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Embracing those golden moments of understanding – The Drum Opinion - We’re extremely blessed that we’ve been given a place where we might just be able to make it all work, if we put our differences aside. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Find more Stories Embracing those golden moments of understanding
Sitting in a pub just outside of the Rock district, a couple of nights back, I got to thinking about Australia Day.
You see, earlier that day I’d spread the papers about the living room of my in-law’s home and noticed quite a few pieces addressing the meaning and symbolism of the holiday. Responses seemed to be divided into two camps – self-congratulatory barbeque-themed odes to the sun-bleached lifestyle and hand-wringing, chest-thumping missives condemning the holiday as a racist revel and a bogan bacchanal.
Sipping a really rather tasty red ale, I pondered these two contradictory notions of what it means to celebrate Australia Day. In an effort to understand it all, I cast my mind back over years of readings of Australian history, of stories dug out from the pages of yellowed letters and archive boxes back when I got paid to study history for a living.
I think I came to a conclusion. Hear me out.
Australian history, it must be said, is one long succession of stuff-ups, atrocities, mad ideas and plunderings. It’s quite often a tragic tale, told in blazing sunshine, all mad from thirst and hunger. It’s hard. It’s flinty. Anger and fear loom large and drive the story onwards.
However, there are many tales of staggering beauty, of kindness, of understanding and of peace. There’s a striking number of moments when the clouds roll back and for a moment, it’s golden.
They’re unlikely moments. They’re moments that bloom, despite the odds. They’re moments that could only happen here, in Australia, in a place where wave after wave of people have washed up to make a new start.
They’re moments when Australians put the bullshit aside and come together in an attempt to understand.
Take the story of William Dawes and Patyegarang.
William Dawes was a Royal Marine, who at age 26 landed in the Sydney area with the First Fleet. A bookish, rather reserved fellow – we’d probably call him a bit of a nerd – Dawes had shown himself to be a fairly dab hand at charting the stars. as a consequence, he was dispatched to the point that now bears his name in order to chart the expected arrival of a comet.
Dawes built a hut where the southern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge stands today and there, while he waited for the arrival of the comet in the southern skies, he struck up a friendship with many of the local Cadigal people.
One of those of whom he met at that time was a 15-year-old girl, Patyegarang.
What we know of Dawes and Patyegarang – or Patye, as he called her – come from a collection of notebooks that he took with him when he left the colony. In those notebooks, he made the first real study of Indigenous languages. Patye was his guide and his teacher.
Through the notebooks, we see Dawes pick up the local names for many examples of local flora and fauna, and the customs of the Cadigal.
Bógul – The mouse.
Tam-mun – The fig tree.
Goo-me-dah – The name given to dead bodies, or spirits.
However, through Dawes’ notebook and diary entries, we also get a sense that his relationship with Patye became a lot more intimate.
Putuwá – To warm ones hand by the fire and then to squeeze gently the fingers of another person.
At this time Patyegarang was standing by the fire naked and I desired her to put on her cloaths (sic), on which she said Goredya taragin, the full meaning of which is ‘I will or do remain longer naked in order to get warm sooner, as the fire is felt better without cloaths than if it had to penetrate thro (sic) them.
While it may seem shocking today that a 26-year-old man would allow himself to become quite so intimate with a 15-year-old girl, there’s something that sets aside Dawes and Patyegarang’s relationship – in my eyes, it’s the real desire to learn and to understand that both express throughout course of Dawe’s recollections. Rather than just some sort of carnal bond, what brought them together, more than anything else, was the desire to understand, to think things through, to gain a picture of each other’s worlds.
Of course it couldn’t last. Dawes was dismissed from the colony in disgrace after he refused to participate in a hunt for some Cadigal men who had killed the colony’s gamekeeper. He would serve in Sierra Leone, fighting against slavery before dying in England in 1836.
As for Patyegarang – well, history doesn’t record what happened to her, but it is assumed she either succumbed to one of the diseases introduced by the colony or fled inland to live out the rest of her days.
Yes, it was only a fleeting relationship. Yet it was one of those golden moments, a moment in time that demonstrated how the two worlds – settler and local – could enter a place of understanding.
One should also consider Mei Quong Tart, the merchant.
Quong arrived on that tidal wave of migrants that came to Australia following the discovery of gold in the 1850s. Living with a merchant, he was eventually adopted by a local family, who encouraged him, along with his family back in China, to start purchasing gold leases.
Come early adulthood and Quong was rich. Not only was he rich, but he was well-liked, a pillar of his local community and a naturalised citizen of the colony. Quong knew that he was in a place of tremendous opportunity and did everything he could to take advantage of what his new home provided.
In 1881 he opened a store selling tea and silk. Over the years he would purchase more properties and restaurants throughout Sydney and forge himself a business empire, the rival of many of the large business interests that existed at the time. He wore the finest clothes, lived in a well-appointed home, married an English woman and had four children.
He did everything he could to show that he was a new South Welshman. He moved through society acting as a benefactor to many charitable organisations. He hosted a number of regular dinners for the destitute. Workers in his restaurants were given sick leave, something pretty rare at the time.
Yet, he never forgot where he came from. Quong was known for his crusades against the opium that was killing his countrymen on the goldfields, as well as anti-Chinese violence. He circulated petitions and accompanied the police on their visits to the goldfields to act as interpreter and guide. He demonstrated a community spirit and altruistic bent that seldom few could match today.
It’s also worth considering that Quong achieved all of this in that 50 or so years of the 19th century where anti-Chinese rhetoric and zealotry was approaching its zenith in the colonies. He made his fortune in the years after Lambing Flat and he died shortly after the passing of the Immigration Restriction Act.
Quong died just after the turn of the century. his home was burgled and he never really managed to recover, yet his funeral attracted vast crowds, including the absolute cream of Sydney society.
Yes, the years after his passing would usher in the White Australia Policy and in the century since his death we’ve seen some dark times for race relations in Australia. Yet, in making the most of his new home, Quong demonstrated a drive to understand, to take the two worlds in which he lived and make them one, to everyone’s benefit.
For a brief moment, he demonstrated that it could be done.
This week, I think it’s a good idea to ponder the fact that we’re a nation made up of from those from all over the world who saw the opportunity to make a go of it in a peaceful, stable place free from tyranny and violence. I believe it’s necessary to consider the fact that each and every one of us come from a different physical, mental, spiritual, sexual and political place.
It’s then vital to understand that we’re extremely blessed that we’ve been given a place where we might just be able to make it all work, if we put our differences aside.
Understanding. That’s what we should be celebrating on Australia Day.
Mike Stuchbery is a high school English and Civics teacher, writer and occasional broadcaster living in Melbourne’s western suburbs. View his full profile here.
Embracing those golden moments of understanding – The Drum Opinion -
We’re extremely blessed that we’ve been given a place where we might just be able to make it all work, if we put our differences aside. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Kvitova, who also triumphed at the season-ending WTA Championships in October, said she was excited about making her debut at the Apia International Sydney.
“I’m really looking forward to playing there for the first time,” Kvitova said.
“I’ve never been to Sydney before and everyone tells me it is such a beautiful city so I can’t wait to get there and see the harbour and the stunning beaches.
“I have had some great results in Australia over the years winning in Hobart and Brisbane, so hopefully 2012 will be my year to win the title in Sydney.
“The Sydney event is really tough and most of the top girls play there each year so it is a great opportunity to get some good matches in before the Australian Open.
“I really see the event as the perfect preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year and I really want to win my first WTA Premier title of the season there.”
Tournament Director Craig Watson emphasised the strength of the women’s field at the Apia International Sydney, which is set to get underway on Sunday 8 January at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
“We have had some outstanding line-ups in the women’s draw over the years and 2012 is shaping up to be one of the best ever,” Watson said.
“We are thrilled that Petra has confirmed her participation and to have three current Grand Slam champions in the field is a great endorsement of the Apia International Sydney.
“Petra has had an incredible season and her performance at Wimbledon, particularly in the final, was truly memorable.
“I can’t wait to see her in action for the first time in Ken Rosewall Arena in January and I’m sure tennis fans from all over New South Wales feel the same way.
In 2012 Kvitova won six titles – Brisbane, Paris, Madrid, Wimbledon, Linz and the WTA Championships in Istanbul.
The hard-hitting left hander reached a career-high ranking on no.2 on October 31 this year, after her title in Istanbul.
Kvitova joins Stosur, Li, along with world no.1 Caroline Wozniacki and Serbian star Ana Ivanovic in the Apia International Sydney women’s field.
Two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt and 2010 champion Marcos Baghdatis are confirmed men’s starters, with another marquee male player set to be confirmed this week.
Tickets to the Apia International Sydney 2012 are on sale through Ticketek and can be purchased online at www.ticketek.com.auor 1300 888 104.
The Apia International Sydney will be held at Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre from Sunday 8 to Saturday 14 January 2012.
AUSTRALIA'S nuclear research agency has been cleared of safety breaches and a culture of cover-ups in a report tabled in Canberra yesterday.
But the Government-appointed panel that authored the report said the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney’s south was ageing, staff were worried that maintenance occurred only for the most urgent matters, and an even more open approach to reporting health and safety problems should be adopted.
"Good progress has made but there is still more to achieve," it said.
Science and Research Minister Kim Carr commissioned the review in February in the wake of allegations that the reactor run by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s radiopharmaceuticals facility had breached safety standards and failed to investigate workplace bullying of staff who raised concerns.
Senator Carr yesterday told Senate estimates that the Comcare documents that sounded the initial alarm bells had been misused for "political purposes".
Panel chair mark Paterson, who was appointed to the review while secretary of Senator Carr’s department, told the same hearing there was no evidence that ANSTO practices had breached safety standards.
"There’s a clear focus of attention on health and safety issues and the panel was satisfied that there was no gap in the culture of heath and safety at ANSTO," he said.
But the report also said staff were concerned that their managers lacked a good grasp of the plant’s production processes and that there was not enough long term or strategic maintenance work done at the facility.
Despite the existence of maintenance plans, "staff argue that maintenance is only undertaken for the most urgent matters," it said.
The report also recommended the organisation allow staff to report safety problems directly to the radiation safety watchdog and Comcare if managers failed to respond to their concerns.
In 2009-10, ANSTO Health had one breach of its licence and 56 radiology "events or near misses."
One employee, David Reid, who went public last year with the safety concerns that triggered the Comcare investigation, has been suspended from his job for about two years on full pay.
The facility is also the subject of other, ongoing review, including one by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.
<a href="http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/lucas-heights-cleared-of-safety-breaches-report/story-fn59niix-1226065977069tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/lucas-heights-cleared-of-safety-breaches-report/story-fn59niix-1226065977069Mon, 30 May 2011 14:13:16 GMT 00:00″>Lucas Heights cleared of safety breaches: report
My 3 running backs are Chris Johnson (1) Rashard Mendenhall (2) Darren McFadden (3). Mendenhall & McFadden both are good match-ups but McFadden should blow right through STL Defense. I have a feeling McFadden is going to have an even better game this week and I hate to lose those points. On the other hand anything can happen.
Who to play…
I say mendenhall. he may hav a tougher weak but dixon trusts him to make yardage so he uses him frequently where as mcfadden is used but not nearly as much as mendenhall, and mendenhall is a better performer so dont let the titans passing D take away from their okay rushing D
Go with your gut!!!
i would go with mcfadden titans d is tough and stl d is no where near what titans r
Offensive EfficiencyBoston: 109.3 points/100 possessions (9th)New York: 111.6 points/100 possessions (6th)
Defensive EfficiencyBoston: 98.7 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)New York: 109.6 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)
Probable New York starters: Raymond Felton (PG), Landry Fields (SG), Wilson Chandler (SF), Danillo Galinari (F), Amare Stoudemire (C)
View from opposing bench: Knickerblogger
Thumbnail: Major media outlets are billing tonight’s game as a “rivalry game” and I am left wondering why. Make no mistake, I mean no hubris. But calling tonight’s game a “rivalry game” seems a bit premature. It’s like crowning the Heat the 2011 NBA Champions. The Knicks have improved this season, that is for sure. that said, the only tangible evidence to support this “rivalry” notion is the Knicks’ current eight-game winning streak. If you didn’t catch the italics, let me flesh this win streak out for you:
During this eight game win streak, the following teams have succumbed to the superior basketball skill of the Atlantic Division runner-ups : Pistons (2OT), Raptors (twice), Nets, Timberwolves, Hornets (losers of 9 of their last 12), Wizards, and Nuggets. What do 6 out of those 8 teams have in common? If you said they all end in “s”, you’d be right (also all sub-.500 teams). You could actually argue that the Knicks only have one truly quality win this season (against the Chicago Bulls on November 4th).
None of this explanation is an argument in favor of the Celtics taking the Knicks lightly. I think tonight should be a really good game (especially considering the fact that Shaquille O’Neal is not playing). I just believe calling this a “rivalry game” is a gross abuse of poetic license. oh and Paul Pierce and Amar’e Stoudemire both agree with me.
WHAT THE KNICKS DO WELL
Put the ball in the basket. This team is on a eight game winning streak and their defense isn’t the reason why. they are a top 5 offensive team thanks to their ability to shoot the ball efficiently (3rd) and get to the free throw line (4th). Amar’e Stoudemire is obviously the ring leader in this department but Danilo Gallinari has been sneaky good as well in getting to the charity stripe nearly six times a game. Plus he hits 90 percent of their shots, which helps.
Shoot a lot of 3′s. they don’t always make them but the quantity of them make up for it usually as the Knicks lead the league in attempts with 617. they are only in the middle of the pack in shooting them but they do have an arsenal of gunners who can fire it up there in any situation. The C’s will have to be ready to close out tonight on them.
WHAT THE KNICKS DO POORLY
Defend. they are not as bad as they use to be, but are still in the bottom third of the league on the defensive end. there isn’t one thing within the defensive four factors they do particularly poorly, but that’s not really impressive considering there’s nothing they do particularly well either. all things considered, it’s a team of which any capable offensive team should take advantage.
Rebound. That’s what you get when you go small and jack up a lot of 3′s, there’s no one there to clean up the mess. given the fact that the C’s lack bigs of their own tonight, this weakness will not be as exploited as it could be.
PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY
Landry Fields. Only because it’s utterly pointless to write about Amar’e Stoudemire. Everyone knows what Amar’e can do–score in bunches, over-power you, dunk on your face, draw fouls, play very little defense– but not everyone has heard of Fields. The rookie has kept up his consistent high-energy play which has caused a lot of people to take notice. I mentioned this before the teams’ first meeting, but it bears repeating: Fields is Anderson Varejao in a SG/SF’s body.
Raymond Felton. Dude has been tearing it up lately, averaging 20 points and 10 assists over his last ten games (HoopData.com). obviously, Felton isn’t projected to be as good against Rajon Rondo. Rondo is a top flight point guard known for his defense (among other things). Celtics fans’ are also well aware that Rondo makes it his personal mission each game to outplay the opposing point guard–especially those that have garnered recongnition nationally. Count Felton among that group of guards. He may not be in the top tier, but he’s been playing that way as of late.
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY
Any Center. whether it be Timofey Mozgov or Ronnie Turiaf, neither of the Knicks’ centers inspire fear. Glen Davis will be getting the majority of the minutes in the middle and while Mozgov towers over him, he lacks the necessary edge to matchup with Baby. Turiaf, on the other hand, may be a seasoned vet but his game is too similar to Davis’- only Davis is better.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT
The Celtics have had a ton of trouble with high-energy/junkyard-type players (see Fields above). This may even cause coach Doc Rivers to consider shuffling the starting lineup tonight. With both O’Neal’s out and the Knicks tendency to go small with Stoudemire in the middle, Rivers may choose to play Paul Pierce at the power forward tonight. He would be guarding Danilo Gallinari (a guy who mostly matches up with Pierce anyway) and Rivers could move Marquis Daniels into the starting lineup to guard Wilson Chandler in lieu of Semih Erden.
That is, of course, if Mike D’Antoni does not shuffle his lineup by putting Timofey Mozgov in to matchup with the Celtics’ de facto starter, Erden. whatever happens, each team will be sure to make the necesary adjustments. when it’s all said and done, the Celtics should come out with a win tonight. they are just the better team–but more importantly, they are the better defensive team and a fairly comparable offensive team.
The Celtics will at first try to beat the Knicks at their own game, but will eventually tighten up their defense. Celtics 110, Knicks 105.
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