Poor Options

April 23, 2012

Its hard to believe more than a decade has passed since I was here last.  It only seems like yesterday that I was bashing through the traffic of Dhaka behind a certain Mr Chowdary (their equivalent of “Smith” it seems) who was anxious to jam as many fleeting business meetings as possible into the time we had between arriving from India and our connecting flight to Chittagong. It seems little has changed (why should it?) though the hour of arrival (midnight) means the zoo into which you usually arrive in these South Asian airports is less like feeding time than usual. The hotel is quite a run up the road so we join the river sound of horns and beeps and flow along in the dark, as best we can avoiding large construction trucks that drift across our bow every other minute or so.  For a section of road I am in one of those sets for cheap science fiction movies as sparks rain down in showers of orange light from points unseen, pouring out of a dark sky and cascading to a bouncing mass of pinpricks of light that die on the ground.  Read more

Poverty Under Our Noses

September 12, 2008

z3_kingscrossline290.jpgYesterday was one of those glittering Sydney days we all want to bottle and sell to anyone who glances our way – and which we delight to remind anyone living further south (or to anyone living in the UK) is a Spring treat you don’t really find anywhere else. I had reason to be down at the harbour at one point in the afternoon and found myself enjoying the day and figuring there had to be better things than having to go back to the office at the end of it. The previous evening I was reminded there are certainly worse things. A few hundred metres back from the Finger Wharf, one of the most expensive pieces of real estate in the country and home to Russel Crowe, a cluster of homeless men camped under the rail overpass linking the city with Kings Cross and Bondi.  They bicker like birds settling on the wire for the evening, huddled against the cool evening under old blankets, some of them ducking away from the camera but all watching carefully, alert to we strangers wandering through their turf. As I watch these guys hunker down for the night behind the expensive BMW sports car it is not this contrast that is foremost in my mind but the former Navy Commander who found himself in these circumstances a few years ago and was killed by someone deranged who thought  a man living on the street had no right to live at all. How does a Commander find himself in these circumstances? A man on top of his game, with a family in the suburbs and a career stretched out forever in front of him

National Thong Day

October 27, 2007

Where I grew up thongs were known as jandals. Who knows where that word ever came from – short for Japanese sandal apparently! Australians call them thongs while in the US they are flip flops. American thongs of course are much more attractive – though that always depends on who is wearing them. Same rule can apply to footwear I guess.

Somehow this slipped past me but National Thong Day, held last Wednesday, 24 October, apparently was aimed at drawing attention to poverty issues. Which can only be a good thing. We need constant reminding that there are others out there who need help. And those are not always overseas but most often are to be found right under our noses.
Having said that there is a small group here who round up resources from the corporate world and who package them up into gift packages and send them off to Sri Lanka each year. I have drawn attention to it before but in case you missed it, or perhaps want to be inspired by how one person can make a difference in the lives of others – in this case mainly orphaned kids – then have a look at Network Heaven.