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Intensive Weekend Workshop on the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga Meditation


Meditation Intensive
What is my original nature?

How do I connect with my original self?

How do I connect with the supreme being?

If you wish to find answers to these questions, then come to an

Intensive Weekend Workshop on the Foundation Course in Raja Yoga Meditation

Topics covered include: Power and Effect of Thoughts, Self Management, Soul-Body Interrelationship, Karma Philosophy (action-reaction) and Union with the Supreme Being.

When: 8 December 10.30 – 4.00

9 December 10.30 – 12.30

Where: Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre

38 Wisdom Street, Hughes, ACT 2605

This free workshop is provided as a service to the community.Vegetarian meals will be provided

BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL Phone: 6260 5525 E-mail: canberra@au.bkwsu.org

Advent Event a success!


Yarralumla Uniting Church
On Saturday 1 December there was a wonderful children’s Advent party at Yarralumla Uniting Church. This annual event just gets better every year! This year there was pouring rain for most of the time, but that didn’t dampen any spirits.

The Petting Zoo was a great attraction for everybody. The animals are all so tame and cute – they are just delightful. A few of them were brought into the hall in their cages and then cuddled by children, even a lamb appeared for a while.

As well as the ever popular face painting, and a great variety of indoor games for children of all ages, there were crafts, and the children were all thrilled to take home something they had made themselves. A lovely party tea in the back hall, was followed by more games and the dressing up, before everybody trooped into the church.

We sang Christmas carols and the Nativity play arranged by members of the youth group was staged, with lots of little angels and shepherds and sheep (some with their faces painted). A special feature this year was the great film acted, voiced over and filmed by the Youth group about the visit of the wise men. All the children were entranced by the puppets, the whole film in fact!

The giving tree was not forgotten, and, as well, every child present received a small gift from the Christmas bowl given out by our Sunday club teachers. By 7.00 pm we were all outside enjoying a well deserved ice cream cone. A wonderful time was enjoyed by everyone and they all want to come again next year!



By Graham Jacobs

The newest European car company “Down Under” Skoda has taken on one of Australia’s best known athletes, 1999 World Surfing Champion Mark Occhilupo.

No Aussie surf icon has captured the hearts and minds of as many people as Occy, who has been recognized as a great surfer for more than 3 decades. His passion, courage and positive attitude have brought him respect all around the world. Occy’s career spans way back to 1983 where from the age of 15 to now 41 he has redefined high performance surfing for at least two generations.

Keep your eye out for the Black Skoda, and a few surf boards on the roof tied down with them famous Occy straps.



By Graham Jacobs

Australian motorsport races back to the future when the 2008 Mini Challenge Series kicks off at Sydney’s famous Eastern Creek International Raceway in March.

This brand new one-make series will support Australia’s premiere motor racing category V8 Supercars Australia, at eight rounds through 2008. Equipped with the highest output new generation all-alloy 1.6-litre Mini engine yet, the 154 kW motor is expected to fling the light-weight flying bricks to very impressive lap times at the cream of Australia’s purpose-built motor racing circuits.

The challenge will be thrilling crowds all across Australia with dates booked as far apart as Barbagello outside Perth, Symmons Plains in rural Tasmania, Wakefield Park near Goulburn and a historic return to the Bathurst 1000 in October, as well as the new endurance event, the Phillip Island 500 km race, concluding at Oran Park, helping to mark the circuit’s last-ever motorsport meeting before the much-loved venue is redeveloped.



On top of the World Garth Tander scores his maiden V8 Super car championship at Phillip Island.
By Graham Jacobs

Toll HSV Dealer Team driver Garth Tander scored his maiden V8 Supercar Championship title in a nail biting finish at Phillip Island in one of the closest V8 Supercar Championship battles in history.

Tander won the gripping finale in front of a record crowd to seal his first V8 Championship victory by just 2 points from rival Jamie Whincup giving the Toll team back-to-back wins in the Driver’s Championship.

After coming into the round seven points behind Whincup, Tander won the first two races of the weekend taking a seven-point lead into the last race, effectively, he then needed to just make a clean start and stay somewhere close to Whincup.

30-year-old Tander held his nerve in the third race sandwiched between title hopefuls Whincup and Craig Lowndes as the trio raced head-to-head, eventually finishing fourth to win the final round of the series and secure the overall title ahead of Ford Triple 888 teammates Whincup and Lowndes.

The West Australian has been the dominant driver all season, winning four rounds and a total of 15 races – more than his next several rivals combined.The win in the Phillip Island grand finale was his 11th career round victory.

Hot to Trot 2007


Hot to Trot 2007
The Australian Choreographic Centre presents a youth dance performance “hot to trot 2007” featuring new short works by Quantum Leap dancers.

Members of Canberra’s own youth choreographic ensemble, Quantum Leap, are busy preparing for ‘Hot to Trot’ – a project where Leapers create short works to be performed by other Quantum Leap dancers. For some, this is their first choreographic effort; while some have choreographed works for several years before they set off for tertiary dance studies. And there are a couple who have left Canberra to study dance, and this is an opportunity for them to develop ideas they have worked on in their dance courses, and present them, to the ‘home crowd’

Artistic Director Quantum Leap Ruth Osborne supports them in all aspects of the process — including group leading, choreographic development and rehearsal processes. Some have been developing their piece all year, others work more intensively for six weeks, and some in a very intensive fortnight. Ruth says the project aims to “develop choreographic awareness in young dancers as soon as possible – moving beyond just ‘doing the steps’, to being part of the creative process, and finally into taking the reins and making meaningful dance.”

The emphasis is on the young artists developing choreographic skills, theatrical craft, and group process skills; as well as presenting their original works to audiences in The Australian Choreographic Centre theatre. If last year is anything to go by, we can expect an evening of short works of surprising depth and quality, performed with commitment and passion.

The short works will be shown in a performance season over the weekend Saturday and Sunday 8-9 December — with two different one-hour shows each night.

Hot to Trot is a favourite with Canberra audiences and in recent years has played to sell out crowds.

Bring your family and make a night of it!

Quantum Leap in
Hot to Trot 2007
6pm — Series 1
8pm — Series 2
Saturday & Sunday 8 & 9 December
At The Australian Choreographic Centre Performance Space, (now with cooling!)
Gorman House Arts Centre, Ainslie Ave, Braddon.
A Smokefree event.
Tickets: Full $10, Concession $5. See both shows for $15 full, $8 concession.
Tickets are available from the box office 30 minutes before the performance.

Rock School kids shake up Canberra in the summer holidays


rock school
Music For Everyone presents
A holiday workshop with a difference for youth aged 11-16 years
Tuesday 29 January – Saturday 2 February 2008 2pm-5pm
School’s in for young rock musos this summer at Music For Everyone’s ROCK SCHOOL holiday workshop. About 30 young people aged between 11 and 16 years will have the chance to spend the last week of their school holidays fine-tuning their skills on electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals, with the expert guidance of experienced Music For Everyone tutors and professional Canberra band players.
“Last year’s inaugural Rock School was a tremendous success. The level of both talent and technique the bands demonstrated by the end of the week was just amazing” says Music For Everyone’s Artistic Director Vivienne Winther.
The workshop is happening at the historic Ainslie Arts Centre, formerly the Ainslie Public School, where there’s plenty of room for bands to rock.
Interested youth will need to have some experience playing their rock instrument or singing, as this workshop is not for complete beginners. By the end of the first session the tutors will have assessed the participants’ skills and interests, and divided the group up into six bands. The busy workshop schedule features several intensive sessions on each person’s main instrument, plus the chance to try a new one as well. All participants will also receive some vocal training from a professional contemporary singing tutor to help them keep their young vocal chords healthy.
“Basic percussion and vocal skills will be taught to everyone,” says workshop leader Jim Sharrock of Canberra band Dubba Rukki. “Good band members need to be versatile and able to support each other on vocals & percussion, so this a great chance for young players to expand their rock band skills.”
Each day the program includes jam sessions playing together in their bands, with the tutors mentoring the groups. By Friday the bands will perform for each other, and at the end of the workshop on Saturday 2 February at 4.45pm, the participants will give a short showcase performance for family and friends. And on Sunday 3 February, there will be a full-on outdoor performance by the Rock School bands at the National Museum of Australia.
But Rock School doesn’t end there. Several bands will go on to perform at major gigs in Canberra’s National Multicultural Festival in February. At the 2007 Festival, two bands performed in teeming rain to an enthusiastic audience that waited around for several hours for the weather to clear. When it didn’t, the bands went on anyway and their fans loved it. In 2008, there’ll be more bands performing several times at the Festival, so fingers will be crossed for better weather.
Music For Everyone also hopes to assist the bands to stay together in 2008, by providing some mentoring and rehearsal space, plus the opportunity to perform at other events.
“This is a really exciting project that has lots of possibilities for ongoing development,” says Vivienne Winther. “We hope Rock School will one day become a permanent feature of our regular term-time program, in addition to being a great holiday experience for Canberra’s youth.”

Rock School
Fun summer holiday activity for ages 11-16

Do you play in a band? Do you want to play in a band? School’s in this summer for young rock musos aged 11-16 years at Music For Everyone’s ROCK SCHOOL. Enjoy a fun week of afternoon workshops in electric lead guitar, bass guitar, drum-kit, and vocals. Get expert tips on playing rock music, plus great jam sessions together as bands, with professional band players as your coaches. At the end of the workshop, participants will give a short showcase performance for family and friends, plus some lucky Rock School bands will go on to play outdoor gigs in February at the National Multicultural Festival! Rock School will be held at the Ainslie Arts Centre in Braddon (the old Ainslie Public School), where’s there’s plenty of room for bands to rock. A great way to spend a week of your summer holidays. Please note: some experience playing your instrument or singing is required, this is not for complete beginners. Visit our website www.mfe.org.au for more info and to download your Rock School enrolment form.

WHERE: Ainslie Arts Centre (the old Ainslie Public School) corner Elouera St & Donaldson St Braddon ACT
WHEN: Tuesday 29 January – Saturday 2 February 2pm-5pm
WHO: youth aged 11-16 years with some experience playing their rock band instrument or singing
COST: $165
CONTACT: Music For Everyone 02 6230 7190 info@mfe.org.au
More info: www.mfe.org.au

Queen of the Rings – Summer in Queenstown


Where in the world can you do wild and crazy things, and yet be perfectly safe? Where you can experience thrills of adrenalin-pumping excitement, and then retreat to a quiet lounge with a fireplace to read a book? This may seem like a land from Lord of the Rings Middle Earth – and indeed it is, with scenes from the blockbuster trilogy filmed near the adventure Mecca and tourist retreat of Queenstown. Situated near the 45th parallel in the south west of the south island of New Zealand, it is refreshing to see acres of lush green grass with sheep dotting the landscape. Indeed, one may enjoy these views while skydiving, paragliding, hang gliding or bungy jumping, just one of many adventure activities run in the summer season of the premier ski resort in the New Zealand.
The population of Queenstown (8598) swells at New Years Eve, known to be the Hogmanay of the southern hemisphere, with famous people such as Robbie Williams jetting in to view the fireworks on picturesque Lake Wakatipu, albeit rugged up for the crisp mountain air.

Even though summer is peak season, it is still possible to obtain accommodation if booking enough in advance, from backpacking hostels YHA Queenstown Lakefront (from NZ$20-27 multishare a night) to 5 star hotels, such as the exclusive Eichardt’s Private Hotel (suites from $1375 NZ a night). Staying in a house as a group is an excellent option, with gourmet kitchen facilities, DVD player, big screen TV and fireplace to retreat to on colder days.

The summer season in Queenstown is an excellent opportunity to escape the Australian summer heat for milder temperatures typically ranging 10-22 °C in December to February. On the sunnier days, it’s wise to go bushwalking, and Queenstown has tracks on the outskirts, such as The Queenstown Hill track that winds its way around tree-canopied bends with eye-catching fairytale toadstools and twisted tree trunks.

Queenstown and the surrounding region also have a series of mountain bike tracks, even one accessible only by helicopter. You can hire a bike from any number of local adventure sports outlets or bring your own, just remember to rug up – even in summer the peaks still get a dash of snow.

Every day could be a new activity – tennis, water-skiing, yachting and golf. Even a game of Frisbee golf in the Queenstown gardens on the lakefront can wear you out and develop a ravening appetite.

For a lazy day, visit the Queenstown Events Centre situated near the international airport and to see a game of cricket. Watch as fielders gaze into the skies to catch a mis-hit six, shadowed by an incoming jet, or be distracted by the magnificent backdrop of the mountain range of the Remarkables. Even if cricket is not a thrill a minute, taking a book with a picnic of the local delicacies is entertainment enough.

If heights, dirt and sport are not on your list of “to do’s” then jet boating is a happy medium. The company ‘Shotover Jet’ has boat rides every half an hour with 14 people per boat ($99 adults $59 children) gripping the hand rails during tight turns through the Shotover River canyons and 360 Degree spins. The jet pilot likes to scare people with ghost stories and inform that the Shotover River produced the second largest haul of gold in history. In any case, it was hard to look at the sand 10cm below water at speeds of 70km/h.

For a complete list of activities and related services, see http://www.queenstown-nz.co.nz/index.cfm

Food and Wine
A bit of calming might be required after all the adventures, and why not mix up the activities with trips to wineries and gourmet food providores. Travelling to Peregrine Wines on the outskirts of Queenstown, it is tempting to request ‘sheep’ as one’s next reincarnation as the lush green grass nourishes the NZ livestock. Of course, with a country that has approximately 48 million sheep, related foodstuffs feature strongly in local cuisine. The local Gibbston Valley Cheese Company’s Hokonui cheese of sheep’s milk is intense and lingering with a flavour that may be off-putting to those who do not like the smell of a farm. Rest assured though that the cheese, eaten with a spoon and some quince paste at room temperature, is a unique flavour.
As if there weren’t enough opportunities to eat cheese, why not try a world famous Hell Pizza; chastised by the Catholic church for the franchise’s over-the-top marketing by including free branded condoms in their deliveries for its Lust pizza. The pizza itself is worthy of canonisation, and they have smartly designed a leftovers box ‘for your remains’. Some sinful pizzas to eat in front of a Lord of the Rings DVD film fest include the Damned (avocado, camembert, cashews etc) or Nemesis (capsicum, feta, mushrooms, etc) prices range from $NZ8-$16.

For the epicurean traveller, Queenstown and the surrounding towns of Wanaka and Arrowtown offer a range of gourmet treasures, sometimes found within an individual meal. The platter at The Spire in Queenstown had Manuka wood chip smoked mushrooms that were new to everyone’s tastebuds. Similarly, the tapas menu of local resort Millbrook’s pond-side restaurant ‘The Millhouse’ revealed the rillete of wild hare and thyme spread on miniature toast, which teamed exquisitely with a Peregrine chardonnay. The restaurant also offers a high tea for two ($NZ25.00), and the atmosphere of the pond with ducklings is surreal, even with the good service of Sebastian on New Years Day who was polite even though he was tired from the resort’s big function the night before.
Be warned though, not all food and service is exceptional. Being a tourist haven, be aware of those establishments that employ itinerant employees and overcharge for simple fare such as cold white toast with a bowl of vegemite packets, sufficing for ‘selection of condiments’ (after waiting 20 minutes). Ask the locals for their favourite restaurant, which may be off the beaten track. Sometimes though, less than efficient service is worth the wait, as at Patagonia near the boulevard, where the huge ice cream scoops (NZ$3.80) with flavours such as dark chilli and chocolate, lavender and honey, and Apple Pie (among many more) keep your tastebuds buzzing as you stroll through the nearby markets held every Saturday. For breakfast, Patagonia also has a generous serving of croissants, whipped butter and jam. Ask for a take-away coffee and bag of home made chocolate (including sugar free and 71% Belgian choc) and sit outside on the grass of Earnslaw Park and watch people board the 95-year-old Earnslaw steamship. Just be careful if you sniff the lavender – your nose might run into the biggest fuzzy bumblebees outside of a fairytale.

In high summer, dusk may be a late as 10pm, when activities of the epicurean or adrenaline nature are replaced by the bustling of backpackers and adventurers as they head out to the pubs, and the more cosmopolitan types head for the bars and lounges. The popular pub and adjoining restaurant Dux de Lux has house beers, such as the refreshing but not too sweet Ginger Tom. Kick back on the bar stools with wool balers as bar tables and watch the cricket on the big screen, or other try to pick the cacophony of accents from foreign lands.
Dinner in Queenstown can range from a chicken fillet burger from KFC eaten by the The Mall or at a fine dining establishment such as Bezu on the waterfront. A happy medium toward the higher end is Tattler, with excellent service, tasteful and tasty meals with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The lamb rack was substantial, and had a very intense flavour that was so good as to justify not eating the crispy green vegetables that would only take up valuable eating room. Similarly rich in volume and flavour was the Wild Fjordland Denver leg (venison) with sautéed gourmet potatoes, braised red cabbage, berry compote and cinnamon infused jus ($34.50).

Of all the possible summer escapes, Queenstown is certainly one to impress people of all ages, tastes and budgets. And if you feel the compulsion to roll around in the grass – do it!
Whatever the weather, whether you are a daredevil or scaredy cat connoisseur there is something for everyone in Queenstown.

Queenstown websites:


Gungahlin Sustainable Living Fair


Something for everyone - kids and adults alike!
The Gungahlin Sustainable Living Fair is a great family day with something for everyone – including free show bags of green goodies, as well as the beautiful 2008 Gungahlin Environment Calendar.

For the kids there will be a jumping castle, kids’ show with Milo the Clown, face painting, activities with the ‘Kids at Play’ gang, as well as, of course, Santa!

For the grown-ups, sustainable products and services will be on show with stalls and displays showcasing water tanks, solar panels, modular cat parks, insulation, garden supplies and more, as well as local community and environmental groups.

A series of presentations will offer a range of practical sustainable living tips, from home energy advice to ethical investment.

For the Christmas shopper there will be a variety of sustainable gifts, gift wrap and Christmas cards, plus food and drink stalls and a shady spot to re-energise!

The fair will be open from 10am to 3pm on Sunday 9th December, on the corner of Hibberson and Gozzard Streets, Gungahlin Town Centre (across from the Raiders Club). Entry is FREE. For more information visit www.ourenvironment.org.au, or phone 6229 3210.

China endorses LaRouche's call to solve global monetary crisis


As the keynote speaker at a November 24 Los Angeles Forum on U.S.-China Relations, Lyndon H. LaRouche called for the United States and China to join hands to reform the world financial system as it enters the most deadly crisis in recent centuries.

Specifically, LaRouche’s proposal calls for co-operation of the governments of the U.S.A., Russia, China, and India, to bring the present international crisis under control, and, therefore, to rally a majority of the world’s nations to stabilise the world system through bankruptcy reorganisation and a new Bretton Woods fixed-exchange rate system, thus providing the foundation for general economic recovery.

Immediately following this intervention, LaRouche’s call became leading news around the world, including coverage in Chinese, Arabic, Farsi and Hungarian-language media. The three official Chinese government press agencies: Xinhua, People’s Daily (the world’s largest circulation newspaper) and China Daily published an eight-paragraph press release summarising his proposals. Coming from government agencies, this is an overt endorsement of LaRouche’s policy prescriptions by the Chinese government.

By the next day, LaRouche’s warning that “the end of the present world monetary-financial system is inevitable, unless the system is replaced by a new world system during a relatively brief, remaining time” was also appearing on important Chinese financial websites, including the China Securities Journal, and the China Business Post.

The article was listed among the “most popular” of the previous 24 hours on the People’s Daily website. The Chinese report was also published in the Xinhua Arabic-language news service. Iran’s Press TV website ran a feature on LaRouche’s contribution to the event, quoting him saying, “The world financial system has entered the most deadly crisis in recent centuries.” LaRouche’s call was also covered in the Budapest Business Journal.

Citizens Electoral Council of Australia
Media Release 28th of November 2007

Gotta drought? Say goodbye to carbon sinks


BEIJING, Nov. 28 (Xinhuanet) — U.S. government scientists have discovered droughts not only dry out and parch the land, they can also increase carbon dioxide levels. In North America alone, human activity releases about two billion tons (1.85 billion metric tons) of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide every year. Natural carbon sinks such as crops, forests, grasslands and soil absorb about one-third of those emissions, scientists estimate.

But droughts aparently restrict the ability of these sinks to inhale the greenhouse gas. A new measurement system from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, dubbed CarbonTracker, has provided scientists with weekly observations of carbon dioxide exchange from 2000 to 2005. The data, detailed in a new study in the Nov. 26 issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that in 2002, when North America experienced one of the largest droughts in more than a century, the amount of carbon taken up by vegetation and soil plunged from 716 million tons to 363 million tons.

“Scientists often look at the role of greenhouse gases in producing climate extremes,” said study leader Wouter Peters, affiliated with Wageninen University and Research Center in The Netherlands. “Here we show the reverse is also true. Climate extremes can have a major effect on the amount of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere.” Drought and other variations in a region’s climate can change temperatures, rainfall, soil moisture and even the length of the growing season in that region. If less rain falls and soil moisture drops, plants may wither and die and so take up less carbon dioxide.

The connection between drought and increased carbon dioxide levels isn’t unique to North America; the widespread drought and heat wave that struck Europe in 2003 left more than 500 million extra tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that year, CarbonTracker showed. This problem could have consequences for efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

www.chinaview.cn 2007-11-28 14:27:15 – Editor: Gareth Dodd

Economist: U.S., China should join hands to reform world financial system


LOS ANGELES, Nov. 24 (Xinhua) — The United States and China should join hands in an effort to reform the world financial system, which has currently entered the most deadly crisis in recent centuries, a renowned U.S. economist said Saturday. “The end of the present world monetary-financial system is inevitable, unless the system is replaced by a new world system during a relatively brief, remaining time available,” said Lyndon La Rouche at a luncheon at the Forum on U.S.-China Relations and China’s Peaceful Reunification.

La Rouche, also a famous political activist, said the present international financial crisis could only be brought under control when major countries like the U.S. and China cooperate. “Whenever a powerful combination of national governments can arrive at a suitable agreement to change a failed financial-monetary system, a solution for any modern financial crisis can be found,” he said.

He said that the United States should propose to form an initial sponsoring group made up of the governments of the U.S., China, Russia and India, therefore to rally a majority of nations in order to stabilize the world system. LaRouche lamented that all evidence has confirmed the current crisis, notably the recent collapse of the U.S. dollar’ exchange rates against other major currencies, but nothing visible had been done so far by any government to change the world financial system to solve the problem.

The forum, jointly organized by several local Chinese-American, gathered nearly 100 government officials, scholars and activists form the U.S. and China, who were expected to discuss issues on U.S.-China relations and their implications on the Taiwan issue during the two-day event. “The Taiwan issue remains the sensitive core issue in China-U.S. relation,” said Zhang Yun, consul general of China in Los Angeles, while speaking earlier at the forum’s opening ceremony.

www.chinaview.cn 2007-11-25 11:04:58

It's good to talk


Couple talking
There are ups and downs in everyone’s life, of this we can be sure. We all handle emotions like stress, grief, sadness – as well as happiness – very differently.

Life situations, for example a job redundancy, loss of a loved one or relationship break up, may lead us to think sad and worrying thoughts. We may think that others do not understand; that they wouldn’t care; we may even think that they think we are ‘silly’ or weak with these thoughts. So we decide to bottle it up, to save face and to be ‘strong’.

Depression and anxiety – affecting millions world wide
Your negative thoughts, if left unchecked, may develop and get worse in time.

Consider this perspective of someone living with depression: ‘your world slowly changes over time, your confidence erodes away, the pleasures in life disappear and everything starts to look dull and bleak. You sleep in often, you frequently skip work and your appetite slows or stops, not to mention the loss of sleep. You quickly forget or remember why it is you are sad.’

Depression and anxiety may ensue, as indicated by some of the physical symptoms listed above. You can change your worrying thoughts, help is available: your friends, family, GP or counsellor are but a phone call away, you are not alone.

It’s good to talk, so let it out and feel good inside
Expressing your feelings and understanding them is not a sign of weakness. You don’t need to bottle them up, you can ungrit your teeth and hope for the best. People do understand and they care for you.

Open up to a friend, a member of the family or colleague. Talk to someone you trust, someone who will accept and seeks to understand your perspective.

You may be surprised, you may learn more about yourself, and your situation. It’s good to talk, so let it out and feel good inside.

Call Lifeline if you need to speak with someone immediately: 13 11 14

Granting The Wishlist: An afternoon of Music for Filipino Street Children


Rediscover the true meaning of ''Christmas Spirit'' and come along to enjoy an afternoon of Music to Support Filipino Street Children

From midday to sundown on December 15th, local artists will be performing at Reconciliation Place to raise much needed financial aid for Bahay Tuluyan – a Filipino NGO which cares for street children in need of special protection.
Bahay Tuluyan currently houses 80 children who are victims of abuse, exploitation, neglect, abandonment, or who may be street children. Bahay Tuluyan have pioneered a number of alternative programs targeting street children, including the Junior Educators program; Junior Health Workers program; Junior Environmental Educators program; Participatory Research Team program; and the Participatory Children’s Street Theatre and Arts Group program. Bahay Tuluyan also runs a Mobile Food Unit feeding street children.
Granting the Wish-list is about coming together to rupture the collective unconsciousness to the death, disease, and despair which accompany poverty, to talk about poverty as a problem of human oppression and neglect, to link our actions and inactions to the despair of others, and to recognise that the rights of children are non-negotiable and cannot be sacrificed to secure any end. And importantly, it is about turning feelings of guilt and despair about poverty into feelings of efficacy, action and responsibility as well as celebrating the value of ‘childhood’.
We encourage families to bring the kids during the day and have a picnic on the lawns. Local musicians will pump out splendid tunes for the young (and the young at heart). There will be face-painting, a sausage sizzle and a soccer match amongst other activities whilst the music continues to inspire and amuse!
All those who attend are encouraged to donate a minimum of $5 ($2 for kids). All proceeds from the event will go towards granting the wish-list for Bahay Tuluyan . Items on the wishlist include meals, bedding, medical checkups, school supplies, school scholarships, houseparents, and social workers for the hundreds of street children Bahay Tuluyan works with.

Story of a Street Child.
Raul scratches the boils on his head as he walks bare-foot down the dimly lit jail corridor. A torn South Park t-shirt hangs from his thin body and extends down to his knees. The neck opening drops down to one side, exposing a skin infection on his right shoulder. Scars have formed from countless hours of scratching and hair no longer grows on much of his scalp. His skin is pale from weeks without sunlight. Deprived of the most basic nutritional needs, his eyelids are red and his arms hang limply by his side.
After our interview, Raul will return to the cell he shares with over 60 adult inmates, crammed into an area the size of an average living room, and needing to take shifts to sit, stand and sleep. These men are charged with offences ranging from drug trafficking and rape to murder and child abuse.
Tonight, Raul will sleep on damp cardboard, and tomorrow he will clean out the cell’s only toilet. In these conditions, diseases such as pneumonia, cholera, hookworms, tuberculosis, gastroenteritis, bronchitis, typhoid, and tetanus are all, unsurprisingly, common killers. HIV/AIDS is also a common cause of death and illness among child detainees who frequently face sexual exploitation. Often young girls are not separated from male detainees. In a few years time, it may be Raul himself that victimises such children.
Raul has been accused of stealing a wooden door frame – something he hoped to sell off to provide much needed money to his family. Because he is unable to prove his age, he is treated like an adult. Without the appropriate social networks, child detainees like Raul can wait months for a birth certificate to be secured. With no education, no other children to interact with, and thrust into an environment which deprives them of their creativity and imagination, ‘childhood’ is something stolen from these children.
No amount of detention can ‘reform’ a child like Raul because his life depends upon breaking the law. In order to survive, street children in the Philippines are often forced to beg and steal, making them especially vulnerable to being taken into custody. Addiction to glue (sometimes used to quell hunger) along with anti-vagrancy and curfew laws also victimize children who have no other place to live but on the streets.
Along with police brutality, street children are often at risk of being targets and victims of exploitation, sexual assault, traffic accidents, and violence. Many are run over by cars and jeepnees while selling items or begging on highways. Pimps often roam the streets at night looking for young girls and boys they can prostitute.
Yet the death or injury of one of the Philippines street-children is only the end point along a long chain of economic, political, and social factors which collectively determine who will suffer abuse and who will be shielded from harm. The death, disease and despair which accompany poverty are not ‘bad-luck’, but rather borne out of deeper pathologies of power, out of structures of oppression, and out of human decisions.
Often the most brutal of all oppression comes in the form of neglect by those who can do ‘something’. Mixed feelings of shame, guilt, fear, disgust, and pity amongst those who have benefited from the same systems which inflict great harm upon others have given
rise to a massive program of city beautification in the Philippines (and indeed throughout the world).
It is children like Raul that are often the victims of these efforts to excise from the urban landscape the unsightly and uncomfortable blotch of poverty. When Raul is begging in one of Manila’s grand plazas, or running bare-foot along marble-clad sidewalks, he is considered a ‘problem’ which must be dealt with. In jail, however, he can be forgotten, neglected, and left to die. He is ‘in his place’.
But it is not Raul that must be ‘dealt’ with. Rather it is the poverty, oppression, and neglect that he, and the thousands of children throughout the world like him, which must be addressed. This involves combating not only the sweeping away of children from the streets of Manila, but also combating the sweeping away of poverty from our collective consciousness.

For more information, go to our website at: http://camsugden.googlepages.com/gwl

If you would like to volunteer for the day, please contact Sally at Salcanfly@hotmail.com or on phone 0439647277

And for more information about how you can get involved in the work of Bahay Tuluyan, contact Cam Sugden at u2562421@anu.edu.au