Victoria & Abdul

I went to the flicks to see Victoria & Abdul yesterday, not entirely sure whether this was a fictional story or a true one. Dame Judy Dench had always been a favourite, I loved her as M in the James Bond movies in recent years, so when I saw the shorts for this movie recently I knew I wanted to see it instantly.

The story starts with Abdul working in a prison in Agra, India recording prisoners information within a large book. On this day he’s told because he’s tall and has an impeccable record of service he’s to go to England to present a Mohur to Queen Victoria. He and another Indian fellow, a shorter replacement as the taller had fallen from an elephant, head off for England on a tall ship and arrive in ‘sunny’ old England, land of the blood sausage.

They are both quickly schooled in how to behave around the Queen when presenting the Mohur; Abdul breaks the rules much the the Queen’s delight and thus begins their great friendship. During the course of their friendship the Queen will learn Urdu, be schooled in Islam, and learn more about the land she was Empress of, India.

I so enjoyed this movie, it was really well made, and at its end a real tear jerker. Make time to go see.

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Same Sex Marriage Survey: I vote YES

My survey form arrived today, it was a no brainer to vote YES and support equal rights for all to have the right to marry, should they wish to do so.

Without that piece of paper same sex couples lack so many rights that heterosexual couples seemingly enjoy, I only discovered this more recently.

A friend’s daughter was pregnant with her third child and in her final month of her pregnancy when she made the decision to end her relationship with her longtime girlfriend. I can’t imagine what that decision must have been like, scary to say the least, but she felt her partner was more committed to partying and clubbing than her and the kids. It was only after splitting and hoping to arrange an equitable split of assets and establish financial support for her and the kids that she discovered the law did not recognise the relationship and she could pretty much get nothing.

It is this example that makes me look at the inequity of our marriage laws that currently allow only for a man and woman. The survey proposes to support same sex marriage, we won’t find out until mid-November the results. I just hope that this expensive $122m survey, if it does come back with a majority in favour, results in our politicians respecting the people’s wishes and pushing through the change.

I feel for the LGBTIQ community who during this whole process are subjected to scrutiny over their right to do what heterosexual couples take for granted and are generally expected to do at some point, marry.

Stirring the pot a little

Last year my team at work began regular sessions centred around Emotional Intelligence (EQ). Each time we meet one member of the team is responsible for presenting a topic along with a related video, and other member will provide us with morning tea.

This year due to events with my brother and many, many days on annual leave and long service leave I’ve been to just two of these sessions, so I actually don’t have a clue what the team has actually talked about. Last year when it came to my turn I decided to stir the pot and talk about Emotional Intelligence and Workplace Bullying. Little did I know just how much I was stirring the pot, it was assumed that I was talking about bullying within our office despite my starting my session outlining this related to a previous work area. I later learned that an organisation-wide staff survey had indicated a problem within our office – yikes!

Well the time has come again for me to present a session and again I am not going to shy away from a stronger topic. When trying to find an appropriate topic to tackle I recalled being in conversation with someone at work when all of a sudden they mentioned within their area having been insensitive to someone I knew due to his slurping, something we might find annoying, but back in his homeland this was the cultural norm. Rather than choose to quietly suggest to him slurping was making those in the office uncomfortable they decided to do so in a manner that might embarrass him.

Thus, my topic will be Emotional Intelligence and Diversity. I think in this multi-cultural world where we interact with multiple cultures on a daily basis, be they our clients remote or near, or our colleagues in the seat next to us, we need to have an understanding, awareness and acceptance of difference. I often think how fortunate I am that we live in such a diverse world, how scary it might be that my home life were not exposed to other cultures and I would have grown up eating just meat and three veg – I get heart palpitations just thinking of it.

I also think back to when I was tutoring in the early 2000’s and here in Australia there was such an uproar about the Japanese hunting whales in the Southern Ocean; Norwegians were also roasted by the media. I was in the classroom one day when some students started verbally harassing a fellow (Norwegian) student, not only was it unfair it was also contrary to the University’s rules. I stood up for the student and highlighted that they may like to consider there could possibly be something done within our culture he might find offensive. They stopped and returned to their work, hopefully having learned something in the process; the student years later ended up becoming a friend on Facebook.

I look forward to the debate on the topic, I’m sure there won’t be a staff survey comeback this time.

I’ll pay more attention where I walk

Back in June when in Amboise I was on tour with Trafalgar and was called down the bottom of a slope near the river for a group photo; I was less than eager to participate, but I figured I was on tour and would join others. I looked down the slope and couldn’t see any problems so proceeded down but looked up and across the river towards the royal castle I’d not long been standing adjacent to. All was fine until all of a sudden I the ground disappeared beneath my left foot, with the gradient of the slope and my moving forward I couldn’t prevent myself from falling forward.

Before I knew it I was tumbling down the slope towards a Frenchman enjoying his glass of red wine and several others from my tour. I threw out my right arm and left hand in hopes of stopping myself, thankfully doing so I did manage to stop but at a cost. Both my left wrist and right arm were now sore, though at this stage the wrist was the most painful. I was worried at first I may have done some serious damage to the wrist as it was very sore. Those nearby were very kind and helped me up, and I continued down the hill faking a smile in a big way for the group photo.

Back on the bus I was so glad I’d not taken my Canon 6D with me for this brief stop, had I done so I think it may have suffered damage. The pain from my fall was now coming home to roost in a big way, and now it was also evident I’d scraped both legs during the fall — curse wearing shorts.

After a few days I thought all was okay as both wrist and arm were feeling better, I thought all was behind me. Several weeks after my return to Australia my right arm started to show signs that the fall was to have lasting impact, gradually I was starting to feel more and more sore to the point one month post-fall I headed off to the doctor for her advice. I tried taping myself up with rock tape, but within the week I’d made an appointment to see my (fantastic) physiotherapist.

My physio managed to quickly tackle the muscle issues in my forearm, but the elbow area still remains quite sore to this day. I’ve had several dry needling sessions and have had neck massages but to no avail so far. I started wearing a brace over the weekend, uncomfortable hardly explains how that feels, but hopefully it may have benefit. New exercises he gave me on Saturday seem to really stretch those tight muscles, so I guess they must be helping.

I think in future I will pay far more attention to where it is I am walking that looking at those sights in the distance, this incident has cost me day-to-day use of my arm; hit my wallet in a big way; and really given me a bit of brain fog from the constant pain. I am perhaps more fortunate than other being ambidextrous so I have been able to swap to my left, but some tasks I find harder to swap (e.g. brushing teeth). Lesson well and truly learned.

Debate around Australia Day

In recent years there has been debate here in Australia as to whether Australia Day, January 26th, is disrespectful and hurtful for our Aboriginal people. Some amongst the Aboriginal people do see it as representing the day their country was invaded by Europeans, but then others also say they do not see it as so.

Some councils around Australia have taken a stand and decided against holding Australia Day celebrations, deciding instead to hold events celebrating Aboriginal culture. This has seen them suffer the ire of our Federal Government in revoking their rights to hold Citizenship Ceremonies.

I am personally against changing the day, I feel it is to represent every Australian, Aboriginal or not. I do wonder though whether we need a public holiday that recognises Aboriginal culture where events are held across the country to allow people to connect with them, perhaps connecting with NAIDOC Week?

The joys of anxiety

Hi, I’m Corin and I’m a perfectionist.

Therein lies my problem, I hate making a mistake to the point that where the possibility exists I instantly get anxious. A tense feeling within my stomach starts to build, my heart starts to race, and my palms start to get a little clammy (sometimes).

I recall during the final year of my degree one unit had the requirement to do a small presentation to the class, I was utterly terrified of doing so. I am more the quiet individual who languishes in the background and listens to others, so to be forced to get up in front of others and present on a topic caused me great anxiety. I had no problem in producing the content, and it was because I already had a high distinction within internal test results that I decided to throw the five marks assigned the presentation and save further anxiety.

In my working life I haven’t had to present terribly much, but every time it has been required of me the same symptoms arise. Each time I’ve presented to slides I always end up changing information on-the-fly which throws my confidence as I question my reasons for doing so.

I had thought tutoring for one of our schools in the early 2000’s might have helped me with my problem, but it never got easier. The initial few tutorials were the worst, having to talk in front of those who were depending upon me was so nerve wracking. I did improve by end of semester, thankfully, but come start of semester I was reset once more.

Recently I have started therapy to assist me with my anxiety, and using an iPhone app called ‘Calm’ which teaches you to use breathing and meditation techniques to overcome and deal with the effects of anxiety. Hopefully the longterm outcome from both sources will be my becoming comfortable with situations and no longer becoming tense and uncomfortable when situations arise and I need to present / talk to others.

Small steps.

Just Seven

The dreadful events of a van mowing down people in Barcelona just brings home that no matter where you are in the world terrorism can strike at your door. Just a few weeks ago a good friend of mine, Suzanne, had walked the very streets where this had occurred and could herself have been caught up in the situation had she planned her holiday just weeks later, I am so grateful she did not.

It is always so saddening when these events occur and the mongrels succeed in taking even one life because then I feel they gain something, they add a notch to their post so to speak. Here in Australia it was reported a young British-born boy who now resides in Sydney had gone missing during the confusion, just seven years old. It rings home all to closely as my niece is just seven years old, I know how developed their personalities are at this age and how much they mean to their families.

Sadly it was reported today that as his father and other family members arrived in Barcelona to begin their search for him he had been discovered in a hospital, deceased. Having lost my brother just months ago I feel their pain at this time, how hard it must be to lose someone so young and so tragically.

RIP Julian