Posts Tagged ‘Quo Vadis’

Walk the Talk to Sydney’s State Library.

January 15, 2017

The cluster of cables united


After arrival by train we undertook a walk to the Library to deposit ten books as part of two literary competitions. We passed the first of the sky scrapers and after overcoming intestinal hiccups, the walk resumed with renewed vigour. We are now seated underneath large white canvas umbrellas enjoying a sandwich, a bagel and café lattes.

We noticed that despite the heat we were feeling remarkably chipper. We both enjoy watching people go by. It is interesting that we noticed far more cafés and eating places now in Sydney. Many tantalising plates of food were on display. Gone were the dreary lamington, devon and pie offering of years gone-by. No, all is good in the culinary world. A revolution certainly seems to have happened in edible food in contrast to the fare handed out by our rorting politicians.They still revel in showing abhorrence to even the slightest hint of public support for the dreadful treatment of refugees! But of that more later.

Souvlakis and the yeeros outlets seem to have been well established along Macquarie Street while Pitt Street now excels in Chinese wontons, oriental offerings, noodle dishes and even  sad-looking flattened smoked ducks hanging from inside shop windows. A man approached us pointing to his throat. We shook our heads. He walked on and went to the next customer. Was he hungry or mad?  Poor man, possibly both. After a good rest and drinking copious amounts of water, Helvi suggested to go on. Our next stop would be Martin Place. Martin place is to Sydney what the Left-Bank or Eifel-Tower is to Paris. It even has its own train station, all underground. This is where many people meet.

Years ago Martin Place had an expensive and fancy night-club restaurant.  I think it might have been called ‘Quo Vadis.’ The uber socialite and fund raiser of that time, Nola Dykevere, used to write up in the Sunday Telegraph about the  celebrities visiting this night club. It would feature photos identifying by name the diners and their guests. It was many a Sydney-sider’s lifelong dream to be featured in that paper.

I took one of my first dates there. It was a terrible night. The food was cut up sliced English ham and a salad without dressing, some pierced bits of English gherkin.  I threw all caution to the wind by ordering a glass of tepid insecure wine. My date had sparkling lemonade and we just kept saying to each other; “nice, oh how nice, and my spicy Dutch guttural English ‘you look so lovely’ was answered by ‘thank you.” ‘ I was wearing a too big a suit with a white shirt and tie. The brylcreme tried its best to give my mat hair a bit of a wave. The show had a chanteuse singing something from Tammy or possibly  the latest from that racist ‘ The Black and White Minstrel show.’ For dessert we had some sliced cheese and a pale jelly. I bet the cheese was ‘tasty cheese.’ Still a favourite today.

Of course, anyone on a rare first date would have felt a bit nervous and memories might be exaggerated or vague. My experience of the opposite sex were at that time very limited but my interest at pitch fever heights. A peak during the Scheyville migrant’s camp after our arrival, at the Polish taxi driver’s wife’s bush in the shower through a crack in the fibro  partition was as far as it went. Most of my fellow Dutch migrant boys at the Nissan Hut camp thought it a very fortuitous break and were jealous.

Today, Martin place is thankfully different. A busy bustling place with well designed open places where people can sit, enjoy a coffee and avoid talking to each other tinkering on the mobile phone.  Going up past the station we again met up with many of the homeless. A volunteer with entrepreneurial skills had set up a kitchen to feed those that were hungry. A cook was busy stirring and frying food. Many seemed to just be sleeping or perhaps the heat was having an effect. Many looked elderly. Were some pensioners? It all looked rather startling and unsettling to see so many. How could that be?

Right now our politicians are in the middle of a scandal with rorting their entitlements. One female minister for HEALTH just resigned when it came out she was using travel entitlement to scour the Gold Coast Auction market and had made a most lucrative investment in a high-rise unit on the cold Coast while purportedly being on Government paid health business. Where are their priorities? Certainly not on the home-less.

Another minister with a penchant for horses had used her travel entitlements to attend polo races with her boyfriend. She was shown in a photo wearing a hat and far too much eye blackener. Another scoundrel had travelled to the US attending a Prayer Breakfast, whatever that means. But the forgotten flotsam of the homeless are in Martin place and a few were even seen prostrate right in front of the reason of our walk and focus, the State Library. Again I won’t finish this tale of books and woes.

It seems, that I got stuck far too long on regaling  past memories with peaks at female bush. Is that what drives me?

Keep an eye out. More to come!


Life Insurance and getting away from Yourself!

November 12, 2014
My paternal grandparents wedding

My paternal grandparents wedding

It is a bit presumptuous to expect people to read everything or even anything that has been put down in writing. I mean so much is put into writing, everyone has become an author.. Could it be or even follow, that those who do, suffer from self-absorption and are delusional of their own importance. Have we all gone into me, me, and more of me?

Take an Insurance Policy. Who can possibly read a document like that? What does the Insurance Company expect? Well, they largely hope you don’t read it, especially not the fine print. Their aim is for you to fork out the moolah and fervently hope you don’t notice they have excluded any claims you might ever initiate. The most interesting part in reading, in large lettering, is where they jubilantly point out the enormous benefits of what you will get when you are dead.

Of course when you are dead they expect you to prove you died of an unexpected accident before any consideration of the payout that you have insured yourself for. Most deaths are pretty unexpected even when the doctor declares, “well, you’re pretty crook, expect not to wake up tomorrow morning Mr Oosterman, good night!” “Good night doc”, the expiring patient sighs somewhat despondently. The door bangs shut.

Of late the TV on the SBS channel has an almost indecent obsession with running many Life-Insurance advertisements. They sometimes show a couple on a grassy knoll lovingly enjoying a pick-nick. He is situated a bit higher than her, she kind of lingers a bit lower between his firm conjugal legs. Children are even lower down, playing with a hoopla or being chased by a slobbering Labrador. The wife is a bit concerned and puckered-up about the future, but he is beaming and says. “Oh darling, I have just taken out an Accidental Death Insurance and we will be fine when I am dead”. The next shot shows the wife, this time, she beaming, and gloriously optimistic, deep baking a chuck-steak casserole. Husband sits on his desk thumping down his paid Life-Insurance receipt on a special sharp receptacle for receipts. He casually leans back in a black leather office chair, as if a Robert Taylor from Quo Vadis just having slain savage lions and obstinate Christians, all at the same time, against a burning background of Rome…The Insurance Company, not unlike the Peter Ustinov, has grown even fatter!

I have always resisted Insurances. Right now we don’t have a single insurance. That’s right…not even one. The compulsory green slip on the car is the exception. Years ago, my younger brother was a sucker for life insurance. The usual ploy of: ‘Surely, you don’t want your parents to pay for your funeral,’ got him each time.” He would keep payments up for a few years and then just let is slip. He did this several times until I pointed out that a payout after death is of dubious use if not also totally un-spendable.

I mean, so what, if in the event there is no money for a decent burial? Do they keep you bolt upright, stiffly sitting in a bed forever? I don’t know of anyone who remained unburied because he did not have the money. Do they say, while wagging a finger at you, a very dead corpse; ‘sorry, no money- no box, you should have signed up a Life Policy?’ That would be so heartless. Still, a great consolation I forever keep in mind…Mozart ended up having a pauper’s funeral. In an unknown grave and very grave but his music still alive, all glorious and getting better.

And furthermore, what about the weekly event sponsored by on SBS? Whereby someone, often a famous celebrity or sports hero, trying to find out their great, great, great grandparents with endless forefather’s and foremother’s struggles in ancient life’s so lost and forgotten, only to find out a prostitute, single mother or axe murderer, even bearded convict, lurking about somewhere in those dank Births and Deaths cathedral’s archives.

The result is the close-up tearstained or sunny exultant, (depending on the inherited gene) face of the searchers, fumbling through some frayed document or standing in front of a Czechoslovakian village ruin, pondering the hardships endured two hundred fifty eight years ago just to give, after many generations, birth to you, the present ageing celebrity or kicking-ball sports man of yesteryear and still having to go on with the present stage of life. Me, me and more me!

And so it goes on, Quo Vadis?

This bullying Australia

September 26, 2013

imagesScott Morrison

Posted on September 26, 2013 by gerard oosterman

Bullying is what defines us as a nation.

For absolute proof of a bullying nation, surely you can’t get past on how we see and treat refugees coming by boat. Of course it would be better if no one made that journey. The fact is that refugees will undertake that trip. They have nothing to lose.
It is how we treat refugees after they have made it to Australian waters or land that we are getting close to behaving like a pre-war Germany. A blank-out on news was also imposed then.

Look at the sheer pleasure on politicians faces when they announce even harsher treatments.

The glint in Scott Morrison’s eye when he announced stopping ‘shipping news’. ” We will not announce any news on arrivals of illegal boats from Indonesia,” he announced with the mien of a Quo Vadis gladiator. Morrison must have repeated that statement over and over again while in bed the previous few weeks.

Oh the sheer joy on Morrison’s face all aglow into the camera: ” if they (notice the ‘they’ and not ‘refugees’) are fit enough to get on a boat ‘they’ are fit enough to be sent to Manus or Nauru island.”

As Morrison was warming up to the subject, he brought forth his dream of being seen as the man who stopped the boats. Triumphantly beaming at the prospect of having beaten back the armada of boats threatening Australia, our borders, our security. “There will be a 24 hour turnover” he chortled. This was his Waterloo moment.

Not once did Morrison even come close to mentioning ‘people’, let alone ‘refugees.’ The language of Morrison on boat people was brutalising us all.

How do you think all that comes over to our young, our children for whom we must be an example?

The bullying at schools is of course a natural reaction of what they, the young students, get fed almost daily on the TV or media. Why show respect for others when the lack of it by their peers is trumpeted on our TV almost nightly.