From Canberra by Bimbi Flor   Autumn Fete 2015 - a success for the Seniors

From Canberra by Bimbi Flor Autumn Fete 2015 - a success for the Seniors

The Senior Citizen’s Club in Turner was abuzz on Saturday, May 9, 2015 as the doors opened to everyone who wanted to snap a bargain in time for Mother’s Day. Pat Gration, Club Vice-President and Centre Manager said the event was a joyous success but wishes the incident that happened the night before was all imagined. Everyone who flocked to the annual Autumn Fete had no idea that the premises had been broken into using a steel bar. The panel next to the front door was used as an entry point and Pat’s office was ransacked. While a lot has been done to track down the culprit/s, that’s little consolation to a non-profit organsation that’s working hard to keep afloat, and now has to cover cost of repair and possible increased insurance rates.
But everyone knows that when tragedy strikes, goodness reigns and that’s exactly what happened on that cold, frosty morning. The good people of ABC Radio 666 went on air to report the unfortunate news but subsequently advertised the event. As it turned out, listeners flocked with cash in their pockets to purchase not just one, but two or more items.
Pat was grateful for all who turned out, mainly all the helpers who had worked tirelessly days before the event. The Centre was filled to capacity, with the main hall and dining room set up with a variety of stalls from pre-loved clothing, ‘Trash and Treasure’, books, plants, homewares and cakes but it was the craft stall that raked in the highest sales for the day. It was a successful event indeed and congratulations to all who contributed in time and talent.
But the Senior Citizen’s Club doesn’t rest on its laurels....it’s a never ending job to keep the club going in order to continue their work in the community. In fact its members are already busy planning the Christmas Fete slated for November 7, 2015!
For other fun activities and fundraising events run by the club, visit http://canberraseniors.org.au
Lastly, I wanted to wish all my former workmates ‘Bon Voyage’ as they all travel overseas in the next few weeks to get away from the winter freeze. We certainly enjoyed catching up over dinner at Eastern Tiger, Phillip last Friday, June 19, 2015.
Well that’s it for now - for updates on sprucing up your home space and simple DIY projects connect with me via my fb page Space Solutions and don’t forget to click ‘Like.’ Until next edition, keep reading and be inspired.

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    FECCA today welcomed Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt’s backing for the continuation of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme beyond 2020.

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    “FECCA will continue to work closely with the Minister and the Department to ensure high quality and inclusive aged care services for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and their carers.”

    FECCA is the peak, national body representing Australians from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. FECCA's role is to advocate and promote issues on behalf of its constituency to government, business and the broader community.

    Contact: 0434 307 012 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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    ERIC: How does literary art engage this techno-generation with what has now become a 'flat and borderless' world yet still facing numerous challenges in protecting its environment? addressing inclusion and crossing borders?

    MERLINDA : In this social media era when, through technology, we claim to 'friend' anyone anywhere in what we think is a 'borderless' world, sadly borders are becoming more entrenched especially around issues of race, culture, class, ideology, including the varied positions regarding protecting the environment. It seems so easy to 'friend' anyone and everyone in the abstracted, distanced sense—and yet, how do care about our own neighbours across the road who are different from us? How do we care about the creek in our backyard? I miss the intimacy and honesty, and the presence of care, in the word 'friend' or 'love,' for that matter. I believe literature—telling stories—is one way of saving these human needs and aspirations from becoming mere concepts that are glibly bandied around. Through story, we are able to look deep into the human heart, into human relationships, and into the relationship between the human and non-human, which of course includes our environment. These are what I attempt to do in my novel 'Locust Girl. A Lovesong'—and, in fact, in most of my writings. 'Locust Girl' is about the friendship between two girls who walk the desert to find safe haven beyond the border. It is also about the bond between a girl and a locust that enables them to reach that last green haven at a time when the earth has become a vast dry because of climate change. Through this fantastical fable, I raise the question on the ethics of care: how do we care for those unlike us, really? And who are we saving the planet for—only for the elite, or is this redemption for all of humanity and our shared home? Through storytelling, I hope we are able to return the missed intimacy and honesty, the flesh and blood, to the words 'friend' and 'care'—and to actually live them in the story and, hopefully, even in our daily lives.

    ERIC : What do you think about apocalyptic writings regarded as literature of the oppressed, a device using allegories addressing real-life issues? What place does this genre have today that may impact geopolitics and specific challenges societies face? How can they remain relevant and effective?

    MERLINDA : Allegory is a potent tool for storytelling and critiquing real-life issues, and apocalyptic writings may harness allegory for the same reasons. In story, we are able to live reality but at the same time examine it with fresh eyes. It seems there is a trend in apocalyptic stories in literature and also in film, probably because we are, in a way, already living the apocalypse. Most of these stories are, in fact, already happening. They unfold like fables giving a warning or 'a lesson' about the most urgent challenges of our times, like geopolitical conflict, climate change, or the movement of peoples locally and globally. All of these realities are in 'Locust Girl.' But don't get me wrong about the word 'lesson.' While writing about the big political issues, the writer cannot be didactic. Remember, storytelling is also about pleasure, about creating a sense of wonder in a space where your listeners/readers can join and live the journey of your characters. It is only when this happens that your allegory, your critique, or your 'warning'—and also your hope or alternative vision—can be relevant to the reader. Story has to be affective to be effective. Moreover, as a writer who engages politics, I cannot just do an interrogation or critique or examination of social realities. I have to dream up the possibility of redemption, of hope, or of a better way of engaging what it means to be human and interconnected with each other and the environment.

    ERIC : Would you share us your vision of the years ahead in your sphere of influence? What are you happy to have brought to further enhance multicultural Australia from Philippines?

    MERLINDA : I'm keen to adapt 'Locust Girl' and some of my earlier novels into film. 'Locust girl' is a story (and can be a film) about different peoples, races, cultures trying to find some redemption together in an environmentally compromised world. I believe a film about this, which can be enjoyed by young and old, will be relevant in multicultural Australia and also in the Philippines. The Philippines is an archipelago with waters bordering different islands, and with diverse regional cultures and languages, thus daily we deal with differences. More importantly 'Locust Girl', hopefully made popular through film, might be able to inspire us to look beyond our differences and reconnect through a common cause: saving our planet before it's too late. And this salvation cannot just be for the elite or for the chosen few but for all human beings and creatures, and for the water, air, earth. These are our friends too, and we have to care for them as much we do for our closest beloved. If we are to survive, we have to respect and preserve this interconnection among the different beings in our universe. Remember, we are just one of these beings.

    A quick look at her website gives us a glimpse of her earlier years. Award-winning writer Merlinda Bobis grew up in Albay, Philippines at the foot of an active volcano, which figures prominently in her writing and performance. As a child her main interest was painting, but at age ten she began writing poetry because ‘painting with words’ was cheaper. She has published novels, short stories, dramas and poems. Her plays have been produced/performed on stage and radio in Australia, the Philippines, Spain, USA, Canada, Singapore, France, China, Thailand and the Slovak Republic. She has performed some of her works as theatre, dance and music.
    Merlinda has a Bachelor of Arts (Summa cum Laude) from Aquinas University of Legazpi and a Master of Arts in Literature (Meritissimus) from the University of Santo Tomas, Manila. For ten years she taught Literature and English at Philippine universities before coming to Australia in 1991 on a study grant. She completed a Doctorate of Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong where she taught creative writing for more than twenty years. She continues to dream new stories in Canberra.

    'Locust Girl. A Lovesong' was published in Australia by Spinifex Press, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary of publishing this year. The Philippine edition was published by Anvil Publishing Inc. Copies can be bought in both countries by ordering through local bookstores, or directly in Australia from the Spinifex Press website: http://www.spinifexpress.com.au/Bookstore/
    Merlinda will be doing a Reading with other Spinifex authors at Collected Works bookstore in Melbourne on 9 July and a Conversation on 'Locust Girl' with her publisher Susan Hawthorne at the Readings Carlton bookshop on 11 July. She will also be participating at the 2016 Canberra Writers Festival on 26-28 August.

    For more of Merlinda Bobis, visit her website : www.merlindabobis.com.au

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