Saturday, September 6, 2014

Like sands through the hourglass...

There's a saying, "Time waits for no man!" and it's very true. The seconds hand of the clock tick tocks tick tocks second by second becoming minutes then hours, then days, then months, then years!

As the years go by there never seems to be any respite to life's rollercoaster. It's already been two and a half years since we migrated from our home in Mangere, New Zealand to Calamvale, QLD, Australia. We've managed to travel back to New Zealand on numerous occasions since we've lived here but apart from having our family and friends there, New Zealand no longer feels like 'home'. With each passing year of time Australia more and more is becoming home to us and while it is starting to feel like home there is still that lingering air of volatility that reminds us that because we migrated here after February 2001 that we will unlikely ever be accepted as citizens here. 

There's just something about living in Australia that I can't quite put my finger on! Perhaps it's a combination of things. Yes the weather is warm and days are beautiful. Australians are even friendlier than I ever expected, sure the Kiwi/ Aussie banter is still prevalent, but on the whole many of them a like Kiwi's - warm welcoming and hospitable. There are still others who are not and some who are openly racist but the multicultural flavour of society has impacted here as much as other parts of the world. The world has truly become what Marshall McLuhan described as the 'global village' and Australian society is no different with its diverse ethnicities that make up communities in Brisbane. The other things I love about Australia and Australians is their psyche. They have a never-say-die attitude to most things and even though there is a generation of lazy layabouts, because of the greater population numbers here they are not as noticeable as they might be in smaller countries. What you do notice are communities of the populous that are actively involved in doing things - sports, shopping, leisure, outdoors, it doesn't matter what your interest is there are always people doing something. There's always activity and whether its an evening at the park with the family or taking the kids to footy, soccer, netball - whatever sport society here is more proactive than in New Zealand where yes there are active peoples but it is not as pronounced as you experience here in Australia, particularly in the cities. People who live here appear to be more actively involved in activity. Even shopping has become an active lifestyle event where people young and old venture to the malls in search of bargains, community and social interaction or even just to escape the heat and enjoy air conditioned malls. I wouldn't call it engagement because many people here do not engage with others particularly if you look different than them. This is perhaps one of the things I like about life here too - people stick to themselves! However if you engage them in conversation they will readily respond. The darker side of this is that sometimes there's a vacuum of interaction and engagement across cultures and ethnicities. 

The Australian coat of arms includes two iconic animals - the Kangaroo and the emu - and almost all Australians understand their inclusion on the coat of arms. Because neither animal takes a backward step this notion is therefore ingrained within the psyche of all Australians and they proudly regal this concept and mimic it in their sporting prowess - from swimming to cricket, to rugby, league and Aussie Rules Football - no Australian wants to be characterised by anything less than stepping up to the mark and having a go, putting their best foot forward and winning. The winning culture is part of their heritage now, it hasn't always been and one catalyst for change was the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Australia ended the games with 5 medals overall. Four bronze medals from Equestrian, Sailing x2 and Swimming and a silver medal from Mens Hockey. New Zealand on the other hand won four medals overall in Montreal - gold and silver in track and field (more on this later) a gold in Mens Hockey and a bronze for the Men's eights in rowing. Those two New Zealand gold medals haunted Australia who had put much more financial resources into these games than NZ had, but what hurt Australia more than beating traditional sporting rival New Zealand in the overall medal tally was losing the Men's Hockey gold to the Kiwi's. The Australian Men's Hockey team were world class and had been outplayed by a valiant New Zealand side. The complete failure of Australia to win a single gold medal at this Olympic Games became the driving force for the establishment of what has become their gold medal winning factory the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). History has shown that Asutralia has not taken a backward step since the establishment of the AIS and in fact have excelled every year at sports since its formation.

Fathers' Day 2014

Today I stop and ponder more about the many 'Fathers' during my life. No I only had one Dad but many 'fathers' who demonstrated what being a man is and isn't and helped me make better decisions along the way.

Every day I remember my own Dad - Vui Peni Lameko Luteru, one of Lano's finest, who was the best Dad ever! He shaped, molded, led, cajoled, inspired, motivated, witnessed, and  served me into manhood - and I met Jesus through my Dad. I'm glad I was always surrounded by the best role models of being a Father. Many, like my Dad, have passed on but their legacies are not forgotten, Their lessons I uphold as part of the fabric of my life and to my growing clan now. There are so many to mention everyone but some I must;

Grandpa Pimoe Leati - I knew you as a very staunch disciplinarian but your legacy is alive through all of your generations - my Mum and Aunties and Uncles show me the real you! Your land in Solaua is still sacred to us as is your resting place. I love to go there and feel peace and present with God and nature. Thank you for the life you gave to us you offspring
Uncle Lino Leo - I always marveled at how you could play the guitar so well while drawing on a cigarette burning ash. I'm not sure which was busier your barber shop or your umu hut... but you, Aunty and the kids always made us welcomed.
Uncle Graham Greenfield who taught me palagi ways and took me along with their family to places I only thought palagi's were allowed to go! Your Bible stories and crafts were unforgettable...I saw Jesus through you too.
Uncle Johnny Pimoe who, unknowing funded many of my childhood adventures (thanks for dropping all that money on the floor under your bed when you came home at drunk at night!),
Cousin Peni Tautai - who brought me my first guitar and gave me my first car - Chrysler Valiant 70's - temporarily that is, until you got you license back six months later. I still enjoyed driving that beast around REWA with my sidekick Dougie Purea. You were gone too soon cuzz but never forgotten - you would be proud of your children!

Thank you to all the Father's I know who have been the Priests of their home and led their families to the foot of the cross to look up and see Jesus. Thank you for giving your sons and daughters stability and guidance, leadership and leverage for better communities and a society that knows Dad's and Mum's in a the home.