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Issue No. 147 09 August 2002  

A Call to Action
While there has been a lot of angst, anger and no shortage of tub-thumping over Simon Crean's push to cut union influence in the ALP, the end result of the Hawke-Wran review is that it is a call to action for unions to reclaim their party.


Interview: Save Our Souls
Labor's superannuation spokesman Nick Sherry expands on his recent discussion paper into the industry.

Unions: Rats With Wings
As the Cole Commission continues to sidestep safety, another Sydney building accident puts workers at risk this week, Jim Marr reports

Bad Boss: If The Boot Fits
Royal Commission favourite and S & B Industries top dog, Barbara Strong, carts off this week�s Bad Boss nomination.

History: Political Bower Birds
Rowan Cahill looks at a new resource detailing the fading history of the Communist Party of Australia

International: No More Business as Usual
Global unions are stepping up their campaign against corporate rip-offs

Corporate: The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism
Shann Turnbull outlines a new set of rules that should govern capital in the post-Enron environment

Industrial: Stiffed!
A backyard horror story has left funeral workers worrying about mooted changes to industry regulations, Jim Marr reports

Review: Prepare To Bend
If it�s a feel good flick that you want, Bend It Like Beckham is sure to satisfy on every level, writes Tara de Boehmler

Satire: Bush Boosts Sharemarket Confidence: Shares his Cocaine Stash
President Bush has rushed to re-establish confidence in the US market by distributing cocaine from his own Presidential stash to Wall Street.


 Mainstream Media Vacates IR

 Ten Click Walker 'Unfit for Work'

 Unions Push for Baby Nest

 Casino Workers Overtime Jackpot

 Abbott�s Task Force �Rank Hypocrisy�

 Shipping Policy Blamed for Reef Damage

 Dropping The Ball On Training

 Combet Pushes Consultative Vehicle

 Maternity Leave for Pacific Workers

 Hit List of Forced Closures

 Magistrate Endorses Health and Safety Rights

 Contracts a Thorn in Workers' Side

 Fringe Success for Workers� Pick

 Activists Notebook


Workers on Film
Last issue we asked you for your ideas on a union film script to match Ken Loach's The Navigators. Here are the best responses.

The Soapbox
Driving Together
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet argues that the Australian car industry needs a partnership between business and labour.

The Locker Room
Dogs And Underdogs
Phil Doyle explains why losers are half the equation in each and every sporting contest

Week in Review
Filfthy Rich and Claptrap
While Labor and the Democrats are tearing themselves to shreds, Little Lachie and Rich Ray address the main game �

Muddy Waters
It was a week when the Prime Minister washed his hands despite mounting evidence that the corporate world is out of control.

 Fraser No Workers' Hero
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Prepare To Bend

If it�s a feel good flick that you want, Bend It Like Beckham is sure to satisfy on every level, writes Tara de Boehmler


Gurinder Chadha's Bend It Like Beckham is a movie with the lot: soccer, soccer and more soccer. It also deals with forbidden romance, cultural collision, modernity versus tradition, and gaiety in every sense of the word.

Its lead character Jess (played by Parminder Nagra) has been raised by traditional Indian parents that are determined their children will continue to uphold the social and religious values of their ancestors, despite growing up in modern-day Britain. But it is how they measure Jess and her sister's success in this area that causes Jess the most angst.

Because Jess favours tracksuits and soccer matches over personal grooming and cooking, her parents worry that Jess will bring shame on their family and will never settle down with a "nice Indian boy". Yet the subplot following Jess' sister reveals how unreliable surface impressions can be. Because while Jess is achieving recognition for her amazing soccer prowess, it is her sister that can be found canoodling in cars with her boyfriend.

Yet even her sister's unconventional approach to finding true romance leads to personal fulfilment and, ultimately, the traditional Indian wedding of their family's dreams. These two modern girls do not always fit the narrow mold their parents expect but the love and respect they feel for their family and heritage is unfaltering.

Both are guilty of lying to their parents in order to live life on their own terms but as the movie progresses Jess realises that a life of lies will never allow her to sustain the happiness she feels on field.

It has come time for her to choose from two paths which her parents have painted as incompatible: her desire to play professional football and her parents wish for her to live a life preordained by ancient tradition.

But it is not just Jess' Indian relatives that are having difficulty dancing to the beat of a modern drum. Jess' best friend and team mate is having similar difficulties with her mother, who is convinced the girls' close friendship and apparent disinterest in boys means they must be embroiled in some sort of lesbian affair, namely a torrid one in her eyes.

It is not until she learns this is not the case that she reveals it would have been fine by her anyway. After all, her mother says that while watching a tennis game she had found herself "cheering for Martina Navratalova as loudly as the next person". She believes herself to be a truly modern mother.

Bend It Like Beckham shows that breaking with tradition does not have to mean a full rejection of family values and cultural heritage. It laughs at the masks people wear to hide their fear of the unknown and at the ignorance these same people must carefully maintain in order to reject outright anything that does not fit their version of reality.

It also shows the suffering this approach can bring onto others, while highlighting how much things change for the better as soon as the web of lies is lifted and the sunlight is finally able to permeate.

And thanks to its cheery feel-good storyline and great soccer moves Bend It Like Beckham is virtually guaranteed to get audience members out of the home or office and onto the soccer field where they belong.

Rating: four out of five stars (for services to soccer)


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