Blogging the 2010s — 116 — December 2012

So tonight (it’s 7pm) I thought I’d get 2012 done! Only seven years to go!

Union pride, plus today’s activity

Late, am I not?

Hey, given recent attitudes to unions please note:

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Prompted by tonight’s inspiring Compass episode about Stewart House.

Today I have been working on the slow process of preparing the Christmas/New Year DVD for family and friends.

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It takes hours from first preparing a video to finally burning the DVDs.

In between had a great phone conversation with my brother in Tasmania.

Scans–sister, self

Here is one of my sister Jeanette, which I hadn’t scanned before. I think it was taken in the playground at Sutherland Public School in 1951 and thus must be one of the last photos of Jeanette who died in January 1952.

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The colourised version (2020) of that photo:
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The heads “inserted” in the back row aren’t named, so Jeanette is third from the left in the lacy collar.

And here am I around 1990-91 at a barbecue. Andrew is the one to whom I am talking – a former member of the Chinese Air Force.

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Of course I no longer smoke – even if that achievement was to take another 20 years!

Wisdom of the sp*mmers

Quite a crop of sp*m comments were stopped by Akismet this morning, as 99.9% of them usually are. I am amused by their fake sincerity and sometimes weird machine-generated English.

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All those, and more, tried to attach themselves, with glorious irrelevance, to my latest recycle post 2010 recycled: GapMinder!  Note the thread of flattery. The last one was trying to sell me upholstery cleaning, or just as likely malware or spyware.

Meanwhile…

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Great sage—“You are amazing! Thanks!” – meditating at the Steelers Club, Wollongong, yesterday.

Jimmy Little — 1 March 1937 – 2 April 2012

In  NITV best option for Christmas Night–in my opinion I commended the Jimmy Little Celebration Concert, originally broadcast in May 2012. That link takes you to a video still on the Opera House site: “Highlights from the Celebration Concert which followed the State Memorial Service in honour of the late Jimmy Little. The story also includes interviews with Paul Kelly, Christine Anu, Dan Sultan, Col Hardy, Don Walker and many others.”  Fortunately NITV broadcast the entire concert commercial-free. Smile

Members of the public can attend the Jimmy Little Celebration Concert on Thursday 3 May commencing at 8pm in the Concert Hall. The concert will celebrate the life of the wonderful Jimmy Little. Family and friends will come together to honour in story and song the extraordinary contribution this Yorta Yorta elder has made to the cultural life of Australia. Artists including Col Joye, Judy Stone, Archie Roach, Lou Bennett, James Henry and Paul Kelly to name a few, will pay tribute to Jimmy’s amazing sixty year legacy as an artist, performer and champion for his people.

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On Boxing Day NITV followed up with a documentary I had not seen before – Jimmy Little’s Gentle Journey. You can see it also today on NITV Ch34 at noon. It was originally on ABC.

From poverty and personal tragedy to Australia’s first Aboriginal pop star – Jimmy Little’s Gentle Journey is an intimate look at the life of a pioneering artist who defied incredible odds.

This timely ABC TV program touchingly traces the trials and triumphs of a remarkable survivor celebrating 50 years in the business. Awarded an Order of Australia Medal and named as a Living National Treasure earlier this year, Jimmy’s life has just recently been reinvigorated when he became the recipient of a kidney transplant.

With another new album out in June, Australia’s first gentleman of song, whose voice melts ice, continues a trailblazing career that has gently been opening doors and minds throughout his life. At a time when Aborigines were not even recognised as citizens, Jimmy Little broke down white-dominated cultural barriers as he painted images – past, present and future – with his songs. Jimmy was the first Aboriginal person to feature regularly on television, and with his incredible talent and success, subtly swept aside ignorance and negative stereotypes.

Ironically perceived by some as a conformist, Jimmy has determinedly and consistently pursued his own independent, gentle path refusing to conform to a variety of ‘bandwagons’. It is a path that has brought trials and triumphs but he has stuck to his convictions and as an artist rather than activist he has changed attitudes and encouraged reconciliation with a simple and honest love of music and humanity. Over a career as a musician, actor and educator spanning 50 years, Jimmy Little has proven himself to be a survivor whose talent and determination remain solid.

Jimmy Little’s Gentle Journey provides an intimate and comprehensive biographical portrait of his life and times.

Blogging the 2010s — 115 — December 2011

I should mention that the wake I referred to in the last post occurred in January 2011. See The Dowager Empress’s wake.

World AIDS Day and my circle…

On 11 September 2001 I posted:

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Thoughts of a survivor: Guest article by Ian Smith, the Dowager Empress of Hong Kong

It is difficult to give advice to any one regarding HIV/AIDS. However here are a few thoughts from a long-term survivor.

Do not panic. This is easy to say, but the best thing you can do, is ignore the virus as much as possible, within reason. If you are on medication, never miss a dose. Always have safe sex to avoid passing the virus to someone else, and keep alcohol and other recreational drugs down. By this I do not mean give everything up, just try cutting down. Think, “Do I really need that E tonight?” If you do, take only half, or less. This has the advantage of saving money. It also has the advantage of not damaging your immune system as much…

Today there is an excellent article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Ori Golan, a freelance journalist and volunteer with the absolutely admirable Ankali Project.

… Dr Lynn Pulliam, writing in the Lancet, predicts up to 30 per cent of patients infected with HIV will develop a debilitating dementia. HIV is the most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 40, Dr Lachlan Gray at the Burnet Institute says, and recent studies have suggested milder neurocognitive impairment could be as high as 50 per cent of the infected population.

Many people with HIV are leading normal lives, their viral load undetectable and their physical appearance excellent. This, ironically, is part of the problem. In an interview shortly before his death, the British AIDS activist, Cass Mann, put it like this: ”The greatest disservice AIDS charities pay to [HIV-positive] men today is to present images of them as healthy, buffed, gym bunnies with glossy beautiful bodies having great lives, climbing mountains, partying in Sydney and looking beautiful. If they showed people in hospices dying of dementia or people with lipodystrophy that would stop them in their tracks.”

A recent study by Dr Lucette Cysique, of the Department of Neurology at St Vincent’s Hospital, predicts the number of people with HIV dementia will surpass 2600 by 2030. The toll on their family and friends is tremendous. Moreover, Dr Cysique says the annual cost of care will increase from $29 million in 2009 to $53 million in 2030.

We can be proud as we don our red ribbons this World AIDS Day that new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths have fallen to the lowest levels since the peak of the epidemic…

There is no room for complacency. AIDS is still an incurable condition. We must act to curb it; we must reach out to this new generation so they know how to protect themselves. There is no time to waste. The global fight against AIDS is not over.

And The Dowager Empress is no longer with us either.

And we have all of us mourned the passing of so many others.

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Then go back to 2000:

Diary for December 2000

Saturday, December 2, 2000: Yesterday was World AIDS Day.
My little circle of friends has displayed over the past week an amazing range of emotions. We’ve had love gone wrong, love gone right…and so on. Quite dramatic really. Perhaps the dominant note, one way or another, has been love.:-)
I have, I must say, found December rewarding so far.
One of my circle has an anniversary coming up of one of life’s turning-points. There are mixed emotions involved, which I, perhaps, understand better than most. The person involved may read this, and he knows my thoughts are with him.

Sunday, December 3, 2000
I hope to dedicate December, one way or another, to love and understanding. Today it is the turn of my ICQ friend Atakan, a young (not gay) teacher in Turkey. He is quite a devout follower of Islam, but not a fundamentalist; indeed he found some elements of this site a bit shocking, but still talks to me :-) Given that here the popular image of Islam is coloured by media reports of extremism and violence, it is as well to reflect on the fact that this is a distortion. Here, for example, is what Atakan recently messaged me:
ATAKAN ALI 11/30/00 8:08 AM : “Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand, and about whom you remain unconcerned.”
ninglun 11/30/00 4:41 PM: That’s very beautiful. Thanks.

And then 2006:

Queer Penguin on World AIDS Day

Posted on December 6, 2006

I have to admit, though I am usually a regular Queer Penguin reader, that visiting the hospice and other matters having perhaps distracted me, I only noted Hypocrisy and Condemnation are Also Diseases via Gay Erasmus. Sam’s post really is very honest, confronting, and powerful. Brace yourself if you are homophobic, but read it nonetheless. You may get a taste of reality. He is also quite rightly trenchant on stupid gay men who can only think with their genitalia. Of course, that failing, and the often combined stupidity (or is it a sad incapacity for genuine human feeling?) of so-called recreational drugs, especially the mind-mincers in the speed family, infect (in more ways than one) party people and airheads of every sexual identification, more’s the pity.

Sam’s post is still there and still worth a visit.

…I don’t pretend to have a solution to what is currently a disturbing problem, that nearly 30 years after the mysterious ‘gay disease’ first appeared, men are still falling victim even when there is now a simple and almost always effective way of avoiding the disease. Maybe a reduction in the omnipotency of sex in gay men’s world – at least in inner Sydney – could be a start, but it’s not like the urges will suddenly cease to exist.

I’d like to think that the first step will be for gay men to have less of a fight on their hands when nurturing their own self-respect and sense of responsibility. Once they genuinely value and treasure their lives, why on earth will they want to jeopardise it?

I also have a feeling I’m not the only person who’s not just made, but repeated, a stupid mistake that could have cost me dearly. Those without sin, etc. Every day I am grateful I’ve not become another statistic, but I never forget that is purely a case of good chance. I don’t intend to repeat that mistake ever again.

In the meantime, I also never forget those friends, and friends of friends, who live with the spectre of HIV because of one mistake.

At The Empress’s Wake, Midnight Shift Hotel

And here is a special treat — one of M’s circle, and hence for some years of mine.

See also Sadness (1999)

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My last coachee

“i never thought to see the day where mr  …. would get a band 6 in english. f*** the world bitches! i is da bestes” – Facebook yesterday morning.

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That’s him. He is a guy who at 12 or 13 was seriously being compared to Roger Federer. He came my way because, after spending just about all of Years 7 to 10 on the international tennis circuit, he arrived at high school Year 11 having never actually written an essay… He was sent to me for help in 2010, and I did what I could up until I moved down here to Wollongong in August-September 2010. I had hopes he would do all right, and I am really chuffed that he has!

Indeed: 90%+ in Advanced English and a mention in the honours list in today’s paper. Smile He is of Iranian/Filipino background.