A sigh of relief!


There is a communal sighing of relief washing all over Australia . Work has started and routine is returning. People are happy again. It is odd how we yearn for variety and change of routine, yet always welcome a return to normality. There is nothing as life-confirming as everyday habits while performing household duties. I suppose, all the extra dishes have now been washed and the last of the bottles put out for re-cycling. We are all relishing a return to the familiar. We enjoy being bored but are just not honest enough to admit except to our most intimate friends under the cover of darkness or an umbrella during day time.

New Year’s day was totally absent of any public expression of joy. Not a celebration in sight. All shops were closed. Even the coffee bars were shut. Some tourists were aimlessly walking around looking for a celebration. Several with strong European accents asked us where they could get a coffee. “No, not here in Bowral, but the Fish and Chip shop is open, try there you might get an instant Nescafé.” Bowral on New Year’s day looked like a post-apocalyptic scene out of the novel ‘On the Beach’, by Neville Shute. I remember when each time we arrived back in Australia by boat it would be on a Sunday in Fremantle. Not a soul to be seen on the streets. The first time back in 1956, before the book was even written

At one stage we had foreign students living with us in inner city suburb of Balmain. They were mainly from Asian countries. Inevitably they would ask us; “where are the people?” They missed people around on the streets more than anything.

I think Australia might have to try a bit harder in the field of public celebrations and joy in attracting tourism. Sure, the fireworks in Sydney and other places were magnificent on New Year’s Eve. Overall, it seems that the Christmas season celebrations are mainly a private affair. A family get together rather than a public event. Our cities don’t seem to have the density required for people to come out in the open in throngs like they do in Amsterdam, Paris or Hong Kong. We live too spread out from each other and with our love for privacy don’t care much for a display of abandoning all our inhibitions, except when we get drunk. Even then we are more likely to bash than to embrace.

A report has come out stating that our economic model of consuming by soaking up our yearly GDP is becoming more and more unstuck. It seems we have reached a level of saturation. There is only so much we can shove in our cupboards and wardrobes or have enough power points to plug in electronic gadgetry.

Well, the pensioners will certainly give a helping hand in non-consuming, seeing the government has targeted billions to be saved from cutting pensions or by lowering them. The money saved will be used to give tax breaks to business and the wealthy. We also have this senator advising that pensioners should be ashamed of being a pensioner. Pensioners ought to feel they have failed seems to be his message.

We should all pull together and show shame. Be proud of your shame.

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20 Responses to “A sigh of relief!”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Leyonhjelm is an embarrassment. No one aspires to be on a pension. But I’d be ashamed of Australia if pensions were not provided to those who need it. Right now I’m ashamed of a lot of our politicians.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      If Leyonhjelm (or Turnbull) lived in Holland they would get a pension if over sixty-five years old. Everyone, rich or poor get it. It is the standard income for all and is for couples 50% EACH of minimum wage compared with 40% together here. A single person gets about 70% of minimum wage.

      There is no shame attached.

      In Australia social benefits have often been portrayed and seen as hand-outs and not as entitlements.

      Even public education and public health is seen by many to be avoided if finances allow it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I, too, am looking forward to a return to ‘normalcy’ after 4 weeks on the road to visit kids and grandkids over the holidays, Gerard. The kids are great, and welcoming. In fact they spoil us. None-the-less, I am ready to have my life back! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We had the grandkids for just a few days. They are getting older and as teenagers are not really all that enthusiastic spending lot of time with dusty adults.
      It were the promise of garlic prawns originally that attracted them, but even that culinary delight seems to be fading.
      We don’t mind though. They will face the same music…and more prawns for us!


      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        You are right on the teenage hood, Gerard. Self-interest and other interests predominate. Our oldest grandchild is 12 so he is on the verge. I don’t envy him. They can be tough years. I expect he will join me for a portion of my backpacking trip this summer. –Curt


  3. Yvonne Says:

    That Senator is a prime example of Richard Cranium! (I’m sure you can deduce what I have just politely called him.) I’d love to have his bank account and not need to be on the pension! I wonder if he would consider a swap. he could no doubt support a number of us golden oldies.

    Liked by 4 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Very polite, Yvonne!
      The man is a dick-head. He loves guns, the bigger and faster, the better.
      He got his way with the importation of the Adler rapid loading gun. He also thinks we should be allowed to have guns to ‘defend’ (murder) ourselves.

      Our pension is affected because we followed our Dutch/Finnish gene in always being careful and not squander or borrow money.
      We saved for our kids and our future. I thought that was a good thing! Because of that we are now being penalised.

      What sort of country is Australia turning into?

      Even so, we are happy and live well. It just irks the way that politicians are taking from the poor and giving it to the bloated rich.
      What a dreadful disappointment Turnbull turned out to be. What’s wrong with him?

      Liked by 3 people

  4. stuartbramhall Says:

    “A report has come out stating that our economic model of consuming by soaking up our yearly GDP is becoming more and more unstuck. It seems we have reached a level of saturation. There is only so much we can shove in our cupboards and wardrobes or have enough power points to plug in electronic gadgetry.” – this paragraph says it all.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Stuart. You can tell we are over-consuming when we study what gets thrown out on the nature strips during council collection days. Years ago, we found a workable fridge and TV on the nature strip.
      The name ‘nature strip’ should be changed to ‘over-consumption strip.’ I doubt discarded mattresses or lounge suits would nurture the Grevillea or any nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. happy go lucky Says:

    As usual Gerard makes a good point. I think that what it’s about, the New Year’s Day and other events being so …..Anglo Saxon if I can put it that way. Keeping to oneself, obsession with privacy (quite often quoted on the telephone suggesting you can look up your “rights” no doubt on a web site). Here unlike many European countries, if two men are seen embracing, you can feel the discomfort in the air.
    The cost of cutting pensions though Gerard, is a little exaggerated.
    David Leihonhgel is obviously not fit for office and should seek counselling.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    Cutting the pension exaggerated? You mean cutting pensions and hounding the unemployed with debt collection letters, and giving the money saved away in tax cuts to the rich is not?

    Australia has a notorious obnoxious way of dealing with welfare.

    We were brought up to believe that a country that deals fairly with all, including the unemployed, the sick, the disabled, the elderly, is essential for a society that sees itself as being civilised.

    Have a look at this.http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-03/finland-pays-unemployed-citizens-a-monthly-income/8158254

    Here we train Centrelink employees martial arts in case a client gets irate in not being dealt with fairly.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. bkpyett Says:

    Great post, Gerard. I like, too, the article above about Finland. Why can’t we learn from civilised countries! We continue to be grateful that our pension has remained, and I refuse to feel shamed! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      There are already signs that pensioners are at risk from dubious financial dealings in order to compensate for the loss of part pension. They also underestimate how much they might still need for the remaining years.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve seen a lot of people writing about the pleasures of the return to routine, and I’ve felt some of it myself. I suppose the trick, and the point of the new year, is to “return” to a new and more productive routine. I love the reminder to stop and consider: what’s worked? what hasn’t? What needs to be added or subtracted?

    As for boredom — I don’t think I would enjoy that at all. I’ve known boredom in my time, but I’ve been trying to remember the last time I was bored, and I can’t. Last year, I told someone I was going to make an effort in 2016 to avoid the obnoxous, the stupid, and the boring. I did a pretty good job of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      While boredom is not to be encouraged, I still feel it can be used and brought to creativity. The non-active participation of a quiet mind in repose, sometimes might nurture a finding and searching for the new.
      In avoiding the trivial and boring we first have to know it, even just a little. I mean how can one not be bored at the petrol bowser? That maddening ticking over of the pump till the final amount has been reached. A sense of achievement when it is all over and we walk inside to pay for the petrol.


  9. Christine Says:

    Gerard O, you are truly a breath of fresh air


  10. berlioz1935 Says:

    No one can see better through muck our politician produce better than you do. They don’t feel ashamed to charge the taxpayer when they go up to the Gold Coast to buy an investment property. We will never be rich because we are too honest.


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