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Student Muhammed Sheglabo signing up for jihad is alarming

February 23, 2015
Lately residents of this sunny, pleasant, and generally peaceful city have learned of a rather alarming development: We've produced our first jihadi. Student Muhammed Sheglabo has been seduced by dreams of glory in seeking an Islamic caliphate and headed off to fight for this cause in Iraq.

The whole phenomenon is as mad as it is wrong no matter where it occurs in Australia. But it seems doubly so when it happens over here in the mild west. You'd expect a city like Sydney to produce a few guys like this, after all. It has a much bigger, more radicalized and inward-looking Islamic population than this city has. If you're a non-Muslim of European descent in a place like Lakemba you're in the minority. Walking down those streets, it's like you're in another country. There's nowhere in Perth that has reached that level of cultural separatism yet.

Then there's the fact that he was an economics student at Murdoch University. Granted, this campus produces more than its fair share of lunatics. But they're mostly of the far left, warmist variety. Supporting the imposition of Sharia law through extreme violence has just never been their thing. 

While Sheglabo's economics education may well have been in the Keynesian mode and therefore completely wrong-headed, odds are he would still have managed to snare a decent gig upon graduation. So he had a secure future to look forward to in one of the world's most liveable cities. This was in marked contrast to most of his fellow Aussie IS recruits, the vast majority of whom were on the dole.

This just goes to show how effective Islamic State recruiters must be, not to mention how easily accessible their propaganda is. Sheglabo's fellow students must not only be upset, but completely mystified to think that the young bloke they sat next to in lectures has gone off to join a bunch of head hackers in the Middle East. He must have appeared to be part of this democratic, sophisticated, modern world. But it turns out that in own mind and heart he certainly was not. 

It's this deep sense of societal fracturing that is so disturbing. How the hell did it get to this point? 

Many factors are at play of course. But there's no doubt that something is deeply awry. And most sensible Aussies understand that. Needless to say, you're unlikely to find many of those in our ulta-PC mainstream media. Take this gargle on WA Today, for example. 

The reporter seeks to diminish the scale and significance of this young guy's misadventure by creating a scenario in which Sheglabo will most likely be far from any action. He'll probably be carrying a mop, not a gun, he says.

He cites as evidence for his claim his own experience in the Australian Army. Gawd! This just shows his inability to understand the issue at hand. Islamic State is a weaponized mob of pre-mediaeval barbarians running around beheading and immolating people at their whim. It's pointless trying to draw parallels with a conventional, civilized army. Clearly, all bets are off with this mob. 

Spectrum Apartments, corner Newcastle and Charles Streets

February 3, 2015
As well as being a bit obsessed with the old buildings in this city, I always keep an eye out for the new ones that have just popped up, or are on the way. The speed with which immense new structures are built here is quite dizzying.

You'll see a vacant block with a little sales office on it. Then the next time you go past it there'll be a gleaming five storey apartment block there!

The Spectrum Apartments are a case in point. Just went past the location on the weekend. Nothing there now, but i...
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Perth's old buildings interest me more as I age myself

February 2, 2015
Since returning from Sydney to live in my home town of Perth in 2010, I've become increasingly fascinated by a couple of things. Firstly, there's the rate of change in this city. It's amazing. It just keeps getting bigger and busier. The speed of transformation may have plateaued, but it's still pretty frantic. And there seems to be no end in sight. Such a contrast to when I was growing up, and even compared to when I lived here from 1998 until 2002 ... 

The other aspect of Perth that I really...
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Howard St in the CBD has some elegant old buildings

January 30, 2015
Sadly, many of Perth's grandest old buildings have been demolished over the years. Some of them remain, but they're usually quite isolated, being separated by many structures that have been created within the last fifty years or so. This is in contrast to Fremantle, which has done a better job of preserving its architectural past. 

In the CBD there are some sections where clusters of such buildings remain, however. One of these is Howard St, off St George's Terrace.

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The Forrest Place Information Kiosk is aesthetically pleasing

January 29, 2015
If you have been in the Murray St Mall recently, you're sure to have noticed the new information kiosk in Forrest Place. I think they've done a great job with it. It's unique, sleek and very modern looking. It offers a nice contrast to the grand old architecture surrounding it, but doesn't clash for some reason. 

It puts me in mind of a friendly space ship. I find it much more appealing than the green "artwork" nearby. Never liked that at all! Not only nicer to look at, but also more useful an...
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Cycle path near West Leederville Station risky for pedestrians

January 28, 2015
In recent years there has clearly been a national trend of cyclists demanding greater respect on our roads. This has provoked quite a backlash form drivers who consider them a nuisance. Cyclists are very organized and quite bolshie. They have no hesitation in making it known which areas they consider to be particularly dangerous to them.

The growing ranks of lycra clad pedal pushers on the nation's shared paths have annoyed many pedestrians also. This conflict has been quite intense here in P...
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Williamson's Motor House in Guildford Rd Maylands

January 28, 2015
As I get older myself, I tend to notice the older buildings around Perth. They were there when I was growing up. So they often bring back childhood memories.

Many of these buildings are in the city centre. But some are in the suburbs. Take Williamson's Motor House in Guildford Rd, Maylands, for example. When I was there a month or two ago, it looked like work was being done on it. Not sure if it's a viable business at the moment ...

In any case, it is certainly old enough to be listed with the ...
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Scarborough Beach set for further massive transformation

January 20, 2015
I just read about a massive new plan to revitalize Scarborough Beach. It's interesting that so many believe this facelift is needed, because the area has undergone such massive changes already. 

I used to go down to Scarborough Beach back in the seventies. It was always crowded on weekends, and there were heaps of cars in the carparks off the Esplanade there. But it was hardly built up.

The centre of activity was the fish and chips shop called Peter's by the Sea. I fondly recall playing games o...
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Fear of sharks is keeping West Aussies off the beach

January 19, 2015
I grew up in this city and was an avid swimmer and surfer in my youth. During my whole time in the ocean off Perth I don't think I ever saw a shark. And I certainly never fretted over an attack.

I'm a lot older now, of course. So beach-going is not nearly as appealing to me as it was in the past. (Actually, the only surfing I've done for years now has been on the internet!)

But on the rare occasions I have headed to the beach in recent years I've definitely been mindful of the risk of sharks an...
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Old Hole in the Wall Theatre site, Southport St, West Leederville

January 15, 2015
If you enjoy the performing arts and have lived in this city for several decades at least, then you'll remember the old Hole in the Wall Theatre in Southport St, West Leederville. That was its home from 1968 until 1984.

I saw several productions there when I was a kid including Long Day's Journey Into Night way back in 1977. I still recall it vividly and can even remember the name of the woman playing the lead. She was an accomplished local actress called Maggie Anketell.

I have walked down thi...
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