aboriginal, australia, ESSAYS, SOCIAL POLICY, Uncategorized

My Favorite Lezzie.

This is the ultra brief version. It’s true too. And there’s a twist in the tail of the tale.

I’d been posted to Kalgoorlie in the Eastern Goldfields District for the then Department Of Native Welfare as its Employment Officer. It was a long way from home in Perth and even emotionally longer from my wife, Betty, and my new-born son, Andrew. The house promised us would not be vacated by the single woman occupant so I lived in the basement room of one of Kal’s many pubs, along with a few mice and a lot of cockroaches and mossies; not to mention the urine from the drunks which seeped under my door.

The small business community up there in the Wild West was wonderfully magnanimous in assenting to my appeals to preferentially employ Aborigines. Still, there was much frustration when the newly employed couldn’t stick at it. I can tell you, being conjugally separated was an even greater frustration but you don’t want to hear about that or that within the first weeks I had been physically and sexually assaulted. But, one can appreciate why I volunteered readily to manage the newly completed student hostel for Aboriginal kids who lived in remote areas. I had dobbed in my wife who would automatically become the manageress but that was the trade-off to allow us to be together. Being young and green, I never foresaw the threats to the family nor the assaults that were to come.

The first months were exciting, tiring but immensely satisfying since we discovered that Aboriginal kids are a wondrous species, full of innocence, joy and rancourlessness.

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Nindeebai Hostel, Kalgoorlie.

[I can say that now because I subsequently experienced 9 years of managing student hostels of various types]. We were quite relieved, yet a little sad, when the Department found permanent “qualified” managers, [and you can read into those scare quotes what you will]. However, those hostel kids kept petitioning the boss [Superintendant Tomato-Face, George Budge] to re-instate Betty and I.  Short version:  we agreed to return as permanent managers on his promise to hire some assistants and that I have the say in their hiring [none of this BS psychological testing of applicants in the City]. Yeah well, that never happened – not until the second year of operation.

Enter stage left: Megan, the newly-appointed social worker for the area. We had never seen the previous social worker, but Megan visited us at the hostel daily. Ostensibly employed to attend to the well-being of the kids and Aborigines generally, she became concerned about me and my family, recognizing that two people with a baby who worked night and day in caring for 35 kids without a break or assistance were going to burn out rather quickly. She was also worried about the threat that the Warburton people were going to spear me in the leg and we did have several kids from that community. [Short version: I had previously pegged 20 mining claims in Central Australia for that community but Head Office scrapped them and I got the blame].

Megan volunteered, with no extra pay attached, to attend the hostel from mid-day Mondays to mid-day Tuesday, further giving us the key to her house in which to stay to obviate our obligation to fork out for a motel room. Great girl. But then came the Big Argument before we even got to enjoy some time off.

“I’ll arrange for a bulk prescription of the Pill for all the girls”, she announced.

“Don’t bother, Megan”, I replied, “I won’t be handing them out”.

And so, a discussion ensued, which needs no relating, except for the conclusion. I told her she could refer the matter to the boss or to Perth, but as I was the manager, my decision carried or I would leave if I was not given free reign to make such decisions. Though she stormed off then, when she returned it was as if nothing had transpired that day. And she handed us the key to her house.

It was around midnight, when Betty and I were in her bed asleep, that I apparently heard a rustle that woke me. [I have to explain that I had to be a light sleeper, attuned to the slightest squeak of a door hinge, ever ready as I slept in street wear, to jump up to investigate ……… but those particular incidents at the hostel are for another day]. The man standing at the end of the bed was as surprised as I. It was Megan’s boyfriend who had his own key to accommodate himself at his leisure or to do whatever whenever. He suspected Megan of unfaithfulness and I suspected him of burglary, but it was quickly sorted out.

On our return next day to the hostel we found Megan a little shaken. The kids had locked her in the cool room for some time the previous night. As delightful as they were, they could play up when authority was not present. Later on, the same lads involved wanted to take revenge, with knives, on some adults who had jumped me with a bashing. Anyway, we got that all sorted for Megan’s future stays, and I digress.

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Some of the girls, dressed for the school dance.

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And the boys who were bold enough to don the glad rags and go to the whities school dance. A few senior lads opted for a quiet night by the TV at the hostel.

I can’t remember how long Megan stayed in Kal, but it wasn’t long enough. Much later we were told that she had gone to live in New Zealand with her female lover. { I suppose you were wondering about the title of this blog]. I will not belabor the point about homosexuality being a choice, I’m just telling a true story. And that, dear reader, is not the sting in the tail of the tale.

Many years later, I discovered in conversation from my best friend of 50 years, a Sri Lankan who was also my best man named Maurice, that his wife was Megan’s half-sister.

May God bless all those people whom He has put in my path.

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CULTURE, SOCIAL POLICY

A Queer Conversation.

Kevin’s puppy, being diminutive, had squeezed its way into my yard through our common fence. That was no problem for me, but it was for the lorikeet that had just descended from above to beg a few nibbles from my pantry. Tucking Junior under my arm I made off for Kevin’s front door at which the predictable chat about recalcitrant animals took place. Then I asked ……….

“So, do you think the plebiscite will go your way”? I was referring to the imminent postal vote about to happen in Australia where the electorate would say YES or NO to changing the constitutional definition of marriage to allow marriage for homosexuals, or not.

Kevin had a tendency to swear a lot, which may have been to lend a macho bent to his effeminate vocals. “Fucking waste of time and money as far as Nigel and I are concerned. Mate, the people who look down on us with their snide remarks and their high-and -mighty judgments are not suddenly about to accept us if we get married. Like: ‘Oh Hi Nige and Kevin, I hear you’re married, why don’t you both come around for dinner’? That’ll be the fucking day! The people who accept us or reject us now are not going to change their attitude because we get married.”

I added: “So, getting married wouldn’t make any difference to you”?

“Mate,” he said, “Why the fuck would we? This house is in both names. Our wills are made out to each other and we get each others’ super when one croaks. There’s bugger all that we don’t get that regular marrieds do. Well, except that Nige’s two kids will get whatever he willed to them. I mean the gay community themselves are not gunna think better or worse of their fellow gays for getting married, and neither are the homophobes; the bigots are gunna stay bigots. Still, I dunno, we might do it just for the party and a get-together with our friends. I’ll leave the decision to Nige. I couldn’t care one way or the other to be honest”.

That was the crux of  our chat. His request that I cut down some branches that hung over the fence and dropped some seeds and leaves onto his property is not worth the telling.

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SOCIAL POLICY

SHOULD WE HATE HATRED?

Apropos of today’s murderous attack aimed at young girls in Manchester, I just saw this post on my timeline by Brendan O’Neill, Libertarian Editor of SPIKED magazine…..

People telling Manchester not to “give in to hate”. This is always the first response of the chattering class to terrorism: “Oh shit, what will stupid people do in response to this?! Will their inner spite and racism be unleashed??” They seem to fear their fellow citizens, especially the white, working-class ones, more than they fear Islamist murderers. Well, I think a bit of hate, or certainly anger, would be pretty fitting right now. [end].

I haven’t yet read the comments attached to the post. No doubt Brendan will not be castigated by his fan base, but I dare say that much criticism will be forthcoming from other sources, condemning him for fostering hate. In such a now common atmosphere of anguish caused by Islamist activities, certain sections of society prioritize their reaction in the form of warning against hatred carried out by words or deeds. The first reaction is to jump to the defense of innocent Muslims to ward off unjust victimization. Those sections of society range from church spokespeople to Islamic organizations to the loony Left and political leaders.

It is not they, nor the incident itself, which prompts me to plonk a few words down.

Every one of us knows love, even if we don’t bother to define it in its various levels and types. We love. We love people, animals, locations, hobbies, our personal stuff; our gods. Many love their Creator God. Love is so intense, especially when our love is for family and friends. The nub and the rub of this is our reaction to any harm done to those we love so passionately. When our great love is hurt, in pain, unjustly treated or suffers in any way, we endure a natural reaction of sorrow and pain ourselves and want to right the wrong done. The emotional – and natural – reaction towards the cause of our loved ones’ suffering is HATE…. the counterbalance of love.

In our PC age we have succumbed to the re-configured and adjusted meanings and connotations of words and to the value placed on them. “Discrimination” is now negative. “Judging” is now wrong. “Carbon” is our enemy. Enter our word du jour, “Hate”. We Joe and Jill Averages rarely have the propensity to evaluate the indoctrination we have been subjected to, such that we have been directed away from the true meanings and roots and purposes of many terms that once fitted the bill. They fitted the bill because they were sensible and appropriate. “Hate” is entirely appropriate as the natural action/reaction response to whatever has attacked our “Loves”. In a similar way, we may burst into laughter at the incongruous, yell out to relieve pain, jump for joy, clap a good performance. When a loved one is harmed, we are supposed to hate the cause for that is our stimulus to act, just as pain is the stimulus to take remedial action to protect the body from further damage.

What is at stake here is what this hate causes us to do. It ought be remedial action or a saving action. I suggest that the ‘wrong’ involved here would be a reaction of revenge or unjustified violence. Enough communal or collective hatred ought inspire a collective or societal reaction. Obviously, we have a justice system to secure some recompense, but what about ensuring that we learn from any ugly event and to take steps to prevent it from happening in future. I would suggest that this is our failing today and that the hatred should never have been permitted by our leaders to fester to a point of many of us harboring a bigot’s hatred.

The government should become as an embodied lover who protects the loved one, not an entity of appeasing, gutless ideologues who are full of fake ‘reasonableness’.  When it comes to protecting your beloved car, or stepping in to save your pet poodle, or ultimately to protecting your children, somebody will get hurt. Somebody will get physically hurt, or emotionally hurt, or have their rights restricted – necessary to protect one’s own. Sometimes you have to punch someone in the face.

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