simply providing a service. If Jews in pre-war Germany paid someone to take them to a friendly country, would that make the person they paid a wicked ‘people smuggler’? I think the problem is more that it’s very dangerous for refugees to be travelling by boat, so we need to have offshore processing in somewhere relatively easy to reach, to deter them. AND we need to up the intake, and probably put a fair bit of effort into integration when they get here. Not so much ‘money’ as community effort – these people often come from wartorn places and don’t always have the habits of peace, maybe.

      3. Rose, I think you missed my point, I agree that the people smugglers are only meeting a demand, providing a service. The problem for me is that it is a dangerous service, and one that shouldn’t be necessary. I actually don’t care if it’s onshore, offshore or whatever processing, I just wish that asylum seekers were being processed in a timely fashion, not held for extended periods in what sometimes appear prison camp like conditions. We need people to come to Australia, we should be encouraging them, facilitating them. Unfortunately we have allowed the minority pressure groups to hijack the debate, to demonise people, because its easy to score political points by doing so. What I meant about queue jumping is that there shouldn’t be a queue, there should be no need for risky boat trips. We should be putting on discount air flights, arrange safe boat passage, and dealing instead with the far bigger problem of people with legitimate visas who overstay, something that I think you agree is a bigger problem than so called ‘boat people’.

        I totally agree that integration is a real issue, we shouldn’t be allowing the creation of racial ghettos. My parent’s old home suburb is a good example, it is now flooded with people of one ethnic group, one religion, and is suffering huge issues with crime. There appears to be no assistance or encouragement of any form of integration. Where once there was a peaceful surburban neighbourhood there are now countless driveby shootings, muggings, theft, violence, and ethnic hatred. My own grandmother was beaten on her way home from her hairdresser, had all her money stolen and left in the gutter. That was the reasons my parents moved gran to live in our home town. It was a shame as she had lived in the same house for over 50 years (she died when she was 94). CS

      4. Moi! Missed your point??? Surely not! (just kidding, CS) Well, it seems we agree totally. Oh dear, how boring! Yeah, it’s awful in the western suburbs now, reportedly. I don’t know if it’s ethnic youth, or whether it’s the ghettoed poor just letting out their frustrations and boredom. Both, perhaps.

    1. Don’t make it too easy for me! I hope he did reconsider a bit – not that I really know much about the issue, actually – any of my sisters could have delivered a better lecture.

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