Freo's View

THANK THE LAW MY SISTER DIED WITH DIGNITY

 

Last night our time my oldest sister Marja died in the Netherlands. She was euthanised.

I am not sharing this with you because of narcissism but because the Western Australian government also want to legalise doctor assisted dying and I believe that is a very humane intent. There are community information sessions and community consultation and a very long online survey that took me 20 minutes, but is worth doing.

I am so grateful that my sister died in her own bed in her own home and with dignity and that she had plenty of time to receive family and friends and say goodbye.

The process she had to go through was lengthy and very thorough before an expert committee decided that she was eligible for euthanasia.

Legalising assisted dying is about giving people a choice instead of forcing them to commit suicide in awful and very lonely ways. It should not be politicised or being kidnapped by religious leaders.

There is no threat to religious or cultural values. No one can be forced to be euthanised and neither can doctors be forced to administer it. In my sister’s case her new doctor-the old one had retired-told her it was too early in his young career to feel comfortable assisting her so she was referred to an older colleague.

My sister Marja was assessed on her health and mental health by different practitioners who wrote reports which were considered by an independent panel. There was nothing easy or flippant about that process and not at all what some panel members at last year’s Notre Dame university forum claimed.

Call me an old cynic, but it comes as no surprise to me that the billion dollar age care industry and the billion dollar palliative care industry are against euthanasia, and so are those who believe that only a god can take a life. For those of us who are not religious the promise of heaven, paradise or nirvana is irrelevant, but euthanasia is our pragmatic and humane choice if life is coming to a painful, slow and unstoppable end. We don’t let animals suffer, so why not apply the same compassion to human beings.

It is astounding how unprepared we are for death. It is the elephant in the room that not many people want to talk about. We are not taught how to deal with it, so at the end we try to deal with it the best we can with empathy. I was lucky to be able to Skype with my sister often over the last couple of months and that was good for both of us.

Marja was just three years older than I am and was always there for me. She had inoperable cancer. I am so grateful that she was allowed to die with dignity. All her pain and worries are now over.

Roel Loopers

TRAFFIC DEATH TRAUMA PHOTO EXHIBITION AT PSAS

Posted in accidents, art, city of fremantle, exhibition, photography, traffic, Uncategorized by freoview on March 10, 2019

 

guy-poster

 

My mate Perth photographer Guy Vinciguerra drove all over Australia to photograph the roadside shrines people create in memory of loved ones who lost their life in a road accident. Guy drove 40,000 km and it took him five years to shoot the photos for this exhibition.

His powerful and sensitive images will be on show at PS Art Studios in Fremantle’s Pakenham Street from Friday. The opening of Sacred Places is on Friday March 15 at 6pm.

PSAS writes:

Guy Vinciguerra’s images expose to our view sites of memorial usually seen only fleetingly as we speed by on our sure and confident way to our destination. Glimpsed occasionally here and there in the landscape, in this space they are brought together in an evocation of what Paul Virilio conceptualised as a ‘museum of the accident’, a gathering of instances that present evidence of the inherent failures of the technologies of our lives, as opposed to the lauding of our efforts at progress. They are individual, personal representations of a communal trauma particular to this era of fossil-fuelled technologies, an era in itself passing. The Sacred has been defined as something ‘set aside’ and dedicated, a discrete fixed point where meaning gains coherence.

In this space lies the opportunity to pause and to contemplate these memorials in their multitude and pathos, saturated with colour and paradox, raw sorrows opened to the public gaze. We are invited to look, sanctioned to be voyeurs. Every feature is in sharp focus, like the heightened reality experienced in moments of shock, perceptions are intense with detail. The sumptuous colour contrasts with the greys and greens of ground and landscape. We are confronted with the juxtaposition of beauty and the banality of objects, of ordinary peoples’ lives shattered by an extraordinary event. The Sacred is unifying, it represents the shared interests of a community, it can inhere in things, in symbols and objects, and in places as power and resistance. These images are Sacred Places.

While I highly recommend to come and view the exhibition I am  less impressed with the over the top info blurb and pretentious writing in the catalogue. There is nothing pretentious about Guy Vinciguerra or his photos, which are straight forward and powerful in their own right.

Roel Loopers

END OF LIFE CHOICES FORUM AT NOTRE DAME

Posted in city of fremantle, health, lifestyle, living, notre dame university, Uncategorized by freoview on September 19, 2018

 

NDA forum

 

Fremantle’s Notre Dame University facilitated a very interesting forum about End of life choices on Wednesday evening.

The panel members were Prof. David Kissane-NDA and St Vincent’s Hospital, Dr Richard Lugg-Doctors for Assisted Dying Choice, Dr Murray Hindle-Dying with Dignity WA, Lana Glogowski-Palliative Care WA, and Chris Shanahan-Barrister Murray Chambers.

Prof. David Kissane said the proposed new law was about the right to die rather than offering optimal palliative care, and he expressed concern that mentally ill patients might have access to euthanasia. Palliative care is the real alternative to assisted suicide.

Murray Hindle said it was the right of the individuals to have control over their death, not about better palliative care, and that in a survey 88 per cent had said yes to doctor assisted dying. It is about a person’s right to autonomy.

Lana Glogowski said that palliative care is not well enough resourced by our governments and that people should have a conversation with their family and loved ones about end of life options and what they wanted, and that there needed to be more education about those options.

Dr Richard Lugg said that patients want their care to be compassionate and kind and that the autonomy of the patients comes before the doctor’s-I know best-decision. We want the new law to help, not hinder assisted dying, he said

Lawyer Chris Shanahan said under the current law the patient has the right to consent, the right to self determination, and needs to give consent to medical treatment.

Questions were raised about putting doctors in a difficult position and pressure from family members on patients, but a new law would see no compulsion on doctors to assist dying if they are against it.

End of life options would also be different for different cultures and religions, and most people wanted to die at home and better palliative home care needed to be supported.

It was essential that any new legislation about Voluntary Assisted Dying has to have clarity and lack of ambiguity, and too fast change might overwhelm the community process. We need to respond in a human way.

It was argued that any suffering can be dealt with with drugs and that many people who plea for help are depressed and demoralised and want to die.

The larger part of the community die a good and dignified death and do not suffer.

What was not discussed at all is the reality of many older people dying an undignified and lonely death through suicide, often trough illegally imported drugs, such as Nembutal,  from Mexico and eastern European countries, or they kill themselves in other ways, because the choice of assisted dignified dying is not offered to them under our present legislation in WA.

The euthanasia debate is a very important one, and one we need to have in our community, so it was very good that Notre Dame University accommodated the discussion. Thank you NDA!

Roel Loopers

A PLACE OF MILLIONS OF MEMORIES

Posted in city of fremantle, health, living, Uncategorized by freoview on June 15, 2018

 

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I was  at the Fremantle Cemetery this morning to say farewell to the truly delightful Marie France, who died at the age of 73.

As always I was far too early for the 10am ceremony, so had a walk in the sun and took some photos. After all, being on the cusp of my 70th birthday, this is soon going to be my new home as well, so it was a bit like real estate shopping for me.

Wandering around and listening to the very full and adventurous life of Marie France, I thought what an immense place of millions of memories the cemetery is.

 

Roel Loopers

DIAMOND SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH

Posted in city of fremantle, concert, culture, fremantle arts centre, Uncategorized by freoview on March 25, 2018

 

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WA’s Jacob Diamond has recently emerged as one of the foremost singer songwriters in the west. His alt-folk sound is characterised with huge melodies and incisive lyrics, as he sings bold songs about love and death.

He will be performing at the free courtyard Sunday music session at the Fremantle Arts Centre today from 2-4 pm.

Now hoping the weather will clear up as it is quite dull out there with spots of rain.

Roel Loopers

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FREO PUB DEATH NO BIG DEAL?

Posted in alcohol, city of fremantle, hospitality, Uncategorized by freoview on July 16, 2017

 

S&A

 

We live in strange times, where respect for fellow humans and property are often just a second thought, if at all.

I was quite surprised to see it is business as usual at the Fremantle Sail&Anchor pub this Sunday, after a young man fell from their balcony last evening at 8.30 and died in Fiona Stanley Hospital last night.

I am not blaming anyone for the accident, but I wonder why the Sail&Anchor does not show more respect for the dead man and his family by closing the pub for a day.

 

Roel Loopers

 

BODY FOUND IN FREMANTLE PORT

Posted in fremantle, fremantle ports, harbour, law&order, police, western australia by freoview on July 1, 2016

The body of a man was found at near C Shed in Fremantle harbour at around 11 am this morning.

Nine days ago 40 year-old Daniel McCartney went missing from Bathers Beach and has not been located yet, so it will be interesting to find out the identity of the body in Fremantle Port.

Roel Loopers

PUPPETEER NORIKO NISHIMOTO DIED

Posted in art, fremantle, spare parts puppet theatre, western australia by freoview on May 20, 2016

Noriko Nishimoto

 

I am sad to hear that charming Fremantle puppeteer Noriko Nishimoto has died from cancer at the age of 75.

Many people will remember the diminutive and elegant woman from her days at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre where she was the founding puppetry master.

Over the last few years I often saw Noriko on her walks through Freo in her white sneakers, always with that gentle smile on her face, and she performed in the first ever Spare Parts show I watched many years ago.

May she rest in peace.

Roel Loopers

NOTRE DAME ARCHITECT MARCUS COLLINS DEAD

Posted in fremantle, marcus collins, notre dame univesrity by freoview on July 21, 2015

Marcus Collins the architect who had a significant influence on the design of the Fremantle Notre Dame University campus has died. Collins was part of the Notre Dame family since 1993 and in 2009 received a Honorary Doctorate for his contribution to the Fremantle campus design.

Some of the stunning adaptive re-use design of the university heritage buildings was done by Marcus Collins and his team and he will be well remembered in Fremantle for the excellent work he did.

Roel Loopers

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WHAT HAPPENED TO FREMANTLE ALCOHOL ACCORD?

Posted in alcohol, fremantle, violence by freoview on July 1, 2015

If my memory serves me right Fremantle once had an “Accord” between the hospitality industry, the City and  the Police that was about the responsible service of alcohol. I thought that also included not having “Happy Hour” but by the look of it that no longer applies.

The Police Commissioner warned in the West Australian this week that “the alcohol industry has contributed to WA’s biggest substance abuse problem” that affects thousands of children and families and that has resulted in a huge increase in domestic violence, and that should be a serious concern for us all.

Whilst there is a move away from big booze barns to small bars, there also seems to be an increase in happy hours and cheap meal incentives to come to pubs more often and drink more. I noticed $ 6 pints at one CBD pub between 5-6 pm while one hotel on the main stretch has even introduced a lunch time happy hour. It does not say a lot about responsible service of alcohol when pub operators are trying to entice people to drink more at lunchtime, while at the same time they push for longer night hours.

Drink more, drink cheaper, drink longer and we’ll sell you a fifteen dollar steak is not great support for those in the community who want to reduce the intake of alcohol because it is a huge problem in society. How many more coward punches do we need to hear about? How many more young people have to die or become disabled because of alcohol related violence and drink-driving accidents before the hospitality industry wakes up and accept they have a corporate responsibility?

So what happened to the Fremantle Accord I wonder? When did it lapse, or did no one bother to keep it going? Can it be reinstated?

Roel Loopers

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