The Timaru Herald - - COMMENT&OPINION -

May I pub­licly thank Glenys Whit­ting­ton, Craig­head Dioce­san School, Alpine En­ergy Brass and the South Can­ter­bury Mu­seum for their world-class ef­forts to hon­our Pass­chen­daele this week in Ti­maru.

The Bel­gians (I found out when I vis­ited there) have not for­got­ten the help New Zealand made a cen­tury ago but sadly most New Zealan­ders have for­got­ten where most of our war dead lie. Yhey call the red poppy the wrong name and are obliv­i­ous to Oc­to­ber 12.

If you add up all those killed at Ere­bus, Napier, Christchurch, Tangi­wai, Wahine, Bal­lan­tynes and Sea­cliff - Pass­chen­daele equals the same num­ber, all in one af­ter­noon and at a time when our pop­u­la­tion was only a mil­lion. It is our dark­est day and has been our for­got­ten day.

On be­half of my col­leagues in the Pass­chen­daele So­ci­ety and the above lo­cals – there is now aware­ness. Gavin Mar­riott Pass­chen­daele So­ci­ety are from work­ing class Ire­land, bring­ing their Catholic faith with them, and still oth­ers have come here from Scot­land, bring­ing with them their Pres­by­te­rian faith. A lot were in­volved with build­ing some of the beau­ti­ful churches that we en­joy to­day.

Our court sys­tem comes largely from the book of Leviti­cus. While I know that it has been up­dated to serve mod­ern times, the prin­ci­ple is still the same. Most peo­ple still put their hand on The Bi­ble and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and noth­ing but the truth. I know there is an al­ter­na­tive; most still fol­low this prac­tice.

Why stop Bi­ble in schools, it is part of who we are. I know a lady who teaches it, and there are very strict reg­u­la­tions about what can be taught, and it is cen­tred around re­spect­ing oth­ers, be­ing kind and so on. With so much con­cern about bul­ly­ing among young peo­ple it can only do good in my view.

Re­cently I was ill, and spent a week in hospi­tal. On call­ing at my home one of the ladies from my church noted that my cur­tains were in much need of a wash, and the win­dows needed a clean too, so a group from church came one morn­ing af­ter I came home and did both jobs. At a time when my ill­ness had cost me ex­tra money, I was most grate­ful for their as­sis­tance.

All the main­stream churches in Ti­maru run our food­banks and other ser­vices that help the poor and needy; sec­u­lar so­ci­ety doesn’t do that. While I would hate to dis­cour­age peo­ple from us­ing th­ese fa­cil­i­ties, just be­cause they are non-church at­ten­dees, I would ask ev­ery­one to stop for a few min­utes and think of the peo­ple that give so gen­er­ously of their time, tal­ents and money. They are only ask­ing for half an hour a week in re­turn, and par­ents do have the abil­ity to with­draw a child from th­ese lessons if they re­ally feel strongly about it. Mau­reen Harper

Ti­maru Myan­mar (for­merly Burma).

On an in­vited visit to ring a tem­ple bell, he quoted a line from Rud­yard Ki­pling’s poem Man­dalay, in­ap­pro­pri­ate to­day con­sid­er­ing Bri­tish ac­tiv­i­ties in the days of Em­pire.

Some­one com­posed a song from the poem which Peter Daw­son sang in the days of steam ra­dio. Snip­pets re­called re­fer to the sol­dier of the poem who fan­cied a Burma girl telling of her ‘‘a-smok­ing of a whack­ing (?) white che­root’’ and ‘‘a-wast­ing Chris­tian kisses on an ‘ea­then idol’s foot’’.

Ki­pling, for some rea­son, was also no­table for his de­trac­tion of crick­eters. One won­ders what he would make of their ac­tiv­i­ties to­day.

When a bats­man is thought to be leg be­fore wicket, this causes a col­lec­tive im­be­cilic howl ac­com­pa­nied by id­i­otic ex­pres­sions from the en­tire op­po­si­tion as they face and ap­peal to the um­pire with up­raised arms.

If the ap­peal is suc­cess­ful the um­pire pokes a fin­ger into the air, where­upon the op­pos­ing team hur­ries from all over the field and sur­rounds the bowler, there to be­stow on him and each other that pe­cu­liar­ity in an ac­tion of high­hand slap­ping. If for­tu­nate, the hero also gets his hair ruf­fled.

Th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties seem to be an im­per­a­tive, the high­light and pur­pose of the game, and once achieved, ev­ery­one re­sumes places, hop­ing for the next such episode to play out.

If Ki­pling could la­bel crick­eters ‘‘flan­nelled fools’’ in his day, one won­ders how he would de­scribe their an­tics in the present. P Schaab


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