Monday, September 29, 2008

Money, money, money and greed

from w
Nicely timed story just as in the USA stuff happens. Perhaps lucky for us we don't have any money to worry about!

from the Age newspaper today:
Chartwell goes into liquidation, owing $80m

Collapsed stockbroking firm Chartwell Enterprises went into liquidation today, owing investors a reported $80 million. About 75 investors in the failed Geelong-based company attended the second creditors meeting and voted in favour of the administrators' recommendation to liquidate the company. Chartwell, run by flamboyant Geelong businessmen Graeme Hoy and Ian Rau, was placed in administration on April 22 and a report by administrators sent to creditors last week.

Administrator Bruno Secatore said he had been able to uncover loan accounts taken out by the directors and various monies paid to parties. ''We don't know if they are tied up with the directors or with the business, that's part of our investigation process,'' he said. He said administrators were waiting on documentation from the banks to pursue the loans, which exceed $3 million. The loans were taken out over the past three years, Mr Secatore said.

''That's just the start of it,'' he said. ''Subject to when we get the source documentation from the bank we'll be able to trace whether there's been other monies go out to the directors.''

Mr Secatore said until he obtained the documentation he was unsure whether investors could expect to get any of their money back.

''At this point in time there is nothing there,'' he said.

Mr Secatore said administrators would take legal action if necessary to recover the funds.
''We'll see if they can pay.

''If they can't, we take the relevant action. ''If we try and obviously pursue the legal action right through to bankruptcy that's what we'd be looking at.''

Mr Secatore said a further report to investors would be distributed in three months' time.

Administrators' investigations would now focus on determining where the money came in, went out and the conduct of directors and others involved in the management or promotion of the company, he said.

Mr Secatore said he had been in touch personally with Mr Hoy but he still had not spoken to Mr Rau, except through solicitors.
Creditors were told at the first meeting on May 5 they were owed $52 million, but the recent report to creditors reportedly says that figure is now $80 million.

The company had not paid tax or been audited for five years.

Although $14 million came into the company in the last two years, Chartwell made no investments in that time.

Administrators are investigating claims the money was being used to pay the interest payments of other investors, as well as funding Mr Hoy's and Mr Rau's lavish lifestyles.

Chartwell recruited its investors by word of mouth, with some pooling their money into syndicates, with the syndicate head or team leader earning returns of up to 70% for bringing in fresh blood.

Average investors were offered returns of up to 20% and some people had put in up to $5 million, most of which had been borrowed against their homes.

Mr Hoy's Rolls Royce and $6 million yacht have been claimed by the administrators of another of his companies, Black Swan, and those proceeds will not go to the Chartwell creditors.


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Sunday, September 28, 2008


from w
An optimistic Cats supporter got a tattoo last week, sure that the Geelong AFL team would win. Foolish decision!
Well, the Geelong team should have based on their wins during the year. But, it wasn't to be. They couldn't kick straight, they put the wrong men in and out, and they choked in the second half. The thousands of often-crazy supporters were so disappointed in the team. Anyway good luck to the Hawks who haven't won for about 17 years. Cat city was a bit miserable Saturday night and yesterday though and there were numerous incidents of street rage but the flags and blue and white still bedecked the highways. That's life.

from the Geelong Advertiser:
Cats will remember the year that could have been

Gerard Whateley

September 29th, 2008

Share this article
Digg this Post to Post to Stumble Upon Post to Facebook This was a Grand Final lost. Squandered. Botched. Wasted. A season of dominance now counts for nothing. Geelong of 2008 is a cautionary tale.

That's not to say it was a wasted year. For that is both mean-spirited and desperately inaccurate.

The Cats played the best footy of the season. Glorious, innovative, ruthless football. But not on the day when they give out the trophy. Geelong was hesitant and wasteful. Worse, players became panic-stricken. It was so out of character. The team was undone by the occasion and the circumstances and failed to execute their skills and plans.

The best team of 2008 didn't win the premiership. Brought undone by its own hand. Or more accurately its own foot. It is glibly stated Hawthorn was the better team. That stands up to no scrutiny. The Hawks did much right. Their pressure was outstanding. Their physicality matched that of a much-vaunted opponent. The third quarter tactic to absorb blows and counter punch was inspired. It was footy's rope-a-dope. When they struck it was with lightning speed and maximum venom. The hulking frame of Stuart Dew with the lithe figure of Cyril Rioli riding shotgun.

But it should've counted for nothing.

Geelong's dominance of the second quarter was complete. Matthew Scarlett quelled the lethal force of Lance Franklin. He left him quivering after a bone shaking crunch, spoilt in the air and whisked the ball away on the ground. Harry Taylor blunted the second tower, Jarryd Roughead. And Cameron Ling played exterminator to Sam Mitchell's extractor. But up forward the yips had set in and ego had blinded the mission. Geelong has been wholly devoted to the cult of team. It's what made three second quarter decisions so glaring. Paul Chapman took a swing at goal instead of supplying Steve Johnson. Brad Ottens failed to handpass to Tom Lonergan alone in the goal square. Mathew Stokes didn't give the one-two handball back to Gary Ablett, instead turning into three tacklers. Each act ran against the team ethos. Geelong scored 11 consecutive behinds of which only two were rushed.

As the rot became contagious few wanted the responsibility. It was a choke and it proved soul-destroying. It's what made Gary Ablett standout. He wouldn't be dictated to. He refused to accept any fate. When he went to the ball it reinvigorated hope. One man couldn't have done any more.

Hawthorn is the champion and all power to them. History is always written from the winners' perspective. For Geelong this will forever be the missing premiership in the cabinet.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nature's graffiti

from w
When I looked at the cover of the latest Royal Auto magazine (posted to us because that's our car insurance) I wondered just what was on the cover. Was it an artwork? Was it graffiti? No, it was the bark on an Australian snow gum tree. The RACV magazine is more than just about cars (which I skip) but has some excellent travel articles and beaut pictures such as this one.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The gloves are on!

from w

from the Uniting Church of Australia website a few days ago as news from Synod.

Remove offensive signs and offer apology, says church

The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania voted today to request St Michael’s Uniting Church to remove freeway signs and other media related to its “new faith” advertising campaign because it causes “deep offense to many Christians, Jews and Muslims”. The proposal also called on the moderator and general secretary of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania to express its concern to St Michael’s congregation.
The proposal asked St Michael’s to apologise for any offence that the signs may have caused.

The proposal said the Synod should communicate the substance of this resolution to the Victorian and Tasmanian Council of Churches and the equivalent statewide bodies of the Jewish and Islamic faiths. Lively discussion and debate followed the presentation of the proposal, but it was passed by an overwhelming majority of the delegates.

Below is the actual Synod resolution:

To request the Moderator and the General Secretary convey to the church council of St Michael’s the deep concern of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania at:
1. - The offence caused to many Christians, Jews and Muslims by the signs and other media referring to the Ten Commandments, and
- the potential damage to ecumenical and interfaith relationships and to the Uniting Church’s commitment to respectful relationships and communications.
2. To request St Michael’s church to remove the signs and other media forthwith and to issue an apology for any offence caused.
3. To communicate the substance of this resolution to the Victorian and Tasmanian Councils of Churches and the equivalent statewide bodies of the Jewish and Islamic faiths.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Macnab's New Faith and a response

Photo: John Woudstra
from w
Bad timing Dr Macnab - a few days before the Synod meets, and the Opening Worship at St. Michaels!

from the Age last week:
New faith throws out the Ten Commandments• Barney Zwartz
• September 16, 2008

"THE TEN Commandments, one of the most negative documents ever written." With that provocative claim posted high over two city streets, controversial cleric Francis Macnab yesterday launched "a new faith for the 21st century", a faith beyond orthodox Christianity. Dr Macnab says Abraham is probably a concoction, Moses was a mass murderer and Jesus Christ just a Jewish peasant who certainly was not God. In fact, there is no God, in the usual sense of an interventionist deity - what we strive for is a presence both within and beyond us.

Dr Macnab, a noted psychotherapist and executive minister at St Michael's Uniting Church in the city, said the new faith was necessary because the old faith no longer worked.

"The old faith is in large sections unbelievable. We want to make the new faith more believable, realistic and helpful in terms of the way people live," he said. St Michael's is promoting the new faith with a $120,000 campaign over several months, involving newspaper and radio advertising, the internet, banners and billboards. Dr Macnab is being advised by Barry Whalen, who was the media guru for Cardinal George Pell when he was Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne.

According to Dr Macnab, the new faith transcends denominations and religions. It is about searching, not dogma. It seeks the good, the tender and the beautiful, and finds it in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism.

"At the Jesus Seminar (a scholarly but sceptical international enterprise examining the statements attributed to Jesus, of which Dr Macnab is a member), we are inclined to think there was a real Jesus but we don't know much about him. The record has been embellished a great deal along the way. He gives glimpses of something beyond him, and that's the most powerful aspect of what he was doing."

Photo of Rev Jason Kioa recently with Rev Bill Lidgett and Peceli when he visited the Altona Meadows/Laverton Uniting Church.

A response (also in the Age newspaper) from the Moderator, Rev. Jason Kioa

Gentle rebuke over minister's 'new faith'

Barney Zwartz
September 22, 2008

THE "new faith" launched last week by Uniting Church minister Francis Macnab seems a departure from Christianity, moderator Jason Kioa told the church's state synod yesterday. It is as close as the church leadership can come to calling Dr Macnab a heretic without a disciplinary hearing, for which it first needs a formal complaint.

Last week Dr Macnab, minister for life at St Michael's in Collins Street, launched what he called a "new faith for the 21st century", retaining some of the ethical elements of traditional Christianity but rejecting a personal God and a divine Christ.

The launch comes with a $120,000 advertising campaign.

Mr Kioa told the synod at La Trobe University: "The views expressed by Dr Macnab in the media last week discard much of what has been accepted for 2000 years as orthodox Christian belief. "It also concerns me that Dr Macnab's expression of a 'new faith' as reported in the media appears to be outside the teachings of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church."

But Mr Kioa also obliquely called for restraint by outraged church members, saying it was important to be aware how public statements would be perceived within and beyond the church. "I remind all members that we are called to be a fellowship of reconciliation," he said.

Dr Macnab yesterday replied that he was at one with many outstanding preachers and theologians who were certainly within Christendom.

"We are asking the traditional church to re-examine and renew their basic thinking about what faith can be, because millions of people do not find the old faith meaningful to their lives," Dr Macnab said.

The church response to Dr Macnab has been tied by protocols that require an official complaint from a member before it can act, and none has yet been made.

The Uniting Church initially sought to distance itself from the "new faith". Acting moderator Sue Gormann posted a statement on the synod website, saying: "We regret any offence that may have been caused to other members of the Christian family or people of other faiths in statements made to the media or used in St Michael's advertising campaign."

other comments:
Minister for life in one church community! Time to retire. Stay with your psychology.

Everyone can follow their own thinking, their own journey and can change their mind over many years. Okay, but to still stay within the Uniting Church with its quite clear Basis of Union and being part of a 2000 year tradition is not okay.

Within the Uniting Church there is room for liberal views, but Macnab just is going too far, and in his position as a well-known leader, he ought to re-align himself.

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Synod Opening Worship at St Michael's

from w
Sunday afternoon Peceli and I went up to Melbourne for the opening worship for the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania of the Uniting Church. About a thousand people packed into the attractive old (once upon a time Congregational) space. A building about 140years old I think. I used to go to this church when I was about 18 as it was like a breath of fresh air. Nowadays there is a kerfuffle as the current clergyman, Dr Francis Macnab, has announced in the media last week that he has gone kind of New Age in his old age! Throwing out much of the Bible and traditional views of most Christians. So it ironic for the Uniting church (which is mainstream though with liberal elements) to have the worship there. The Moderator made a beaut faux pas in welcoming everyone to St Francis church instead of St Michael's church! So Dr Macnab is now a saint, I wondered.

Anyway the afternoon went splendidly with an orchestra and choir from Albury, symbolic gifts from our Aboriginal Congress friends from Geelong, migrants, and people from many towns and cities. The organist Rhys Boak was amazing when he played the 'Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves' from Nabucca.(I have the piano music of it but there are six sharps to sort out!) The organ music was stunning.

There was a genial spirit in the air, positive vibes, a sermon about being engaged with the communities where we live, and of course beaut songs by John Bell and Robin Mann as well as a token old Methodist hymn 'O for a thousand tongues to sing'. My comfort zone.

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Will Geelong win the Grand Final?

from w
Once again the Geelong Footie team is in the Grand Final which is on next Saturday. Last year Geelong Cats broke the drought of over 40 years to win the Grand Final. The town is really hyped up again with blue and white flags and banners everywhere. Well, I'm not an excited football fan, but it is catching. Yesterday I was in a congregation of about 1000 people and the leader asked for a Mexican kind of wave ripple to go around the church, naming where we were from. A voice called out and I'm sure was distinctly heard 'Go the Cats!' Did that actually come from my voice? I could hardly believe it. Anyway tonight is the Brownlow Medal count for the Best and Fairest and perhaps a Geelong player, Gary Ablett Junior might win. And go the Cats next Saturday of course. Aussie Rules started in Victoria and was known as the VFL for many years then it went national. At least this year both teams in the final actually do come from Victoria! And by the way, Geelong will play against Hawthorn next Saturday.

When our kids were young they barracked for different teams - Essendon, Hawthorn and Richmond. I barracked for Geelong and Peceli barracked for St Kilda! The boys all played Aussie Rules football when they were teenagers and those days we keenly followed their games.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Adding colour to drawings

(Two pictures above were added Sept 23 - coconut trees at Rukurukulevu, and view from Holiday Inn))

from w
Three pics of the Doulos ship in Geelong, one of an ivi nut tree in Suva, one of a breadfruit tree in Rukurukulevu village, Nadroga.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recent sketches from Fiji

from w
In Rukurukulevu village I sketched coconut trees and a breadfruit tree. The pottery ws a gift from a woman from Sigatoka Valley. The three little pics together is a view from the Holiday Inn in Suva where Peceli and I had a drink and a cool-down from the warm noisy Victoria Parade. An oasis indeed. The picture (using stamp in Photo-edit) looks like a roughly made linocut. These are not the original sketches but have been manipulated a bit!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Save the Pulse radio station

frmo w
From Geelong we already can get about six ABC stations so we do not need any more. The plan is for the ABC to take over the Pulse's 94.7 FM radio frequency. Not happy about that. Our community radio station is worth saving as we don't want it to go to some little place on the dial that can't reach people who want to listen to the Pulse.

Here's a letter sbout it from the station manager:
From: Gary Dalton
Station Manager
94.7 The Pulse

There has been a lot of confusion and misunderstanding recently regarding the re-allocation of the 94.7 FM radio frequency from the Pulse to the ABC. The possible loss of our radio frequency is an issue that has shocked and disappointed the whole of the Geelong region, as evidenced by the rush of public support and press coverage following the Australian Communication and Media Authority’s proposal.

The 94.7 frequency, which we have held for 7 years, allows the Pulse to reach an audience of up to 500,000 people from Geelong through to the Surf Coast and the Otways regions, the Mornington Peninsula and southern suburbs of Melbourne. It is a powerful reach. But without that reach, the Pulse would lose significant sponsorships; and without the 94.7 bandwidth, the Pulse would face the impossible workload and expense of re-establishing itself from scratch. If ACMA is allowed to seize our audience and offer us one of the lesser strength bandwidths available, the impact on the Pulse and our listeners would be unacceptable.

The alienation of the Surfcoast/Otways populations which have relied on the Pulse for real local news and information, and are now excluded under the proposal, is a blow to the fabric of these communities. The ABC will never provide the personalised local coverage currently supplied to these communities by the Pulse.

All we are asking is to retain our 94.7 frequency number and be given a permanent broadcasting licence on this frequency.

This is the one chance to lodge objections, so let ACMA know how you feel about this issue. The deadline for letters and submissions is 5pm Friday 19th of September.

If we stay silent we don’t have a chance, so please send your objection to ACMA and pass this email on to the people in your address book and ask them to do the same.

The ACMA address for objections is:

Draft LAP Variation - Geelong
Australian Communications and Media Authority
File number 2007/2007
PO Box 78
Belconnen ACT 2616

Or email

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The Doulos ship is in port

from w
Yesterday I visited the ship Doulos, an old passenger ship that now carries a huge book store and about 350 volunteers to various ports in the world. They've recently been in Fiji. A Christian organisation runs the ship and volunteers come from Salvation Army, Church of Christ, you name it. Not just young people like YWAM, as some volunteers are over sixty. I talked with some of the people e.g. from Vanuatu, India, USA. I did three sketches on the boat (then changed them a bit with photo-edit). The books are not sold in Australian dollars but as units that have to be translated so that is a bother. I bought only some kids' colouring books and postcards. One of the young women on board said that Geelong is the highlight of their trip to Australia so far because the city is so accessible as the Doulos ties up at Cunningham pier and within three minutes they can be strolling into the Geelong shops.


Friday, September 12, 2008

If walls could speak

from w
These days weddings are held there, but before that it was a seminary, and before that the home of wealthy pastoralists. Werribee Mansion - halfway between Geelong and Melbourne. First built by 1877, then it became the Catholic Church property in 1922, and the Victorian Government by 1973. Nearby is an African Safari kind of area- low key and great for a visit. The plan to put up a Disneyland/Wallyworld/razz-ama-tazz kind of entertainment fizzed thank goodness. We also remember that the early pastoralists who lived at Werribee Mansion also brought the rabbits which devastated much of the land as they multiplied.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Youth magazine in Geelong

from w
Congratulations to the team of young writers and graphic designers who have launched their magazine on-line of The Piercing Truth. It can be found here and is well worth a look, especially for young people about 15 to 25. Good relevant articles and nice design.

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Banyans and ivi trees

from w
I have often made drawings of trees such as the gingko, banyan, and any kind of twisty tree or one with odd shapes. Near Navua there are many banyan trees that look like shaggy sheep. Also near the building where we went to Suva North Rotary meeting catered by the Hospitality students there is an ivi nut tree that seems to be strangled by a banyan. Here are three sketches I made in Fiji of these trees.
There's a lot of information about the ivi tree - Tahitian Chestnut - on a google site:
[PDF] Inocarpus fagifer (Tahitian chestnut)File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - View as HTML
ivi (Fiji). mape (Society Islands). mworopw (Pohnpei). naqi (Solomon Islands: Nduke). namambe (Vanuatu: Bislama). Tahitian chestnut, Polynesian chestnut ... -

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Golklicks and the three stories

from w
Goldilocks eventually grew up and became rather plump. Here are three stories about Goldilocks embarrassed during a holiday abroad.

I. On a bus
Goldilocks was travelling on the Navua to Suva bus with her husband. Now she’s no chicken but a rather plump chook. Onto the bus comes a mob of people including an older kind of lady who sits next to the two. “Bula,” she says.” I think I know you,” she says to Goldilock’s husband. “Forty years ago in Rakiraki. I was a nurse there. So this is your new wife? What happened to the slim young one?” Hmmm.

2. In a village
Villages near tourist resorts sometimes are given leftover chairs and furniture when the resort upgrades. Goldilocks was staying in such a village. There were beautifully carved wooden chairs, strong chairs, but also those lightweight white plastic chairs that are around swimming pools. Goldilocks was eating an early lunch of coconut cake and lemon drink and the cake was tasty so she leant over for more, took one piece, then leant back contentedly. Slowly but surely the white plastic chair she was sitting on just caved in, a leg broke in half and Goldilocks flew in the air then down onto the broken chair and tiled floor. “Oh sobosobo sa madua sara ga” she shouted out. (How embarrassing!) The hosts were astonished, and one said, “Yes those chairs are not for leaning back. Are you okay Goldilocks?’ Well, something like that. She laughed., then the host said, ‘Well, Goldilocks can speak in Fijian. How about that!’

3. On a plane
Goldilocks ate too much that day; breakfast of coconut cake and tea, an early lunch of coconut cake and lemon drink, roti and curry and tea at 4 p.m. then on the Air Pacific plane by 8 p.m. the steward brought out the dinner of chicken and rice, raspberry cake, fruit, bun, apple juice and coffee. Goldilocks had been brought up to eat everything on the plate, not waste anything, so she ate it all up very quickly. Oh dear, the last hour on that plane ride was a problem. Goldlock’s stomach grew and grew larger and larger. The seat-belt could hardly fit. She wriggled and squirmed, massaged her tummy, to no avail. Her stomach was full of air. She thought that if she went to the bathroom to relieve the air, the door might blow out and the passengers think that an oxygen tank had exploded or a terrorist was on board. That man in the red shirt who walked up and down, surely he was Security. So she suffered and suffered. At Arrivals, she ran helter skelter to the bathroom. Ahhhhhhhh.

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Friday, September 05, 2008

A sleepy cat in Fiji

from w
My grand-daughter's cat at Pacific Harbour posed for me on a chair. A nice life for the cat with no name. Cats and dogs in Fiji usually have a rather mean time and they are often skinny but the two ginger cats in this household look fine, though one is still scared of a toy dog when it gets in its face.


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Drawing by Letila

from w
Letila is seven years old and is the granddaughter of our niece and has come visiting us twice and also attended the birthday party. The little girls and some of the boys have been making drawings and most of my drawing stuff is used up now. Here is Letila's drawing.

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a house in Namadi

from w
There's a cute wooden house that seems to be rising from the jungle - a compound without the usual dogs, locks, signs, security guys in uniform that marks the suburb fear of burglary in the suburb where our eldest son lives. The way to live is surely to be free of such fear, not to have gold and silver. Maybe this home is a place without too many gadgets to steal.