Who Turned the Lights Out in SA?

It is inevitable that at some point in time you will have a black out. And it will be at the worst possible time like peak hour traffic, or 2 a.m. on a 40 degree night, or just as you’re cooking dinner. After checking to make sure that the safety switch hasn’t been triggered, you realise that you either haven’t paid your electricity bill or you’re in a blackout.

Most people then wait for about 20 minutes to see if it comes on, before ringing the power company’s automated black out line, to find out how long they will be out for. The average is two hours, but on rare occasions as recently experienced it can be for hours leading into days.

What to do? If you or your family are reliant on technology, there will be withdrawal symptoms to cope with. But the best solution is be prepared.

Always have a torch handy, the battery operated lanterns are quite good and candles are a good substitute, but remember not to leave them near anything that can catch fire. A backup generator is not a bad idea to have. But what do you do.

Well you can play board games by torch or candle light. Here’s a novel idea – talk to your family members. I know right, actually talk to them, reconnect. Other games besides board games is story telling. One person starts and says a sentence. Then the next person adds a sentence to what has been said and so on and the story will grow. Another is play the guessing game.. What time will the power come on?

Have a back up method of cooking such as a barbecue or if your house is on gas, then there’s not too much of a problem cooking. Keep the fridges and freezers closed as much as possible to keep the coldness in. Have cans of emergency food which can be eaten cold and don’t require heating.

Side note: As an electrician once told me, they can legally put through as low as 210 volts and as high as 250 volts, to allow for fluctuations that happen. Which is also why appliances wear out a lot quicker.

Causes of blackouts range from extreme weather events like massive thunderstorms. Extreme periods of heat will have them load shed, and as the electrician told me the poorer suburbs get hit with a lot more black outs than the richer suburbs because of that reason – they don’t want the wealthy inconvenienced.

Then there’s the car accidents – when cars run into the stobie poles, or the possums when they fry themselves at the substations, or the termites, when they chew the underground wiring. When the message is ’cause unknown’ – that’s code for the termites, apparently, and of course bush fires.

At the end of the day. We will get black outs, especially during summer so be prepared.

Honesty is the Best Policy or is it?

It is said that honesty is the best policy even if it hurts. It is said that the truth hurts. It hurts because it highlights what we need to work on; it highlights what our weaknesses are, but then it is our choice to look at the issue highlighted, or to ignore it and hope it goes away.

The truth about society is that society is made up of people and because it consists of people it contains all their emotions and hurts. The simple fact is that society is full of people who are

petty and vindictive, vengeful, spiteful, jealous, egotistical, apathetic and hurting emotionally. There is anarchy, disunity, opportunistic ready to take advantage of someone without a second thought. The list goes on and on but every one of them falls into one or more category of the 7 deadly sins.

The 7 deadly sins are running rampant in today’s society. Well known they are considered in no particular order to be greed, wrath, sloth, pride, gluttony, envy and lust.

Greed Whilst greed is normally thought of as a person who has a desire for money. It’s what they live, think and breath about to the point that everyone and everything else around them is ignored. Reality is that greed can be a unrealistic desire to get or own more than one actually needs or even deserves. The person is not satisfied unless he or she has more and that can relate to anything not just money although money is usually the main objective.

Wrath is quite often thought of as another word for anger. Whilst it can be, wrath is normally used to refer to someone, whose anger is more hostile or warlike in reaction to what has been done to that person, whether real or believed. Wrath is people choosing and displaying acts that are violent, intimidating or whatever act is unfriendly not excluding what your thoughts are. Thinking of ways to kill someone or to make them pay is just as hostile but instead of being external the damage is done internally – to you.

Sloth or being lazy is a reluctance or dislike to work or exert yourself. This is avoidance by any means from any form of work whether physical or spiritual, including not practicing the art of virtue by doing what you know is right and avoiding what is wrong.

Pride There is a difference in having a sense of self respect and being satisfied knowing you have done a good job and that of developing an overrated opinion of your abilities which leads to arrogance or superiority when measured against others.

Gluttony whilst most will concur that is in relation to food it can be extended to other things. Gluttony is eating to excess but it is also an unreasonable desire to consume more than that which one requires or needs. This can be physically or spiritually

Envy is spite and resentment at seeing the success of another / desire for others’ traits, status abilities or situation. It is not being satisfied with what you have got, not liking who you are as a person or what you look like but is always about wanting to be or have what someone else has.

Lust is to have an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body/ self indulgent sexual desire / have a craving, appetite or great desire for…(anything)

This is our society. We wonder why there is so much anger and violence in our world. It shouldn’t be a surprise. We are partially responsible. Studies have shown that a person’s environment has an effect on their thinking and behaviour. Studies have also shown that humans operate with “herd” mentality. People follow a group even if it is doing the wrong thing because they want to fit in and so they will discard their own beliefs in order to do so.

Society is choosing to live and feed on the 7 deadly sins. The truth is you don’t need to. It doesn’t have to be this way but it needs people willing to be different, willing to reach out, willing to start showing acceptance and love to those around them.

Occasionally we see glimpses of how good, kind and compassionate people can be. We see it surface in crisis situations like bush fires and earthquakes where people pull together in unity and this caring attitude for someone they don’t know comes out and touches people because deep down every human wants acceptance and love it’s just that they are looking for it in the wrong places.

Why should it be only in a crisis situation? We should start with ourselves and let the ripple effect move out. It will be difficult because people who are hurting inside will hurt those around them but showing love will cross the divide.

If we truly want the world to be less violent then let us become a people who understand what is meant by loving and accepting other people regardless of their upbringing and circumstances, by looking beyond ourselves and becoming other people oriented. But it is a choice. The decision is in your hands.

I get it. I really do. I understand why schools’ want to appear to be inclusive and pro student. But is it really helping the student prepare for entry into an adult world or is it setting them up for failure.

Take sports day – Back in the dim, dark ages when I was a child sports’ day consisted of different events – races, hurdles, the hop, step and jump and pole vaulting for example. The classes practised the events and chose their best performer, who then lined up for the race or other event on the allotted Sports Day.

The prize for competing was a ribbon for first, second and third place. The class cheered their chosen representative on and their was a sense of pride if their classmate was the winner.

Today everyone gets a ‘Participant’ ribbon whether or not the student has actually done anything. There is no longer a first, second or third placing, because they want every child to feel as though they’re a winner, that they have achieved something, even if that is as a spectator.

I get the idea but seriously this doesn’t teach them that in reality not everyone wins. During my years, we learnt that if we weren’t selected to compete, it was because we weren’t fast enough, or we couldn’t jump high enough. Those that came first, second or third knew they were good enough on the day and won. Was there disappointment?

Sure there was, but in life you get disappointed, but we learnt to deal with that disappointment and try harder the following year. By giving everyone a ‘Participant’ ribbon it teaches them that it doesn’t matter if you compete or not, you win by just turning up – and that is not how it works in the real world.

Banning of certain foods – aka ‘Nut Allergy’. I understand that banning nuts is to protect those who have nut allergies. I get that it would be terrible if a student had a reaction to nuts and wind up in hospital or worse but in the real world, once outside of school and in the workforce, businesses don’t have to cater for and usually don’t cater for those with allergies. They have a policy in place for ‘just in case’ but they don’t ban others from bringing in food with nuts or potentially other foods which could cause an allergic reaction.

Why? Because they’re adults and they should be allowed to eat what they feel like. Now, if people choose not to bring certain foods out of respect for someone with an allergy, that is a choice. But banning foods at school is not helping them to develop a plan to deal with being in the vicinity of nuts.

There is research being done which is showing good results in those that are allergic, that when exposed to small doses which over time are increased their reaction takes longer to kick in. So maybe the schools are doing more harm than good in their micro-management.

Banning Clapping – Seriously, now some schools are banning clapping out of respect for those with a sensitivity to noise. So students are allowed to do air punches and wriggle about to show their excitement.

These same schools also have a ‘Friend’ chair whereby if a student is feeling lonely at playtime, they sit on the chair and the other students are encouraged to include them in their games or to join their group.

The problem is that it doesn’t prepare them for the real world. When they leave school there is no ‘Friend’ chair for them to sit on and there is a lot of noise in workplaces, so they may as well learn ways to cope or deal with their issues now, rather than be protected in a safe environment, and then learn how to deal with their issue when they enter the real world.

The issue with this and other policies is that the real world isn’t fair. There are winners and losers, not everyone has friends, there is a lot of loneliness in the real world. Schools want to prepare students for the real world, but in reality they are setting children up for failure, because when the child realises that he/she doesn’t get points for just turning up, or that there is no friend chair or their co-worker brings nut products to work, it creates more problems because they don’t know how to cope in the real world.

To Lie or Not To Lie

Female shop assistant was talking to a customer when I walked by. She turns to me and says ‘You agree, don’t you?’ Well, that’s a loaded question so I said ‘And what would that be?’ She said ‘That Santa has a lot to answer for.’ I just smiled and said ‘Well, you made him your god?’

Christmas is coming up and parents are going to to teach their children that Santa exists and they will tell any older siblings that have learnt the truth to not say a word but to play along. And each year the requests get bigger and more expensive, and Santa has to come up with the goods, because junior has been good all year and you want junior to be happy and you don’t want junior to miss out because, you know, there’s his friends to consider, and you know from their parents exactly what type of presents ‘Santa’ is going to bring their child or children.

Parents teach their children ‘Stranger Danger’ and go to great extremes, of making sure their child or children understand, not to go with someone they don’t know, and yet once a year, at Christmas, those same parents whack their kids onto a stranger’s lap, just because he wears a red suit, has a white beard and hair, and goes ‘Ho, ho, ho.’

And then when parents have to tell their children, that’s if the child hasn’t worked it out, that Santa’s not real, that in fact it’s mummy and / or daddy that really buys the presents, how do you think the child or children are going to react? Of course, they will be hurt and disappointed and their magical bubble is burst. It’s the same feeling of hurt and disappointment when they’re told the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny aren’t real either.

Speaking of Christmas what about all the food that is bought and wasted for one day of the year. The money spent on decorations which will in all probability be thrown out. What is it about families being nice to each other for that one day when really families should be nice throughout the year.

Christmas is not a happy time for some. People remember those who have passed away and their absence hurts and makes a dent in trying to be happy when one just wants to cry. There are those who are homeless with no family to spend Christmas with. And there are those where this is a dangerous time of the year – Domestic Violence incidents rise over the Christmas and New Year period. There are many accidents in which people get hurt or killed just before Christmas or they are robbed or a fire may occur and they are suddenly homeless and have lost everything. Christmas can be quite a sad time for many.

So, does Santa have a lot to answer for. No, people do. It is people, who made up the facade, of a jolly man in red who delivers presents to children. And it is people who can’t see the needs of those around them who may be lonely or suffering.