Canberra seems to have been a busy little place overnight.
I’m hearing unconfirmed reports of an explosion in a toilet in one of the nightclubs (Update: I’m now hearing that it was inside Meche Nightclub) on Northbourne Avenue injuring one person. My sources say it was a small bomb. There are multiple fire brigade units including Hazmat on the scene.
Up on Antill Street in Dickson there were two single vehicle accidents within the last couple of hours, both of which happened around the same time. Firstly, a car took out one of the traffic lights at the corner of Cowper Street, and then up the road near the Phillip Avenue roundabout another car took out a tree (or part thereof, it’s hard to tell). Both cars had to be towed. I have no information on the state of the occupants.
There was also an explosion in a house in Isabella Plains around 7pm. An aerosol can exploded when it was left near a stove. Two men were taken to hospital, one with burns and the other for smoke inhalation.
Update: The police have issued a press release saying that they shot a man who tried to attack them with a knife and a meat cleaver in Wanniassa around 5am. It certainly was a busy night last night. End Update
I remember my canteen lunches very well. They were very systematic. Usually the way it would work is that I would have a home-made lunch one day and a canteen lunch on the next day, and it would continue to alternate in this way. My lunch order would be placed on the front of a brown paper bag and the money for the lunch would be in the bag, and I would fold the bag in to thirds both lengthways and sideways so that it could be folded and taped up securely, and the lunch that I was ordering would be readable on the front of the bag without needing to unfold it.
During primary school, the menu was a selection of rolls and sandwiches, with certain hot foods being available depending on the day of the week, and I printed up a set of labels for my selections for various days so that I didn’t have to write out my order each day. I remember that on Fridays in my final year the hot food of the day was crumbed fish with potato gems and tomato sauce. My favourite hot food from the canteen during high school was baked potato with sour cream, cheese, chives and bolognese sauce. It was delicious, but sadly it wasn’t very popular so it was only available for a little while.
And during college, the canteen was run by two of your listeners who made lovely coffees. If I got to college early enough in the morning, I’d get a coffee and a donut from the canteen and listen to Mike Jeffreys or Lawsie for a while. The names of the manager and manageress escape me, and I’m sorry for that, but if I may, could I please say hello to the now retired manager and manageress of the Dickson College canteen. They are lovely people.
I have to challenge the assertion by the road safety expert you had on, that road deaths are treated less seriously than deaths in workplaces and that every death in a workplace is vigorously investigated. It really depends on the industry.
In construction, almost every fall becomes headline news and gets investigated by workcover, however in other industries it is different. For example, I’m aware of at least half a dozen deaths of electricians through electrocution in the last few years in Canberra alone, and none of those received media coverage or more than a brief investigation due to the nature of the work. By comparison, road deaths get investigated by teams of police and receive media coverage.
Your guest also said that we should never accept that road deaths are unavoidable. I disagree. Road travel is inherently dangerous and we will inevitably have road deaths, even if computers completely take over the act of driving. We can reduce the likelihood of deaths, but I’m afraid there will always be some deaths on the roads.
Notice: this post contains mild coarse language. Normally this blog doesn’t, but given the story in question, it is necessary in order to provide context
That beat up last night was an utter disgrace and has done nothing but drag the family of fallen soldier Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney through the media spotlight all over again for no good reason.
Mark Riley, as a political reporter, could probably have found any number of legitimate reasons to criticise Tony Abbott for various things, but instead he has taken a comment that Tony made about the circumstances surrounding the death of this particular soldier, so far out of context that he has made it look callous.
Mark Riley’s version of events is that Tony Abbott’s response to the tragic death of a soldier was “shit happens”. Mark Riley is wrong, and he knows it because he has the video of the full exchange and chose not to show the few seconds before and after.
The footage shows Mr Abbott discussing a gunfight that occurred in August last year that claimed the life of Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney.
The Liberal leader is talking in Tarin Kowt six weeks later with the commander of Australia’s Middle East forces, John Cantwell, and US commander Jim Creighton.
Colonel Creighton says of the digger’s death: “Was it tragic? Absolutely. But we’re all in the knowledge that all the stuff (firepower support) you see here and more was available on the day.”
In response, Mr Abbott says: “It’s pretty obvious that, well, sometimes shit happens, doesn’t it.”
Immediately, Major General Cantwell replies: “It certainly does, yeah.”
(h/t Julian Drape for The Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Associated Press)
The context here is obvious. Tony Abbott was not commenting on the death itself, but on the circumstances which led to the death. He went to Tarin Kowt to find out more about the circumstances which led to the death from the people who were there, amidst claims that the soldiers on the ground lacked the necessary fire power to defend themselves.
Tony’s comment is clearly an acknowledgement that, despite the best efforts of our soldiers, occasionally they will be injured or killed in a war zone. It’s not a nice thing, but when it happens, our duty then becomes to fall behind the soldier and the family of the soldier in providing our full support.
There was nothing callous or disrespectful about what Tony Abbott said. This becomes even more obvious when you understand the setting.
Tony was in Tarin Kowt without journalists in the room. A defence cameraman was there to capture his visit. Under the circumstances, Tony probably didn’t see a need to be guarded in his responses because the media weren’t there to take him out of context. He was being frank and honest in his dealings with our troops.
If he did anything wrong, it was that he treated a Defence camera as if it didn’t belong to the media, although even then I think Tony had a reasonable expectation that his words wouldn’t be taken as far out of context as they were, especially given the sensitive subject matter.
There is a general code of decency which I suppose comes down to personal ethics among journalists, which says that you don’t score political points or grab a headline at the expense of a fallen soldier’s family…alas that is what Mark Riley did. This whole circus, started by Riley, has put the family back in the spotlight.
What Mark Riley hoped to achieve is beyond me. Whilst it is perfectly reasonable for him to lodge a Freedom Of Information request to get a copy of the video, he should have seen that there was no honest story in it when he received it after four months. Sadly what I suspect happened here is that, Riley, deprived of on-air time during the flood and cyclone crises, saw an opportunity to make a headline for himself. If I was one of the many news anchors across the country for whom Riley wrote an intro script for his report claiming that Tony Abbott had been “caught on tape making an insensitive remark about one of our fallen soldiers” then I would be very angry with Riley for misleading me and writing a blatant falsehood for me to read.
The poor family, who have been caught up in all of this, have been gracious about it which is commendable…if I were them, I’d be screaming loudly at Seven News and Mark Riley. The family have said that they know that Tony Abbott was taken out of context. From the Sydney Morning Herald article linked above:
Lance Corporal MacKinney’s widow later thanked Mr Abbott for calling her to discuss the issue.
“Tony and I spoke at length and I fully accept that he was quoted out of context in the television news,” Ms MacKinney said in a statement.
“As far as we, Jared’s family, are concerned there is no issue, the matter is over, and we will be making no further comment.”
I will also commend the opposition here for not entering the fray. They have stayed right out of this mess and have not attempted to score political points from it. Clearly they recognise that Seven News took Tony Abbott out of context and that it would be wrong to further extend the pain of the MacKinney family by fanning the flames.
One thing which makes me very sad is that Mark Riley knows that he took the comment out of context, and should surely know, given the media circus which has followed his report, that he was wrong to take the comment out of context. But no, Mark Riley is giving interviews today defending his stance. He should be apologising instead of gloating…but then again, I have come to expect this type of gutter journalism from Riley who always seems to be much more interested in finding a joke in the day’s events than in actual reporting.
Being taken out of context is a part of political life, and Tony Abbott like all seasoned politicians, is used to that, but even he was taken aback by the viciousness and dishonesty of the attack from Mark Riley yesterday, a fact which is evidenced by his speechless reaction. It really looked to me as if Tony was trying to not explode in anger at Mark Riley…and I do have to wonder if Tony getting angry was Mark Riley’s ultimate aim.
Mark Riley’s act was despicable, enough said. I’ll leave the last word to Tony Abbott who spoke, somewhat reluctantly, to 2GB’s Alan Jones this morning about the issue. Just before I hand over to Alan and Tony though, it was interesting to hear Alan say “shit happens” when newsreaders on his station had been saying “a colloquial expression for stuff happens”.
I’m not normally a fan of the show “Top Gear” however tonight’s episode on the Nine Network will be well worth watching. In it, the two hosts (whose names escape me) travel to Iraq and kit up in full body armour, expecting it to be the most dangerous place on earth as per the general narrative in the media. After a while they realise that it is actually quite safe and declare it to be safer than some place in England.
More proof that we are doing much more good than harm in that country and should stay the course.
This dream took place in St. George Bank’s civic branch and started off over at a counter on the row of counters directly opposite the front door of the branch. I was standing at the 2nd counter from the left edge and corner of the counters.
For some reason I was having multiple bank cards weighed. The teller kept weighing the various cards (I counted five of them), writing notes about each one and seemed to be quite concerned. They “hmmmm”ed over a few cards for a while before bringing a few other tellers over who had much the same reaction. Eventually the teller brought three of the cards back to me and announced “it should be fixed now, the 11th vertex of the obligation was not fulfilled in an expected manner so we have removed the 12th and added an extra 10th, and we can add Candex Proton if it happens again”.
I thanked the teller, took my cards and then sat down where I was on the customer side of the counter, where a computer terminal popped up facing me and I started doing my day job, despite the fact that I was not at work. A person was also working two counters to my right.
A few moments later a rather loud and obnoxious woman who was noticeably overweight walked in and proclaimed rather loudly that she was from a charity and therefore her bags of coins should be weighed first as she had to take the money back to the store. She was also flailing her arms about quite a lot, making an awful racket with the three small bags of coins which she was carrying.
The noise was making it quite difficult to work, and was annoying me, the other person who was working and all of the bank staff who were busy fixing vertices on other bank cards. The woman kept getting louder and louder until eventually the manager came over with some scales and weighed the woman. Happy Dragon then came out from his office with a “vertex-adjusted bank card” and a few ten dollar notes, which he gave to her in exchange for the coins. Happy Dragon then took the coins back to his office, while the woman sat down with the manager in the middle of the bank and ate her lunch, and the dream ended.
Yesterday I mentioned that I had an idea for a video podcast. Today I present the first episode. The basic premise is that every now and then, when I’m on the road and having an opinion on one thing or another for you, I’ll record it and share it with you. I don’t know how regular it will be at this stage, and I’ll see what I can do about reducing the file size (255 MB for ten minutes of video might be acceptable in some fields, but it seems a bit over the top here, thankfully the YouTube version shouldn’t take anywhere near as much bandwidth).
Today’s episode is about something which would be a direct threat to this video podcast, the proposal to ban all mobile phone use in cars. In today’s episode I explain why the idea is both bad an illogical, and the likely bans on other activities in cars and on the footpath which will follow if this ban becomes law.
If you want to download the video, it’s available by clicking here.
You touched on the proposal to ban all phone use by drivers in cars and other vehicles. I think this is just crazy…I do not buy for one moment this notion that using a handsfree phone is just as dangerous as using a handheld one. I don’t see it as being any more dangerous than having a conversation with someone else in the vehicle.
From all of the “experts” that I’ve heard on this subject, it seems that they think the act of listening, rather than the act of talking is the problem here, so should we ban conversations in cars as well? And what about talk radio? There was a study in the US last year which claimed that listening to an engaging sport commentary was just as dangerous as talking on a handheld phone…I don’t believe the study, but I don’t make the laws…I can however see that being extended to listening to blokes like you.
I can see this rapidly deteriorating in to total control over what you can and can’t listen to in the car or on the footpath…and the driver/phone and pedestrian/ipod bans are just the start.
One final question though…if using a handsfree phone while driving is dangerous, why isn’t using an ipod while driving just as dangerous. It’s perfectly legal, headphones and all.
7Two’s Saturday night screenings of the Inspector Morse series are rating very well, a good sign for the longevity of a series.
Last night Inspector Morse helped Seven to win the night for both secondary channels and the network overall. The Seven Network of stations won the night with 31.5% of the audience, well ahead of nearest rival Nine on 21.7% overall. In the secondary channels, 7Two won the night with 6.3% of the audience, followed by 7Mate on 3.5%, with the nearest rivals being Nine’s Go! (3.2%) and Ten’s Eleven (3.1%).
7Two had the top two shows of the secondary channels in Heartbeat (280,000 viewers nationally, 22nd in overall ratings) and Inspector Morse (246,000 viewers nationally, 28th in overall ratings) ahead of nearest secondary channel shows Peppa Pig (whatever that may be, 210,000 viewers nationally, 32nd in overall ratings) and Air Crash Investigations (which was a great episode last night, 174,000 viewers nationally) 37th in overall ratings.
Ratings, as far as I can tell, are for the capital city markets and don’t include those of us in the “regional” areas like Canberra, but then again regional areas don’t tend to have control over programming.
And just for a change, it’s happening on a Sunday (can you tell that I don’t have to work today?). To start with today, some happenings in the media.
(image credit: Radio 2UE/Fairfax)
2UE’s new lineup starts tomorrow. To be fair, most (all?) of the new lineup is already on air, so perhaps its really the relaunch which happens tomorrow, apparently complete with new station imaging. The highlight of the relaunch for me is that Jason Morrison will be the new breakfast host. It’s a tough gig, what with the AM dial being dominated by Alan Jones and the FM dial being dominated by (albeit with less listeners than Alan) Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O, but if anyone can pull it off, I expect that it would be Jason as he was more than capable of increasing Alan’s ratings when he filled in for him a number of times.
The real question for both Jason’s new show and the station overall is whether people will make the switch. I suspect that they might, but it will be a matter of patience. I’d rate the chances of the relaunch being successful as higher than Channel Ten’s new news offering attracting a half-decent audience…actually I think the new lineup is a viable alternative to 2GB, but much like Seven News had to wait for Brian Henderson to retire back when Brian Henderson was anchoring Nine News, I think 2UE will need to wait for Alan Jones to retire, which probably makes now a good time to build a viable alternative.
There is one other highlight for me. John Stanley will be hosting a weekend breakfast program (I can think of one person who will be sending me an abusive email after those two sentences, but do please hear me out before you send that email). I have long bemoaned the lack of news/talk programming in the breakfast hours on weekend radio. Hopefully this is the start of a wider shift in that direction among talk stations. The gardening shows are fine as a genre, but they really don’t need to be on every single station. (Now you can send that abusive email…and you gardening show enthusiasts can join in on the action)
I also note that Trevor Long has made the move to 2UE and will have a segment on Tim Webster’s weekend afternoon show (which looks set to be much like his weekday show was, just without the news-based content…Tim’s show is more suitable for the weekend than the weekdays, so good luck to him, although I can’t forgive the station for dropping Clive Robertson in favour of Tim Webster). This, and the fact that The C Team’s website has gone in to a holding pattern, indicates to me that they’ve split for now. This is a shame, but it will be great to have an hour of Trevor talking about technology again.
Over at Channel Seven, speculation that Larry Emdur was about to split for his former station of Channel Nine have been quashed today, with The Sunday Herald Sun reporting that Larry has signed an $800,000 per year contract with Seven.
TELEVISION’S first wage war after the global financial crisis is set to erupt after game show and morning television host Larry Emdur re-signed with Channel 7 on a deal worth well in excess of $800,000 a year.
The new contract stops the popular The Morning Show co-host from defecting to rival Channel 9. It is expected to put pressure on TV executives to bump up salaries for other top-line on-air talent.
Emdur, 46, is now in the same pay bracket as stars including Sunrise host David Koch, A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw and The X Factor judge Kyle Sandilands.
The Sunday Herald Sun understands Emdur’s contract includes continuing his The Morning Show co-host duties with Kylie Gillies.
[Seven] refused to discuss details of Emdur’s new contract.
(h/t Richard Clune, The Sunday Herald Sun)
This pleases me greatly. I’m not a big fan of The Morning Show, but Larry does have great on-air chemistry with Kylie Gillies and the two do make the show quite watchable. Larry has also proved himself to be very capable of anchoring serious news coverage, as evidenced during the recent Queensland floods and various political happenings such as the day that Julia Gillard called the election or the day that she took over as Labor leader (or was Sunrise extended that day? I don’t remember which show was on when that happened any more). I would expect that he will be required to do more work now that he is being paid more, so hopefully this includes a bigger role in news coverage…or perhaps Seven can take up my idea of having Wheel Of Fortune as a part of The Morning Show, with contestants being plucked at random from outside the Martin Place studios and the infomercial products being given away as prizes.
I’ve always liked Larry as a game show host, but his recent versatility has really impressed me. He also never fails to entertain me. He had a couple rather funny moments this week, so if you’re looking for a laugh, here they are.
And as evidenced in that last video, Larry now has a dog (or as I would contend, a dog now has Larry)…congratulations Larry, I’m really happy for you…and trust me when I tell you that the dog not only knows that you’re getting a payrise, but now owns part of that payrise (in addition to your house which it took ownership of the other day in a convenient arrangement where you pay all of the bills). Really though, you’ll be very happy, dogs are great. I wish you lots of happiness.
Still in Sydney and the soap opera of the New South Wales Labor Government continues, with Kristina Keneally (to my Las Vegas friends…what the heck did we do to deserve this woman? Can’t you take her back?) today deciding that her best chance at deluding convincing people that they really should vote for her and her utterly abysmal and disastrous failure of a government wonderful team of merry clowns and circus acts is by apologising. Kevin Rudd apologised once and it worked really well for him…he didn’t even get to face the next election as party leader…maybe this is Kristina’s way of getting ousted in one of New South Wales Labor’s regular leader rotations so that she doesn’t get the blame when they lose.
A desperate Kristina Keneally will say ”sorry” to NSW voters for her government letting them down.
The Premier will issue the blanket apology in Labor’s first commercial of the election campaign, to be aired across all TV networks for three days from tonight.
But even Labor elder Bob Hawke has conceded the party would not win the election and would be foolish to believe it could, according to an ABC report.
”It’s difficult to admit mistakes, especially when you’re the Premier,” Ms Keneally begins in a piece to camera. ”But I understand the government was too focused on itself and not focused enough on you. It went off-track and I am sorry.”
The final part of the advertisement introduces what will be Labor’s pitch to the electorate: a ”law” to ”ease the pressure on household budgets”.
Hmmm, a law to keep costs down. Sounds like government interference in the private market to me…and with this government’s track record of making bigger and bigger messes between their episodes of soap opera drama (which Kristina is apologising for), what makes her think the people of New South Wales want her government to be more involved in their daily lives? It sounds to me as if she is apologising for her government’s involvement in one breath, and promising more of it in the next.
Bring on March 26, and bring on Barry O’Farrell as the new Premier!
Over in the US, reckless spending and reckless government involvement in the economy and in particular health care is the subject of the Republican’s Weekly Address, delivered this week by Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. Keep an ear out for the subtle but effective dig at the Obama administration’s bizarre use of the word “investment” instead of “spending” in recent weeks.
Elsewhere in the states, erstwhile talk radio host Heather Kydd launched her blog this week, cleverly titled “I Kydd You Not”. Well worth a read, and I’ll be adding it to my regular reading list. http://kyddyounot.blogspot.com/
I see that Heather has listed herself as a “former radio host”. Well, this blog thing is great, but I hope that the “former” doesn’t stay in her bio for long.
I suppose I should address the situation in Egypt. It’s hard to know which side to support in this. On the one hand a decent proportion of Egyptians seem to want President Hosni Mubarak to step down, and it is their country and democracy is a good thing, but on the other hand Hosni Mubarak is a good ally, and we’d have no hope of either democracy in Egypt or security for our friends in Israel if the Muslim Brotherhood take over in Egypt, a prospect which is alarmingly likely.
The country has reached a good compromise position a few days ago. Hosni Mubarak agreed to not run at the next election. Now if the aim is to get him out of power and to democratically elect someone else, this should be enough, but the protests have continued and Hosni Mubarak’s entire government has quit, Mubarak excluded. This still doesn’t seem to be enough for the protesters, which makes me wonder about their real intentions and the likelihood that the continuation of the protests is being fuelled by the Muslim Brotherhood who would, if given the chance, implement a murderous regime under Shariah Law. (h/t Jim Ball for the link to the article from the Centre For Security Policy)
It has also been interesting to watch the mainstream media refer to Hosni Mubarak’s administration as a “regime” with all of the negative connotations that go with the word. It’s clear what side they’re on, but if this continues and Egypt completely destabilises and collapses in to complete chaos or a real dictatorship (Mubarak’s administration is corrupt and overbearing, but does not qualify as a real dictatorship), will the mainstream media own up to their role in urging it on and accept the guilt which follows? No, I didn’t think so.
My stance on Egypt’s current turmoil is simple. Hosni Mubarak has agreed to step down at the next election in September. At worst, this should be allowed to play out. At best, the election should happen sooner depending on the government’s ability to set up an election at short notice. As much as I would love to be able to say that external governments (the U.S. in particular, but definitely not the U.N.) should help out with setting up the election if requested, I can’t suggest that as the only thing this will cause is allegations of corruption from the losing side.
Continued violence and unrest indicates to me that the protests are being fuelled by undesirable elements that are using the anti-Mubarak angst to achieve their own ends, and I guarantee you that those ends are entirely unhelpful and potentially dangerous to us here in Australia and other western countries.
Finally, I joined the iPhone revolution this week. Why did I do this when I have previously refused on the grounds that I don’t really want to be THAT connected (a funny stance for somebody who had to defend his stance on the iPhone being “revolutionary” when it was first announced), and that my existing phone was more than sufficient for my (minuscule) calling and texting needs? Well, of my old Nokia with the monochrome green display, this was perfectly true, but it was stolen and has not been recovered (and to be honest, I had further evidence about the theft which the police were not remotely interested in receiving).
After going without a phone for a couple months (it was a nice break) I bought a cheap slightly more modern Nokia. Alas its battery life is pretty awful, something which I attribute partially to the fact that I work in an environment where mobile reception is patchy at best and the phone spends a lot of time searching for a mobile signal. I also use almost none of my phone credit each month, so it seems like a waste of money.
With the iPhone, I can justify a poor battery life (at least the phone will be doing something worth of poor battery life) and will take the place of my iPod, being charged in the car, which should alleviate battery problems. I also have some chance of making some use of my monthly data and call allowances from my minimum spend, making it less of a waste of money each month (this morning, for example, on my wee-hours-drive-because-I-couldn’t-sleep, I streamed a couple hours of Rush Limbaugh‘s archived Friday show)…and I can stream the Fox News Channel…I’m sold!
One other thing which occurred to me is an idea for a video podcast (no, I’m not going to call it a “vodcast”, silly word that it is) where I will intermittently rattle off some thoughts while I’m on the road. I did a test run yesterday which proved the viability of the idea, a frame of which, shot while I was going through the Parliament House tunnel, is below.
Oh, and I reinstalled Gimp recently, so I can now save PNG image files once again, something which I haven’t been able to do since the capability somehow broke some time back on my laptop and I only just got around to fixing it. This makes probably little or no difference to you, and maybe I should have held it over as useless information, but I have something else lined up for that this week.
It was wonderful to hear Stan singing not long ago. I always look forward to hearing Stan sing songs for you…and do you know who I miss hearing? Billy The Kid…some of his singing was a bit odd at times, but always entertaining.
I'm sorry that I couldn't make it to your lunch on Friday. I had the day off from work but finished lateish on Thursday night and had many things to do on Friday. Maybe next time. It's been a while since I managed to get to one of your lunches, so I'll have to try to get to one of them this year. I hope that the hot weather didn't detract from the lunch.
And I was very interested to hear you mention that it's Kevin Whately's birthday today. I was watching him in Inspector Morse last night. In fact there were a couple other great actors in the show last night. Roberta Taylor (Inspector Gina Gold from The Bill) and Nicholas Bell who has been in all sorts of Australian shows. My favourite role of his was as the assistant to the Olympics Minister in "The Games". Did you know that John Clarke and Gina Riley from The Games have been commissioned to produce a British version in the lead-up to the London olympics? It will be on Channel Nine at some stage.
I’m very glad that you’ve brought back the generic readings and psycho predictions this week. I laughed all the way through it last week. It reminds me of the crazy woman at the other place, except that you’re much much MUCH more interesting and entertaining.
Have a wonderful week Glenn. I see televisions in your future on days starting with M, T, W & F.
An email to MTR 1377′s Steve Price and Andrew Bolt
Hello Steve and Andrew,
Regarding your discussion on today’s show about learning a second language at school, I have to agree with you based on my own experience.
From Kindergarten through until Year 6 at my primary school in Canberra I was taught Japanese (both culture and language) and by the end of it I was no closer to speaking Japanese fluently than I was when I started, despite the ACT government flying in Japanese women to act as assistant teachers every year.
By the end of it, I was able to count to ten in Japanese, as well as pronounce a few letters of one of their alphabets, say half a dozen words and sing a song which the Japanese teacher made up.
In Year 7, when I had the choice of studying Japanese or French (we were allowed to drop languages in favour of other subjects from year 8 onwards), I stuck with Japanese as there seemed to be no point in changing. I passed the first test of the year as it was a revision of the last seven years of work, and then failed every other assessment item of the year except for one test where the teacher mistakenly gave me the answer sheet and didn’t recognise her handwriting when she marked it.
The whole experience was a giant waste of time which would have been better utilised studying history, a subject which seemed to be glossed over very quickly and with minimal detail.