Monday 19 January 2015

To be 'Je suis Charlie' or not to be

This is an interesting article in response to the French massacre of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine staff.
If you read it I recommend that you also follow some of the 600 comments which it has provoked. They provide a challenge to open mindedness in that they are not uniform and illustrate how simple it can be to identify with a point of view and then shut up shop, believing that you have formed your opinion and that yours is correct.

The real importance of this article, in my mind, is one of being prepared to allow those who don't agree with the point of view expressed, to then propose alternative readings or conclusions all of which may be valid for the individuals expressing them. The hardest thing is to accept the right of those of differing views to hold them as strongly as each of us holds our own.

Dialogue around ideas and issues means that you have to receive it all - not selectively accept only those opinions which align with yours. About understanding rather than convincing.

Friday 9 January 2015

Ahhhh Murwillumbah!

Murwillumbah YHA- Mt Warning in the distance
Tweed River and Mt. Warning from the YHA
We were here a year ago. Oldies at a youth hostel. Why not. Our host is Tassie, the original operator, who converted this fabulous riverside homestead into a YHA over 30 years ago and has been here ever since. He was in his twenties then and has grown up with the hostel and its clients. Scores of young people still flock here and mix with generations spanning fifty years.

It's the discerning YP who check in here. They are interested in the environment, the mountains and in an alternative to the madness of Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise. As a result they are open and interested in people ensuring that we all learn from each other and enjoy our shared stories. 

This year we met people from China, from Florida and Seattle in the US, from Glasgow and the wilds of Scotland, a tennis fanatic from France via the Reunion Islands (off Africa), Ursula from Austria. There were others. The Australian contingent represented Gatton, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane.

Mt Warning, the magnet for young people, hovered in the clouds in the background. Crazy young people  borrowed pushbikes and rode the 10ks to its base and then climbed for two hours each way returning at 4pm exhausted.
Lynne and Andrea New Years Eve
Some saw nothing. some were lucky and got the spectacular views over the caldera (one of the biggest on the planet).

New Years Eve was smaller than 2013. Ten of us sat down to a five course Thai meal cooked by Toni, Tassie's mate and a chef in her other life. The YP were absent - on flights to Melbourne, checking in to hotels on the Gold Coast, on buses to Sydney - they couldn't resist the bright lights.

Thai feast - Toni top left


Glimpse of the caldera from the Border Ranges NP