Monthly Archives: August 2012

Greg’s Saturday Scribble – Song and Dance over Refugees

One of my Auntie’s favourite films is The Sound of Music, which just goes to show that even the best of people can have some fairly serious character flaws.

The movie is still very popular, and there aren’t too many people who don’t know the story of the Von Trapp family’s desperate flight from the Nazi’s at the start of WW2.  Aided by kindly nuns, they outwitted the Hitler’s henchmen, and tap-danced their way into Switzerland over a flimsy wooden bridge.

My how times have changed.

Imagine how the Von Trapps would have fared if they’d tried the same stunt today?  The Swiss would have met them at the end of the wooden bridge, then frogmarched them straight back to Austria at gunpoint as part of their ‘Send the Huns Back’ policy.

Then they would have demanded the Nazi’s arrest the nuns for people smuggling activities, sending a crystal clear message to anyone else hoping to flee Hitler’s’ reign of terror:  The Swiss aren’t soft on asylum seekers.

Alternatively, they may have been rounded up the family and slung them into an internment camp for ‘processing’ (something we do to minerals, cattle, sheep and now, refugees).

The entrapped Von Trapps could have mouldered in mandatory detention for up to five years, entertaining the other inmates with endless renditions of ‘Doe a Deer’ and ‘Ave Maria’.  Which is cruel and unusual punishment of the innocent; the prison guards should stop them singing.

But in real life the nasty Nazi’s stood at the border shaking their fists as the Von Trapps were welcomed by the tolerant Swiss.  Afterwards they immigrated to America, opened a ski lodge in Vermont, and lived happily ever after torturing their guests with nightly sing-a-longs.

I can’t work out why we cheer for the Von Trapps, but want to send back the boat people?  Obviously we prefer a certain type of refugee:  singing and dancing ones!

So instead of sending Navy gunships to intercept the ramshackle boats, maybe we should send some instruments and dance instructors?  Perhaps our politicians could visit squalid refugee camps and hand out free DVD’s of the Sound of Music?

And they can have my mint condition copy of the movie right now; I’m sure my Auntie won’t mind if I leave the birthday wrapping on it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gladstone Observer Columns

Greg’s Saturday Scribble – GPC Botanic to Bridge 2012

Tomorrow is the annual Botanic to Bridge Fun Run, and you may be reading this column before the run, after the run, or sitting in your car during the run waiting for the roads to re-open.

But today I’m writing for all the middle-aged joggers tackling the 8 klm event for the first time, and I’ll start with this dire warning; your biggest hurdle occurs before the race, where you must avoid the long lines at the toilets.  Try and hold on til the finish, or wear very dark pants and hope no one points out the puddles around your feet.

‘Bang!’ You’re Off!  This is the last time you’ll see the younger runners as they sprint over the hill while you shuffle forward, another smiling face in the herd.  Twenty lung busting metres later, you’ll have discovered why this particular slope is nicknamed ‘Heart Attack Hill’.

Survive the ‘Matterhorn’ and you’re into the ‘Sun Valley Slog’, where you’ll find your running rhythm, along with some alarming noises coming from your knees.

Limping onward you’ll eventually reach the Duck Ponds, where the cheers of encouragement from the 3K runners will lift your stride, no matter how maimed your feet are.  Once past the Bowls Club you’ll be able to return to your regular running style, i.e: zombie shamble.

In Goondoon Street the publicans will ignore your heartfelt pleas for free beer, but you’ll get a real buzz on the downhill run from the Library where you’ll reach speeds that would make Usain Bolt envious.

As you approach the fountain your ankles will be whizzing past your ears, and you’ll need every micron of sandshoe rubber to avoid overshooting the corner and spearing headlong into Auckland Creek; to the delight of the Yacht Club patrons.

After re-entering the sound barrier, it’s a quick skip over the bridge through the park and across the finish line.  You should hang round to cheer on the late finishers, but I generally use this time to seek urgent medical attention.

Anyway, a hearty ‘Well Done!’ to all the competitors, their supporters, the GPA, and the army of enthusiastic volunteers.  I sincerely hope ‘Cut Back’ Campbell doesn’t slash funding for future runs, although if he does, I’m sure other sponsors will cheerfully chip in to keep this great event going; hip and knee surgeons, chiropractors, orthotic specialists, physiotherapists, first aid suppliers, liniment manufacturers…

Leave a comment

Filed under Gladstone Observer Columns