Friday, January 29

Abuse of Women

Australians, or many of them, are so upset about the video of a drunken footballer's low life behaviour on Australia Day.  To many it was shocking - an adult who not only pretended to have sex with a dog, peed on the furniture, and also tried to kiss a lady who did not welcome his advances.  Typical drunken Aussie, perhaps.  Many of us are shocked and angry.  

There has been a lot of press about the incident - and many opinions about how this 26 year old sports star should be punished.  It is not the first time he has disgraced himself in public, and he has been punished before.  He is an example of a sports star who is so overpaid, and seems to have no boundaries.  What a disgrace he is!

I was driving to Brisbane yesterday morning, and instead of listening to classical music, I listened to ABC 612 - where presenter Steve Austin, asked listeners to call in with their comments.  He also asked women who had been the victims of similar behaviour by men to call in.  To me it was no surprise to hear women reporting on how they have been treated for years.  It is common for women, particularly young ones, to be "terrorised" by men on a regular basis.    

If you go to a pub, tavern, bar, and are alone, you are bound to be on the receiving end of some drunken slob towards the end of the night.  This is why many good women choose not to go out at night to these venues, if they do not have company to go with.

Too many times in my life, as a single young girl (many years ago), and even as a married older woman, I have been on the receiving end of such intimidating behaviour.   Even when I have been out at functions with my then husband, I have been set upon by men who tried to kiss me or have sex with me.  Did my husband know?  I don't know.  I don't recall him ever coming to "rescue" me.  I recall one event on a Lions Club outing, where one of his "friends" grabbed me and pushed me into a toilet on a train and tried to have sex with me.  Luckily I was able to get away from him - but it was a few brief terrifying experience.

What do women do?  No one saw what happened to me on that night, or if they did, they did nothing.  Did I tell my husband?  I don't actually recall that I did - I may have, but I don't remember.  He remained friends with the bloke for some time afterwards though, and I skirted around from him.

In part, many men think it is is ok to try and kiss a lady - at any time.  I have been "terrorised" in the workplace on more than one occasion.  I have changed jobs because I didn't feel safe.  It is common.   

It was clear from the phone calls from only a few women yesterday, that some women have experienced this sort of intimidating behaviour far too many times.  

The dominance of men over women is endemic in many communities.  Despite all the rhetoric about the improved treatment of women in our society, and there no doubt is an improvement, it is still common place to see women treated badly.  It is clear by the domestic violence figures, the murders of women, and so forth that fill the media on a regular basis, that many men to not respect women.  I wonder how we can change it?  

We will wait to see how this footballer who disgraced himself will be treated.  So many men are concerned that this "star" will be removed from a team - he is a great player, but he needs to get his act together!!!  I'd ban him for life.  He is not a first time offender.  He doesn't deserve to be treated like a star.  Ever.

Monday, January 25

On Letter Boxes and Writing

Yesterday I delivered some flyers about an upcoming function to letter boxes in my street.  I've done it before. Often.  I do the deliveries for the Neighbourhood Watch too.  

For some reason yesterday I looked closely at the letter boxes. I don't know our Postie, but feel sorry for him.  Access to many of the letter boxes is not easy.  For a start, on one side of the road the houses are up a slope - some 2 meters above "flood level" -  it doesn't flood, but the council thinks one day it might.  

If the Postie has something to deliver to some houses, "he" would have to get off "his"  motorbike and walk up to the letter box.  One has a big tree in front of it too.  It would make his job a little bit harder and take extra time.

I guess it won't be long before letterboxes are obsolete - in fact one house in our street doesn't have a letter box now!

Apart from the access, I noted the condition of the letter boxes.  I'll start with the one out the front of my house.  It is brick. You'd think that somehow a brick letter box would not allow water inside.  Wrong.  I am lucky I have a post office box, as all mail gets soaking wet inside my letter box.  Sorry, I didn't mean to whinge about MY letter box. 

Many of the letter boxes are metal - a small box arrangement on a pole.  They are ok.  However, there are many made of styrene foam with a thin layer of cement over them.  I was surprised to see how many are breaking down - falling apart.  They could only be 5 - 6 years old, and some of those are discoloured badly.  Rotting in more ways than one.  As many of these properties are rental, I can see that in the not too distant future it will look like a slum.

I sadly am critical of many home builders who seem to have the motto "near enough is good enough" as if you look closely at many of the houses, which are not very old, there are faults that will soon need repairing, and if everyone's experiences with real estate agents/owners, they are not too quick to fix a fault.

I could write pages about the trouble I have had with my  agent/owners!!!

Well, I guess, in a few years time we will not need letter boxes at all.  For a start, few people are writing letters or even cards these days. Will ALL communication be via phone or Internet?

I read the statistics about the ability of children to write these days.  I can't find them at the moment, but there are concerns around the world that students are challenged with handwriting these days.  Some of us (older folk) see the way young people hold a pen or pencil.    It would be so hard to write much if they don't learn how to do this properly.

I remember a year or so ago, asking my now 12 year old grandson to write to me.  His response was that he could not.  He finds it very hard to write  - it is hard and time consuming apparently.  I was only after a few lines.  A thank you actually.

As my now deceased father used to often say "It's a strange world".

Sunday, January 24

Cixi - Here I Come!!

The next two weeks will fly by faster than I want!  However, I am excited about visiting Cixi, in China, where I think the wedding of my former student and now friend will be held.  I am guessing that the city was named after the Dowager Empress Cixi.  (I am waiting to hear details of the wedding ceremony!)

First of all, I will be in Shaoxing - where I taught way back in 2008, and 2010.  It is Spring Festival, so life is going to be somewhat challenging.  One of my friends contacted me yesterday - concerned about the traffic. I assumed that he was worried about Australian traffic!!  Silly me!  Because of the snow and heavy traffic between Shaoxing and Shanghai, he was concerned about getting to the airport to fly to Australia!

I have not heard from him today - can only hope that he made it as the roads were closed and the railway was also shut down.

After Shaoxing, it is off to Cixi - not far away.

From Wikipedia

"Cixi City is located on the south of the economic circle of Yangtze River Delta, which is the most promising area for future development. Being the anchor of the Shanghai, Hangzhou and Ningbo Economic Golden Triangle, Cixi is 60 km (37 mi) from Ningbo in the east, 148 km (92 mi) from Shanghai in the north and 138 km (86 mi) from Hangzhou in the west. Cixi has a subtropical monsoon climate, with an average annual temperature of 16℃. With the emphasis on the city’s infrastructure, Cixi has an effective public transportation system that provides convenience."

There is of course a lot written about Empress Dowager Cixi - including the book referred to in the Video.  The author Jung Chang (who also wrote the famous book "Wild Swans" ) tells of her book.

Below is another Video (with English captions) that features an event with Cixi.  I love the costumes.  Extra ordinary!

There are many books written about the Empress, and here is a listing on Amazon.

Saturday, January 23

Seabin Post

I had read about the Seabin some short time ago, and I sent the information to my local councillor.  As my readers will know I live by the sea, and in this region there are many marina's, and as I reported in my last post, much beach litter.

I read about the Seabin, and the crowdfunding efforts, but did not realise how successful they would be.  I hope I had some part in it - for I did put it on Facebook, and in other ways tell people.

I have been a Volunteer for Clean Up Australia Day for quite a few years - not consistently, as I am often not in the country, but it is a project that I always like to support.

It is very frustrating that each year we collect so much rubbish, and that it does seem to diminish.  Here is one brilliant idea created by two great Aussies and their Crowd Funding seems to be working for them too.  

Visit the Seabin Project website and see what they are doing. Promote the Seabin Project to your local council or those responsible for the care of Marina's in your area.

Beach Litter

I wanted a walk on the beach today - and set off just on 2 pm to  go to one of the most northerly beaches, not far from here.  I have walked on that beach before, but had not gone as far as I intended today.  

The Weather Bureau had forecast rain today, with heavy rain this afternoon, so I watched the sky at times, but no rain came.  The beach is a beach that is on the southern end of Pumicestone Passage, and adjacent to Moreton Bay - a haven for boaties and fisherfolk.  Along the foreshore are some very nice houses - luxury houses I would suggest, and most are almost hidden from the beach by trees.  The sand is white in some places and dark grey/black from minerals in the sand, and the sands are dotted with beautiful mangrove trees.

It is a beach that gets few human visitors - it is too shallow to swim, but folk take their dogs or horses out for a walk on the beach and a swim for the horses.  The photo above shows the riders without saddle and no shoes, so I would suggest the horses will get a swim in the water - it is hot and muggy with a storm approaching.

On March 6th I will be taking part in the Clean Up Australia program - where folk all around the country spend a couple of hours picking up rubbish along streets, creeks, rivers, beaches etc, and I am hoping to have a team to work the beach where I walked today.  

I was checking to see if the area warranted our work - and I was quite shocked at the large array of rubbish, from bottles, a pillow, heaps of plastic, old beat bags, and enough stuff to fill quite a few of the iconic yellow rubbish bags.  I shall be trying to get a team to work on this beach, and the local area as it is clearly in need.  Much of the rubbish would have come from boats out in the bay.  Disgusting.

I do get so angry at the folk that just throw out their rubbish.  Yesterday my 10 year old grand daughter collected a bag of rubbish from a narrow walkway near where I live.  There's no need for it.  Our world is already so polluted!!

Friday, January 22

The Wedding Photographer?

Many folk know that I love taking photos.  I don't call myself a photographer really - just a "camera addict" which is written on my business card.

I do mainly landscapes - and sell some of my photos locally - local tourist spots etc, but if asked to "be the photographer" at events, I'd rather run a mile.

Some readers will know that last December (2015) I went to China for the wedding of a former student of Yuexiu University where I taught in 2008 and 2010. Amazing event - and as it happened, around 9 photographers.  Very impressive. Of course I took my new Olympus camera, and have some great photos.  For me, just memory joggers.  Why would someone with 9 professional photographers be interested in my photos?  None of them are extra ordinary.

In two weeks time I head to China again.  For another wedding.  The first wedding was amazing, well planned and a huge celebration over four days.  With only a few weeks to go, the planning is still underway with for the next one, and clearly will not be the same.  I have been able to find out little information about the details of the wedding from the bride - my only contact.

This morning I woke to see a message on WeChat from the bride.  Will I be the wedding photographer?  What?  Me?  I have not yet replied, but will do so shortly.  Of course I will have my camera, and of course I would love to take photos!  BUT!  I will not be the photographer.  OMG!!!
What a responsibility!

Also I am not taking my computer, though that should not be a major factor, but to have to download with someone else's computer and in Chinese, I do have concerns.

However, just as it is an honour to be invited to a wedding in China, it is an honour to be asked to be the photographer!

Postscript.  Communication with the bride reveals that I am not the only photographer.  She has quite a few, but just wanted me to take some photos.  Phew.  Happy to do so.

Tuesday, January 19

Breastfeeding and Naked Boobs.

A Video popped up on Facebook, with an experiment to see the reaction of people when a woman was breast feeding and another woman showing off her breasts.  I don't know if it was all actor/actresses performing, but people apparently abused the breast feeding woman and were happy to look at the breasts of the other.  You might find the Video here.

Firstly, let me say I approve of breast feeding.  I admit to being a little disapproving of those who go to the trouble of letting everyone see their boobs hanging out - showing off their boobs with clothing that does not cover their breasts.

I would never abuse a woman who was breastfeeding, even if my thoughts were that the mother could be a little more discreet.

Several events that have occurred in my presence in the last year have made me think hard about the issue of breast feeding.  As I said, I believe that a mother is doing her duty by breastfeeding, but I do like the mother to be discreet.  Last year I was attending a meeting and one of the attendees was a mother of a small baby - only weeks old.  She sat opposite the manager of the business, and never gave any thought to his feelings.  He was not rude, but he was most embarrassed as she did nothing to hide her breasts, and in fact let them hang out indiscreetly, from time to time.  He was very upset by it.  He had to look at the ceiling, or to the people either side of her.   Not once did she consider the fellow who was in his 50's, and most uncomfortable.

A few months later, I was at a function where there were both males and females and the woman was breastfeeding a rather other child - perhaps around 12 months.  The mother had the biggest breasts I had every seen, and she slung them around out of her bra!  I nearly fell over - in part because I don't think I have ever seen such big boobs, but she walked around quite happily with them all hanging out.  Now I am not comfortable with that and I know others weren't either.

Over the weekend there was a Free the Nipple Picnic in Brisbane.  The women feel that all women should be free to roam anywhere  - naked at the top, just like men can.  Sorry girls, I don't agree.  Men see breasts as sex objects and I suspect many are "turned" on at the sight of a naked breast - that's  why men buy magazines with naked/semi naked women.

Personally, I think that it is odd that men can go in public with only tiny togs/shorts/pants on and women need to cover up.  My preference would be for neither to go in public with the tops exposed.
Yes, call me unfashioned, but I think we would have  a safer community.

I've been groped by men, while having all my clothes on - can't imagine what life would be like if we all ran around topless.  

Sunday, January 17

To Smack or Not to Smack

I confess.  I was a mother who resorted to slapping/smacking my children when I thought they deserved it.  I don't believe that my rare smacking caused my children to be violent.  You see, they seldom received a smack, but they did learn that there were consequences to bad behaviour.

These days I look around in fear as I see the behaviour of young people and the challenges that parents have.  Clearly there are to many one parent families, and I feel for those children who are not growing up in the comfort of a home with a mother and father.  I am not particularly against same sex couples, but I wonder how the children learn about the difference between men and women.  I know that there is no strict role for a mother as opposed to a father, but there are just some things that women are not good at teaching, and some things that men are not good at teaching.

I have had the experience of befriending a single mother with no family support.  I am happy to help her, but I find it very challenging.  She has a drinking problem and other issues e.g. anger, and her 13 year old son has not had the nurturing of a good mother and has no father.  He has many challenges, and is rude, insolent, and spends much of his time with his Xbox and computer, as he has no siblings, no friends, and is quite lost in his world.  He has been sprung spending a lot of time on porn sites - hardly good education for one so young.

I read an article here this morning.  It seems I am not the only one concerned.  

There's so much about smacking being responsible for violence, but since smacking has been outlawed the violence by our young people appears to have dramatically increased.  I see parents distressed that much of their attempts at discipline are fruitless.

The violence in our community - one punch killings, wild drunken parties, abuse of police and hospital staff didn't happen when parents could smack a child and show them that there are consequences for bad behaviour.  The kids are too soft, given too much, and my observance is that it is getting worse.

What is worse?  Are parent yelling expletives at a child either in public or at home (I have heard both which I find quite offensive) or giving one smarting smack?  I have heard parents yell at small children that "they won't have a birthday party" or "they are sick of the "" child, and worse.  I see the rudeness of some young men and women, especially to our elders.

A few days ago I read that in France there are no problems with ADHD, etc - in part because the children are more disciplined and eat regular healthy meals.  In Australia we feed them drugs, and let them run amok.

Something is awfully wrong.  Is it worth doing some quality research?

Wednesday, January 6

Too Much Violence!!

I am literally crying.  Tears flow wildly from my eyes after learning that someone has stabbed and killed a two-month-old baby.  I don't wish to say any more about the details that I have heard on the television news in the last few minutes, but I am appalled and very upset.  I am sure I know none of the people involved, which is a blessing in a way for me, but I am appalled at the horrible violence that is being perpetrated around Australia right now.  

As if we don't have enough challenges with natural disasters - but since the beginning of the year, which we all hoped would be a "good" year, there have been constant stories in the press of avoidable deaths due to violence - an 18 year old youth killed by one punch in Brisbane, two children and a father killed in what appears to be a murder-suicide in Port Lincoln, and now someone taking a knife to two women, known to the perpetrator, and a baby.  A baby who should have its whole life ahead of it, but sadly so brutally taken from it in a horrific event of violence.
I am saddened, somewhat scared and so concerned that this is all happening.
Of course we are surrounded by violence - the newspapers and television and radio news reports daily brutality not only in Australia, but all around the world.  The needless deaths regularly feature in our media, and somehow educated men and women seem powerless to do anything to make positive changes.
Is it getting worse?  It feels like it is - and it makes me so sad and concerned, I feel helpless and desperate.
Surely, someone, somehow can encourage people to be less violent?  No one gains anything with this horrible behaviour.

It's time to stop it!!