Mish Mash, Bersih 4

The weekend started in an unpleasant way, as Hawthorn struggled and then lost to Port Adelaide. The final Test match at The Oval in London went well however so I guess that was a bit of a salve.

On Saturday Kiddo had a whole day writing pilgrim of sorts in a friend’s place at Hackett, a few suburbs away from our Turner home. So she was up early (earlier) and after she left home I read a little bit, then went for a slow longish run. I trekked up Marcus Clarke Street, headed to Constitution Avenue and did a lake circuit of sorts by going on the Kings Avenue bridge to get back towards Marcus Clarke Street, to head home. After a long shower and laundry I went for a sticky beak again in Forde and looked at a property there before heading to Belconnen for some grocery shopping and lunch. Back at Turner, I spoke to Tress on the phone for a bit before heading back to Lake Burley Griffin – spurred on by an unusually balmy day  – for a casual bike ride.

I toggled between the very exciting St Kilda v Geelong game (ended in a draw) and the Oval Test (Michael Clarke’s final test) that night before Kiddo came back home. She headed for bed soon after, saying Sunday would be a repeat of sorts for a writing extravaganza. I too went to bed when The Test rested for lunch.

Sunday morning I offered to drop Kiddo off at her friend’s, she made brekky and after dropping her off I went home, got ready for church and after church headed to Fyshwick Markets. I had a very nice pho there, bought some fresh foods and went back home. Later I went to the Mitchell Resource Management Centre to drop off the old printer and an old radio, then went back home and cooked dinner for Kiddo and Mic.

Through the weekend, I received a stream of messages (on WhatsApp) on the coming Bersih rally (Bersih 4) in KL. It looks like this would attract massive grassroots support and the turnout is likely to be huge. It is potentially a monster rally and I hope people stay safe, especially family and friends who have decided – like so many Malaysians – to show support and demonstrate against a Malaysian government that has continued to plumb new depths. Tress and I are planning to attend the Melbourne version in Federation Square. I hope we lend our small voice in some ways.


Being there

Cover of "Being There (Deluxe Edition)"
Being There

I had a meeting last Friday arvo from 3pm and when I got back to my desk at 4pm, I couldn’t believe what I saw on the screen – England had crumbled and had lost something like 6 wickets for 9 runs. After checking I had no urgent calls or emails to respond to, I quickly went to the tea room and joined a few other blokes who have been watching the game.

The day ended with Australia well on top so the unpleasant scenes of Australia’s first innings were well and truly erased.

As usual, I was very tired on Friday night and when we met up for dinner at the Enrik café with Jason and Mel, I was just happy to be in a busy but pleasant restaurant so close to home with Tress and some very dear friends. Dinner was very good and we just stayed on and chatted for a bit before leaving.

It was raining on Sat – the weekend forecast had been a wet one – so I couldn’t work on the garden. After the usual dry cleaning run, I said to Tress the wet morning would mean less congestion at the new fruit and veg market on Canterbury Road at Forest Hill (Strawberry Point) so we quickly went over and got our green grocery for the week, and then we drove to Mount Waverley and met Simon, Tress’ hairdresser. A hair cut had been long overdue for me and much as I was sure Simon had barely woken up when he worked on my mop top, I was glad I had it done.

After lunch (at Madam Kwong’s Kitchen of course) and a quick visit to a property auction, we (or I) spent the rest of the arvo just vegging out in front of the telly, watching the cricket. My right Achilles had caused me grief anyway so it was a perfect excuse to just spend a cool and wet Sat arvo doing nothing except watch Michael Clarke and David Warner chalk up satisfying tons.

The rain continued pouring on Sunday. There was an AGM after the service and Tress and I decided to stay for that meeting, to get a soak in of some of the issues the church had faced in the past year. It ended close to 2pm. We went to Madam Kwong’s Kitchen again after that and since it continued to pour, we just decided to go to a shopping place and walked around.

The service was a thanksgiving one and numerous people publicly gave thanks for a whole range of matters. A familiar pattern emerged very quickly – that of life’s many challenges. Often, these challenges require solutions. A way forward to resolve the matter at hand would always bring relief and pave a way towards a brighter future.

What’s become crystal clear however is that other than solution or a way forward, often those facing life’s challenges just need someone at their side. This person need not have any answers – just being there to provide support and perhaps add strength, clarity of mind to deal with the issues or challengers and the assurance that no matter what happens, there is someone who would be there for them. That someone would certainly help countervail any tendency to over-internalise the challenges one faces.

Facing challenges is probably another one of life’s certainty. In recent weeks, we have seen a cancer patient succeeding, heard about another patient failing, seen a young man battling depression, been with a couple who lost their first born infant child, and been touched by other departures of others who have spent considerably more years.

In all of these experiences, the presence of another as they navigate their paths in dealing with the challenges, has always been what’s deeply treasured. Being there for someone matters. Praying for someone is often a throwaway line used in such circumstances and prayers may or may not happen. The Lord may or may not intervene. But as members of the community we find ourselves in, being there for one who is faced with these challenges, is often what we can and ought to do. Sometimes, like Peter Sellers, “Being there” is what matters. I need to think about responding to this more meaningfully.

Rudd and Ponting

K Rudd and R Ponting. They once held the highest and second highest offices of the country respectively. Each of those offices are now held by someone else. In the case of Rudd, it is now held by someone immensely unpopular, disliked and not trusted. Ponting’s successor has now won over the populace. Michael Clarke has through the course of this summer which saw a comprehensive victory over the Indians – an Indian Summer for Aussie cricket indeed – earned the affection of Aussies. Gillard however, remains a turn off for many. Poor judgment and liberty with the truth are a deadly combination as far as public trust and affection is concerned.

Both Rudd and Ponting however, are not happy little vegemites when it comes to exiting the scene graciously.

There comes a time for everyone, when the spotlight is trained on someone else. No matter the level of success, one soon becomes a has been. I bet the late  Whitney Houston will very soon – if not already – disappear from public forum, great singer that she was.  If only Rudd (in particular) learns how to be contented with what he is doing and not look at what lies at the next corner. That can be a really hard thing to do. To win confidence and affection however, that is what one needs to do.

3-ton Clarke powers on

Some of us in the building have been nipping in and out of the kitchen, where there’s a television set, to catch the cricket.

Ponting and Clarke racing towards 100, Clarke racing first past 100, then 150, 200, 250, 300 and now aiming for records held by Don Bradman, Mark Taylor and Mattie Hayden.

It has been a great couple of days for Aussie cricket (although for United it has been a miserable week). 329 n. o. now… with Hussey on 150…

Cricket’s Abyss

Peter Roebuck is dead? What would a cricket season be like without this venerable source of entertaining commentary? I’d listen to him on ABC every summer and read his columns in the Sydney Morning Herald – and I think I’ve been doing that for maybe 20+ years. In a way, maybe because I read SMH and heard ABC radio commentaries more than followed TV ones, he was an even more omnipresent character than Richie Benaud.

I thought cricket had plumbed the depths after the debacle of Michael Clarke‘s team in the first test in South Africa. Roebuck’s passing feels like cricket would be in an abyss and I have a feeling this summer will be an indeterminably long one.

I was just reading his latest column and he had said a lot can happen in a week. I wonder if he knew just how ominous that sentence could have also sounded.

Rest in peace, Peter Roebuck.

So Long Punter (Ponting retires)

I will always remember the Boxing Day Test match in the MCG in 2005. Ricky Ponting scored centuries in both innings against South Africa and I was there in the MCG in the first inning. A mate rang to ask I come to his barbie but I said I was at the MCG and wouldnt miss what looked like the Punter’s tonne – my first in the G. I’m glad I hung around for the landmark and it was special.

Thanks for the memories, Punter.