Hello Lamppost


No Campaign

Several weeks ago a postal survey was sent out to all eligible voters. It was a postal plebiscite to gauge voter views on legalising same sex marriage. Tress and I have been, in the last couple of years, to several events where various speakers have spoken on this issue. Most of them have been from a faith perspective.

On Saturday night however, the event we attended wasn’t from a faith perspective. The Coalition for Marriage organised a rally at Jeff’s shed in the city and although many participants were from churches, it was a secular event. At least one of the speakers – a mum who spoke on the Safe Schools program – wasn’t of any religious persuasion. Another mum, whose facebook posts on Safe Schools have picked up a lot of exposures, said there was an unholy matrimony between same sex marriage and safe schools, who are joined at the hip. I thought that was a very clever phrase and I think few that night had any doubts the two streams were from the same source.

A number of same sex marriage proponents gate crashed the event and unfurled grotesque banners on stage. A couple of them even demonstrated a public display of affection in a manner calculated to shock and challenge the participants. I don’t think I was the only one who was utterly dismayed by such action. I thought if I had a chance to say something to any of them, I’d say to them God loves them and wants them to live life as He intended for them – and everyone – to live.

Tigers and Old Friends

On the train home after that rally, we joined a bunch of happy Tigers fans. We have been following, on my phone, the game at the G and we were glad at least one Victorian team – a Melbourne team no less – will be at the Grand Final this Saturday. Back at Blackburn, we saw Paul Whitehead walking. We had bumped into him while waiting for the tram in the city and it was good to see someone we knew, at the rally. We met a couple of old friends there too, and we’re glad there are many who feel the same way as us.

Forbidden Fruit

I genuinely fear for a western liberal democracy such as ours here in Melbourne Australia, where we seem to be intent on burning our own house down. The devil must be laughing at how we are dismantling, one piece at a time, the Lord’s kingdom on earth in such democracies. I believe that’s what it boils down to. Big ticket issues like abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality is ultimately about telling God we want to be the arbiter of what is right and wrong. We want to be God in so many ways every single day, telling Him we don’t want Him running our lives, telling us what to do. That is the biggest idolatry, the biggest sin. The autonomy we seek in such big ticket issues are just very big screens, displaying this fundamental rebellion against God. The forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was said to enable us to know right from wrong. Knowing as in deciding. We want to be the ones to decide what is right or wrong, what is best or not. That is as old as Adam and Eve.

My Jedi FIY – Grom BT3 Fixed

Earlier in the day, it was very warm. It was almost like a summer’s day and Tress busied herself weeding. I spent some time fixing the radio on the Mx5. I had bought a Grom BT3 unit, after scouring various forums on what is the best way to connect a phone and stream music through the Bose Mx5 system. The Grom wins everytime but although relatively inexpensive, it required a DIY mini project of sorts and I had been on You Tube for some weeks to learn how to do it. All that online research paid off as the unit now sits in the Mx5, connecting the phone to the sound system and even allowing the steering wheel controls to manage calls and music on the phone.

I also took the hardtop off, tried to clean the drain hole of the soft top, before deciding to put the hardtop back on as it was going to remain a bit wet. Tress had to help me put the top back on as it was impossible to lug the unwieldy component over the top of the car all by myself. I’m glad we got the hardtop back on as it was raining heavily this morning and I wasn’t sure the drain holes are in the clear. I had broken the brush ends of the “trombone brush” I tried to use to clear the drains and it may still be a little clogged. A clogged drain would have resulted in a wet interior of My Jedi.

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017

At St Alf’s on Sunday, John Buchanan – a very experienced and highly qualified doctor – had spoken about the proposed euthanasia law in Victoria. He said the two main issues were pain management and autonomy. While in many ways we should exercise autonomy, I’m not sure striving to be autonomous should mean displacing God. So it was a same sex marriage opposition rally on Saturday and listening to a talk on Sunday, on risks of the proposed euthanasia law in Victoria.

Rich tapestry

It had been a busy weekend. Bookending those big events were more general living activities – we spent Friday night catching up with the Chews and Hipos over dinner in Doncaster, I started to work the garden – applied some lawn food, weeding stuff, bought mulch (but didn’t put them on was it was such a windy weekend), cooked, spoke to Kiddo and Mic on the phone and Tress spoke to her dad too.

In the midst of a very stormy setting, ordinary life events chugged along, bookending as well as interspersing those buffeting gusts. I prefer this take on the rich tapestry of life.

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Snoozzzze


I turned the clock over another notch yesterday. Another mark on a totem pole that speaks of my life. I went home, found a gift from my lovely wife, and we went out to dinner, just around the corner behind our home. We got back a bit later, and I was not half an hour on the couch before I started snoozing.

When I woke a few minutes later, Tress and I laughed about how we have swapped roles. Back when she was with Myer at Docklands, she’d be the one who’d disappear into dreamland not long after sitting on the couch, at the end of a busy day’s work. She was with that blighted organisation for over a decade. She has earned her right to stay awake on the couch these days.

Maybe I tire more easily now because I don’t exercise as much as I used to. Maybe my work is more focused and intense now, although I wouldn’t have thought my previous roles were easier than the present one. I do however, put in a solid block of 9-10 hours every day and often, when I’m home, I’m inclined to do as little as possible. A glass or two of a very pleasant red would soften me up sufficiently to slip away into dreamtime.

I struggle to stay awake at night these days – as early as 8.30pm, I’d be “slip-sliding away”

Coopers’ Cats and Giants


Many months back the Hipos introduced to this very little Thai restaurant near their home. It’s a tiny hole in the wall joint, with not more than half a dozen small tables seating maybe 15-20 persons tops. The food however, is big on flavor and freshness and we’ve been back numerous times without ever being disappointed. Last Friday night, after a long and tiring week, I was so tired I couldn’t decide what I’d like to do and Tress couldn’t either so I got home, and after a short while we rang this Thai place and found ourselves gorging on the usual very delicious fares.

We went back after dinner to watch the Cats demolish the Swans. Dangerfield was moved into a full forward position and he gobbled up everything, kicking 4 goals before the first half was over.

It was very cold and wet on Saturday morning so there wasn’t much we could do except sleep in and wander around the home. I ended up wiping down stuff and gave the fridge and turbo oven a good cleanup. I scrubbed, wiped, dried and generally tried to make the most of the wet and miserable morning.

We drove up towards the Dandenongs again to look at a couple of properties and later that arvo we took the little guy to a dog sitter’s home in Ashwood to check it out. We haven’t left him with someone for a while now but with the St Alf camp coming up we needed to find something again. The dog sitter had a lovely home but we found out he had just lost one of his two four legged companions earlier that day. He looked very sad and his home is generally very warm and pleasant so we’d probably leave him there when we go for the camp in a few weeks’ time.

Back home, the weather had turned pleasant and so we did a quick tidying up of the garden. I did a quick mow, trimmed some plants and checked out the new edging work we had someone do recently. I hope the lawn and other plants hold out and thrive this summer. I am kind of looking forward to putting in more time and effort to generally spruce things up a bit more.

Later that night we watched GWS kill off any chance Sam Mitchell’s Eagles might have harbored. It looks like the top 4 teams would hit out for the GF spots again. I hope it’s a Cats v Tigers Grand Final.

On Sunday we took advantage of a gloriously Sunday morning and did some washing and so ran a touch late for church. We had Bernie Power talk about Islam and after that we drove to Narre Warren South, to help organize the Coopers’ home. Mike Cooper has been ill and is organizing for his home and caravan to be sold to pay for Annie his wife’s care in a home. They have loads of stuff in their garage and driveway so Tress and I drove out east and spent a few hours helping them in bits and pieces.

We got back close to 6pm, and got around getting ready for the work week. Working with Mike Cooper was a blessing for me. For the first time in a long time, I did something I didn’t want to do because it’d be helpful for someone who was virtually a stranger. The saying that it is more blessed to give than to receive, was more real than it has been for me for a very long time. So while he kept saying what a blessing Tress and I were to him and his Annie, I really felt – the whole time – that I was the one who was really blessed.

I came in to work just before 7am, as I usually do, and started immediately on that piece of work in which my boss was personally invested. A Fair Work claim had come in last week and the allegation included some personal stuff about my boss so not only has the work fallen on my desk, my boss’ personal involvement has given rise to a few other complications, which meant even more to work on.

So the morning flew past, and as I wrote this up quickly over lunch, Mike Cooper has accidentally rang me on my phone about 5 minutes ago to remind me life is indeed a tapestry that can be rich and full of experience.

Woes Aplenty


I often scribble some notes on my diary to start the day. These are usually stuff I needed to do for the day. It helps me start the day by focusing the mind and just making a mental note of all the things I needed to do.

This morning as I did my usual thing I couldn’t help take my mind off the half a dozen employees who would be told, sometime this morning, that they are being made redundant. The regular culling of staff at my workplace had the HR person leave a couple of months ago and legal has had to pick up a range of HR functions. So, this morning I have been asked to be at the meetings with those half a dozen employees.

I have for a while now, switched off unpleasant news. When I see something on tv, a post on FB, a twit or a newspaper article, where the subject matter shows up the ugly side of man, I have shut it down immediately. I switched channel, hid the post, turned off the twitter app or simply turned or swiped the page. There has been so much ugliness I don’t need to be soaking it up for another second. I don’t get people who share posts, twits, or like to shove news items where the depraved nature of man takes centre stage, in the face of other readers.

So, this morning is going to take some work on my part, notwithstanding there is little I have to do except be present to offer advice, hose the temperature down and take down notes where it is required.

It kind of takes the glitter off a really good weekend.

On Friday night, we caught up with Jason and Mel and as usual, spent 2-3 hours just talking over dinner. Back home we caught the second half (particularly the last quarter) of the Cats v Tigers game and it was scintillating stuff from Dustin Martin as he weaved with power and guile and kicked with laser guided speed and precision to set up a mauling of the Cats. It was wonderful to see and sort of compensated for the Hawks’ absence from finals footy.

On Saturday we did the usual errands including looking at a couple of property out east but neither of them looked suitable. We also picked up nice bottle of scotch, which we were going to gift to Auntie Ann. U Seng had asked us to be at a dinner to celebrate her 60th, along with a few other relos. We met up at a Korean BBQ place in Box Hill and it was good to catch up with them. We went over to their house after that, before picking up the high wire act that was Power v Eagles, with the latter kicking an after-the-siren goal to win by 2 points, after two periods of extra time, to settle the outcome. What a finals series it has been, after the Giants had fizzled out against the Crows on Thursday night.

On Sunday we stayed back after service, to listen to Mark Sneddon as he gave a talk on the issues surrounding the postal survey on same sex marriage that was going to be underway. Mark heads up the Institute for Civil Society (www.14cs.com.au) and is a member of St Alf’s and listening to him is always a learning experience. I have been reading up on homosexuality and gender issues for the last 3 years or so and to listen to Mark talk about these issues as the matter comes to a head of sorts here in Australia, all those matters I read about are no longer issues affecting a distant land like the US or Canada. They are at our front door, knocking ever louder. As I recall those books and articles I read by the likes of Ryan T Anderson, Robert Gagnon, Paul McHugh, Jeffery Satinover and many others, I wonder why is it those who articulated logical and reasonable thoughts are ignored whereas those who perpetuated inaccurate woolly gibberish are often listened to instead. There is something about lies and the originator of such lies…

Later on Sunday arvo we did some more stuff around the house – Tress ironed my shirts, I bathed the little guy in his special shampoo prescribed by the vet and we just eased into a mindset for the start of another work week. I hope the half a dozen employees would find a way to find another space to work out their work week rhythm.

Cultural Amnesia (with apology to Clive James)


ometimes, people behave in a way which lends credence to what otherwise would have passed or been dismissed as cultural prejudices.

I was born and bred in Malaysia, amongst ethnic Chinese communities who are either businessmen or professionals. These business people and professional (mainly men) in turn transact mainly amongst themselves, with the odd deal involving a different ethnic group, usually emanating from a government related project. When such a deal is in play, one invariably comes across a technocrat of sorts – often from sub-continent roots.

These SC folks have, often unfairly in my view, earned a reputation as being untrustworthy and a pain in the arse to deal with. Allegedly, they renege on their words, are very untrusting, thus leading to convoluted steps being undertaken, and often analyse their end of the bargain with a turbo charged FOMO mentality. Hence the prevalence of racist Indian jokes in Malaysia. This was way back then of course and I have no idea if this is still the case today.

An ex-colleague has been attempting to seek some form of redress or recompense for having been dismissed. This person clearly has no idea how to go about the process and has missed every turn so far. This is ironic as her role was to have been to implement or coordinate such processes. That she hasn’t been able to work out (or, apparently, haven’t managed to bother working out) the right way to seek redress for herself, clearly weakens her case and does no harm to my employer’s decision to let her go.

Ordinarily I would have been very sympathetic and I was, initially, quite so. The way she stomped around however, and the way she made statements which were so out of turn, making demands which clearly inflated her sense of importance and almost certainly far exceeding her station in life (for now at least). The fact that she is ethnically Indian would have all been irrelevant except all her actions, statements, and missteps resonate in that I have seen it all before, and almost always involved Indian antagonists. To talk it all up, but with comical outcomes, appear to be the hallmarks of what I saw back in the day. I had long discarded such thoughts and the last time I chastised myself for thinking in such terms was a very long time ago – years before I left Malaysia, when I was paly with practitioners who were Indians. I had in fact, often told Tress that had I not met her, there was a very high chance that I would have married an Indian.

The dodgy nonplussed course of action is unfortunately reminiscent.

Father’s Day Weekend


I’ve wanted a steak dinner for a while now so on Friday Tress and I went to a local joint and I had a wonderful scotch fillet which took away that “I haven’t had real meat for a while now” feeling. Tress had some fish and we both left that place feeling stuffed. But happy.

On Saturday I had wanted to do some gardening but the weather forecast was for a dirty day so I decided to do some house cleaning on the inside instead. Our modest home requires less than a couple of hours to a simple vacuum and wipe down so we got that done, after which we went to the local post office to pick up my new plates for the MX5. We then went for lunch, dropped into the local library and then drove towards the Dandenongs to look at a property in a neighbouring suburb from the mountains. We got back home later in the arvo, I marinated some chicken for the week’s lunches and then we took the little fellow for a walk when the weather cleared up a little. Then later that night we completed the last season of Suits – which means we can no longer binge on the shenanigans of PSL.

It was Father’s Day yesterday and it was good to see the occasion acknowledged and heartily celebrated by so many. We had done Exodus 20 on Thursday night at the Maury’s home as well as at St Alf’s yesterday and the one on parents specifically talked about honouring one’s father and mother – not parents. So the occasion was a great opportunity for the more traditionalists to make a mark. Other than a message on FB and a couple of jokes about them getting me an exotic car for the occasion, it was a non-event for us but we saw how our friends went full tilt for it, which is great to see.

The whole shift where the peripheral has forced the mainstream to talk about little else other than what are ordinarily fringe matters, has been very frustrating. We now find it necessary to explain ourselves or justify our thoughts or behaviour on issues which a vast majority of people find absolutely normal, and without any need to be apologetic about. It feels mindless and totally unreasonable.

Celebrating Father’s Day is just one of those matters. Surely those who think Father’s Day should be replaced with “Parent’s Day” or “Special Person Day” is in a very small minority. It can – if it is to be given any airtime at all – be brought up in a small group in a corner of the country somewhere and politely forgotten (very) soon after, instead of occupying column inches on front pages or prime time airing.

Gender fluidity, genderless ideas, same sex marriage and all such matters really should not have taken up as much attention and should not have cause as much grief as they have. More should just say “enough is enough”.

I really wish I could have celebrated Father’s Day with more chutzpah, and not just because I wished modern day Australia didn’t create this empty space for me.