Freo's View


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 18, 2014

Good Friday is one of the most boring days of the year I believe, so I have decided to share this little story by largely unknown Russian author Leor Srepool with you, whose writing I discovered in the 1960s. It has nothing to do with Good Friday or religion, but then again, maybe it has on a day where everyone has to obey rules because of one religion, so why not do some deep thinking about society on a day like today. Here it is:


He was nearly six when he decided rules were not for him. Rules restricted his freedom and his freedom of expression. They stifled his boundless energy. Rules were simply too restrictive for someone like him.

He refused to go to the school his parents wanted him to go to because school uniforms were a form of rule, so he insisted to be allowed to go to a school at the other end of the city where they did not wear uniforms, although it took him an hour to get there. At school he was in constant trouble with the teachers because he refused to adhere to their rules. They considered him obstinate and disruptive.

He grew up without rules because he had learned to ignore and bypass them. Rules were for others, a restriction the society set itself and he could not accept that.

He changed his eating habits and had dinner some time in the morning and breakfast some time in the evening, because having dinner in the evening would be like following a stupid rule. Even his cooking was different because he refused to follow cooking instructions. His morning roasts were a whole new culinary experience. He ate curry roast pork with beansprouts and rice, and because everyone else ate with knife and fork he ate his roasts with chopsticks. On the odd occasions that he went out he only ate in cafes that served all day breakfast, because eating breakfast at 2 pm was ignoring the rules.

He did not bother getting a drivers license because he had no intention obeying those stupid road rules. He only drove at night and always on the wrong side of the road. He stopped at green lights and drove through red ones and stop signs did not exist for him. The police stopped him often but he always had lengthy arguments with them about what the right side of the road was. Maybe they and the society were wrong and he was right, and the fines he received were never paid.

A magistrate ordered a mental health assessment and the psychiatric report said he had CRRS-Compulsive Rule Rejection Syndrome, triggered by a repressed early childhood memory, because his father had been a stickler for rules and had literally tried to beat them into his son.

Every morning he drove his car from the lawn next to his driveway to a no standing zone down the road and left it there all day. Parking in the driveway and in designated parking bays was no option for him. They were rules everyone else lived by but not he.

He never had a job and stole whatever he needed, because working was following society’s rules and stealing was the opposite. He considered it a badge of honour that other people found him strange because he believed it was an appreciation of his uniqueness, a uniqueness only he understood and valued.

Time was irrelevant and he abhorred punctuality as much as he disliked compassion and consideration. The uniformity of the world sickened him. Why were people behaving all the same. Why were there so many rules for everything. Why did society believe it had the right to tell him what to do, and how and when to do it, when all they achieved was sameness, selfishness, greed and war. Why was being different abnormal?

Rules did not make the world a better place. Rulers had ruined the world, created racism and poverty and started horrendous wars, when all he did was living his life the way he wanted without harming anyone.

He hated fashion and made his own clothes, such as T-shirts with bold slogans RULES R NOT US, FREEDOM OF EVERYTHING, UNIFORMITY IS MADNESS, IT’S COOL TO BEND THE RULE, and his favourite one I ESCAPED NORMALITY.

 The world did not understand him and he did not understand the world. He was a loner who did not take part because taking part would be accepting the uniformity of rules and the limitations of freedom and life.

He could not see that he had made his own rules and lived his own limitations and that he was very much like everyone else, just different.

Leor Srepool






Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 4, 2014

UNDA lecture







Senator Mathias Cormann, the Federal Minister for Finance, will be speaking at Fremantle Notre Dame University this Wednesday April 9 from 6-7 pm. His lecture will be about his personal reflections on his career as a lawyer in politics. This is a free event and all are welcome.

The location is the Michael Keating room in the former Fremantle Hotel, corner High and Cliff streets.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 26, 2014

West Australian newspaper columnist Paul Murray is not impressed that Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt condones unlawful behaviour by cyclists and that the Mayor wants to reward them by giving law breakers free lights and bells.

Like many people I have spoken to Murray believes the police should be allowed to do their job, and that Fremantle can’t expect special treatment because some of our free and easy cyclist don’t want to wear helmets and can’t be bothered having a bell on their bikes and lights at night.

Those who do the right and lawful thing questioned why they should be paying for the necessities, when those who can’t be bothered to buy them get them as a present from the City of Fremantle for breaking the law. It would be quite different to have something like a Free Bell Day at Kings Square as a promotion to encourage bike riding, similar to handing out free trees.

As I said in my previous article about this, I believe this is once again one of those naive thought bubbles where all the consequences are not being considered. The fact that the Mayor announced it on ABC radio without Council having approved the idea also shows that our Mayor thinks he’ll get his way and that the Elected Members will just sign on the dotted line whenever he wants it.

Fremantle is not outside State law, and while we should do everything to encourage more people to use their bikes and keep cars out of the inner city, rewarding law breakers is not the solution, and it sends the wrong message to children.

Paul Murray’s column is in the West today.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 22, 2014

There has been a lot of criticism about Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt’s announcement that the City will be giving away free bicycle lights and bells to those who get caught by police for not having them. Many people questioned why ratepayers should pay for other people breaking the law, just to support the Mayor’s philosophy that Fremantle needs to encourage the use of bikes. Others questioned how the Mayor can go to the media with something that has not yet been approved by council, as he is the spokesperson for the City of Fremantle, unless of course the Mayor wants to pay for this scheme out of his own pocket.

Questions have also been raised about the legality of a local government being exempt from State law and why residents and ratepayers of other cities should not expect the same treatment. And will the City of Fremantle also pay for bike bells and lights for non Freo residents who get stopped by police in our city?

The other issue is that COF would have to buy hundreds of lights and bells wholesale and that local retailers would miss out on selling these items to the public and that is unfair competition.

A friend of mine who recently bought lights and a bell told me this morning he will be sending a demand for reimbursement for $ 55.00 to the City, as he  believes he should be rewarded for doing the right and legal thing.

It feels as if this is yet another thought bubble that has not been considered deeply and carefully. Financially rewarding people for breaking the law seems a very strange and inappropriate way of promoting bicycle use.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on March 21, 2014

ABC radio presenter John McGlue was wondering why the City of Fremantle wants to reward unlawful behaviour of those who ride their bicycles without lights and bells and offer them the items for free. He interviewed Mayor Brad Pettitt about this new idea the City wants to implement in collaboration with the Freo police. What it means is that if you get caught without a light on your bike, or the bell is missing, Police will only give you a caution and you’ll receive the missing item free of charge, courtesy of the City of Fremantle ratepayers.

The Mayor kept saying it was a good and relatively cheap idea, while McGlue did not like the idea that people will get rewarded for not obeying the law. Free or half-price helmets might be next on the cards, Brad Pettitt told the ABC.

Roel Loopers



Posted in fremantle by freoview on December 25, 2013

The Jan ter Horst house, that Fremantle monument crying out against government incompetence, on top of the hill in Beaconsfield, became a Christmas meeting point for the neighbours, and to ring the century-old bells Jan has on his roof deck. The oldest bell is from 1796.

The house must have one of the best views in the area. 360 degrees uninterrupted from the hills to Perth and Scarborough and from Rottnest to way past Kwinana. Stunning!

Ter Horst’s battle against Fremantle council and State Government has become legendary and one can still see him driving around Fremantle with a coffin on the roof of his car. He’s a stubborn old Dutchman.

The first lines of the Metallica song For Whom The Bells Toll seemed apt this morning:

Make his fight

on the hill in the early day

constant deep chill inside.

Roel Loopers

bells 2 bells 1 bells 3


Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 20, 2013

Now, now, City of Fremantle, what is going on? It is not right to encourage people to break the law, but I believe this sign does. It is painted at the end of the contra-flow bicycle lane near the Town Hall at William Street, but it is technically on the footpath that is part of the High Street mall, where it is not permitted to ride one’s bike. This could get cyclists into trouble if they get stopped by police for riding on the footpath. Naughty!

Roel Loopers

bike lane


Posted in fremantle by freoview on August 9, 2013

I believe it is time metropolitan local councils, or the state opposition, should start legal action in the High Court against the discriminatory council amalgamations the Colin Barnett Western Australian government want to force upon us. It can’t be right that council mergers will not be enforced in the country because the National Party put pressure on the Premier, while those in the city will lose their voice and democratic right to decide what they want for their community.

The fact that the Liberal/National government wants to remove the Dadour Act from the Local Government Act shows Barnett is concerned the people do not want mega mergers and lack of community consultation and input. The Dadour Act allows electors of local government to request a poll on any proposed mergers.

It is not acceptable we will lose the democratic right to decide the destiny of Fremantle and it is not acceptable the government wants to discriminate against one section of the Western Australian population. What’s next Premier, a law that discriminates between those who were born here and those who migrated?

 We live in a democracy and Colin, the wannabe dictator, should pull his head in and listen to the people instead of lying and breaking pre-election promises faster than the crockery at a Greek wedding.


Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 10, 2013

To be fair, to be fair…..I received the legal advise on Kings Square from the City of Fremantle lawyers Jackson McDonald today. The firm acknowledged that the delay in sending the requested information to the Fremantle Society was their responsibility and not that of  City of Fremantle’s officers.

We’ll read the report carefully and take it from there.

Roel Loopers


Posted in fremantle by freoview on April 8, 2013

A query from a Curtin University student, and the Police criticising the City of Fremantle‘s new graffiti laws made me contemplate if graffiti, or street art, has any value for society. I first need to say that I don’t consider so called tagging street art or graffiti, it is mindless vandalism, akin to bored, inconsiderate people scratching names and messages into trees and rocks.

I believe street art is important because it does what art should do, but mostly doesn’t, and that is to challenge people. A large percentage of public art is representational and easy on the eyes, it is non-confronting and non-challenging, has no social or political messages, and does not question, it is art created mainly  as pretty decoration rather than as a reflection of society.

It is difficult for graffiti art to get shown in established galleries, so young creative people need an outlet outside the commercial gallery circuits to show their work to a larger public.  Street art, assigned or unauthorised, does that. Local councils have to accommodate that need and that important interaction with the community.

I love the quirky graffiti of Banksy, the stunning murals of Roa and to a lesser extend that of Vhils, all artist are represented here in Fremantle. Roa’s large Numbat in Henderson Street makes me aware every time I walk by that this beautiful native animal is nearly extinct and that is a very important message to us all

The world changes from street/grass roots level and hardly ever from the top, and so street art is important in making valid points, to protest, upset, even disgust. We need this alternative, challenging and sometimes  confronting way of expression because when youths remains silence there is  no change in the world. That is why I consider graffity important. It is an in your face way of communication that we should not underestimate.

Roel Loopers


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