Placeholder Content Image

Indigenous netball player shares "disgusting" hate letter after sponsorship drama

<p>An Indigenous netball star has shared a vile hate letter she received from a netball fan, two years on from the Netball Australia sponsorship drama.</p> <p>Prior to her first game with the Australian Diamonds national team in 2022, Donnell Wallam, a Noongar woman from Western Australia, refused to wear the uniform which featured the logo of Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting.</p> <p>The 30-year-old athlete shared that her reasoning was over racist comments made by Rinehart's late father in the 1980s, when he suggested Aboriginal people should be sterilised.</p> <p>In response to Wallam's boycott, Gina Rinehart dramatically tore up her $15 million sponsorship deal with Netball Australia, which had been set to run until the end of 2025.</p> <p>Now, two years on from the sponsorship drama, Wallam shared a photo on of hate mail she received about the controversy, from a woman named “Mary”.</p> <p>The letter posted to Instagram, which accused Wallam of being "radicalised by the Aboriginal left", includes a mocking imitation of an Indigenous Acknowledgement of Country paying “respects to British and European elders”.</p> <p>“As if the hate online wasn’t enough, Mary thought she’d send me a letter,” the netballer wrote. “I’m beyond disgusted and hurt but I will never stop advocating for my people. Blak, Loud and Proud. ALWAYS.”</p> <p>The letter reads, “I am writing to you to express my sadness that your [sic] cost the Australian Diamonds, of $15,000,000, caused by your radically influenced comments about Gina Rinehart’s father, Lang Hancock.” </p> <p>“Mr Hancock’s comments about serialisation [sic] of Aboriginals was disgusting and made by one man. However, at the time his daughter was not yet born as you were not yet born. You were influenced by the nasty activist Aboriginal clique that hates everything Australia. You fell into their spell and caused such loss of donations to Australia Netball. Hang your head in shame girl, for being manipulated by the radical Aboriginal filth.”</p> <p>Mary adds that she went to school in Perth “and had many good Noongar friends that I still love today”. </p> <p>“You are a disgrace to the Noongar Tribe,” she wrote. “I will never watch you play, ever.”</p> <p>Wallam’s supporters slammed the letter as “disgusting”, saying they will always support the inspirational athlete.</p> <p>“You are such an inspiration for so many, I am completely disgusted but sadly not shocked, what an absolute piece of s**t this woman is,” one wrote.</p> <p>“I will defs be watching your next game to support you,” another said. “Sounds like Mary’s loss!”</p> <p><em>Image credits: DARREN PATEMAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock Editorial </em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

"Meant to be": Magical moment mum finds lost ring 15 years later

<p>Some stories are so unbelievable that it seems like divine intervention played a part in making them happen.</p> <p>Samantha was only eight or nine years old when she lost a ring that her parents gave her for Christmas, only to miraculously find it 15 years later. </p> <p>She recalled the remarkable story of her lost ring on <em>Nova 96.9's Fitzy & Wippa with Kate Ritchie</em>. </p> <p>"So when I was about eight or nine, it was Christmas time, and we were holidaying up at Umina Beach Caravan Park," Samantha began.</p> <p>"I was in the surf, and my mum and dad had bought me this beautiful little first diamond ring for Christmas, and I was sort of in the waves up to sort of my knees, and I thought, Oh, I better take my ring off and put it around my necklace, because if I get dumped or under the waves, I might lose it."</p> <p>Samantha recalled that she was in the middle of taking her ring off when a "freak wave" came and knocked her over, causing her to drop the ring in the ocean.</p> <p>"I'm crying... my mum's crying, we're all crying, and I lost the ring," she said.</p> <p>15 years later she returned to the same beach with her own kids, when things took a turn for the better. </p> <p>"My daughter's collecting shells, and she picks up this big shell, and I said, 'Oh, that's beautiful. Like, that's a big one. We don't find them up this way'," she told the radio hosts.</p> <p>"And she said, 'Oh, hang on. I think there's like a creature or something in it'... So I said 'Put it down, put it down', and I picked it up and just make sure she wasn't going to get bitten or anything.</p> <p>"And I looked inside, and my ring was inside the shell."</p> <p>Samantha told the hosts that she remembered her mum giving her the ring and telling her "when you grow up and you have a daughter, you can give this to her."</p> <p>"When we found it, I think I cried for like, a week, it's a story that we still don't believe."</p> <p>Radio hosts Kate, Fitzy and Wippa were all in shock, with Kate telling the mum that the ring was "meant to be" with her. </p> <p>"Well, the funny thing is, my mum, actually, at the moment, is palative," Samantha shared.</p> <p>"She's very, very unwell, and out of everything that she does remember, she still remembers that story.</p> <p>"She'll still say to me, 'don't you ever get rid of that ring'. And I'm like, my daughter's got it in a box at home, and she's not even allowed to wear it."</p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"I am so lost without you": Sam Rubin's son speaks out

<p>Sam Rubin’s son has delivered an emotional on-air tribute to his late dad just days after his <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/health/caring/legendary-today-show-reporter-dies-unexpectedly" target="_blank" rel="noopener">passing</a>. </p> <p>The entertainment reporter died unexpectedly at the age of 64, after reportedly suffering a heart attack in his Los Angeles home last Friday. </p> <p>He worked for LA TV station KTLA as their entertainment reporter, and was a regular guest on Aussie programs like<em> Today</em> and <em>Today Extra</em>. </p> <p>Colby Rubin, the youngest of the reporter's four children, joined KTLA 5 Morning News on Monday to reflect on his father's death. </p> <p>“Hi dad. I wrote this under the desk in your cubicle – only you weren’t there to wake me up this time. Dad, I can’t believe you’re gone,” the 16-year-old began. </p> <p>“I love you so much. On the day you died, I hope you heard me say that. You were the kindest soul, the light in every room. I can’t imagine my life without you... You were always there.”</p> <p>He said he idolised his father calling him his hero, and said: “I never got to tell you that, and I’m so sorry dad.”</p> <p>Colby then shared some of their private texts showing how encouraging his father was when he was unsure of himself, telling him: "You can do this,” and "you have every gift. Respect your own talent." </p> <p>At this point, Colby was overwhelmed with emotion, with the hosts telling him he could take a break but the teen powered on. </p> <p>“I can’t believe I’ve lost you. I had more of a father in 16 years than some people get in their entire lives, and I’m so grateful.</p> <p>"You are a beautiful human and you will never be forgotten. Dad I love you. I am so lost without you, I’ll miss you every day. I hope you know how loved you are.”</p> <p>Colby's tribute left his father's colleagues in tears with one co-host telling him simply: “He knew.”</p> <p>“He would be so proud of you. All of us are parents, we all can say – that is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard,” another said as she fought back tears. </p> <p>Viewers praised Colby for his “strength and composure” in delivering such an emotional tribute just days after losing his father. </p> <p>“Amazing how Colby was able to do this with such grace, strength, and composure. You can tell Sam was an amazing father through Colby’s tribute,” TV anchor Stephanie Myers wrote on X. </p> <p>Sam is survived by his wife Leslie and four children: Perry, 28, Rory, 23, Darcy, 18, and Colby.</p> <p><em>Image: KTLA/ X</em></p>

Family & Pets

Placeholder Content Image

Sydney Airport launches massive auction of lost property

<p>Have you ever lost something at the airport? </p> <p>You're not alone.</p> <p>This year there were more than 2,500 unclaimed items left at the airport including electronics, jewellery and designer handbags, and now they are up for grabs for a fraction of their retail price. </p> <p>The airport has launched their annual online auction, with all the money raised going to the Harding Miller Education Foundation, which grants four-year scholarships to high-school girls with high academic potential who are experiencing disadvantage. </p> <p>Over the past decade, the auctions have raised $1.6 million for various charities. </p> <p>“It’s clear the public love nabbing a bargain in support of a worthy cause," Sydney Airport general manager of corporate affairs Josh Clements said. </p> <p>“There’s something for everyone with plenty of great tech, clothing, accessories and beauty products as well as a host of unique items like a massage table, an electric scooter, a leaf blower and a quintessential Aussie favourite, a jaffle maker (sandwich press),” he added. </p> <p>“It’s great to see these unclaimed items find new homes, while also supporting a charity that’s offering comprehensive scholarships to help level the playing field for high school girls facing disadvantage.”</p> <p>“Opening bids start at just $10, which means shoppers have a chance to grab a great deal while also supporting an impactful charity,” Theodore Bruce Auctioneers director, Casi Prischl, said.</p> <p>The auction runs until Sunday May 12, with the <a href="https://www.theodorebruceauctions.com.au/sydney-airport-lost-property-auction-2024a" target="_blank" rel="noopener">complete list of auctions currently open for bids below</a>: </p> <ul> <li>Tech & Gaming - Saturday 4 May to Saturday 11 May, closing at 10am</li> <li>Sunglasses, Bags, Scarves & Accessories - Saturday 4 May to Saturday 11 May, closing at 2pm</li> <li>Jewellery & Watches - Saturday 4 May to Sunday 12 May, closing at 10am</li> <li>Clothing - Saturday to May to Sunday 12 May, closing at 2pm</li> <li>Beauty, Alcohol, Home - Saturday 4 May to Sunday 12 May, closing at 4pm</li> </ul> <p>Goods can be delivered at a price, or picked up by appointment. </p> <p><em>Images: Theodore Bruce Auctions</em></p>

Money & Banking

Placeholder Content Image

“I lost all ability to fly the plane”: Pilot's shock claim after plane drops mid-flight

<p>At least 50 passengers have been injured with a dozen hospitalised after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner suddenly plunged about two hours into the flight from Sydney to Auckland on Monday. </p> <p>LATAM Airlines said that the plane experienced an unspecified "technical event during the flight which caused a strong movement." </p> <p>Passengers on board the flight have recalled the terrifying moment the plane took a nose-dive mid-flight. </p> <p>"The plane dipped so dramatically into a nose dive for a couple of seconds and around 30 people hit the ceiling hard," Daniel, who was travelling from London, told the <em>NZ Herald</em>. </p> <p>“None of us knew what had happened until after the flight, I was just trying to keep everyone calm. We never heard any announcement from the captain." </p> <p>He added that passengers were screaming and it was hard to tell whether blood or red wine was splattered through the cabin. </p> <p>Another passenger, Brian Jokat, told broadcaster <em>RNZ t</em>hat the incident took place in "split seconds". </p> <p>"There was no pre-turbulence, we were just sailing smoothly the whole way,” he said. </p> <p>“I had just dozed off and I luckily had my seatbelt on, and all of a sudden the plane just dropped. It wasn’t one of those things where you hit turbulence and you drop a few times … we just dropped.”</p> <p>He added that a passenger two seats away from him, who was not wearing his seatbelt, flew up into the ceiling and was suspended mid-air before he fell and broke his ribs. </p> <p>“I thought I was dreaming,” he said. “I opened my eyes and he was on the roof of the plane on his back, looking down on me. It was like <em>The Exorcist</em>.”</p> <p>Paramedics and more than 10 emergency vehicles were waiting for passengers when the plane landed in Auckland. </p> <p>Around 50 patients were treated, with 12 of them hospitalised and one in serious condition. </p> <p>At least three of those treated were cabin crew. </p> <p>Jokat told <em>RNZ </em>that after the plane landed, the pilot came to the back and explained what had happened. </p> <p>"He said to me, ‘I lost my instrumentation briefly and then it just came back all of a sudden,’” Jokat said.</p> <p>In another interview with <em>Stuff.co.nz</em>, Jokat recalled the pilot also saying: “My gauges just blanked out, I lost all of my ability to fly the plane.” </p> <p>The airline's final destination was Santiago, Chile, but it was landing at Auckland Airport in accordance with its normal flight path, according to <em>Reuters</em>. </p> <p>"LATAM regrets the inconvenience and injury this situation may have caused its passengers, and reiterates its commitment to safety as a priority within the framework of its operational standards," the airline said.  </p> <p><em>Images: Brian Jokat/ News.com.au</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

The art of ‘getting lost’: how re-discovering your city can be an antidote to capitalism

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-dobson-1093706">Stephen Dobson</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>Do you remember what it was like to discover the magic of a city for the first time? Do you remember the noises, smells, flashing lights and pulsating crowds? Or do you mostly remember cities through the screen of your phone?</p> <p>In 1967, French philosopher and filmmaker Guy Debord <a href="https://files.libcom.org/files/The%20Society%20of%20the%20Spectacle%20Annotated%20Edition.pdf">publicised the need</a> to move away from living our lives as bystanders continually tempted by the power of images. Today, we might see this in a young person flicking from one TikTok to the next – echoing the hold images have on us. But adults aren’t adverse to this window-shopping experience, either.</p> <p>Debord notes we have a tendency to observe rather than engage. And this is to our detriment. Continually topping-up our image consumption leaves no space for the unplanned – the reveries to break the pattern of an ordered life.</p> <p>Debord was a member of a group called the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Situationist-International">Situationist International</a>, dedicated to new ways we could reflect upon and experience our cities. Active for about 15 years, they believed we should experience our cities as an act of resistance, in direct opposition to the (profit-motivated) capitalistic structures that demand our attention and productivity every waking hour.</p> <p>More than 50 years since the group dissolved, the Situationists’ philosophy points us to a continued need to attune ourselves – through our thoughts and senses – to the world we live in. We might consider them as early eco-warriors. And through better understanding their philosophy, we can develop a new relationship with our cities today.</p> <h2>Understanding the ‘situation’</h2> <p>The Situationist International movement was <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt183p61x">formed</a> in 1957 in Cosio di Arroscia, Italy, and became active in several European countries. It brought together radical artists inspired by spontaneity, experimentalism, intellectualism, protest and hedonism. Central figures included Danish artist <a href="https://museumjorn.dk/en/">Asger Jorn</a>, French novelist <a href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/author/michele-bernstein-10219/">Michèle Bernstein</a> and Italian musician and composer <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Olmo">Walter Olmo</a>.</p> <p>The Situationists were driven by a <a href="https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/34141">libertarian form of Marxism</a> that resisted mass consumerism. One of the group’s early terms was “unitary urbanism”, which sought to join avant-garde art with the critique of mass production and technology. They rejected “urbanism’s” conventional emphasis on function, and instead thought about art and the environment as inexorably interrelated.</p> <p>By rebelling against the invasiveness of consumption, the Situationists proposed a turn towards artistically-inspired individuality and creativity.</p> <h2>Think on your own two feet</h2> <p>According to the 1960 <a href="https://hts3.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/situationist-international-manifesto.pdf">Situationist Manifesto</a> we are all to be artists of our own “situations”, crafting independent identities as we stand on our own two feet. They believed this could be achieved, in part, through “<a href="https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/p/psychogeography#:%7E:text=Psychogeography%20describes%20the%20effect%20of,emotions%20and%20behaviour%20of%20individuals">psychogeography</a>”: the idea that geographical locations exert a unique psychological effect on us.</p> <p>For instance, when you walk down a street, the architecture around you may be deliberately designed to encourage a certain kind of experience. Crossing a vibrant city square on a sunny morning evokes joy and a feeling of connection with others. There’s also usually a public event taking place.</p> <p>The Situationists valued drift, or <em>dérive</em> in French. This alludes to unplanned movement through a landscape during journeys on foot. By drifting aimlessly, we unintentionally redefine the traditional rules imposed by private or public land owners and property developers. We make ourselves open to the new unexpected and, in doing so, are liberated from the shackles of everyday routine.</p> <p>In <a href="https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-981-10-8100-2">our research</a>, my colleagues and I consider cities as places in which “getting lost” means exposing yourself to discovering the new and taken-for-granted.</p> <h2>Forge your own path</h2> <p>By understanding the Situationists – by looking away from our phones and allowing ourselves to get lost – we can rediscover our cities. We can see them for what they are beneath the blankets of posters, billboards and advertisements. How might we take back the image and make it work for us?</p> <p>The practise of geo-tagging images on social media, and sharing our location with others, could be considered close to the spirit of the Situationists. Although it’s often met with claims of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/when-why-not-to-use-geotagging-overtourism-security">over-fuelling tourism</a> (especially regarding idyllic or otherwise protected sites), geo-tagging could <a href="https://www.melaninbasecamp.com/trip-reports/2019/5/1/five-reasons-why-you-should-keep-geotagging">inspire us</a> to actively seek out new places through visiting the source of an image.</p> <p>This could lead to culturally respectful engagement, and new-found respect for the rights of traditional custodians as we experience their lands in real life, rather than just through images on our phones.</p> <p>Then there are uniquely personal and anarchistic forms of resistance, wherein we can learn about the world around us by interweaving ourselves with our histories. In doing so we offer a new meaning to a historical message, and a new purpose. The Situationists called this process <em><a href="https://www.theartstory.org/movement/situationist-international/">détournement</a></em>, or hijacking.</p> <p>For instance, from my grandfather I inherited a biscuit tin of black and white photographs I believe were taken in the 1960s. They showed images of parks and wildlife, perhaps even of the same park, and cityscapes of London with people, streets and buildings.</p> <p>I have spent many hours wandering the London streets tracking down the exact places these images were snapped. I was juxtaposing past with present, and experiencing both continuity and change in the dialogues I had with my grandfather. In this way, I used images to augment (rather than replace) my lived experience of the material world.</p> <p>Urban art installations can also be examples of detournment as they make us re-think everyday conceptions. <a href="https://www.cityartsydney.com.au/artwork/forgotten-songs/">Forgotten Songs</a> by Michael Hill is one such example. A canopy of empty birdcages commemorates the songs of 50 different birds once heard in central Sydney, but which are now lost due to habitat removal as a result of urban development.</p> <p>There are also a number of groups, often with a strong environmental or civic rights focus, that partake in detournment. <a href="https://popularresistance.org/dancing-revolution-how-90s-protests-used-rave-culture-to-reclaim-the-streets/">Reclaim the Streets</a> is a movement with a long history in Australia. The group advocates for communities having ownership of and agency within public spaces. They may, for instance, “invade” a highway to throw a “<a href="https://pasttenseblog.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/road-rave.pdf">road rave</a>” as an act of reclamation.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/bUL0C_T-Sqk?wmode=transparent&amp;start=999" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>As French avant-garde philosopher <a href="https://www.themarginalian.org/2014/07/24/the-poetics-of-reverie-gaston-bachelard/">Gaston Bachelard</a> might have put it, when we’re bombarded by images there is no space left to daydream. We lose the opportunity to explore and question the world capitalism serves us through images.</p> <p>Perhaps now is a good time to set down the phone and follow in the Situationists’ footsteps. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/221606/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-dobson-1093706"><em>Stephen Dobson</em></a><em>, Professor and Dean of Education and the Arts, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-art-of-getting-lost-how-re-discovering-your-city-can-be-an-antidote-to-capitalism-221606">original article</a>.</em></p>

Travel Tips

Placeholder Content Image

"Lost everything": Retirees left homeless after houseboat destroyed

<p>Two grandparents from South Australia have lost everything after a tree fell on their houseboat during a wild storm. </p> <p>Pam, 77, and David, 82, moved into their two-bedroom houseboat on the Murray River when they first retired over 20 years ago, after finally living out their dream of living on the water. </p> <p>During a storm on February 13th, when their houseboat was moored about 700m from the Renmark boat ramp, their lives were changed forever when a tree fell through their roof. </p> <p>Their granddaughter Shenay Harris said it was a miracle the pair escaped with only minor injuries.</p> <p>“They’re both sitting in their armchairs next to each other. My nan was actually stuck. Her legs were pinned from all the rubble of the roof caving in, and my pop managed to be able to stand up and reach for the phone to call emergency services,” Harris told <a href="https://7news.com.au/news/south-australian-grandparents-lose-everything-after-tree-falls-on-houseboat-in-murray-river-during-storm--c-13615764" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>7News</em></a>.</p> <p>“Looking at the boat and where they were sitting and everything, we have no idea how they are still with us. It’s just absolutely amazing that they’re still here, and they’re OK.”</p> <p>Shenay said her grandparents were now feeling lost about their future, while also grieving the loss of their retirement home. </p> <p>“My pop, he’s absolutely shattered. He’s said to us ‘it’s all over now’ ... (we’re) trying to reassure him (that) ‘no, it’s just a new beginning’,” Harris said.</p> <p>“They’ve been on that boat for 23 years, so it’s been my whole childhood and life with them living on the boat."</p> <p>The houseboat was not insured at the time of the accident, leaving both of the retirees homeless, with no hope for a replacement boat or a payout to get them back on their feet. </p> <p>“They’ve literally just lost everything they’ve got, you know, no assets, nowhere to go, no money,” Shenay said.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/riverland-houseboat-tragedy-pamelas-joy?cdn-cache=0" target="_blank" rel="noopener">online fundraiser</a> has been set up to support the couple as they figure out the next stage of their life, so far raising $3,000.</p> <p>“They’re both pensioners, they’ve really got nothing to their name now, having lost the boat. So really just to get them back on their feet.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: GoFundMe / 7News</em></p>

Retirement Life

Placeholder Content Image

Aussie love story from WWII immortalised in the war memorial

<p>An Australian couple's love story that defied the odds of time and distance has been immortalised in the war memorial.</p> <p>The Australian War Memorial is calling for volunteers to help transcribe thousands of love letters sent from soldiers in the war, to their loved ones back at home. </p> <p>Launching on Valentine's Day, the project will see the digital release of hundreds of thousands of personal letters, diaries and other handwritten documents kept safe for decades. </p> <p>Among those stories is the tale of Mac and Dot, two lovebirds separated by World War II. </p> <p>Their love story began in 1939, when Mac was 17 and Dorothy was 14. </p> <p>Dorothy - or as Mac referred to her, his Darling Dot - was forbidden to go on a date with Mac after her father refused to give his blessing. </p> <p>"He kept on asking me to go out but my father wouldn't let me," Dorothy laughed as she told Ally Langdon on <em>A Current Affair</em>. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3Rj4g9vjIS/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by A Current Affair (@acurrentaffair9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Mac was soon off to war, but his plan was always to return home to Dot. </p> <p>"He said to me, 'When I come back home...Will you come out with me then?'" Dorothy reminisced.</p> <p>"I said, 'Of course I will, Mac!' And then he gave me a kiss and went to war."</p> <p>The young couple then continued to write each other letters every week for five long years, until Mac was captured by the German army and held as a prisoner of war. </p> <p>Despite his capture, Mac held onto every letter Dot had ever written him, as he remained determined to get home to his beloved. </p> <p>"I hated him being away, and when the letters came back oh gee they were wonderful," Dorothy said.</p> <p>"A letter meant he was still alive, you see, so it was so exciting."</p> <p>In April 1945, Dot received the best letter of all: Mac had escaped and was coming home. </p> <p>"Hello my darling. What does one say in a moment such as this?" Dot wrote on April 30th 1945.</p> <p>"I have butterflies in my stomach, love in my heart and few words that make sense in my mind. Well Mac, it's really coming at last. You're almost home". </p> <p>And Mac wrote back to that, "Hello darling. I miss you more now than ever."</p> <p>"Unfortunately I can't find a boat to take me back to you. If they don't hurry I guess I'll just have to pinch a rowing boat and see what I can do!" </p> <p>When Mac returned home, he brought with him half a decade's worth of those love letters from Dot, as well as a portrait of himself painted by another prisoner of war. </p> <p>It hangs proudly at the end of Dorothy's bed and is the first thing she sees when she wakes.</p> <p>Now Robyn Van Dyke and Terrie-Anne Simmonds from the Australian War Memorial are sifting through thousands of donated love letters, including Mac's and Dorothy's.</p> <p>"He not only managed to escape, but he managed to take all her letters with him and that blows me away because it's not a small amount of letters," Robyn said.</p> <p>The team is looking for <a href="https://transcribe.awm.gov.au" target="_blank" rel="noopener">volunteers</a> to help ensure those stories, and all that love, live forever.</p> <p>Dorothy, who is now 101 years old, had more than 70 wonderful years with Mac before he died in 2014. </p> <p>"He was nearly 90, you know. And me I just kept on going and going and going!" she said.</p> <p>"He'd be up there watching every minute I bet. We had such fun. Oh dear we did have fun. We laughed a lot and we cried a lot."</p> <p>"But we lived - and that was the main thing."</p> <p><em>Image credits: A Current Affair </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 24px 0px 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: 18px; line-height: 1.333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size-adjust: inherit; font-kerning: inherit; font-variant-alternates: inherit; font-variant-ligatures: inherit; font-variant-numeric: inherit; font-variant-east-asian: inherit; font-variant-position: inherit; font-feature-settings: inherit; font-optical-sizing: inherit; font-variation-settings: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; caret-color: #333333; color: #333333; letter-spacing: 0.25px;"> </p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

"They lost it": Margot Robbie's surprise encounter with Barbie fans

<p>Margot Robbie has recalled a sweet story about when she overheard a group of men talking about the <em>Barbie</em> movie, before giving them the surprise of their life. </p> <p>At a screening of the <em>Barbie</em> movie in Los Angeles, the Aussie actress told the audience of the heartwarming moment she encountered in Scotland, shortly after the film's release last July. </p> <p>At the SAG-AFTRA screening of the blockbuster movie, Robbie began, “I had this brilliant experience.”</p> <p>“I was in a pub in the middle of nowhere in Scotland and I listened for about 30 minutes to a group of guys on a bachelor party discussing the <em>Barbie</em> movie, not knowing that I was sitting two or three feet away from them.”</p> <p>Robbie continued, “It was just truly fascinating. There were people at the table who refused to see the <em>Barbie</em> movie."</p> <p>“One guy was like, ‘Dude, it is a cultural moment, don’t you want to be a part of culture?’ And the other guy was like, ‘I’ll never see it,’ and by the end he did want to see it. It was a whole thing."</p> <p>“I wasn’t going to go up to them, but then I did.”</p> <p>Before leaving the pub, Robbie casually waltzed up to the group of men who “lost it” when they discovered Barbie herself had overheard their conversation.</p> <p>“At the last minute as I was walking out I went to their table and I went ‘Thank you for seeing the <em>Barbie</em> movie’,” she added.</p> <p>“It was very funny, they lost it. It took a full minute for them to realise and I was practically out the door and they went ‘Ohhhh’.</p> <p>“People’s reactions to the movie have been the biggest reward of this entire experience.”</p> <p>The heartwarming story comes fresh on the heels of Margot being <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/movies/margot-robbie-snubbed-as-oscar-nominations-announced" target="_blank" rel="noopener">snubbed</a> for a Best Actress nomination at this year's Oscars for the <em>Barbie</em> movie, which caused an uproar on social media. </p> <p>Margot addressed the snub at the LA screening, saying there's “no way to feel sad when you’re this blessed.”</p> <p>“Obviously, I think Greta should be nominated as a director,” she added.</p> <p>“What she did is a once-in-a-career, once-in-a-lifetime thing. What she pulled off, it really is."</p> <p>“We set out to do something that would shift culture, affect culture, just make some sort of impact. And it’s already done that and some, way more than we ever dreamt it would. And that is truly the biggest reward that could come out of all of this.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Movies

Placeholder Content Image

"Is this legal?" Residents outraged over demanding aircon letter

<p>Residents in a Sydney unit complex were left outraged after they were asked to turn off their air conditioners overnight.</p> <p>A letter placed inside the elevator of the 18-floor apartment building states that the utility can only be used “during the following times."</p> <p>“Weekdays 7am to 10pm, weekends and public holidays 8am to 10pm,” the letter said.  </p> <p>“At other times than this, please turn off your air conditioners, especially after 10:00 PM every day.”</p> <p>The letter, which was posted on Facebook, received a lot of backlash from other residents and renters</p> <p>One resident who lived in the 1960s building for a decade said it was the first time she had heard of such a request.</p> <p>“Can anyone please let me know if this is legal? Can they actually force people to not run their own AC units?” the person asked. </p> <p>Many other renters expressed their annoyance, with one joking that they'd have to pry the aircon off their dead hands. </p> <p>“Anyone else feel like we are in a Nanny State?” one wrote. </p> <p>“To be honest with 30°c nights they can pry my aircon from my cold dead heads,” another quipped. </p> <p>One Facebook user also commented that building developers might be to blame. </p> <p>“I think the strata builders got a bit cheap and installed less expensive aircons and therefore they are too loud. Bet if they had decent ones, the tenants wouldn’t have to suffer hot nights because of the noise,” they said. </p> <p>A few others commented that it might not just be a request from strata, but local councils that are enforcing new noise pollution restrictions which affect aircons. </p> <p>City of Sydney, Inner West, and Penrith councils, are a few of the local governments which require the airconditioners to be turned off 10pm to 7am during the week and until 8am on the weekend, the same time requested on the laters. </p> <p>The local governments also recommend that residents and developers purchase high-quality airconditioners that won't cause noise pollution or disturb neighbours. </p> <p>“Even if you’ve been told that it complies with noise requirements, it doesn’t mean it’s going to suit every location all the time,” the Inner West Council website read. </p> <p>The letter comes as Sydney battles its second heatwave in the span of a week. </p> <p><em>Images: Facebook/ Getty</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

"Each bauble represents a life lost": Haunting Christmas tree sends powerful message

<p>As the holiday season approaches, a haunting symbol of despair has once again taken root at Victoria Police headquarters – carrying with it a message of melancholy that we are unaccustomed to at this normally festive time of year.</p> <p>Instead of joyous ornaments and twinkling lights, a Christmas tree adorned with glistening blue baubles now stands as a remarkably poignant testament to the road death carnage that has befallen the state throughout 2023.</p> <p>These beautiful baubles, each etched with the name and age of those lost on Victoria's roads this year, tell a grim tale of grief and loss. With the toll reaching 274 by December 6, it marks the darkest year for the state since 2008.</p> <p>In a moving video accompanying the dressing of the tree, Road Policing Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir implored the public to drive cautiously during the Christmas period, desperately hoping to prevent the addition of any more baubles to this sorrowful tree.</p> <p>"This Christmas tree is unlike any other; it's one we don't want to see decorated," Commissioner Weir soberly explained. "Each bauble represents a life lost, a stark reminder of the importance of road safety. Please, drive safely this festive period. Take care, have conversations with your loved ones, and remember the responsibility you bear when behind the wheel."</p> <p>November alone witnessed the loss of 35 lives on Victorian roads, marking it as the worst month this year. In response, the police are intensifying road policing operations throughout December in an attempt to curb further tragedies.</p> <p>In a bid to address the escalating death toll, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has launched the initiative "Stop kidding yourself. If you drink, don't drive," running from December 4 to the end of January.</p> <p>Shockingly, it has also been revealed that one in five individuals killed on Victorian roads had a blood alcohol concentration of .05 or higher.</p> <p>TAC CEO Tracey Slatter also called on the urgent need for a cultural shift, challenging the notion that driving after consuming any amount of alcohol should be deemed "normal".</p> <p>"Many people think they can manage their blood-alcohol level with vague rules handed down through generations," she said. "But the only way to avoid the risk entirely is to completely separate drinking and driving."</p> <p>As the Christmas tree of remembrance continues to grow with each passing day, it stands as a poignant symbol of the lives lost on Victoria's roads, imploring society to reflect, change and prioritise the safety of every journey.</p> <p><em>Images: Victoria Police</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

Nick Kyrgios' honest thoughts on Shane Warne's open letter

<p>In 2015, late cricket legend Shane Warne posted an open letter Nick Kyrgios on social media, calling out the then hot-headed tennis player's fiery behaviour off-court. </p> <p>"Dear Nick, we all realise you're only 20 and have a lot to learn buddy, but please don't waste your talent," the letter began. </p> <p>"Everyone in the world, especially us Australians want to respect you. You need to respect the game of tennis and yourself. We all make mistakes.</p> <p>"You're testing our patience mate, show us what you're made of and how hungry you are to be the best in the world. It's time to step up and start winning, no excuses," he added in the scathing letter. </p> <p>"We all make mistakes. It's how we learn from them and the way we conduct ourselves when we lose that shows true character. You're testing our patience mate," he concluded. </p> <p>A then 20-year-old Kyrgios had just beat Spanish champion Rafael Nadal during the 2015 Wimbledon, but also attracted a lot of controversy after insulting Stan Wawrinka at a tournament in Montreal, Canada. </p> <p>This was a particularly difficult time in Kyrgios' career, as he was suspended for 28-days and got a $34,705 fine from the ATP.</p> <p>Since the incident, Kyrgios has managed to get his professional life back on track, and in a recent interview with Piers Morgan on his show <em>Uncensored</em>, the tennis star shared that he never read the letter. </p> <p>"I saw it and didn't read it. I'm never going to be the first one to go out on social media and put someone down," he told the host. </p> <p>He added that he believed that Warne would be proud of how far he's come. </p> <p>"I look back at that letter and at how far I've come and I'd say he would be proud for sure. I’ve had a pretty successful career. I feel I've won a lot more than I've lost." </p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

"I've lost complete blood flow": Robert Irwin's near miss with python

<p>Young wildlife warrior Robert Irwin suffered a near miss during a rescue mission over the weekend, when he tried to relocate a carpet python off the road. </p> <p>The 19-year-old took to Instagram on Sunday to share a video of him almost getting bit by the wild snake. </p> <p>"Gee, that gets the heart rate up - he missed me by that much," he said when the snake struck at him. </p> <p>"He's grumpy... he's really keen on biting me... what a gorgeous snake, he's big, he's not venomous but... they're designed to constrict," he said as the python began wrapping its body around his arm to ''constrict" him. </p> <p>"He's got a good grip there, I've lost complete blood flow to my hand, it's completely blue.. and I have no feeling left in my hand," he added. </p> <p>He eventually managed to rescue the snake, and relocated it to a safe spot in the bush the day after. </p> <p>"Near miss! Definitely had a good laugh with this grumpy carpet python - but great to get him rescued off the road and relocated to a much safer spot!" he captioned the post. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0Fc3k-hiy9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"> </div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C0Fc3k-hiy9/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by Robert Irwin (@robertirwinphotography)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Fans shared their shock and couldn't help but comment on how much the young conservationist was like his late father, Steve Irwin. </p> <p>"Dude you are killing us with these like-father-like-son bits,"  one fan wrote. </p> <p>"Holy crap. I actually thought I was watching Steve for a second and it took me back a moment. He's very much still alive in his family. No doubt about that," another added. </p> <p>"This is precarious yet hiss-terical !😂 all at the same time. Thank you for helping snakey dude slither to safety! 👍🏼💕" added a fellow conservationist. </p> <p><em>Images: Instagram</em></p>

Travel Trouble

Placeholder Content Image

Nat Barr overwhelmed by Police Commissioner's heartbreaking letter to his fallen son

<p>Nat Barr broke down live on <em>Sunrise</em> after hearing the heartbreaking letter from grieving police commissioner Grant Stevens, who lost his son just days ago in an <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/police-commissioner-s-son-killed-during-schoolies-week" target="_blank" rel="noopener">alleged hit and run</a> during schoolies. </p> <p>Charlie Stevens, 18, died on Saturday night surrounded by friends and family in Goolwa, 90km southeast of Adelaide, just a day after he celebrated finishing high school.</p> <p>Charlie's parents penned a letter to their youngest son, with the purpose of introducing South Australians to the 101st life lost on the state’s roads this year.</p> <p>On Tuesday morning, Matt Shirvington read an excerpt of the letter, and both hosts were equally emotional, with Shirvington's voice breaking at one point. </p> <p>“I am writing this sitting in a bedroom with dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, six drinking glasses lined up on the bedside table, an empty KFC box next to the glasses, wardrobe doors left open and a row of skateboards leaning on the wall – it is a mess and it’s perfect. This is where 101 lived,” the letter read. </p> <p>“101 is Charles Stevens – Charlie, Charlie Boy, Chas, Links, Steve. You lived life and gave so much to so many. You were a force of nature and we will never forget your beautiful cheeky, disarming smile.</p> <p>“Son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew, cousin, friends, workmate, teammate. So much more than just a number on a tragic tally.”</p> <p>His heartbroken parents described him as a "Cheeky, intense and funny" boy, who was loveable from the moment he could talk. </p> <p>"He was as frustrating as hell, but he was also the kid who would look after others, befriend the lonely, and help those who were struggling,” they added. </p> <p>“Intensity shone through as 101 committed to each new passion — Lego, BBL, scooters, footy, cricket, basketball, surfing, downhilling, Fortnight and his skateboard — it was all or nothing and it was always all.”</p> <p>His parents also shared stories about their son's passion for his work as an apprentice carpenter. </p> <p>“ … On a good day, we would be lucky to see 101 for half an hour between him getting home from work and heading out with his mates, but it was enough," they wrote. </p> <p>After sharing the emotional tribute, Nat Barr was choking back tears and had to cut to an ad break. </p> <p>The letter comes after the 18-year-old driver accused of being behind the wheel during the alleged hit-and-run was granted bail. </p> <p>On Monday, three witnesses stated in court that the driver performed a U-turn and hit Charlie, who was waiting for the Schoolies shuttle bus to take him and his friends to Victor Harbor from Goolwa Beach. </p> <p>It is alleged that the 18-year-old was speeding and  travelling on the wrong side of the road before hitting Charlie. </p> <p>Another witness from inside the car said that a group of young men were on the west side of the road, partially on the footpath, and that there was a single male on the other side.</p> <p>She told the court that the male on the east side ran across the road and into the incoming car. </p> <p>The driver allegedly drove a short distance before calling his mum and asking her if he should turn himself in or call the police, before he was arrested. </p> <p>He was granted bail, with the condition that he forfeits his passport, live with his mum, and set aside $15,000 as a guarantee. </p> <p><em>Images: SA Police/ Channel 7</em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

The enduring appeal of Friends, and why so many of us feel we’ve lost a personal friend in Matthew Perry

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-gerace-325968">Adam Gerace</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p>The <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/videos/world/friends-star-matthew-perry-dies-aged-54/cloatn0ae00ea0jqbpdz0h8td">death of Matthew Perry</a>, best known for his role as Chandler Bing in the television series Friends, has seen an outpouring of grief from fans and the Hollywood community.</p> <p>His passing at age 54 has shocked both those who admired his acting work, as well as those who followed his efforts to bring awareness to <a href="https://people.com/tv/matthew-perry-opens-up-about-addiction-new-memoir/">the pains of addiction</a>.</p> <p>Tributes to Perry have understandably focused on his star-making turn on the incredibly popular television sitcom. Scenes, catchphrases, and his character’s lines have been lovingly repurposed across the internet to memorialise the gifted actor.</p> <p>Meanwhile, many viewers have situated their <a href="https://variety.com/2023/tv/news/friends-fans-mourn-matthew-perry-new-york-apartment-1235772520/">recollections</a> of Perry and the series within the context of their own experiences.</p> <p>Viewers who came of age, or were the characters’ ages during the show’s original run, have reminisced about what the work of Perry and his co-stars meant to them at formative times in their lives. Newer viewers have similarly shared how important the series has been to them – their relationship with the show often beginning long after production ended.</p> <p>For many, Friends was the television equivalent of the soundtrack to their lives.</p> <p>To appreciate the staying power of the series for original and <a href="https://www.etonline.com/streaming-friends-how-a-90s-sitcom-became-gen-zs-new-favorite-show-132624">newer viewers alike</a> almost 30 years since it debuted, we need to consider what functions television viewing serves and the bonds we form with its characters.</p> <h2>Enduring appeal</h2> <p>Part of Friends’ popularity lies in its timing. The show premiered in 1994, a period when network television was still dominant. By its end a decade later, while the power of the big television networks had <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/08838150701820924">eroded</a>, the series had maintained <a href="https://www.ratingsryan.com/2022/09/friends-nbc-ratings-recap.html">an average</a> of more than 20 million viewers each season.</p> <p>The 2004 finale brought in a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/08/arts/friends-finale-s-audience-is-the-fourth-biggest-ever.html">record-breaking</a> 52.5 million viewers in the United States. The series then entered repeats around the world. It hasn’t left our screens since.</p> <p>The late 90s and early 2000s have sometimes been referred to as the end of monoculture. While a <a href="https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/12/17/21024439/monoculture-algorithm-netflix-spotify">contested and controversial idea</a> because of, among other concerns, who was included and excluded on our screens, monoculture meant we watched <a href="https://www.npr.org/sections/bestmusic2012/2012/12/21/167836852/the-year-in-pop-charts-return-of-the-monoculture">many of the same things</a>.</p> <p>One of the most popular shows of its era, Friends brought people together. It was a show we watched with our families or friends, spoke about the next day with colleagues, and it provided a common connection. It allowed bonding with real friends as much as fictional ones.</p> <p>Friends did not only reflect style of the time; it also frequently created it. Jennifer Aniston’s haircut, coined “<a href="https://www.bustle.com/style/the-rachel-haircut">The Rachel</a>”, or Perry’s lovable smart-alecky cadence, typified with Chandler’s catchphrase of “Could I <em>be</em> any more…”, were endlessly imitated. I know I attempted to replicate Chandler’s <a href="https://www.gq.com.au/style/celebrity/unexpectedly-great-fashion-inspiration-courtesy-of-friends/image-gallery/f55ac75cc180e31c462525da961295fc">sweater vests</a> and light blue denim look. Participation provided viewers <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5931.2011.00866.x">a sense</a> of identity.</p> <p>As people enter their 30s and 40s, they often <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208595">gravitate</a> towards the memories made during their formative adolescent and young adult years. So perhaps it’s no surprise Friends endures for original viewers as it represents – and was a part of – their lives at this important time.</p> <h2>Likeable characters</h2> <p>Television and other fictional media meet our needs for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2958.2009.01368.x">both</a> pleasure and extracting meaning. We get excited, entertained and moved by television.</p> <p>As part of this, we bond with fictional characters. We cannot help but <a href="https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327825MCS0403_01">empathise</a> with them. A series like Friends with its characters and their combinations of breakups, makeups and other mishaps allowed us to safely use our empathy muscles to cheer on and sometimes commiserate with the group of six. It helped that each character was flawed but inherently likeable.</p> <p>Fictional characters also allow us to <a href="https://theconversation.com/neighbours-vs-friends-we-found-out-which-beloved-show-fans-mourned-more-when-it-ended-212843">experience lifestyles</a> we might not otherwise. In the case of Friends, who didn’t want to live in a rent-controlled apartment like Monica’s, or regularly meet their supportive and funny pals for coffee at Central Perk? As a teen, I imagined such a world for myself in the not-too-distant future.</p> <p>Younger generations might be more aware of how out-of-reach that lifestyle was, or find the show’s <a href="https://ew.com/tv/jennifer-aniston-friends-offensive-new-generation/">humour sometimes dated</a>. But the idea of what the friends’ lifestyle represented – possibility, freedom, a chosen family – evidently still holds appeal.</p> <h2>Fictional relationships, but real sadness</h2> <p>In forming relationships with fictional characters, we form bonds with the performers who bring them to life. The lines between character and creator become blurry, both because of the knowledge about actors’ lives celebrity culture affords us, but also because their characters seem so real. When the actors pass away, we <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.06.042">feel real grief</a>.</p> <p>It’s important for fans of Matthew Perry to <a href="https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/why-with-all-the-sht-happening-in-the-world-its-still-okay-to-grieve-a-celebritys-death/">acknowledge</a> their loss. Even though his character is fictional, and you didn’t know him personally, you can still feel sad. Watching the series may be difficult right now. With time, it will become easier.</p> <p>Matthew Perry wanted <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/matthew-perry-death-addiction-alcoholism-drugs-b2437980.html">his legacy</a> to be awareness of addiction and the help he provided to people struggling with this disorder. Hopefully what will be felt now, alongside collective sadness, is an empathy for those facing addiction. That may be the power of television, and of a character named Chandler, and the actor who brought him to life, who many considered their friend.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/216626/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-gerace-325968"><em>Adam Gerace</em></a><em>, Senior Lecturer and Head of Course - Positive Psychology, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/cquniversity-australia-2140">CQUniversity Australia</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-enduring-appeal-of-friends-and-why-so-many-of-us-feel-weve-lost-a-personal-friend-in-matthew-perry-216626">original article</a>.</em></p>

TV

Placeholder Content Image

Waleed Aly and Steve Price clash over damning Voice letter

<p>Waleed Aly and Steve Price have clashed over an anonymous letter from Yes campaigners, condemning those who opposed the Voice to Parliament. </p> <p>On Sunday night, a lengthy and unsigned letter was shared by activists associated with the Uluru Dialogue group, as the letter slammed No voters for committing "a shameful act" by contributing to the Voice defeat. </p> <p>On <em>The Project</em>, Price was quick to slam the author of the letter, who addressed the message to the Prime Minister and all federal members of parliament, saying they did not have "the guts" to sign it. </p> <p>"It seems to me the Yes campaign hasn't learned anything about the result that happened Saturday two weeks ago," he said on Monday night. </p> <p>"The public voted 60 (per cent) No, 40 (per cent) Yes and yet, they pen a letter that they then send to the Cabinet and Prime Minister calling people who voted No as doing a shameful act, suggesting No voters are racists."</p> <p>"If you are going to do that, at least have the courage to put your name to it."</p> <p>Aly then leapt to the defence of those who wrote the anonymous letter, saying, "I don't think they said all No voters were racist."</p> <p>"They said racism was a big part of the campaign and the vote, they are inextricably bound up."</p> <p>Aly admitted that while he did not agree with everything in the letter, it was "hard to have a simple response to it".</p> <p>"They must be so hurting. I can't deny them that. Whether we agree or not," he said.</p> <p>The open letter claims to be "the collective insights and views of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, community members and organisations who supported Yes".</p> <p>The published letter said, "The truth is that the majority of Australians have committed a shameful act whether knowingly or not, and there is nothing positive to be interpreted from it. We needed truth to be told to the Australian people." </p> <p><em>Image credits: The Project</em></p>

Legal

Placeholder Content Image

"Uniquely, magically, indescribably us": Read the emotional love letter from Suzanne Somers' husband

<p>Just one day before her death, Suzanne Somers' husband gave her a handwritten love letter as part of an early birthday present. </p> <p>Somers' husband, Alan Hamel, gave the letter to his wife of 45 years just 24 hours before she passed away at the age of 76. </p> <p>According to Somers' publicist, R. Couri Hay, Hamel “gave it to her a day early and she read the poem and went to bed and later died peacefully in her sleep.”</p> <p>The emotional poem was an expression of love from Somers' husband, as he struggled to define their intense relationships. </p> <p>“Love I use it every day, sometimes several times a day. I use it at the end of emails to my loving family. I even use it in emails to close friends. I use it when I’m leaving the house,” the note began, via <em><a href="https://people.com/read-love-letter-suzanne-somers-husband-alan-hamel-wrote-to-her-day-before-her-death-8358234">People</a></em>. </p> <p>“There’s love, then love you and I love you!! Therein lies some of the different ways we use love. Sometimes I feel obliged to use love, responding to someone who signed love in their email, when I’m uncomfortable using love but I use it anyway.</p> <p>“I also use love to describe a great meal. I use it to express how I feel about a show on Netflix. I often use love referring to my home, my cat Gloria, to things Gloria does, to the taste of a cantaloupe I grew in my garden.”</p> <p>“I love the taste of a freshly harvested organic royal jumbo medjool date. I love biting a fig off the tree. I love watching two giant blackbirds who live nearby swooping by my window in a power dive. My daily life encompasses things and people I love and things and people I am indifferent to,” he continued.</p> <p>“I could go on ad infinitum, but you get it. What brand of love do I feel for my wife Suzanne? Can I find it in any of the above? A resounding no!!!! There is no version of the word that is applicable to Suzanne and I even use the word applicable advisedly.”</p> <p>“The closest version in words isn’t even close. It’s not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. Unconditional love does not do it. I’ll take a bullet for you doesn’t do it. I weep when I think about my feelings for you. Feelings… That’s getting close, but not all the way.”</p> <p>“55 years together, 46 married and not even one hour apart for 42 of those years. Even that doesn’t do it,” he added. “Even going to bed at 6 o’clock and holding hands while we sleep doesn’t do it. Staring at your beautiful face while you sleep doesn’t do it.”</p> <p>“I’m back to feelings. There are no words,” he concluded. “There are no actions. No promises. No declarations. Even the green shaded scholars of the Oxford University Press have spent 150 years and still have failed to come up with that one word. So I will call it, ‘Us,’ uniquely, magically, indescribably wonderful ‘Us.’”</p> <p>Somers and Hamel tied the knot in 1977, giving them 45 years together as husband and wife. </p> <p>Somers died on Sunday morning after “an aggressive form of breast cancer for over 23 years,” her publicist said in a statement.</p> <p>Suzanne was best known for playing Chrissy Snow on the 1970s sitcom <em>Three’s Company</em> and Carol Foster Lambert on the ’90s family comedy <em>Step by Step</em>.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Caring

Placeholder Content Image

Top End tourism surge after massive search for fake Aussie town

<p>In an absolute boon to Top End tourism, it appears that Google users have been working overtime trying to locate a little slice of Northern Territory paradise known as Agnes Bluff and its nearby neighbour Mia Tukurta National Park. Why, you ask? Because they're convinced it's the next hidden holiday hotspot. But here's the catch: it's completely made up.</p> <p>This newfound obsession with Agnes Bluff and Mia Tukurta National Park is all thanks to Amazon Prime's latest hit series, <em>The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart</em>. People have been binge-watching the show and drooling over the stunning landscapes, causing Google searches for these places to shoot up like a rocket on a sugar rush. </p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/northern-territory/google-searches-surge-for-agnes-bluff-an-aussie-town-that-doesnt-exist/news-story/59f00cc1e89074de0e6464c0072ae4b8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a>, Google searches for Agnes Bluff skyrocketed by a whopping 1640 per cent between July and August in Australia, and then another 40 per cent in September, all thanks to the series. And it's not just our fellow Aussies on the hunt for these mystical places – folks from Spain, Canada, the UK, the United States and Italy are also joining the imaginary treasure hunt.</p> <p>Can we blame them for trying to uncover these hidden gems? After all, in the show, Agnes Bluff and Mia Tukurta National Park look so darn spectacular that even the Loch Ness Monster might want to visit. But chin up, dear travellers! While you can't exactly book a one-way ticket to Fantasyland, you can still visit the real-life locations that inspired the series.</p> <p>This show was born from the creative genius of Aussie author Holly Ringland, who drew inspiration from her time living on Anangu land in Australia's Western Desert. In her news.com.au interview, she said, "To know people are Googling these places I fictionalised feels like a shot of joy straight to my heart – I don't know that there could be a greater compliment given to my writing." </p> <p>So, where was the series actually filmed? Well, it turns out they filmed all over Central Australia, including places like the Alice Springs Desert Park, Simpsons Gap, Ooraminna Station, Standley Chasm and Ormiston Gorge – just to name a few.</p> <p>And that crater that had everyone drooling? It's called Tnorala, or Gosses Bluff, and it's a mere 175km from Alice Springs.</p> <p>In fact, search interest in Gosses Bluff crater has hit a 15-year high in Australia, increasing by a whopping 500 per cent in August alone – so, it seems like people are genuinely eager to find their own piece of Alice Hart's world.</p> <p>Now, if you're wondering about the burning question that's on everyone's minds, it's this: "What is the crater in <em>The Lost Flowers for Alice Hart</em>?" And let me tell you, Gosses Bluff, or Tnorala, is the crater-du-jour.</p> <p>But here's the best part – this place is absolutely real; it's not a mirage or a figment of some writer's imagination. You can actually go there, touch it (not the crater itself, though), and breathe in the stunning views. Sure, you can't frolic inside the crater, but there are viewing points that will have you oohing and aahing like a kid in a candy store.</p> <p>And so, while Agnes Bluff and Mia Tukurta National Park might be the stuff of dreams, Gosses Bluff is the real deal. So it could be  ime to pack your bags, grab your camera and get ready for an adventure that's so real, it'll make your Google searches feel like a distant dream. </p> <p><em>Images: Prime Video</em></p>

Domestic Travel

Placeholder Content Image

"Their memories will live on forever": Tragic twist as young brothers lost in car crash identified

<p>Two young lives were tragically cut short in a devastating car crash in the southern part of Sydney. The victims, young brothers Xavier and Peter Abreu, aged ten and nine, are being remembered for their innocence and vibrancy as the community mourns their loss. The incident occurred on Friday night August 25 when the Subaru WRX they were travelling in collided with a tree along Grand Parade in Monterey at approximately 9:50pm.</p> <p>The boys' relative, Jimmy Martin Brito, 33, who was also driving the vehicle and is the father of a nine-year-old girl who was a passenger and sustained minor injuries, has been taken into custody and charged in connection to the incident. He faces charges including two counts of dangerous driving causing death and one count of causing bodily harm by misconduct.</p> <p>In the wake of this tragic event, the boys' stepmother, Jivonne Garrido, has established a fundraising campaign to support the grieving family. She expressed in a <a href="https://www.gofundme.com/f/xavier-abreu-and-peter-abreu" target="_blank" rel="noopener">GoFundMe</a> post on Sunday that while the boys' lives were tragically cut short, their memories will forever remain with the family. </p> <p>"The beautiful boys lost their lives in tragic circumstances however their memories will live on forever with the family Father Samuel Mother Olivia, brothers Alex and Jacob along with Auntie Joanne and Grandmother Dimitria."</p> <p>"We thank everyone who has already shown the size of their hearts with heartfelt messages and flowers at the site and call for assistance from the public that this event may resonate with. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts."</p> <p>The legal proceedings surrounding the incident have begun, with police alleging that Brito was operating the vehicle recklessly, leading to the fatal crash. Brito was expected to appear in court for a hearing, but it was adjourned due to his ongoing recovery from injuries sustained in the crash. His defence lawyer, Fahim Arya, conveyed that his client has had limited communication with his sister, the mother of the two boys who passed away while he was in the hospital. Despite her distress, the mother is reportedly standing by Brito.</p> <p>Mr Arya said the mother was 'distraught and distressed' but 'still supports and stands by him.' He added that Brito was 'fresh out of surgery' and on medication as he begins his long road to recovery. 'I don't know if he knows the two little ones have lost their lives,' Mr Arya said.</p> <p>While the legal process unfolds, the community has united in grief, visiting the crash site to pay their respects to the young brothers. A makeshift memorial has been established at the tree where the accident occurred, adorned with flowers and teddy bears. The profound impact of the crash is evident, with marks etched into the tree and debris scattered around the area.</p> <p>Authorities are looking into the possibility of street racing playing a role in the tragedy. They are particularly interested in locating a grey sedan believed to have been present during the incident, as captured by CCTV. The investigation aims to determine whether the Subaru and the grey sedan were involved in street racing prior to the collision.</p> <p>For anyone with relevant information, dash cam footage, or CCTV recordings, the police urge you to come forward and assist with the ongoing investigation. Information can be shared with the authorities or Crime Stoppers at 1800 333 000.</p> <p><em>Image: GoFundMe</em></p>

News

Placeholder Content Image

How traditional Indigenous education helped four lost children survive 40 days in the Amazon jungle

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/eliran-arazi-1447346">Eliran Arazi</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/hebrew-university-of-jerusalem-855">Hebrew University of Jerusalem</a></em></p> <p>The discovery and rescue of <a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/four-missing-colombian-children-found-alive-jungle-sources-2023-06-10/">four young Indigenous children</a>, 40 days after the aircraft they were travelling in crashed in the remote Colombian rainforest, was hailed in the international press as a “<a href="https://www.lemonde.fr/en/international/article/2023/06/11/miracle-in-the-jungle-colombia-celebrates-rescue-of-children-lost-in-amazon-rainforest_6030840_4.html">miracle in the jungle</a>”. But as an anthropologist who has spent more than a year living among the Andoque people in the region, <a href="https://www.academia.edu/100474974/Amazonian_visions_of_Visi%C3%B3n_Amazon%C3%ADa_Indigenous_Peoples_perspectives_on_a_forest_conservation_and_climate_programme_in_the_Colombian_Amazon">conducting ethnographic fieldwork</a>, I cannot simply label this as a miraculous event.</p> <p>At least, not a miracle in the conventional sense of the word. Rather, the survival and discovery of these children can be attributed to the profound knowledge of the intricate forest and the adaptive skills passed down through generations by Indigenous people.</p> <p>During the search for the children, I was in contact with Raquel Andoque, an elder <em>maloquera</em> (owner of a ceremonial longhouse), the sister of the children’s great-grandmother. She repeatedly expressed her unwavering belief the children would be found alive, citing the autonomy, astuteness and physical resilience of children in the region.</p> <p>Even before starting elementary school, children in this area accompany their parents and elder relatives in various activities such as gardening, fishing, navigating rivers, hunting and gathering honey and wild fruits. In this way the children acquire practical skills and knowledge, such as those demonstrated by Lesly, Soleiny, Tien and Cristin during their 40-day ordeal.</p> <p>Indigenous children typically learn from an early age how to open paths through dense vegetation, how to tell edible from non-edible fruits. They know how to find potable water, build rain shelters and set animal traps. They can identify animal footprints and scents – and avoid predators such as jaguars and snakes lurking in the woods.</p> <p>Amazonian children typically lack access to the sort of commercialised toys and games that children in the cities grow up with. So they become adept tree climbers and engage in play that teaches them about adult tools made from natural materials, such as oars or axes. This nurtures their understanding of physical activities and helps them learn which plants serve specific purposes.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532019/original/file-20230614-31-hrdd5z.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="A youg girl holding up an insect as her family works alongside" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A local Indigenous girl on an excursion to gather edible larvae.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Image courtesy of Eliran Arazi</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Activities that most western children would be shielded from – handling, skinning and butchering game animals, for example – provide invaluable zoology lessons and arguably foster emotional resilience.</p> <h2>Survival skills</h2> <p>When they accompany their parents and relatives on excursions in the jungle, Indigenous children learn how to navigate a forest’s dense vegetation by following the location of the sun in the sky.</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=551&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=551&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=551&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=692&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=692&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532012/original/file-20230614-29-ii5s0u.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=692&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Map of the Middle Caqueta region of Colombia." /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Map showing where in Colombia the four lost children are from.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Gadiel Levi</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>Since the large rivers in most parts of the Amazon flow in a direction opposite to that of the sun, people can orient themselves towards those main rivers.</p> <p>The trail of footprints and objects left by the four children revealed their general progression towards the Apaporis River, where they may have hoped to be spotted.</p> <p>The children would also have learned from their parents and elders about edible plans and flowers – where they can be found. And also the interrelationship between plants, so that where a certain tree is, you can find mushrooms, or small animals that can be trapped and eaten.</p> <h2>Stories, songs and myths</h2> <p>Knowledge embedded in mythic stories passed down by parents and grandparents is another invaluable resource for navigating the forest. These stories depict animals as fully sentient beings, engaging in seduction, mischief, providing sustenance, or even saving each other’s lives.</p> <p>While these episodes may seem incomprehensible to non-Indigenous audiences, they actually encapsulate the intricate interrelations among the forest’s countless non-human inhabitants. Indigenous knowledge focuses on the interrelationships between humans, plants and animals and how they can come together to preserve the environment and prevent irreversible ecological harm.</p> <p>This sophisticated knowledge has been developed over millennia during which Indigenous people not only adapted to their forest territories but actively shaped them. It is deeply ingrained knowledge that local indigenous people are taught from early childhood so that it becomes second nature to them.</p> <p>It has become part of the culture of cultivating and harvesting crops, something infants and children are introduced to, as well as knowledge of all sort of different food sources and types of bush meat.</p> <h2>Looking after each other</h2> <p>One of the aspects of this “miraculous” story that people in the west have marvelled over is how, after the death of the children’s mother, the 13-year-old Lesly managed to take care of her younger siblings, including Cristin, who was only 11 months old at the time the aircraft went down.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=450&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/532007/original/file-20230614-19-7q92j0.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=566&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Three Indigenous people in western clothes stood under trees in front of a wide building." /><figcaption><span class="caption">Iris Andoque Macuna with her brother Nestor Andoque and brother-in-law Faustino Fiagama after the two men returned from the search team.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Iris Andoque Macuna.</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>But in Indigenous families, elder sisters are expected to act as surrogate mothers to their younger relatives from an early age. Iris Andoke Macuna, a distant relative of the family, told me:</p> <blockquote> <p>To some whites [non-Indigenous people], it seems like a bad thing that we take our children to work in the garden, and that we let girls carry their brothers and take care of them. But for us, it’s a good thing, our children are independent, this is why Lesly could take care of her brothers during all this time. It toughened her, and she learned what her brothers need.</p> </blockquote> <h2>The spiritual side</h2> <p>For 40 days and nights, while the four children were lost, elders and shamans performed rituals based on traditional beliefs that involve human relationships with entities known as <em>dueños</em> (owners) in Spanish and by various names in native languages (such as <em>i'bo ño̰e</em>, meaning “persons of there” in Andoque).</p> <p>These owners are believed to be the protective spirits of the plants and animals that live in the forests. Children are introduced to these powerful owners in name-giving ceremonies, which ensure that these spirits recognise and acknowledge relationship to the territory and their entitlement to prosper on it.</p> <figure class="align-center "><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=600&amp;h=400&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=30&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/531997/original/file-20230614-15389-7c6oly.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=15&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;h=503&amp;fit=crop&amp;dpr=3 2262w" alt="Woman in pink t-shirt sat on chair inside." /><figcaption><span class="caption">Raquel Andoke, a relative of the missing children and friend of the author.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Image courtesy of Eliran Arazi</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>During the search for the missing children, elders conducted dialogues and negotiations with these entities in their ceremonial houses (<em>malocas</em>) throughout the <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Middle-and-Lower-Caqueta-River-region-State-of-Amazonas-Colombia-Map-from_fig1_255580310">Middle Caquetá</a> and in other Indigenous communities that consider the crash site part of their ancestral territory. Raquel explained to me:</p> <blockquote> <p>The shamans communicate with the sacred sites. They offer coca and tobacco to the spirits and say: “Take this and give me my grandchildren back. They are mine, not yours.”</p> </blockquote> <p>These beliefs and practices hold significant meaning for my friends in the Middle Caquetá, who firmly attribute the children’s survival to these spiritual processes rather than the technological means employed by the Colombian army rescue teams.</p> <p>It may be challenging for non-Indigenous people to embrace these traditional ideas. But these beliefs would have instilled in the children the faith and emotional fortitude crucial for persevering in the struggle for survival. And it would have encouraged the Indigenous people searching for them not to give up hope.</p> <p>The children knew that their fate did not lie in dying in the forest, and that their grandparents and shamans would move heaven and earth to bring them back home alive.</p> <p>Regrettably, this traditional knowledge that has enabled Indigenous people to not only survive but thrive in the Amazon for millennia is under threat. Increasing land encroachment for agribusiness, mining, and illicit activities as well as state neglect and interventions without Indigenous consent have left these peoples vulnerable.</p> <p>It is jeopardising the very foundations of life where this knowledge is embedded, the territories that serve as its bedrock, and the people themselves who preserve, develop, and transmit this knowledge.</p> <p>Preserving this invaluable knowledge and the skills that bring miracles to life is imperative. We must not allow them to wither away.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/207762/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/eliran-arazi-1447346">Eliran Arazi</a>, PhD researcher in Anthropology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (Paris)., <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/hebrew-university-of-jerusalem-855">Hebrew University of Jerusalem</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-traditional-indigenous-education-helped-four-lost-children-survive-40-days-in-the-amazon-jungle-207762">original article</a>.</em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Caring

Our Partners