Search Results: Gillian Bouras

  • INTERNATIONAL

    Colouring the fading customs of a Greek Lent

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 March 2014
    6 Comments

    The 'Lenten Lady' has no mouth, because Lent is not a time for eating. Her hands are demurely crossed on her breast, for it is a time for prayer and self-examination. And she has seven feet: every Saturday, with one week elapsed, housewives would cut one foot off, with the last cut off on Holy Saturday. This custom is very old, and supposedly Greece-wide, but neither I, my Peloponnesian children nor my Cretan daughter-in-law knew of it.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Old age is not for sissies

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 05 February 2014
    10 Comments

    London journalist Adrian Gill refers to the 'incremental shutdown' of old age, British Prime Minister Disraeli, who died at the age of 77 after a life of great and varied achievement, stated that old age was a regret, while noted Hollywood star Bette Davis roundly declared 'Old age is no place for sissies.' In rural Greece, it is considered shameful to instal an old relative in a home, and most aged people see their days out amid their family.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Greek and American barbarians

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 11 December 2013
    7 Comments

    I knew nothing about Kavafis until I came to Greece, but his presence in my mental and literary life is one of the many presents migration has given me. He was part of the cultivated Greek diaspora in Alexandria, where he spent most of his life working at his day jobs: those of journalist and civil servant. He was a relentless perfectionist who polished and reworked his 154 poems, which were read initially only by his friends.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Greek consolations in stone

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 November 2013
    9 Comments

    Although the tourist season in Greece was better than expected, there is otherwise not much cause for cheer. PM Antonis Samaras says recovery will take six years: other people are more pessimistic. Suicide rates have risen alarmingly in a country where formerly they were very low. The youth continue to seek opportunities elsewhere. Strikes and demonstrations occur regularly. In the midst of it all, a new statue appeared in the city of Kalamata.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Blessed are the whistleblowers

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 02 October 2013
    12 Comments

    The International Day of Non-Violence on 2 October coincides with the birthday of Gandhi, who pioneered the concept of political non-violence and the notion of passive resistance, and paid the highest price for his moral choices. A great many people, like Gandhi, desire a non-violent world, in which whistleblowers and thoughtful, idealistic individuals are honoured rather than punished.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hostages freed to forgive

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 August 2013
    6 Comments

    Forgiving and forgetting are weighty matters. It is unlikely, for example, that Judith Tebbutt and Nigel Brennan, both of whom were held hostage in Somalia, will ever be able to forget their experiences of prolonged isolation, near starvation, and threats of death. Yet both have achieved a kind of forgiveness via the effort to understand their captors' lives.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bookworm skinned by kin and Kindle

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 17 July 2013
    23 Comments

    Knowing I was going to spend six months in Greece, I arranged for a trunk of books to be sent over. My illiterate mother-in-law was stupefied: 'So many books! Can't you sell some of them?' I should have known she'd react like this, as during her one visit to Melbourne she'd told me roundly that too much reading was the cause of my prematurely grey hair and my need to wear glasses.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The imperfect mother

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 08 May 2013
    5 Comments

    My mother came to stay for a week after my eldest was born. She cooked, cleaned, showed me how to manage the basic baby-care routines. I felt utterly desolated when the time came for her to leave. 'Do not worry. You are perfectly capable of looking after this baby,' she said. I didn't believe her. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greece's brush with linguicide

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 17 April 2013
    8 Comments

    The label 'crazy script' really infuriated me. The article suggested the Irish were all the better for having parted with their own 'crazy' Gaelic script in the 20th century. But an attack on a culture's language is an efficacious way of destroying the culture itself, and scrapping an alphabet seemed to me to be the thin edge of the wedge.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Agnostic prayers for an infirm infant

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 March 2013
    15 Comments

    Orestes was found to have a malformed oesophagus and, at the age of only 19 hours, underwent a two and a half hour operation. I'm what Patrick White might call a 'lapsed egotist agnostic pantheist occultist existentialist would-be though failed Christian Australian'. But if I have ever prayed, I prayed that night.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The lost art of posting a letter

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 February 2013
    10 Comments

    She was about to post some letters in the box near her house when a car drew up: a man leaned out and asked if he could watch, as he'd never seen anyone post a letter before. 'How many?' he asked. When she said, 'Six,' he drove away, shaking his head.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Winter of Greece's discontent

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2013
    6 Comments

    I have always felt safe in Athens, but recently, while travelling in a crowded train, I was jostled by several large young men. When I alighted, feeling more than a little shaken, I discovered that my wallet was missing from my bag. There have long been beggars in Greece, but now there are many more, and of a new type.

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