Sarah Britten

Starbucks, immigration and national identity

The news last week that Starbucks was to close 61 of its Australian stores with immediate effect — leaving just 23 stores in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane — was greeted with considerable interest beyond the business pages. The American interloper taught a lesson about what it takes to succeed in the land down under: this…

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Where the bloody hell is my credit card?

These bloody Australians won’t give me a credit card. I am most aggrieved. Last week, I applied again, online, on the off chance, and got an automated rejection with the reassurance that the bank would explain all in a letter to follow. Last week the promised letter arrived (it cast no light on the reason…

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The affirmative-action Kevin Bacon game

Back in the 1990s, the internet phenomenon du jour, the lolcat or Rickrolling of its day, was the Kevin Bacon game. Invented by a pair of college students, it was based on the premise of six degrees of separation: Kevin Bacon could be linked to anyone in Hollywood on the basis of films in which…

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New Zealand exacts revenge on Australia

In a week in which New Zealanders are still smarting from the defeat of the All Blacks in the Bledisloe Cup (during which a South African referee officiated), they do get to at least enjoy something approaching revenge. The Gruen Transfer is a popular TV show about advertising, featured, somewhat ironically, on the entirely ad-free…

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South African criminals have so much to teach the world

This weekend, news in Australia was enlivened by

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Where are the limits to free speech?

Jon Qwelane and Richard Catto have at least three things in common. For a start, they’re great at generating insults. So I’m quite fond of both of them from a purely selfish point of view; the more material the merrier. Secondly, they’re both good at pissing people off, and thirdly, neither of them sets much…

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Now here’s something I don’t miss about South Africa

Those readers who always keep a spare pair of undies handy, should they find it necessary to get their knickers in a knot, will no doubt find this post deliciously offensive. I want to state at the outset that this is not an argument, or a justification, or an excuse. It is merely an observation,…

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South Africa’s best PR resource

Living outside of South Africa and reading the local media, it’s always interesting to see what kind of coverage we get. Not a whole lot of news about South Africa reaches Australia; that much is obvious. The only time South African news did make it into the headlines was during the xenophobic violence that wracked…

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When your cellphone stops being your lifeline

I don’t know how meaningful this is. Perhaps it’s Freudian. But these days, I’ve started to forget an item that, back in South Africa, I was seldom — if ever — without. This morning, for instance, I switched on my cellphone after pressing the snooze button for the umpteenth time, and put it out ready…

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Thou shalt not be annoying, or: The pope is in town!

Travelling around Sydney promises to be fun, fun, fun this week. Half the roads in the CBD are being closed to traffic, bus services are being rescheduled and trains will be heaving with the sweaty bodies of both bad-tempered commuters and young Catholics fired with religious fervour. Yes, the pope is in town for World…

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