Posts Tagged ‘Dutch’

Puccini inspired by Dutch nursery rhymes? (Klap eens in de handjes)

August 27, 2019

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As a very young child  my mother and her sister, ‘Agnus’, used to sing typical little musical ditties to us. I still remember many of them and of late they seem to have made a return to my brain. I hope this isn’t the beginning of brain-loss, or worse dementia, and will cling to the life-craft that it might well be due to our iPhone transmitted musical soirees that we are now having instead of the nauseating diets of dreadful news on the TV. I mean, how many more times do we have to hear that sending war ships and surveillance aircraft to the Straits of Iran (Hormuz) are part of a ‘de-escalation’ of tension in the Middle East?  And, not to forget the images of the burning jungles of the Amazon?

With Helvi’s arms needing daily exercises to return to previous levels of usage, including bringing food to mouth or other functions normal for hands and arms, we thought that listening to hours of wonderful music might help. All I have to do is type in ‘Pavarotti’,  push an app on the iPhone, and voila, wonderful singing of operas. One piece we particularly like is Puccini’s,  ‘Oh mio Bambino Caro’ sang by Maria Callas in 1965.

 

Isn’t this sublime singing? The odd thing is that I feel Puccini could well have been inspired by those traditional Dutch nursery rhymes dating back hundreds of years and handed over from generation to generation. I sang the same Dutch songs to my grandsons and they still remember. The song they remember most is ‘Klap eens in je handjes’. Here it is, and it almost brings me to tears taking me back to those good times when we were sung ( helping verb, otherwise ‘sang’) to by our parents and when we ended up teaching them to our kids and now us to the grandchildren.

Now tell me, listening to this old Dutch children’s rhyme can you hear Puccini’s Oh Mio Bambino too or am I going cuckoo? Is there still hope for me and should I eat more Tofu?

A peculiar economy and Otto.

August 19, 2019

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“In the past two weeks the proliferation of negative-yielding bonds has erupted — 30 per cent of the global, tradeable bond universe is being sold with a guaranteed loss attached to the coupon.”

I understand the basics of adding and subtracting of numbers but in that little sentence above, a whole new world is threatening our survival. We know that when it rains and we stand outside we will get wet. Perhaps our survival will be enhanced when standing in the rain. Who knows?

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-08-19/forget-inverted-yield-curve-time-for-negative-yielding-debt/11425960

We are faced with negative yields on our savings. It means that instead of earning interest from the banks on our money we might have to pay the bank in holding our money. We will be borrowing money that promises us that we not only don’t have to pay interest  over the term we borrow money, but that we actually owe less money than the original amount, at the end of the term. To put it simply; we borrow let’s say $10 000.- over ten years. We do not pay any interest on the borrowing, and at the end of the ten years we pay back less than the $10 000.-

We are getting a miniscule pension from the Australian Government as a result of having some savings which are ‘deemed’ to earn some interest. However, try as I might, at the moment long term interests is almost zero. This results in us eating up our savings. So far, no problem. You can’t take it with you to that place beyond our final journey. The difficulty is figuring out the number of years one might still have ahead and then divide the savings by the number of years that one can still breath upon ahead with some dignity, and hopefully without getting bashed-up in some ‘Aged-Care’ home by one’s own slippers or shoes.

This might entail a risk whereby an underestimation of the number of years ahead could involve a rather financial painful end. If one figures, lets say another ten years or less, and divvy the savings by ten, no problem. But what about the other way, and one languishes for another fifteen years? What then? The financial plan was spread over ten years and not fifteen.

I have a good example by my good friend Otto. Otto is now ninety. I never expected him to reach that age. He wasn’t interested in exercise or strenuous physical activities. He never kicked a ball, did summersaults or hung from crossbars. He walked slowly and deliberately, and with care. Otto liked his food but ate well, avoided fat, sugar and salty food. He was Dutch, born in Indonesia which gave him his dietary habits and a love for vegetables. He also had a rather eccentric habit of drinking lots of water mixed with some cider vinegar.

Two months ago, Otto caught a bad flu and was hospitalised. After he fought off the virus and became reasonably well, it was apparent that Otto could not live independent anymore. He owned his own place but wasn’t mobile enough to look after himself.  His younger sister who looked after him during Otto’s times of need, told the hospital she no longer could. Otto now lives in a retirement home. He had to pay $200.000.- upfront for a space and his pension is just short of $75 weekly which pays for his main keep. This money will be deducted when his place gets sold. He shares his room with another inmate.

I spoke to his brother, Roderick, and in conversation I marvelled how Otto managed to get to his 90th year despite his seemingly corpulent figure and his dislike for any physical activity. His answer left me somewhat flummoxed. ‘ Yes, Gerard, Roderick said;” “but he never married like we all did’! ‘We brought up children,  had a marriage, a wife and all, and Otto never had that kind of worry.’ No wonder Otto lived so long. he seemed to imply!

Anyway, that’s how it goes, does it not? My worry is not the future for our grandchildren of negative monetary returns, but a world with a change of climate making the world uninhabitable.

That would be a much worse outcome.

The Virginia Creeper will just have to sustain us now.

May 19, 2019

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Virginia creeper.

All our communal town-houses were originally planted with gardens which included the Virginia-Creeper shown in the above photo. This creeper grows very fast, mainly at night when everyone is sound asleep or if not sleeping, at least inside their dormitories. Originally, our townhouses had a united garden which included the Virginia Creeper. Sadly though, all Virginia creepers were taken out with the excuse that they are known to be destructive. A falsehood was spread that those fast growing climbers would by assaulting and climbing over everything, strangle brick walls and block our much revered and beloved guttering. We, against all advice and scorn of neighbours, held onto our Virginia for dear life, and even if it succeeds in strangling us and our town-house, so be it. It is amazing how gardening is so often seen as OK or mere tolerable as long as it doesn’t take over or threatens our own homes and ‘investment’ as one of our neighbours once uttered.

With last night’s defeat in Australia of the Labor Party to the Liberals against all odds, and the best of News Polls, and predictions, this contemplation of the Virginia-creeper might just have to sustain us for the near future. The near future is not to be taken in vain or too lightly. Perhaps a better phrase might be ‘our twilight years’ as both of us are nearing the eighties and for some things, time is becoming more of the essence. It would have been so nice to  have witnessed an Australia finally coming of an age where change for the better, would override the endless ennui of more of the same. How much longer can we look forward each morning to an Australia where Taxation cuts, Border Controls, sticking to contemplating the past, and Queen Victorian Gun boat diplomacy has to sustain us?

Just think how it now must feel to have for another three years a Scott Morrison as Prime Minister. A man who has on numerous occasions highlighted his belief in Christian faith but at the same time was almost manically keen on locking up for indefinite detention thousands of people who have done no wrong except for trying to escape from wars and bloodshed and look for a safe refuge in Australia. I wonder how those refugees on Manus and Nauru, now well into their sixth year of detention, are feeling today, hearing how their tormenter has been chosen as leader of Australia for another three years?

So much hope was invested in a change of leadership that would finally allow Australia to progress to a more just and fairer society. A society that would be leading in climate change and care for the environment. Today is a day where we celebrate the standing still of Australia. When will we ever learn, that change ought to be embraced even if change might at times fail? It is always better to have tried than not at all. Why is Australia often celebrating the fondness for looking back and clinging to the past? My parents who came here from Holland in 1956 would not be proud today of Australia. They wanted a better future for their children. My wife,  from a very progressive Finland and I with Dutch genes, are almost tempted to book a return to Holland.

We don’t have to look at Holland or Finland for examples of progressive countries. Just look a bit to the side and look to New Zealand. They have a leader that seems to thrive on progress, especially on a social level. Why don’t we look to our Eastern neighbours instead of our much beloved Western US, a nation that is being headed by a morally bereft President man heading his country knee-deep in a moral morass?

It has been New Zealand who offered  several times to take the refugees from Nauru and Manus. Our Australian Prime Minister with his Christian Faith held high on Pharisees  sullied sleeve, heartlessly refused each time. We will just go outside and look at our Virginia creeper. It will have to sustain us till the next time!

My poor country, Australia.

English Gramma(r) and sharing a banana.

January 3, 2019

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Is it true that todays bananas are getting bigger or am I shrinking, and the comparison is at fault? In any case, I now share the banana with Helvi. It is part of our morning ritual, as is our blood pressure measuring. This morning it was a nice 105 over 66 with a pulse of 82. I generally cut the banana with a large cleaver. Sometimes Helvi does it too but uses a smaller knife. After all that, we proceed with opening our pill boxes and take the first of a range of medications spaced out through the rest of the day. In between morning’s duties we sip coffee and tea between talk.

Part of my school education back in Holland was the learning of four languages. It was compulsory at that time for all students going through a high school. Learning English started at Primary school. After our family left Holland 1956, my school education stopped and since then my limited learning of world’s  language skills came through curiosity and reading. It was a case of self-educating and becoming an ‘autodidact’ as is sometimes called.

I was fascinated to read how the English language evolved. English is a typical product of illogicality. I remember as a schoolboy being annoyed that English words were not pronounced as they were written. It is baffling why the language lacks phonetics. Normal languages pronounce words as they are written, but of course, not in England.  The English language is just part of a culture steeped in Illogicality. Just listen to their parliament or Fawlty Towers. They are both the same. And then the circus of Brexit!

I was heartened to read in a book ‘The Lexicographer’s Dilemma, by Jack Lynch, that through the decades attempts were made to simplify English. George Bernard Shaw campaigned to make it more phonetic but with frustratingly little success. In 1906 the Simplified Spelling Board attempted to change the spelling of many words but it turned out even more complicated. Here below are just a few examples how this attempt made the English language even more strange and difficult.

autograf-autograph, biografy-biography, crum-crumb, dout-doubt, tung-tongue. etc

As one can see, the new way of spelling became even less rational. It added letters , mainly consonants, that are not used in speech. They remain unuttered and left unspoken. It is now totally out of the question to make English more phonetic with spelling reforms. We will just have to put up with an abundance of spelling mistakes that is common even amongst those having grown up with just English without the benefits knowing a second or third language.

English  despite it being a difficult and obstinate language, remains the world most spoken language. I like it for its complexities and nuances. It remains to be my favourite tongue. Yet, in my dreams I still speak Dutch.  That language hasn’t left but am unsure if expressing it would be now as fluent (or clumsy) as my English.

Who knows?

From Wiki; ” Phonetic, using a system of written symbols that represent speech sounds in a way that is very close to how they actually sound.”

 

A nervous heart.

October 27, 2018

Our Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is now comparing setting sick children free from detention with talking to people smugglers. Talking to doctors about the trauma of suffering children, and setting them free is negotiating with people smugglers. “We don’t negotiate on that issue”, he said with a broad smile. In the meantime his hatred is growing fatter.

I am feeling a bit tired and listless of late. I normally don’t gravitate to doctors. Helvi insisted I should get a check-up. “Every time I come downstairs you are sleeping,” she says. It started to get on my nerves. It reached a stage whereby I would quickly get up, when or if, I could hear her coming down. She had warned me she doesn’t want a sleepy husband. She would then hum a Dutch nursery rhyme, ” Slaap kindje, slaap. Sleep child, sleep.” Here it is. It has over 5 million hits. Helvi sings it perfectly. Not a child in Holland would grow up without that little song being sung to lull him or her to sleep. That’s why the Dutch are always on the yearly list of  ‘happiness’.

 

I went see the local doctor who referred me to get an X-ray and blood test done. Lungs are good and apart from an upward adjustment for my thyroid medication the only other problem was that I might have had a heart attack. Another referral was written to see the cardiologist. The same one that deals with Helvi’s heart after it was damaged through her chemo treatment. I went last Thursday. I was told to do a stress test. I very much looked forward to this. Nurse told me to undress and this was followed by getting lots of wires attached to my chest and back. I was put on a tread-mill.  It must have been a ridiculous sight. I was glad Helvi wasn’t there to see her husband struggling on this treadmill. Her Don Juan reduced pitifully. Old age does that.

The outcome was a script for a box full of medications. They all have impossibly difficult and lengthy names. I have an abnormal heart-beat rhythm and strange pulse. This too has a difficult name. I think it is non-valvular ATRIAL Fibrillation. I have five different tablets. Each morning I get up and together with Helvi attend to our medications. The humming of blood pressure machines before breakfast. The updating of charts etc is now common routine.  There is a box of Pradaxa, Candasan or Dabigatran etexilate and many others now. A couple of them are to extract fluids. The toilet is a hive of activity all day. Lucky we have three toilets. The prescriptions are handwritten and I don’t know how the Chemist can make sense of them. The Doctor’s account is crystal clear though.

Perhaps the events in our family a few years ago have overwhelmed. It might not have helped good health. Even so, together we laugh and live off the good memories. The sun still shines.

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”

How to become more Australian.

July 21, 2018

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You can tell that the elections for a Government are getting close. Politicians are ramping up a bit of nationalism by proposing that emigrants acquaint themselves with a ‘true Australian culture’. At the same time are hints about that  Australia is slipping away from its unique Australian culture. Even in far-away England an Australian politician, Alan Tudge is suggesting we are at risk of ‘veering’ away from our special uniqueness. It is useful, especially before elections, to try and get extra votes by suggesting foreigners are the cause for us slipping away from our special Australian uniqueness.

Here is part of what he said;

“Australia will consider adding a “values test” for those considering permanent residency in order to protect its “extraordinarily successful” multicultural society, Malcolm Turnbull said.

The prime minister confirmed what his citizenship and multicultural minister Alan Tudge told the Australia/UK Leadership Forum overnight, where he floated the idea of a “values” test to fend off “segregation”.

Tudge told his London audience “our ship is slightly veering towards a European separatist multicultural model and we want to pull it back to be firmly on the Australian integrated path”.

Whenever someone espouses Australian uniqueness one can rest assured that not a single definition or sample of this special Australian culture will come forth. How can it? Are the people in Italy or Norway without freedom of expression? Are the Dutch forbidden to have a choice in how or where they live. Do the French not have laws protecting them from exploitation by banks or crooks? Are Germans denied sauerkraut?  One thing that stands out separating Australia from the rest of the world, is that in our unique culture, we in Australia only, still don’t have a Bill of Rights.

If we are supposed to be well versed in Australian values and even go so far as insisting that those considering residency here to do some kind of Australian culture ‘test’, how come that our head of state is a British subject? With all that Australian uniqueness we still haven’t got our own Head of State. Why?

It were the American forces who saved Australia from Japanese occupation 1945, not that of Britain. We are guaranteed protection by our Anzus treaty foremost, and would be silly to think English troops coming to our rescue in case of wars.

This ploy to try and ramp up a freaky form of Nationalism using anti-foreign rhetoric is so typical of our state of degradation on the political front. We might get our politicians to do a test instead.

We should all despair and show it at the next election.

My free templet to ward off unwanted phone-calls

November 3, 2017

 

 

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De Kleine Beer, by Else Holmelund-Minarik is the original most loved children’s story I have kept all those years from when our children were toddlers. It has rested peacefully on my bedside table all those decades. Somehow, I still peruse the wisdom and sheer folly of its story. It seems to suggest that folly and wisdom might well be related.

When I get cold callers from a countries with strong Hindi accents, I now, without further ado, start to recite a page taken at random from De Kleine Beer. Most times at the end of just a few lines read in Dutch, the phone line at the other end is blissfully mute and very silent. It works magically. The true wonder of  good literature.

Here is just a one page templet for your free usage for those that are game and brave enough to try it out. It does no harm and is devoid of malice, anger or retribution.

Zo gezegd, zo gedaan. (As said, as done)

Kleine Beer maakt een pan vol soup. ( Little bear makes a pan full of soup.)

De eerste gast is Kip. ( the first guest is a chicken)

‘Wel gefeliciteers, Kleine Beer.’ (‘Congratulation, Little Bear.’)

‘Dank je wel, Kip.’ (‘Thank you very much, Chicken.’)

Hm,wat ruikt het hier lekker.  ( Hm, it smells so nice here.)

This is usually enough for the caller to give up and discontinue the call. I hope it helps. Please, let me know.

As an aside; Lately we talk a lot about Australian values and how they relate and might even be similar in many other countries, or indeed how they might differ.

Australia has as many good ordinary people as any other country we have lived in., perhaps even more… but what was going on when we elected people such as Dutton into power? We put the most inhumane man in charge of asylum seekers.

We must not ask the possibility of Frydenberg’s dual nationality, yet at the same time allow Dutton the freedom to make 600 refugees on Manus stateless.

Please read this link; The world is watching.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-03/manus-island-un-calls-on-australia-to-end-centre-stand-off/9117996

 

 

The story of Bookshelves and Yassmin Abdel Magied’s demise.

July 12, 2017

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Apart from Dad’s struggling with the Victa lawnmower and keeping the kerosene-heater’s wick trimmed, he also bravely accepted the lack of books. He once asked in his usual contemplative tone; ‘Gerard, have you seen any books about in our neighbourhood?’ I must admit that at the age of enjoying my first hormonal drives at sixteen, I hadn’t thought much about books. I was a keen admirer of Jules Verne in Holland, but he slipped away after arrival in Sunny Australia. I had to make and work over-time, save money for the future. My Father followed his previous remark up by his observation that, at Mrs Murphy next door, he hadn’t seen any books at all. ‘Mind you, we have only seen the kitchen so far,’ he added optimistically.

It was mainly through my Mother’s persistent and holtz-hammer method that we had even achieved this penetration into neighbour’s next door’s kitchen. It were those minor achievements that made life bearable after our arrival. My parents keenly trying to make a home in what turned out for me to be a most dismal suburban few years. If ever a far flung Sydney suburb shone in neatness and pride with its occupants soaked up in total fenced-off privacy it was Revesby’s McGirr Street in 1957.

We had involuntary chosen to live in the epicentre of  lives , that can only be described, as being agonisingly slow, lived in extreme political ‘niceness.’ It was out of ignorance more than choice. One had to settle down and own home was a fever that still sweeps through Australia as I write.

It was painfully normal and desirable but I could not understand its bleakness. The struggle after arrival was to quickly buy a home, and if possible this home had to be close to a railway-station.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-11/yassmin-abdel-magied-says-she-feels-betrayed-by-australia/8699138

The lack of book issues that Dad grappled with did not really get resolved. I suppose it must have faded in his memory after their return to Holland in 1974. Like salmons flopping upstream to return to their spawning grounds, Mum found again the familiarity of her Dutch neighbourly cosiness and Dad his bespectacled friends peopled by books while questioning Dostoevsky or the bitter Holland weather. In his old age, he once reflected that it just wasn’t the lack of books but that the available book-shelving that he finally spotted in the New Country were used to store garden herbicides or rat poison, with tools for keeping the grass short , all ready for the next assault on unruly weeds which were kept for the ready on the back-veranda.

And now in 2017, decades later, has Australia  grown wiser more inclusive and accepting of differences? Have the kitchens of ‘give and take’ opened up? No one certainly needs to feel deprived of garlic, and the kebab has taken a strong hold at country fairs, even as far away as Coonabarabran. The meat pie however is under threat and in our town of Bowral it was felt by the Municipal Council to hold a week in which to praise and celebrate the meat pie in order to re-invigorate its proper culinary position at the head of the dinky-dye Australian dining table. Time will tell, but some fear the worst and are nervous.

Our PM certainly tells us we are the most tolerant and most culturally diverse nation in the world. Most of us have foreign blood surging through our veins, but, he does also direct us to not go all funny and foreign after arrival. We do need to genuflect and hold to the True and long held Australian values. We must not allow too much foreignness. Foreign blood ought to be directed and channelled to follow well proven roads and he urges us maintain certain ‘values.’ One of those values that must not be tangled with is the Anzac Value. The value of war and battle fought during the world wars. The battle that defines us most as a people and a country must never be forgotten. This is the battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.

History tells us coldly, this battle was a disaster and Churchill should never have given this order. Today it would most likely be seen as a war-crime. Australians were massacred by the thousands… and it was totally avoidable. Of course, it is argued that those thousands that died on those salty Turkish beaches should never be forgotten, hence, ‘Lest we forget.’ One of our true Australians, Yassmin Abdel Magied agreed, but  thought as a considerate and passionate believer in justice for all, that we should also include in remembering the plight of those in Syria, Iraq, Palestine, and  Manus and Nauru. This was seen as a breach of being good and true ‘Australian’. It was heresy. You don’t muck about with Anzac day, it seems.

After weeks of bullying and pestering, with posters being plastered about for her to be ‘taken-out’  and that she should be deported or at least sacked, her address, phone and Facebook taken away, she finally had enough and plans to go and live in England. She claims that Australia is only tolerant if one ‘toes the line.’ It seems that the extreme semi- literate racists Pauline Hansons,  and Jacqui Lambie are the really nice Australians.

Yassmin is a trained engineer, female, a Muslim Australian, well educated and speaks better English than the previously mentioned racist politicians. She is an asset to Australia and a beacon for tolerance and inclusiveness.

What a great pity and loss for Australia.

The question is; Where does this hatred come from?

Early Television.

May 30, 2017

 

It was surprising that, after our arrival in 1956, Australia had yet to welcome Television. The Dutch introduced black and white television in 1951 with Phillips being the first to manufacture the television set. It wasn’t till 1989 that the Dutch Government even allowed public broadcasting of commercials on the radio and television. Even today Holland seems fairly modest in public display of advertising hoardings. Thank goodness for that. On TV, it is however just as hellish with advertising in Holland as in Australia. One reason we never watch the commercial stations, except for SBS channel. We are now experiencing another form of movie watching in Netflix.  I bet it too will include advertisements urging us to add and buy enhancing lifestyle products.

My early impression of TV watching was in Holland standing in front of radio shops. The introduction of Television was of such national interest that people queued up in front of electrical shops selling the first of television sets. Even just the flickering of the screen was greeted by many Dutch burghers being mesmerized by it all, sometimes standing ten deep in front of those shops. When the weak transmission signal came good and actual images were produced the crowd broke into an applause sometimes even shouting ‘encore’ as if in a life theatre.

IMG_1087Milo 2017

When the event of the television came to Australia around the late fifties, it immediately was accompanied by advertisements. Favourite advertisements were for electric Sunbeam fry-pans, Omo soap powders, Camel cigarettes and of course the much desired  TV sets made from wood veneer and standing somewhat forlorn on splayed legs over which many a family member would stumble. Now of course there are whole jungles of electronics available. Most would now be regarded as lifestyle accoutrements. Sooner or later though, no matter what form of electronic device one buys, it will be loaded with advertisements.

One early advertisement still etched belatedly in my fading memory during those heady early TV broadcasts in Australia was the advertisement of Kellogg’s Cornflakes.  It was shown on TV with the help of a beautiful woman seated at a luridly coloured laminex table with similar splayed legs. She was seductively eating this wonderful crunchy Kellogg’s breakfast with the promise of making her ‘regular’. I foolishly confused her outrageous claim to regularity with being in time. I thought that this breakfast was making her come in time for her work, taking children to school or appointment with the hairdresser, and never thought it had anything to do with the delicate state of her bowels.

In fact, during those early years almost all food advertisements were pitched at making women achieve good levels of regularity. It was years later when I learned that women were keenly addicted to head-ache powders containing phenacetin. Apart from the resulting obstinate persistence of cemented bowels,  many suffered kidney failure in later life when those particular pain killers were banned. It must have caused many to suffer from bouts of unimaginable constipation. In factories, canny Medicine moguls installed coin operated headache powder dispensers. Women would flock to put in a penny and get and APC or Bex powder. I was perplexed that so many would queue up to buy those powders. I asked and one woman told me it would ‘pick her up.’  The expression ‘having a cup-o-tea, a Bex powder, and a good lie-down’ came from that period

I don’t know if Kellogg’s cornflakes helped those utterly confused female bowels. The TV did promise so many things. For some reason, men were not shown to suffer bouts of irregularity on TV. Perhaps it lacked masculinity. No doubt with their enormous beer consumption, the male bowel was in robust health all the time.

Our early years in Australia were used productively in a fast ‘learning curve.’