Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

A peculiar lack of Empathy.

October 22, 2018

IMG_1163Violets etc

The new member of Parliament in the Federal seat of Wentworth is now Dr Kerryn Phelps.  She is an independent. A stunning victory whereby this seat held since Federation by the Liberals has changed for the first time overcoming a 19% majority held by the previous ex-Prime Mister, Malcolm Turnbull. He vacated the seat after he was turfed out by his own Government. He quickly left Australia for NYC.

Dr Kerryn Phelps was known for her strong stance on Same Sex Marriage with Wentworth being one of the most progressive pro SSM seats during last year’s referendum. She now wants the Government to take notice of climate change. The refusal to act on climate change is partly due because the right wing of the Liberals, including the present PM, Scott Morrison, don’t believe in climate change. The right wing of the Liberal party primarily believe in keeping the status quo. They like nothing better than sticking to burning coal and a fearless unrelenting punishments for off-shore held refugees.

The present Liberal-National party has lost their one seat majority. Things are going to be difficult to pass legislation with the independent cross benchers now holding the strings.

Dr Phelps promises to  use her independence to get the Government to take urgent action on climate change, and to bring the refugees home to Australia. At present they are held on off-shore islands; Manus, Nauru and Christmas Island. A petition signed by thousands of doctors presented to the Government is demanding that the children and their parents be allowed into Australia for processing. http://medicalrepublic.com.au/doctors-unite-drive-change-refugee-policy/17267

The Government might well have to be forced to take action on the refugees. The rumblings of international criticisms of our present policy on refugees are getting louder. The abhorrence on learning that children of ten are googling how to commit suicide, the sacking of all Medicine sans Frontier personal from Nauru is pointing out the cruelty of off-shore detention.

The Government is now also finally heeding the offer from New-Zealand willing to take 150 refugees from Nauru. So far the Morrison and previous Turnbull Government have refused to consider this proposal.  They argue, that it would give the refugees a ‘back-door’ chance to visit Australia. However, the US has taken a couple of hundred refugees without this apparent condition being attached to their freedom from the Nauru hell-hole! Is it so much more difficult to come to Australia from the US as it is from New Zealand ? The mind boggles.

Where does this urge to keep punishing those vulnerable refugees come from? I found some observation by the Australian Author and academic,  Jill Kerr Conway enlightening. Jill Kerr Conway was the first woman to take the Presidency of the Smith College in the US. She found Australia to be lacking in appreciating women for top jobs and moved permanently to the US. She died a few months ago, aged 84. Her book, ‘The road from Coorain,’ is a masterpiece.

She seems to argue that the hundreds of  thousands of emigrants who left their European homelands to go to the US, Canada, and Australia, must have keenly felt the pains of being up-rooted  suffering aching alienation. The children of the great European migration made up for this loss by, in the US at least, making Hollywood the purveyor of happy endings. This convention was a comfort for those who might have felt or were unwilling to face the possibility that the journey was not worth the uprooting.

In Australia I always thought that the migrants made the best of it by going wildly overboard by the ‘own-home’ on ‘own block of land’ achievements. A peculiar Australian phenomenon. It seems to have calmed down lately. Many young people are happy to ditch this form of idealisation and are now happily renting.

In any case, not much seems to have been studied on how this migration has been part in forming the Australia psyche. How many have studied the history of how it felt like to be transported to Australia, by the convicts, or the children of men and women condemned to forced labor? Has this early convict start and continuation of it by those hundreds of thousands of migrants milling around the fore-shores and migrant camps given the foundation to this ‘muddling through’ within our own political milieu?

Again,  our Prime Minister Mr. Morrison has reiterated that if some of the refugees were to be transferred to New Zealand from Manus, its (New Zealand) Government must give an iron clad guaranty that none of them or their children, will ever be given or allowed a visa to Australia. Not even for a holiday.

Ignoring why refugees would even want to visit the land of their torturers, how insanely revengeful is this proposal? It shows how deliberate and wilful the utter degradation of refugees, so desired by some of our politicians, has become. What have the refugees done?

Let’s all hope Dr Phelps will help to make an end to this sad history and restore Australia’s world standing.

Where does the cruelty come from though?

 

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The King Parrot is happy too.

October 18, 2018

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Jeffrey Sachs spelled it out on one of our Q&A TV programmes a couple of weeks ago. Good social conditions and support makes all the difference. Paying liveable incomes to the unemployed, pensioners or the disabled does not cause cultural collapse as is often touted by extreme capitalist leaders. The list of ‘happy countries’ proves that. Our PM and cohorts often cite that giving ‘free’ money makes people avoid work and lazy, encourages decadence as seen by SSM community now demanding wedding cakes. Unbelievable!

Countries that seem to be on top of the happiness scale each year, by and large, are also enjoying social democratic Governments. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Iceland  Finland. They prove that good social conditions improve employment, reduces crime and homelessness. It makes for ‘happiness.’

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“Based on a global ranking of happiness levels across 156 countries, Finland has claimed the No. 1 spot in this year’s World Happiness Report.

Now in its sixth year, the World Happiness Report is produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

The organization, along with three economists from Columbia University, the University of British Columbia and the London School of Economics’ Center for Economic Performance, created the report using data from the Gallup World Poll to reveal which countries are happy and why.

The report was released on March 14, less than a week before the United Nations celebrates World Happiness Day on March 20.

This year, the United States ranked No. 18 — falling four spots from last year and five from two years ago — “in part because of the ongoing epidemics of obesity, substance abuse and untreated depression,” according to World Happiness Report co-editor and Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs.

Over the past two years, the world’s top 10 happiest countries have remained the same, but have slightly shuffled positions. Through a measurement of happiness and well-being called the “Cantril ladder,” Gallup asked nationally representative populations to value their lives on a scale from 0 to 10, with the worst possible life valued at 0 and the best valued at 10.

The top countries frequently have high values for all six of the key variables that contribute to overall well-being: income (GDP per capita), healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust (absence of corruption) and generosity.”

Will the Refugees on Nauru be allowed into Australia?

October 15, 2018

Inside the race for Wentworth

Inside the race for Wentworth

A storm is brewing in Sydney’s fanciest suburbs, where some lifelong Liberal voters have told the ABC they are preparing to break ranks for the first time at the looming Wentworth by-election.

It is a fair bet, and I hope it will, that this blue-ribbon seat will go to the independent Kerryn Phelps. This Liberal seat was last held by our former Prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, who was  sacked a few weeks ago by his own party. The present PM, Scott Morrison is a fervent Pentecostal  believer holding anti SSM opinions. He is now fighting to keep a law in place that will allow Government funded private religious schools keep the right to sack gay or LBGTQ teachers. This has caused a furore in Australia whose residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of Same Sex Marriage less than a year ago. The seat of Wentworth has been held by the Liberals since Federation.

This Prime Minister also proudly displays a small trophy on his desk showing a metal coloured boat, backed by a timber board with the lettering, “we stopped the Boats.”Mr Morrison is mightily proud he was so successful in keeping thousands of refugees on several off-shore islands, including the small island nation of Nauru. As you all know, the tragedy of those that have spent years on those islands have been subjected to the worst torture of all, the loss of all hope. Last week the Government of Nauru kicked out the only few remaining people volunteering for Medicine Sans Frontières who helped the refugees with their unimaginable plight of staying alive.

The residents of Wentworth, although traditionally liberal, do hold a much more progressive ideology and were second of having the most votes in favour of SSM. They also do not like the way both the Liberals and the Labor party keep refusing to abide by international law to allow refugees, irrespective of their mode of travel, to be dealt with humanely and on-shore. There is now an increasingly growing disquiet about the plight of refugees held off-shore. It has become a large issue in Wentworth and the rest of Australia. People are concerned about the international consequences of flaunting international law.

Will Australia say ‘I am sorry’ in a few years time? Please read the link below.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/14/kerryn-phelps-urges-wentworth-voters-to-use-byelection-to-protest-inhumane-refugee-policies

View from inside.

October 10, 2018

 

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The view from inside.

This photo was taken from inside our home through the open sliding glass doors. So, no matter how the outside world sometimes seems, the real world is how we deal with the chaos. No better way than to look at a garden. It brings back the importance of  things that matter. It cannot but lift the spirit. Talk about spirit. Our PM Mr Scott Morrison claims to be a spiritual man. Yet, he had no hesitation to promote Sydney’s Opera house to be used as Australia’s biggest billboard. I don’t understand how such a self proclaimed Pentecostal spiritual  pious and religious man can have no qualms about assaulting such an important spiritual cultural Icon. One wonders if he ever contemplates the beauty of a garden or listens to music, read a book! There has to be a hiatus there. Something us missing. Something is wrong!

You know the ducks know a thing or two. One seems to be looking at one of the clivias. The other one, his mate, is looking direct at my camera. On top of the little table is a plate with mixed seeds that the birds flock to. It really is a world on its own. The Alyssums do help create magic together with the Mock Orange, the Spathiphyllum  and white Cyclamen.

Here is a beautiful piece of magic singing. One of my favourites. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. I don’t know why.

 

Defend our Opera House.

October 8, 2018

https://www.change.org/p/defend-our-opera-house-support-louise-herron-4ebd912c-e760-43f1-a396-3e7468869056

Our Opera house is now a billboard. This architectural masterpiece is protected and listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the World Heritage Convention, placing it alongside the Taj Mahal, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China as one of the most outstanding places on Earth. It just shows that our Government is bowing to commercialism by allowing a silly horse race to be featured on it’s magnificent sails that constitutes its roof.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-08/opera-house-advertising-defended-by-nsw-premier/10350792

Please sign this petition to try, chip in, and reverse this silly decision. At the writing of this post 174.000 people have signed

 

Thank you,

Gerard

Close knit, so lovely and quiet?

October 5, 2018

IMG_0109tulips

One can almost have a printed version ready. Each time a murder is committed in a suburban street we read ‘This is a very quiet street.’ ‘People are nice.’ ‘They keep to themselves.’ ‘This is a close knit community.’ ‘She sometimes said hello.’ ‘He/she was really nice.’

The above comments are often made by neighbours next door or living opposite. Today, another sad death in a suburban street was in the news. Police are suspicious. There was a lot of blood. Fortunately, a baby was found unharmed. Here are some comments made by people living in the same street.

“It’s terrible. She was such a nice woman, kept to herself, but was pleasant,” said one man who lives across the road. Another man, who was walking his dog this morning, said he couldn’t believe it when he turned on the news.” This area is really quiet — people just keep to themselves — but to hear that a mother was killed and her baby survived, well that’s just awful,” he said.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-05/mothers-body-found-in-bellambi-baby-unharmed/10341004

Of course, neighbourly friendships and keeping an eye out for each other is what good working communities are about.  One often sees this portrayed in advertisements. Advertisements  show the opposite of reality which makes them so attractive  to the consumer. Neighbourly men casually chatting over the paling fence discussing a juicy funeral protection insurance with happy smiling wives hugging her children is one example. But, that happy image. Does that hold true? Why are we so keen on those paling fences?

We are being urged to keep closer contact with our family and friends. Campaigns are set up to make people aware of how important human contact is. Saying ‘how are you going’ is the aim of those campaigns. I am not sure that we have a society that is so close knit. Privacy seems to be very liked. We might wave a hand across the road, but how often do we visit our neighbours, hang over the fence and chat?

“She was a nice woman, kept to herself, but was pleasant.”  A very sad statement by the man living opposite.

Reffos and Tulips.

October 2, 2018

IMG_0126 Tulips.JPG

A carpet of Tulips in Bowral.

The film ‘The Ladies in Black’, left enough of an impression for me to urge people to see it. The film deals in some parts about the influx of reffos into Australia during the fifties. That’s the period this Australian film is set in. The ‘reffo’ was a shortened term for refugees. Our family came to Australia in 1956. We were not reffos in the strictest term. Europe in Australia during the fifties was seen as a war-ravaged stain on a map. Geographical and political differences between Hungary or Holland were beyond interest or hardly known. The issues in this magnificent movie really hit home. The differences (and similarities) in cultures are what this film, in a kind and humorous way, points out. The poignancy for H and I was overwhelming. One is always pleased when things we experienced about the past, agrees and coincides with others. When pointed out in a major film, it is double pleasing.

https://theaimn.com/nostalgia-and-sunshine-bruce-beresfords-ladies-in-black/

The ambiguity of migrating to another part of the world will probably stay with me till the very end. Was the pain of leaving own country and friends worth it?  The mental dehydration suffered in foreign and strange suburbs! Those differences experienced between the locals and the Reffos during the fifties, the lack of herrings, garlic ,olives, and real coffee. The blight of the determined curmudgeon.

Australia in the fifties was a kinder and more tolerant place though. The governments of that period did not foment xenophobia nor detained refugees on hellish islands for years on end.

The present Prime Minister is a fervent Pentecostal believer. Yet on his desk he proudly shows a sign ‘We stopped the boats,’ referring callously to the detained refugees on those islands. Their punishment is used to warn and prevent refugees from trying to come to Australia. They are saying ‘if you try, and come here by boat we will lock you up on those islands for the rest of your life.’ In the fifties Australia did not try and demonise a single African group doing 1 % of crime and yet close their eyes to the other 99% of crime perpetrated by local born.

The tulips belong to a different class. Nothing scary here, dear readers. You can tell they are just there to give us pleaure.  This photo was taken this morning. There must be thousands of tulip photos being e-mailed around the world. The Tulip show in Bowral was magnificent. https://www.southern-highlands.com.au/tulip-time

It always brings me back to the time in Holland. I used to cycle to the tulip fields. Can you imagine seeing tulip fields as far as the eye can see? In different colours too. The tulips in Bowral are in cahoots with sun and clouds. I am sure they talk to each other.It dazzles and so many people taking selfies. In years to come grandchildren might find the tulip photos in drawers and wonder about the lives at earlier times.

Try and see ‘the Ladies in Black’, and the Tulips.

 

 

Moleskins, Aged care and Alzheimer.

September 25, 2018

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It had to happen. A small tear in my moleskin trousers rapidly spread into a big one. From below the knee up to my thighs. This pair of moleskins lasted for more than twenty years. Helvi remembers buying them from the RM Williams store in Bowral in 1995. It was the year before we moved to the farm. The Australian RM Williams moleskins are the quintessential for farmwear. They are snake proof, even shark-proof. I never heard a shark taking someone wearing those moleskins. They are warm in winter and once worn- in, very comfortable during summer. The moleskin, like their boots, are not cheap but they last. I am still wearing the boots. I did send them away to their factory in Adelaide to get the bottom part renewed.

I promptly bought another identical pair of moleskins yesterday. Helvi said; ‘they will see you out!’ It wasn’t an unreasonable assumption! I combined the buying of the moleskins with an appointment with the audiologist and a thorough hearing test. I have become deaf. The latest movie we saw ‘The ladies in Black’ was beyond my hearing and most of it had to be guessed with the missing bits filled in by Helvi. Within my indoor-bowling groups I am not following conversation anymore. I am not too bothered by that with most of conversation by talk of football and Roosters. When they laugh so do I. I thought Rooster was a male chicken and as I was feeding the chickens next door tried to join in and enter the talk. It turned out a Rooster is a football club. I told the audiologist I don’t mind spending big money if it eases the situation when with Helvi. It is a bummer for her to keep repeating herself.  She doesn’t deserve that. As you can see, ageing has its problems.

We watched the second episode of the ABC’s ‘Aged- Care’.  One reason for feeling a bit sombre today. Dear, oh dear!  More bashings of the elderly and frail, all caught on cameras. It turns out that installing cameras in aged care facilities is a legal minefield.  The main problem is lack of qualified staff and understaffing. Even so, where is the empathy and understanding by our health minister who seemed to want to make light of it. Is this why we also don’t really mind the keeping in detention of over a hundred children, now in its fifth year on Nauru? We have a PM who is religious, yet he was the architect of detention of children with his ‘stop the boats’ policy.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-25/secret-surveillance-cameras-in-grandmas-nursing-home-legal/10298834

And finally a news item on Alzheimer whereby it is suggested that the plaque on braincells is a result of Alzheimer but not necessarily the cause. They are looking for volunteers to take part in trials. I was glad to read that testosterone and oestrogen boosting  fish oil might well be preventing Alzheimer. I always thought that eating herrings, sardines and anchovies was the way forward. I might well take a tin of sardines to the cinema next time.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-25/alzheimers-disease-research-questions-plaque-as-cause-of-disease/10299514

I am so happy with my new moleskins!

 

 

Ladies in black with Clivia.

September 23, 2018

IMG_0118 Clivia.JPG

Clivia

As one can see, the sun graced this beautiful plant enough time to take the photo. Each year they seem to multiply. It goes right against the advice of the experts. ‘Clivia are strictly for the sub-tropical areas.’ ‘They don’t grow in the Southern-Highlands.’ ‘They hate frost and you won’t see them for sale here.’

This year the frost has been merciless and even grasses have died. Yet, Helvi’s careful nursing of the Clivia by hiding them underneath the bay trees and away from open areas has paid off. We can look forward to weeks of flowering Clivia as we now have at least a dozen or so spread around both front and back garden. Not only do they survive our climes but seem to multiply while we are not looking.

IMG_0113 Lobelia.JPG

Lobelia.

The Lobelia is a different story. They love it here and thrive on neglect. The primary colours are our most favourite. Amazing to think that all other colours come from combining red, yellow and blue. Black is not really a colour, merely the absence of colour. That’s why even a bright yellow tulip looks black inside a box. White is the combination of all colour.

The photo of the lobelia is another example of how Helvi gets it so right. It’s never a forced effort. Her gardening is always natural and doesn’t ever have this ‘planted look’ The Lobelia looks as if it came there on its own volution. Look at the lovely contrast between that and the succulent below it.

Another delight this week-end has been a movie; ‘The Ladies in Black’. Another must see film by Bruce Beresford. You must know he never makes a bad movie. This is again a masterpiece. Last week we saw ‘The Wife’ which  we were knocked over by.

The ‘Ladies in Black’ is loosely based on a book by Madeleine St John named ‘The Women in Black.’  A very witty and heartfelt story of Australia in the late fifties and the influence of European migrants, especially Eastern Europeans.

Please, go and see it. But please-, refrain taking food inside the cinema. It is not that difficult to go without eating for a couple of hours. At the end of Ladies in Black we had trouble exiting our row of seats. A large lady blocked the exit and did not leave her seat. We waited for her to go but she did not or could not move. We finally climbed past over her. Perhaps she was waiting for a carer to lift her out. We don’t know what happened.

https://www.traileraddict.com/ladies-in-black/trailer

 

Going Dutch.

September 19, 2018

https://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2014/07/30/dutch-model-offers-alternative-approach-home-care/

 

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“It is the fastest growing organisation in the Netherlands and for three years running has been named the country’s top employer. Not-for-profit organisation Buurtzorg Nederland, founded and developed by community nurses, is transforming home care in the Netherlands and is quickly garnering attention worldwide, including in Australia.

Since its development in 2006, the Buurtzorg or “neighbourhood care” model has attracted the interest of more than 25 countries including the National Health Service in England. Sweden, Japan and the US state of Minnesota have already begun introducing Buurtzorg nurse-led teams in their jurisdictions.

Speaking to Australian Ageing Agenda ahead of his keynote address to the Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) National Congress in October, founder and director Jos de Blok said his home care model has been shown to deliver higher quality care at a reduced cost. A 2010 Ernst and Young report said costs per patient were approximately 40 per cent less than comparable home care organisations and surveys have shown that patient satisfaction is the highest in the country.

At the heart of the nurse-led model is client empowerment by making the most of the clients’ existing capabilities, resources and environment and emphasising self management.

“The model is much more focused on self-support and working with high qualified nurses that have skills in coaching and supporting patients to do the things that they are able to do themselves,” Mr de Blok told AAA.

While the costs per hour are higher from employing registered nurses, savings are made through lower overhead costs and a reduction in the overall number of care hours required per client.

Notably, the Dutch approach represents a challenge to the wisdom of low-skill, low cost staffing models which have tended to dominate health and aged care systems in Australia and overseas by demonstrating how a high-skill professional model can deliver greater efficiency.

The model also demonstrates the benefits of handing control over to the nurses that run the service.

Under the model, Buurtzorg nurses form self-organising or autonomous teams that provide a complete range of home care services supported by technology and with minimal administrative oversight. “The nurses organise all the work themselves, so there is no management structure and no hierarchy,” said Mr de Blok. The small teams of up to 12 nurses work in close collaboration with patients, doctors, allied health professionals and informal community networks to support the patient.

The emphasis on continuity of care and patient-centred care strengthens the quality of client-staff relationships and has been shown to improve both patient satisfaction and nursing staff morale.

“We have received a lot of attention from all sides – from politicians, from insurance companies but mostly from nurses themselves. In every region in the country groups of nurses came to ask us if they could start a team themselves in the neighbourhood they worked in, so they resigned at the other organisation and they have come to work for Buurtzorg,” he said.

Since its development Buurtzorg has experienced rapid growth and currently employs more than 8,000 nurses in the Netherlands, working in 700 neighbourhoods caring for palliative care clients, people with dementia and older people with chronic disease.

Mr de Blok said the model is based on World Health Organisation principles on integrated community-based care and is universal in its application. “In the last three to four years we have had interest from people in 25 countries. We have already started an organisation in Asia for Japan, China and Korea and in the US we have a team in Minnesota and a few years ago we started in Sweden.”

Mr de Blok will deliver a keynote address on the Buurtzorg model at the LASA National Congress, which runs 20-22 October at Adelaide Convention Cen”