Minyadhi bundaanhi guda maal dhuludhi?
Why did koala 1 fall out of the tree?
It was dead.
Minyadhi bundaanhi guda bulaarr dhuludhi?
Why did koala 2 fall out of the tree?
Ngaragaydha nhama garran-garran.
Because it was stuck to the other one.
Minyadhi bundaanhi guda gulibaa dhuludhi?
Why did koala 3 fall out of the tree?
Minyadhi ganunga mil waandu dhay? Dhinggaa gaba!
Why did the crow eat their eyes? Good meat!
The story is a well-known joke (or anti-joke according to reddit) in Australian primary schools. We’ve translated it into Gamilaraay for fun. The last line, however, is drawn from a recent composition we heard in class, in which a young girl sings to consistently cheerful music about seeing a kangaroo; seeing a snake; seeing the snake biting the kangaroo, and the kangaroo hopping around; seeing the kangaroo dying; and then seeing a crow eating it, with the singer exclaiming “good meat!”
Gamilaraay does not have a continuous history. Like many Australian languages, it died out under pressure from English. Yet enthusiastic heirs to the culture, along with linguists like our teacher John Giacon (winner of the first Patji-Dawes award for language teaching), have worked on reclaiming their language from the past. All of us in the class are doing projects in the form of stories, translations or educational videos, adding to the stock of materials in or about the language. Our koala joke is another small contribution.
By Mark Ellison and Nina Gruenewald.
À quand remonte la dernière fois que tu as tenu, cher lecteur, un roman entre tes mains (ou un écran numérique qui affichait les mots de ce dernier) ? Pas le dernier livre – qui était sans doute un manuel de droit des sociétés ou ton exemplaire précieux de Bravo ! si tu as le plaisir de prendre des cours de français de deuxième année – mais le dernier roman, la dernière œuvre de littérature qui t’a passionné, dont les pages tu as tourné avec impatience pendant ton temps libre, sans prendre des notes, sans réfléchir à quelle citation choisir pour ton rapport ou ta dissertation. Si je ne me trompe pas, pour la plupart d’entre nous cela constitue un plaisir dont nous nous privons déjà depuis un certain temps.
En effet, selon une étude réalisée en 2015 sur les pratiques et les préférences en matière de lecture des jeunes Australiens, la lecture est classée comme une activité de loisir préférée de seulement un cinquième de participants. Qui plus est, 32% d’entre eux préféreraient ne pas, ou ne jamais, lire pendant leur temps libre, tandis que l’usage de l’ordinateur (et d’Internet) a été signalé comme activité de loisir privilégiée de 61% des jeunes interrogés. J’avoue que, bien que cela n’ait pas été toujours le cas, je suis moi-même coupable d’allumer Netflix dans mes moments libres (qui sont de plus en plus rares d’ailleurs). Il s’agit d’un désir de ne plus devoir me concentrer sur quoi que ce soit ; de débrancher mon esprit.
Pourtant lors du réveillon du premier de l’an 2017, s’étant rendu compte que j’avais lu (et n’en avais pas fini à lire beaucoup plus) un grand total de deux livres tout au long de l’année précédente, j’ai décidé qu’il était grand temps que je retrouve mon amour de la lecture. Je m’étais toujours enorgueillie d’être une jeune femme assez cultivée, mais tout d’un coup je me suis demandé combien d’œuvres importantes, des grands auteurs de littérature, avais-je même lues pendant ma vingtaine d’années d’existence ? Pas assez, j’ai conclu. Évidemment, je pouvais facilement trouver maintes excuses pour expliquer ce bilan lamentable – avant tout, le fait que je lisais un tas de documents, d’articles, une pléthore de littérature académique pour mes cours – mais cela ne changeait rien au fait que je voulais lire plus. Soudain, la réalisation morbide que regarder le prochain épisode de 13 Reasons Why se traduisait par moins de livres lus avant ma mort m’a frappé. Je me suis donc résolue à consacrer plus de temps à la lecture.
Cela me mène à une question fondamentale : Pourquoi lire ? À quoi bon se passionner pour des récits inventés ou même des histoires vraies, versions desquels l’on peut regarder sur un écran en beaucoup moins de temps et sans le niveau de concentration qu’exige la lecture ?
Tout d’abord, l’intelligence se cultive par la lecture. Comme l’a résumé Dr. Seuss, « Plus tu lis, plus tu sauras de choses. Plus tu apprends, à plus d’endroits tu iras. » La lecture contribue au développement d’un vocabulaire plus riche, améliore les compétences rédactionnelles, augmente l’éloquence et la cohérence de notre parole, renforce la fonction de mémoire, nous aide à bien dormir, et j’en passe. De plus, une étude récemment publiée par des chercheurs à l’université de Sussex a démontré que la lecture pourrait réduire le stress de jusqu’à 68%.
On apprend beaucoup de choses à la maison, à l’école, de nos amis et des bouches de ceux qui sont plus sages et intelligents que nous-mêmes. Il n’en reste pas moins que beaucoup des choses les plus précieuses qu’on sait viennent de la littérature qu’on a lue. Si l’on lit bien, on réussit à engager dans un dialogue avec les esprits les plus créatifs de notre époque et du passé. Le temps consacré à lire de la littérature n’est jamais du temps perdu ; on ne peut pourtant pas dire la même chose à propos du temps passé sur nos portables, ce qui constitue 3.9 ans de la vie de la personne moyenne, soit 23 jours par an. À ne pas oublier non plus est le fait que la lecture de littérature dans ta deuxième ou troisième langue est garantie à faire des miracles pour tes connaissances de cette langue. Je suis tout à fait d’accord avec le philosophe Alain qui a répondu à la question, « Comment apprend-on une langue ? » en disant « Par les grands auteurs, pas autrement. Par les phrases les plus serrées, les plus riches, les plus profondes, et non par les niaiseries d’un manuel de conversation ».
Je t’offre une dernière réflexion : la plupart des gens ne consommeront pas plus de 1.000 œuvres de littérature au cours de leur vie d’adulte. Combien de livres penses-tu avoir déjà lus ? 200 ? 300 ? Pense au nombre qui te reste. Et assure-toi de choisir intelligemment le reste.
Reading with Fresh Eyes
When was the last time you, dear reader, held a novel in your hands (or a digital screen displaying its words)? Not the last book – which was no doubt a corporate law textbook or your precious copy of Bravo! if you have the pleasure of taking second year French – but the last novel, the last work of literature which you enthusiastically read, the pages of which you turned eagerly in your spare time, without taking notes, without thinking about which quote to pick for your report or essay. If I’m not mistaken, here lies a pleasure which many of us have been deprived of for quite some time now.
In fact, according to a study conducted in 2015 on young Australians’ reading practices and preferences, reading was ranked as a preferred leisure time activity for only one-fifth of participants. What’s more, 32 per cent would prefer not to, or to never, read in their free time, whilst using the computer (and the Internet) figured as a preferred leisure time activity for a majority of 61 per cent of respondents. I’ll be the first to admit that, although this was not always the case, I myself am guilty of turning on Netflix in my spare moments (which are actually increasing rare). It’s a simple question of not wanting to have to concentrate on anything, of switching off my brain.
However, on New Year’s Eve of 2017, having realised that I had read (and started but not finished reading many more) a grand total of two books over the course of the closing year, I decided that it was high time that I found my love of reading again. I had always prided myself on being a well-read young woman, but suddenly I found myself wondering just how many important works from the greatest authors of literature I had read in my 20 years of existence. Not enough, I concluded. Obviously, I was not short of excuses to explain this dismal state of affairs – first and foremost, the fact that I read countless documents, articles, a plethora of academic literature for my classes – but this did not change the fact that I wanted to read more. Suddenly, the morbid realisation that watching the next episode of 13 Reasons Why would mean fewer books read before I died struck me. I became determined to devote more time to reading.
This leads me to a fundamental question: Why read? What’s the use in taking an avid interest in invented tales or even true stories, versions of which we can easily watch on a screen in much less time and without the level of concentration required by reading?
Firstly, reading develops intelligence. As Dr. Seuss summarised, ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.’ Reading contributes to the development of a wider vocabulary, improves writing skills, increases the eloquence and coherence of our speech, strengthens memory function, helps us sleep better, and the list goes on. In addition, a study published recently by researchers at the University of Sussex showed that reading can reduce stress by as much as 68 per cent.
We learn many things at home, at school, from our friends and the mouths of those wiser and cleverer than ourselves. But the fact remains that many of the most valuable things we learn come from the literature we have read. If we read well, we enter into a conversation with the most creative minds of our time and of the past. Time spent reading literature is never time wasted; yet we can’t say the same of the time we spend on our phones, which occupies 3.9 years of the average person’s life or 23 days of our year. Also not to be forgotten is the fact that reading literature in your second or third language is guaranteed to do wonders for your language skills. I agree whole-heartedly with the philosopher Alain who responded to the question ‘How does one learn a language?’ by saying ‘By the great authors, not in any other way. By the tightest, richest, deepest sentences, and not by the silliness of phrasebooks.’
A last bit of food for thought: the majority of people will not consume more than 1,000 works of literature over the course of their adult lifetime. How many books do you think you have already read? 200? 300? Think about the number which you have left. And make sure you choose the rest smartly.
Haig Park: named after World War I hero Earl Haig, right?
At a mere two years of age, Canberra was graced with the presence of its own magical creatures: beings which go by the name of ‘Haigers’. In the early 1920s their chosen place of residence was named Haig Park in their honour, and donations of food lined Northbourne Avenue in the hopes of keeping them in Australia’s capital city.
Decades later, unfortunately, the detestable rumour was spread about Haig Park’s ‘true’ namesake (whether Canberrans truly stopped believing, or were merely no longer bothered to donate food, I do not know), and the Haigers slipped out of public knowledge, struggling for survival for several years as a result. So used to the frequent home-delivery of nourishment, their limbs had lost their nimbleness, and try as they may to use Canberra’s wildlife to journey into the city, the animals would often eat the food before they could deliver it back to Haig Park (ibises were the worst for this, and Haiger frustration with these birds actually caused their near extinction in Canberra).
Fortunately, the construction of the Australian National University’s Fenner Hall brought new hope to the Haigers. They have grown to love the wobbly-walking, word-slurring students who make their way from Mooseheads towards their Braddon residence on Thursday nights, dropping pieces of Maccas as they go. Haigers are wholly satisfied with this way of life, and have shown their appreciation by donning these fast-food wrappers as their new outfits and by creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and kinship for Fenner Hall residents as they trot to and from the city centre.
Just think how the creatures will feel once they discover that Fenner Hall be moved far away from Braddon, and that a light rail will be constructed along Northbourne too. Thanks to these changes, fewer people will pass Haig Park to scraps of food in the years to come, and the light of Maccas’ Golden Arches will become confined to a human container zooming past along two ridges of steel.
Please, dear reader, do not allow this Fennerless, light-railed future to arrive. Rise up against these changes, for the sake of the Haigers.
A concerned resident of Fenner Hall.
Illustration: Katie Ward
Comments Off on Is it Important to Look ‘Fresh’ For as Long as Possible?
As a young woman living in today’s society, I know what it feels like to want to be beautiful. I consume vast amounts of media on a daily – if not hourly – basis, so I am constantly being bombarded with images coupled with the implication, ‘if you want to be beautiful, you have to look like this.’ But that is not the discussion I want to have right now. Instead, I want to discuss the relationships between older people and the concept of beauty. At 18 years of age, I am still very young and have the privilege of looking ‘fresh’ by virtue of this fact. But what is the significance of appearing youthful? Is this a demand that continues as we age?
It’s no secret that people who are considered attractive have proven to be more desirable in society, particularly in the workplace. According to a Newsweek article by Jessica Bennett, ‘attractive’ men earn an extra five per cent in comparison to their ‘less attractive’ counterparts, while attractive women earn an extra four per cent. But what does this mean for those over 50 who still do paid work? In a Time article, journalist Mark Miller discovered that full-time workers aged 55 to 64 were earning two-thirds less in earnings than the average rate. He also found that people in this age group who are employed at a new job tend to earn 25 per cent less than in their previous job.
This is a strong indication of ageism in the workplace. But can this be attributed to these individuals’ physical appearances? As Carol. A. Gosselink explains in her paper Ravishing or Ravished, yes, it can. Gosselink found that two of the most idealised aspects of physical beauty are youthfulness and thinness. As most women gain approximately 1.7 kilograms per year from the ages 48 – 56, the message is clear; young is in.
This message is likely to have a strong impact on self-esteem and self-perception among older women. Gosselink writes that older women’s opinions of their physical appearance are often harsher than those of younger women. They are also at a higher risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression as a result of the pressure to be ‘young and beautiful’ – particularly in Western societies.
Indeed, I have discussed older women and their experiences with the beauty industry – Gosselink specifies that women generally tend to be more affected by beauty standards compared to men – but this does not mean that men are not also affected by such standards. In February of this year the Wall Street Journal published an article titled ‘Why Men Have Such a Hard Time Aging’. In the article, journalist Dana Wechsler Linden writes that aging severely impacts upon a man’s sense of masculinity. Due to the frailness and deterioration in physical capabilities that comes with old age, the strength and independence that is desired of men by our society becomes increasingly intangible. Older men are therefore less likely to reach out for medical help for fear of how their masculinity will be perceived.
However, things appear to be looking up for older people and their relationships with beauty. In 2016, beauty and lifestyle website Allure released a video on their YouTube channel called, ‘Dispelling beauty myths: aging with grace’. In this video, three women over the age of 50 share their experiences with their own supposed beauty and sentiments towards it. One of these women was 71-year-old Norma Kamali who in the video recounts how on her 21st birthday, her mother told her that ‘it all goes downhill from here,’ when it comes to her physical appearance. She also notes her observation of ‘young, ageless women’ being portrayed as the ideal beautiful woman, even though these people are ‘the most vulnerable’. Kamali even mentions how she herself thought she ‘wasn’t pretty’ as a young woman but now as a 71-year-old, she feels ‘more beautiful than ever’.
This video is not perfect – it shows the stories of only three women and no other gender is included in the discussion on that particular platform. But the video now has over 300,000 views. It is part of Allure’s series of videos regarding beauty myths, all of which have had more than 50,000 views each, indicating that the portrayal of this subject matter in popular media has great scope in terms of the numbers of people that it can reach. Perhaps if we advertise that it is acceptable – or even desirable – to be an older person in today’s society, we will not feel as much pressure to look ‘fresh’ as we age.