Susie Dunn – Incremental Plus

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Well, 2017 isn’t a Leap Year, but we did gain an extra second. Let’s call it an incremental plus …

Idon’t know how you feel, but last year I lost so much time sitting in traffic jams, mostly in Sydney and on the Pacific Highway. I guess some self-help gurus could say this is a wonderful opportunity to say “om”, perhaps rough out notes for a thesis, listen to soothing music or contemplate the great questions of life. But we don’t seem to do those things. We fume. And fuming isn’t good for us. Another tick for commuting times here.

If there’s any economic buffeting from national and world events ahead, a strong region is obviously better placed to handle it. Everyone matters. Our success involves absolutely everyone contributing to it in their own way, not just a few while others stand by. Keeping our leaders on their toes is very important.

A reliable water supply for Guyra surely should be high priority. It’s on Adam Marshall’s list, and it’s a basic human need. Guyra certainly works at promoting itself, and its January Lamb and Potato Festival has long been stand-out fun. Many people are hoping that the bike trail along the old railway line will draw a whole new following if realised.

But overall, let’s get the word out on what we have here and how we’re using it. It’s rare that we get much publicity, except for such infuriating condescension as the sniping about relocating the PVMA here from Canberra – an eminently justifiable move. Let’s send out a stream of hard-hitting, good news stories in 2017 that stake our claim to serious consideration.

The drive to create a dictionary of Anaiwan words deserves local attention (Google Anaiwan Language Revival Program). There’s currently a resurgence of interest in Aboriginal languages around Australia, with a growing understanding of their symbolic and practical importance to those whose ancestors created and used them. Recognition of and pride in the history of the past builds confidence and connection to country in today’s world. Our identity is part of us all.

One interesting survey that caught my eye before Christmas was commissioned by the accounting software company Xero and conducted by Galaxy. In good news for retailers, it found that while online businesses had undoubtedly changed the overall way business is done, 70 percent still want to feel clothes, try them and check their quality before they buy. Worry about card use online plus getting help from salespeople and enjoying particular atmospheres can complete the experience. So this survey currently showed what seems a good balance, providing comfort for those who know and work their market. UNE’s new Business Incubator will be interesting to watch.

Now we are between Christmas and Easter, I’d like to join those who are wishing for a simpler approach without the long, relentless commercialisation that exhausts us long before actual events. I loved the peaceful time I spent in the Uniting Church listening to carols, interspersed with some readings. With, I believe, an ecumenical choir of 60, a big organ, drums and 4 trumpets, it was special.

Doesn’t Halloween seem a cynical commercial bonanza, rather than any symbolism that is really relevant to us? Who goes back to the core reasons for festivals that make sense of them? Apparently there is a city in China making the world’s Christmas decorations and the workers have no idea what (if anything) they represent and aren’t in the least interested in finding out.

Everyone’s taste in music is different, from January’s Jimmy Barnes led Day on the Green at Petersons to the celebration of sadly the last opera performance by our own local Opera New England at the Hoskins Centre. Susannah was written “as a voice against religious intolerance and is set in Midwest America during the 1950s”.  This local company of dedicated people has called time after giving us extraordinary quality in performances. Their productions will be missed.

Oh, dear … Grumpy old woman for 2017?     I hope not.

Susie Dunn.

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