Anzac Biscuit is the bush telegraph of the broadband cable for cockatoos needing some thought provoking escapism from the authorities of the Australian government, corporate, media, legal, arts and education landscapes.

The term 'bush telegraph' originated in
Australia, probably influenced by
'grapevine telegraph'. That referred to the
informal network that passed information
about police movements to convicts who
were hiding in the bush. It was recorded in 1878 by an Australian author called Morris:

"The police are baffled by the number and activity of the bush telegraphs."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Memories of Heidi, Carmena and Nico

‘A Disability is a Special Ability’ by Michel Paul Tuomy & the staff from Neami It takes a lot of understanding for a person living with a disability, whether it is a mental disability or a physical disability, to overcome the difficulty and stigma of living with their condition. A disability restricts a person from leading a carefree life where one can go where they want, when they want. And subsequently hinders one’s ability to orient oneself, to lead an emotionally fulfilling life. The humdrum of leading a normal life gets to us all, the drudgery of working nine to five, whether you are a blue or white collar worker, can wear one’s patience thin, but most of us bare through the tough times. To imagine you had a disability, consider your tough times, were too tough for you to get through. You may lose your job or a loved one may fall ill, leading you to quit your nine to five job. After the hardship of a normal life, you pick yourself up off the mat, and you get a new job or your relative’s health improves, or you may go through the pain of a loved one’s bereavement. Without a disability life goes on, you overcome the hardship of distressing emotions, which make up any of one of life’s setbacks. One goes through the pain but through enduring life with the support of family and friends, we pick ourselves up off the canvas and ‘keep fighting’. There’s a certain continuum about life – like in contemporary society which has a spotlight on a celebrity in the public eye falling from grace through a sexual or criminal misdemeanour, they go through the burden of falling from grace but life goes on and they are back up on their pedestal to the respect and ‘adulation’ of the readers’ of contemporary media. Taking a title from the ABC program Australian Story – my Australian Story is a battle with the mental illness Schizophrenia, a word I steer away from because medically, in psychiatry there is no definitive cure, the medication I am on is called Clopine, which as my former psychiatric nurse Andy says is the best drug for people living with my condition. My illness, alas is a family condition, as I shared this debilitating illness with my father Kevin, so I had a relationship to the disease in my childhood, adolescence and young adult years; before I suffered from my mental illness in my early thirties. As a child I remember my Dad coming home from work, sitting in the lounge room speaking about his fear that one of his bosses were going to drive down our street and find that he had come home early or had syphoned petrol from his company car into our mother’s car to save money as my father and my mother battled to pay off our family house mortgage. Writing this article today and sharing some of my ‘family secrets’, the feelings of the despair about the past and the nervousness of the plans I have for the future as a writer and artist, make me feel sullen for firstly my deceased parents, then warmness to my relationship to my sister who is the only nuclear family I have remaining. The power of expression, whether it is art, in writing or in music, is a skill that is recognised in today’s mental health services, by mental health consumer bodies like Neami National. If you are unfamiliar with this organisation this is a description of Neami National, taken from their website - Neami National is a community-based mental health service supporting people living with mental illness to improve their health, to live independently and pursue a life based on their own strengths, values and goals. As I am now considered ‘recovered’ by my Neami National community health worker, I have exited the Neami service, despite me believing I have recovered to a point where I am socially functional and following my dreams in the arts, I still have to continue with psychiatric care. While I consider that I no longer have schizophrenia, I still have to continue seeing my doctor and medical treatment team, to avoid a relapse. This is something I try to do willingly because I can remember the times when I had this illness and was socially inept, like on the occasion when I was incapable of attending my sister’s 40th birthday. I remember being disheartened when my sister returned home from her 40th birthday celebrations and her telling me so many people were upset because they wanted to talk to me after so many years. I recall the thoughts in my head and the feelings in my heart staying with me for days, me with schizophrenia unable to deal with my disappointment – caught in my own mental and emotional bubble to which I could not let anyone in. A mental and emotional bubble for people with a medtal illness? I believe this is the state of flux that all people with a mental illness live within – traversing emotions that sometimes and sometimes not get processed, according to the severity of their condition. I recall last year’s local Doncaster Neami branch Christmas Party, in the tranquil surrounds of one of the parks in the municipality of Manningham, whose motto is half city half country. While we all were enjoying ourselves ‘in half city half country’ with the good company playing games and celebrating the festive season, I looked at the Neami clientele and realised I no longer fitted in, as I could see for most of the people in attendance, they were in their personal life’s, still caught in the mental and emotional bubble, like t mental health is so much better now that I had my first paid occupation in ten years, to which he refrained, “We are all social creatures.” I now consider we, social creatures hopefully on an unbroken mental and emotional lifestyle, not an emotionally divorced mental rollercoaster. Having let the light in on my understanding of mental illness, what is my understanding of the mental and emotional bubble for people living with a physical disability? I’ll share an example of a birthday party I attended for a man with cerebral palsy who was confined to a wheel chair. Another man in a wheel chair with the same condition was waiting to give his present to the birthday boy, so feeling I could help what I thought were his nerves in approaching the birthday boy, I introduced myself and said come on I’ll take you up to him, to which he explained, no he is feeding I must wait. Through this interaction I knew instantaneously that this man knew his condition better than I did – he enlightened me to his condition and I thus felt emotionally caring. This man knew his disability better than I, he had a certain specialness about his disability, a specialness that made me realise despite his physical difficulty, he was more emotionally aware of his condition than I realised, he had a special ability, that overcame in his character his physical disability. In my opinion stigma still defines ‘a special ability as a special disability’, like that stigma portrayed by young American songstress Miley Cyrus. he one I know so well. I also recall the conversation I had with the Neami Branch Manager. I said myForget the tweaking of Miley, Miley made derogatory public comments about one of her idols, the Irish artist Sinead O’Connor’s battle with depression, to which the Irish singer defended with hostility. Like the racism retort of the young Collingwood supporter against the Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, where Adam said it was not the young Collingwood supporter’s fault. The Miley-Sinead incident, highlights what is special about ‘a disability’ that I now call a ‘special ability’, a mental and emotional recognition and response to one’s life long personal condition. ‘Memories of Johanna’ by Michel Paul Tuomy for Kelly Slater AND Eddie Aikua Recalling the magic of my favourite surf break, makes a middle aged man like myself yearn for those unforgettable days of youth and young adulthood, when the only thing on my and my surfing mate’s minds, was which surf break was peeling the best under the conditions that ‘the surf god Huey’ had given us, given us our daily bread of waves! In my University years as the Victorian correspondent journalist for Tracks my recollections of a magic beach break Johanna, a revered surf break between Apollo Bay and the ‘Twelve Apostles or contemporarily what is left of this famous landmark - the Seven Apostles’, the story actually begins at the more known surf break of Winkipop – the much cherished neighbour of the famous Bells Beach. I was enjoying an offshore 3 to 4 foot swell at Winkipop when one of the hot local surfers Glen Close paddled next to me to take me to task for an article I wrote as the Victorian correspondent journalist. Apparently the local surfers ‘Down South’ wanted my blood for writing about Johanna – one of their sacred surf places, which they wanted to keep to themselves. To explain to non- Victorian’s Down South are the surf breaks which are beyond what is today called the Surfcoast Shire on the Great Ocean Road, I made quite a clear statement to ‘Closey’, that they had no issue with me because Johanna was publicised some Easter’s as an alternative venue for the Rip Curl Pro and he agreed I was being, to use a legal term – unfairly verbalised. So having already settled this issue, in the Winkipop carpark I was approached by another ‘local Torquay legend Simon Buttonshaw’. Simon is known for designing all the classic boardshort print’s for QUIKSILVER in the 80’s that were the big seller of the day that put Quiksilver on the world map as far as casual street fashion goes. Yet just as the lady who created B1 and B2 for ABC television – a famous children’s tv show with much on merchandising – Simon was only paid a wage and didn’t earn what should have gone his way for creating the iconic Quiksilver boardshort range. He led the inspired life a great painter, art being his passion, like I as a ‘great writer’ (ha ha), is my creative passion. Standing on the cliff overlooking Winkipop, Simon spoke to me and my best surfing buddy Marty Taube for three hours, intensely interested in who we were and what our ambitions were as young men in life. Like ‘Closey’ Simon didn’t like the threat of violence that I was facing and acted wisely as an elder statesman of the Surf Coast community. So with this background set, let’s take our boards and head ‘Down South’ for my first memory of Johanna. An evening sunset, with three surfers out, my mate Marty, myself and hot surfer from the ‘70’s Wayne Lynch – I recall paddling out for the last wave, watching the magic artistry of Wayne Lynch deep inside a barrel – the evening light reflecting on the shadows of a tube – Lynchy deep inside the green room! My second memory of Johanna is a family one, not my own family but that of my best surfing mate Marty Taube, where I was treated like a brother and family member. I write Martin’s surname because it is of European heritage, and many of my best surfing friends families came from Europe. I think on the great island continent Narana, the Torres Strait name for Australia that we call home, my closest friends were of families who settled in our country, escaping the autrocities of World War 2. I believe this because I enjoyed the cosmopolitian culture of their personalites from far away lands. We the Taube/Tuomy men pitched a large tent, under which we ate lunch – german rye loaf, pastrami, cheese and Avjar – an Eastern European style Taco sauce – all prepared by Marty’s sister Melanie and mum Imara. Some cherished family friendship memories. Now as a screenwriter and writer for theatre, I recall calling my Blue Healer after the famous French Canuck writer Jack Kerouac. Not wanting to insult my literary idol, I could not call a dog after such a brilliant writer, as I saw it as an insult, so I took Jack’s name and called my loyal four legged friend ‘Lumberjack’, my four legged friend Jack Kerouac in spirit! My memory of Johanna with Lumberjack was after a memorable session in six feet of uncrowded Johanna perfection, I called Lumberjack’s name and out of the high grass Lumberjack’s head appeared, the little bugger had rolled himself completely in cow dung/shit! A frown came across my face and I berated Lumberjack. Next to my car was that of a farmer and he was laughing heartily at my indignation of my man’s best friend, telling me his farm cattle dog’s love rolling themselves in cow dung. To which I said yes but you don’t have to drive four hours back to Melbourne with the dirty little rascal! On the way home along the Great Ocean Road with Marty and Lumberjack, after partaking in a ‘social drug ritual’ on the shores of Johanna, we turned to see Lumberjack with a towel around his head, the towel seemingly as a hood worn by a nun or priest, in the back of my HG Holden Stationwagon the bloody dog staring at us, and as a friend of mine who believed he heard Humphrey B. Bear speak, we saw Lumberjack as the re-incarnation of Mother Theresa – an invocation I’m not sure because of our drug taking my staunchly strict Irish Catholic Grandfather would have approve of – maybe as he was a portrait painter who studied at The London School of Art in the 1920’s and as his closest artistic friend and collegue Irish’s greatest writer James Joyce – would Grandpa Kevin and James in spirit may forgive me and my best mate Marty’s reckless search for a sojourn with youthful adventurous lust. I don’t think our vision of Mother Theresa would be anointed by the Vatican, but maybe it may make Pope Francis smile mischeviously.  People travel to Europe for culture and history, but in Australia normal beach goers aren’t aware of the history of our coastline like surfers are. A close work collegue of mine George says surfer’s which he calls ‘surfing serpernts’ are the people who respect and are aware of the history of Indigenous Aborignal culture because in the coastal wilderness we respect where we surf, more than other Australians who enjoy the coastline without being spiritually aware of an appreciation of the history of our historic surrounds. My mate elder filmmaker Robert C. Bundle was talking of a film his production company was making for the National Indigenous Television Network, when describing the plot he came to the end of his story, but looking into his eyes, I saw his story’s narrative ended short of it’s spiritual home. Meaning to say his story was taking a traditional track in the stories narrative plot, but the track to his people’s meeting place was spiritually cut short but still alive cherishingly in his imaginative reality. My final Johanna memory, sitting out the back with Marty Taube at Johanna waiting for the next set to come through, I spoke to Marty, then we looked at each other and simultaneously spoke, “We didn’t need to speak because, enthralled in the natural surrounds of a deserted beach, we already knew what each other was thinking. An experience, maybe a psychic connection to the first people’s memory of Johanna, the Kulun Nation alive in the aspiration and imaginations of two young surfers. A memory Marty and I still cherish today calling our spiritual connection to land ‘The Johanna Synchrinicity Surf Watchers’. Michel Paul Tuomy is a former journalist @ Tracks and screenwriter of a film in pre-production ‘Corroboree Our Meeting Place’ To read the screenplay sends your email to ‘A Declaration from Delhi to Canberra’ by Michel Paul Tuomy for his young wife drinking a Gin & Tonic Last month In Delhi India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama convened a meeting of the leaders of nine spiritual traditions which are practiced in India. A written note by the Dalai Lama was given to each spiritual leader and their followers, the note expressing ‘The Delhi Declaration’, what the Dalai Lama hoped would be achieved for further discussion in our contemporary world. “Followers of all spiritual traditions try in their own ways to overcome the suffering that afflicts beings in the world and to bring about their happiness. However, it would be better if we worked together to fulfill such aspirations.” On the agenda of the two day meeting, where spiritual leaders worked together with ‘a congregation of their flock’, were pressing issues to our contemporary world, most pressing to the International and Australian governments - counteracting violence committed in the name of religion. We would only have to read the pages of a newspaper such as this, to consider the threat that the Islamic State poses to peace in our contemporary world. I feel a pertinent question that should be asked is - how could this group of ‘spiritual folk’ in a far off land like India, give hope for resolution of this conflict with Islamic State a radical branch of one world faith? Of course it is not up to such spiritual leaders to settle political conflict, that unenviable task rests with our national political leaders, governments and our representatives in the United Nations. However the power of prayer and religious dialogue, should neither be shunned as esoteric and being of no value to offering inspiration in the resolution of world conflicts. What can leaders of religion offer their political representatives as hope in a time of crisis? One delegate can give some insight to ‘The Delhi Declaration’, who thanked the Dalai Lama for entitling the conference “A Meeting of Diverse Spiritual Traditions of India” rather than “Religious” traditions. What is the pertinence of the distinction in contemporary times between spiritual and religious traditions? I recall one of my Tibetan Buddhist teachers, Traleg Rinpoche giving a lecture in New York, where he addressed the topic, ‘Reading Ancient Scriptures with a Modern Mind’. Here Traleg Rinpoche expressed the belief that in modern times readers of ancient texts like the bible, the Buddhist dharma or other religious texts of law - should relate to the commonality of ascetic practice. As Traleg Rinpoche alluded to, the ascetics who wrote our religious doctrine used their common spiritual experiences as inspiration for their religious oral words that came before the words of religions were written. One should take heart in this spiritual commonality, rather than using religious doctrine as the word that sets religious radicals against the hand of the National and International laws, which are currently attempting to maintain peace on our planet. Also present at last month’s ‘The Delhi Declaration’ was the head of the Kagyu School, the teaching lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, the Karmapa who made this relevant comment, “We have been talking about the difference between religion and spirituality. I think all religions began from spirituality, because those who became founders did not just have philosophical views, but they had experiences: actual, lived experiences. I think we need to pay more attention to experience.” As a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner of over fifteen years, the Karmapa’s prophetic words resonate with the flavor of Tibetan Buddhist teachings. For those of other faiths who are unfamiliar with Tibetan Buddhism, I mean to say by this, is that the Karmapa’s comment infers that in life we must concentrate on our experiences that lead us from political samsaric life, a life where people of different philosophies have conflicts which lead to war, into a unified peaceful world like that aimed for by the contributors in last month’s ‘The Delhi Declaration’. I recall the picture of Prime Minister Tony Abbott standing on the tarmac, conveying his best wishes and intentions to our fighter pilots before they left on a tour of duty. I honour the responsibility that our Prime Minister and our service people have with the IS epidemic in Iraq and Syria, and those of our security forces on home shores who must stop those recruited from our own citizenship to defend IS overseas. I’m sure our international leaders are like our Catholic Prime Minister, in a quiet moment, sending prayers of their own faith for our soldiers to come home and our misguided minority of Islamic citizens from not entering foreign conflict. The Dalai Lama made the statement, “Some historians say that 200 million people were killed in the 20th century as a result of wars and violence. The 21st century must become the century of peace.” Taking this statement as the ethos of ‘The Delhi Declaration’ to Canberra, where unlike the Indian government the IS threat isn’t on their own shores, like recruited insurgents are on own shores, I have hope and sincere belief that, like the Dalai Lama says, this will be our century of peace. I recall an anecdote from India with an Australian story, a train ride through India in the late 1990’s, which became known as ‘The Peace Train.’ A train ride of Indian spiritual/religious leaders, in the name of the freedom of practicing faith, inspired after an Australian missionary husband and wife, were killed by Hindu extremists because they fed their Christian converts meat, an action considered against Hindu fundamentalists. I still send prayers to the family of this couple. Yet in these times where troubles permeate, at still the foundation moments of our 21st century, I believe we must consider the sentiments of ‘The Delhi Declaration’ for the future of our world, my belief inspired by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, that we are entering an age, where all world faiths will live in harmony together. I Imagine on ‘A Canberra Declaration’ where our spiritual leaders and people of all world faiths draw together, in the name of our free way of life, which our government is doing the best it can in International diplomatic and military partnership, to defend and protect. Michel Paul Tuomy is a playwright and screenwriter, one current project is ‘On Dalai Lama Avenue’. ‘Australia Day a True Blue Day to Remember’ By Michel Paul Tuomy Australia Day is a day for mainstream Australia to celebrate everything that is grand about our nation. The yachts on Sydney Harbour, watched over by the throngs of our people who flock to the best vantage spot to take in the spectacular scenery. And across our country families and friends come together for barbecues, as former Prime Minister John Howard famously said to be relaxed and comfortable. But how do we make this joyous day for mainstream Australia into a day for our original Indigenous Australians? An Australia Day which is an inclusive day for our Indigenous population and those of us who support our original people’s struggle for recognition and human rights. Aggrieved Australian Aborigines have two names for Australia Day – Invasion Day and Survival Day. Personally I find Survival Day a more appropriate term for Australia Day than Invasion Day. Did the British and subsequently other cultures like Irish convicts and settlers, or the Chinese in the gold rush invade Australia? Considering that our Aboriginal people had lived upon our land for sixty thousand years without contact with ‘white civilisation’, I can understand how sections of our aggrieved and politically wanton indigenous population call our national day Invasion Day. I steer away from the term Invasion Day, because I believe cultural migration, like that which has built today’s multi-cultural society, is reflective of the human trait to ‘discover’ and inhabit other lands. Yet I do sympathise and understand the term Invasion Day, because the official term for our national day Australia Day fails in my opinion to properly recognise our first people’s ownership of their land. I also believe when the British came to Australia, they were a ‘less civilised civilisation’, than that of our Indigenous Aboriginal population that practice corroboree and had an understanding to land that was more advanced than those British that came to conquer the first people. I was recently speaking to a friend of mine who is an Indigenous Aboriginal elder up north, Larrakia elder Rob Mills, who I know to be a very laidback and intelligent person, who conducts cultural tours on his land and who also is a quite prolific musician. On Rob’s website there is a photo of him placing his hand in front of the face of a whitefella, unfamiliar with this custom I asked him whether he was a Christian and he was baptising the whitefella into his culture? My friend Rob became very angry and showed me a side of his personality that I had never seen before - anger and indignation that he felt for all the wrongs cast against his people. When I asked what the custom was really about, Rob calmed down very quickly, due to the trust in our relationship. Rob told me placing a hand in front of someone’s face, was up in his country a greeting when his people met people whom they had not met before, a sign for peace and trust. Now recalling Noel Pearson’s recent eulogy at Gough Whitlam’s funeral, I felt a sense of pride for black Australia. Noel Pearson was a man who took his ‘moment in the sun’ to recall the principals of the Whitlam Government that were the first government to really champion Indigenous Aboriginal rights. And forty years on from the Whitlam government of which Noel Pearson spoke of the struggle for recognition which still continues today. Considering my friend Rob Mill’s anger and Mr. Pearson’s eulogy to Prime Minister Gough Whitlam - how could we continue to build bridges, so we can truly celebrate our nationhood on our national day of Australia Day? On my birthday on Thursday December 10th 2009, with my sister I attended a talk at the Melbourne Convention Centre by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The following day the date on the front page of ‘The Age’, read not Friday December 11th 2009, but Friday November 11th 2009 – giving us a second Remembrance Day in that year. The possibilities of having two Rememberance Days in Australia? An International Rememberance Day for November 11th to recall with solemn requiem Armistice Day to end World War 1. And to my understanding a January 26th Australia Day - Survival Day to be known as ‘Australian Remembrance Day’. So we can consider with respect the wrongs cast against our original people and also consider with respect the character of their nation and the nation of which we have together grown to become. January 26th each year– not Australia Day, Invasion Day or Survival Day – rather Australian Remembrance Day - a true blue day for our original indigenous Aboriginal and all inter-cultural peoples. Michel Paul Tuomy is a Melbourne screenwriter of a film in pre-production ‘Our Corroboree Meeting Place’.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Australian's all let us rejoice for as James Joyce's family was always young and free our family's are rejoicingly young and free. With golden soil and wealth for toil our home is Iluka's by the sea. Our land's abound in nature's gifts of beauty rich and rare, in joyful strains let us sing Advance Australian family values and fair play ideals. Our land abounds in nature's gifts of beauty rich and rare. In history's page at every stage Advance Australian family values and fair play ideals.