Who Were They?

Life is short and when we lose someone, usually we only have photographs, anecdotal or shared events retained through ever decreasing memories and clarity. Handwritten notes or memories contain an emotional link, but much more is attainable when we can hear their voice or see them in action.

Listening back to a grandmother talking about her early life or reading from hand written journals or letters (typed maybe) the stories they reflect are priceless.
Record your family and friends using the written word, video or sound. Not the information about the now or more recent activities for which your memory will maintain a special time. Record their life prior to meeting you, raising you or compiling the shared memories. Prepare a series of questions prior to the ‘interview’ and give the ‘client’ time to review, agree, change or add. Of course questions about your relationship is a worthy topic, but you should already have this understanding and memory. More important is the story about your early years and their interaction with you.

I have my mother’s written memories entitled ‘what I want you to know’ and also my paternal-grandmother’s vocal recordings of her early life recorded a narrated by another family member.

These items have heritage significance. Do it before it is too late for neither you nor they will last forever.

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2015 A Change Year

2015 confronts with the necessity to adapt, modify and absorb the every changing landscape.

I can see why people prefer to opt out, retire from working or social life and just potter about in their comfortable environment.

It is a challenge to be always asked for more input and output, more energy and commitment. If we could see a result from the efforts expended then yes! let’s go all out and make this initiative and innovation generate meaningful change and benefit.

But generally that does not happen. Work is generated on a whim and submitted because it is the topic of the day/hour and ‘must be addressed’. Most of our working life is made up of meaningless, uninspiring, repetition on subjects which were topics of interest last week/month/year, without any resolution.

Well 2015 is going to be different. I intend to make noise about inefficient, ineffective and meaningless activity. Worse case scenario is the status quo remains. However, best case something may actually change for the better.

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Australian War Time Service

Within the publication, ‘Australian History Live!’ Ian Warden has reminded us of Australia at Federation.

An anonymous author for The Bulletin wrote, ‘…there were soldiers and soldiers and soldiers, emphasising the sadness that Australia, the land of peace, has become for British ends a land of war …

Have we grown up since that description was penned? We have followed into the conflicts for and against the Boer, Sudanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malays, Timorese, Iraqis and Afghani.

There has been one notable exception, John Curtin (14th PM), who turned tradition on its head and formed the first major ties with the USA by refusing Churchill’s request for Australian troops; infuriating Churchill. He believed strongly in Australia first as the Japanese threat was too great at the time.

There is merit to be found on grounds of world peace, humanitarian effort, nationhood, but there is also the questionable sacrifices we make because of politics.

Today we are faced by Syria and possible intervention, directly through military action or by training another opposition group without addressing the ramifications. These matters could spiral out of control or just come back to hound later in time. I pray our Leaders find wisdom, seek advice and listen to the overall thoughts of the nation; before any action is undertaken, which will make it all goes pear shaped.

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Stuart O’Grady

One mistake when young. one error of judgement. If we were all brought to account for our youthful mistakes noone could join a board, represent the country or hold high office. Stuart O’Grady made a mistake and never repeated it. He is far from being a drug cheat. I think everyone needs to look to their own integrity, moral standard and ethical-honest behavioural history. How many fake or lie when stating their tax returns? give the guy a break for he has been a wonderful athlete and Australian representative.

AOC calls for Stuart O’Grady to resign from its Athletes’ Commission after doping confession, updated story here http://t.co/xNPw2iXtIG

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Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

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A utopian society – all things being equal

Society seems to be trying to be all things to all people, for the benefit of all and those who have more to assist in closing the gap with those who have less. Those who have less may have less for various reasons and some of them may come from their own making and not from external circumstances beyond their control. All this is very socialist in its definition.

Society is not equal. We, as humans, are not constantly considerate, loving, compassionate, non-racist, non-sexist or willing to share; sounds like toddlers at play.

From an early age we are told to work hard, strive, save, promote ourselves and seek the ‘higher office’. These things cannot be achieved if one looks behind and says ‘You go first’ or ‘I will forego my promotion and salary increase to help Fred keep his job’. People generally do not think this way.

There will also be strata levels within society. How many PhDs fix the roadways? How many CEOs work at checkouts? Trying to force people to be political correct just frustrates and stagnates society. When one considers the multicultural elements of a society, including religion, it is nigh impossible for any one person to grasp all the elements which would make a fully competent politically correct individual. Plus wouldn’t society be boring.

One cannot say anything about one’s own beliefs about marriage, climate change, women in general, homosexuality, Muslims, society’s under privileged or the indigenous population without been vilified across the various communication mediums and channels available.

If we want a strong society, a balanced and strong political system and freedom of movement and speech etc people must accept the fact that not everyone will or should agree with them or the populous debate.

A balanced society is one where all beliefs, expressions and statements, are aired, excepted and not vilified. Everyone deserves the right to express, as long as it is measured and not against the basic laws by which society is governed.

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Olympics of Open Government

The Open Government debate, implementation and ongoing innovation has parallels with the Olympic Games. The production of online forums, fact sheets, FOI disclosure and other administrative publishings have all helped progress, but it appears to be done with a sense of non-urgency and non-compliance.

Nations have joined the race to ‘gold’ in order to prove they are taking innovation and open government seriously. Many have spent real resources making substantial headway with tangible results. Australia has even mentioned the topics in its annual budget and established a department with the name ‘innovation’ in the title.

But real progress seems to stifled by actual achievement. Many in the fields of innovation and open government are under utilised and have no real funding to finance R&D. The open government premise, as stated in the tv series ‘Yes Minister’ is, by very nature, one of being in direct opposition.

As usual a core group of people continue to champion the cause and strive for real change by seeking executive champions to help drive policy and discussion which initiates and instils real change through focused effort.

The Olympic ideal has the same platform. Olympic hopefuls seek endorsement, funding and AOC recognition under their respective banners. The AOC makes a decision based, it seems, upon the possible return to investment and responds accordingly. The athletes strive, sacrifice, endure and over come years of training and heartache, sometimes without formal funding.

If they don’t produce, every four years, a podium finish, they are vilified by officialdom, media and certain elements of the public. More and more community is expecting more for less. Taxes and government assistance can only go so far and innovation is not always possible in some sectors. Similar the Olympics. As people go faster, jump higher, shoot straighter or throw further those nations able to keep pace or do better, without drugs, will need to innovate or just except ‘We can improve no further’ and except the thought.

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