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Tuggeranong's Salvos early to rise in 007

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Tuggeranong''s Salvos
Over 60 community and business leaders attended a breakfast function on February 1 to hear about the important work being done by The Salvation Army in Tuggeranong and how others can get involved. The meeting highlighted important community needs in areas of youth services and aged care, especially plans for expanding the buildings and facilities.
“The Tuggeranong Community Leaders breakfast is an important avenue for The Salvation Army to stay in tune with the needs of our community,” Major David Terracini said. “It is also a great way of keeping the awareness out there of what we do, whilst also supporting people in our community in the various leadership roles that they hold. We recognise the influence and impact that these leaders have and greatly appreciate their continued support.”
Federal Member for Canberra, Annette Ellis MP, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves; Jeff Whalan, Head of Centrelink and Rosemary Lissimore of Tuggeranong Community Council were among the guests at the breakfast.
The breakfast provided an opportunity to launch Faith ‘007 – a special program being run during February and March to provide an avenue for people who are looking for contemporary and practical ways of exploring faith issues, or simply needing support in dealing with daily issues. Other activities planned for the year include:
. The Zymodic Dance Party on the first Saturday of each month, which attracts over 300 young people (aged 12-16) to a clean, safe, drug and alcohol-free environment; . Mainly Music – a weekly activity program for preschool children and their parents; . Youth programs – Sagala youth clubs (including guides and rangers); . Community Services – community support and welfare, including Tuggeranong based client services and support to participants in drug and alcohol recovery programs; . Carols by Candelight, Tuggeranong Town Park – in conjunction with Harvest Christian Fellowship and other community partners the 2006 Carols in Town Park attracted around 2000 local people; . Regular Sunday morning worship service in Tuggeranong attended by over 200 people.
For further information about the wide range of support services provided by Salvation Army Tuggeranong and how you can get involved, please phone 6293 3262.

Celebrating New Year the Chinese Way

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chinese dragon
New Year celebrations may be overr for many, but for the Chinese and much of the Asian Community who use the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year has yet to come. From year to year it varies from between mid January to mid February; this year it is on the 18th of February.
Chinese New Year celebrations are well known for their loud fire crackers and abundance of delicious food. The festivities, which go for a whole 15 days, bring together families and friends as they celebrate their culture and traditions, wherever they are in the world. Traditionally, many Chinese would wear new clothes to symbolize a new beginning, and enjoy dumplings together – a common sight on the New Year’s Eve dinner table.
The Chinese New Year festival dates back to the time of the first Emperor in China. It was a celebration of survival from a mythical beast called ‘nian’ (year), that would raid villages at the end of each year. Many people died in battles against this beast. Over time, villagers discovered that it feared two things: one was the colour bright red, and the other, very loud noises. This led to the tradition of fire crackers and bright red colours at Chinese New Year celebrations.
2007 is the Year of Pig, the last of a twelve year cycle. It is said that people born in the Year of Pig are more likely to be diplomatic, humble, honest and trustworthy. It is also a good year to get married, as the Year of Pig can mean a year of domestic harmony and happiness.
China’s New Renaissance
From one perspective, the upcoming show Chinese New Year Spectacular is representative of China’s New Renaissance, a growing trend in the past few years – a new attempt to restore traditional Chinese culture and values that were destroyed in mainland China during the Communist Party’s Cultural Revolution in the mid 1960’s to 70’s. This destruction also influenced overseas Chinese communities.
In mainland China over the past few years there has been a growing number of new private schools, especially set up to teach classic Chinese works and traditional culture and values. The growing new trend of traditional type private schools is in many ways counter to the contemporary trend of modernization.

Human Rights
While the Chinese New Year is a happy and joyous time and there is surely much to talk about in terms of China’s phenomenal economic growth and the Chinese people’s great achievements, that China now harbors an increasingly alarming gap between the wealthy and the poor should not be forgotten. Many experts have commented that the unfair distribution of wealth from economic development due to corruption and abuse of power is becoming a serious threat to stability for the Chinese society. The currently ruling Chinese Communist Party has not been able to deal with these problems for various reasons.
Each year, thousands and thousands of petitioners appeal to Chinese governmental authorities for justice. But they are often forced to return to their homes without any change. Many went on for petitioning for years. In 2005 there were some 3700 mass protests or riots involving more than 3 million unsatisfied citizens. The number is likely to be much higher in 2006. It has been commented that many westerners are invited to see the shiny surface of economic growth in contemporary China, at the expense of the increasing calls for freedom, justice and humanity.
Everyday in Canberra Falun Gong practitioners protest silently outside the Chinese Embassy. They have been doing this since 1999, when the tragic persecution of Falun Gong was first initiated in mainland China. The persistence of these individuals touches the hearts of many Canberrans and they do not look like they are going away any time soon.
The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are going to put China under the international microscope. While the games may bring China fiscal fortunes, China may be ‘encouraged’ to comply with the principles of the Games, being democracy, fairness, justice, and freedoms of speech and belief.
Chinese in Canberra
It is not known to the author who the first Chinese settler in Canberra was. However, by the 1950’s there was already a small Chinese community, mainly involved in farming. By late 1970’s there were more than one hundred Chinese living in the capital. The 80’s saw a growing number of Chinese students studying here, initially as Master’s and Ph.D students, and then later as English-language students as well.
When the Chinese Communist Party’s army tanks crushed the pro-democracy movement in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, there were from 2000 to 3000 Chinese, including students, in Canberra. By 1997 the Chinese population here was about 4000. Since then we have seen a significant increase of Chinese living and working in Canberra. Today it is estimated that there are some 10 000 Chinese in Canberra.
Unlike the early Chinese settlers who often ran family-based restaurants, many Chinese here now work in the government, at universities, or at either public or private research and professional institutions. One rapid growth area is in IT, with many Chinese-run computer stores and consultancy personnel. Traditional Chinese medicine is now also more readily accessible, with the opening of a traditional Chinese medicine centre in Woden and Belconnen four years ago.
Because of Canberra’s unique environment, in the past seven years a rapidly growing number of school students came from China to study here. The first Chinese school student came in 1999. Now there are more than 300, with more to come. “Many Chinese students are excellent,” says Sandra Woolacott of ACT Education Department.
According to Tourism Australia, over 280 000 Chinese visited Australia in 2005, among which more than 20 000 came to Canberra.

Canberra’s “China Town”
Dickson’s Woolley Street is considered by many as Canberra’s China Town, which includes an array of restaurants, not only Chinese. But the first Chinese Restaurant, Happy’s Chinese Restaurant, was opened in Garema Place in the city in 1955. Dickson’s first Chinese Restaurant, Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, did not open until 1967, and closed in 1985.
Dickson’s Chinese businesses didn’t really kick off until the early 1980’s, when Ruby Chinese Restaurant, New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant, and a herb store and computer store opened in the same decade. A Dickson Arcade is currently being renovated to include three new restaurants (Italian, Indian and Chinese), as well as a traditional Chinese massage centre.

Canberra Youth Association
A new Canberra Youth Association is being established by a number of enthusiasts who are willing to devote their time and energy to help young people grow in a healthy way by learning something positive and valuable, and also to explore the world. Although started by a number of Chinese and Australians interested in Chinese, the association is open to all youth in Canberra. The first classes on offer are for Chinese martial arts and cookery. It may soon expand to travel and other areas.

Chinese New Year Spectacular
An authentic celebration of the Chinese New Year in Canberra this year is available to everyone, thanks to the Asian Culture Association’s (ACA) hosting the Chinese New Year Spectacular at the Canberra Theatre in March. The Spectacular is produced and presented by the New York based Chinese language television network New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV).
At shopping centres and markets over the past few weeks it has been hard to miss a group of heavenly-looking Chinese ladies and angelic girls in their bright, colourful traditional Chinese costumes. They are ACA volunteers, busy promoting the Spectacular, which has come to Canberra for the first time.
Since the show first started in New York four years ago, the Spectacular has been a tremendous success. In 2007 the NTDTV team is touring the world from January to March for 75 shows in 29 cities, including 10 shows in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
From the 3rd to mid January the Spectacular toured four Canadian cities for ten sold-out shows, dazzling an audience of nearly 19,000. “Usually we hear about song and dance multiculturalism, but it’s usually not very deep and very profound,” said distinguished Canadian author, poet, and professor Cyril Dabydeer after watching the show in Ottawa. “But tonight it was the most extraordinary cultural show I’ve ever seen and experienced.”
The show was rated top 7th in the US in February 2006 by Billboard magazine. The Spectacular has become a popular new tradition for the Chinese New Year celebration overseas. It includes graceful dances, exquisite and soulful music, as well as wonderful staging and costumes. These incredible performances showcase 5000 years of Chinese culture, of the Divine Land, for a spectacular and unforgettable feast of music, dance and entertainment.
“We have a magnificent show. When you see the pictures, they catch your eyes. When you listen to the music, it stays in your ears. When you watch the show, it touches your heart.” says, Dr Songfa Liu, vice-president of Asian Culture Association (ACA).
Due to popular demand, there will be an extra show on Tuesday 20th of March in addition to a night show and a matinee for schools on the 21st of March. See advertisement sponsored by The Word.

Road Calm

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Road Calm

Easter’s nearly on us –
A well-earned break for most.
Like half the folk of Canberra I’ll be heading for the coast.

The weekend should be fun –
A fillip for the soul,
But Tuesday we’ll be reading of the National Road Toll.

It sounds a trifle grim –
I hope that I’m wrong too,
But if you are the driver then it’s really up to you!

Two hours to Bateman’s Bay,
But please, for heaven’s sake,
It’s better to take three than try that risky overtake!

Just listen to a tape,
Enjoy the countryside,
And if you get there two hours late there should still be a tide.

I just don’t get ‘road rage’ –
It does no good, just harm –
I’d rather take the smart approach, the one I call ‘road calm’.

Oh, let the “doof-doof” in,
It’s clear he cannot drive,
But with a helpful attitude we’ll all remain alive.

So if the traffic’s slow,
Don’t let yourself get tense,
Just tolerate the idiots and drive with common sense.

So have a Good Friday
And think of what I’ve said .
‘Cause there is just one bloke I know who got up from the dead!

© Neil Dunn, 29/3/99.

Canberra kicks A's with the Commission

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Jon Stanhope, Chief Minister
I welcome the Report on Government Services (ROGS), released recently by the Productivity Commission, showing ACT Government services continue to be among the best in the country. I am pleased with the ACT’s performance in the report but note useful benchmarks for future improvement.
The Report on Government Services 2007 is an annual comparison of services provided by Australia’s State and Territory Governments.
The ACT’s performance in many crucial areas leads the nation. In particular, our community enjoys access to excellence in public school educational outcomes; we continue to enjoy the best health and highest longevity rates, and our police and emergency services lead the nation in many performance measures.
It should be noted that the information contained in the report pre-dates the ACT Government’s recent budget reforms and initiatives, which aim to bring the costs associated with many government services back into line with other jurisdictions, without compromising service standards.
The report reinforces what we in the ACT have long prided ourselves on – our first-class education system. We have the best public education system in Australia, and with the recent announcement of a $90 million injection into our schools, we are determined to ensure that our public schools are the first choice for a quality education.
The report shows that in 2005 the ACT had the highest Year 12 completion rate of any jurisdiction by far at 80% compared to a national average of 67%.
Literacy benchmarks also exceed national averages for ACT students in Years 3,5 and 7. In addition, numeracy measures in 2004 showed levels of performance for ACT students above the national average.
The ACT has the highest apparent retention rate of full time students from years 10-12 at 88.1% compared to 76.5% nationally, with retention rate for Indigenous full-time students from years 10-12 at 66.1% compared to 45.3% nationally. The retention rate for government schools in the ACT is much higher than for non-government schools, at 99.5% compared to 74.5%.
The ROGS shows that expenditure on students in government schools is above the national average. The ACT Government is addressing this issue through recent budget initiatives and the Towards 2020 program. Recent reforms to the public education system are aimed at ensuring sustainability in public schools and improving learning and teaching environments in our schools.
The ACT has more police officers on the beat than any other jurisdiction, with the report showing the ACT has 85.6% of operational police officers, well above the national average of 82.6%. In addition, community perceptions of safety remain relatively high and are generally above the national average. Perceptions of safety on our public transport after dark are also significantly higher than any other jurisdiction.
The ACT has the lowest imprisonment rate of any jurisdiction at 76 adults per 1,000. The national average is 156. The ACT also has the lowest rate of Indigenous imprisonment at 545 per 1,000 adults.
The report shows that the ACT has a relatively high cost per capita for corrective services. However it is expected that the commissioning of the ACT’s new prison will result in a reduction in the recurrent cost per prisoner per day.
Performance of our court system is in line with the achievements of other states, although improvements can be made in reducing case backlog. In is anticipated that the introduction of the new Court Procedures Rules in the Supreme Court and Magistrates Courts will further enhance case management. The ACT shows superior performance by the Magistrates Court over the last five years, having cleared more than 100% of cases in each year, thereby reducing the backlog of cases. The cost per finalisation continues to decline for criminal matters, with the Supreme Court less than most jurisdictions.
I am proud of the ACT Fire Brigade’s response times which are the best in the country, with containment of fire to the room of origin at 82%, also the best response in the country.
The ACT health system also performed well in comparison to other jurisdictions in many key areas.
Life expectancy at birth for the ACT has increased steadily and Canberrans continue to outlive their counterparts in all other jurisdictions with the highest average life expectancy of 79.7 for males and 83.9 for females. This is not only higher than the Australian average, but is amongst the highest in the world.
The ACT’s hospitals continued to record excellent results for relative stays in hospital for patients, with a decrease from 1.04 days to 1.01 days.
The ACT Government continues to work towards cutting the waiting times in the emergency department and for elective surgery. The Government has invested significantly in reducing elective surgery waiting lists and results show that more patients were admitted for elective surgery in 2004-05 (8.617) than in 2003-04 (8.547). This figure is increasing year-on-year with 9,076 patients receiving elective surgery in 2005-06.
The ACT Government is also working to reduce ACT public hospital costs and in line with the 2006-07 Budget is implementing a strategy to bring costs to within 10% of the average cost of similar facilities in Australia by 2009-10.
The ACT also performed well in a number of significant areas of aged care provision.
The number of Aged Care Assessments (ACAT) per 1000 people over 70 was the highest in the ACT at 121.4 against a national average of 88.1 and the ACT has the highest number of community aged care packages, with 20.2 per 1000 people over 70, compared to the national average of 18.2.
In the area of aged accommodation, the ACT Government is committed to bringing operational care places on line as quickly as possible after the Commonwealth Government allocates the care places. We expect to see a steady increase in performance over time in this area, with the recent completion of a planning framework for the number of residential places required for the next 20 years and identification of land for future aged care accommodation.
The report shows that, despite being a small jurisdiction, services provided by the ACT Government compare extremely favourably in comparison to other States and the Northern Territory.
This is a great opportunity not only to recognise what we are doing well, but to identify those areas where there is still room for improvement.

Canberra's soul – roundabouts, fireworks, polies and pornography.?

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By Nicholas Kittel
Canberra often gets a bum rap for being a rather bland place to visit or call home, but take enough time to scratch the surface and you will find a bubbling and burgeoning society that is both contemporary and compatible.
One person who has studied Canberra’s transition from focal point to forgotten and back again is Monash University Professor Graeme Davison, from the University’s School of Historical Studies.
Prof. Davison said that when suggestions for a planned, national capital were discussed, in both the corridors of power and over the dinner table, the resounding opinion was that Canberra should be a city that was in many ways different from other Australian cities.
“When Canberra was first founded, what people most wanted of Canberra was that it should be a city that was in some ways quite unlike other Australian cities. It should be an ideal city, a model city, the most hygienic, the most beautifully planned, the most aesthetically appealing city in the country,” he said.
“That was a wonderful ideal but in some ways it set it apart from the rest of Australia and there was always a certain sense of distance between Canberra and the rest of the nation. There was a slight undertone of resentment and perhaps even a feeling that Canberra was a bit too well planned.”
The fact that Canberra is a planned city makes her the butt of many a joke, with detractors identifying Canberra as a place more renowned for its roundabouts than amazing art galleries, museums and public monuments.
But Professor Davison says that the city has grown beyond on these criticisms and has matured, developing a soul in the process and that Australia is beginning to realise this.
“I do think that Canberra has a soul and what’s more I think gradually that message has got to the rest of Australia.”

Calling all quilt makers

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By Sandra Orszaczky
The wonderfully successful volunteer lead ‘Anne’s Legacy for PatCH Kids’ is calling for more volunteers to donate their time and skills in keeping the legacy alive for sick children in Canberra.
Minister for Health Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA was honoured recently to be a part of the event at The Canberra Hospital’s Paediatric Ward where 100 quilts were handed over to sick children who are required to spend a great deal of time at the hospital recovering from illnesses.
“These 100 quilts were beautifully created with a great deal of love and effort,” Ms. Gallagher said. “Every quilt is designed and created by a handful of wonderfully artistic volunteers, and are then documented in a catalogue so that each recipient can select the quilt that they want. I can imagine that this must be a very rewarding experience for those people who make the quilts, to then see them loved and cherished by their new owners.”
The Minister has now made a special call to the Quilters of Canberra and the surrounding region to consider giving their time to participate as a volunteer in this initiative.
“The three outstanding women – Diane Cutting, Sandra Orszaczky and Lyn Bauer-Williams, who are responsible for developing Anne’s Legacy following the death of their very close friend Anne Nelson in 2004, are as keen as ever to keep going with increasing their stock to keep giving to patients in need in the future.”
I would like to support their call for help – and ask that anyone who thinks they can help in anyway or make a donation of any kind, to call Sandra Orszaczky on 6231 6198 or alternatively, drop me an email at info@katygallagher.net and my office will connect you with Anne’s Legacy.

Keeping the Rotary wheel turning

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Project planning, Rotary style
By Jackie Yow
Marrying an Aussie was one thing but leaving friends and family behind and embarking on a new life in Australia was another! One of life’s hurdles that so many of us face when we start afresh in a new town or country is making friends and feeling part of the community.
In the UK I played a big role in the community, working for a Premier division football team and later in commercial radio. Through these links I was invited by my female CEO to become a member of Rotary. As a 36 year old woman I knew very little about Rotary except that I though they were a bunch of older men working to help the community.
After my first meeting, I am glad to report, I discovered many older men working along side equal numbers of younger men and women! I was astounded by the magnitude of local projects that this club was involved with and even more staggered by the global achievements of the World Wide Rotary Organisation. I became a member.
When I arrived in Canberra one of the first things I did was look up my nearest Rotary club (Tuggeranong) and I became a member. Since then I’ve been involved in endless local and international projects – arts awards, festivals, youth camps, bike rides, schools, science forums, winery visits and hosted cultural exchange students from New Zealand, Samoa and the Cook Islands!
Tuggeranong is a small but very active club. It consists of 20 members ranging in age from 40 to over 70years. I have made many friends and now play an important part in this local community and so can you. We are looking for new members both male and female. We meet every Tuesday at the Vikings Club on Athlon Drive at 6pm for a bite to eat, a drink and to plan our next project. You are invited to join us.
If you are interested in finding out more, call me on 0437 168680 or our President, Terry Ryan on 0407 223 128. Email Tuggeranong Rotary Club rotaryadmin@rawpine.hm for further information about Rotary go to www.rotarnet.com.au

R&D Tax Concession Information Seminar

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The R&D Tax Concession is a Government initiative to increase the amount of Research and Development undertaken in Australia. It is broad-based, available to all industry sectors and each company controls the direction of their Research and Development.

The concession enables Australian companies to deduct up to 125% of expenditure incurred on eligible activities from assessable income when lodging their tax returns. An incremental Tax Concession (175% Premium) and R&D Tax Offset are also available in certain circumstances.

AusIndustry invites you to a free information session for companies undertaking R&D and their accountants who have not previously registered for the R&D Tax Concession or for those requiring a refresher.

The seminar will include discussion on how to:

identify eligibility for the concession, including for Research and Development expenditure, and access the R&D Tax Concession.

The seminar details are as follows:

Canberra: 3:30pm – 7:30pm (4:00pm start)
15 March 2007
The Drawing Room, University House
1 Balmain Crescent
Canberra

For enquiries about the seminar contact Chris Mills on (02) 6213 6795.

You may be interested in subscribing to the AusIndustry e-bulletin for up-to-date news about innovation, upcoming events, and government products and support services for Australian businesses. You can also obtain ’email updates’ about specific AusIndustry products, by visiting www.ausindustry.gov.au.

Minister joins Health Council to talk about the future of health

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Minister for Health Ms. Katy Gallagher MLA will join with the ACT Health Council later this month at a Community Forum to talk about a range of key health issues for the ACT.

The Forum will be hosted by the ACT Health Council which provides advice and guidance to the ACT Government on the provision of health care, and is a key mechanism in ensuring ongoing improvement and development of the ACT health system.

“It’s important that members of the community come to the forum to have some input about what they think is important for the future direction of Canberra’s health services,” Ms. Gallagher said.

“Letters have now gone out to health stakeholders asking for their input, along with a range of press advertising inviting consumers and members of the public to come along and have their say,” Ms. Gallagher said.

The forum will be held on Thursday 22 March from 6.00pm – 8.00pm (light refreshments will be available from 5.30pm), at the Marque Hotel,102 Northbourne Avenue, Canberra City.

The community forum will discuss a range of key health issues including:

. Timely access to essential health care, including emergency department, acute care, waiting times
. Mental Health
. Aged Care
. Chronic Disease Management
. Early Childhood and Vulnerable Families
. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Interested parties should contact the Secretariat to the ACT Health Council on (02) 6205 1100 or karen.pearson@act.gov.au to confirm their attendance or for further inquiries.

Media Contact: Angie Drake 6205 0139 Mobile 0408 092 016 angie.drake@act.gov.au

Celebrating New Year the Chinese Way

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By Songfa Lui

New Year celebrations may be over for many, but for the Chinese and much of the Asian Community who use the lunar calendar, the Chinese New Year has yet to come. From year to year it varies from between mid January to mid February; this year it is on the 18th of February.
Chinese New Year celebrations are well known for their loud fire crackers and abundance of delicious food. The festivities, which go for a whole 15 days, bring together families and friends as they celebrate their culture and traditions, wherever they are in the world. Traditionally, many Chinese would wear new clothes to symbolize a new beginning, and enjoy dumplings together – a common sight on the New Year’s Eve dinner table.
The Chinese New Year festival dates back to the time of the first Emperor in China. It was a celebration of survival from a mythical beast called ‘nian’ (year), that would raid villages at the end of each year. Many people died in battles against this beast. Over time, villagers discovered that it feared two things: one was the colour bright red, and the other, very loud noises. This led to the tradition of fire crackers and bright red colours at Chinese New Year celebrations.
2007 is the Year of Pig, the last of a twelve year cycle. It is said that people born in the Year of Pig are more likely to be diplomatic, humble, honest and trustworthy. It is also a good year to get married, as the Year of Pig can mean a year of domestic harmony and happiness.

China’s New Renaissance
From one perspective, the upcoming show Chinese New Year Spectacular is representative of China’s New Renaissance, a growing trend in the past few years – a new attempt to restore traditional Chinese culture and values that were destroyed in mainland China during the Communist Party’s Cultural Revolution in the mid 1960’s to 70’s. This destruction also influenced overseas Chinese communities.
In mainland China over the past few years there has been a growing number of new private schools, especially set up to teach classic Chinese works and traditional culture and values. The growing new trend of traditional type private schools is in many ways counter to the contemporary trend of modernization.

Human Rights
While the Chinese New Year is a happy and joyous time and there is surely much to talk about in terms of China’s phenomenal economic growth and the Chinese people’s great achievements, that China now harbors an increasingly alarming gap between the wealthy and the poor should not be forgotten. Many experts have commented that the unfair distribution of wealth from economic development due to corruption and abuse of power is becoming a serious threat to stability for the Chinese society. The currently ruling Chinese Communist Party has not been able to deal with these problems for various reasons.
Each year, thousands and thousands of petitioners appeal to Chinese governmental authorities for justice. But they are often forced to return to their homes without any change. Many went on for petitioning for years. In 2005 there were some 3700 mass protests or riots involving more than 3 million unsatisfied citizens. The number is likely to be much higher in 2006. It has been commented that many westerners are invited to see the shiny surface of economic growth in contemporary China, at the expense of the increasing calls for freedom, justice and humanity.
Everyday in Canberra Falun Gong practitioners protest silently outside the Chinese Embassy. They have been doing this since 1999, when the tragic persecution of Falun Gong was first initiated in mainland China. The persistence of these individuals touches the hearts of many Canberrans and they do not look like they are going away any time soon.
The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are going to put China under the international microscope. While the games may bring China fiscal fortunes, China may be ‘encouraged’ to comply with the principles of the Games, being democracy, fairness, justice, and freedoms of speech and belief.

Chinese in Canberra
It is not known to the author who the first Chinese settler in Canberra was. However, by the 1950’s there was already a small Chinese community, mainly involved in farming. By late 1970’s there were more than one hundred Chinese living in the capital. The 80’s saw a growing number of Chinese students studying here, initially as Master’s and Ph.D students, and then later as English-language students as well.
When the Chinese Communist Party’s army tanks crushed the pro-democracy movement in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, there were from 2000 to 3000 Chinese, including students, in Canberra. By 1997 the Chinese population here was about 4000. Since then we have seen a significant increase of Chinese living and working in Canberra. Today it is estimated that there are some 10 000 Chinese in Canberra.
Unlike the early Chinese settlers who often ran family-based restaurants, many Chinese here now work in the government, at universities, or at either public or private research and professional institutions. One rapid growth area is in IT, with many Chinese-run computer stores and consultancy personnel. Traditional Chinese medicine is now also more readily accessible, with the opening of a traditional Chinese medicine centre in Woden and Belconnen four years ago.
Because of Canberra’s unique environment, in the past seven years a rapidly growing number of school students came from China to study here. The first Chinese school student came in 1999. Now there are more than 300, with more to come. “Many Chinese students are excellent,” says Sandra Woolacott of ACT Education Department.
According to Tourism Australia, over 280 000 Chinese visited Australia in 2005, among which more than 20 000 came to Canberra.

Canberra’s “China Town”
Dickson’s Woolley Street is considered by many as Canberra’s China Town, which includes an array of restaurants, not only Chinese. But the first Chinese Restaurant, Happy’s Chinese Restaurant, was opened in Garema Place in the city in 1955. Dickson’s first Chinese Restaurant, Golden Phoenix Chinese Restaurant, did not open until 1967, and closed in 1985.
Dickson’s Chinese businesses didn’t really kick off until the early 1980’s, when Ruby Chinese Restaurant, New Shanghai Chinese Restaurant, and a herb store and computer store opened in the same decade. A Dickson Arcade is currently being renovated to include three new restaurants (Italian, Indian and Chinese), as well as a traditional Chinese massage centre.

Canberra Youth Association
A new Canberra Youth Association is being established by a number of enthusiasts who are willing to devote their time and energy to help young people grow in a healthy way by learning something positive and valuable, and also to explore the world. Although started by a number of Chinese and Australians interested in Chinese, the association is open to all youth in Canberra. The first classes on offer are for Chinese martial arts and cookery. It may soon expand to travel and other areas.

Chinese New Year Spectacular
An authentic celebration of the Chinese New Year in Canberra this year is available to everyone, thanks to the Asian Culture Association’s (ACA) hosting the Chinese New Year Spectacular at the Canberra Theatre in March. The Spectacular is produced and presented by the New York based Chinese language television network New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV).
At shopping centres and markets over the past few weeks it has been hard to miss a group of heavenly-looking Chinese ladies and angelic girls in their bright, colourful traditional Chinese costumes. They are ACA volunteers, busy promoting the Spectacular, which has come to Canberra for the first time.
Since the show first started in New York four years ago, the Spectacular has been a tremendous success. In 2007 the NTDTV team is touring the world from January to March for 75 shows in 29 cities, including 10 shows in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
From the 3rd to mid January the Spectacular toured four Canadian cities for ten sold-out shows, dazzling an audience of nearly 19,000. “Usually we hear about song and dance multiculturalism, but it’s usually not very deep and very profound,” said distinguished Canadian author, poet, and professor Cyril Dabydeer after watching the show in Ottawa. “But tonight it was the most extraordinary cultural show I’ve ever seen and experienced.”
The show was rated top 7th in the US in February 2006 by Billboard magazine. The Spectacular has become a popular new tradition for the Chinese New Year celebration overseas. It includes graceful dances, exquisite and soulful music, as well as wonderful staging and costumes. These incredible performances showcase 5000 years of Chinese culture, of the Divine Land, for a spectacular and unforgettable feast of music, dance and entertainment.
“We have a magnificent show. When you see the pictures, they catch your eyes. When you listen to the music, it stays in your ears. When you watch the show, it touches your heart.” says, Dr Songfa Liu, vice-president of Asian Culture Association (ACA).
Due to popular demand, there will be an extra show on Tuesday 20th of March in addition to a night show and a matinee for schools on the 21st of March. See advertisement sponsored by The Word.

PR support emerges in emergencies

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By Bob Crawshaw
A new scheme announced recently allows PR professionals to volunteer their skills to Canberra community organisations that support victims during bushfires and other emergency situations.
The Communicators Supporting Community Program makes Canberra communicators available to community groups that have relief roles under the ACT’s disaster recovery arrangements. Two volunteers will work with each organisation.
‘The 2003 bushfires showed the vital role that the ACT’s community sector plays in disaster relief’, said Maine Street Marketing Director, Bob Crawshaw. ‘In a crisis the community organisations that provide emergency support can quickly become overwhelmed by requests for information from the public and the media’.
Having professional PR volunteers as part of the team allows other volunteers to focus on providing family support, emergency clothing and counselling.
Last month organisers met with the ACT Disaster Recovery Committee to discuss the scheme. Volunteering ACT, Lifeline and St Vincent de Paul plan to use the scheme to have volunteer communicators in their ranks at the start of 2007.
Volunteer PR professionals will spend two days each year becoming familiar with their not for profit host. During an emergency they will bolster the organisation’s communications staff to help with handling inquiries and preparing information for public release.
The concept is modelled on a US partnership between the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the American Red Cross (ARC). The program was established after 9/11 and activated during Hurricane Katrina and the recent Florida hurricane season.
People can get more information by emailing info@mainestreet.com.au
Communicators Supporting Community is part of Maine Street Marketing’s corporate social responsibility program. The company (www.mainestreet.com.au) has provided free marketing workshops to 70 community groups in the past three years.

Spiritual Element

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Spirtitual Element
By Ingrid Shroud
Unique spirit guided meditations- A spirit guided meditation is a great way to expand your awareness and increase relaxation and a sense of emotional control as you journey to the ‘spirit world’. Ingrid guides you through a magical and empowering journey of consciousness. A casual ‘drop-in’ group of like minded people, relaxing and empowering themselves through meditation. There are no terms or registration, rather a relaxed and welcoming regular gathering.
Meditation every Wednesday 7:30 -9:30pm $10
Owing to increased numbers, our meditation group will now be held every Wednesday at The centre of Natural and Alternative Therapies Ross Smith Drive, Scullin Shops

Tarot/Clairvoyant readings
Ingrid offers a unique insight into your aura and the spirit helpers around you. A reading is a good investment when needing confirmation on decisions you may be making or to see what opportunities may be around you or coming up!
Energy exchange $90
Spirit Healings- This a unique, relaxing and almost hypnotic experience with your conscious, subconscious and the unconscious, helping uncover and break patterns and blocks in our lives. Chakra clearing, inner child work, trauma release, past life regressions or whatever your spirit and guides communicate during the session. Ingrid works with crystals, colour and breathing technigues. A unique healing and unforgettable experience. Energy exchange $90

Ka Huna Massage- A holistic and rhythmical Polynesian Bodywork based within the structures of the 7 Ka Huna Principles, this unique massage works along your Lymphatic System stimulating, cleansing and rejuvenating your body. The Aloha Spirit, with its unique movement and music, delivers a trance-like element during your time of bliss and the journey of self discovery through your body, mind and soul.
Energy Exchange$90

Psychic Development Groups and workshops- Ingrid has a passion to help educate sensitive people and has designed a unique group program that helps you discover your own abilities through a series of exercises. Allow yourself to discover various methods of divination from aura and candle readings to a quick introduction to tarot and oracle cards and crystals. The groups are held every Tuesday night for eight weeks with a maximum of ten people (bookings essential) alternatively you make like to take a whole day and enjoy a dynamic workshop filled with surprises to help you realise and feel your full Psychic and Spiritual potential.
Groups $20 every Tuesday or $140 for early payment
Commencing: Tuesday 20th Feb. 7pm
Intensive day Development $160
Commencing: Saturday 24th March 9:30-530
Treat yourself, call Ingrid today on 0409608173

A national festival for all folk!

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Folk Festival
Music of the Middle East is one of the themes of the 2007 National Folk Festival, which will feature leading musicians and dancers representing many cultures from the region.
The dance program will feature a leading Australian Lebanese dance group, the Cedars of Lebanon Folkloric Group, performing the dabki. In the Piazza Campfire to Cairo is an evening dance extravaganza, a narrated dance presentation, will take the audience on a voyage through the history of Egyptian belly dance and Daughters of the Peacock will perform belly dance in the earthy, provocative Egyptian gypsy style.
Camoon (Arabic and Hebrew for the spice Cumin) is a funk-fusion group that combines the Moorish rhythms of Spanish and Moroccan music with the melodic styles of Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, played on traditional instruments.
Internationally acclaimed group Sirocco has drawn on music of many cultures and has developed its own unique blend of music, playing over thirty different musical instruments. The Festival offers a chance to enjoy the music of traditional Turkish stringed instruments in the hands of renowned player Ismail Bektas. Dionysus play music of regional Greece and the Balkans on percussion, guitars, lute, oud and bouzouki.
Yalla is one of the few groups in Australia to play Middle Eastern music exclusively on traditional instruments, and features a separate ensemble, Sanctuary, which is becoming well known for its rich and inspiring playing of devotional Sufi music, songs, ilahis (middle-eastern chants), ecstatic dances & the poetry of Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet.
These performers and many more will entertain and delight visitors to the 2007 Festival, four-and-a-half days of non-stop entertainment held in the golden glory of Canberra’s autumn.
Dances from all around the world will take stage at the Festival – Africa, Spain, China, Ireland, Egypt, Scotland, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Lebanon, the Balkans and beyond – colonial and Scottish balls, bush dancing, square dancing, clog dancing – dance workshops and dance displays, including Chinese Lion Dancing , German dance, Falun Dafa (Chinese traditional dance and Qi Jong yoga), Hungarian dance, belly dancing and the traditional Lebanese dabki.
Africa Live! is a spectacular presentation which features the six- piece Ngewell Kora playing the music of Senegal, while Flamenco Fiesta displays passion and polish from the Tomàs Dietz Flamenco Dance Academy and the Los Carmonas Flamenco Academy.

Western Australia is the featured State in 2007and these are just some of the performers coming out of the west to take part in Australia’s great folk Easter celebration.
In partnership with the National Library of Australia, the Festival features two world-class Irish performers from Western Australia, traditional fiddler Sean Doherty and Tom Kearns, who is a sean-noss (unaccompanied) singer, whistler, and a captivating lilter.
Dougal Adams and Ormonde Waters are a wonderful Celtic whoe instruments include Irish wooden flute, Scottish bagpipes, concertina, uilleann pipes, warpipes and whistles. Versatile composer, performer and music producer David Hyams will be appearing with his Miles to Go Band. Loaded Dog’s repertoire is a mix of Australian folk ballads and original material that reflects Australian life. Steve and Ros Barnes play music that has been described as “folk/ acoustic/ jazz with Irish and country leanings”. Clarke’s Grey Vest may sound like the result of an under-achieving laundry detergent but it is, in fact, a trio comprising three top-line musicians, Dave Clarke, Peter Grayling and Rod Vervest, on mandolin, guitar, fiddle and cello. Bernard Carney, singer /wordsmith of international acclaim, is the musical director of the Working Voices social justice community choir which will also perform at the Festival. Acoustic guitarist Simon Nield sings and plays traditional Irish, classical Indian, pop, jazz and world music. Yarnspinner, bush poet and writer Roger Montgomery teams up with bass player / songwriter John Angliss and friends as Telescopic Roger; giving members of the audience introductions to stars other than those on the stage – and their versions of the first of the Goon Shows. Psallité – four voices in a cappella harmony will take audiences on a witty, warm and wonderful tour of Europe’s deep past. Tetrafide Percussion is a young contemporary percussion ensemble based in Western Australia which plays classical music with urban grooves and irresistible dance rhythms. Ngewell Kora, led by acclaimed musician, singer and dancer Ziggy Mabeye Diagne, performs traditional Senegalese dance and music. There will be rich voices and body percussion from the strictly men’s business Voicemale choir- who have an intriguing workshop entitled Coming out of the Shower”.

The Kids Festival is equally popular with parents and children alike – the daily 10am to 5pm Kids’ Festival offers the rare chance for children to experience live performances from different world cultures and to join in the joyous, creative process. Parents can leave behind the television, computer games and wails of “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!” and enjoy seeing the spontaneous creativity the Festival atmosphere generates in the small folk.
The Kids Festival runs a Yoga Garden, the popular Once Upon a Song interactive, dress-up music and storytelling experience, Preston’s Historic Punch and Judy show and the Warehouse Circus!
And for the youth audience there are street bands and choirs to join in with and the late- night acoustic venue AXIS! and a great performer list. The Mammals, described as “subversive acoustic traditionalists” (a string band augmented with drums and electric guitar), is where rock meets traditional Appalachian music. Tom Woodward is a local Canberra talent who doesn’t believe in wasting time, performing before audiences at fourteen and now with 500 songs under his belt and recent release Blue Day Requiem. Borderline Ceili; from Western Australia a beautiful blend of witty, bittersweet lyrics and soul-stirring guitar from Khin Myint and the exciting group Just Fiddling; Damien Howard & the Gentle Souls; slide guitarist Owen Campbell (winner of the 2006 Declan Affley Award); a meld of contemporary folk, gypsy and bluegrass with NSW group Pettibone and CC, accapela singer of traditional Irish, Scottish and English songs A special feature this year will be the hiJinxYouth Cabaret.

All these events are part of the 16-hours-a-day entertainment offered by the National Folk Festival – all for the price of one entry ticket. Generous discounts apply for visitors younger than seventeen and under-fives are free. The site is pram-friendly (as are most of the venues); there’s plenty of free parking and even a shuttle- bus to run you from your car right to the Festival gates. There are food stalls galore and an onsite supermarket. The Festival has a team of dedicated volunteers who keep the wheels running smoothly and ensure that you – and yours – have a time to remember.
It’s a Festival with the best on offer for everyone; for more information or to book tickets online got to www.folkfestival.asn.au , e-mail info@folkfestival.asn.au or call the team on 0262 49 7755.
MAKE EASTER YOUR NATIONAL HOLIDAY !

Belconnen Community Mural

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By Jan
The Belconnen Community Mural is sure to get plenty of approval from residents – after all, they designed it!
The project began last year as a proposal to repaint the three murals on the front of Belconnen Community Centre as part of marking the 40th birthday of Belconnen. 4 community artists have been engaged to work on the mural designs. They are Phil Nizette, Nasser Palangi, Duncan Smith, and Kurt Laurenson. All four have had extensive experience in producing public and community based art works, and have long term established links to Belconnen and the Community Centre.

There are 4 stages to the project:
Stage 1 – artists run workshops with the community, leading to draft designs
Stage 2 – the designs are presented for public comment
Stage 3 – panels are painted by the artists with community assistance
Stage 4 – mounting of the panels on BCC and launch

Chief Minister John Stanhope introduced the artists and the process at the Belconnen Festival launch on 26 October, 2006. The artists then worked with 120 community members in 13 different workshop groups to develop designs, concepts, photographs, and drawings. The designs have now been put into a composite image, giving an impression of how it will look on the wall at Belconnen Community Centre.
The painting and mounting of the panels will commence in early 2007, and the whole mural is expected to be completed by Easter. Belconnen Community Centre is delighted with the input from the community so far, and invite comment on the design drawing. Community members are also welcome and to participate in the painting of the murals. Please contact Jan the Community Arts and Culture worker at BCC to find out more.
Thanks especially to the ACT Government, which has given great support so far to the mural.