Thursday, September 22, 2011

An open letter to Gillard & Abbott, from an Australian Grandmother.

First an explanation to my overseas readers. Gillard (Labor) is Australia’s Prime Minister, and Abbott (Liberal/National) is the Leader of the Opposition. 
Following is a letter to Gillard and Abbott from Mrs Jenny Bell, a 65 year old retired nurse who lives in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Jenny has been an activist for our War Veterans since 2007 in their fight for proper and fair indexation. She firmly believes that we owe them, and this country owes them. 
Jenny is a mother and stepmother of five children and a grandmother of seven children, who is very worried about what is happening in this country. She says that she will remain an activist for as long as she is above ground, because what she sees happening in this country is not what she wants to leave for her children and grandchildren to inherit. 

This seems to put into words what I – and I am sure, many others of the silent majority – think!  If it doesn't worry you what Jenny writes, then nothing will.
– Werner

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Have also a look at these two links. 1) Problem-Reaction-Solution. 
2) Lima Agreement.
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And now, Jenny Bell’s letter to Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott.
You BOTH worry me! (In fact, both of your Political parties worry the hell out of me!) Over the last three years, I find myself becoming more and more fearful of the pair of you and between you, you are turning this country, into a place that I no longer feel at home in or feel a part of !
I watch you in parliament and no, not just the two of you, but every politician that I see, stand up in parliament sneering at each other and acting like children!!! (And if you were my children, I would be ashamed of you all, what an example to set!) Although you would like us all to believe, that  you are putting the needs of this country at the forefront, NEITHER of you are doing that, you seem more interested in "one-upmanship", in scoring off each other and denigrating each other, to the detriment of this country and it's people!!!

It seems to be all about YOU as individuals and not about what you can DO for this country! It is fast becoming a place that I do not recognize as the place I always thought was the best place in the world to be!!! But no longer!!!

You are not listening to the people of this country!!!
And here in South Australia, your counterparts, are afflicted with the same disease, is it endemic in all politicians?
I am watching the deterioration of living standards in this country (and according to you, on a world stage we are doing better than most countries ...REALLY???)...and yet the gap is widening between the" haves" and the "have-not's ",  I see our homeless on the streets, our hospitals under funded and understaffed, our health system is an absolute mess and a  disgrace ...and yet I see multi millions of dollars being sent off shore, in aid to other countries, before attending to this country's needs!! I see the "selling off of the farm", in large amounts, to foreign interests, (In every state) including water rights to foreign interests too - and WHY?

Especially when you go to great lengths to tell us, that water is a finite resource and supposedly, we must ALL be careful with how we use it, so that we ensure we have it for the future?

Foreign interests "Fracking" for coal seam gas and riding rough shod over farmer's rights to their own land AND USING QUESTIONABLE CHEMICALS,  (You don't even KNOW what chemicals they use)  and possibly causing damage to the water table in the process!!!

And those foreign interests, I believe, do NOT have to pay anything in royalties, back to this country, for the first five years of their tenure … IS THIS CORRECT???

A Carbon Tax, (which you KNOW is just another tax) and which will make NO appreciable difference, to carbon emissions AT ALL! A tax,  which in spite of all your arguments FOR it, you are doing alone, when other major countries will NOT and DO NOT embrace it, or believe in it!!

All that will do for this country is put working families and small businesses behind the eight ball.... what planet are you on, if you think that your few hundred dollars a year, will make even a scrap of difference to the effect of the carbon tax on people? Blind Freddy can see the holes in that argument!!!!  Do you really think we are that dumb????

The CONVOY OF NO CONFIDENCE was real!!! ...and I haven't spoken to even ONE person, who would not have liked to be there if they could, but the tyranny of distance and /or work, was the only thing that kept them away, (myself included) …and you KNOW that only a part of the convoy was actually allowed to be in front of Parliament house and ON VIEW  ...the rest were streets away, unreported by the media!!

For Mr Albanese to stand up in parliament and call it "THE CONVOY OF NO CONSEQUENCE "in his sneering tone,   shows just how out of touch with the people of Australia , you really are!!!! WE WOULD HAVE ALL, LIKED TO BE THERE!!!

DEFENCE. Because Americans are our Allies and we support them in Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan ....and you have sent our soldiers to those places and our soldiers fought for you and for Australia , ........some coming home with terrible physical injuries and some with devastating Mental Injuries as well, BUT WHERE ARE YOU, WHEN THEY NEED YOU?????
Veteran's Indexation to CPI only is a disgrace and is something YOUR Labor party, Julia, used as an election sweetener, to get the Veteran's Vote ...BUT YOU LIED!!!!!!

You never had any intention of honouring your election promise to them, and it WILL come back to bite you at the next election!!!! (And Tony, Liberals were NO BETTER, Howard had more than 10 years to "fix it" and didn't!)
Veterans are not alone they have families, friends and supporters, who are heartily sick of the deception your party perpetrated on them, AND THEY ALL VOTE!!!! THEY are your obligation, first and foremost, and it is not your first obligation to give aid to every man and his dog overseas first!!! 
Look after your own FIRST!!!! Is this what you call SALUTING THEIR SERVICE??? Have you any idea how sickening it is, for our Vets, to see you both, ( Labor or Liberal ) turn up to the funerals of our current young vets, for a photo opportunity, to be seen to be "caring", in the public eye but only to turn your backs on them all,  when they need you???  (Just ask Breanna Till, an Afghanistan Soldier's wife, how CARING this govt is!!!)

And in light of what you DONT do, for our Vets, let's talk about Multiculturalism.  People have come here from other countries for a better life, for more years than I have been alive (I am 65 years old!!)  My own family migrated here in 1883, from Germany and did find a better life. Pre and Post war immigrants have came for a better life, and settled in and became wonderful contributors to this country as did those who came here after the Vietnam War, all have contributed to the rich diversity of this country and some descendants have even fought FOR this country and they have become Australians and were glad to be, and they had NO handouts from our Govt either; they worked hard for everything!

I have never had a problem with all, or any, race of immigrants coming here. However, I DO NOW!!!

Please tell me why we have areas like Lakemba, where police do NOT, and will NOT go, for fear of their life?

Please tell me why we can no longer have religion in schools, for fear of "OFFENDING" someone?  (The latest little gem is that they are not having, or being funded, for "chaplains" anymore but "Counsellors"?)

Please tell me why religious Christmas observances, are no longer allowed in some schools for fear of OFFENDING someone?

Please tell me HOW Christmas decorations in some stores, might OFFEND someone?

Please tell me why we have to have segregated days in some swimming centres, for fear of "OFFENDING" someone?

Please tell me why we have some RADICAL clerics, demanding Sharia Law in this country, yet if we were in THEIR country, this would NEVER be allowed?

Please tell me why our laws need to be changed so as not to OFFEND someone??  

Please tell me why we are fast becoming a MINORITY voice, in our own country because of POLITICAL CORRECTNESS??

Please tell me WHY, Australians cannot legally wear a face covering bike helmet into a bank and yet it is OK to wear a Burqa which covers the whole face?

And please tell me, WHY, when those people who want asylum here, can wreck our detention centres, as in Villawood and STILL be accepted here?

SO, in light of the above, WILL BOTH OF YOU ......Please tell me WHY, when some of our Vietnam Veterans FINALLY received (in the last 6 months) the recognition that they should have had, after the Vietnam War, (and which they received from the USA & South Vietnam,  during and immediately after the Vietnam War), that the families of those Veterans were refused assistance  by this Govt, to attend that award ceremony and yet this Govt ....flew, accommodated and even took on bus tours , to the families of asylum seekers, after the funerals of those who were killed, in the boat which sunk, off Christmas Island?

What does that say about just who are this govt's priorities?? The Australian people that I speak to, have genuine concerns about becoming a second class minority in our own country and the reasons for it, are some of the above. Are you so blind that you cannot see this?

And no, I am NOT racist!!!... (If I did not like Catholics or Protestants, would I be considered racist??)  Of course not! Why is it that if we object to what is happening in our country, we are immediately labelled RACIST in an attempt to shut us up?? We are fighting Radical Muslims, in Afghanistan and Iraq, are we not?

I hear you say, "Yes but the Muslims we have here, are "Not like that "- well how would we know? Do we hear ANY of them coming out and speaking AGAINST radicals? I haven't, have you??? Islam is not compatible with ANY of the values that we hold here in Australia! Are not the experiences of Britain, France, the Netherlands or Holland an example of that?   Why do you think it would be any different here? We even have an Australian born "radical", whose message is, that Australia WILL become a Muslim country, under Sharia Law and that we had "better get used to it".

Will both of you, grow some "Balls" and start sticking up for this country and its people??? We are the people who put you where you are and PAY you, to look after our interests!! ..And you are NOT doing that by any stretch of the imagination!!!
I would appreciate an answer, from both of you, if only to convince me that once again, I am not talking to a brick wall!

In case it has escaped both of you, I would like to remind you that, in Australia, the Government is FOR THE PEOPLE, OF THE PEOPLE and BY THE PEOPLE, you should never forget that because you sure have up till now!!!

Mrs Jenny Bell (Contact details have been removed.)
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My thought for today. – Werner
No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.  ~Abraham Lincoln

 Click on text to enlarge.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A “blooming” healthy cup of tea.

Egyptian Red is a tea made from the calyces of the hibiscus Sabdariffa flower. I was recently introduced to “Egyptian Red Tea,” and found it a very pleasant and refreshing drink. I took an instant liking to it, and I’m sure you will too. As you will see, this tea is said to have many health benefits. A word of warning, don’t add milk to it - it will curdle. The tea is available at health food stores. - Werner
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Egyptian Red is made from a premium grade Hibiscus Sabdariffa, grown in Upper Egypt.  Caffeine-free, rich in Vitamins and with potent antioxidant properties, Hibiscus Tea is reputed to have been the preferred drink of the Pharaohs. Hibiscus tea has been around for centuries and is considered an almost all-purpose medicinal remedy. Its reputed health benefits include helping reduce pain and relieving symptoms of over 15 disorders such as:

Arthritis, bladder infections, blood pressure, constipation, poor blood circulation, fatigue and fluid retention to name a few. This herbal drink can be consumed hot or cold.

Known for its extremely high content of antioxidants (mainly flavonoids), the tea assists our body in neutralizing negative effects of free radicals, this way slowing down aging processes, protecting us against cancer and improving our general health. Egyptian Red is rich in enzymes which slow down chemical processes in our body linked to breaking complex sugars and carbohydrate absorption.
Egyptian Red is known as one of the richest sources of Vitamin C, which plays a role for strengthening our immune system. Regular consumption of Egyptian Red is linked to lower chances of suffering from constipation and having bladder infections. Finally, Egyptian Red has numerous positive effects on our cardio-vascular system. It supports the function of the heart and helps strengthen blood vessels. Health benefits of Egyptian Red include lowering blood pressure and lowering high levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Hibiscus Tea - Cool down your blood pressure.
The Hibiscus Tea Benefits are as follows:
•    Worried about your blood pressure? Don’t be. This tea is a great way to lower your blood pressure. Studies have proven that hibiscus tea lowers the systolic reading, the top level of your blood pressure reading.

•    This tea helps lower your levels of bad cholesterol.

•    If you wish to benefit from higher quantities of carotenoids and antioxidants such as vitamin C, then we suggest choosing a dried hibiscus flower from this range of colours: red, pink, orange and yellow to make your tea.

•   The antioxidants are important because they help you fight cell damaging. And as it contains vitamin C, it boosts your immune system.

•   It may reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. It is still being studied if drinking hibiscus tea can have a long term effect that can be sustained over time, but at least you should consider that hibiscus tea may be the beginning to an improved life.

•   As it is an herbal tea, it contains no caffeine. And again, this is always a good way for you to reduce high blood pressure.

•   This tea is a mild diuretic, helping the kidney function, and may reduce liver disorder.

•   Sometimes going on a diet may be quite a boring thing, isn’t it? You feel restricted. However, why not view this as a chance to try new flavours? Hibiscus tea is also one of the weight loss teas. So if you are looking for different ways to lose body fat, go ahead and add it to your list.

•   It has powerful enzyme inhibitors, which means that by reducing enzyme activity, your body will be unable to break up fats and sugars. If it can’t absorb them, your body will dispose of them, helping you on the way to body fat loss. And remember that natural enzyme inhibitors tend to be safer than lab-produced ones in some weight loss products.

•   The reduction of sugar absorption also helps to cleanse your body and riding it of excess fluids and sensation of bloating. This may make it ideal for women in menopause or those of you who are unfortunately more susceptible to weight issues.

•   It may be used as a great natural way to cool off in the summer. Those Pharaohs had the right idea.
To read more about this tea, click here and on the other link.

SBS Food Safari about Egypt; Karkady tea (Red Egyptian tea) is mentioned in it. Click here.
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Click on this text to enlarge for easier reading.

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My thought for today: - Werner
There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crocodiles in our kitchen.

This was back in 1955 and is a true story. To find out how many we had in our kitchen, you’ll have to read the full story. We had been in Australia for only four months and were experiencing our first “culture shocks.” I hope that you enjoy reading the following story from my life.Werner
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When I, with my wife, Karola, and 14 months old daughter, Sonja, migrated to Australia from Germany in 1954, I was assigned to Harwood, near Maclean, in northern NSW to cut sugar cane. After the season ended I sought and obtained employment on a banana plantation in Coffs Harbour in 1955. The reason for this was that for some unknown reasons, after I had my appendix removed at the tender age of four, I had acquired an insatiable desire for eating bananas. I called this my “Banana deficiency syndrome,” more about this at the end of this story.

We travelled by buss from Maclean to Coffs Harbour. Mr. Murphy, my new boss, picked us up at the bus depot, and took us to a grocery story for supplies and then we were on the way for the ten km trip to the banana plantation at Korora West north of Coffs Harbour, on the north coast of New South Wales.  We arrived just after 5 pm on a Friday afternoon and were taken to our new abode, a typical old Australian cottage, as well as the place of my new employment. The 16 acre plantation was on a steep hill. The cottage had an L shaped veranda in front and sitting on two metre high posts on the front, while the back of the cottage was level with the ground and only a metre away from the banana trees. (The banana is actually not a "tree" but a herbaceous perennial, related to the heliconia and travellers palm family)

The back entrance to the kitchen was a stable door. The cottage and the toilet was a mighty culture shock for us, but more shocks were to come. It was Friday, and we had the whole weekend to settle in and to acquaint ourselves with our new surroundings. The cottage contained the barest essentials: a wood stove, a table and four chairs, a double bed and a single bed, and a meat safe hanging on the veranda - no refrigerator.

After Mr. Murphy had shown us all that was necessary; he left for home to Coffs Harbour, saying that he’ll be back in the morning to see how we had settled in. He was just a few metres away from the cottage when he turned back and said: “Close the bottom half of the back door in the evening as there are rats, bandicoots, carpet snakes, and other animals in the plantation who may seek shelter in the cottage.” With this last advice he parted. Karola and I looked at each other with bewildered surprise, unable to speak for a moment, and then I repeated, still somewhat in shock, Mr. Murphy’s bombshell statement. “Carpet Snakes in the plantation!”

For those people who don’t know what a “bandicoot” is, click here.

Before we even settled down for the evening meal we closed up every gap in the old cottage with newspapers and towels, only the top half of the stable door was open until bed time. What we didn’t realised at that point of time, was, while we took action to prevent unwelcome visitors coming in, we had already animal inside, which we didn’t see in the dimly lit kitchen. The toilet was about twenty meters inside the plantation, located between two banana plants. It was a marvel of Australian ingenuity, it was like a sentry shack with a bench, but with a hole in it, and under the hole was a big pan, which had to be emptied and disposed of regularly.

That was another culture shock for us, and needless to say, we didn’t use the toilet that night and made use of our daughter’s chamber pot, when nature called.  Another thing we eventually had to get used to was, to frequently chase a carpet snake away from the toilet seat where it waited in ambush for a rat or bandicoot, before we could use it. It was easy for the snake to get into the toilet shack as there was a 20 cm gap at the bottom of the door.

Looking through the top half of the stable door on a moonlit night; the banana plants looked like sentinels of the night and with the banana leaves rustling in the evening breeze added an eerie feeling of being alone and left to our own devices. With the nearest neighbour 200 metres away; being on the moon would not have been a lonelier place for us, which added to our uneasiness. 

After a somewhat restless night’s sleep, we had breakfast on the veranda, shaded by banana plants. Following the breakfast I said to Karola that I’m going to explore the surrounds and the plantation.

I had just walked past the packing shed about a hundred metres from the cottage when I heard Karola call out, “Werner, Werner, come back please!” The tone of her voice had a ring of urgency in it. I made a full turn and hurried back, but she met me running half way down the pathway with Sonja in her arms, with a terrified pale facial expression. Before I could ask her, what’ the problem was, she told me, nearly breathlessly, “We have about six young crocodiles under the wood stove and in the woodpile in the kitchen. 

Somewhat perplexed, I hurried back to the kitchen, thinking it was strange that Mr. Murphy didn’t mention crocodiles, only carpet snakes. The stove nook was a bit dark, and Karola pointed out where she’d seen these “crocodiles,” but kept her distance. I approached the wood pile very slowly and cautiously and armed with a big stick in case I got attacked. “Holy mackerel," I exclaimed”, you are right; we do have crocodiles in the kitchen, but they didn’t seem to be aggressive, and I slowly backed out of the kitchen. Needless to say, we stayed out of the house until those crocodiles had been removed. We expected the boss to call at any time and waited in the packing shed until then.

In the meantime I was thinking about the book I had read about Australia, which mentioned that crocodiles only occur in the tropical north, and we were only in northern  New South Wales –  strange, I thought, perhaps the book was very old or the crocodiles have since reached northern NSW. 

All of a sudden, I had a brainstorm.
This would make an excellent news story for the major regional newspaper in my former locality in Germany and I could already envisage the headline: “LOCAL LAD MIGRATED TO AUSTRALIA, FOUND SIX CROCODILES IN KITCHEN.” What a selling headline that would make, and by the time the newspapers put their touch to it, the crocodiles would probably be twice the size. “I would write this story as soon as it was safe to go back into the house.” I said to myself.

I was very much absorbed in my mental compilation of this news story, when I heard a car door slammed shut, interrupting my thought processes. To our relief, we saw that it was Mr. Murphy. “Thanks heavens for that," we said. I greeted him with, “We have young crocodiles in the house!” “What? Crocodiles?" he exclaimed, somewhat incredulously and with a chuckle. 

I got the impression that he wasn’t unduly worried and perhaps knew all along about their presence, and probably knew that this wasn’t the man-eating variety. “Please come and I’ll show you,” I said, and as we walked towards the cottage, holding my two hands apart, I added. “And they are about that long.” I pointed out the creatures to him from the outside, and to my amazement he had the ‘courage’ to walk inside. With a hearty laugh Mr. Murphy told me that those "crocodiles" were in fact “blue-tongue lizards” and that they were completely harmless and would eat flies and other insects around the house, and they were there just for a warm spot. I called out to Karola, still waiting in the packing shed, that the ‘danger’ was over and she could come back.

To read more about the Australian Blue tongue lizards click here.

The biggest lizard we ever saw back in Germany was about 15 cm long, so the Blue Tongues with over 30 cm were huge in comparison. But after Mr. Murphy’s clarification, we allowed the lizards to remain inside as our house guests. 

Sadly, however, from that moment when the crocodiles became blue-tongue lizards, the news story I had planned to write, lost its newsworthiness.

Our friend, Dymity Higgins, who with her husband went on a sea cruise, and Tonga was one of the places where they stopped. After reading my blog postings about crocodiles in our kitchen and bananas, she sent me this picture of a banana skin throw away dish, which is cut from the banana trunk  and used to serve food. What an ingenious idea. Click on picture to enlarge.
Following is an extract from my “Banana deficiency Syndrome” story. Nowadays I grow my own bananas in our backyard and to read about it and the health benefits of Bananas click here.

I still remember vividly when my mother came home from hospital with a new baby brother (Horst) when I was just four and a half years old.  The following day I was taken to the same hospital for an appendectomy.   Visitors asked me what they could get for me from the hospital kiosk and each one, without fail, was given the same emphatic instruction, “Get me some bananas, please!”

This was despite being the son of a wine and fruit growing family. I had all the fruit I wanted at my disposal - except bananas - which were an imported commodity.  However, bananas were the fruit for which I craved continually.  I often wondered whether the sudden longing for bananas was caused by the removal of my appendix, or because I just wanted to be difficult and ask for fruit that didn’t grow on our farm. Or was it perhaps that I lacked potassium in my diet or had contracted an affliction such as the “Banana deficiency syndrome?”   No matter where I went or was taken, I was always looking for a fruit stall to buy bananas. This yearning for bananas never diminished and neither did I find an answer to this enigma – until I migrated to Australia.

Bill, the son in law of Mr. Murphy and I, were the only employees working at the plantation, but he also lived in Coffs Harbour. Monday morning (March 1955) was my first workday amongst the bananas; I had reached a milestone. In whichever direction I looked, I could only see banana plants, I had to ask myself; was it real or am I dreaming?  It took twenty years to get so close to so many bananas. The question, whether I could I be cured of my affliction still lingered in my mind. Did I? You’ll find the answer at the end of this story.

For me, one of the most pleasing aspects of a day’s banana harvest was when we came across two fully ripened bunches that had been missed previously.   We had a feed, and they tasted like all tree-ripened fruit, much better than the ones we buy in the shops.  When Bill told me that I could have the two ripe bunches, as they were too ripe to be packed or sold, I thought Christmas had its Second Coming.  I was literally in clover, and when a few days later we went harvesting again, more ripe bunches were found and a few days later some more again.  In no time, I had accumulated six bunches all hung up in the spare room of the cottage.

We (especially me) had bananas for breakfast, for lunch and for dessert after dinner, and we had bananas in between mealtimes.  This went on for about three months as I had a lot of catching up to do for all those years when I couldn’t get enough bananas were finally over.  After three months of a steady diet of bananas, my affliction, the ‘banana deficiency syndrome’, had finally been conquered, and very soon I couldn’t stand the sight of them anymore, much less eat one.  The new prognosis was ’banana saturation syndrome’.

Thinking back about our primitive abode in Coffs Harbour NSW in comparison to the modern accommodation our illegal boat people get; makes me wonder if they would have accepted this like we did without complaint.

My grandmother who constantly advised me not to go to Australia and always quoted the following German proverb to me. “The fried chickens will not fly into your mouth there.” This is equivalent to: “There is no such thing as a free meal.” My reply was always, “I don’t expect this,” and when things were tough, I always thought of what Grandmother said to me.

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Please note! If you want to comment on this or any other postings and select “Anonymous;” as the sender; it will not be published. The blogger.
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My thought for today.Werner
Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it. Anonymous