Friday, 26 February, 2021

Australia flexes its soft power muscles; a Fiji rugby serenade; fridges for humanity; and the world’s wooliest sheep.



Fijian rugby team sing their thanks:


Baarack the overgrown sheep:


Colourful fridges on US streets:


What’s Up Fox?


Listening: In My Life:

Watching: Robin Hood:


Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.







Australia might be a big country on a map of the world: but in terms of the power it wields we’re a small country in the grand scheme of things.  . 

Which is why the news yesterday that we had climbed up the ‘soft power’ index, to be the 10th most influential country out of the world’s 195 nations was so exciting.

So, what’s soft power?

It’s your ability to command respect and influence others without having to use force. Any big country can get other countries to do what they want by using force: but soft power means influencing other countries by behaving in a way that people in those countries are impressed by or attracted to. 

And soft power can have real benefits: including making a country more attractive to tourists or making products from that country more appealing to overseas consumers – just because they like you.

Each year, a list is produced of the countries with the most soft power – and this year, we’ve come in tenth. Germany was number one, followed by Japan, the United Kingdom, Canada and Switzerland.

You see? If you want to be truly influential, and respected by the people around you, it’s not about how big you are or how loudly you talk – but how you carry yourself and the respect with which you treat others.  




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops .. and today we’ve landed in Fiji .. because who doesn’t love Fiji? Where a little bit of warm Fijian culture and gratitude has made its way across the Coral Sea to Australia.

A Fijian rugby league team has been quarantined in a Sydney hotel for two weeks, ahead of competing in the Ron Massey Cup competition. 

Because the Fijian men’s national team has made a tradition of singing a hymn before every game, the team in Sydney decided to sing their thanks to hotel quarantine staff who had looked after them for a fortnight.

And so, they all stood on their hotel room balconies, and sang a beautiful tribute.

Imagine having an incredible ability to hold a football, and hold a tune? 

There’s a link to the video in today’s episode notes. But be warned: it will make your heart soar just a little bit. 




You know when you get to the end of summer school holidays and your hair is really long and thick and bushy? That’s exactly how Baarack the sheep felt until yesterday – when he went in for a long overdue haircut. 

Baarack was once a farm sheep – but he escaped through the fence. He’s been wandering about the bush in rural Victoria for several years. And because he’s a merino sheep – he doesn’t lose his fleece – meaning he needs to be shorn. Like Shaun The Sheep. So when locals found him, his fleece had grown so thick, he could barely see or walk. 

A trip to the shearing shed sorted him out – with shearers removing a whopping 35 kilograms of wool from poor Baarack’s skinny frame. That’s enough wool for 61 jumpers or 490 pairs of socks! 

Unsurprisingly, Baarack looked very relieved to finally be shorn.

There’s a link to a before and after video in today’s episode notes. Enjoy.




In the United States, a country with a population of 330 million people, it’s estimated that last year some 50 million people experienced hunger. Which is partly why a series of colourfully painted fridges have started appearing on city streets all over the country. 

It’s part of a program to feed the homeless, or to get food to people who perhaps don’t have the money to regularly buy groceries. 

The idea is: people who can afford to eat three meals a day buy a little extra in their weekly shop and leave it on one of the colourfully painted fridges – so that people who perhaps can’t afford groceries still have access to fresh food and healthy meals. 

One of the fridges has the words: “Give what you can, take what you need” painted on the side of it. Which says it all really.

There’s a link to a video explainer in today’s episode notes. 




Every Friday we check in with Squiz Kids ambassador, Flynn, known as the Fox to his friends, to see what he’s been reading, listening to and watching. 

On the bedside reading table this week is a book called Amari and The Night Brothers .. about a young girl who gets recruited to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs – which is where the adventures begin.

As for listening – he’s going way back to the 60s with a song called In My Life, by The Beatles. A beautiful tune that he heard on a TV doco this week and caught his attention.

And as for watching: it’s been Robin Hood this week – a big budget Hollywood take on the classic story starring Russel Crowe. He’s studying medieval Europe in history  – so it kind of fits.

There are links to all of these cool things in today’s episode notes.




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. From which country is the rugby league team that serenaded its hotel quarantine staff?
  2. What colourfully-painted household items have started appearing on streets in America to help feed the homeless?
  3. What sort of a sheep is Baarack the super wooly specimen from Victoria?




It’s February 26   … birthday of Levi Strauss – the man who invented jeans. And also of John Harvey Kellogg – the man who invented corn flakes. 

It’s also a Friday – and you know what that means? So many birthday shout outs that we need a special tune to help us get through them .. hit it!

Happy birthday to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today … Alex from Sydney, Rowan from Baldivis, Elsa from Turramurra, Waad from Jindalee, Shaun from Melbourne, Blaine from Broken Hill, Felix from St Leonards, Emily from Tumut, Jack from Bargara, Riley from North Wagga, Issy from Caloundra West, Alice from Cloncurry and Victoria from Ashmont. 

Weekend birthday shoutouts…Josh from Mt Evelyn, Bowen from Killarney Vale, Tumaia (pronounced “too my ah”) from Mansfield, Jacob from Warriewood, William from Wingham, Josh from Brisbane, Lucinda from O’Halloran Hill, Andrew from Abbotsford, Harrison from Thorneside , Janek from Donvale, and Ella who is listening all the way over there in  Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Hope you’re staying warm Ella!

Happy birthday one and all!


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Fiji
  2. Fridges
  3. Merino