Freo's View

WE ALL GOT RED BLOOD AND BROWN SHIT

 

There is plenty of time for contemplation and soul searching during the cold and wet winter days and nights, so when it was suggested to me that I should try to speak at one of the new TEDx Fremantle events about Perception and Reality, I wondered what it was I would like to speak about.

My thoughts don’t comply with the TEDx Fremantle categories of; only good science, no political agenda and no religious proselytizing, so I decided to just write down my contemplations and publish it here on Freo’s View instead. Here it is:

When we talk about reality and perception we should start with the elephant in the room first, and that is that Australia is not the best country in the world. Simply because no country is! There are many great countries in the world. I lived in three of them.

Our soldiers are not braver than those from other countries, and there is nothing specifically Australian about people helping each other in a crisis. When there are floods in Bangladesh, earthquakes in Mongolia, or wars and disasters in other parts of the world, the communities rally to give a helping hand.

Australia has lived on the urban myth of being the fair go country, but how can we claim that when the British settlers mostly ignored Aboriginal culture and language and treated our indigenous people as primitive idiots. How can a fair country take children away from their parents to bring them up as Christians and does not allow them to speak their native languages, and how can a fair country allow many of these children to be abused and raped?

How can we believe to be the fair country when we ban genuine refugees from coming to Australia, but lock them up instead in camps of neighbouring countries, but want priority immigration for supposedly ‘endangered’ white South African farmers?

How can we claim that we live in the best country on earth, when tonight, like every night, 115,000 homeless Australians sleep rough in the cold and wet?

The perception of greatness has always confused the Australian identity and that’s why we are still looking for one. We are not the Akubra hat-wearing cowboys, who live in the red dirt outback, but 90% of our population lives on the coastal plains and in big cities.

You might be surprised now when I say that I really love living in Australia, and even more that I live in Fremantle. But we need to start cutting the crap and let go off the hubris, because to be able to move forward together as a community and nation we need to acknowledge the harsh reality that Australia is far from perfect and that there is a lot of room for improvement.

We at the grassroots need to insist that political debate is about issues and has substance, and is not about point-scoring and name-calling, and we need to let all politicians know that we will no longer put up with their infantile behaviour in our parliaments.

We need to stop believing in the urban myth of our own greatness and start by showing real compassion for the less well off in our society.

It is not acceptable that we spend millions of dollars on non-essential things when our pensioners are barely making ends meet, when our hospitals are over-crowded and have long waiting lists, as does social housing, and when so many suffer from serious mental health issues.

Australia joined the so-called war on terrorism, but why haven’t we begun a war on poverty, and a war on unemployment and homelessness?

We are not all equal when multinational companies don’t pay tax, but low-income earners, pensioners and people on social benefits constantly get scrutinised to the point that is causes anxiety and depression for many.

It is good to have dreams, but it is not good to live in dreamworld and ignore the pragmatic reality of Australian life. Racism is a daily experience for those who are not white, and verbal abuse is also a daily worry for Muslim women, who have become the easy targets for ignorant fools. Western Australia has the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation!

Australia is a beautiful country, and I strongly believe that most people are good, caring and tolerant, and even more so here in Fremantle, but there are also many intolerant haters, who do not positively contribute to our community.

The Australia I love was summed up pretty well one evening in the Fitzroy Crossing pub in the stunning Kimberly when a drunk and huge Aboriginal man looked down on me in the toilet and said “Isn’t it amazing brother that we both have red blood and brown shit.” Yes indeed. We have a lot more in common than what divides us!

My wish for Australia is to wake up to reality and stop claiming that this is the best country on the planet. There is a huge different between being proud of one’s nation or becoming dangerously-and unrealistically- nationalistic. We can only find Australia’s real identity when we stop the tokenism and engage in real reconciliation with our Aboriginal brothers and sisters. To do that we need to use the word RESPECT more often.

To show real respect we need to acknowledge Aboriginal people in our constitution, we need to build a substantial Aboriginal cultural centre in Fremantle, so that overseas visitors can engage and learn about our indigenous history and culture, and we need a memorial on Rottnest Island telling the awful story of the inhumane Quod Aboriginal prison, where nearly 400 boys and men from all over Western Australia died.

Only with real mutual respect, and only with real, deep and soul searching honesty can we make Australia the best country in the world. Dismissing and patronising others is only holding us back.

Roel Loopers

THANKS FOR HAVING ME FREO!

Posted in australia, australia day, city of fremantle, immigration, Uncategorized by freoview on March 13, 2018

 

Today March 13 is my personal Australia Day. It is the day I migrated to Australia and arrived in Sydney 36 years ago in 1982.

The promised start at a Sydney newspaper did not eventuate because we happened to arrive when Australia was in a recession, so slogging as kitchenhand, cook and waiter was the start of my Aussie life.

Trying to deal with the culture shock and learning to understand cricket, Aussie Rules and rugby was harder than learning to accept cask wine, blue skies and sunshine.

Looking back it is amazing how much I have achieved in a country where I knew nobody. Coming to Perth in September 1985 and starting my own corporate/industrial photography business without having the support of friends or family, or having the right private school tie, was probably more youthful naivety than sound planning.

But from the very start I felt a real love for this country, even more so in Western Australia and especially Fremantle. When I first drove through the Pilbarra and Kimberley I had a real sense of home coming and that I belonged, and Freo has always been like that for me.

Even in my darkest hours I have never regretted I migrated to Australia and I have always felt a commitment that I need to make a positive contribution to my community and leave Freo an even better place than it is for future generations, when my time is up sooner than later.

I have met so many great people and have made really good friends. I love the Freo passion and that we are all so bloody opinionated, and I love it that most of us don’t take themselves too serious.

Thanks for having me, Freo!

Roel Loopers

FREO’S SAM KERR YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Posted in aboriginal, australia, australia day, city of fremantle, sport, Uncategorized by freoview on January 26, 2018

 

Congratulations to our wonderful Fremantle role model Sam Kerr for being awarded YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR.

The young super soccer player is so delightfully down to earth that many so-called sports stars should follow her lead and let go off their over-inflated egos. (A certain misbehaving tennis player with a Greek name comes to mind).

Sam Kerr is a real pleasure to watch on the soccer pitches of the world and is a real ambassador for women’s soccer.

Roel Loopers

 

WIKI LOVES EARTH PHOTO PRIZE

Posted in australia, bird, fremantle, nature, photography, Uncategorized by freoview on July 11, 2017

WINNER! White necked heron by Katarina Christenson

 

For the second year in a row I was invited to be one of the judges of the WIKI LOVES EARTH 2017 Australian section.

1,500 entries were received from all over the nation. The judges had to select the ten best photos that will be entered into the international competition from countries from all over the planet.

The international winner will receive a trip to Cape Town.

The Australian winner we selected was this stunning photo by Katarina Christenson of a juvenile white necked heron in the Darling River.

Roel Loopers

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SHEILAS UP BUT RELIGION DOWN IN AUSTRALIA

Posted in australia, fremantle, multicultural, Uncategorized by freoview on June 27, 2017

 

The fear that Australia is being swamped by a tsunami of Muslims has been proven unfounded by the latest CENSUS 2016 statistics, which shows that Buddhists are closing in on the only 2.6% of Australian residents who claim to be Muslims, while 2.4% are Buddhist.

In general people who claim to have no religion increased to 29.6% in 2016, compared to 0,8% in 1966.

The good news for us blokes is that there is a small majority of females with just over 50 %.

There have been 1.3 million new immigrants to Australia since 2011 and the most common countries they came from were China and India.

And the Turnbull government does not have to worry too much about the language skills of migrants with 72.7%  of CENSUS participants stating that they speak English at home.

The most important thing we should not underestimate is the enormous contribution immigrants to Australia are making. Without them we would not be the great multicultural and tolerant community we are!

Roel Loopers

 

MAKE FEDERATION DAY THE NEW AUSTRALIA DAY

I have been contemplating what a good alternative date would be for Australians to celebrate Australia Day. March 26 is very divisive because the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove is considered Invasion Day by our indigenous people.

On our west coast January 26 is pretty meaningless as W.A. had not been settled by the British when Cook took over what is now New South Wales.

Tonight’s Fremantle Council debate on the possible cancellation of Australia Day fireworks should consider another date if we want to continue wasting a lot of money on shooting stuff up in the sky and polluting the environment, to accommodate local traders who believe they’ll miss out on business. Why not do it on Federation Day on January 1, which would at the same time ring in the new year. (Australia became a federation on January 1, 1901). That day should also become our new date for Australia Day!

Alternatively we could end the Fremantle Festival with a nice medium size firework on the last Sunday and celebrate our city’s diversity and multiculturalism.

Roel Loopers

CENSUS SOFTWARE FROM COLES? IT’S DOWN, DOWN, DOWN!

Posted in australia, democracy, statistics by freoview on August 9, 2016

I don’t often engage in Schadenfreude, but today is the day, when probably most people expected there would be a Census computer crash, but the government assured us they had been working on this for more than 4 years, tested it with even more people than the population of Australia and it was all honky dory.

So let me just give one advise to  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, don’t buy your Census software at Coles because it will be Down, Down, Down!

What a censusless exercise today has been, showing dismal failure by the IT people , bureaucrats and politicians.

And don’t forget for one second that they also promised us our privacy would be protected!

Roel Loopers

NEW AUSSIE FLAG AT SAIL&ANCHOR

Posted in australia, fremantle, hospitality, tourism, western australia by freoview on August 9, 2016

flag

flag disgrace

 

Good to see that the Sail&Anchor have taken down the badly damaged Australia flag I complained about and replaced it with a new one, and rewarding to note that this Freo’s View blog makes a little difference in our Fremantle community.

At Freo’s View I care about the little details because a lot of little things make up the big picture. From little things big things grow. ; >). (Thanks Paul Kelly!)

Roel Loopers

FLYING THE FLAG NEEDS RESPECT

Posted in australia, fremantle, hospitality, pubs, tourism, western australia by freoview on July 27, 2016

flag disgrace

 

The totally ripped Australian flag on top of the Sail&Anchor in Fremantle is not acceptable as it shows disrespect for our national flag. This surely did not happen over night, so management at the hotel needs to take more care of details such as this.

Surely the pub can afford to buy a  new flag now and then, and if not they should stop flying the flag as this one looks awful.

Roel Loopers

HUNDREDS AT FREO SAFE HARBOUR REFUGEE RALLY

Posted in asylum seekers, australia, fremantle, politics, refugees, western australia by freoview on June 25, 2016

 

Many hundreds of people marched through the Fremantle CBD at lunchtime on Saturday during the FREO SAFE HARBOUR rally, demanding the closure of detention centres and an end to off shore processing, and a more humanitarian approach toward refugees by the Australian government.

Roel Loopers

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