NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 1
city 2 CONTENTS
NEW CITY march 2011
F ree m ont h ly m ag a z ine
The Death of Multiculturalism
don’t let them do it alone
starting children in childcare
how to be a whiz in the kitchen
- the power of saying sorry - time = love
- BAVARIAN BIER CAFE MANLY - SUNNY HARBOUR SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
How to be a Whiz in
The Kitchen STARTING CHILDREN
Letter from the Editor
NEW CITY Magazine march 2011 edition Editor: Ben Irawan Account Executive: Joshua Yanto Art Director: Herlina Widjaja Local Writer: Miguel Ribeiro Office Manager: Yvonne Widjaja Contributors: Clare Heath Cisca Irawan Warwick Marsh Samuel Yanto Paul Rattray Dea Gunning Naomi Fields Heidi McIvor Samantha Farm Michelle McMahon Contact Details: NEW CITY MEDIA PTY LTD ABN: 47 145 474 362 PO Box 1, Arncliffe NSW 2205 Australia Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.newcitymagazine.com For advertising: Call Josh on 041 339 1100 or email@example.com For editorials: firstname.lastname@example.org DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in NEW CITY Magazine and its website, do not necessarily reflect those of the editor, publishers or their agents. All images and photos are copyright of NEW CITY unless specified in credits. Unauthorised use of any images and photos published in this magazine and its website is strictly prohibited.
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March is a special month for me. This March, my wife and I will be celebrating 9 years of beautiful marriage. We have been blessed with 5 kids; Gabrielle (16), Rachael (13), Phoebe (12), Immanuel (5) and Ezekiel (3). I thank God regularly for my family. Especially with all the things that are happening in Australia, New Zealand and around the world, I’m really thankful that every one of them are safe and we are not lacking anything. I really hope the things that are happening around you can help you see things in the right perspective. Once again, our team has prepared for you a banquet of juicy articles for your reading pleasure and brain cell development. Hope you enjoy reading this March 2011 Edition of NEW CITY Magazine as much as we enjoy creating it. Cheers, Ben Irawan Editor of NEW CITY Magazine email@example.com
EMAILS TO EDITOR OF NEW CITY MAGAZINE
Dear Ben, Want to let everybody in New City Magazine know, that I always enjoy every edition. It’s great, informative, up-to-date, positive, encouraging and most importantly; it’s clean and safe to be read by anyone from all ages. Basically, it’s cool! ;) I like to enter any givways and competitions by New City Magazine cause the feeling of winning something can be addictive! ☺ Well, I wish you all the best. Keep growing and keep glowing! One of your fans, Julie
Hello! THANK YOU SO MUCH! I simply adore the magazine! Thanks once again for this prize! Regards, Katheryne
Hi Katheryne, You’re very welcome and I am so glad that you “simply adore” the magazine. We must’ve done something right! LOL Congratulations on winning the Make Up Makeover Competition. Hope you enjoy your prize! ☺
Hey Ben, How you doing mate? The new city magazine is excellent. Enjoyed reading them and looking forward to the next one. Kudos to you and the team. Hi Francis, Blessings, Francis We are doing well here in New City Magazine. Thanks for your kind words about the magazine. Our team always strives for excellence. We always try to come up with interesting and posiHi Julie, tive articles as an alternative to the negative and Really...? You always enjoy every edition? Do you always “read” every edisometimes toxic media that’s out there. tion? You must be on our mailing list then... that’s probably the most assured way of getting every edition of NEW CITY Magazine. If you haven’t subscribed yet, please visit www.newcitymagazine.com and enter your email address on the top right hand side of the page. We will email every edition straight into your inbox! We are always giving away something every now and then, so make sure you enter each and every one of them. Who knows you can be the next winner? Cheers! ☺
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK During the recent Queensland floods and their aftermath a great example of the phrase “many hands make light work” was evident through the spirit of community effort where groups of people went to help clean flood damages houses and repair farm fences. I was privileged to be part of a team which went into the country to help farmers tear down, repair and rebuild fences. Others in our team, mainly the girls, went and did the really dirty work of washing out flooded houses, many of which were still infested with raw sewage and flood debris. Together we rebuilt a creek crossing with rocks and boulders so a family stranded for weeks could get their car across the creek and onto the road to buy groceries.
What these floods demonstrate is that we are not immune to disaster or from good deeds. Despite our rather insular lives, especially in the cities, it is times like these that we realise we need the help of others. In other cultures and times activities such as ‘barn-raising’, where the community built a barn or thatched a roof together were commonplace.
As I reminisced about a great weekend spent helping others and how such a task as rebuilding a creek crossing with tons of boulders, rocks, stones and gravel would have been nearly impossible alone and given the soggy conditions impossible with earth moving equipment, I was struck by how such disasters bring people together.
In English there are no specific words encapsulating such a concept, these sayings ‘many hands make light work’ and ‘barn-raising’ are reflective of this community spirit. In Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia) two specific words are used for such community building activities... “Gotong-royong” and “kerja bakti”, meaning ‘working together’ and ‘community work’ respectively. Where I grew up in rural Indonesia, one day per month, usually a Saturday was set aside for ‘kerja bakti’.
Tough farmers, with tears in their eyes, thanked us for our kindness. People who could not come and help us physically donated food and clothing. One lady came up to me and said, “I bought some groceries for you to take to the flood victims”. She had thought of everything, deodorant and work socks for the men and women’s hygiene products. Another group of ladies donated care hampers with homemade fruitcake and biscuits and money, two of each. One hamper was for the needy family and the other was for the needy family to give to someone else they loved, thus sharing love and dignity beyond one needy family to others. What a great idea!
During natural disasters such altruism is commendable and necessary as it is in normal times. There are many elderly, disabled and disadvantaged people out there who cannot do things that you or I take for granted. But even when we are all fit and ablebodied, there are some things that are better done in groups than alone. Why don’t you and your group of friends get together and form your own team of community volunteers to help each other and others in need or to just to make tough job for one that much easier with many. You will be the better for it, I know. (PR)
NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 3
MAY THE BEST MAN WIN
The race is on for the NSW State Elections! On Saturday, 26th March, every Australian in New South Wales over the age of 18 years of age will have a chance to get their voices heard. As for the district of Rockdale, it has been continuously held by the Australian Labor Party (ALP) since 1941! Have they done a good job so far? Do you think it’s time for a change? You be the judge! Since sitting Labor MP Frank Sartor announced that he would not be running for re-election the district is going to be a very interesting one to watch. Rockdale will be a hotly contested seat with only approximately 10% votes in favour of Labour. It covers the western shores of Botany Bay, Brighton Le Sands, Monterey, San Souci, Arncliffe, Bardwell Park and Wolli Creek. The Liberal Party has endorsed well-known local Councillor and former Mayor, John Flowers as its candidate for the seat of Rockdale for this year’s important state election. John Flowers is a former Mayor of Rockdale City Council and has served the community as a Councillor since 2004. He believes it’s time the people of Rockdale had a local MP who cared about the residents, and not their own political career. John is determined to be a real voice for the people and ensure residents are given a say again in the future of their community. He has lived in the area for the past 30 years and was a teacher for 20 years at Belmore Boys’ High School. His family has lived within the St George area for 90 years. So make sure your votes are counted. If you are voting for the first time make sure you register yourself here http://elections.nsw.gov.au/state_elections/enrolment. Let your voice be heard and may the best man win! (BI)
The Price of Greatness is Responsibility - NSW Elections Winston Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government but it is better than all the rest”.
The people of New South Wales will get a chance to prove the merit of Churchill’s statement on 26 March 2011 when they go to the voting polls to elect a new state government. It would seem, at this stage, that the term ‘a new government ‘is more than just a colloquial saying. According to a Newspoll, taken late in February, Labor is only commanding 23% of the vote, which means that less than one in four NSW citizens are going to vote Labor. The two-party preferred result for Labor looks a little better with Green preferences. Labor is sitting on 38% and the Liberal Coalition is sitting on 62% of the vote. These figures indicate a Labor loss of epic proportions. If these figures track through to Election Day, the Labor Party could end up with only 20 seats (out of 93) in the NSW State Parliament. The curious thing is that even with such a massive swing, the Greens could end up with a balance of power in the Upper House, which according to many commentators is not necessarily a good thing. But that is how our democratic system works. So, what are the alternatives that Mr Churchill alluded to? Before the advent of democracy, a change of government or leadership was a very brutal thing. Under ancient monarchies, the only way to have a change of government was to kill the king and usually his whole family, plus all his advisers and supporters. It was not unusual for anywhere between 100 and 1,000 to lose their lives in any change of government. Throw in an uprising or civil war, which was also not uncommon, with a change of power in the monarchy and you could lose anywhere up to a million people. Modern dictators are not dissimilar, whether on the left or on the right. “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. “ Hitler was a particularly bad example of a right wing fascist dictator. Hitler’s brutal reign and power changeover accounted for the loss of over 12 million people. Left wing totalitarian dictator Joseph Stalin was responsible for 23 million deaths during his reign of terror and the subsequent change of leadership. Looking at these figures, we can be thankful that while democracy is incredibly imperfect, when practised well, it saves a lot of innocent lives and bloodshed.
So how are you going to make a decision on how to vote on 26 March 2011? Those decisions are as difficult as ever. The political world is inhabited by spin doctors and clever PR gurus. Many times the true goals and voting patterns of the political parties are deliberately obfuscated to avoid polarising the electorate. Generally speaking, it is the goal of the major parties to reveal as little as possible of their specific policy so that votes are not lost before the party in question is elected. That is why much political rhetoric is very general and avoids particular issues, including moral, ethical, social and sexual integrity matters that are of deep concern to those within the community. My advice to you would be to check out all the major parties websites to see what they truly believe. Look at the smaller parties’ websites such as the Greens, Family First and the Christian Democratic Party. Also look at the voting patterns and legislative history of all the parties. The more research you do, the more you will realise that ‘all is not what it seems”. The real surprisers are the Greens. One would suppose, from their name, that their primary focus is saving the environment. The actual truth is that the Greens are more concerned about fringe issues like homosexual marriage and euthanasia. The important thing is for you to do your own research and compare points of view from several different sources. As you do, be thankful that if you disagree with any of the parties, you will not be beheaded for your opinion. That has got a lot to do with brave men and women of faith, who stood up to evil despots in the 12th and 13th centuries in Great Britain. In many instances they paid for their beliefs with their own blood, and slowly but surely the modern democratic process was born out of our Judeo-Christian democratic heritage. The Magna Carta, issued in 1215, was a real milestone in this process. When you cast your vote on Saturday 26 March 2011, be thankful for all those brave men and women of faith who paid for your freedom to exercise your democratic vote, with their own lives. As you make your way to the polling booth to cast your vote, you might remember another of Winston Churchill’s famous sayings, “The price of greatness is responsibility”. (WM)
NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 5
IN CHILDCARE Wow! What a daunting task it can be when families need to start looking into using childcare for their children. There are many things to consider and a variety of different educational services available, so where do families start? Firstly, families need to consider how many hours of care they need for their child. There are several different types of educational services that are available to families such as Long Day Care, Preschool, Occasional Care and Family Day Care. Families in the St. George Area can search for services via internet sites such as St. George Childcare Directory. This particular website allows families to search for centres in any suburb and then each service listed will have further details about how they operate. Families can also search for services in their area through Council Community Services. Families should then contact a service directly by phone and make general enquires about the type of care that is provided, fees and availability.
What about when your child starts, what should you expect and what are some helpful tips for settling in? When children first start care you should expect tears. It is a big adjustment for a child to go from the home environment to a centre, and some children can take around 8 weeks to feel confident. It is common for parents to feel anxious as well, and when a child gets upset often a parent can walk away with mixed emotions about whether they are doing the right thing for their child.
So you ask – what can I do? • Talk with your child about the centre and the activities they may do there • Explain that you will only stay for a little while and then return later to pick them up • Tell them what you will be doing while they are at the centre – go to work, doing shopping • Give yourself plenty of time in the morning so that you might have time to read them a story or do a puzzle together before you go. Children can get upset if it is all a big rush in the morning • Try to get into a good routine e.g. arriving at the centre at the same time each morning
• Help your child place their belongings in their locker, and let them know where things such as their hat is • Always say goodbye to your child. It is distressing to a child when a parent sneaks away without a goodbye • When it is time to say goodbye try to be quick, if you are hesitant and don’t go when you say goodbye your child can become more upset • If your child speaks more than one language tell centre staff what some key words might be that your child may say
All children are different so the time it takes for them to settle in will vary with each child. Centre staff will always inform you on how your child is settling. As a parent of a child who cried for a whole year, I understand the emotions that you will go through but I can confidently say persist through the tears (yours and your child’s) and in time you will see a happy and confident little one! Michelle McMahon, Manager Communicare Rockdale Occasional Care http://www.communicaresydney.com/html/centers/rockdale_occ.html
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NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 7
Rhonda Grant is not just a pretty face. The third place getter in Miss New Zealand 2008 is a model, musician and presenter, with a passion to help young girls develop their inner strength and beauty. New City gets a look inside the world of modeling and the journey that helped Rhonda find her own inner strength. Three years ago Rhonda Grant was plunged from obscurity into the spotlight when she unexpectedly placed third in the Miss New Zealand 2008 beauty pageant. A flurry of modeling jobs followed as the then 22 year old became hot property in her home country. The same year she represented New Zealand abroad in the competitive Miss International and Miss Universe competitions. Rhonda, who now calls Sydney home, describes it as her “big break” that only a difficult journey of self-discovery could have prepared her for. “As a teenager I went through a really rough patch and developed an eating disorder,” she says.
“It’s amazing how I got through all of that and came out the other side.” Rhonda suffered with a serious eating disorder between the ages of 15 and 16. She was kept out of school until she was able to gain weight and remembers feeling like she had no self-worth or confidence. It was the support of her family and friends, and a personal faith, which pulled her through. But when Rhonda began entering the world of fashion and modeling in her early 20s, warning bells rang for her parents. However, modeling only made Rhonda more confident and sure of herself. “There was a lot of fear at the start,” Rhonda recalls. “My family was concerned about me entering into modeling after what I had been through as a teenager. “But when they saw how I was approaching it and how it didn’t affect me whatsoever they were reassured. “I have such a healthy outlook on life now I know I would never go back to that (eating disorders).” Rhonda was a reluctant model. During high school she would regularly turn down offers to be involved in modeling jobs. It was during university when she was studying her Bachelor of Science, majoring in nutrition, that she said yes for the first time to a regional beauty pageant. When she went on to win the title of Miss Manawatu 2007 her life changed dramatically. “I was identified by someone in the audience to go through to the Miss New Zealand pageant and someone anonymously sponsored and entered me without me even knowing,” she says. “And although I was second runner up in Miss New Zealand, I was asked to represent my country overseas twice that year at the Miss International and Miss Universe pageants.”
Going from Miss Manawatu in regional New Zealand to international beauty pageants in the same year was a steep learning curve. Rhonda travelled Japan, Hong Kong and Macau with the Miss International contestants enduring 5am starts, language translators and crowds of onlookers and TV cameras. Behind closed doors there were more challenges. “There was a lot of cattiness because it was so competitive,” Rhonda says. “Some girls there had so much pressure from their country or family to win and pull them out of poverty. “For some girls this was all they had worked and trained for since they were 10. “They had gone through all the deportment schools and their parents had even paid for plastic surgery. “But there were some really lovely ones I got along with really well. “They were beautiful inside and out – and you could tell.” Two years ago Rhonda followed love across the Tasman. Although it didn’t work out, she had already fallen in love with Australia and decided to make Sydney her home. Rhonda continues to keep up her modeling, but is pursuing her other passions as well. This talented musician and singer became the fourth member of the energetic hip hop act Electric Elements Crew six months ago. The group has featured at some of Sydney’s most famous live music venues and events, including appearing as the support act for Joel Turner at a number of youth festivals in Sydney’s west, headlining a hip hop showcase at The Hornsby Inn, a live recording at Megaphon Studios and performing at the Annandale Hotel. Last year the group climbed to number 2 and 3 on the Triple J Unearthed Hip Hop charts with their tracks The Phoenix and Sit n Listen. Rhonda’s dream is to use her experiences and her strengths to help teenage girls. She one day wants to open her own modeling agency and deportment school that empowers young women. “I’ve learned a lot about inner beauty and confidence and how valuable it is,” she says. “Girls struggle so much these days and there is so much pressure on them – I feel I could help with that. “The reason I stuck at it is because people believed in me and that pulled me through. “I want to believe in others and help them find their place in life.” (HM)
NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 9
The Death of Multiculturalism
The utopian dream is all of us living together in relative harmony. Multiculturalism in Australia is a reflection of this ideal, where people of every country, colour and creed come together to form a nation.
However, the Cronulla riots, attacks on Indian students, cases of Australian citizens planning terrorist attacks on their fellow citizens, petty hate crimes and more subtle racism lead many to question the very idea of multiculturalism.
“Multiculturalism” as term is a relatively new concept introduced to the Australian public in 1973 by the Labour government under Prime Minister Gough Whitlam to explain non-discriminatory immigration policy. Over time, multiculturalism grew into a symbol for social harmony. As with anything relatively new one must question its long-term sustainability. A good idea may be great in its own right yet ultimately be unsustainable once it starts to compete with other equally strong forces. Alfred de Grazia in his 1988 book, “The Divine Succession: A Science of Gods Old and New”, makes this point by saying, “Man has achieved every imaginably bad society except one of lasting soullessness”. Secularism, which drives multiculturalism, is essentially soulless because it does not recognise religious and cultural values as having the same value as secularism. Secularism is the glue that holds multiculturalism together. The problem with this secular glue is that most of the people who live in multicultural nations like Australia are not truly secular because they believe more strongly in religious and cultural values than secular values. The example of using water based glue to hold together something saturated with water comes to mind. It doesn’t work well. This is the reason why we are experiencing increasing intolerance between people of different cultural and religious backgrounds and stricter secular laws designed to manage these multicultural differences. Samuel Huntington calls this conflict a “Clash of Civilisations”. Though he and other secular thinkers suggest that religion and economics are to blame for social
disharmony, secularism is also an integral part of western civilisation and must also shoulder its share of responsibility. It can be observed that those in authority rule over us, their intermediaries exercise this authority and we follow these rules for better or worse. Rulers are either orientated towards mastering or serving us, the people. Those who aim to master tend towards what is called authoritarianism by the strong and their laws, whereas those who are genuine ‘servants’ of the people are more likely to protect the weak. The difficulty for multiculturalism as a uniting concept is that there are more and more camps with such strongly held religious, cultural and secular views that reconciliation is difficult if not impossible without one group dominating another. The rule of fair and gracious laws only works if most agree with them.
With increased multiculturalism, this is less the case than before and those who are most vocal, intolerant of and aggressive towards others--and claim minority status--are often favoured by authorities and laws simply because their overreactions are more frightening and difficult to manage than imposing on weaker parties who are less likely to react so violently. Unless our leaders genuinely serve the interests of the genuinely weak and marginalised, the mastery of authoritarian rule and laws will start to creep into multicultural relations. Laws drafted and enforced to protect multiculturalism and stop the overreactions of vocal, intolerant and aggressive minorities will, in the process, muzzle freedom of speech. The ultimate problem for multiculturalism is that the vocal, intolerant and aggressive will not be silenced, since they are seeking to champion their own cultural, religious or sexual agendas.
While these groups may use multiculturalism as the means for achieving their own agendas, their expected outcome is not multiculturalism, but their own cultural, religious or sexual utopias. The result is that those who are less vocal and aggressive, and more peaceful and tolerant, the socalled ‘silent majority’, are effectively silenced by laws designed to keep the peace of multiculturalism. Our genuine servant leaders in authority need to recognise this inherent weakness within multiculturalism to be captured by special interest groups who then push their own social agendas through multiculturalism on us all. Multiculturalism is becoming increasingly lifeless because it has lost its credibility as a means for genuine social harmony. Its life support is the special interest groups that sustain it through their social agendas rather than the broader community. The challenge for all of us in the ‘silent majority’ is to see through multiculturalism as a symbol of social harmony and be courageous enough to
identify, understand and question the agendas of the special interest groups that are currently dominating it. Don’t be silent. Talk to people about their beliefs, question their motives. Write to cultural and religious leaders asking the same sorts of questions. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, but always with the utmost courtesy. In response, our government, business and community leaders need to be equally courageous, willingly allowing, and participating in, open discussions about multicultural special interests groups and their agendas, free from legal or physical threat from these groups. When these special interest groups do react to the light of scrutiny, which inevitably they will, our government, business and community leaders need to lead by example, protecting those who bring such truths to light and punishing those who react badly. If we don’t collectively practice this sort of courageous servant leadership then multiculturalism, even as symbol for social harmony, is dead. (PR)
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The Practice of Happiness:
A How-To Guide
Don’t you just love sick days? I mean, aside from the fact that you are most likely sick, it’s nice to step out of the rat race for a second. I had to take some sick leave recently and I made some startling discoveries. One was that sick days rarely come without the dual affliction of infomercials. I realised I absolutely need Sheer Cover, Proactive Solution and the Ab-Circle Pro. After a day shopping from my couch, I needed a financial planner as well. I also realised that hardly anything on the shopping channel actually comes with a free set of steak knives anymore. My devastation was profound. I could have used more steak knives.
he second thing I discovered is the amazing amount of daytime TV is devoted to the subjects of happiness, wellbeing and stress management. I was musing about my discovery to a colleague of mine who happens to be a psychologist. Her remark was this: “We go to the doctor when we are sick so that we can get better. We go to the counsellor when the wheels are falling off our wagon. But we never go to either of these places when we are doing well in order to learn how we might do better.” Apparently happiness is something that we must practice and sometimes even something we must learn. Even though this is the case, it still seems to be one of the last things we consciously invest in. So I put my Sherlock Holmes hat on to investigate the topic. What do the supremely happy people have in common? It sure isn’t the obvious things: romance, money, possessions and top jobs. I did some footwork for you and found out some happiness-building habits. Here are a few!
1. Get Proactive.
No. I’m not still talking about infomercials. Professor Martin Seligman, an expert on positive psychology, remarked that “we should be just as concerned with building strength as we are with repairing weakness.” Why do we only get expert attention when we aren’t doing so well? We are only bringing our wellbeing rating from minus ten back to zero. That state of ‘well enough’ becomes our equilibrium. But why stop there when you can get your wellbeing rating up to plus ten or higher? If it is health that is letting you down, don’t just get healthy. Get fit. If it is finances, don’t just get out of debt. Start building for the future. Engage the experts if you need them. It is never too late to change your life. But if you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.
2. Get Grateful.
A friend of mine keeps a gratitude diary. Once a day, she writes three things that were good about her day. She also writes the things in her life that she is grateful for. She started doing this every day when her sister was battling the old black dog called depression. These sisters made a pact to learn to appreciate the finer points in life and retrain the brain to “think happy.” Sometimes happiness comes easy. Sometimes it’s a discipline and requires training to master it. The gratitude diary was their way of learning to appreciate that which makes them so utterly blessed. Even the finer things in life get a mention. Gratitude, once learned, can help us lace our day with optimism.
3. Do something you love.
We hear all about work life balance don’t we. We hear it at University, we hear it at work. Yet in practice, it is remarkable how fast it gets forgotten. Soon it’s “all work and no play, stress leave on the way.” Now, it isn’t always possible to have a stress-free job that you adore. But it is important to have enjoyment in life regardless. Take time to find something you love and do it. It might be a hobby or a cause. It might be time with friends. It might be relaxation. It might be kicking the soccer ball with the kids. But do something you love. If necessary, schedule it in your diary as an appointment you need to keep.
4. Don’t neglect the body.
7. Practice Generosity.
5. Invest in rest.
8. Remember, no man is an Island.
Sure happiness seems to dwell in the area of the brain but the brain lives in a body and you have got to look after that thing. Sometimes the last thing on earth that you feel like doing is hitting the treadmill after work but the reality is that exercise releases the happy hormones called endorphins. As an added (or perhaps primary) benefit, it keeps you in shape and helps you live longer too! There is no down side to this stress management strategy. My favourite part of the week is the bit where I hit the gym. It clears my head and I always leave feeling less stressed, more relaxed and ready to take on the world again.
Why rest? Why didn’t I just write ‘sleep’? Have you ever gone to bed, fallen asleep and woken up feeling like you hadn’t rested at all? Its like your brain didn’t switch off at all during that time and you are still wired and tired. When I say rest, I mean downtime. Some people meditate, some read, write, pray, have a bubble bath or a glass of wine. Whatever it is, take some time to slow that brain of yours down. Good quality sleep is important too and it’s a hell of a lot easier if the brain isn’t racing at a million miles an hour!
6. Be Mindful.
Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You don’t have to spend your entire life thinking about the million things you need to do, the bills and the five year plan. Mindfulness is a topic that has a whole science devoted to it but my synopsis is this: Take notice of the things in your daily life. Don’t gulp your coffee. Enjoy the smell and then the taste. Don’t think about tomorrow’s workload when you are waiting for the train. Notice the wind rushing down the tunnel as it approaches the platform instead. Notice the sound of the chatter around the dinner table when you get home. Feel the warm water wash away the grogginess of sleep when you get jump in the shower in the morning. Pay particular attention to the little things that make up your big life. Mindfulness makes the multi-tasker slow down, stop stressing and enjoy the moment. (Believe me, its harder than it sounds!)
I was in a hospital room with a friend the other day and I cracked open a bag of chocolate frogs. Feeling guilty about only offering them to my friends, I walked across and offered them to the ladies visiting the other patient in the ward. You’d have thought I gave them all diamonds. I enjoyed my chocolate frog a whole lot more knowing I had made someone else’s day. If you do something fun for yourself, the enjoyment drops away fast. Do something for someone else and the satisfaction hangs around a lot longer.
Humans are designed for interaction. We are made to be part of a family, a clan, a friendship group or a cause. Sure after a stressful day dealing with cranky stakeholders, it is sometimes tempting to sell up, move to a bush hut out the back of Bowral and leave the world behind. But you would miss your friends wouldn’t you? So go out for a coffee with one of them instead. Investing in friendships is always a good thing to do.
9. Look for “The Meaningful Life.”
What gives life meaning for you? In a lecture found on ted.com, Professor Seligman talked about the ‘meaningful’ life. He said that “the pursuit of pleasure has almost no contribution to life satisfaction. The pursuit of meaning is the strongest (factor impacting life satisfaction).” So how do you find meaning in life? Find a cause that is bigger than you. Find something you can invest your time and energy into and know you have done a good thing. Engage yourself in something you believe in and I guarantee this engagement will add happiness and meaning to your life. (CH)
NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 13
How to be a Whiz in
Years ago, a whiz
in the kitchen referred to some gadget or other thing that did just about everythingchop, dice, shred, and mix all at the push of a button. Well we may not all have a whiz in the kitchen but we sure can become one!
With our days zooming by and time being such a precious commodity, I decided something needed to be done in the way that I ran my kitchen at home. It has been wonderful and life-changing I assure you, so whether you are a single parent, or part of a large family, I know that these few simple ideas can help you too.
my freezers have become like my best friends. I have one upright freezer with shelves and then one medium-sized chest freezer. I dragged everything out of my upright freezer, stuck it on a trolley and dragged it outside to the patio to defrost with a saucepan of boiling water in it. While this was happening I began to sort the contents. There was stuff in there I couldn’t work out what it was!
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d 1. I threw out lots of old an Don’t be misled, this is not a job for the fainthearted! The task of cleaning out the contents of the freezer and defrosting the freezer itself took me most of the morning. Now, with that done I armed myself with some large and medium zip lock bags and some sticker labels and a pen. It was time to go in fighting…I started at the top and worked my way down the pile of frozen vegetables, soups, casseroles,
meat etc and put everything I could into the ziplock bags. All my frozen vegetables – peas, beans, corn, mixed vegs, are all in ziplock bags and easy to access and use then reseal. Have you ever been like me and pulled out an open bag of frozen vegetables from the freezer only to pick it up the wrong way and they tip out everywhere and go through the entire freezer? Well, no more! This girl is getting it sorted.
lock 2. Everything goes into zip d. bags, is labeled and date All my meat was taken out of the packing trays and put in ziplock bags and labeled. Soup was put into ziplock bags and labeled along with everything else I had stored in the freezer. You should see how much more room is in there now since doing this and how well organized it is. Even bread, muffins and crumpets have been placed in smaller ziplock bags in meal-sized portions. So rather than pull out the whole lot and try to defrost it only
for it to go off before it is all eaten, we now can just pull out what we require. These are all kept in a drawer at the bottom of the freezer. With everything labeled and dated now there will be nothing left in there for ever and ever amen, or until it dies and is thrown out (wasting precious dollars). Phew! A big job but we’re almost there.
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to categories 3. Everything is sorted in the freezer. as it goes back into You may be wondering how this classifies as being a whiz in the kitchen? Good question. Well, apart from all that we’ve done so far, this is the last and best bit. Now that we have the freezer all organized and ready the next step is to organise my fresh vegetables.
Chicken on one shelf, beef and other meat on another. Fish has been placed in individual serving portions in ziplock bags and is now placed in a large plastic box in the freezer. The bottom shelf houses casseroles and cakes, homemade apple pies from the last apple-picking season, and stocks for soups and casseroles. Ice cream, large casseroles, pastry sheets and full loaves of bread are all placed in the chest freezer.
4. Organise your fresh ve
I pulled out all the vegetables from the crisper in the fridge and got busy chopping, slicing and dicing whatever vegetables I had such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, beans, and peas. I sliced one bag
of carrots but decided to julienne the second bag and then I put them into two separate ziplock bags and placed them in the freezer. I chopped up the broccoli and cauliflower and mixed them together in a large ziplock bag and added them to the freezer and the same with the peas and beans – although each went into separate bags. This whole process of chopping and dicing only took me about an hour. This process snap freezes the vegetables and they are all ready to be pulled out and put in the steamer for dinners or added to a casserole or whatever I
may be cooking. It’s quick, easy, and the vegetables stay fresh (no more rotten or wilting vegetables), and I’m able to prepare a meal in minutes. Next time I grocery shop I think I will buy some vegetables to chop up for stir fries and place them all in a large ziplock bag too and repeat the process with the other vegetables.
5. Smile… Cause you are now organised and a whiz in the kitchen! (DG)
And now that it is apple season and stone fruit season, I think I will grab a friend and go apple picking for a day and then come home and cook up a huge batch of apple pie filling and a batch of apple sauce to. Once cool I can bag them up, label them and add them to my freezer.
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NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 17
Time = Love I was walking home from work through the Central tunnel one afternoon and something caught my attention. I was paying attention to a little girl walking along with his dad, chatting away happily, obviously enjoying her dad’s company. I smiled as I noticed how happy the little girl was and I wondered to myself, how many little children actually have the privilege to spend a one on one time with their daddies. Parenting is not just a Mum’s responsibility. Many Dads overlook the fact that their presence makes a big difference to the lives of their children. Playing ball, watching movies, reading stories are just a few of the many different ways of interacting with your precious children. When you spend time with your children, you are also providing security and stability to their lives. Those are the times when they can truly feel your love. After all, from the children’s perspective, Time = Love. Daddies, when you walk your daughter down the aisle one day, those are the times that she will remember the most. (CI)
The Power of Saying Sorry O
ne evening, I was extremely tired coming back from work and I had just refreshed myself and changed into my freshly washed home clothes. My 3 year old son suddenly said to me, “Mummy, I need to go toilet!” As he has just recently been toilet trained, I rushed him to the toilet immediately and helped him with his emergency. As he was in such a hurry, his wee accidentally splashed on my clothes. I looked at my wet clothes and just muttered under my breath: “Oh no...”
Before I could even have the chance to say anything else, my little son said: “Mummy... I’m sorry to trouble you...”
For the first time ever, I was so surprised by his unusual choice of words. He said something that somehow eased all my tiredness and frustration of the day. Yes, it was an accident, and being a toddler who is still learning the art of “aiming”, it was not totally his fault. But the fact that he was able to acknowledge his mistake and apologise was what made it special. How many times do we adults find it so difficult to say, “I’m sorry” even when we know that we are at fault? How often do we choose to feed our ego and defend ourselves instead? If only we knew the hidden power of saying sorry, we would be able to prevent many unnecessary and prolonged conflicts in relationships.
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Ah, Byron Bay - fondly known as the hippy epicentre of Australia. I ventured down there for the first time just before Christmas with a group of friends, and my expectations of a surfing town filled with dreadlocked men, tie-dyed everything and an abundance of tourists were vastly exceeded by a destination that has now become one of my favourite places in this beautiful country.
he journey to the bay was plagued with a torrential rainstorm and a faulty windscreen wiper, and the misery was only helped along with the looming challenge of having to put up a 10-man tent in the midst of the deluge once I arrived. Having planned this Byron Bay getaway in a matter of days, with only the internet as my source of knowledge, I picked a camp g round purely based on cost, which as any worldly traveller knows, is not the smartest of ideas. Belongil Fields cost $17 per person, per night, for a powered site, and was advertised as a “short stroll” from the beach. While the stroll was more a marathon trek for an unfit person such as myself, I was thankful to have a car, and it took barely two minutes to get to the town centre. The camp ground itself was more than adequate, with power posts, showers and toilets in abundance. The news that fires were welcome provided much relief to us campers, as everything was damp after about an hour of tent-constructing in what was now a steady drizzle. We all meandered into
the town centre in search of some food, and honestly, after about ten minutes, the sense of holiday-induced relaxation that every traveller hunts came over me. Whilst my predictions of rope-haired men and colourful characters was not far from the truth, I was taken aback by the abundance of modern shops, the eclectic mix of families, youths, and tourists mingling together, and the sheer size of Byron Bay. My ignorance led me to believe that it was merely a bread-and-water destination for wave-chasing beings to refuel between the tides. Speaking of the tides, however, the beach is absolutely beautiful, even in dreary and wet weather. The sobering warnings of submerged objects, rips, and other ocean-dwelling hazards discouraged me from taking a dip, but I was more than happy to while away time on the sodden sand with a fresh juice, simply observing the people around me. The first few hours of the next day were spent at the Balcony for a long breakfast/ brunch. I went with the ‘when in Rome, eat
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what the Romans eat’ mentality and ordered corn fritters, with tomato chutney, rocket leaves, and avocado. Whilst they actually recognised that you can never have too much of that blissful green fruit, and gave you the entire avocado to devour, the simple toast ordered by a friend also went down a treat – doorstop sized hunks of moist sourdough can never displease. This was all washed down with an early dessert – gelato from the store just down the street. While absolutely packed, the service was quick and the generous helpings were greatly appreciated. We all took a drive and then a small wander to the famed Cape Byron lighthouse that stands proudly on a hill. Whitewashed and tall, and surrounded by some of the best coastal scenery in the country, I would definitely recommend paying a visit, if only to capture some snapshots of the almost untouched Seven Mile beach, and the rolling greenery that stands behind the township of Byron. We then returned later that night, to watch the massive light beams dance across the ocean. Armed with a hot beverage and jackets to ward off the sea breeze, the eerie stillness was actually very pleasant, if you like that kind of thing. Regardless of the scummy weather, time restrictions, and almost nonexistent budget, Byron Bay is definitely a place that I have a yearning to go back to. A holiday within itself, even a potential daytrip location, I can certainly understand why people flock to it from all over the world. (NF)
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BAVARIAN BIER CAFE MANLY The BBC Manly is the second BBC to open, the original one being on York St. in the City. With awesome views of Manly cove and a great drinking atmosphere there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go to BBC Manly. If you have never tried Bavarian food before I highly recommend you do., The food is packed with flavour with the majority of the menu being more suited for colder months but they do have lighter meals for the hotter months too.
The BBC is more known for their schnitzels which they do 8 different ways, but it was the crackling roast pork belly on the menu that I couldn’t resist; the crunchy skin followed by the tender flesh and served with an apple compote was just too good to pass up. So if BBC Manly is too far for you, jump on their website http://www.bavarianbiercafe.com for a BBC closest to you. (SY)
SEAFOOD RESTAURANT (Yum Cha) Ok, I’ve been going to Yum Cha places for over 20 years and majority of those times I’ve always eaten in the City, but Sunny’s which is situated right behind Westfield on 9-11 Crofts Avenue, Hurstville is just as good as any place in the city.
Coming from an Asian background, we were taught what you could say are ‘Yum Cha rules’ like: don’t eat what you can make at home, don’t eat buns (cause they make you full) and when serving tea make sure you serve everyone first before yourself.
Now, we all have our favourite dishes at Yum Cha, dishes like Har Gow (prawn dumplings) which is my favourite, and others some like to stay away from like Fong Jao (braised chicken feet).
Those are just some of many Yum Cha ‘rules’ and the most important one is to get there early before all the good stuff is gone! (SY)
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MOVIE r e v i ew
The Adjustment Bureau – M Theories of destiny and free-will are tested in this exciting science fiction thriller. Matt Damon (Ocean’s Eleven, The Bourne Ultimatum) stars as David Norris, a politician who is given the opportunity to peek at the Fate that is in store for him but decides that he would like a different outcome. He meets Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt – The Devil Wears Prada, The Young Victoria), a young, contemporary dancer who captures his heart just as he is on the verge of obtaining a place in the US Senate. However, Fate has other things in mind. The Adjustment Bureau are the agents of Fate and they do whatever they can to foil David and Elise’s relationship. Terence Stamp (Yes Man, Wanted) is Thomson, one of the agents of Fate, who warns David that if he continues meeting with Elise, both their dreams will be shattered. The action and drama packed into this film will definitely keep viewers on the edge of their seats as David and Elise defy Fate’s laws. Damon’s charm is bound to win you over, while Blunt’s mysteriousness will leave you wondering. It’s a great “date night” choice, with an enjoyable portion of romance for the ladies and a nice dose of action for the gents. (SF)
Red Riding Hood – M Red Riding Hood is a loose remake on the classic folk tale of the same name. Director Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen, The Nativity Story) has taken this tale and turned it into a thriller starring Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Letters to Juliet) and Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight, The Book of Eli). Valerie (Seyfried) is young, beautiful and torn. Her parents have arranged a marriage to wealthy Henry (Max Irons – Dorian Grey) but she is in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez – Interstate) the outcast. Valerie and Peter plan to run away, but their plans are thwarted when Valerie’s sister is murdered by the werewolf that prowls around their village. The people call upon Father Solomon (Oldman) for his help in acquiring revenge against the werewolf, however his arrival brings more news for the villagers. The wolf is able to take the form of a human during the day so he could be any one of them. Valerie has her suspicions about the wolf as the death toll rises and she uncovers a connection between herself and the werewolf, leading her to become both the suspect and the bait. This suspenseful story will definitely leave you wondering so go check it out… if you dare. (SF)
Rango – PG Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland, Finding Neverland) voices Rango the chameleon in this animated feature by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean). Rango is facing an identity crisis and he finds himself on an adventure to discover his true self, something many of us try to do. He also fancies himself a hero, and ends up in a town called Dirt, a place where “good guys” are generally not received with open arms. However, this does not put Rango off as he continues trying to adapt to his new environment and make some friends. Australian Isla Fisher (Confessions of a Shopaholic, Wedding Crashers) and Abigail Breslin (My Sister’s Keeper, Little Miss Sunshine) join Depp as Beans a desert iguana, and Priscilla a cactus mouse, respectively. Rango depicts an interesting twist on the traditional Western tale of a man (or in this case, a chameleon) saving a town and finding himself. The animation deserves to be praised, with the features to each character illustrated delicately. The visuals are superb, so remember to keep your eye on the little details. Not your average Nickelodeon film, Rango is filled with witty humour and some jokes that adults may appreciate more than children. Who said animated movies were just for kids? (SF)
Limitless – M Based on the 2001 novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn, Limitless is about Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper – The Hangover, The A-Team), an out-of work writer who is given the opportunity to exercise his brain to its full potential. Aided by an experimental drug called MDT, Eddie transforms into a more confident and motivated version of himself. He gains the ability to remember everything he has seen, heard and read and because of this, he becomes successful; financially and socially. He’s faster, smarter and more appealing than ever before. Eddie enjoys the effect of the drug, until he discovers a dangerous side effect that involves him forgetting the events of the past few days. To make matters worse, Eddie has a group of hitmen after him in search of the drug. Aussie Abbie Cornish (Candy, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) and Robert De Niro (Meet the Fockers, Hide and Seek) also star alongside Cooper, Cornish as Eddie’s girlfriend, and De Niro as a business tycoon who is interested in making money off Eddie’s ability. This techno-thriller film is directed by Neil Burger, whose other works include The Illusionist and The Lucky Ones. Limitless is great for some popcorn entertainment if you have a bit of free time. (SF)
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music Chris Brown : F.A.M.E.
R.E.M. : Collapse Into Now
Fans of Chris Brown will be excited to hear that his fourth album is dedicated to them. F.A.M.E. serves as an abbreviation for Fans Are My Everything, and follows other popular Brown albums like Exclusive and Graffiti. Brown has been busy collaborating with other artists on this album, such as Lil Wayne, Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and Justin Bieber. Yeah x3, the first single released, is based on dance pop and europop and was an instant success partly due to its similar sound to a previous hit, Forever. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes are featured on the hip hop inspired track and second single, Look At Me Now. Beautiful People, produced by Benny Benassi will get those on the dance floor busting a move with the dominant chorus and exploding rhythm. The deluxe edition of F.A.M.E. will feature four additional tracks, including Paper, Scissors, Rock featuring Big Sean and Timbaland. Brown’s mixture of pop, hip hop and R&B and his partnerships with other artists means fans will enjoy this album and should certainly go out and get it. Brown will also be touring Australia in late April and early May to promote the album, so don’t forget to get your tickets before they’re all sold out! (SF)
Collapse Into Now is R.E.M.’s fifteenth studio album. This American alternative rock band have been around since 1980 and previous albums include New Adventures In Hi-Fi, Reveal, Around The Sun and Accelerate. R.E.M. have mixed it up a bit on this album and have put more variety in their music styles. There is a nice balance between slow, mid-tempo and rock songs. Bassist Mike Mills stated, “It’s more of a personal record than a political one. Current events do come into our mind when we write, but the themes here are more universal.” The songs are new and of a high-quality and have already been praised by critics. Singer Patti Smith is featured on the track Blue, where her harmonising intertwines delicately with Michael Stipe’s spoken lyrics. Collapse Into Now indicates a developing period for R.E.M. while also linking to their past. Anyone who is into alternative rock should take some time to listen to Collapse Into Now more than once. There are things you won’t catch on the first listen, like the amusing banter and mocking comments hidden in the lyrics. R.E.M. have undoubtedly allowed their creative juices to flow during the construction of this album. (SF)
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Britney Spears : Femme Fatale
Avril Lavigne : Goodbye Lullaby
Britney Spears’ seventh album will be released in late March, 3 years after her last album, Circus. The pop princess confirmed a collaboration with Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am over social networking site, Twitter. She also described Femme Fatale as “moody, edgy pop with a lot of energy” while stating that she had co-written a number of songs on the album. In addition, there are a small number of mid-tempo ballads included on the album. Hold It Against Me was the first single released and has a dance-pop edge to it. The deluxe edition of this album will contain three or four bonus tracks for fans. Max Martin worked with Spears to produce this album and also co-produced Avril Lavigne’s Goodbye Lullaby. Spears joined forces with Ke$ha on a track titled Till The World Ends, a song about wanting something to last until the world ends. Femme Fatale is likely to follow in the footsteps of Circus and Blackout with its infectious beats and sounds. Hardcore Britney fans should definitely grab a copy of this album. “I’ve poured my heart and soul into this album over the last 2 years,” she tweeted to her fans. We’re looking forward to it! (SF)
Avril Lavigne’s fourth album, Goodbye Lullaby, has been two years in the making and takes a journey to the past as it touches on Lavigne’s older style of music. Still packed with attitude, this album is more acoustic than her previous albums while still retaining its pop feel. Lavigne described the album as being more “mellow” and “deep” as she has grown musically. Two songs were composed by Lavigne herself while the remaining songs were co-written, showing how she has matured and developed as an artist. Her first single, What The Hell, has been received positively by critics and has a similar sound to Lavigne’s catchy and memorable #1 hit Girlfriend. It is fun and upbeat, with an energetic vibe that you can’t resist singing along to. Lavigne says that the album is about “life” and the title track, Goodbye (written and produced exclusively by Lavigne), is the most personal track and is about moving on. Wish You Were Here explores a vulnerable side to the punk princess, while Smile displays Lavigne’s appreciation for those in her life. For those punk and pop lovers and loyal Lavigne fans, keep an eye out for Goodbye Lullaby. (SF)
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For enquiries and more information including the terms and conditions of hire, please contact (02) 9567 8133 NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 27
Don’t let them do it alone!
There was a time when skills and ideas were passed on and shared freely amongst family members and friends, and when sons and daughters had instilled in them the basic life skills they would need for the future. How sad that these skills are so often no longer taught and shared. Think with me for a moment how many girls do not even have (or want to have) the skill to sew on a button, or take up a hem, and cook a nutritious meal that doesn’t come from a box. How many young men do not know what fuel to put in a lawn mower, or how to mend a broken chair or mix some concrete. For those of us who are ‘older,’ perhaps it is a responsibility that we can and should be picking up again, not only with our own children but their friends, and others in our sphere of influence. Older doesn’t necessarily mean that we are old and grey, but simply more mature in various areas. There are many single mums and young women who need us, just as much as there are many young men out there who need a mentor or someone they can trust and learn from; someone they can discuss the hard issues of life with. I once heard it explained as someone who is further down the darkened path of life who is shining the torchlight so others can find their way along the path of life that they themselves have already negotiated. Remember the days when we all had heroes? Sometimes they were only fictitious persons such as Superman, or Wonder Woman, the Six Million Dollar Man, Batman, The Incredibles….people needed to believe that someone would fight for them and with them against the injustices of life. It may surprise you to know that some of the most popular books sold and borrowed today are – biographies, and the do-it-yourself kind of books. Why? Because people so desperately want to learn from other people’s lives. People are looking for lives and models to follow – even if it is through the pages of a book (or a television show). They want to know how to do the skills that are no longer passed down from generation to generation. That may often include skills such as homemaking, arts, crafts, quilting,
budgeting, car maintenance and service, cooking, basic carpentry, time management – and these are just a few. Isn’t it sad that these skills and the skills of mentoring and hospitality are rarely passed on? I’m sure that there are many of us today who have joined a craft class or group to learn these skills which could easily have been passed on. Imagine with me, if you will, the difference it could make in today’s generation, and in those to come, if every person had good mentors to model themselves after. A model to learn from and to talk over some of life’s deepest issues. To have someone who could keep them accountable to help them grow and learn. “Yeah great,” you may say, “But where are these good mentors and role models?” I also have asked this question many times throughout the course of my own life but the good news is they do exist! With the busyness of life there are those who don’t want to open their lives up to or for another, or they are afraid of being hurt – all legitimate excuses perhaps but if we hold on to them we rob ourselves and others of rich and rewarding relationships. So many are lost and seeking direction – a direction that I wholeheartedly believe we can help them find through close mentoring and ‘of the heart’ relationships. It is someone you allow close to you, that you hold the best interest for, someone you can help and encourage to become all they can be, someone you model your life for, someone that is accountable
to you and is drawing and learning from you. You may have one living in your own home, next door, or across the street. Often we think ‘What do I have to give or model? They probably wouldn’t be interested.’ This is not true. You have much to give; experience, skills, wisdom, love and concern for another. Whether you are 20, 30, 60 years or somewhere in between – you still have much to give to someone who is struggling. Your time and your love are the greatest gifts you can ever give. Young people don’t need to wait to be asked to step into this kind of mentoring relationship. Who do you look up to, and who can you see yourself getting alongside because you want to learn from them? Then go ask them. Don’t wait for them to come to you because chances are they are as nervous about it as you are. I was the instigator in my mentoring relationship to – I began by asking them out for a coffee and then involved them in what I was doing. For example – ‘I’ve noticed you are a great cook, and my previous attempts at Christmas pudding have sunk. Do you think we might get together next week and work at it together. You may be able to see where I have been going wrong?’ Or, “I love the way you did that. Do you think you could teach me?” Single, married, widowed…it does not matter. All can reach out to the life of another and make a difference of monumental impact in another person’s life and for the generations that follow. So what are you waiting for? (DG)
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NEW CITY MAGAZINE . 29
Lexus LFA The Lexus LFA is purely an exercise to prove to the world that Lexus doesn’t just build vanilla luxury cars for people who don’t have enough for a BMW. Lexus is like a schoolboy proving that they can mix it with the biggest and best in the sports car world and what Lexus has done is over achieve in almost every area and aspect of the car. They are boxing above their weight creating a car like this, but what is amazing to me is that they created an impressive supercar. Every component of the car is meticulously made and engineered; a nerd’s fantasy of exotic materials and high tech crazy. This so called exercise was 10 years in the making, with the original idea of a full aluminium body scrapped for a lighter polymer-reinforced carbon fibre option which set the team back years in engineering development. That’s extreme even for Ferrari standards. What is even more amazing is the engine. Lexus have created a V10 engine that weighs as little as a V6, and revs to 9,000rpm producing 412kw. They even employed Yamaha sound engineers to create an exhaust system that makes this car sound amazing - like an F1 in full flight. The nerdiness doesn’t end there though, with Lexus utilizing a full LCD tachometer in the cabin because an analogue system cannot keep up with the engine’s rev speed. The ASG (Automated Sequential Gearbox) has 7 speed settings so you can determine how fast you want to change gears, 4-mode settings to tell the car what kind of track conditions it will be facing that very moment and a hydraulic rear wing that raises automatically at speed. All very advanced and all very nerdy, there isn’t much you can downplay on how cool this car is, except for its looks, which are kind of like a Japanese catfish, and the fact that all this will cost more than $400,000 which is a little more than Ferrari money with only 7 coming to Australia. Godzilla watch out, this is a Ninja might not be big and scary (aka GTR) but it will cut you up in the dead of night. (JY)
When I say French cars, most people think of good handling, weird designs and bad build quality. When I say German, some would think solid engineering, clean designs and a hard ride. When I say Korean, none of you would be thinking great build quality, sexy design and nice handling. But sorry people, it has happened and they haven’t thrown away their buffet of included options list that Korean cars are known for.
Kia Optima 2011 This car is full of goodies. I If I list them all, it would be a disgusting amount of acronyms such as ABS, EBD, HAC ANCAP, HA, ESP and so on. The features list is even longer, the only thing they don’t have is the kitchen sink, though I think it might be in the options list. But I am not here to talk about the obvious things you’ll find in a Korean car, it’s the surprises I want to talk to you about. Firstly, handling. It’s not an exact science, it’s a dark art like alchemy, yes there is some scientific engineering going on, but a lot of it has to do with feel. The major difference between the Hyundai i45 and the Optima is Graeme Gambold. He is the ‘go to guy’ for Mercedes and others to get their handling right. He is the man responsible for throwing away Kia dampers and springs and rather installed his idea, of a good package with anti roll bars as well. The end result is a compliant ride that is firm but great to drive around corners, very un-Korean. Second is design. Now we know that Korean design is not the best. So instead of spending years to get it right (aka Hyundai i45) Kia simply stole an Audi designer Peter Schreyer, who is the man responsible for the Audi TT, A4, A6 and A2, simply one of the best designers in the world… now you know why the rear tail light, dashboard and seats looks like an Audi A4. Kia is thinking globally now, and they deserve a larger slice of the medium car market pie, and at under $40,000 I will not be surprised if you are thinking twice before buying that Honda Accord or Mazda 6 all because this Korean has done a lot to impress me and deserves a test drive. (JY)
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