First of Advent 2014



Peter found a series of old German Christmas songs in the computer. It was very rewarding to be able to listen to all these songs while celebrating the First of Advent.

A picture from the computer of the Vienna Boy's Choir singing German Christmas songs.
A picture from the computer of the Vienna Boy’s Choir singing German Christmas songs.

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We listened to a lot of Christmas songs by different groups and artists. They all sang the German texts that we are still quite familiar with, bringing back memories to what it was like when we were children. Here some names of the songs: O Tannenbaum, O du fröhliche, Ave Maria, Kling Glöckchen kling, Leise rieselt der Schnee, and so on.

We had tea and German ‘Oblaten Lebkuchen’.

Then I could not help myself taking a few more pictures!






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“And when the mines are finished and the water is all gone we will be left with an arid desert.”
We should really know better than let it come to this!

Aussie Justice

This is not right….

Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD  OVH Repro's photo.
Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD  OVH Repro's photo.
Dr David Pascoe BVSc PhD  OVH Repro's photo.


We have posted a link to Peter Wellingtons (Qld Ind) page where he refers to the decision in Qld Parliament last night to give mining companies unfettered access to the water of the Great Artesian Basin.

It now seems clear that the plan of the Abbott Federal Government and both the Baird Government in NSW and the Seeney Newman Government in Qld is to mine all the productive farmland and give all the available water across to the mining and coal seam gas companies.

Since there are no genuine attempts being to help the tragic plight of our drought stricken farmers, it would seem that the next part of that plan to simply allow the banks to sell them off and…

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Christmas Party Time 2014



A lot of the party food had chicken in it. I tried to find food with no chicken. There were lots of sweets too. But I did not go for any sweets today. I had a cup of coffee though.

This cheese was very nice.
This cheese was very nice.
Marta proudly holds up some of the food that she had brought along.
Marta proudly holds up some of the food that she had brought along.
Edith as cheerful as ever.
Edith as cheerful as ever.
The song Feliz Navidad . I wish you merry Christmas :-)
The song Feliz Navidad .
I wish you a merry Christmas 
Whoever wanted to do some heart move exercises could join in.
Whoever wanted to do some heart move exercises could join in.
Ayleen's cousin Gary took this picture of Ayleen and me.
Ayleen’s cousin Gary took this picture of Ayleen and me.

Today, Thursday, we met for Marta’s class for the last time this year. There are no classes for December and January. The next heart move class is going to be on the first Thursday in February. Today I did not join in any of the exercises because of a sore knee. There is probably some kind of inflammation in the knee. I hope it is going to get better soon.

“Gee, I never dealt with that question before”: Philosophy for Children

“Over the years, the Philosophy for Children program has made its way into many schools as a means of encouraging thinking and promoting discussion. However, the program does not limit itself to reasoning only. It also seeks to encourage creativity and personal and interpersonal growth.”
This seems to be a very good program. It deserves to be promoted!

Site of Discovery and Wonder

Some years ago, Matthew Lipman, a professor at Columbia University, created the Philosophy for Children program.  The basic tenet was that children were born natural philosophers, and that many of their queries had philosophical import.   On the basis of that tenet, he created a curriculum dedicated to utilizing and developing children’s philosophical skills.  His first book, Harry Stottlemeier’s Discovery, proved enormously successful with 5th graders in a New York City school.  His project was quite ambitious, because philosophy encompasses such areas as:  ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, logic, foundations of mathematical and scientific principles, politics, and the law.

In 1973, Professor Lipman established the Institute for the Advancement for the Philosophy of Children at Montclair State College in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.  Using money from grants, he developed philosophical readings and exercises from K-12.  He also provided a comprehensive teacher’s manual with plans for discussions and future projects.

Dale Cannon…

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A Reblog of a Reblog

Last  year  Gerard Oosterman  published this blog:


“Australia’s Dilemma with Boat-people baffling the World”


I just came across this blog and ended up reading some of the comments with Gerards replies.  I think nothing much has changed since last year. We still have this terrible dilemma.

 Responses to “Australia’s Dilemma with Boat-people baffling the World”

  1. auntyuta Says:
    Why? Is it because we feel our way of life being threatened?
    Do we not spend billions to ‘protect’ our borders? What if this money or at least part of it could be spent to provide some simple housing for asylum seekers. What if we let these people work to build houses, infrastructure and to produce nourishing food, as well as build schools and do training of teachers for children as well as adults to learn English? Does anyone think these people are not capable of doing a day’s work? Why let them rot in camps without being able to work? It doesn’t make sense to me.
    There are many jobs in Australia that are nearly exclusively done by recent migrants from Asia and Africa. They are willingly and gladly doing these jobs for little pay which other Australians are not willing to do anymore!
    How much do people pay these so called people smugglers? Why don’t we go to Indonesia and tell these people instead of giving this money to people smugglers they can deposit it with an Australian Bank. Then they only have to apply for residence in Australia and in due time the Australian government is going to transport them to this country of their choice at no cost to them? If the application is not successful for some reason (maybe because they cannot provide sufficient papers?) then they can withdraw their saved money at any time. At least the the people smugglers would not get the money and these people would not risk being drowned at sea or their application not being successful after a hazardous journey. When Peter and I applied for migration to Australia from Germany in 1959 we were asked to come for an interview to the Australian embassy in Cologne. We had to bring our two babies along too when we talked to the Australian officer.
    Why cannot the same thing be done with prospective migrants in Indonesia?


    • gerard oosterman Says:
      Of course many could be settled here very comfortably. The political parties just use the boat people for political ends, whipping up xenophobia.
      Anyway, it seems the liberals have been snookered by the ALP in their own game. I think your idea to advice people to invest the money going to smugglers into an Australian Bank instead an excellent idea. It take an (ex) German to come up with practical workable solutions!  🙂


      • auntyuta Says:
        He, he, Gerard, this remains to be seen if anything like this would meet any government’s criteria!
        I just read what barrister and human rights advocate Julian Burnside has to say. He says boat arrivals are less than 0,7% of all yearly arrivals. To keep one person in detention for one year costs 200,000 $ in our cities and more then twice this in outback centres or off shore places. (I reckon Papua New Guinea might be a lot cheaper!)
        Burnside says after one month for security and health checks asylum seekers should be released into the community allowing them to work or to receive Centrelink benefits, settling them in regional centres who would gladly welcome the influx of people to these reginal towns who struggle to survive.


    • gerard oosterman Says:
      Yes, that would be common sense. But common sense seems to be in short supply. The difficulty seems to be to turn around peoples perception that the boat people numbers are not large, they are miniscule. It is not a real problem for such a country of ‘boundless plains’.


  2. roughseasinthemed Says:
    Can’t believe the white Australia policy is still going on. Amazing. I remember it from years back when my uncle was a ten pound pom and my partner and some of his mates from South Wales went in the late 70s. Then, to be fair, it did change and Redfern became full of Vietnamese.It’s one of the ironies of life that big countries are invariably underpopulated and small ones overpopulated. A generalisation, but living in the fifth most densely populated territory in the world, one that applies to me. If you look at Europe, Belgium, Netherlands, and to a lesser extent, the UK, are all relatively high up the list. Spain less so, like Australia, it has vast areas of country that have no people.When you start to look at bigger countries with a high population density, Bangla Desh comes first, followed by India, and then China. Bangla Desh isn’t that big, just the biggest that hits six figures in sq kms in the top 20. India makes top 50, and China is 83 in the rankings. The rest of the big countries are way down the list.

    Having said all that PNG is pretty low on the list 209, compared with Australia at 233.


    • gerard oosterman Says:
      The original White Australian Policy was abandoned officially in the seventies. The population now is very mixed and from just about all over the world, that’s why it is so ludicrous to be so worried about boat people in desperation trying to come here. We should be worried about their drowning but this is not the main concern which is a way over the top whipping up of xenophobia, being overrun by hordes of Afghans or Iranians, etc.
      We went to those countries waging dubious wars that made millions of refugees. When some in desperation try and come to Australia risking their lives, we make out as if they have evil intentions for Australia
      . Terrible.


      • roughseasinthemed Says:
        I should have added that every year there is an influx of raft people from Africa trying to get to Spain and thence to northern Europe for a better life. Or just anywhere really.What so-called developed countries (ie greedy capitalist ones) should do, is put some reasonable infrastructure in instead of going to war for oil, leaving the place a dog’s breakfast, and consider more environmental moves. In my dreams.


  3. berlioz1935 Says:
    Gerard, you are painting a good picture of the history of post-war immigration into Australia and the present sad state of affairs.Even the language they are using explaining the new measurements are offensive, like “this country has enough”. What about PNG? They soon will have enough of the asylum seekers.The “boat people” will get a culture shock. Perhaps this is intended. You are right, it can’t be the number of people that come. There is plenty of land that can be populated.

    You say, Australia is a huge country and “small” parts of it are as big as European countries. The problem with Australians is they have no idea how huge Australia is. When they go to school and they see a map of Australia the map is the same size as the map of any other country. Since we have no neighbours here we have no way comparing our country with another.

    The numbers in boat arrivals are minuscule. If we are worried about the drowning, as they say, they should go to Indonesia and pick the recognised refugees up and bring them here. I wrote to PM Gillard but got no response.

    When we came to Australia they came and picked us up (assisted migrants) and we were economic migrants. We all want a better life, what is wrong with that? Didn’t the Angle-Saxon go to Britain for a better life?

    Contracting out the asylum seekers is cheaper. To hell with the consequences for them and the people of PNG. The shock of the new measure “might” do the trick and it will reduce the boat arrivals.

    And you asked, why? Because we stole the country in the first place and we don’t want to share it with others. The population has increased despite ourselves. We are racist, but we will not admit it.


  4. gerard oosterman Says:
    Yes Berlioz 1935.
    Back in those days the Australian Government were advertising overseas to try and entice people to migrate. Now many are coming out of a much greater need. The need to survive and escape terrible wars.
    I can’t believe some of the dreadful comments in the media. Many boat people have drowned and are still drowning and it is made out as if this is some ploy by them to gain a better outcome or more sympathy.
  5. And on it goes . . . .

Edit This

2 Responses to “A Reblog from 22nd of July 2013”

  1. stuartbramhallJuly 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm Edit #

    Australia has long had a deplorable record in their dealings with refugees. As a member of the child and adolescent faculty of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, I supported a formal protest to the Australian government about the abusive treatment of child refugees in Australian detention centres.

    • auntyutaJuly 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm Edit #

      Thanks for this, Stuart. I wished that more could be done for these children. At the moment we are very upset, shocked and sad about the loss of life in that terrible airline crash over the East of Ukraine.
      I blame the companies who produce these extremely dangerous weapons. There is always the danger they end up with people who make horrible, horrible mistakes! I really do not know how anyone can be convinced to gain something positive out of these weapons. Why do they think they have to produce them? 😦

Diary from 16th November 2013

This is what I wrote last year:


More than a week ago Super Typhoon Haiyan went on its way across the Philippines. Three islands of the Philippines suffered catastrophic damage. Many aid organisations in lots of countries immediately organised aid transports to the Philippines. However the aid to the worst struck areas arrives for the survivors of the typhoon only slowly. Too great is the destruction on these islands. This makes the transport of these aid supplies very difficult.

Some people say there have always been typhoons and bush-fires. Of course this is true. But did they always occur with such frequency and severity? Do these people really believe that our way of life does not make any difference at all?

These days all first world countries have an extremely high standard of living. Would it really hurt us people in first world countries very much if we all cut back a bit on carbon emissions? Some economies in some first world countries may suffer a bit from time to time. But do we really make it a better world and a better society by spending more and more? I do not say we should not spend on ourselves anything extra at all. For Christmas for instance it is important for the economy that people should spend a bit extra. However I do not see that there has to be an increase in last year’s Christmas spending. Why not aim for a slight decrease? Why does there always have to be an increase? I don’t get it.

And here my thoughts on our Aid Budget in Australia: Why do we have to reduce it? Are we really so bad off that we cannot afford the previous level any more? And why is our Defence Budget so much more important than our Aid Budget?

Edit This

4 Responses to “Diary, Saturday, 16th November 2013”

  1. berlioz1935November 17, 2013 at 10:46 am Edit #

    “Are we really so bad off that we cannot afford the previous level any more? ”

    Good question Aunty Uta. We are the worlds riches nation per capita. During the GFC our wealth has increase under a Prime Minister people say he was no good. We halved our aid budget and doubled our defence budget in percentage terms.

    We gave Sri Lanka two patrol boats not to defend their country against an enemy but to stop people running away from their country, to Australia, because of an oppressive regime. We abolish the Science Ministry and sack researchers by the hundreds. We don’t want to know about climate change.

    For the people of the Philippines it will be a meagre Christmas.

  2. gerard oostermanNovember 18, 2013 at 9:16 am Edit #

    Yes, Abbott likes to abolish everything in sight. You wonder about giving naval vessels to the Shri Lanka regime who are thought to have killed 100.000 of its own people. At least the UK prime minister David Cameron, also a liberal (Tory), is asking for an inquiry into possible human rights abuses.

  3. likeitizNovember 19, 2013 at 5:47 pm Edit #

    Good question, Aunty. Is Australia also messed up when it comes to its finances? Over here, we are in terrible shape. It’s such a shame.

    • auntyutaNovember 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm Edit #

      We are the envy of the world, Mary-Ann, because we survived the GFC without any major problems. However our new government keeps telling the people we are in bad shape. You can always frighten people with talk like this. Everybody is scared to be worth off in future. Of course some people at the bottom have it pretty tough. It seems to me so far not many fall into this category here in Australia.