Confucius

The Philosophy discussion group that I facilitate considered Confucius last week. Who would have thought that the topic would be so relevant – the 70th anniversary of Communism in China and the unrest in Hong Kong?

Some of the comments that came out of the discussion included: ‘Confucius spoke of unity but what we see in China today is uniformity’; ‘it is so difficult to examine an Eastern Philosophy when we (in the group) all grew up in Western democracies and can only try to consider Confucius’ (and China’s) ideas from a distance’ :

An article written (Why is Confucius Still Relevant Today?) for the National Geographic in 2015 interviews writer Michael Schuman, author of Confucius and the World He Created shone some recent light on where Confucianism sits with modern China. I did find him to have quite set ideas though.

Over the past week I became quite distressed at issues happening throughout the world and I know I am not alone. I have been looking hard for the positives but today I came to see I am powerless to change anything. I think I need to detach and let go … I found the quote below this evening and thought it to be relevant.

Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.

Eckhart Tolle

Federal Election and Online Shopping

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Three wise koalas

I finally tired of listening to the Federal Election results on Saturday night. I DID put in several hours in front of the TV.

Instead I went on my computer and did some online shopping for new sheets and towels (end of financial year sales). Being satisfied that I got a good bargain I went off to bed still not knowing the election outcome.

Here we are a few days later and my new sheets and towels arrived this morning!

No election outcome yet though :(. We may end up with a minority government which is a bit of a surprise to most people. It was thought the incumbent government would have a comfortable win. Time will tell …

PS I bought the Three Wise Koalas from Parliament House in Canberra 🙂

 

What do you like to talk about?

The idea for this post came from some questions raised by Eric Tonningsen‘s blog Awakening to Awareness.

So, what do you like to talk about? I don’t mean the casual exchanges and polite conversations with people who pass through our lives.

I have a real desire for deep and meaningful conversations – usually in a one on one situation. I like to think about possibilities for our shared future. I search for answers to the questions about why we still go to war knowing the enormous costs – especially to loss of life, property and our shared interests and history.

I also love talking to children aged from about three years old and above. I love the simplicity of how they see the world and I marvel and how much a child can see from such an early age.

It is also good to hear the wisdom of people who have lived a long life without becoming embittered by it. There is so much we can learn from our elders.

People who have hit rock bottom in their lives can also have a great clarity about what is important and how to do it – or at least where to start that journey.

Issues such as euthanasia, the death penalty, the customs and beliefs of other cultures and religions are also stimulating topics. I do not like to argue and very much believe in the philosophy of ‘live and let live’. I can sustain a conversation with someone whose views are totally different than mine and accept that they have the right to believe as they choose. I also hope others will offer me the same respect.

Scientific topics are interesting but my depth of knowledge is limited. I try to keep an open mind. I also  hope the scientists will keep an open mind as well and not defend their ideas for the sake of protecting a point of view. Science itself is evolving and we learn new things each day and sometimes dispose of past beliefs in the process.

I also like to listen to good jokes. I am not very good at telling them though 🙂DSC00512

 

Weekly photo challenge: Unexpected

IMG_0023Claremont Council Fire click here

An unexpected fire changes the course of history … A fire destroyed much of the Claremont Municipal Chambers on 19 November in 2010. It was in this building in 1899 that my great-grandfather, James King was elected the first Mayor of the City of Claremont. The photo below was taken in 2006 of me with my two sisters near the foundation stone laid by our great-grandmother.

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I was shocked to hear about the fire and saddened by so much history being destroyed. I haven’t been back to the scene of the fire since it happened but I do hope they managed to retain at least the facade of the building.

cheers

Lorraine

Weekly photo challenge: Unusual point of view (POV)

It is only two weeks until my first assignment is due. I had planned to work out a time-table today. I got the books out on the table this morning along with a planner to schedule my work so that I can get it in before the due date. But inspiration and inclination are lacking. As I sat looking at the bundle of paperwork I thought of today’s photo challenge.

So at least there was some outcome from my plans for the day. It might be because it is Election Day and I am finding it difficult to focus. Is that a good enough excuse?

The Style Manual is actually a great book. I bought it about four years ago and only opened its covers recently as it is the text for the unit I am studying. When I worked for the West Australian State Government, the Style Guide was the rule book for all written communications. It can be confusing due to English being used differently in various parts of the world (primarily the UK, America and Australia). It is something I am aware of when I am blogging  – that there ARE variations in the way we spell and pronounce different words. It makes life interesting!

I will get some work done tomorrow 🙂

cheers

Lorraine

Reading and writing

This weekend I am attending a two-day course in Bunbury to become a tutor in the Read, Write Now program in my community. I am really looking forward to it. It is four days training in total, presented over two weekends. I have been a literacy tutor in the past and enjoyed the experience greatly.

People who cannot read or write (in their first or second language) are at a real disadvantage. I became aware of this in the 1980’s when I was living in Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It was election time and information was only available in a written format in English. Many of the adult Indigenous people had limited English language skills and tended to make their decisions based on the friendliness and rapport of whatever politician was visiting at the time. It struck me as being very unfair.

This experience prompted me to work with the local people to help improve their reading and writing. It was the first time I became aware of how much I enjoy reading and writing and determined to use these skills in my life and in my career. That insight has impacted on many decisions over the years and I am excited to be going back to where I started with the Adult Literacy program.

cheers

Lorraine

What a day!

West Australian June 2010From mid-morning until now (9:00pm) I have been captivated by the unfolding of yet another leadership challenge in the Australian political system. It went to a vote and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd defeated the current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, in a ballot for the leadership. The vote was 57 to 45.

I have never seen so much political analysis and speculation as the experts tried to fill in the time while the politicians were changing the landscape. I know many people will be pleased with the outcome and yet others will be very disappointed. I am inspired by the strength and courage of Julia Gillard and I believe she will be remembered as one of our greatest performers in Australian politics. I know some will disagree with me and I respect their right to do so.

I am grateful that I live in a democracy where these debates and differences can be dealt with without blood shed. I hope we can now reflect on the positive achievements of the past three years and move forward with strength.

cheers

Lorraine

 

Flights of fancy

7 posts to go until I reach 500 posts!IMG_0029From 1988 to 1993 I lived in Newman in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. I was successful in winning a position on the East Pilbara Shire Council. It was a great training ground for my future employment plus I had a great time.

 

Newman is the biggest community in the East Pilbara Shire but it didn’t have a dedicated Council Chamber for meetings. We often met at meeting rooms in the Recreational Centre. In fairness to the distant parts of the region we often had meetings at the smaller communities, one of which is Marble Bar. The township was gazetted in 1893. Surprisingly, Marble Bar had full Council facilities including a Chamber for Council meetings. It was good to sit around a “proper” table!

 

I was the first ever female to sit on the Council. The population of the Shire included local pastoral stations, mining employees and local Indigenous Communities.

 

The picture above is of the Marble Bar airport. Just as well I love flying in small planes. We also had meetings at Nullagine, Telfer (a closed mining town) and Shay Gap (before the town-site was demolished). It was a great experience and taught me a lot about regional development and the complexities of trying to address the differing needs of groups within our communities.

 

cheers

 

Lorraine

 

 

Poll about blog topics

Melbourne Cup Day 2012 021Would you give up expressing your views (on a blog) if you knew some topics or opinions may alienate some of your readers? Should we stay away from politics, religion and health matters? What is more important – authenticity or popularity (statistics)?

When I write I tend to go with the flow and let my words express my thoughts – obviously there are some boundaries that I adhere to. I was surprised this week as I sent my blog address to a distant relative, Peter (are you reading this Peter 🙂) and he provided me with some feedback.

He said: “Visited your Blog this morning.  First impression: warm, peaceful and serene.  Just loved it.  I don’t know how you have done that but it has such a comfortable feel about it.  Truly marvelous selection of words and pictures.  Must be the trees whispering into the ether! That was until I came across Julia. Ambiance shattered!!”

The “Julia” he referred to is our current Prime Minister. I don’t deny she is very unpopular with a lot of people but I wanted to express my views in support of her. I wonder if I lost any other readers with that post.

It is more important for me to express my true opinions/feelings than seek popular support. I rarely write about my political views but don’t try to hide them when they are relevant to the discussion.

What do you think? Are some topics taboo if we want to increase our number of readers? Please take my poll below and let me know if there are other topics that I overlooked please. You can choose more than one topic on the poll.

cheers

Lorraine

Weekly writing challenge: The State of the Nation

English: Julia Gillard

English: Julia Gillard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

WordPress is encouraging bloggers to take on a divisive issue so I have decided to swim with the sharks on this one!

 

Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard is doing it tough but I still support her government. Many don’t. Her opponents think she should resign and go away quietly. Julia is our first female Prime Minister. She challenged the former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in a leadership ballot three years ago and she won. She has faced two more leadership ballots, the latest one being Thursday 21 March 13. A national election will be held later this year.

 

Julia has taken on some enormous challenges and I believe, has implemented significant legislation such as: a carbon pricing system; a new tax on the “Super” profits of mining companies; her team have managed to keep Australia out of recession and employment has increased under their leadership.

 

Criticism directed at our Prime Minister is very personal and her crimes include:

 

  • she has a “twang” in her voice made fun of by the media
  • she has a big nose
  • she is an atheist living in a de facto relationship (she doesn’t push her personal beliefs on to others)
  • some say she has a big bum (I am sure mine is probably bigger but we won’t go there!)

 

Why are these issues important? If she was a man, would these issues get any air play in Australia? I don’t think so.

 

I confess I don’t support her policy on asylum seekers and the decision to process them off shore. I have great compassion for people escaping their repressive and dangerous  countries and wanting a better life.

 

One cannot help but admire her inner strength against such incredible pressure and criticism. She is an inspiration along the lines of Maggie Thatcher but the other side of the political spectrum.

 

It is not my intention here to build a defense for Julia Gillard or to give an account of her government’s performance. I am trying to express my opinion and hopefully stimulate some debate about our Prime Minister and perhaps about women in leadership generally.

 

So, what do you think?

 

Lorraine