This category contains 4 posts

Collard greens and Vegemite, it’s a cultural thing

I don’t know much about golf, but when Australian Adam Scott won the US Masters in 2013, I did know that he would bear the heavy cultural burden of choosing the menu for the following year’s Masters Champions Dinner.

Way back in 1997, Fuzzy Zoeller earned his own special place in the annals of golfing history by suggesting that then first-time Masters champion Tiger Woods would be putting fried chicken and collard greens on the menu.

I had to get my dad Jack Spackman to explain that one. I was familiar with fried chicken but I’d never heard of collard greens. Jack was living in California by then, so was more up to speed on matters of American culture. As in most things for that nation, it turned on the issue of race. Continue reading


Rock n Roll trolling, California-style

In a scene straight out of childhood, I was sitting at the breakfast table with my father Jack Spackman, both of us with noses buried in the morning newspaper. It was one of the last times we performed this ritual and Hong Kong where it began, further back than I can remember, was far away in both space and time. But, just as he always had, Dad looked up from the paper as I arrived, poured me a cup of tea and peeled off the front and back pages, depositing them on my plate as I sat down.   Continue reading

Collard greens and Vegemite, it’s a cultural thing

I don’t know much about golf, but when Adam Scott won the US Masters in 2013 I did know that he would have the honour of choosing the menu for the following year’s Champions Dinner. A cultural minefield, Your Girl Reporter warned – look what happened when the Big Baxter suggested Vegemite to celebrate Australia’s victory in the Americas Cup.

Continue reading

Heading to California with a one-eyed stranger

The last time I saw my father Jack Spackman, known here for literary purposes as the Big Baxter, was December 2002 in San Francisco. It was a turbulent time in US history, the country still reeling from the attack on the World Trade Centre and Fox News relentlessly banging the drum for war against Iraq. While Americans were focused on a new conflict I was reminded of one of their old ones, thanks to an old one-eyed Vietnamese man I sat next to on the flight over. Continue reading


Your Girl Reporter is now filing as Maria Spackman at www.mariaspackman.com Same great content, whole new website. I’m leaving Sally Baxter up, as I can’t quite bring myself to let her go completely, but it’s time to honour my family name – and use it. Hope you’ll join me for the Further Adventures of a Girl Reporter. It’ll be fun.