Posts Tagged ‘Opera House’

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

“Kanimbla Hall”, Pott’s Point, Sydney.(Auto Biography)

July 17, 2015
Kanimbla Hall, Kings Cross.

Kanimbla Hall, Kings Cross.

Little needs adding to the previous story of how we finally ended up on a boat to Australia, sailing first class, dining with an Italian couple and Helvi dancing with the captain. Perhaps I should add as a minor detail that I also won the ship’s chess competition with the final match being played with the ship’s doctor who was supposed to be a very good player. Boasting a bit here, but one might be forgiven. One should never resist the temptation to live off minor triumphs in life as much as possible. You just never know what tragedy might be waiting around the corner!

One other memory just bubbling up right now was the teaching of English to some of the Greek migrants on the boat. There was an Australian immigration officer on-board asking for volunteers teaching English. Helvi suggested I should offer to do just that. I was given a class of Greek people mostly men but also a few young couples. All were eager and keen. I have never met a more joyfully optimistic mob of Greek people. The teaching was simple. I knew no Greek and they no English. It was done by pointing and writing. There is a name for this type of teaching, but I can’t bother looking it up. Time is of the essence, and what is in a name?

I started narcissistically pointing to myself and at the same time saying ‘Gerard’ which was followed by everyone saying their names as well. This then became ‘my name is…followed by the whole class repeating it. The fun really started when progressing to trades, and jobs. Hammering down became a carpenter. Slapping around with a brush, a painter, and so. It turned out many of the men were all of the trades, They were all cobblers, butchers, you name the trade and the same hands would fly up.. This was cause for great hilarity. Talk about a keen lot of people. No wonder so many became successful in Australia.

One could ask why did they chose to leave a country that millions flock to each year, especially with a population so given to spontaneous dance, laughter and happiness?  I noticed the same with the Italians. Of course, grinding poverty and unemployment endemic in many Southern Europe countries could be the answer. Even so, there did not seem to be that same expression of cheer and good humour in countries where far better material conditions did exist. Has anyone ever caught public transport in the UK? Those grim faces holding onto their umbrellas as if a stolen stash of gold !

In Greece during the boat trip.

In Greece during the boat trip.

I reflected how within a few weeks those happy Greeks would be drawn to working, saving, and enjoying their new life. Now there would be unlimited plates laden with fetta, lamb and spinach. No shortage for the kids and….own house, even own business, a milk bar called Stavros with photos being sent back to the relatives in Greece. Did the boisterous laughter continue in Australia as then still on the ship? Leave the pensive reflections well alone ‘my name is gerard’. What are you hoping for?

We arrived in Fremantle. Of course on yet another Sunday. We sauntered through the hot lonely barren streets. It was my third Sunday in Fremantle. Not much had changed. The continuation to Melbourne was through The Great Australian Bite.  The enormous swell parallel with the boat made even the crew not turn up for meals, let alone the passengers. There were paper bags strung up along the corridors and stairs. Sea sickness is a cruel part of any sea voyage. Even though most passenger boats have stabilisers fitted, they were of little use. Most remained in their cabins, heaving, retching merrily away in private.

Of course, Helvi and I were exempted from all this misery. Proudly arm in arm we would pace the decks. Our faces into the fierce wind. Nonchalantly defiant to Zeus and Poseidon. No sea too rough no woman (or man) so tough! The dining rooms all but for a hardy few, deserted. Tables fastened and piano roped down in the corner. Those few passengers that did turn up ate out of plates that had been put on plastic sheets to give traction, prevent them from sliding about. We ordered bacon and eggs to the pale looking waiter. The Italians absent as was the captain.

After Melbourne, a more normal city and then …Sydney. That beautiful glide through the heads and then to the Opera House in full progress, cranes sticking up as if waving to the newcomers. Finally arriving at my parents place. They immediately liked Helvi. My mother thought we would live in the garage for a while. She had put up cheerful new curtains, a red and white checked cotton strung along the top of the louvered windows, facing the street. We slept there just one night. Next day went to the city including my little apartment in Kings-Cross or Pott’s Point. It had become vacant just before our departure from Finland. Helvi immediately liked it and we decided to live there instead. It was fully furnished, even had all the pots and pans, cutlery and fridge. Even its name ‘Kanimbla Hall’ seemed attractive. It was really a bit of a no choice. I mean, the no-ones land of the suburb, neither country-side nor city. The choice was for city.

We moved in next day. It was so exciting.

China Town

March 28, 2012

‘Most impressive’ is what I thought of last Monday’s ABC’s 4 Corners program on how China is transforming itself from a rural backwater into one of the world’s most formidable economies. It is estimated that it will be the world’s number one soon.  How do they do it?

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/03/22/3461200.htm

Is it education or has China always been a country of forward looking people? I mean, those hidden terracotta warriors and their horses were not there just by accident. It gave us a pretty good indication of an amazingly creative culture even at 200BC. Fancy, having the modesty to bury them. In Australia all we have managed so far is to have kept Phar Lap’s heart inside a bottle of alcohol. If it wasn’t for the Danish Vikings, our Opera House would never have been built either.

It’s no mean feat to build one city of 200.000 within seven years, let alone dozens of them. I have trouble getting my car’s pink slip done within the eight week time limit, or much worse, forgetting to do my zipper up after I have used the local men’s on the stroll to Aldi’s with a shopping list firmly clutched in my hands. “Don’t forget the toilet paper”, still ringing in my ears.

Slothfulness is not in the Chinese psyche. Meetings were held whereby the farmers were told by the village elder to change their thinking. Instead of hand ploughing the land and growing pigs they must develop a mindset of ‘business’ for the future and educate the children.

The children were seen root learning very diligently. Grandparents were shown to pick the youngsters up from school. Dad had foregone the hand-ploughing altogether and was working in Shanghai earning in one week what the wife would earn in one year ploughing and fattening pigs.

It was amazing to see, that despite the poverty, many still brought a mouthwatering arrangement of foods on the table, especially heralding in the Chinese New Year. When I see footage of the overfed but undernourished poor in Australia, slurping from Coke bottles and eating packets of chips, I get feelings of cultural doom and despair.

I could also not believe the leanness of the villagers. Was it a result of hunger and hard work or was it also their diet which seemed very much based on eating many greens. Everyone seemed well dressed. I mean, very clean and there was no rubbish lying about. I always wondered on how so many hundreds of millions lived, how did they survive?  How come they seem to be forever smiling and laughing?

The hacking away at the clay with a hand held hoe and the lure of earning big money didn’t prevent one husband from wanting to return to his farm. The wife refused, became stroppy and told her husband to keep earning money in the big city. The kids have to go to school, she added. There was more than a hint of marital whiplash about in that couple.

The one thing that seemed to shine through was their connection to each other and family and an indomitable will to make the best and succeed. Money making was the way to the future but so was their love of kinship and family.

Now back to those Terracotta soldiers. The facts are amazing. Current estimates are that in the three pits containing the Terracotta Army there were over eight thousand soldiers, one hundred and thirty chariots with five hundred and twenty horses and one hundred and fifty cavalry horses, the majority still buried in the pits. Then there are musicians, comedians and other non-military figures. All are life-size.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terracotta_Army

We are always dazzled by the art of the ancient Egyptians and the influence of the Greek civilization on our western world… but the Pyramids and Parthenon seem to be somewhat insignificant compared with the history of the Chinese. Perhaps both are almost unfathomable in how it was possible to achieve such enormous heights during that time.

I wonder what will be dug up from our times, a large intact veneered Mac Mansion with Caesar-stone bench tops and tangled heaps of zinc alume, Chocó boxes, Apple tablets, and many leaf blowers with pebble-crete lawn edgers…