February-March Retrospective

The months of February/March this year mark a significant milestone as I reach my 65th year, five short of my biblical allocation. On  23rd February I celebrated  my 65th birthday and on 8th March I celebrated the 65th anniversary of my baptism.

This milestone is usually associated with  the transition to retirement, pensions, concessions and the status of a senior citizen. 

I have collected a series of plastic cards that affirm my status. I am a card carrying member of National Seniors Australia,  COTA, and as of now I carry my Qld Seniors Card with me for discounted public transport and other advantages listed in a handy booklet. Combined with my cinema cards I calculate my cost of living to be almost zero!!

Feature Photography for February-March

Additions to established albums

Social Media

Careering into the Future

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A good life is celebrated with rituals that mark significant milestones. Along with birthdays and commitments a rite of passage that many of us know is the ending of a career.

On April 6th  friends and people with whom I have journeyed gathered to celebrate my leaving Micah Projects after more than 11 years of advocacy and solidarity with Forgotten Australians, people who experience social,isolation as well as those who struggle to find a place in our culture and community.

The invitation to celebrations that went out through various networks included this amazing image that says much about my work and ethic. A few years ago I created “ Bananaman”, a promotional character for our fledgling social enterprise in South Brisbane. That enterprise now includes Hope Street Café.

The celebrations of farewell were led by people I have supported,  work colleagues, and members of the local West End Community.  As well as the obligatory speeches the ritual included a time of memories, cards and signing of the Banana suit. I am grateful to those who spoke, took pics and gathered for this rite of passage in  my 65th year.

 

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Nothing is quite as humbling as listening to other people speak of their memories of you. Work in the community sector can be demanding and  challenging as much as rewarding.  It is a diverse workforce that brings together people who can organise, strategize, plan, create, report, write grants, lobby,  budget, debrief, unpack, defuse, drive, intervene, document, and make a decent coffee.

The comments in memories and written on cards and the banana suit reminded me that I bring  a sense of  joy and  humour to  my work and life.  It probably isn’t one of the seven habits of highly effective people. It has been my strength and takes me back to a childhood memory. I was a at a footy match with a school friend when I over heard one of the parents say: “that Tony Robertson is a cheeky lad but you can’t help liking him”.

Bananaman has made  his curtain call.  The work of social change and advocacy includes wild humour, a good dose of eccentricity and a costume from eBay. The costume may be retired but the eccentricity and wild humour will continue in my work as a Community Jester.

 

January Retrospective

A New Year

2018 is one of those significant years in my life. I celebrate my 65th birthday which still marks a watershed moment for many as the era of  “retirement”, grandchildren and far less clubbing. I am considering a change in my workload and a simpler lifestyle. The “grandchildren” are borrowed from friends and clubbing has been  added to the agenda thanks to sharing a house as well as lots of time and friendship with a much younger housemate.

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights with an opportunity for everyone to contribute to a global campaign of awareness and solidarity.

The Calendar Storyboard

Despite the digital frontier I hold on to some  classic practices including  physical calendars. As a child I  learnt o check the days from the calendar my parents had in the living room. We grew up in a traditional Catholic Family where the Columban Calendar was the norm. As well as providing useful information on holidays and  saint days it served as a mini gallery of the European masters in our humble house.

In recent years I have attempted to be a little more frugal by recycling calendars where the year was a repeat. The 2007 calendar is a match for 2018 but I only had one in my set from the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters   Having space for 7 calendars can be a challenge but if you spread them between bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, study  and hallway you can create a pretty  colourful set of wall hangings.

 

Cinema

During the month I managed to get along to two cinema events:

I am Not Your Negro A powerful documentary about race

Cherbourg Women  Trailer A moving public viewing with Cherbourg Elders at Bunyapa Park in West End

 

Photography

Public art is more than decor. It educates, challenges, inspires, and amazes us. One of my commitments for 2018 is to share the art works I see in my daily travel.  This piece is in the foyer of the Mater Mother’s Hospital South Brisbane.

Churches are  a great source of inspiration for photography. I celebrated Christmas  with the Byzantine Catholic Community on January 7th

Invasion Day is an annual pilgrimage of justice and solidarity with the First peoples of the land.

 

Politics

Some pretty  vigorous discussion happened on my Facebook wall when I posted the following comment:

This government is bereft of morality, undeserving of respect, and callous in its commitment to abandon integrity. Those who hold membership or support the Liberal and National parties should hang their heads in shame for their failure to stem a culture of cruelty, abuse of human rights and failure to work for the Common Good of Australia.
Malcolm Turnbull Liberal Party of Australia #tonyrobertson

PM spruiks jobs for local manufacturers but Tim Costello of World Vision has previously attacked policy as ‘exporting death and profiting from bloodshed’
THEGUARDIAN.COM
 You can follow the discussion here.

 

Social Media

Although I have cancelled my Linkedin account I still get requests so if you sent a request please note this account is inactive.

Feature addition of the month was a new item to my Manhood Mates and Masculinity page.

There are a couple of clips from Invasion Day on my Youtube Channel and plenty of news on my Twitter account.

 January Odd Spot

Thanks to  Catholicism there is never a shortage of “odd spots” to lift the eyebrows.  This month the Catholic Leader takes the cake with a new year item, What Brisbane Catholics are reading this summer. Now you might wonder why not “What Brisbane Catholics are eating this summer” or “What Brisbane Catholics are drinking this summer”. However, the books won and 6 lucky contestants got a guernsey.  To their credit they gave four possies to women and only two to blokes. All  were “professional” Catholics and no one from an Indigenous or Non English speaking background.

The item itself was interesting with a broad range of texts and the usual suspects from the enclosed religious whose library probably doesn’t run beyond spiritual reading.   The story didn’t make the Twitter feed of the CL but it did make the Facebook feed.  The FB feed only attracted 9 likes and three shares. What is interesting is that not one of those interactions thought to add their reading selection to the conversation.

So, my summer reading in fact, part of my daily reading for the year: Classic Catholic with good wine.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

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A service held at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Fortitude Valley. 20 November 2017 for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Equal Voices Qld

Transspirit.org

Honouring transgender people in history

Faith resources

How can our government better support and foster human values?

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In the lead-up to the Queensland State elections on 25th November the Archdiocese of Brisbane has  launched a public forum inviting  discussion on public policy and Catholic values.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge encourages participation in these words:

” I warmly invite you to contribute your thoughts on the ways you believe the future Queensland Government could better support families, particularly those who support Catholic values. We would like to see improvements in learning and education from a future government that reflects the core values of decency towards Queenslanders. 

Your feedback can help to continue shaping an environment for our children, anchored among Catholic values that include respect for others”

 
The heading for the online forum points to “human values” yet the blurb invites a reflection on “Catholic values” This itself is a good starting point for conversation.  So, away you go. Let’s build this conversation. The link is here

Yes, November 2017

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“Yes” to Marriage Equality
“Yes” to Treaty with First Nations Peoples
“Yes” to ending off shore processing of refugees and asylum seekers
“Yes” to prison reform and restorative justice practices
“Yes” to economic justice and a living wage
“Yes” to environmental integrity and care for creation
“Yes” to inclusion and respect for differing abilities
“Yes” to a political culture that works for the common good
“Yes” to peace making rather than weapons and alliances with war makers
“Yes” to education that is creative, diverse and lifelong