Search Results: Gillian Bouras

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Ordinary heroes shine on suffering

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 28 January 2016
    9 Comments

    Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer often made his characters ask the eternal questions, chiefly Why do we suffer? I can't profess to have any answers to this, except that it is obvious that 'time and chance happeneth to all'. Two examples of such happenings are the huge numbers of ill-fated refugees fleeing Syria and other trouble spots, and the needless death of young Sarah Paino of Hobart, wife and mother, who was killed when a speeding stolen car crashed into hers.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Serpents dispersed by the Greek art of distraction

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 November 2015
    7 Comments

    In the midst of hard times Greeks are good at practising what I call the Noble Art of Distraction. Nina and I were walking one night when our attention was caught by impromptu music. 'That's Cretan,' announced Nina. It transpired that one of the young men of the neighbourhood was to get married, and had turned up in order to have his prenuptial close shave and a haircut. The barber and his mates had decided that the occasion could not go unmarked, and so the modest festivities began.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Zones of sacrifice in the Western Downs gasfield

    • Mark Copland
    • 01 November 2015
    10 Comments

    When Chinchilla farmer George Bender took his own life, it ended a ten year struggle with the coal seam gas industry that has wreaked havoc on his property and that of his neighbours. Despite mountains of paper regulations, despite a well-resourced Gasfield Commission and Gasfield Compliance Unit, people in the region feel abandoned. It seems that government bodies are enablers and facilitators of the industry rather than regulators and protectors of the people, the soil and the water.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My autistic superpower

    • Paul Micallef
    • 25 October 2015
    9 Comments

    My brain lacks a degree of 'pre-programming'. I am naturally open-minded and non-judgemental. When asked a question I immediately (often dispassionately) think of many possible solutions. This is great for questions like 'How can we improve this system?', and less good for questions like 'On which body part do you wear your pants?' The secret to learning social rules is in understanding emotions. Knowing what is 'appropriate' often comes down to how it makes the other person feel.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Pity abandoned on the banks of the Parramatta

    • Sarah Klenbort
    • 20 October 2015
    6 Comments

    A young man introduces himself: Ashley. He has sandy blond hair, a lithe body and an ease and grace with the kids. The lessons are free, but my daughter doesn't wait to for this explanation; she's already picked up a unicycle. 'You need a helmet first,' Ashley explains, and I tap my daughter's arm and sign, 'Helmet'. 'Does she read lips?' he asks. 'If you could just look at her when you're talking,' I say. 'Okay,' he says with the slightest trepidation. 'She's d-d-deaf and I have a stutter.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Learning how to die with chimera Montaigne

    • Patti Miller
    • 13 October 2015
    13 Comments

    I have always felt guilty about an inability to commit to any belief system. So when Montaigne said 'Only fools have made up their mind', I felt an enormous sense of relief. He knew that those who are certain are the ones to shut down newspapers, lop off heads, blow up planes, burn books. There is a thread throughout his essays, too, of him finding sex undignified and therefore unfitting for grown men and women. It is one of his many contradictions and confronts me with my own contradictory attitude.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Growing old in Australia is a difficult business

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 October 2015
    9 Comments

    Well, I know the dehumanising rot began to set in a long time ago. I have a vision of George Orwell sitting on a cloud and wringing his hands in renewed horror, for now the business model and associated language appears to have taken over the world. In short, the changes in aged care could be counterproductive, as the aims of streamlined access and equity may result instead in the development of barriers and more inequity. Growing old clearly means more hard work, and more adjustment.

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  • RELIGION

    The nun who couldn't say no

    • Philomena van Rijswijk
    • 11 August 2015
    12 Comments

    Our family life was fraught with conflict, centred on our parents' inability to cope with my father's serious mental illness. During the early years of her childhood, my sister was made my mother's intimate confidante. This was a time of anguish for Mum, about both her marriage and a series of tragic miscarriages. My sister left home when she was 14, and entered the juniorate on the way to becoming a nun.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Thoughts on a lonely God

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 09 August 2015
    12 Comments

    When my son was four, he asked me one night, 'Why did God make the world and us?' I nearly broke a plate while searching for an answer; in the event, he beat me to it. 'I think he did it because he was lonely.' Perhaps the great, 'blasphemous' Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis also considered the possibility of God's loneliness, for at one stage he wrote: 'My God and I are horsemen: we ride and converse.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Two goats, a sheep and Grexit

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 30 June 2015
    4 Comments

    In the early hours of Saturday, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had announced a referendum for July 5. Whether the average Spiro and Soula has much idea of the macroeconomic issues seems doubtful. I certainly haven’t. And there is not much time for them or me to learn. Spiro and Soula and I are naturally concerned about the supply of ready cash.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greeks suffer as leaders quarrel

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 22 June 2015
    6 Comments

    My youngest son, who lives in central Athens, is on the phone. ‘What do you think I should do with my money?’ he asks. The New York Times likens Europe and Greece to two prize-fighters, but I suspect that this is a male take on the matter. The women on the scene, Chancellor Angela Merkel and IMF chief Christine Lagarde, are more or less playing the part of the firm mother to naughty, quarrelling boys.  

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Speak of the Devil no longer

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 May 2015
    19 Comments

    The Death of God debate raged on and off several decades ago. Now it's the Devil's turn. Medieval clerics believed he was everywhere. Earlier this year the General Synod of the Church of England decided it was time for him to retire, and have 'disappeared' him. 

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