On Tuesday after period one Yr 11 German, the five of us (Kaivan, William, Daniel, Mathew, and me) and Mr S**** set off to Fox Studies to see the latest German blockbuster ‘Der Untergang’ or ‘The Downfall’ as you guys might know it. The movie, an ‘Academy Award’ nominee for best foreign language film, portrayed the last days leading up to the downfall of Hitler from a German’s perspective. It lived up to its reputation and was very enjoyable to watch, even providing a few lines of very dark German Humour! The movie provided us with the rare experience of listening to native German non stop for two and a half hours (even though Hitler was played by Bruno Granz with a light Swiss German accent). The movie opened our eyes and ears and gave us an insight into another’s perspective, allowing us to see through another’s eyes. I highly recommend the movie to other German and History students perhaps as well!
Monthly Archives: May 2005
The Real Da Vinci Code, hosted by Baldrick, was on ABC last night. It could have been, indeed I am sure was, interesting. The site on the head link above certainly is interesting, and I must remember to add it to my Salt Mine book rap on the subject. I am a Da Vinci Code sceptic.
There is of course much made in The Da Vinci Code of this in “The Last Supper”:
Is that a woman I saw you with last night? No, it was the Apostle John.
Big Ideas 29 May 2005 – The Alfred Deakin Innovation Lectures 2005: Lecture Four, Biodiversity, Water, Energy & Society
I heard this yesterday on Radio National after returning from the Captain Cook Hotel and again 1) thank God for Radio National and the quality of what it does and 2) shake the head sadly over how few care to tune in. That aside, you must revisit when the transcript goes up, or (if your computer is better than mine and it almost certainly is) listen to it now. Ian Lowe was in top form for one. I notice too, if you are in Australia, that it is being repeated next Tuesday at 1 pm.
There are times when Surry Hills is just delightful, and this afternoon has been such a time. I met Lord Malcolm at the Captain Cook, having not been there for quite a while, and yes the food leaves The Shakespeare for dead. My $7 steak (280g) came with mushroom sauce (featuring real mushrooms), mash, and generous vegetables perfectly steamed. Great.
Artist Andy and a friend joined us. Since the Captain Cook is also a gallery and encourages patrons to draw on the tablecloths, a fine artistic time was had during lunch. Lord Malcolm’s Graham Kennedy face looked remarkably like Tony Blair.
Walking home afterwards — I didn’t go on to The Oxford 😉 — I came upon a beautiful little part of Surry Hills I had never seen before behind the back streets near Arthur Street. It led me to Cafe Niki, which of course I know as the coffee shop nearest the Mine.
ABC has just recovered from its hissy fit, but Blogspot is now throwing a tanty of its own, just as it did yesterday for a while.
But ABC being back enables me to report that Encounter this morning brought us the second of the two programs on Shakespeare which highlighted The Tempest (that should interest Erwin who now reads this blog), Hamlet and King Lear. Excellent stuff.
Very interesting. Now you know why the Mine scores just one day per week of my services as an ESL teacher, despite being 80+% Language Background Other Than English, even if the needs at the Mine are not all that dire in fact.
Since 1983 the number of students denied ESL help has tripled to 41,158. And since 1993 not one extra ESL teacher has been employed despite a steady increase in the number of students requiring help.
NSW Teachers Federation senior vice-president Angelo Gavrielatos said the neglect of ESL students’ needs put them at risk of dropping out.
“If this brief was about white, middle-class students . . . there would be an outcry and calls for a royal commission, yet somehow this does not even rate because it’s about non-English-speaking-background, migrant and refugee students,” he said…
David Gilbert, executive member of the Public Schools Principals Forum, said in his 13 years as a principal in the Fairfield area the resource had become increasingly scarce.
At his school, Governor Philip King Public School in Edensor Park, 80 per cent of the students come from 45 language backgrounds.
Four ESL teachers have to cope with 600 pupils who require language assistance at the school.
“It’s a deliberate attempt by the Government to keep costs down,” Mr Gilbert said.
A spokeswoman for NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt said Commonwealth funding was no longer adequate for ESL students, who make up more than a quarter of students in NSW public schools. Read the rest of this entry »
This great, and I truly mean great, speech is a benchmark. Here is where the journey started, and here is where we need to go to take our bearings again. In time I hope more Australians recognise that.
It’s a paradox. The sometimes seedy Paul Keating was a greater exemplar of fundamental decency than his Sunday School shiny successor. Once hated by some for his arrogance, Paul Keating was an infant in that regard beside John Howard whose arrogance is far more potent.
This is a really moving story from the National Indigenous Times this week:
NATIONAL, Canberra, May 25, 2005: The courage of the Stolen Generations has found a new voice in a 14-year-old Aboriginal girl who earlier today delivered a keynote address to 800 guests at Parliament House, less than a day after her mother was tragically killed.
Christine Jacobs, a member of the Stolen Generations from Perth, was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the National Day of Healing launch in Parliament’s Great Hall. But just hours after arriving in Canberra last night, Christine was struck and killed in a motor vehicle accident in the Canberra suburb of Hughes, while walking outside the home where she was to spend the night. Her daughter, Tamara, was present when her mother died. She was inside the Kent Street home when the accident occurred and heard screeching tyres, before running outside.
“I saw my mum lying there and knew something was wrong,” Tamara said. “I went to the hospital and I kept thinking of all the things Mum had ever taught me. She always used to say ‘Be as positive as you can Tamara’. I just have to accept that she is gone… it must have been her time to go.”
Somehow, the teenager from Maddington in Perth found the strength and courage to deliver her mum’s speech the following morning. In the process, she showed how much strength of character her mum had instilled in her. Tamara read her mum’s speech to an emotional Great Hall audience. She told how Christine had been removed at the age of two but after a battle with drugs and alcohol, overcame extraordinary hurdles to get her life back on track.
“I hated white people with a passion because of this,” Tamara said, reading from her mum’s notes. “I actually tried to bleach my skin when I was in grade 3 because “being black meant too much pain. When I reached 16 to 17 years of age, I gave up. I found a sense of belonging in alcohol, drugs, violence and gambling and having no self-respect for myself in anything. It was my pit and I felt comfortable there. I didn’t question it. To me it was the way my life was meant to be like – my destiny. I just accepted that it was all blackfella’s destiny.
“I stayed in this pit for years until I reached a point where I didn’t want to live anymore. I was prepared to take my life – I wanted to die. My kids spoke to me from a photo and I realised I had three very important reasons to live. They saved my life and were my inspirations for getting out of the pit.”
The words were already familiar to Tamara – just four days ago she had helped her mum write them, and then flown with her to Canberra to deliver them.
“When my mum was writing her speech she said to me, ‘What am I going to say?’ and I said to my mum ‘Talk about what ever you feel comfortable with’,” Tamara said.
Tamara said that she was very nervous about the flight from Perth to Canberra, but despite it being Christine’s first trip on a plane, gave her daughter some words of comfort to ease her nerves.
“My mum said that the pilots were angels flying the plane and on the wings there are two really big angels, Jamal and Sirrus, watching over us,” Tamara said.
Australian Democrats Senator Aden Ridgeway, who MCed the National Day of Healing launch, paid tribute to Tamara’s bravery in speaking on her mother’s behalf.
“It’s an inspiration, the courage, I think, that Tamara has shown, that she wanted us to go ahead and she wanted us to provide an opportunity for her mother’s voice to continue to be heard,” he said.
Senator Ridgeway said Mrs Jacobs would be remembered as a powerful woman, with a passion for reconciliation.
“I think in many ways that in telling her story in this way, she’s tragically, I think, made the ultimate sacrifice to what the journey of healing is about, what reconciliation’s about,” he said.
Prime Minister John Howard said Mrs Jacobs’ death was a “heartbreaking event”. Opposition Leader Kim Beazley offered his condolences to Mrs Jacobs’ family and friends, and added: “Her daughter Tamara very courageously spoke on her behalf this morning.”
Tamara flew home this evening to Perth to be re-united with her family. She said she was relieved to be going home and felt comforted that she would be escorted on the flight by former Australian of the Year, Fiona Stanley.
Shortly before flying home Tamara told NIT; “I am very proud of my mum and I am so glad that she got her wish to go on a plane.”
One of the cute but at times noisy young guys upstairs had a birthday yesterday, it seems, and part of their celebration involved arriving home at 3 am. Consequently I heard the repeat of Australia Talks Books on Radio National. This was good, as it turned out to be the Sydney Writers Festival session with Alan Hollinghurst, whose The Line of Beauty won the Booker Prize in 2004. Here is a related comment from the ABC Online book discussion page:
From: Jane Fletcher 23/05/2005 10:14:51 AM
Subject: re: The Line of Beauty post id: 3445
I have enormous admiration for Alan Hollinghurst as a writer, and I think “The Line of Beauty” is even better than his other books. I find myself re-reading so many passages because of his exquisite use of language. His gentle analysis of interactions between his characters is truly gripping – I would love to know his secret, as this practice in many other authors’ work is so often pedantic and laboured… Thanks so much for such a memorable read.
This wonderful if highly technical paper Textus (XVII/1, 2004), Editors: Christopher Candlin and Maurizio Gotti, published by Centro di Ricerca sui Linguaggi Specialistici, Università di Bergamo in Italy. Donna R. Miller is a professor at Università di Bologna.
The paper is in English!
Yes, this is what I am reading at the moment. Nothing so far would make me disagree with the review on this link. “An excellent and haunting – but not easy – novel that makes me want to read Mason’s other novels.” Except I don’t find Angel all that difficult. In fact it is, but this is not hard, far more rewarding in human terms than the flashy and superficial The Da Vinci Code. Indeed, in her novel The Illusionist, Mason entered into Da Vinci Code territory. See also, on the broad theme of fictions (and non-fiction speculative histories) about Jesus, The “real” Jesus Stories. The Illusionist was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1983.
The market does not always reward quality in the literary arts, however.