Monthly Archives: September 2014

Dirt Poor and Proud

The other day I was driving home and playing a mixed tape that my daughter had made for me. Lo and behold a Dolly Parton song came on, “My Coat of Many Colours” Well as I am driving along listening I started to cry, thinking of my mum and my childhood.

 

I grew up like Dolly dirt poor. I was the youngest for a lot of years and hand me downs were very common. Donations of clothing from the church. One terrible day I had an experience of some one pointing out that my dress used to belong to her. My mum herded me away head held high as usual, she was a beautiful woman my mother and said to me you look better in it than she ever could.

I had to wear these things and my mum would make sure that every item that was given down or we had to wear was changed and made unique. We had broach’s and jeans had patches on the knees from older more worn jeans. Shirts were changed in colour if they could be allsorts done to them to make it new.  Going uptown to buy new stuff was a wonder I LOVED it, maybe that’s why I am a bit of a shopaholic now?

But I still am poor and my kids wear each others hand me downs and I do the same thing, we tie dye, sew sequins or lace and frill. Anything to make things look different. We love second-hand shops not just for the cheapness but you can buy some really different things.

We give our hand me downs to the church and others we pass to other churches because I don’t want some child to feel shame about wearing a dress she saw someone else wear.

Oh and as for Dolly, well my mama used to sing that song to me when she was adjust the hand me downs. and when she finished stitching (she couldn’t use a sewing machine) she kissed each change. So my brother had jeans or shorts from my older sister she had hand me downs from the Emmo’s and it all went around. One of my most favourite things was a red jumper with reindeer’s on it. When I out grew it, it went to Jason. I watched and waited and I wanted to steal my jumper back. I thought I could just cut off the sleeves and turn it into a vest. Well it didn’t happen because the next winter it was Scotty wearing my jumper! the cheek of some people.

But I survived so did all of us poor people, black and white. I have memories, not always good of this but I do have some great memories of the love, sharing beds, eating bush tucker, homemade everything. Now that is considered trendy, upcycle.

Reduce Reuse and Recycle.

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Black Diggers

I went to see the production of the Black Diggers, it was funny. Maybe a bit too funny for my liking, I was expecting something a bit more dramatic with that typical murri humour in it. The Actors were wonderful I think they did a great job and you know it just highlights how we were there.

 

A friend of mine Dale Kerwin has done a lot of research into the Aboriginal soldiers who fought for King and Country in the Boer War as well and the Great War. We are overlooked. The play really did show as a reminder that we were strangers in our own country. Those brave men fought for an idea a new hope and better tomorrow. Well we are still waiting for that new day.

The army at one point wouldn’t take in Aboriginal soldiers, officially, but then they did, they had strange rules for who could join and who could not. My Grandfather wasn’t allowed to enlist in the army. They told him he had too many children. Nothing wrong with that, except I have seen his file and it said he was too dark. My great uncle also tried but he was refused, he was a Kanaka man He was told he had too many children so no record of him, but I bet it had something to do with the colour of his skin. My Grandfather’s brother was of lighter skin and he was allowed to fight for his country ( oh and at the time he had more children than the other Uncle. I wonder how Uncle Harry felt returning to the same old same old when he came back to Urangan.

My grandad and my Uncle didn’t just sit around and do nothing they came down to Brisbane and worked on the rail lines. Again your colour isn’t an issue in some things. A lot of Aboriginal South Sea Islanders and Torres Strait Islanders did works on the railways to keep the war effort going. I wonder what it felt like to see things like his daughter pass all her tests to continue schooling past the standard years and be knocked back because she was Aboriginal. My mum wasn’t the only one who faced that. God forbid we should have smart darkies!

But lets move on We have sent our own over fighting wars to come home and not have much change. Change is a coming!!!!!! It is slowly at least now our diggers can drink in the same pub as their mates, their kids can go to school together

I have seen some young men who are enlisted they are going to fight again in a foreign county. I don’t want that. I don’t want that of non-Aboriginal boys either. What is the point of taking our men overseas and making them go to war. It takes away their youth their innocence their idealism. It burns their souls and really fucks them over.

I have seen some of the returned who have had it hard who suffer and will suffer until they die they will never see any rest. The government doesn’t do enough to help those that have returned. We have fundraising events the RSL do things but its our government our politicians who send them off. Make them pay completely for our returned service men. Let the politicians spend a day in a war zone then they might think twice about it.

I don’t care about the IS problem, hell the western lot started the trouble through history we have armed small groups to fight and then they turn against us and we go in and fight them. Why is this happening? I know extremists do exists both Christian and Moslem. But holy hell we are going to kill so many innocent people in the name of God.

I pray for our soldiers I pray for those in the Middle East. But most of all I pray for peace.

 


Pinky Promise

Today I was at a Murri football carnival, talking about what I do talking up health making sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island mob all get their 715 health Checks.  I don’t care where you go, if I can help you with the dealings with doctors or point you in the right direction that’s all that counts.

So I am talking up the health checks and explaining CCSS programs, it’s a Care Co-ordination program basically. The beautiful lady I was talking to Deb was saying that she had a Care Co-ordinator. She said how she was sick and the hospital couldn’t or wouldn’t help then she went through a lot of drama’s but she Got linked in on the North Coast and now has a Care Co-ordinator.

 

 

Deb would be around my age, she said having the Care Co-ordinator made the world of difference. She had some one to advocate for her. She was saying she was only a country Blackfulla didn’t understand the health system and that it was scary facing hospital chemotherapy and the other problems associated with it.

I shared my story with her and said I work in health and I find it daunting as a patient, and that if it hadn’t been for my Care Co-ordinator I would not have pulled through. Told her how she helped me get to specialists, helped to find a good dermatologist and did so much for me.

 

Deb, well she also went through family being called up and told you better say your good byes. Like me her response was “I can’t die, I have kids to take care of and a life to live”. But she is a fighter and she is there standing in front of me. So we made a pinky promise. That we would meet up at the next football carnival and just keep a check on each other.

So may God Bless Deb and her family and I thank God that I had Helen the best Care Co-Ordinator around


The fight for what’s right.

I wish I had the courage of Friday Wright, ( Follow her on Twitter  @fridayology or check her blog   http://www.fridayology.blogspot.com.au she is fearless in her fight for the rights of the disabled or lesser able bodied people. I am not sure what term to use. But her fight to stop idiots parking in the disabled parking bays is as far as I am concerned legendary.

I hate going around the shopping centres or even where I work trying to get into a disabled parking bay and they are full, but the odd one with someone without the sticker. I come into work in to work some days and find that the bay near the office is filled, okay. Sometimes it’s an electrician or a delivery person so I drive on to the next building to see the car cleaning company using the bay. Have to park further down and it’s filled and ends up a long way. Some days I can manage it but other days I cannot cope with the walk it’s too much for my body.

For those who don’t know I have hip and back issues from them being fractured due to my bones becoming brittle from chemotherapy.

I am so proud of how Friday voices her opinions and won’t back down. Now I want her to take the fight to the entertainment venues.

My daughter went to see a band on the weekend and behind her was a lady in a wheel chair, she and her boyfriend helped the lady get to the barriers so that she could see. Because everyone was jumping up and down, and getting into the music as you do at a venue. I love the fact that my daughter noticed this lady, and it was only because some idiot pushed in front of her and spilt his beer that she saw the lady. So new friend made, they all had fun up at the barriers dancing together.

What springs to mind is the Kanye West Concert incident. Let us have a safe place so we can get to the front. I don’t want to jostle my way to the front because I would end up in hospital.

So let’s all do something for the fight and assist and be considerate


Fathers day

So the fuss of fathers day is over and I can write with clear head about it. In my life there has only been two wonderful consistent men in my life. My Da and Dr Who. First I am not a whovian…that’s a term for hipsters. Dr who has had me enthralled since I was a child. I love him wait to hear the wheeze of the TARDIS so that I could run off and have wonderful adventures with him.
My Da, unlike the Doctor could not regenerate. He passed away quite a few years ago. But I miss him everyday. He was a grumpy old bugger, he was affectionately known to some in the family as grumble bum. He was a true Irish gentleman. He loved with a vengeance and hated with a passion. He would grumble about all sorts but I tell you what if you needed him day or night that man was there for you. He had an honour and he was stoic through until he passed away. He had one love in his life that was my mama. He growled at her, but she would just laugh it off. She annoyed him shamelessly and loved it, loved making him grumble and carry on, but later it was all sorted.

Where are the men like my father? where are the honourable men gone? So many men now days have no respect for women. Booty Call, leave her pregnant. Abuse their women. I am proud of the women who survive that. I am giving one big of shout out to all the mums who have been mum and dad.

Some men when the relationship is over, they move on, have more kids and ignore the first lot. That is the situation my kids are in. For most of their lives I am mum and dad. Dad? who is he? He is the man who walked out of their lives on Christmas day…Merry fucking Christmas! He was a typical abusive male, after we split up he continued to harass I had to take out DVO’s against the man. Domestic violence after the break up leaves the mum and kid shattered I had to pick up the pieces and start all over again. He just continued on his way.

I wonder sometimes about the woman he has been with for all these years, has she been brainwashed, does she just accept things and so hasn’t been hit around for disagreeing. Does she wonder about the man she is with and how he had a DVO for years that kept on being renewed. She was with him while he was still harassing me. She was with him when he would call late at night ask me to forgive him and come back and then the next night phone me to call me all the names under the sun.

It’s a big question as to what makes a man abuse his partner and children? What stops him sometimes to then move on and act in a normal responsible way in a relationship? What makes some men serial abusers?


Invisiblity Cloak

Harry Potter had an invisibility cloak. It kept him safe so he could walk around Hogwarts. It could be used to hide his friends and the odd body or two.

I think someone at ACPA has one of these. A meeting had been called by the Elders who were concerned that a lot of Aboriginal Staff have been given their marching orders. The complaints of sexual harassment hadn’t been dealt with. It was an open meeting ACPA were not ignored they were welcome to come.

One person a current staff member stood up and said that he has never had to depend on the government dollar, no one paid him to go to school he said he studied at the finest universities in the world and paid for it all himself. Well I congratulate this fine young specimen, but his words are an insult to his students who are depend on Abstudy. These students also have to depend on VET or some such. They will walk away with a tertiary debt. But this teacher obviously doesn’t understand what it means to struggle. Maybe he played and saved up every cent and paid for each class as it came up, but I don’t think you can layby a degree. All hidden away under that cloak of invisibility.

This young man says he asked his female students if they have ever been harassed? He said they all said they haven’t been! Does the school allow the environment for students to freely talk of this? Lets put this under cloak.

Now watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…This teacher says he asked this question then said he knew nothing of the allegations of sexual harassment made at the school. Why would he be asking his females students this if he didn’t know? He blamed it on the internet. He had read it somewhere.

All through the meeting people we keeping their cool they called no names except in relation to a position and what needs to be done. No one ran any one down that was made clear at the start of the meeting the only person to break that rule was the wonder Teacher with his invisibility cloak. He was malicious and nasty making personal attacks on two people there at the meeting. He cloaked it as fact! Blatantly said offensive comments. He accused one person of being responsible for a students suicide attempt and lack of confidentiality. Did he notice the young man run out of the meeting space crying? That was invisible to him.

Who noticed the students like my daughter who stood up and spoke of what is happening? The student Rep who read off a list of problems that management haven’t dealt with nor has the board.
The former student who said this was happening when she was there and she is disgusted to find it’s still happening she said that in her time that student left because of the harassment.


Who can be Black?

This is thought provoking and so I have to share it with you

guantai5

‘It’s not uncommon for people to ask me what term I prefer to use when describing my background from my father’s side of the family. In most instances, my answer is plainly and simply “Black”.

In the past when I have stated this to non-Indigenous people, some have shifted uncomfortably. This is because they make the wrongful assumption that the term ‘black’ focuses on outward appearance and is therefore offensive.’

Celeste Liddle, Why I prefer the term ‘black’ (February 27, 2014)

‘One of the ways that our voices as Black writers are always denigrated is because we’re from dual heritage.… [W]e’ve got things like the Bolt court case or we’ve got shows like Insight which will question identity, look at all the old-fashioned markers like skin colour or – you know – language. They won’t look at things like shared cultural experience, shared historical experience …’

Celeste Liddle, speaking in

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