Shelley Gare’s column has returned at The Sydney Institute website. This edition covers a wide range of critically important issues in a way that is missing in the mainstream media. There is something for everyone, starting with the absurdity of gender choice a la Tasmania, the incredibly narrow vision of the voters in Wentworth, an excellent paper by a politician/farmer on climate policy, and several items on cultural issues including moving reminders of the Great War at the War Memorial and elsewhere.
In late September, listening to Andrew Ford’s Music Show on ABC Radio National, I was tipped off about a free performance of The Diggers’ Requiem in Sydney at the Pitt Street Uniting Church.
As that’s only a hop, step and a jump from my home, I went along, and was knocked out by the ambition and emotion of the work, its terrible beauty. It’s actually 12 movements, each signifying another major battle – from Fromelles to Passchendaele – fought by Australians on the Western Front.
On the literary front.
There are tensions over Australia’s rate of immigration so, at a time like this, it’s enlightening to read the work of Alice Pung whose parents migrated from Cambodia, via Vietnam and a Thai refugee camp, as asylum seekers. Her father, Kuan, experienced the horrors of the Pol Pot regime. To survive, as people around him died of starvation, he once boiled up his leather belt and ate it, sharing it with his mother and sister.
Her mother, Kien, who had known her father as a child but had escaped to Vietnam with her family, met him again in what she still called Saigon and they married.
Pung, who has now won several awards, has been writing about her experiences as a Chinese-Cambodian-Australian growing up in Melbourne since she was 19 – she is now in her late 30s – when she was discovered and mentored by Black Inc. editor, Chris Feik.
Her books include two memoirs, Unpolished Gem and Her Father’s Daughter, and Laurinda, her first novel.
This is a lively and engaging read, it may be too long for busy Cats to read right through so scan to find your favourite topics.
INSTITUTE EVENTS COMING UP. Including why Bettina Arndt does not call herself a feminist. And other significant speakers.
PS WINDWATCH UPDATE. At 6 Wind and Other were delivering 4% of demand in SE Australia and at 8.30 the sun was kicking in and the score was up to 6.5%. Some way to go before we do without coal and gas. Not to mention the night and the 29 days of the year when there is next to no wind according to the records.