Sunday, November 13, 2011

World Kindness Day





My volunteer flowers (on left) are doing so much better than the ones I planted




It turns out that I am being kind to myself today. I finally took a tray up to the bedroom and made myself coffee upstairs. I would have had it on the balcony but it is raining hard outside, so I have brought the outdoor table in and I am having it here and afterwards I am going to read my book. It makes the place feel like a motel room. All it needs is a mini bar with expensive drinks and overpriced chocolates. I was kind to someone yesterday though - or at least hope I was, and I have made a small donation to the Fred Hollows Foundation today.


There are many noble causes of course, too many, but Fred Hollows was a man after my own heart. He was a bit of an offbeat character who called a spade a spade and even, shock, horror! smoked, but when he saw a problem in the real world he just went ahead and started fixing it, without asking for permission, making submissions or going through the proper channels.

In consequence he was able to give the gift of sight to millions of people in places like Nepal, Erritrea and Vietnam. I particularly like that he didn't just go around removing cataracts, which were one of the major causes of blindness, but also trained people within those countries to do it themselves and set up factories to make the replacement lenses cheaply.
He was also very concerned about the health problems of Aboriginal people here in Australia, which continue to defy all government efforts to remedy them, despite large amounts of money being spent. The work he started however - establishing medical clinics in remote communties, continues.

The other thing I like about Fred Hollows is that he studied hard and worked hard for selfless reasons and not to make a buck. Take note you greedy CEOs and others! Nor did he do it for honours. Being somewhat opposed to meddling by governments and churches, he turned down the Order of Australia in 1990,  though he has since been honoured in other ways - for example, in the naming of parks and streets and in the 2010 issue of the $1 coin.

There are always spoilsports of course. As Brendan O'Neill  reports in this weekend's Weekend Australian (November 12 -13, 2011: 22), psychologists in the USA, while agreeing that good deeds stimulate certain areas of the brain in the same way that drugs do, regard it as a form  of pathology. If  that's true, then let me say I would find it preferable to other forms of insanity like say serial killing and definitely of far greater benefit to society than other  known ways of getting high like getting drunk or shooting up in a dark alley. Let's have more of it, I say.
What a bizarre society we have become, to find pursuit of wealth for it's own sake acceptable and altruism a problem. Only a few weeks ago there was the shocking incident of a little girl being run over in  a Chinese market, not once, but several times and no one noticing or coming to her aid. Is this the kind of world we want? I don't, thanks. Perhaps the passers-by all just needed glasses.

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