August 2010 and I explore Wollongong

Free ride to and from Wollongong

The rail union pulled the kind of strike most of us like yesterday: free rides.

CIMG4696

At Central Station – walk on through!

North Wollongong Beach in winter — 1

CIMG4698

North Wollongong Beach in winter — 2

The flotation belt on this lifesaver tribute made me slightly uncomfortable. Looks like something else…

CIMG4701

North Wollongong Beach in winter — 3

CIMG4702

 

North Wollongong Beach in winter — 4

CIMG4704

Selected August 2010 pics

Went back a decade in my photoblog to find I was in transition at that time. But first a note on this blog: Sydney High has been good for July’s stats. The big hit a few months back came from my colourised family photo posts.

Screenshot (335)

Where I am from September 2010

gong

 

First morning in West Wollongong

The view from my window at 6.30 am.

CIMG4768

 

Last Sunday in August

Sirdan is on the train headed for Perth, so no Sunday lunch today. Instead I travelle td up to Sydney, went to South Sydney Uniting Church, then to Elizabeth Street to collect more stuff, and now back to Wollongong.

The move will be completed when Sirdan returns.

Meantime, just around the corner here in Wollongong:

CIMG4775

A view I saw every working day when I was the same age as Mr Rabbit. More on that later.

Framed

CIMG4778

Blogging the 2010s — 123 — December 2018

Yes, I know. Out of sequence …  But it does pretty much wrap up these posts selecting from the 2010s!

How many HSCs is that now?

In today’s Sydney Morning Herald two once-familiar faces illustrating They topped the HSC over the past 40 years – what are they doing now?

595a5379877769d4e0554f9e9a1f0eb9308daa07

Jason Hui (left) who topped the state in the 1988 HSC, is now a gastroenterologist and hepatologist in Sydney. 

I remember them both but not from Year 12 as 1988 I was at Masada College in St Ives.

Actually I have gone through 50 years of HSC, though out of the fray for the last eight. Some tutoring in Sydney’s Chinatown in 2010 was my last hurrah.

Now as for FIFTY years ago see Shire: Jannali, Cronulla, family.

1966 I began teaching at Cronulla High School, now in Scott Morrison’s electorate. My second HSC class there — and the second HSC ever! — have a reunion planned. I have been invited, but am not sure I can make it. Night-time events in Sydney are an issue for me these days, but I will surely be there in spirit.

Class of 1968 member Paul Weirick has also sent a list of those attending. Brought back lots of memories.  Fortunately, I had been able to attend a couple of events around the 50th anniversary of the school itself — so I haven’t totally missed out.

prefects1968

1978 I was on secondment to teacher training at the University of Sydney, but knew the Class of 78 at Wollongong High.

1988 is already covered. 1998 I was at Sydney Boys High again. Also finishing my Grad Cert TESOL at UTS.

1444342757745
Students at Sydney Boys High School sit their HSC English exam on October 25, 1981.

Photo from Essential Kids.

More on Jason Hui — found online.

HSC stars 10 years on  (Edited Extract From “Sunday Life” January ’99)

Jason Hui, 27, of Sydney Boys’ High, came first in the state in 1988 with 496. He studied 4U maths, 2U English, 2U physics, 2U chemistry and 2U economics and is a doctor.

When he arrived in Australia at 13, Hui’s English skills were poor. He started year 9 and could barely understand the teacher.

His parents had sent him and his older brother out from Hong Kong to study. They boarded with an Australian family throughout high school and their parents visited when they could. “If you come from overseas with the aim of studying and going to university, you tend to be very focused and less distracted by other things. As the HSC drew closer I just studied whenever there was time. But I loved maths, physics and chemistry so it wasn’t a burden.

“Working hard was the norm in my school. It was a fantastic year with a lot of very bright people—there were two 4-Unit maths classes. I think we all pushed each other along and there was a lot of competition. I’m sure I wouldn’t have done as well at another school.”

At the time, Hui was tossing up between medicine and engineering and says he probably chose medicine “because there were a lot of engineers in my family and I wanted to do something different.” Looking back, it was the right choice. I can’t imagine myself in anything different.

“The amazing thing about medicine is you never stop learning. At each stage you encounter new situations and you have new and difficult decisions to make. That’s what makes it so interesting.”

Hui did six years at Sydney University, sharing the University Medal with Mark Gorbatov (88)—a former Sydney Boys’ classmate who came second in the HSC in the same year with 495.

“When I did the HSC, people said it was the hardest exam you ever did. At Uni, you quickly realise that is totally untrue. Exams get harder as you become more advanced and studying and working at the same time is much harder. To work 9-10 hours a day and then get home, have dinner and spend three or four more hours studying is very difficult.”

And that sparks my memory! I recall — and this was before my getting expertise in teaching English as a second language — seeing in 1985-6 that Jason had a problem. I referred him to a then neighbour of mine in Chippendale — unfortunately I can’t recall his name: a delightful young man who was then doing Linguistics at Sydney University under the famous Professor Michael Halliday and Dr Jim Martin. The neighbour gave Jason some help with his English.

And the 2008 HSC?

Just to complete the set from the previous post: in 2008 I was tutoring some HSC candidates and others in Chinatown. Here is a sample:

My coachee was unfamiliar with the expression “can’t see the wood for the trees”, so I explained that it means losing sight of the whole pattern because details grow and grow at an alarming rate. This is a state many HSC students find themselves in. So how to guard against it?

darlingharbour 025

Photo by Neil Whitfield 2008: artificial forest at the Sydney Chinese Garden

Make sure you read and understand the course description. My coachee and I are working on the Frankenstein and Blade Runner pair. The first thing to note is that the module is called TEXTS IN TIME: TEXTS AND CONTEXTS. That is the wood.

This module requires students to COMPARE TEXTS in order to EXPLORE THEM IN RELATION TO THEIR CONTEXTS. It develops students’ understanding of THE EFFECTS OF CONTEXT and QUESTIONS OF VALUE…

Students examine ways in which social, cultural and historical context influences aspects of texts, or the ways in which changes of context lead to changed values being reflected in texts. This includes study and use of the language of texts, consideration of purposes and audiences, and analysis of the content values and attitudes being conveyed…

OK, that means:

1. You need to know what issues or themes of interest each text embodies. In our two, for example, one can think of: the moral/ethical issues in science and technology; the need for companionship or love; what it is to be human; what is “natural”… And so on. It does not greatly matter what the issues are, so long as they are important ones and are major issues in both Frankenstein and Blade Runner. Your teacher and your class will no doubt determine perhaps two or three big ideas to hang your readings on.

2. You need to appreciate what was being thought, said and done around the time each text was composed: 1818 in one case, and 1982 in the other. Consider also where each text was composed. How does what you discover about this explain why each text may have been composed? Be careful here. It can be tempting to write history or philosophy and forget about the actual texts. Not a good idea.

3. Having found an issue, explore where and how it is presented in each text. Don’t forget to be specific rather than general. Find key passages or scenes. Look closely at the techniques used in their making. Then ask “Why is this passage/scene like this?” What in the context may have shaped the way it has been done? What in the context made this issue of sufficient interest to the composer and his/her readers and viewers? Where does the composer stand on it? What does the composer regard as important, or troubling, or worth arguing for or against on this issue? Now you will be exploring values and attitudes.

4. There are also genre issues to think about: The Gothic, science fiction, dystopias, film noir… Why have these genres thrived at various points in history? Why have they persisted? What is the relation of our two texts to these genres?

It really is hard to coordinate all this thinking. Anyone who tells you the HSC has been dumbed down is just plain dumb! I know that I never had to do anything half as difficult in my final year of high school in 1959! The good thing is that the issues raised in these texts really are interesting – and important!

So, good luck. Also, any suggestions about how to organise the material in an exam-friendly way will no doubt be appreciated by others. You may use the comment space here for that, if you care to.

The truth is out there

Yes, you are also lucky. There is so much good material to explore, some of it suggested on my previous post on this….

Sixty years on

Yes, next year will mark sixty years since my final year as a student at Sydney Boys High. They had trams still then — I wonder if the troubled new ones will be running next year?

044242b

See also 1959 revisited and The year my voice broke…, which refers to 1958.

1950 Grounds 3

Recently I downloaded the latest Flying Higher — an excellent new publication. And look, my Maths teacher 1958-59 is still with us! He was my boss too from late 1985-1987, and then 1989 through the early 90s. He claimed, probably correctly, that I owed him a Maths assignment from 1958…

Screenshot (215)

Blogging the 2010s — 122 — December 2019

Yes, I know: what have I done with 2018? Well, I just thought this a better follow-up to the previous post here. And six months on we were dealing with COVID-19!

Now it’s the TWO million plus hectare fire!

Referring to my post of 13 November —  see my tag bushfires.  The immediate area around Wollongong has so far escaped, though there are fires not too far away. But there are months to go as summer is just six days old!

Most of the smoke that blankets Wollongong this morning is probably from the fires to the south, which were horrendous the past few days. This photo is from the Illawarra Mercury.

r0_3_1282_815_w1200_h678_fmax

Peeping out my door this morning:

WIN_20191206_07_54_31_Pro

On top of old smokey…

Here, thanks to the Illawarra Mercury, is a glimpse of what yesterday looked like just south of where I live.  From my perch in Mount Keira Road there were times I couldn’t see this part of the world, or Mount Keira even…

r0_0_4488_2990_w1200_h678_fmax

ABC has a good explainer:

Leaving Beijing for a new life in Sydney, Gloria Zhou never thought she’d need smog protection again.

But a decade after settling into her new home, Gloria is once again reaching for a face mask.

The haze produced by a month of unprecedented bushfires around Sydney has left her feeling nauseated.

“We know this is not normal for Sydney,” the 30-year-old IT consultant said.

And the Herald:

WIN_20191211_09_34_39_Pro

Can’t avoid the fires!

Do look at The Gospers Mountain ‘Monster’ — and that is just ONE of the firegrounds in NSW at the moment, beyond which we have South Australia and Victoria. Gospers Mountain is now more than SEVEN times the size of Singapore!

Nearer home we have Green Wattle Creek. Of part of that our Premier said:

There is “not much left” of the township of Balmoral following Saturday’s devastating firestorm through the hamlet south west of Sydney, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.  “We have got the devastating news that there’s not much left in fact [in the] town of Balmoral.”

Here is a map showing that the Green Wattle Creek fire is between 30 and 40 kilometres away from me here in West Wollongong. Now that may seem a long way, but “There’s no questioning the facts. During a fire, embers can travel up to 40 kilometres ahead of the fire front and fire speeds can reach over 25 kilometres per hour.”

Screenshot (352)

And here is what we have seen out towards Lithgow beyond the Blue Mountains north-west of Sydney; this is a tiny place called Dargan:

Screenshot (351)

And here is my cousin Ray Christison in Lithgow itself. He writes: “Big day for an old bloke. Thanks for everyone’s thoughts and support. I just want to clarify something. I’m not in the RFS and was working yesterday as a museum volunteer. I have considered joining the RFS over the years but know I would be allocated to a communications role.”

79682669_10160379277736959_2253952747646746624_n

I simply refuse right now to join in the political argey-bargey, though I will say that it was a bad Robo-Scomo moment when he doubled down on the government’s rather tawdry record on climate change — unlike the Premier of South Australia this morning, to name but one. Clearly we need to think long and hard as a country about this — but equally we need to avoid slogans and oversimplifications.

It really is complex, but my bottom line is there is no longer any reason at all for a sane person to doubt that global heating, in large measure human-induced, has provided the context in which this unprecedented set of conditions (including the fires) are playing out now.

For example, whatever happened to the North Australian monsoon? That it hasn’t yet materialised is one major cause of the monstrous heatwaves that have been experienced across the country in recent weeks, themselves in turn a major factor in the fires we now experience.

Robo-Scomo, right as he is about the need to be kind to one another — and I don’t regard that as hypocrisy, does need to go back to the drawing board on climate policy, and he does need to squash the baying asses in his own ranks — and one of them is not all that far north of Wollongong — who still think climate change is a heap of shite!

Addendum

Just found this on ABC Illawarra, who, incidentally, broadcast the fire alerts for all NSW through Saturday morning. Wow!

81370316_2732683873444115_7929739299027681280_o

Blogging the 2010s — 121b — December 2017

There was one major development here in Oz in this month.

I am, we are….

We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian

Read more: Various Artists – I Am Australian Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Spontaneously the 600 assembled in the public gallery of Australia’s House of Representatives burst into that song last night at this moment:

9238114-3x2-700x467

See Same-sex marriage signed into law by Governor-General, first weddings to happen from January 9 and ‘I’m glad I’ve lived this long to see it’: At 98, Neville Wills can finally marry the love of his life.

WIN_20171208_06_24_24_Pro

Check my previous posts. For more context visit SSM: A global perspective on Australia’s change.

Repost: from 2015 — Random Friday memory 16 – among the Chinese

Twenty-five years is a very long time, though as many septuagenarians would understand, quarter-centuries aren’t as long as they used to be. 1965- 1990 took, well, 25 years, but 1990-2015 has gone by in a matter of minutes! 😉

wessex2

That was taken in winter 1990 on an excursion to Wollongong with my class of overseas adult students. The couple on the right are from Korea, as I think is the woman with the red bag – or is she Chinese? Blue umbrella is Zhang Rui from Tianjin in China (a scientist) and next to him another Chinese, Ding. The taller slightly older man is Bill Zhang from Guangzhou. Lovely man.

Bill and I in Hyde Park 1990. He had been photographing the grass so his wife in China could see this wonder: apparently at that time great dollops of lawn were in his eyes quite an exotic spectacle.Why these students? As I noted in another post where there is indeed another story too:

I in fact worked with Phil rather briefly, as in 1988 to early 1989 I was teaching in St Ives, in 1989 dealing with a range of personal matters and sometimes not quite with it, and in 1990 to early 1991 at Wessex College of English. I did work at High in Term 4 1989, and again from 1991. I saw a fair amount of Phil nonetheless and was there in the final stages when, sadly, AIDS-related dementia also showed itself at times.

This was Wessex College in Wentworth Avenue Sydney in 1990. It was just upstairs from the job centre at the time, and that’s how I ended up there.

wessex

I was as a casual teacher in Christmas holiday dole mode in January 1990, but the job centre actually gave me a job —  upstairs, which was wall-to-wall with Chinese, as were so many other places in that post-Tiananmen time. I hadn’t ever actually taught English as a second or foreign language, nor had I ever met any people from Mainland China. Wessex gave rather good in-house training (which I later supplemented with a Grad Cert TESOL from UTS) and I soon rather took to the Chinese (and others) with whom I spent my time for the next thirteen months.

ywca

We spent quite a bit of time having coffees and lunches in the YWCA next door, and Hyde Park was just across the road. It really did turn out to be rather a good year (for more than one reason.) Here’s a related memory:

I am glad I visited the garden, as I called in on Sam, who has the “dress up as a Chinese princess” concession in the garden, something he has been doing for fifteen years now. I first met Sam, who was once in the Beijing Opera, in 1990. I remember it well. I was in a coffee shop and Sam was serving. I was reading an illustrated book about the Tiananmen incidents of 1989. “I can tell you all about that,” said Sam. “I was there.” And indeed he was. It turns out Sam is giving up the “dress as a princess” business in April, and going into something new. He’s over fifty years old now too. How time flies!

Some time in 1990 or 1991 I took Sam (and M and a guy from Tianjin, a scientist, called Rui) to SBHS to talk in a history class that was studying China. Sam rather stole the show when he told the students how his father, also in the Beijing Opera, had been beaten to death by Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. Kind of brought Chinese History to life, that did.

wessex1

With my class at Wessex, probably late in 1990. Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, Chinese.

wessex4a

A quarter of a century ago! June 12, 2015

The real story on China: Linda Jaivin

There is an absolute MUST READ on The Monthly right now! I have long admired Linda Jaivin’s reportage/analysis on China. See most recently Death of a hero: Liu Xiaobo 1955-2017.

Screenshot (136)

A sample from the new Monthly article.

One of the earliest slogans of the post-Mao reform years that began with Deng Xiaoping’s ascension to power in 1978 was “Look to the future.” The CCP began scrubbing its history of the awkward bits: the horror of the anti-rightist campaign that condemned hundreds of thousands to labour camps, the three-year famine that killed tens of millions, and the decade-long Cultural Revolution that began with an orgy of violence and ended with China’s society in trauma and its cultural heritage in tatters. As a result, the nearly 53% of the Chinese population (731 million people) that was born after 1976 know little of these things or even about the events of 1989, when the People’s Liberation Army crushed the massive student-led, pro-democracy protests in Beijing and elsewhere with extreme violence. They are a fortunate generation that has grown up amid a constant rise in living standards, social freedoms and economic opportunity….

The Chinese-language China Daily is a state-run English-language newspaper that
answers to the CCP. In 2016, with China’s propaganda chief and Politburo member Liu Qibao present to witness the ceremony, China Daily signed a deal with Fairfax papers to distribute China Watch, a supplement sprinkling hard nuggets of Party line through a fairy floss of panda news, upbeat economic stories and features like ‘Why I Moved to Beijing for a Comfortable Life’.

Here’s a fun translation fact: official Chinese media translated the word xuanchuan, which can mean propaganda, promotion or publicity, as “propaganda” for the first 40 years or so of the PRC – as in “Ministry of Propaganda”. By the ’90s, however, the CCP had come to realise that “propaganda” had a certain “dictatorship”-like odour in the West, and changed the official English name of its Propaganda Department to “Publicity Department”.

China Watch appears in the Washington Post and London’s Daily Telegraph

Not uncritical, as you can see, and very well-informed. Do read it all. It is essential if you are truly to make sense of the Sam Dastayari affair, much of the commentary on which has been more than tinged with hyperbole, in my opinion. Here is an outrageous example from Immigration Minister Peter Dutton:  ‘Labor can’t have a foreign spy sitting in the senate’.