When I was a small child and my English great-grandmother died, my grandfather (her son, here in Australia) needed to talk with his English family. It was an onerous task. He had to book a phone call to UK, wait some hours to be notified that a connection was possible and finally, as his Australian family sat around, he spoke, long distance—using a heavy, black Bakelite phone—to England.
It was not until 1963 that, what were called ‘trunk calls’, made it easier to speak by telephone to family or friends overseas; a sometime tricky thing to undertake—and the sound wasn’t great.
(I read that, “In the UK and the Commonwealth countries, a trunk call was the term for long-distance calling which traversed one or more trunk lines and involved more than one telephone exchange”, but still don’t know what the word ‘trunk’ implies in this context).
As time went by people accepted that phoning overseas was achievable, despite the cost.
At around 1976 to 1978, Australian STD (subscriber trunk dialling) was introduced. STD let telephone users make national and international calls without going through an operator.
Now, in 2022, once or twice a week, my son calls from the UK where he lives. My iPad plays a little jingle, I pick it up and ‘swipe’ the green button and there is my son, my daughter-in-law and my granddaughter.
Not only within clear hearing range but live, in full ‘technicolour’.
My granddaughter tells us about her latest school successes, and perhaps shows us something she has made. As we chat, my son takes his device outside to show us the latest progress in their UK back garden. Through this ‘facetime’ call we are able to be with family with ease.
This is telecommunication in the 21st century.
It is almost scary to imagine what the future in communication might eventually be like.
This year, 2022, marks 80 years since Japanese bombing raids began on Darwin in WW2.
The air attack on Darwin continued for nearly two years; the city was bombed 64 times.
Australian troops, numbering approximately 250,000 were stationed in the Northern Territory at some stage during those war years. Lives were lost; young men were permanently scarred.
History recalls that the government of the day fudged the numbers of casualties so that people wouldn’t 'be alarmed'.
But conservative estimates of war deaths in NT at the time, puts the servicemen tally at 432 and the number of civilian deaths at 63. That’s almost 500 people. (At least).
What was that all about?
To end that conflict, even worse had to occur, as the US obliterating of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were to prove.
So, what was all that about?
Today, Japan is considered one of Australia’s Best Friends.
And yet, for a decade or so after WW2, Australians refused to buy anything stamped “MADE IN JAPAN”.
Years later, when Japan proved its skills in manufacturing electronic goods and cars, all was ‘forgiven’ and the horror of war time was put in the past.
So, what did that war achieve?
Will we ever learn that all wars are futile?
What is the point, right now, of Putin bombing Ukraine into rubble – killing soldiers and civilians by the hundreds and wrecking any civilisation in his path?
Why do humans keep making wars?
Here are some interesting facts:
The Australian Defence force costs over $48 BILLION p.a., to maintain.
ALSO, did you know?
Australia is one of the top ten weapons exporting countries in the world, selling in excess of $5 BILLION worth of arms and equipment annually.
Imagine, for a minute, if all the money spent on arms and military might was spent, instead, on mitigating the (equally) deadly effect of Climate Change.
Imagine if all the military personnel from every nation rallied to save the planet, instead of bombing it.
Eighty years ago, Japan was dropping bombs on Australia.
Today Japan is one of Australia’s Best Friends.
Please tell me WHY we keep having wars.
Let’s talk about COVID. (Moan, not again!)
And, let’s talk about masks. (oh, nooo!)
Last night, on ABC tv, ‘The Drum’, CSIRO scientist, Lisa Gershwin, smilingly, yet forcefully, asserted that “This microbe wants to take us down”. (Yikes!)
It is obvious to most people that vaccinations and mask wearing are now necessary to protect us from the dreaded COVID virus.
There has been a lot of arguing over the need for mask wearing to be mandated. Politicians are being criticised for not being firm on this matter.
I do have a little sympathy for the politicians, and maybe understand a reason for their reluctance to mandate—other than the idea that it is businesses who do not want the populace kept away from commerce.
Think about it: IF mask wearing is mandated, it will be well-nigh impossible to police the mandate and you can ‘bet your bottom dollar’ that, as soon as people start being told they MUST don a mask, there will be protests. Once again, the morons in our midst will make their banners, with “my body, my choice”, “masks = Govt control” and so on, and take to the city streets, spreading the virus between them.
I am determined not to subject myself to this latest COVID virus strain of BA.4 and BA.5. I wear a face mask whenever I am out and about, such as a visit to a supermarket. Although I avoid gatherings of most sorts, I sometimes attend a meeting of a writers’ group, where there is a small number of attendees. Strangely, at the previous two meetings, I have been one of only two members wearing a mask. This I cannot understand. But, maybe folk are waiting to be TOLD.
After recommending that vaccinations and mask-wearing are essential tools for keeping us safe, the smiling scientist, Lisa Gershwin, added the much-quoted and true advice, “If you dislike wearing a mask, you’re really gonna HATE a ventilator!”
Think about it!
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.