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Deng Adut

The other evening, I was asked to photograph the New Members Ceremony for the Golden Key Honours Society from Western Sydney University Campus. Areas of Western Sydney are areas of welfare and poverty, and it was inspirational to hear stories of people who have managed to achieve high marks in their studies so far. Only the top 15% of students are offered a place in this society which prides itself on 3 pillars, Academia, Leadership and Service.IMG_2147

I have been a member of Golden Key now for about 8 months, having first been invited when I was doing my degree at ACU. It was because of my involvement with that chapter, that I was invited to take the photos at the ceremony for new members.

One of the highlights of the evening for me, was hearing a young man named Deng Adut give the keynote speech, and receive his honorary membership to the society. Deng was born in Sudan. At 6 years of age, he was taken by an army from his war torn village. he was made into a child soldier. Deng has written a book of his harrowing ordeals called “Songs of a War Boy”. you can purchase a copy here. http://dengadut.com/dengs-book/IMG_2220 (2)

Deng was shot a number of times and carried schrapnel around in his body. As a result of one of his injuries, he was unsure whether he would be able to father a child. On Friday evening, he told us a miracle had occurred and he became a father 3 weeks previous.

Deng arrived with his brothers, still a wounded child. When he arrived, he could not speak much English, and he could not read or write. He taught himself and did anything he could to drag himself through school and later University, graduating in Accountancy and then Masters of Law. He is now a partner in his own law firm, and a greatly sought after public speaker. Deng gave the Australian of the Year speech in 2016 and became NSW Australian of the year in 2017.

It was an honour to hear him speak, inspiring the high acheiving students in the room to keep going.

The older brother who helped Deng escape into Kenya, to later be granted refugee status in Australia, returned to South Sudan as an Aid worker. Unfortunately he lost his life while saving others. deng has started a foundation in his honour. It is called the John Mac Foundation. It is “a charity working to educate and empower refugees and people whose lives have been interrupted by war.” Donations to the charity, and to find out more about it, you can go to http://johnmacfoundation.org/

I hope you find inspiration in the life of Deng Adut. If a wounded Child Soldier, who cant speak English, work to achieve a Masters of Law, become a father, and help so many others, what can someone who grew up in a privileged western society do.

Blessings

Dave

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Survey

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/M32L788

The survey link is a short 5 question survey which will help me look at how technology has interrupted and stifled conversation.

This is for a group presentation for my communications class. If you would, could you complete it.
Thanks
Dave

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SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 14

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?

I have before hired guys to help in the garden as I am just not capable anymore. Nowadays though, I am not too capable with the housework either. So if I could hire a live in guy to do both gardening and housework it would be awesome. I enjoy cooking though, so it would be a trade-off. He cleans and gardens and I fill him with good food.

What makes you laugh the most?

Intelligent wit. The type you find on British comedies or aussie humour  like comedians Adam Hill or Graham Norton.

My latest dad joke: Why don’t Whales have balls? Because they can’t dance.

What was your favorite food when you were a child?

When I went to visit my grandfather, he would make a big pot of Sago pudding, just for me and him. Much to the disgust of my mother, we would not even use bowls but eat it straight from the pot. It was a special time that he and I shared. None of my other brothers liked it, just me, and he never failed to have some waiting when he knew we were going to arrive.

List at least five favorite flowers or plants.

Lagerstroemia Indica. Commonly called Crepe Myrtle

Wysteria grandiflora: your common Wisteria

Buddleia davidii: I think its sometimes called Butterfly bush

Tibouchina Alstonville: sometimes called Lasiandra

Brunsfelsia latifolia: yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Now I realise that all of these plants have purple flowers. How odd as I don’t necessarily like purple elsewhere.

Others I would include are Jacaranda (also purple), fuchsia, freesia, and frangipani. Some fuchsias and freesias are purple but frangipani is white, or yellow, or sometimes pink. I prefer the white.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for my time spent at The Big Issue, last week, and this week I am looking forward to finishing a couple of essays I am working on.

 

041514-sywbanner

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Share Your World 2016: Week # 13

Are you left or right-handed?

Against my early teacher’s wishes, I continued to be dominant with my left hand. At least insofar as writing is concerned. In Cricket or baseball, I pitch or bowl with my left hand but bat right handed. I play golf right handed. I paint with either or both hands. I kick a ball equally bad with either foot.

 

 

If you had only one TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

I basically live in one room, this is my bedroom and my study which also houses my TV. I share the rest of the house, although neither of us use the lounge room at all. I have a TV on my phone wherever I am anyway. Regardless, I hardly ever watch TV. I prefer to study or read books. I guess the short answer to the question is that I would like it to be in another room, where I can access it if I want to veg out, but away from my study area so not to be distracting.

Have you ever participated in a distance walking, swimming, running, or biking event? Tell your story.

An event know. In my younger days I used to Bush walk in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. Those days are long gone. My legs are no longer capable of walking short distances let alone long.

Complete this sentence: Love is…  

Extremely beautiful when shared by two people. Love is patient. Love is kind (ICor10) Love is selfless.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

I am grateful for The Big Issue for allowing me to volunteer my time to assist in the running of the mag. I am grateful that  Iwas able to meet so many wonderful people who sell The Big Issue Magazine. Fot more information…http://www.thebigissue.org.au/

I am looking forward to getting back to Uni this week after a week break, and to be going on an Art Gallery tour with my literature class on Monday.

Dave041514-sywbanner

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SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2016 WEEK 9, 10 11 &12

Have you done something you truly want to do today?

Yes, I managed to finish an assignment at Uni that has really been getting on my nerves. I submitted it early, so I am happy with that.

What can you help the world with?

I have worked out a way to assist a nation which has been devastated over the last 100 years or so by nations leaching out its only asset. The plan I have would ease unemployment, lower the crime rate and make the nation less dependent on outsiders for assistance, making it autonomous. I can’t say too much about it as it is in it’s early stages of planning. I have had some very positive feedback from some leaders in my country who have said that once I put together the presentation, they will support it and try to make it a reality.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..?

I want to say a peach, furry on the outside, but soft and juicy on the inside. Although peaches have a very hard stone in the middle, and my heart is anything but hardened.

 

 

Quotes List: At least three of your favorite quotes?

“Every saint has a past, every sinner a future” Oscar Wilde

“The life of the individual has meaning only insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.” Albert Einstein

The earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” Mahatma Ghandi

What would you ask for if a genie granted you three wishes?

No more tears in the world

No more fear in the world

To hear children laugh with joy.

What experiences are most meaningful to you?

Ones where I can do good to others

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An Airforce pilot

Complete this sentence:  The best day of my life was…. 

my first graduation.

How many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order? 

I have 3 brothers. I am the second oldest.

Wanting something to quench your thirst, what would you drink?

Bitters, Lime and Lemon squash.

What made you feel good this past week?

Being affirmed by a mentor at Uni

When you’re alone at home, do you wear shoes, socks, slippers, or go barefoot?

always barefoot.

Would you rather live where it is always hot or always cold?

If it is in extremes, I would prefer heat, I cant handle being cold. Never take me to the snow.

In a car would you rather drive or be a passenger? 

I love to be in control, so always the driver.

When you lose electricity in a storm, do you light the candles or turn on the flashlight? How many of each do you own?

Our house is full of candles. We don’t need a blackout to light them all.

List at least five of your favorite types of animals?  (any animal to domestic to wild to marine life)

Dogs

My cat (not many others)

Meerkat

Quoka

Gecko.

I am grateful for our new choir director. She is awesome. I am looking forward to sharing some time with my man this weekend, and I am looking forward to my Birthday on Tuesday,

 

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The importance of being funny

On Monday this week, my 19th Century literature class went to see a screening of the British play “The Importance of being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde. If you have never seen this play, or a film version of it, I implore you to do so.

This particular version is hilarious with David Suchet as Lady Bracknell, and the other actors all putting their particular ‘bent’ on the roles, making the play absolutely come to life.

Oscar Wilde was a brilliant man who was born and raised in Dublin. His father was also a brilliant man and a talented surgeon, who was knighted for his medical service. He founded a hospital to treat the poor and funded it out of his own pocket. Oscar’s mother, Jane was a talented linguist and poet. So Oscar came from good stock.

Oscar Wilde was an Oxford scholar who loved to promote the aesthetic movement. That is that art should be for arts sake, for pleasure. He was all for making people laugh. He also authored many popular children’s stories and short stories which were popular with society.

Although Wilde was a member of the Elite Society, I think he would have abhorred being associated with it. His play, ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ was making fun or satirising the very society of which he was a part. He thought that “polite society” was all too serious (or earnest) about things that one should not be serious about at all.

The play opened to rave reviews and much applause. It seems that people liked to have a laugh at themselves. On the opening night of the play however, The Marquess of Queensberry left a card calling Oscar Wilde a  somdomite(sic). At the time Wilde was in a relationship with the son of the Marquess, Lord Alfred Douglas. With the encouragement of some young friends, Oscar then sued the Marquess for libel; a case he lost.

It seems that throughout the History of Britain, politicians and Royalty have found homosexuality to be desirable.Way back in the first century A.D. ( I refuse to use BCE), the Emperor Hadrien, of the wall fame, himself had a male lover. King Edward II and King James I both had homosexual lovers. However polite society of the 19th century did not talk about things that were unpleasant or serious, preferring to be serious about the mundane, giving off an air of naivety of the unpleasant. It was OK to be homosexual, just don’t talk about it.

Picture Credit: http://www.entretantomagazine.com/wp-content/themes/arts-culture/timthumb.php?src=http://www.entretantomagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/oscar-wilde-historias-de-amores-juan-carlos-boveri.jpg&q=90&w=630&zc=1

Oscar Wilde was never one to obey rules. He bucked and kicked through tradition until tradition changed. His fashion sense was decidedly effeminate, and he was quite open about his relationships with younger men. The basis of the relationships, his defence from the docks, was that the relationships he had with the young men were not primarily sexual but took the form of a mentorship.  His letters and writing were produced by the prosecution, confirming what people already knew; that despite being married with 2 boys of his own, Oscar indeed preferred the company of men. He stated that one could not help but love some men of such beauty, innocence and purity. Unfortunately, he was convicted of Gross Indecency (buggery could not be proved). He was sentenced to 2 years hard labour.

Oscar Wilde Quotes - poets-and-writers Fan Art

Picture credit: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/poets-and-writers/images/35799457/title/oscar-wilde-quotes-fanart

Oscar Wilde became a persona non grata in society even after he served his time. He was forced to go live in France, where he died not long after. At the time, the works of Oscar Wilde were no longer found on the shelves of those in society, he was not talked about, it was as if history had forgotten him. But time indeed has a way of healing old wounds and the great works he wrote seemed to fight through the condemnation that society metted out. Dorian Gray being heralded as one of the best novels ever written, and ‘Earnest’ one of the best plays.

I think society has changed somewhat since then. We have started to accept that while  a person may be bad, we admit (not out loud), that the work they create can be brilliant. Look at the artwork of former hitman Roy ‘Red Fox’ Pollitt for example, or the writings and other activities of Mark  “Chopper” Read. There was even a comedy event called “Comedians with a Criminal Record” in the US.

It is indeed Important to be Earnest, but it is also important to laugh.

Dave

many thanks to http://www.biography.com/people/oscar-wilde-9531078

https://www.digitaltheatreplus.com/study-guides/beautiful-thing/context/uk-gay-history-timeline

http://sfsketchfest2015.sched.org/event/10ca2428891a620d0dafd21d23549a14

http://www.theage.com.au/photogallery/national/hitman-roy-pollitt-turns-artist-20110811-1ioq6.html?aggregate=&selectedImage=1

Mark Brandon Chopper Read

and Miss Mermaid Blue for her constructive criticism.

 

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Literatures’ influence on life.

It occurs to me that literature in itself is not just a reflection of life as we know it, but a shaper of thoughts and feelings. Literature inspires people to be greater, to try harder. Literature can shape behaviour and thought.

The 19th Century Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, said in his essay ‘A Defence of Poetry” in 1820, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World.” He claimed that poets and their words could shape a nation’s and even the world’s thoughts and feelings oabout issues and laws. Perhaps this is why Churchill, in WWI supported the poem of Rupert Brooke entitled ‘The Soldier’.
IF I should die, think only this of me;
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 5
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less 10
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Copied from http://www.bartleby.com/103/149.html

This poem is a call for young men to fight for England in WWI. The poem was shared from the pulpits of churches and published in newspapers of the time, and was the inspiration behind so many young men going to war, and even losing their lives for patriotism.

We then as writers, whether that be a poet, novelist, or journalist can influence peoples lived for good, or in fact for evil.

The Stephen King book ‘Rage’ which he wrote under the nom de plume of Richard Bachman was said to be responsible for a school hostage situation, and the shooting of a prayer group in a high school. In the book, a high school student shoots his teacher and takes his classmates hostage. When he heard of these killings, Stephen King asked that the book not be reprinted.

‘Catcher in the Rye’ is said to be the inspiration of the killing of John Lennon, amongst others. The shooter, Mark David Chapman, considered his crime as Chapter 27, the next chapter of the Salinger classic.

Words in the Salman Rushdie book, ‘Satanic Verses’, so enraged those of the Islamic faith that a Fatwa was ordered, that is, that the leaders of the religion ordered his murder by any Muslim that saw him. It was a worldwide fatwa so Rushdie was not safe anywhere.

Words from all different authors have influenced life for good. The Bible encourages people to change their lives for good every day. Arguably many atrocities have also been caused by the misinterpretation of the words within.

Writers need to be cautious with words. We need to be aware of the influence it can have over people, and indeed nations. Let’s try to keep the writing real, but also use words to encourage and influence for the common good rather than harm.

 

Dave

 

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