Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

Don’t shout ‘Ali Babi’ too loud or drink ‘Arabic’ coffee.

December 17, 2014



It was many years ago when friends used to sit around the fondue set, proudly announcing that some of their best friends were gay. They are just normal people ,you know, adding, just like all of us. A glowy feeling of inclusiveness would permeate the group and the chocolate dipped strawberry tasted even nicer. Afterwards, Zorba would be put on while the Coolabah cask was squeezed to its very end.

With the latest on terrorism and ramped up fear we no longer sit around fondue sets. Fondue sets are now facing customers scrounging bargains on St.Vinnie’s shelves together with the discarded type-writers or dented aluminium pots. If group discussion take place, heads are most likely lifted up from Moses’ Tablets or promised Lands of IPhones.

As a reffo from the fifties I remember the fear of passengers on buses when a whiff of Euro garlic announced itself. People would gather their belongings and stiffen up. A dago was near! My dad with his attaché briefcase was tolerated mainly because he was pale looking and free from garlic odour. We as children soon tried as quickly as possible to lose our guttural Dutch accent and accentuated Australian lingo to extremes. Even today, I notice ageing reffos still being and acting more Australian than the local born ones. It seems to have stayed with them. A supreme sacrifice and surrender of ethnicity in return for approval and acceptance. Some carry this even further. The recent disapproval of anything brown and middle Eastern, worse, Arabic, is often met with more vehement responses from those of the same background than locals.

This is why we need leaders that try and at least encourage acceptance of the foreign or different. I can hear people re-hashing the same things that occurred decades ago. At local dances I used to be so keen to be an Australian. I was fifteen and my accent stubbornly never surrendered. At least I was able to give a reasonable impersonation of Seventy Seven Sunset strip character in the hope of getting A Pride of Erin in. You wonder with what enthusiasm people get accepted with Arabic backgrounds. The dreadful media focus on extremism and the ramped up fear of refugees.

At least in the Chocolate shop it was a delusional individual who managed ramp up fear and xenophobia. Scott Morrison is not delusional. He is in full control of his senses and deliberately doing his evil work in setting up people against those from war torn countries. He is sane, worse he is so utterly and devastatingly sane, it is frightening. He does it all with a smile. Illegal Maritime Arrivals he calls them. Yet, with the stroke of a pen he could set all boatpeople free to be assessed on-shore and able to work, earn a living and restore dignity. It is not in him though. And we think that the Chocolate shop man was evil.

Don’t shout Ali Baba too loud now!

Muslims are terrorist…O Really!!! Müslümanlar Terörist Öyle Mi?

December 16, 2014

gerard oosterman:

Food for thought.
Some of the numbers quoted are dubious to say the least, even so, the killings of innocent people are not only the domain of Muslims. Reading the ABC Drum today, one gets the impression from many of the racist intolerant responses that Islam is responsible for all our woes.

Remember that weird death cult when people were nailed to crosses? It started well over two thousand years ago and it does not seem to have abated since.

Originally posted on YA BAKİ ENTEL BAKİ:

• Who started the 1st World War? Muslims?

• Birinci dünya savaşı’nı kim başlattı? Müslümanlar mı?

1. dunya savasi

• Who started the 2nd World War? Muslims?

• İkinci dünya savaşı’nı kim başlattı? Müslümanlar mı?
2. dunya savasi

•Who threw nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Muslims?

• Hiroşima ve Nagasaki’ye nükleer bombaları kim attı? Müslümanlar mı?

•Who kills approximately 20 million aborigins in Australia? Muslims?

• Avustralya’daki yaklaşık 20 milyon Aborjin’i kim öldürdü? Müslümanlar mı?

• Who kills more than 100 million red Indians in North America? Who killed more than 50 millions of Indians in south America ? Muslims ?? 

• Kuzey ve Güney Amerika’da 150 milyon Kızılderili’yi kim öldürdü? Müslümanlar mı?

• Who took about 180 million Africans as slaves and kills 77% of them? Muslims?

•180 milyon Afrikalıyı köle yapıp, %77’sini öldüren kim? Müslümanlar mı?


• Who kills more than 5 million people in Vietnam ? Muslims?

• Vietnam’da 5 milyon kişiyi öldüren kim? Müslümanlar mı?

• Who kills more than…

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Days of Lambada are over. Vegetable listening for seniors.

December 15, 2014
'Klap eens in de handjes'. Granddad and grandson

‘Klap eens in de handjes’. Granddad and grandson

With youth comes wild abandonment and Brazilian coffee if not Brazilian waxes as well. We would give ourselves over to impulsive behaviour and do the Lambada. The impulse to follow dreams and a keen focus on bikini surfie girls/ polo necked gods of the surf and sun have been tempered. Wildfires of our youths now becalmed and doused down by an air-crane helicopter named Elvis hovering almost permanently over us, just in case of a senior flare up in the lonely petuniated suburbs of no return. We knew a different Elvis then. We used to sway hips like the best of them. Now we risk someone calling triple zero and an ambulance. What has happened?

The agility both of body and mind are less elastic. Not necessarily less able. Just containing or obtaining less flourishes or circularity of movements. The tendons have stiffened and all seem now in 78 LP feeble crank-up phonograph mode. We have pre-coital naps instead of post, if not during as well. The Sugar Hill Hip Hop rapper speed has long gone into reverse. I doubt I could do even a single number on the masonite sheet my son used to carry around when trying to earn a crust rapping around the corner in East Balmain or Kings Cross. At best I might sit on the concrete pavements supported by a few cushions and bang on an empty paint drum in order to attract alms or a few bitter biscuits.

Lately at Aldi’s I have taken to a rather amusing if not perverse little past-time or diversion ,just to while some time away. You could call it ‘senior moments’. I have taken to picking up a crop of garlic or an eggplant, similar vegetables or even fruit. ( Mangoes lent themselves exceptionally well for that.) I make sure someone is near and watching. I then nonchalantly tap the item while holding it to my ear, as if getting an answer or sound back indicating a level of quality of the item, a kind of sonar echo from within the depth of the vegetable. I sometimes put the item back, pick another one and repeat the tapping. I then nod approvingly this time and put it in my trolley, pretending I am a picky shopper. I then continue along the isles but look back unobserved. I have seen now shoppers imitating my tapping and listening to the vegetables/ fruit.

I know it is rather dodgy and of dubious moral value. I do trick people like that but some compensation for lacking youthful agility and tempestuousness of earlier years is surely permissible. I could be holding up a bank or molesting a salvation army officer knocking on my door. Some very strange things are happening at times. It makes my fruit and vegie sonar listening a rather innocent past-time. Some might go further and hold me as stupid, a screw loose and infantile. They could be right on the money.

There is hope.

Africans in my Lounge Room

December 15, 2014

Originally posted on howardgoldenberg:

Judy ushered them in, the two-and-two-thirds doctors from Africa. Tall, beautiful and young, each greeted us in perfect Hebrew: ‘Shabbat Shalom’, a peaceful Sabbath. Three smiles of perfect teeth lit our room on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

First and oldest was Shimelis, thirteen years a doctor, eight months in Australia on a Bridging Visa. Next came Sulam, with 18 months’ experience in Ethiopian hospitals and I don’t know how much time in refugee camps. She too holds a Bridging Visa. Last and youngest was Francine, the vulgar fraction: she has completed four years of medical studies in the Congo. Her birth country is Rwanda. I did not prosecute her with enquiry about her double expatriation. Like the other two, Francine subsists in Australia at the pleasure of the government. That means the kindness of Mister Morrison.

All three understand fully they can be evicted from this land of asylum at…

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The kitchen of give and take and does it send you blind?

December 11, 2014
The kitchen of give and take.

The kitchen of give and take.

There is nothing like taking stock of one’s health. I seem to take more and more notice of the elderly of late. Especially those that seem more advanced in age than I. They look me back in the eye with a beady eyed wisdom as if to say. ‘Yes, we all get there in the end.’ ‘Put in your order for the walker or motorised wheelchair. Get practising to taking the packet of incontinent pads from Aldi’s shelf. Be brave and try do it in front of a young silken smoothed roseate angel. A maddening challenge and what a prospect to behold? Get used to it, cobber! Pay the price of the outrunning of the tide and watch the orange sinking sun. See it as a reward for having lived a life of sorts. And as Leonard Cohen used to sing there is still time to ‘the bitter searching of the heart.’

“From bitter searching of the heart,
Quickened with passion and with pain
We rise to play a greater part.
This is the faith from which we start:
Men shall know commonwealth again
From bitter searching of the heart.
We loved the easy and the smart,
But now, with keener hand and brain,
We rise to play a greater part.
The lesser loyalties depart,
And neither race nor creed remain
From bitter searching of the heart.
Not steering by the venal chart
That tricked the mass for private gain,
We rise to play a greater part.
Reshaping narrow law and art
Whose symbols are the millions slain,
From bitter searching of the heart
We rise to play a greater part.”

Well, that sets the tone for the day. Cheer up old man, smell the roses and pat your dog. Your genes are predicting a ripe old age well into the nineties if you stick to health and steer clear of the pork shoulder with crackling and those perniciously beckoning Slovenian Kranskies. Take a leaf out of your dearest H. who has lentil soup for breakfast! You gave up smoking but seem unable to give up addiction to secretly indulge in those strange dietary habits if not other bad habits as well. You are not taking other things in your own hands still, are you? Look me in the eye when I am talking! Ha, that quick downward looks says it all. What did your mother teach you? Keep your hands above the blankets and think of the Royal Family at the feet of India, read Rin Tin Tin, listen to Smokey Dawson or eat an apple instead.

It seems like yesterday I had my vitrectomy in right eye. It has been over a year and the sight hasn’t improved as promised. I now have to book some kind of operation to remove cataracts. Just great! Does it send you blind? Vasectomy, colonoscopy, polypectomy, vitrectomy what next? On the 14th of January an appointment with the Audiologist to get new hearing aids fitted. The old ones don’t zing anymore and it drives Helvi mad. Shouting matches mistaken by neighbours for marital incontinence and fisty cuffs, mishaps and mistakes, apologies with rewards of lunch with calamari and baked barramundi and chips. It is all sometimes a bit complicated but we are getting there.

We are all on a journey in the kitchen of give and take.

Moments filled with nothingness and Homeless Man.

December 11, 2014
Homeless man at Byron Bay

Homeless man at Byron Bay

There are moments or even lots of moments that no matter how pensively I might stare out at the rain, I am devoid of being all there. A blankness in watching the patter of rain hitting the Manchurian pear tree just outside my window is hypnotic. It does beat watching the petrol bowser tick over at the local service station with the 4c discount being mentally calculated in the exact $50.-payment. A triumph of which I wrote already previously. You can now see how far I have sunk.

Even yesterday I stared at a blue spikey flowering plants that at the moment seems to be featured on nature’s top hit parade. I thought and thought, sweat under my armpits. What on earth is the name of this plant? I still knew it last Monday. Yet today, nothing but a hollow response echoing on and on. Is Mrs Alzheimer knocking on my door? If so; ‘be gone loose women and never darken my doorstep again.’ Here let me put a banana skin on my doorstep so you break your neck in a spectacular back flipping fashion. And then; a miracle, a miracle, it came! It is called the Agapanthus. Two handed hand clapping and the rain took a break in respect.

It is Helvi’s birthday today and coffee with pre-ordered Fruit tart from Gum-nut shop were ready at 8.30am. Both of us in pyjamas and the rain pelting it out again festively. The Gum-nut shop wins blue ribbons at the Sydney Royal Show each year on a variety of their products. The custard tart and vegetarian pie are our favourites when we go there with our JRT ‘Milo’. He usually gets the crusts from both and has no hesitation to also scrounge from other customers trying to enjoy their early coffee with pies or tarts unhindered by begging dogs. Milo’s charm usually breaks down their résistance and he get rewarded well above his owners. I have often thought of sitting outside Woolworth near the bags of potting mix with Milo. I could have sign ‘please give generously’ and look a bit hungry. In my case looking hungry comes naturally. Perhaps a box with some coins in the hope some might be touched and willing to give generously in exchange of Milo accepting a few pats. He is that popular.

This brings me back to our visit to Byron Bay a couple of weeks ago. One late afternoon and right in the middle of a busy throng of people I noticed a man sitting on the ground with a large sign blaming our PM Tony Abbott for being homeless. I gave generously but asked if I could take his photo. He accepted and here is the shot. I noticed someone had given him a wrap sandwich and some bananas.

It is all there and so much more. Be gone Tony Abbott, don’t darken my doorstep. You are not even a loose woman.

A most immoral Act

December 6, 2014


A Most Immoral Act
December 7, 2014
Written by: John Lord

Morrison and Abbott
Category: Politics

Tagged under:
abbott, Coalition, Government

John Lord

In a lifelong experience of following politics I have, until now, never witnessed children being horse traded, and senators being blackmailed, for the passing of legislation. In this case to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visas.

It looks as though Immigration Minister Scott Morrison (and the senators) have taken the yes side on the ageless Christian ethical dilemma ‘’Does the end justify the means’’

It is a fascination to me as to why people assume that religion has some form of monopoly on morality. And even worse, they pretend to speak on Gods behalf in dispensing it.

Morrison said.

“I will not take moral lectures from Bill Shorten or Sarah Hanson-Young when it comes to border protection on that or any other issues,’’

Abbott said.

“So this is a win for Australia, it’s also a win for humanitarian values, it’s a win for human decency’’

Jesus said.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

We are all wired for decency and conscience with or without religion. Some understand it better than others illustrated by either what we do or don’t do. By our mercy and compassion or deficiency in it.

Morrison like many of the Cabinet are serious practicing Christians who interpret God’s word to fit snugly with their political ideology. They easily accommodate policy with their own definition of scripture, justifying their immorality to themselves. An evil in itself.

As someone who spent many years in a church environment similar to Morrison s (now an open-minded atheist) I can assure the reader that there are many who think like Morrison. They worship their politics and religion without demarcation. In doing so they believe that telling the truth isn’t necessarily in their best interests.

This government seems intent on imposing its own particular form of Christianity on an unsuspecting population. And I might add, one that is completely at odds with current Papal uttering on social inequality

Next Generation

December 6, 2014



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A world of shrinking Cornettos.( The poor stay poor)

December 4, 2014
The ever shrinking Cornetto

The ever shrinking Cornetto

It is no longer to be denied. Old age and shrinking are synonymous. My grandson (politely) asked my dear wife; is Opa still bending over SO MUCH? Oh yes, more every day. “I am stooped over like buggery and shrinking in front of your eyes”. I could have said. I should have admonished them further, “yes, that’s what happens when you kids give us so much worry, but I didn’t”. In any case, why spoil such delightful curiosity. Some years ago, when same grandson was about 4 years old he asked a very bent-over man at the local supermarket wearing many war medals on his jacket; “What is wrong with you?” Fortunately the old man was deaf, very wise, or pretended not to hear it.

Perhaps, bent over men, now features very much in grand-son’s perception of ageing and realises his granddad has now reached a similar level even without wearing medals. It is really amazing how acute the power of observations are with children. They still see things without too much prejudice or inhibited by societal imposed restrictions. That, together with their innate creativity is what sets children apart from adults who for the most have learnt to behave and toe the line, which in the process often leads to conformity and losing creative ability.

Even more ominous than shrinking granddads are the signs found in the world of consumables, especially the divisions of ice cream, hamburgers and toiletries. Yesterday we were in Sydney again to look after our grandsons. One was (feigned) sick, the other had to be picked up from school as their mum would be working late. The heat and humidity were both impossible and on high alert. The trees were listless, birds depressed and gathering storm clouds on the horizon bode for an exciting day. You know when that sort of electric crackling atmosphere heralds the sirens starting up of the State Emergency Service getting ready their ladders, chainsaws and fluoro jackets to deliver first aid to torn roofs and uprooted trees bending over the Porsches and Mercs of the well lubricated patrons of sailing clubs and members of prominent golf and bowling clubs.

My stooped Grand-parents

My stooped Grand-parents

At exactly 3.10 PM both Opa and Oma with sick grandson took off to pick up grandson from school. My wife thought it would be nice to shout a cold treat, not least because of the heat but also as a way for time to keep moving on. The heat was now seen to vibrate above the bitumen roads and some dogs had already fainted in front of an air-con shopping mall were people had managed to crawl into.

The timing was perfect. No sooner we arrived our grandson run towards our car. He was bright red in his face and I could tell he desperately needed an ice cream. We parked around the corner near a shop that without school kids’ generous contributions of pocket money, would have carked it long ago. It was run by a forever smiling Chinese family who improved it even further by placing some small tables and chairs outside. Summer-heat is a gold mine for those sort of little corner shops. Mothers and grandparents, both with hanging fore-arms, are cajoled into ice cream buying as never before.

Helvi and I rarely eat sweets or ice cream. I prefer salty stuff, sliced salami or herrings and Helvi a sturdy soup with lentils and celery. Everybody knows and that’s how it goes.
TThe poor stay poor,
The rich stay rich
Everybody knows.

Leonard Cohen.

This time we all went for the frozen stuff. Helvi chose the Cornetto and granddad and grandkids all had Gay-time ice creams. All of a sudden and this happens more often lately than not, we came to the same conclusion when studying the Cornetto, it had shrunk in size. The bastards, the maddening way we are all exploited by the Emporiums of Capitalism gone mad. Instead of increasing prices, consumables are now made smaller. Imperceptible to the novice but not to canny grandparents.

The shysters have done the same to hamburger patties. Go to the Golden Arched Big MacDonald’s and take the tape out. Measure the diameter of the minced patty. Even a shrinkage of a millimetre works out at millions more profit for shareholders. The same with toilet paper. Here the most favoured brand of toilet paper is the 4 ply ‘Symphony’ brand. I often see shoppers carrying huge 24 pack rolls to the basement car park. I smile and am pleased recognizing soul mates in the choice of at least that item. Sadly, the manufacturers have narrowed the width of the rolls. Have you not noticed? Or did you perhaps feel that there was a widening of girth in some areas? No, it is the Symphony toilet paper that has narrowed. Rest assured.

We are all being exploited.

The storm afterwards was fantastic. We had a nice day.

The Painters Chrismas Party Chunder on the Train to Revesby.

December 2, 2014
Our first home in Australia.

Our first home in Australia.

Of all the memories told in front of good decent people, this piece is the one to avoid. Please leave the room now…If you asked what I am by profession it would be better to list the things I am not. Certainly not a lawyer, doctor or dentist. Nor an articled clerk or keeper of tropical fish. That leaves still a lot of jobs. It is likely that I have worked at many of the other available options.

One of those was working on swinging stages. In those early days they were primitive wooden platforms suspended by steel cables or thick ropes from timber needles on top of the building’s roof on outside multi-story buildings. They were hoisted up and down the exterior by the use of winches or by a combination of pulleys and ropes. It was very well paid but not a job for the nervous or faint hearted. I started at nineteen and looked at my savings every week. I wanted to save up to go back to my school friends and life in Holland. The savings were kept in a metal box.

We all know that Australian Christmas parties at work involves a lot of arm movements lifting copious amounts of brown ale. They have calmed somewhat now. During my swinging stage operations in the early sixties, I was employed by a very large painting company with over one hundred fifty men and many apprentices. Their Christmas parties were legendary. They were held underneath the offices in Blues Point Rd, North Sydney. It was an area that also held the ropes, cables, ladders and winches and other equipment for those swinging stages. The joint was tidied up and stacked with boxes of the most glorious looking bright pink smiling prawns shimmering on ice. The lubrication necessary for ingesting the prawns was given and provided by large kegs of beer. Remember Christmas is very hot in Australia and working outside was thirsty and very hard dangerous work. The men were given the afternoon off to collect their pay and join the traditional Christmas Party. We all descended towards the office and the much looked forward Chrismas Party in droves. Thirsty and keyed up like hell. We were in for a cruising bruising but earned it.

All this has to be seen in the period when after-work drinking was the norm. A walk past any pub at 4.30 pm was a Bedlam re-invented. The din was overwhelming. Course oaths renting the cigarette smoke riddled stinking beer heat air. Large burly blue singled men standing at the bar. The trough below their feet ready for spills and butts. Pyjama clad kids with mums waiting outside for dad to come home, hoping they would not have totally pissed the earnings up against the walls of bitumen coated lavatories. It wasn’t a good time.

The verb and noun ‘chunder’ relates to much earlier times still. The English convicts on the way to Australia’s Botany Bay. During big seas and suffering bad food, huge waves and the first of the prisoners getting sick. Those on the top deck while vomiting overboard would shout to those on the lower deck ‘watch out under.’ In time this became shortened to watchunder and finally to ‘chunder’! It was a form of consideration for their ‘mates’. Mateship is still high on our national psyche.

It might also be possible to now join the above explanation and include the wise and profound Australian saying to ‘coming the raw prawn’. This means telling a lie or having someone on, as in; Don’t come the raw prawn to me, matey!. Are you getting what I am leading to?

I too was drawn to the Siren call of the Christmas party but combined it with picking up two suits from Reuben F Scarf in Sydney’s George Street first. At the time they promised two suits for the price of one. Tailor measured they were and dark charcoal in colour. After arrival at the party I did get stuck in many prawns and drank endless schooners of beer. Boy, I felt euphoric and happy, a rare event at that time. Two suits and my Christmas pay in pocket, the latter waiting to be placed in the metal box at home in Revesby.

But, for those that left the room to avoid unpleasantness; it won’t be long now, it is coming to a peak.

On the way home, and don’t ask me how, I got on the train, things started to come down a bit. Rather, things started to come up a bit. I had safeguarded my bag with the two suits and was lucid enough to feel the reassuring packet of my earnings in my pocket. I was kind-o-getting in preparation for an event I have never forgotten. Oddly enough, with all I had coped with, even now, I don’t really feel remorse or shame. It is or was really an event of reckoning or getting even, a kind of reward for things, a cathartic letting go…

Fortunately, at those earlier times the trains still had those ornate luggage racks above the seats and smokers could open windows, not to let the smoke out but to jettison the cigarette butts out. Anyway, I opened the window and ‘chundered’. It was wholeheartedly and with gusto. The prawns were not raw. Barry Humphreys would have regaled endlessly on about the stained-glass effect of the windows behind me as the train was in full flight. The passengers behind me, oh no, oh no, nervously racing to close their windows. Even so, no one complained, not that I would remember.

I came home to my parents in Revesby with my two suits intact and my money saved. What an achievement.

You can all come back inside now.


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