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Byron Shire
October 4, 2023

Here & Now #36

Latest News

Cinema: The Creator

The Creator – against the backdrop of a war between humans and robots with artificial intelligence, a former soldier finds the secret weapon, a robot in the form of a young child.

Other News

Feros responds to Expression of Interest announcement

The announcement earlier today that the Minister for Crown Lands, Steve Kamper, started the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for Feros Village Byron Bay has drawn a response from the Feros Care board that still sees the facility in terms of a 'closure'. 

A moment in history

I wanted to express my feelings on this very important time in the history of the world. The Voice is...

Sustainable and regenerative farming

Aussie farmers are a particularly fine vintage. In fact, the average age of an Australian farmer is between 50 and 60 years old. This is the result of a number of interconnected social, economic and ecological challenges that typically inhibit the success of aspiring farmers. 

Editorial: It’s a done deal!

Congratulations to Council staff and Mayor Michael Lyon on convincing the NSW Labor government that Byron Shire is a unique place, and as such, it will now have a tailored holiday letting policy.

The Parrott:Baartz Project

On Saturday, Creative Mullum presents the Ingenuity Sculpture Festival with a grand opening featuring sculptures (of course), food, drinks and live music by the region’s most accomplished jazz quartet, The Parrott:Baartz Project. 

The ‘No’ vote

Giving Indigenous people a ‘Voice’ while simultaneously silencing Australians with the ‘Combating Misinformation and Disinformation’ Bill isn’t progression; it’s...

Image S Sorrensen
Image S Sorrensen

S Sorrensen

Lismore. Friday, 12.40pm

Like most Australians, I own a lot of stuff.

If I laid all the things I owned end to end they would stretch from Nimbin to Goolmangar – and that’s along the road, not as the chopper flies.

Okay, I just made that up, but that sort of dodgy illumination of quantity is common. Like, if you laid all the plastic bags in the world end to end they would reach to the moon and back five times. Huh? I think that means there’s a lot.

Some things I own I really like: my iPad, my grandfather’s fob watch and a double manual orange juicer shaped like a woman’s body. These are great things.

But my favourite thing is my tiffin tin, a stainless-steel container of Asian origin for carrying your tucker around in.

Tiffin tins are popular in India. Tiffin is a British word created in India originally meaning ‘second lunch’. The idea of afternoon tea was an unusual one to the pre-colonial Indians but they took to it with the same relish (pardon the pun) with which they took to railways and a postal system.

I got my tiffin tin from a shop in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) in Burma (or Myanmar). There it’s called a timanjak. (I’m not sure how it’s spelt in English…)

Everybody in Burma carries a tiffin tin. School children carry them to school, workers to the factory, farmers to the field, businesspeople to the office.

My tiffin tin is a little two-compartment job, but I have seen six-storey tiffin skyscrapers that feed an extended family. Each compartment holds a different food – perhaps a soup, a couple of curries, some rice and a little something sweet for afterwards – all held together with a tension clip.

Mine has brown rice in one compartment, a veggie curry in the other. I do love Thai food.

An unhappy woman passes where I’m sitting on a bench seat in Woodlark Street. She’s dragging a bawling girl of about six by the hand. Spying me and my tiffin tin, the girl stops crying and gawks as I shovel curry and rice into my mouth with chopsticks.

I refuse to accept meals in plastic containers. It’s my act of defiance against the schools of plastic that are replacing fish in the oceans. It’s my rebellion against a disposable, toxic culture that shows no respect to food or planet.

The lady in the Thai shop knows this and is very happy to fill my rod nam dum hua (as tiffin tins are called in Thailand). She smiles when she sees my tiffin tin and me enter her shop.

Sadly, as single-use plastic containers invade Thailand along with junk food, sex tourists and Russian mafia, the rod nam dum hua is disappearing.

In Burma, the tiffin tin still reigns supreme because the long isolation from the modern world imposed by the military junta shielded that country from some of the ravages of consumptive living – there are few plastic containers plying the rivers, plastic bags snared in trees or bubble wrap blowing across the rice paddies. The Burmese still carry tiffin tins, having missed the Tupperware party.

Of course, the global plastic empire has now pried open that country, the snap-lock sandwich bag and the plastic shopping bag already colonising the cities.

Yes, I own many things. I have a 1958 vinyl recording of Billie Holiday singing You’ve Changed. I have a Superman moneybox that says, ‘I will save you’ when you drop a coin into his head.

But my favourite thing is my tiffin tin, which I carry everywhere so I can say No to having my meal served in rubbish and yes to a sustainable lunchbox.


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  1. Nice idea. Take away tiffins. Restaurants could do exchanges like gas retailers. No plastic containers to hold the food. No plastic bags to carry them. And Tiffin Wallahs to deliver them providing income opportunities.

  2. I have a tiffin too. Inspired by the same motivation – a strong dislike of accepting plastic containers! However, I have had mixed reactions from the purveyors of takeaway food. One establishment refused to fill it because they said it was too hard for them to estimate the correct quantity of curry and rice. Other places are quite the opposite. Santos Mullumbimby, for example, at one stage actually had a rewards card for bringing your own container. I hope the proprietors of such outlets will all learn to embrace and encourage the byo container. It must be sobering to be the one handing out hundreds of plastic containers or bags each day!


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Lucky, Lucky, Friday the 13th encore!

Experience the enchantment once again – The Magic of the Mundane returns to the Byron Theatre for an encore performance that promises to be nothing short of extraordinary. Written by the brilliant Mikey Bryant of Mt Warning and brought to life by the captivating Elodie Crowe, with the mesmerising accompaniment of Tara Lee Byrne on the cello, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

Bluesfest 2024 – here we go!

Festival Director, Peter Noble OAM, says it’s Bluesfest Byron Bay’s 35th birthday next Easter, and as usual they’ll be rolling out multiple artist announcements over the coming months – here’s a couple of names you might know…

The Almighty Sometimes

The Drill Hall was built in 1916 as home to the Mullumbimby Platoon of the 41st Battalion. It was later converted into a theatre in the 1970s. Over the years the interior was modified with the addition of a stage and raked seating installed in 2016. Thanks to a grant from Regional Development Australia and support from North Coast Events, AAE Industries and JC Coastal Construction, it has now been converted into a modern Black Box Theatre.

Athlete clears hurdle to high perfomance centre

Blade Thompson from the Tweed Little Athletics Centre has been selected to be part of the National High-Performance Camp held in the Gold Coast...