Monday, October 28, 2013

Dami a winner

from w
Three nice young people were in the top three, and a charming young woman, Dami was the winner. Runner-up was a young man from Geelong Taylor, also really commendable.  Great entertainment, even the weird dresses on the girl!  And  good outcome for a migration story to Australia. Hold your heads up high, all you who seek to come to our land!

'Some people thought I was stupid': X Factor star Dami recalls terrible childhood

Now the darling of The X Factor, Dami Im has been using
 music to overcome prejudice since she first arrived in Australia.

Dami Im performing U2's One on The X Factor
She is the darling of The X Factor, loved by the Minogue sisters and one of the favourites to win this year's series on Channel Seven. But when Dami Im was nine years old, Australia was a much tougher place to be.
Newly arrived in Brisbane from South Korea, she couldn't speak English and was teased terribly by the other children at her primary school.
People made fun of me and thought I was stupid because I couldn't speak properly. 
"People made fun of me and some people thought I was stupid because I couldn't speak properly," she says. "But I played piano during assembly and they were like, 'wow, she's really good' and that's when people stopped looking down at me."
Dami Im moved to Australia at nine years of age.
Dami Im moved to Australia at nine years of age.
Im, 24, migrated to Australia with her mother and younger brother Kenny while her dad stayed in South Korea to send the family money.
"He only came over during the school holidays for, like, one week. It must have been so hard, there was a lot of sacrifice," Im says. "I was so young, too, it was really hard to understand what was going on."
Now, says Im, it's exciting to see barriers being broken down for Asian-Australian pop musicians. Her popularity on the show follows the online success of Korean-Australian twin sisters Sonia and Janice Lee, aka Jayesslee, who have 1.5 million followers on YouTube.
Im says her journey as a musician followed a rewarding but conservative path – from starting the piano at five, she eventually graduated with first class honours in music from the University of Queensland – but she couldn't deny her love of pop music.
As a teenager she recorded herself singing and wasn't impressed. "I thought I'd be really good but it sounded really bad, so my hobby was to keep training myself, and listening to myself on my computer. I was obsessed with it, I just wanted to sound like the singers I listened to."
She says she sang tracks line by line, over and over again, until she felt it sounded right. "That's how I improved, gradually – I recommend it to anyone who wants to sing."
Im eventually built up the courage to audition for The X Factor. "I was putting it off, I was afraid of trying new things ... but then I thought I should try something before it was too late."
She has since wowed television audiences and Seven's panel of judges, including her mentor Dannii Minogue and guest mentor Kylie Minogue. Her stunning performance of U2's One in the live finals last Sunday received a standing ovation.
"I wasn't expecting such a huge reaction," she says of the audience's response to her cover version. "It just felt so good because I wasn't expecting it at all."
Im's parents now live together, spending part of the year in Australia and part in South Korea, and they were overseas when their daughter first made it onto the show.
"They didn't realise how huge it would be," Im says, with a laugh. The singer has also had the close support of her husband of 10 months, Noah Kim.
"We've talked about it and The X Factor is a huge opportunity but it is also not the only thing I will be doing in my life," she says. "I don't know when the competition is going to end for me, but I'm going to be singing for the rest of my life."

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Birthday for Geelong

from w
I noticed this story in the Bay FM website: Geelong has a birthday!
Geelong viewIt may go largely un-noticed but today is a special day for Geelong, with the city marking its 175th birthday.

It was on this day in 1838 that Geelong was officially proclaimed a town.
At the time there was little hint as to what was to come, with a population of only 200 and land in the area selling for the princely sum of 5 pounds sterling an acre.
Geelong_in_1840Within three years though the number of people calling Geelong home had more than doubled to 454.
The township proclamation came just a year after the area was named Geelong by Governor Richard Burke.
It was based on the word ‘Jillong’, used by by the local Wathaurong indigenous people to describe the area and which is thought to have meant ‘land’ or ‘cliffs’.

Friday, October 25, 2013


from w
Yesterday afternoon we went to the Flamefest in Whittington, a community festival with stalls, song and dance items, a pet animal pen, and so on.  It was a lovely event especially for the children of our east part of Geelong.   Our Geelong East Uniting Church contributed by cooking sausages, and the volunteers included Jenny, Rev Ikani and Moana.  I joined in the pet pen and snapped a few photos of the small animals. As I get older I like small animals better than grown-up people it seems!  Items included children doing Aboriginal dances.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Still protesting about Geelong East tennis courts

from w
I just wonder how to keep up the momentum of protesting about the Melbourne base Uniting Church bosses plan to sell our local tennis courts at 39 Denman Street..  The audience of my writing doesn't have the power to change much; the city guys probably aren't listening or looking. Anyway here is a letter to the editor of the Geelong Advertiser that was published recently, and in yesterday's paper was a follow-up article by a journalist. The photographer had taken a photo of children and younger adults playing but decided that Neil, the lynch-pin of the club, was worthy of a photo. It was taken on his 83rd birthday this week. I am mainly protesting on his behalf as tennis and his St Andrew's church are so important to his life, his sense of identity and both have been seriously challenged. On of the criteria for putting this land up for sale is that it is worth more than $1, but it is not. A real estate estimation a year ago was about $500,000, and another estimate, just this week, was it was worth no more than $700,000.  My wish is for the 'authorities' in Melbourne to delete it from their list!

Our Guesstimate:
$450,500 to $572,500

Monday, October 21, 2013

In the present tense - and the Uniting Church

from w
Still feeling like the Titanic heading for the iceberg.

In the present tense

I picked up my copy of Anna Funder’s ‘All that I am’ at the library, and glanced towards J. sitting at a computer - lively bushfires, seeping floods, the money-changers, moving quickly across the screen. I caught his attention and he removed the headphones.  I hissed, ‘Why aren’t all of us protesting? Why the silence? Don’t you remember those earlier years when many of us were not silent about injustice. It’s  a free world surely for speaking up against this abomination that affects our church.’  He laughed and said quietly, ‘Yes it’s a free world. To be silent too.’  He turned back to the screen, world news just time-filling. I stomped out from the library and spent the day reading about an abominable dictator in Europe.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Uniting Church debt saga - a divide between Sydney and Melbourne

from w
The Victorian Uniting Church debt saga goes on.  It’s a Melbourne/Sydney divide also.
It’s  important to ask a question at the macro level.  The money is owed to Uniting Financial Services (NSW and ACT Uniting Church) perhaps at what interest. Is it different to borrowing from a bank? There are ethics involved. Selling up church property to repay a very rich institution does not sound like the sort of attitude Jesus would have.

From the website I have read:

‘Uniting Financial Services is not a corporatised financial services company or a bank. It's a religious charitable organization…For more than 80 years we've been providing income to The Uniting Church in Australia's Synod of NSW and the ACT, directly contributing to the Uniting Church's mission and service to communities in need, as well as supporting church life and congregations. Our professional and prudent approach to investing has helped us build our funds under management from just over $400 million ten years ago, to more than $1 billion today.’
From Uniting Financial Services:
. It was clear the Team has developed many longstanding relationships with our members over extended periods, focusing on honesty, empathy, respect, transparency and efficiency.
  So….. why cannot a new loan be negotiated – interest free – or even the loan halved – as in one of the parables of Jesus.
The Prodigal  Son
Characters:  Dad Wuzzy, two brothers: Izzey,  Fuzzy,  Cousin  Johnno McScrooge  in Canberra who is fabulously rich.
Izzey:  Dad I want  to be a rock star, start a band. Can you lend me a few thousand?
Dad Wuzzy:;  Alright son, take care, do a risk assessment, buy the instruments, get a roadie.
Izzey: Sure Dad I’ll take care.  (But he didn’t and soon ran out of money so....)
Can you lend me some money Fuzzy. You’re my brother. We’re family.  I had a bit of a shortfall. Someone let me down. I arranged for a gig and it fell through. A few thousand please.
Fuzzy:  Alright, but take good care.  Be wise not foolish about it.
Izzey: Sure Fuzzy.  (But he wasn’t wise  and one day the drums fell of the truck, the saxophone got rusty in the rain, the timpani got a puncture  so he phoned his cousin in Canberra. )  Cousin Johnno. You’re my cousin. We’re family.  Can you lend me a few thousand, I’m in debt now and might go to gaol.
Cousin Johnno :  Not too sure about that Izzey.  You’re getting deeper and deeper.  Okay, but  when you become a rock star, pay us all back.  In fact I”ll charge you 4% interest and you must pay me back in 6 months time.
Izzey:  Of course, of course.  (But he didn’t become a rock star, the radio stations, the TV, the entertainment  industry said he was a failure, and he’d better sell up.  But selling up only brought back one tenth of what he’d spent.  He phoned Cousin  Johnno and )
Izzie;  Cousin Johnno. Look, I”m er. in trouble.
Cousin Johnno:  Sell up some of your property, get some money and pay me back and on time.
Izzey: But I haven’t got property, only my extended family in the suburbs and in the country.
Cousin Johnno;  Go to all your relatives  - they’re family - and tenants  in the whole of Victoria. Pick out some of them and somehow sell their properties.
Izzey:  They won’t like it.  They’ll say bad things about me, that I’m stupid, irresponsible, prodigal. Hey that word reminds me of  story somewhere in the back of my mind.
Cousin Johnno; That’s not my problem. Just do it.
Or an alternative ending: 

Cousin Johnno:  I guess I’ll have to forgive you – seven times seventy they say. But it’s a learning lesson.  Now next time you will think twice before trying to be a rock star eh!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Remembering the SIEV and those lost at sea

from w
Remembering those lost at sea - the SIEV asylum seekers - 19th October several years ago. Two hundred people or so gathered at Cunningham Pier, Geelong Waterfront today to throw flowers in the water, say prayers for the men, women and children lost on that day, and to remember others trying to get to Australia and losing their lives in the sea. And all refugees. An interfaith group, refugee advocates, even one group of Socialists that I don't usually rub shoulders with.

Arnold Zable writes:  We urgently need a change in the national conversation about boat people. A day of remembrance on October 19 each year would help heal the moral malaise and divisive politics that have infected the nation since the Tampa affair in August 2001, when the Howard government broke a tradition of bipartisanship on asylum-seeker policy fostered during the Fraser years in response to the challenge of Vietnamese boat people. No matter how cruel you can be, I can be crueller became the name of the game, supported by polling that confirmed the political advantage.

The SIEV X's sinking is our Australian story writ large.

On this day, we should remember the desperation that drove our forebears to make the journey. We should acknowledge this to be the inclusive story of who we are. Give or take a few generations, we too were once aliens who approached this continent by boat.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Now Geelong City Hall want to sell buildings and sports fields - copycat

from w
It's quite a copycat act, wanting to raise $56 million (just like the Uniting Church) by selling off land and buildings.  Who wants to buy an old obsolete, horror of a gaol?  Osborne House, now that is a lovely building, at present used for art/craft/historical exhibitions, etc. and an asset to the community. Golf courses too such as Elco, Balyang and Queens Park - all excellent facilities for golfers and not as expensive as privately run clubs..  Not good.

City considers $56m sell-off

CITY Hall may have to sell off assets such as Old Geelong Gaol and Osborne House to maintain its financial sustainability, an independent review into city finances has found.
The review sought independent advice to see how effectively the City of Greater Geelong was operating.
The review, by CT Management Group, identified potential one-off asset sales of between $27 million and $56 million.
Sites mentioned in discussions have also included all three golf courses owned by the city - Elcho Park near Lara and Queens Park and the Balyang par-3 course, both of which are in Newtown.
The review also said the council faced challenges to deliver its capital works program and services and "if the current expenditure requirement is to be maintained, either the rate revenue will need to increase or operating and capital expenditure will need to decrease to maintain its current sustainable position".
It added "the current investment in services and capital is not sustainable".
Residents could also face rate rises, with the report saying a 2 per cent rise would be required to meet the current costs of services and capital investment.
Acting Mayor Bruce Harwood stressed that no decision on any sale of assets had been made, and pointed out the review found the city was financially sound.  etc. etc.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

children of Tate Street school and music

from w
In the Geelong Advertiser is a story about children in our primary schools preparing for the Poppykettle Festival next week.  One group of young musicians go to Tate Street Primary School.  Two of the girls played at our the church the other day and Sunday week we will have Children's Sunday so we hope we'll have a clarinet, cornets, guitars, a violin and a cello so it should be fun.
From the school website:
Great things are happening at Tate St with our innovative Music program. Under the expert and enthusiastic guidance of our music teacher Ms Dani Rocca, our children have the opportunity to learn to play the ukulele. We have school ukuleles available for the students to use in class, or the students can purchase their own ukuleles. Interested students are also taking advantage of lessons provided by the Salvation Army Brass Band of Belmont to learn a brass instrument with the instruments, the lessons and the transport to and from Belmont generously funded by the Salvos. We now have our own Tate Street Primary School Brass Band, which not only performs for our own school community, but shares its talent with the wider community through preschool and childcare centre visits. Add to the instrumental programs our newly established choir and you can see that Tate St is becoming a music-filled place to learn and the children are loving it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Animals and songs

from w
I found some photos on the gallery of the Herald Sun (not that I open up that site much because some of their stories and commentaries are so slanted to right wing). Anyway here are the pictures I lifted and I put some song titles to them.
 Wake up little Suzie, wake up
 It's been a hard day's night
The first time ever I saw your face

Christ Church meals program in jeopardy

from w
I felt so bad when I read this story in the Geelong Advertiser.  The volunteers who give free meals to a whole bunch of strangers every day, and boxes of food throughout the community are the modern saints.  And then some stupid people trash their hall.  What kind of society do we have in Geelong for such a thing to happen? I do hope that some of our local businesses and tradesmen (as Graeme of East Geelong suggests) will contribute to the cleanup and give building material etc. to repair the damage.

From the
 Geelong Advertiser:
ORGANISERS say heartbreaking vandalism threatens the future of Geelong's long-running Christ Church charity meals program.
Volunteers cancelled a daily breakfast for only the second time in 25 years on Sunday after arriving to find their hall kitchen had been broken into and trashed.
The incident followed smashing of windows in the hall and an adjoining building days before.
Police are investigating.
The total repair bill of thousands of dollars is a body blow to the program, which relies entirely on charity support to serve more than 30,000 meals a year to Geelong's hungry.
"I'm shattered. It's very sad to see something that you've nurtured just being wrecked," long-time convener Col Hastings said yesterday.
'It has put the program in danger of closing. It's serious business."
Mr Hastings said he had growing fears for the safety of volunteers.
On Wednesday night, vandals ripped booms off nearby gates and speared them through windows of the Christ Church Hall.
On Thursday night, windows were broken on an adjoining building.
"Then on Saturday night they broke into the kitchen area, broke all the windows, ripped the bars off and generally vandalised the place," Mr Hastings said.
"They threw food everywhere, cooked themselves a meal ... generally wilful vandalism.
"Once people who come to breakfast heard they were incensed.
"It's biting the hand that feeds them. Some of them might be on hard times but they're not fools."
Mr Hastings said support from members of Geelong's homeless community had been outstanding.
He will speak to committee members about the future of the program later this week.
"I don't want to make a decision feeling the way I do now," he said.
"I'm a compassionate person but I'm not a silly person and there's got to be some cost analysis. Is it worth it?"
The incidents come as the charity prepares to showcase its daily mission by tabling meals for a community lunch on October 24 to raise money for October's Feed Geelong campaign

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Uniting Church has double-faulted

from w
 I haven't been in a protest since the Pauline Hanson thing came to town and I tore up her photos. 

Anyway the current protest is about the Uniting Church Synod of Victoria listing our local tennis courts for sale despite a viable, excellent Club that links the church with ordinary people. I wrote a paper. My son wrote a professional document with dot points and concluded that the Property Project group had made a serious mistake as the resolution was to sell 'underutilized properties'. Anyway we went to the local St Andrews Council meeting and our friend Neil led a one-hour presentation and two Presbytery leaders were there listening, though one did say bluntly, the rule cannot change. What kind of normal justice is that. Even a criminal has his day in court! 

Then today I went to Hoppers Crossing for the special Presbytery meeting. I think six properties at this level have been targeted. After a nice quiet devotional we were given a chance to speak for 5 minutes each. I was first. I held up a racquet and shouted 'The Uniting church has double-faulted' and that got the attention of about sixty people. I spoke of passion, we each have passions in life, mine is art, music, Fiji and the best aspects of the church. I said I represented Neil Lamond, mentor,coach and lynch-pin of our tennis club who has a passion for both tennis and his church. I talked only a little about the club because I gave a couple of dozen handouts of both our papers. Then I referred to the movie' North by Northwest', Cary Grant at an auction and yelling out $40 five cents, etc. ' But then we are polite, reasonable people and don't do things like that! ' Ourminister Rev Ikani spoke that he is a member of the tennis club and as a pastor he has engaged in meaningful conversations with various players. Other speakers followed and I was particularly touched by a woman who spoke of St Stephens Williamstown losing the lot. Others spoke of lack of justice, etc. I don't think we will actually win though there's maybe 1% chance of a change of mind s they don't actually need the $100 million that the listed properties throughout Victoria are probably worth. Our tennis players are devastated as our club - a few metres from our home, and the men and boys in our family all play competition tennis, and just wonder what the future holds.

And from the Geelong Advertiser:  the journalist rang me up yesterday and I suggested he do a story on Geelong South church as we were too busy with our protest presentation to talk to him about the tennis court for sale. Maybe he could take a photo of the kids playing tennis Saturday for a second story I said.

Church up for sale

DEVASTATED parishioners are facing loss of their 144-year-old South Geelong church as Uniting Church Australia seeks to sell 56 Victorian properties.
The bluestone church at the corner of Moorabool and Fyans streets, a hall and UnitingCare office, and the site of East Geelong Uniting Tennis Club in Denman St are listed for sale.
Observers have estimated value of the church property alone at $4 million.
The Uniting Church Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is selling the properties to ease debt linked to its Melbourne Acacia College closing last year.
South Geelong Uniting Church elders chairman Ric Killick said 25 parishioners had been shattered by the news.
"It's devastating, it's like losing a member of the family really," Mr Killick said.

"The whole of the congregation, they don't know where they're going to go.
"The UCA is saying we'll help ... and will transfer you to another congregation but the point about that is you're moving away from a church that's been going for that long."
Mr Killick, 80, who has attended the church for more than 70 years, told the Geelong Advertiser in May of the congregation's pride in having a third spire on the church replaced after $50,000 work.
A dedication service for the spire will go ahead tomorrow.
The church has a heritage listing preserving its exterior.
East Geelong Uniting Tennis Club members met yesterday to discuss options for protesting the sale of their site.
Synod general secretary reverend Mark Lawrence said the 56 properties were listed after a identification process.
"While this divestment process is a very important decision for the future of the church, we understand it will cause upheaval and upset," Dr Lawrence said.
"Congregations and agencies impacted will receive income replacement and/or relocation funding and pastoral support."

and more about South Geelong Uniting Church in recent years:

CELEBRATE: South Geelong Uniting Church elder Rik Killick and some of the congregation prepare to celebrate their church's 140th anniversary.

WHEN the South Geelong Uniting Church first opened, the British Parliament had only recently stopped sending convicts to Australia as punishment.
Acknowledging 140 years of worship this Sunday, parishioners will also celebrate the completion of recent renovations.

Church spokesman Ric Killick said the exterior of the church had remained the same since its opening, despite considerable alterations to surrounding buildings.

``The spire was a late addition to the original design, however, it was included in the construction stage of the church,'' Mr Killick said.

Mr Killick said recent renovations had ensured the church would stay put for many years to come.

``There has been significant repair to wall cracks and associated plasterwork and the entire interior has been repainted,'' he said.

``The leadlight windows have all been repaired and cleaned.''

Parishioners will celebrate the church's 140th anniversary this Sunday at 2pm, with tea, coffee and finger food to follow worship.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Save our tennis courts

from w
I've been busy today researching stuff as we only have three days to convince the powers that be that our Geelong East Tennis Club is not 'underutilized property'.  I know they've made up their minds over considerable meetings in Head Office of the Uniting Church and I realize that the tennis courts are in a nice residential street. Hmm. Dollars indeed.

. We are trying to keep our Geelong East Tennis Club from being sold off, as a clause in the Uniting Church Synod decision was to sell off 'underutilized properties' and that is not us! I noticed that there are about thirteen tennis courts targeted, but maybe some are not being used, but our club is certainly busy, viable, and part of the mission of the church as linking with a wide variety of people from our local community and even sharing our courts with other clubs at times. 

Uniting church Victoria Head Office grabbing properties for sale

from w
The decision to sell many properties to pay a huge debt incurred through incompetence in Melbourne, and which impacts upon our family in East Geelong because the tennis courts are targeted, has been written up in the Age today by Barney Swartz. It's a time of great shame.

Uniting Church in bid to raise $56m

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The church in Hawthorn.
The church in Hawthorn West. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
The hammer is about to fall on 56 Uniting Church properties in Victoria as the church tries to raise $56 million to pay debts incurred in the calamitous collapse of Acacia College last year.
The church has yet to announce which churches will close because ministers and congregations are still being told, but state secretary Mark Lawrence said the sales would affect at least 14 church complexes. Some services run by the UnitingCare network will be relocated.
Among the churches being sold are Brunswick West, Glenroy, Strathmore, Hawthorn West and Doncaster East, and the properties include tennis courts, vacant land and former manses, Fairfax Media has been told.
The church in Doncaster.
The church in Doncaster East. Photo: Michael Clayton-Jones
Acacia College, a low-fee school for 520 students in Mernda in Melbourne's north, closed last December leaving the church with debts of $36 million, despite the church spending millions of dollars bailing out the developer, who has since died.
The state synod voted in May to raise $56 million to clear that debt, pay down other debts and restore fund reserves.
On Wednesday there was shock and fury as the affected churches learnt of the decision, amid speculation that church officials had targeted parishes without ministers or with elderly ministers to cut payout costs.
The church in Glenroy.
The church in Glenroy.
Malcolm McIlvena, the secretary at St David's Uniting Church in Brunswick West, said: ''They've told us we are out after 105 years. We were not consulted at all.''
He said the weekly congregation was down to about 20 - in the 1930s the Sunday School alone had 200 members - but the church hall was in use every night for tai chi, children's drama and the like, and St David's also owned two units it used rent-free for people who had to come for Melbourne for hospital treatment.
Mr McIlvena was married in the church 50 years ago, and his wife was christened there, he said.
The church in Brunswick.
The church in Brunswick West.
Presbytery officials were due to meet the church's council on Thursday. ''We will ask who do we appeal to, but I know the answer - nobody. Legally it's their property, by act of Parliament in 1977.''
Congregation member Matt Vigus, son of the minister, Andrew Vigus, said, ''I just feel really cheated. We are paying for incompetence to pay off some dodgy deals. Dad will be forced into retirement - he's been a minister for 30 years.''
State moderator Dan Wootton on Wednesday posted a letter on the church website to be read to all congregations on Sunday, apologising to those affected. ''We are a pilgrim people always on the way,'' he wrote.
Dr Lawrence said every Uniting Church property was evaluated on the basis of its contribution to mission, locally and regionally, the impact on mission if it were sold, and its potential price. Presbyteries and church institutions were consulted.
''It has been a heartfelt process, in the knowledge that every one of the properties on the divestment list, would involve pain and grief for members of the church community.'' He said the sales involved less than 1 per cent of the church's properties - it has more than 600 congregations in Victoria and Tasmania and runs 32 welfare agencies - and no services would be cut.

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