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Published by Bankstown Youth Development Service (BYDS) PO BOX 577 Bankstown NSW 1885, Bankstown Arts Centre, 5 Olympic Pde, Bankstown, telephone: 9793 8324, website: No part of this magazine may be published without the written permission of the publisher. Views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. ISSN: 1441-712X Copyright 2009 Updated Edition 2011

Acknowledgements Westside Jr. could not have been made possible without the love and support of the many organisations, schools and individuals associated and involved with BYDS. Thank you to Tim Carroll: teacher, mentor, friend. Thank you to Roslyn Oades: a powerhouse of vision and guidance. Thank you to Professor Ivor Indyk: a good explanation for Westside’s growing success and reputation. Thank you to Punchbowl Boys’ High School, Sir Joseph Banks High School, Miller Technology High School, the Youth Partnership with Arabic Speaking Communities, Bankstown Central Library and Links to Learning. Your contribution to this publication opens many doors for the future of Western Sydney students. The editor and Bankstown Youth Development Service would also like to thank the UWS Writing and Society Research Group, the Australia Council, Arts NSW and Bankstown City Council, who are the reason valuable projects like this materialise into tangible resources for our community.

Produced by Bankstown Youth Development Service Edited by Michael Mohammed Ahmad Sub edited by Roslyn Oades Sub edited by Pipit Indrawati (intern) Original Layout by Jamie Curnow Updated Layout by Nadine Beyrouti

Cover Original Design by Arda Barut Updated Design by Nadine Beyrouti Front cover artwork by Tin Pham Back cover artwork by Ngatoa Areai

Images Title page by Khadije Ahmad Centrepiece by Bilal Reda Ngatoa Areai – pages 5, 11, 17, 18, 31, 33, 34/35, 36, 37, 43, 50, 51 Tin Pham – pages 10, 16, 21, 27, 39, 41, 48 Bilal Reda – pages 9, 22 Julie Elassaad – pages 24, 32, 53 Peter Polites – pages 46, 47 Neil Trindall – pages 20, 25, 42 Tania Trindall – pages 19 Aaron Galea – pages 52 Lina Jabbir – pages 44, 45 Michelle Flowers – pages 30 Tim Carroll – pages 13



Introduction by Michael Mohammed Ahmad. . . . . . . 8

Daughter to Mother by Fatima ElCheikh . . . . . . . . 31

The Day My Mum Made Me Go to a Writing Workshop by Anthony Duong . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

My Mum by Tony Galeuski . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Mother by Ali Abbas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11

by Andrew Coupe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

The Day I Got My Xbox 360

A Message from Julie by Julie Sassine. . . . . . . . . . 12

Untitled by Omran Hawat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

Umbilical by Julie Sassine. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

My Mother Cries by Ruby-Leigh Tonks. . . . . . . . . . 34

My Mum by Ross Miller. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15

My Mother, My Grandmother

My Mum by Jordan Chen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 My Mum by Gavin Lam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 My Mum by Casey Nelson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

by Charlie Ters. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Mother Poem by Sayid Elkheir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 My Life, My World, My Everything by Laila Naser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

Different by Mohammed Kheir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

My Personal Chef by Ashraf Nesirwan. . . . . . . . . . . 38

Mum by Dale Kaifoto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

iPod by Madeleine Dellosa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

If I Could Give You by Amal Aouli . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

Arafura by Aisyiyah Prahastono . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Mother Dear by Samantha Hogg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

The Only Mum at the Game

Untitled by Omar Ghazzaoui . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

by Muaz Haddad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Untitled by Moustafa Raad. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Untitled by Moustafa Raad. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 My Mum by Rabeih Baltagi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 My Mummy by Jimmy Mati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 My Mummy by Vince Yousif. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 The Seven Things I Like About My Mum by Alexandra Dahdah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

My Mama by Adel Hayek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Focus on Family by Peter Polites. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

Parent Teacher Night by Taha Daghastani. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 A Single Parent by Taha Daghastani . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Close Divorce by Stephanie Dan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 She’s the One by David Dai. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Heaps of Love, Love and Love and Love by Peter Polites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

My Mum, My Brother by Sarah Adas. . . . . . . . . . . 48 Breathe by Pipit Indrawati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 An Interpreter for the Deaf

Depleted by Arda Barut. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

by Brydie Clark. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

The Amazing Grandmother

A Gentle Soul by Nawal Antar. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

by Fabio Giompaolo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

My Mum’s Story by Shahzain Khan . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 The Savannah Adventure by Saim Khan . . . . . . . . 30

And Your Mum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Your Mum Deserves Respect by Tim Carroll. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54


Introduction I’ll start with Bankstown’s most famous comeback ever … “Your mum.” This is the first Westside produced by BYDS which celebrates the younger writers and artists of Bankstown and Western Sydney. The choice to produce a publication devoted to the children of this region was always a risky one. It continually brought me back to the question of quality: would a publication written by younger artists hold its own literary value? Having been the editor of Westside for the past four years and still going strong, I have had the pleasure of accumulating writing from Western Sydney’s children, teenagers and adults. And time and again I have been left breathless by the amazing stories, ideas and artworks produced by our babies. While this publication offers a voice to potentially and already talented young writers from the region, it also celebrates the gift of storytelling through a perspective of innocence and honesty. I trust that it will bring out the child in our elders and the adult, the sheer intelligence and maturity in our children. Here in Western Sydney we all know how offensive it is to insult someone’s mother. The funny thing about this publication is that our theme was inspired by someone’s comeback. Often in the BYDS office six people working hard on various projects can break away into a random conversation. It was during one of these moments in which I asked out loud what people thought the next theme for Westside should be. In response, our very talented but sometimes immature photographer, Bilal Reda, eloquently tried to insult me, and said: “It should be … your mum bro.” Fortunately, in organisations like BYDS insults like this can immediately turn into projects. At that moment I saw Artistic Director Tim Carroll’s eyes light up as he replied, “Hey, that’s a great idea. We should do a publication called Your Mum and have all these really sweet stories about mothers from Western Sydney!” Though reluctant at first, this joke rapidly began to take my interest. And in a few days I had embarked on my fourth edition of Westside: a junior edition called Your Mum. I wanted however, for this publication to be more than just an anthology of cheesy words about our mothers. I wanted it to be honest and recognise the culture and stigma that revolves around our Western Sydney queens: the jokes, the insults, the tears, the laughs and the love. Although there is possibly an offensive tone to this publication, a great sense of sentimentality lies deep within. Insulting ones mother has always been the last straw in an argument and this is due to the value that we each give our mothers. They live life through our eyes and let us live life through theirs. They may sometimes annoy us with how much they care, but we always keep a special place for them with us. And when they finally leave us, and return to the heavens from which they came, a little piece of us goes with them. I’d like to dedicate this publication to my mother, Fatima Ahmad, who loved me when no one else could. I’d also like to congratulate all the mothers of our contributors – the writers, the illustrators and the photographers – for raising such fine and talented artists. I pray that this publication will teach us all to love and respect our mothers as much as our mothers love and respect us.

Michael Mohammed Ahmad Editor





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eally, our mum, my mum, is everything.

By Ali Abbas Sir Joseph Banks High School Year 11


A Message from Julie Julie Sassine is one of BYDS’ and Westside’s most talented and long-standing contributors. Since her last contribution to Westside, which was back in 2001, she has become a beautiful mother. In 2000, she was the recipient of Bankstown City Council’s Young Citizen of the Year Award. In 2002, she was a semi-finalist in the National Australia Day Council Young Australian of the Year Award (Arts Category). As winner of the National Youth Week People’s Choice Award (Senior WriteIT Category) for her poem Umbilical, she continues to make BYDS and Westside proud. The theme of the competition was “Improving Mental Health,” and Julie wrote about postnatal depression. With a theme like ‘your mum,’ it is an honour for BYDS to include Julie’s award winning poem in this special edition of Westside. We thank her and welcome her back to Westside after all these years. We wish her well as both a mother and artist.

BYDS and I go way back … So way back in fact that in the blurb about the contributors in Please Explain, my first writing contribution with BYDS, my music obsession with Hanson is mentioned! Would someone please explain that?! That was in 1997, and at thirteen my passion for writing was as strong as my forgivable taste in a musical trio of brothers! From my early teens, I would actively involve myself in community projects. Many were instigated by the wonderful Tim Carroll, Arts Officer Extraordinaire, and some at other local youth services, organisations and Council. I would immerse myself in anything the slightest bit creative. The Westside publications began in 1998, and I contributed poems for the first four editions (19982001). On January 13, 2006, at 10:10am, I was blessed with my greatest achievement yet – motherhood. A little girl. Enya. Who is waiting impatiently for March 2009, when she will become a big sister. It is a thrill to be back in Westside some eleven years on, the magic of which has in no way diminished, particularly in this tribute to mothers. Feels like coming home … Julie Sassine

opposite page Julie Sassine Sir Joseph Banks High School Year 7 12


Umbilical It’s a Girl! 10:10am 52cm 4250g Perfect In her vernix web Suckling thumb Hello little one Quickly the ward filled With bouquets and bears Assorted chocolates jewelled in pink And for every balloon a boasting kin It’s a Girl! 12:20am 50cm 3500g Then at night In the bed beside me The visitors all gone New mum’s tears tandem with baby Constance I whispered My thumb in her hand And her eyes stared deep in mine


And cradling her little one I urged mum to sleep Swaying side to side Soon both asleep A nappy change later New mum is awake Beaming at Constance Resting on chest My little one In bassinette Her little one On beating bed Breakfast time Discharge day No appetite she White as her untouched tea We packed our bags And waited for Dads Reluctantly She wanted to stay I promised to visit her Once a week And the four of us girls Became umbilical By Julie Sassine

My Mum My mum is a smart woman with long dark hair that falls like the autumn leaves on a calm peaceful day. She is always like a bright summer’s day whenever she wakes up no matter how mad she was the day before. When she is mad she is a dark stormy night. She is a very artistic person. Listening to her play the piano is like hearing the Sydney Orchestra. She loves photography and her photos look like they are coming alive. The care and love that comes from my mother is so great. There is no limit to the everlasting love that comes from her heart, greater than the tallest, wildest bear in the whole world. By Ross Miller De La Salle College Revesby Year 8

My Mum My mum has sparkly brown eyes, with a smile that never disappears and short, black hair, which is smooth as silk. She is very tall which is why she always bangs her head against the wall. She encourages me to do sport. With a kind heart she is always funny which embarrasses me. Whenever it comes to studying for exams, she tells me off. Every time we finish shopping, my adrenaline rushes because my mum is a bad driver and we always bump into things. Her favourite food is ice cream, especially with chocolate sprinkles. My mum used to wear glasses but a few days ago we found them broken and she blamed it on us. By Jordan Chen Hurlstone Agricultural High School Year 8

My Mum My mum’s name is Jenny Lam. She has black eyes and hair. She always nags at me and tells me off for stuff like watching TV. My mum always gets me to do my homework and wants me to be smart. My dad is also the same. My parents even take me to tutoring, which is boring. I rarely have free time and my mum makes me spend the day doing work. My mum has two kids, my younger brother Eric and I. My brother always has arguments and fights with me but he rarely gets told off by my mum. My mum likes flowers, such as roses. She plants flowers all around the house and garden. She also likes my dog; she always pats him when she goes out to the garden. There are some good and bad things about my mum but she is very loving. She loves my brother and I and always cares for us. When my brother and I were very sick, she took care of us for a whole week. By Gavin Lam Menai High School Year 7 15

My Mum Brown hair, brown eyes, olive skin, short legs, loud laugh and kind voice: she is the only one. I love her the most. She’s the one I trust, she’s the one that’s always there. She’s the one that loves me no matter who I become. She doesn’t care as long as I’m there. I trust her too and care for her too. I love her as long as she’s there too. She’s my mum and that’s who she is. I wouldn’t like her any other way. By Casey Nelson Prairiewood High School Year 9

Different My mum is the greatest because she always has the answers. She is one of the wisest people I know. She always answers my questions; whether it be how to bake a cake or what to do when I am in trouble. She knows what to do when I’ve grazed myself from falling off the bike. In my eyes she knows everything. My mum always gives someone the benefit of the doubt. Even when everybody may dislike a person, she will try to see the best in them and try to help them see the good in themselves. These things are what make my mum different. By Mohammed Kheir Punchbowl Boys’ High School Year 10

Mum I love my mum because she is my mum. She looks after me and she is soft on me when I get into trouble and saves me from my dad and my brother. She takes me places like my football games and stays to watch me play. She is very nice to my friends and tries to teach me to be nice to them too. My mum will always be there for me. She always tells me that she loves me. By Dale Kaifoto Bonnyrigg High School Year 9


If I Could Give You If I could give you diamonds for each tear you cried for me, if I could give you sapphires for each truth you’ve helped me see, if I could give you rubies for the heartache that you’ve known, if I could give you pearls for the wisdom that you’ve shown, you’ll have a treasure, mother, that would mount up to the skies, then that would almost match the sparkle in your loving eyes. But I have no pearls, no diamonds, as I’m sure you’re well aware, so I’ll give you gifts more precious my devotion, love and care. By Amal Aouli Sir Joseph Banks High School Year 10


Mother Dear Mother is the name for God on the lips of all children. Every year on my birthday I would blow out my candles and wish for you to come back. I would wish for a family, a mother and a father, but not anymore. I hated not being able to participate in Mother’s Day stalls and I hated explaining why. I loathed the looks of pity upon stranger’s faces when they asked about my parents and got a clipped response in return. I didn’t need their sympathy, I just needed you. I hated the lies I was fed for fourteen years and I hate the reality of your death. Did you know that I tried to be just like you? Be tough, be good, do well in school, excel at English, do drugs; I even got put into a psychiatric ward just like you. I finally gave up trying to be you. I’m failing English, I barely turn up for school, I’m not very good and drugs don’t control my life. Instead of trying to be you, I’ve tried being with you; cold in the ground – I’ve come close a few times too. I hurt myself to feel close to you, but after a while I became numb. Every time I cut my arms, I had hope that you would appear and make everything alright again. That hope died when they made me take medication. I hope you feel guilty for making me feel it was all my fault. I hope it hurts when I question if you ever loved me or cared at all. I hope you hate what I do to myself because of you. You were barely a part of my life and you nearly ruined it ... I love you more than you will ever know. By Samantha Hogg Sir Joseph Banks High School Year 12



Untitled My mum gave birth to me. She has to put up with me. She still loves me. By Omar Ghazzaoui Miller Technology High School Year 7

Untitled My mum gave birth to me. I have loved her ever since. We do almost everything together. By Moustafa Raad Miller Technology High School Year 7

Untitled I love my mum. I love the food that she cooks. She always gives me love. She always buys me a lot of things. And that is why … I love my mum. By Moustafa Raad Miller Technology High School Year 7

My Mum


My Mummy I love my mummy. She’s always there to help me. She’s always there to take money from. And I can always complain to her. By Vince Yousif Prairiewood High School Year 9

The Seven Things I Like About My Mum

My mum’s a good mum and a kind one. She’s a good cook. I come home from school and the food is ready. Sometimes I hate it when she’s in a bad mood, But most times she’s so kind. By Rabeih Baltagi Miller Technology High School Year 7

To me my mum is simply fun. She always tries to get things done. My mother tries to be funny, And she bounces like a bunny. She is selfless, Never careless. And she will always, always love me. By Alexandra Dahdah St. Mary’s Primary School Year 5

My Mummy

My Mama

I love my mummy. She’s helped me through my life and been very good to me. I’m sure she’ll be here for the rest of her life and mine. By Jimmy Mati Prairiewood High School Year 9

Once upon a time there was a beautiful old lady. Her name is Chafica. Chafica is Adel’s mum and she really cares for me. Adel really loves his mum. By Adel Hayek Bonnyrigg High School Year 9


Focus on Family Westside writer, Peter Polites and Westside editor, Mohammed Ahmad met with Mayor of Bankstown, Tania Mihailuk, to talk about motherhood, family and how to reconcile that old work/life collision. Mohammed and I meet at Bankstown Youth Development Service to go to our meeting with the newly elected Mayor of Bankstown, Tania Mihailuk. Fifteen minutes before our meeting time, we arrive at the bottom of the blue tower where the mayoral offices are located. All around the entrance to the foyer there are signs that clearly state no smoking within fifteen metres of the entrance. I light up a cigarette anyway and realise that smoking is bad for my health. I tell Mohammed that I’m going to give up smoking soon. He says I’ve been saying that for the last few months and I promise that I will give it up when he stops spitting. Ever since Mohammed became engaged he seems to have a new attitude to life. Things are more optimistic for him. He’s looking forward to married life. One of the only people under twenty-five that I know getting married and he can’t wait. Sometimes I think that he is exploding to have kids and the newly engaged life has made our friendship different. We arrive in the offices ten minutes before our meeting and I announce our entrance to the secretary: “Two youths to see Tania.” Mohammed goes about it more professionally: “We’re from Bankstown Youth Development Service and we have a meeting with the mayor.” The receptionist tells us to wait for a while and that the mayor will be with us shortly. Mohammed sits down and so do I. I look intently at our surroundings. There are sister city trophies in a cabinet, awards from local sporting teams, one even from the Children’s Festival. There are some books next to us on a coffee table. One of them promotes a small town in New Zealand like it is a thriving metropolis. I scoff cynically. How come all local governments love promoting themselves? 22

During our waiting time Mohammed asks me important questions: “Who do you think would win in a fight between Spider-Man and Captain America?” He knows how to ask the hard ones. “Maybe I should ask the mayor what she thinks?” I tell him. Tania, the mayor greets us at the door. I move in comfortably for a kiss on the cheek and Mohammed, being the more professional of the two shakes hands. We sit down in her office. On the wall there is a painting of a mother and a child. “Everyone asks if that’s me,” Tania says. Mohammed introduces the project. He talks about the workshops that he has been doing with young people all around Bankstown and Western Sydney. The magazine is going to be launched for Mother’s Day and is about mothers. One of the reasons Mohammed and I chose Tania is because she is a proud mother. She has two children and often refers to them throughout the interview. The first question I ask Tania is what she thinks makes a good mother. Tania doesn’t take much time to think about this question. She answers abruptly, saying that a good mother is

made up of someone that is attentive to their child, that is patient, listens to them and does extra duties for them. She says that it’s important to also spend quality time with your children, not idle time like watching TV together, but time that is made up of engaging with them in a meaningful way. The second question is a bit controversial. I ask her what she thinks a bad mother is. Tania thinks about this for a while. She says that a bad mother is someone who places too much attention on herself and neglects her children. I ask Tania why she chose to become a mother. She says that she felt like it was a natural progression to life. That part of life is being a mother. That it is, in fact, the very purpose of life. When I ask her “What is the best way to raise a child?” I am surprised by her answer. She talks about making sure the child has as many opportunities as it can. She gives the example of her daughter, who has shown a clear interest in music and dancing. Tania has to make time to take her daughter to dancing classes, saying that she is purposely giving her daughter the opportunities that she never had when she was a child. Like many people in the Bankstown area, Tania comes from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. She is Russian Orthodox. Her parents are from overseas and came to Australia for many reasons. Tania is first generation Australian and understands that her parents did the best that they could for their situation. I reflect

on my own background and upbringing. It’s hard not to when I am first generation Australian too. My parents were typical hardworking migrants. But for some reason or another, I remember my mum always rushing us around to art galleries, museums and libraries. Not the typical Mum took us to the factory sweatshop story. It makes me glad that someone like Tania has reached where she is. It’s good that finally we’re starting to see the leadership in Council reflecting the cultural diversity of the area. On the question of working and being a mother, Tania tells us about her commitments: her job in Chatswood, being the mayor of Bankstown, raising a family. The thing that has to suffer is time to herself and her social life. All socialising is now done in conjunction with her children. So, she spends time now with other friends that have families. When I ask what values she wants to raise her children with, I expect her answer to be orientated around abstract concepts. Instead Tania has a practical answer. She talks about values in the context of the child becoming a good citizen. She talks about the services and non-government organisations dedicated to families and children in the local area. My intention with this question was to get at the more personal aspects of community. In a way she answered this too. She talked about how her in-laws and own mother play an active part in raising her children. We finish the interview with Mohammed asking about motherhood and childhood in Bankstown, and if there is anything special or unique about this area compared to other communities in NSW. Tania answers quite proudly that Bankstown is special because of the high level of respect and love we give our mothers in this part of Sydney. When Mohammed asks what the possible reason for this level of respect is, Tania states that Bankstown is an area of rich cultural diversity, where traditional values and beliefs towards the mother are held with upmost dignity and passion. “Even more than the respect we hold for our fathers,” she hesitantly concludes. By Peter Polites 23

Depleted In hot and dusty air a six-year-old watches Baby yellow scorpions swarm inside the holes Of a truck blown apart by Crusader tank shells. He walks to his mother across the cluster fields And asks her curiously Where are my siblings? She says to her belly God does not will such things. God gave me sticks and stones, and flowers to play with, Why doesn’t God give my sisters or my brothers? In her empty eyes he senses yellow colours. By Arda Barut University of Canberra


The Amazing Grandmother Someone I can count on That’s my Grandmother, it’s my Nonna Someone who loves me She’s always a friendly person, a helping hand. Family, neighbours, her boss and birds, everyone she knows around her Someone that is amazing, that’s my Nonna That’s my Nonna, I love in the world Someone that is amazing She can do about everything Like her Italian cooking, her pasta, her lasagna, from North, her town That where she is from I love the smell of her coffee coming out from the kitchen door, Laying in bed, music note playing in my head. By Fabio Giompaolo


My Mum’s Story Once upon a time there lived a ten-year-old boy named Shahzain Khan who was playing cricket when his mum told him to put a vase in the garage. He picked the vase up like a Sumo wrestler but when he got into the garage it slipped out of his hand. It broke in two pieces. “What was that?” his mum said. “Nothing Mum, I just bumped into the va … Garage wall!” he lied. The next day Shahzain’s friend came over. This gave Shahzain an idea. He took his friend to the garage because he had a habit of touching things. Shahzain’s brother also came. His plan was running successfully. “When did we get that precious vase?” Shahzain said. “Wow!” his friend said. He touched it and it broke into another piece. “Hey!” Shahzain said. Plan successful. His brother told their mum about the vase. Shahzain’s ears were running red. He felt awful. He went to his mum and told her the truth. “Oh! Nasty of you to do that!” she said. “I’m sorry,” Shahazain said. Shahzain thought he was going to be in big trouble but his great mum let him go. “Don’t worry. You’re my favourite son,” she said. “Yes,” Shahzain said. “Thanks Mum.” By Shahzain Khan Chester Hill Public School Year 6



The Savannah Adventure Once upon a time on a trip to the savannahs of Africa, our helicopter landed in northern Kenya where we found a pride of lions roaming wild. My mum got out of the helicopter and jumped onto a tree near where one of the lions was resting. My mum took out her camera to take a few shots. She was about to take a shot when the pride of lions posed for a family portrait. At six o’clock we made an astonishing discovery. The lions could speak. They spoke Swahili, English, French and German. We had lunch with the lions and later in the afternoon we found out that every animal in the savannah could speak. My mum met Cheeky the leader of the Cheetahs who invited us for dinner. Whilst I was getting ready I made a new friend whose name was Chinku. Chinku was a Mursi. Later we had dinner and then we returned home. By Saim Khan Sefton High School Year 8


Daughter to Mother You have given up all your life to be a mother. Being a mother isn’t an easy task, yet you enjoy every second of it. You were there for me since day one, to dry my tears, and plant a smile on my face. You know exactly what to say, to help, guide and lead me through this life, so I can become who I want to be. You never put limits on my childish thoughts and dreams, you were always there to encourage. You have given me comfort, guidance and reassurance throughout my years, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you for all that you have done and given me. I’m sorry if I’ve given you a hard time. It took me a while to appreciate what you do for me. You are my role model and my salvation. You have always been there when I needed you. There are not enough words to thank you for everything you have helped me with. I hope that I can always make you proud … I love you Mum and thank you. By Fatima ElCheikh Wiley Park Girls’ High School Year 10


My Mum I love my mum and my mum loves me. She loves me because I’m her son. She’s always there to help me, always there whenever I need her. She is the best thing in the world for me. By Tony Galeuski Prairiewood High School Year 9

The Day I Got My Xbox 360 I loved my mum, then she got me an Xbox 360, then I loved her more. By Andrew Coupe Bonnyrigg High School Year 9


Untitled Nine months of pain Then there I was looking up at her She was smiling I was crying She was full of joy And I was scared She gave me something It was a colourful toy I smiled She smiled Then, there, I knew she was my mother. Fifteen years later here I am all grown up She screams at me very loud We both get irritated with each other But at the end of the day … She’s my mother.

By Omran Hawat Punchbowl Boys’ High School Year 10


My Mother Cries Sadness is a natural feeling. When I was young I used to cry a lot. When I had a tantrum, when I fell over and grazed my knee … But one of my strongest memories of someone crying is when I saw my mum cry for the first time. I was very little, maybe in my first few years at primary school. All I remember is looking up to see salty tears streaming down her cheeks, black mascara smudged on her face. I don’t know why she was crying but I remember giving her a hug and asking if she was okay. Her face was red and she was letting out small quiet sobs. She told me to leave her be for a while and after a couple of minutes we were smiling again. There have been many times after that when I’ve seen my mum crying. Like when her friend died and we went to the funeral. Mum has always told my sister and I to focus on the good things rather than bad. Otherwise it wastes opportunities that could be spent on more good times. By Ruby-Leigh Tonks Picnic Point High School Year 8


My Mother, My Grandmother One night I went to have a drink of water. Then I saw my mum crying in the kitchen. I felt shocked so I asked her what happened. She told me in tears that my grandma had cancer. This made me really sad because my grandmother was really kind. But also because she lived overseas and my mum might never see her again if she died. In the end, after talking to my mum about what happened I told her Grandma might get better if she prayed for her. After that I promised I’d pray for my grandmother every night before I went to sleep. I really hoped that my grandma could get better ... By Charlie Ters St. Charbel’s College Year 8


Mother Poem My Mother Made choice to bring Me to world I thank her for life Giveness. She cooks and cleans And does what life Means and roles around In family Genes. My mother Spends and Gives And does what she believes Just as long as I get what I Achieve. Curfew Curfew with My mother she’s always On time before my Father. So if I was to say Mother I say I’ll get Off your back After life Gives away. By Sayid Elkheir Sir Joseph Banks High School Year 11


My Life, My World, My Everything Mum you are my life. You are the one that’s always there for me. You are the one I can depend on. You are the one that understands my problems and looks upon them as your own. Mum you are my world. You care for me and love me with all your heart. You have a magic touch that makes all the pain go away. You have a smile of sunshine and a heart of gold. I can’t live without you; I don’t know what I would do. Mum you are my everything. No matter what I do or say to you it will never be enough. I am so grateful that God has sent an angel from heaven down to me. I appreciate everything you do for me and one day, when I become older, I will repay you as much as I can. For you are my life; my world; my everything … By Laila Naser Sir Joseph Banks High School Year 10 37

iPod My Personal Chef When I was so hungry during school, all I would think about was sate. The way my mum makes it is like it has the best taste in the world. As I wait on the bus my tummy rumbles and rumbles waiting for that tasty sate. When I arrive home my mum asks me, “what do you feel like today?” I quickly tell her, “I want your tasty sate.” Now in my head is that nice traditional Indonesian sate with a nice spicy sauce which gives you a kick. Just looking at my mum cook makes me think that she is the best cook in the world. I even sometimes think she can beat the Iron Chef. Now all I need to do is wait for her to call my name. As I wait and wait, finally I hear it. I rush to the kitchen wanting to satisfy my needs. I sit in my chair and am served my favourite dish. I say to her, “Mum, you’re the best thing in my life and don’t forget you’re also the best cook too.” I remember she needs to feed another eight people, my brothers and sisters and my dad. And not just because she cares about us, it’s because she loves us all. So on that night we share our love eating our favourite dishes which my mum makes best. By Ashraf Nesirwan Punchbowl Boys’ High School Year 9

Once upon a time my mum got me an iPod for my tenth birthday. I felt really excited that I had my own iPod. I loved it. As soon as I got it I went on the computer and started putting songs on it. A couple of weeks later my iPod wouldn’t turn on so my mum tried to fix it and she found a game on it. It was called Klondike. That night while I was asleep she went into my room and took the iPod from its charger and started playing it. The next morning when I woke up I went to get my iPod and saw it wasn’t there. I asked my brother if he took my iPod. “No,” he said. “But I saw Mum playing with it.” I went into my parents’ room and found my mum asleep with my iPod in her hands. I went downstairs and watched TV until my mum woke up. Finally I asked her why she took my iPod. She said, “When I was fixing your iPod last night I found a game on it and I really like it. It’s just like solitaire.” “Well you could have asked me if you could borrow it instead of taking it while I was asleep!” I replied. I felt so angry that my mum would buy me a present and then take it without permission. For the next couple of weeks she continued to use my iPod. Finally I could not take it anymore. She wasn’t even asking me if she could use it. She was wasting all of the battery. I told her how I felt. For the next couple of days there was an awkward silence between us. I hate awkward silences. I came up with a chart for when she could use my iPod. I showed it to her and she apologised and said that the chart was a great idea. From then on she has stuck to the chart and we have never fought over the iPod again. By Madeleine Dellosa St. Mary’s Primary School Year 5


Arafura Out of breath like we’re underwater. Carried away by a rip of isolation. Break the habit of believing too soon. We tear up, break down, stand up, and fall again. Blue into black … red highlights for reassurance. The day will come eventually. Street light, heart of the night. The sound of passing cars and the distant trail of excited voices. A night that was supposed to be ours so quickly ripped away. Mama dear, what memories will we have at the end of the day? I refuse to have you torn away from me. I have nobody but you, nobody else seems to care anymore. Devoid words. I’ll travel across shores Just to heal your wounds. I’ll see you soon. By Aisyiyah Prahastono East Hills Girls’ Technology High School Year 12


The Only Mum at the Game My Sacrificing Mother It was the grand final for my team, the Junior Broncos, under-forteens. It was 6:00 am in the morning and my mother woke up, put on her clothes, made me breakfast and drove me thirty minutes away from home, all just to take me to the game. She was the only mother there. She has a whole family to look after by 9:00 am, when they wake and ask for breakfast, yet still makes time to come and watch me play football and cheer me on. At half time we were down 12-6 but my mother told me something important. “No matter whether you win or lose you will always be a winner in my eyes.” After our break I thought about all the things my mother had done for me and all the years she fed me and put me to sleep. I was motivated to play my best and win for my mother … the best mother. My team came out and it was the other team’s kick off. I was fullback. The ball came into my arms and I heard my mother give me a mighty cheer. I ran 95 metres to score our second try and lock up the score at 12-12. We received the ball after kick off and I remembered what my mother told me at half time. I made another line break. By then we were 15 metres away from the try line and in field goal distance. I kicked and won the game for the world’s best mother. By Muaz Haddad Punchbowl Boys’ High School Year 9



Parent Teacher Night It was the day that many children were not looking forward to: Parent Teacher Night. But I was ready for whatever teacher’s comment came at me. I tried to think what the teachers might say about me. Would it be good, bad? I’m always well behaved in class but have a sneaky side about me too. As usual my mum was late. She’s never on time whenever there’s a meeting or appointment. I asked why she was late and she just said, “I’m here now, aren’t I?” We went inside to get my report. My year advisor began to talk to my mum. My mum stood there puzzled, not knowing what he was talking about. But when he said these simple words: “good boy ... excellent working student,” my mum smiled. As usual today will be like every other day with my mum: the teachers talk and I explain and then she replies with her weird accent, which I find embarrassing. It was then time to change around to a new teacher. This time it was someone who understood my mum’s language: Arabic. It was my English teacher. This was going to take a bit longer than usual. My mum does not stop speaking to my English teacher. “How is he in class? Is he a good student? What does he need to do to improve on his work?” Will she ever stop talking? Yeah my mum can be happy but when she is mad … well you just better stay right away from her until she calms down. But I’m lucky. The only thing my mum and I share is a loving, caring relationship that will last through good and bad times. By Taha Daghastani Punchbowl Boys’ High School Year 10


A Single Parent My mum went through my nine month birth She fed me, she cleaned me She went days without sleep To see me grow up Whenever she is angry at me I know inside her still she loves me My mum is strong She looks after five A single parent who has love from everyone She has always been by my side Through thick and thin My mum and I are one I love you Mum, till the day I die

By Taha Daghastani Punchbowl Boys’ High School Year 10

Close Divorce A few years ago my parents had been fighting over silly things like accidently spilling milk. My mum was sad and had the idea of a divorce. She decided that she might look for a new house. One day we walked to a house which was for sale after school. We walked through the front door and were greeted by a man in a business suit. He was to be our guide for looking around the house. The house was a bit filthy and there were cockroaches on the floor. Most of them were dead and their feet stuck up. Can’t the owners of this house clean up the cockroaches? Who would want to buy this place? My mum definitely wouldn’t, I thought. We later drove home and, fortunately, my mum didn’t seal the deal. As we got out of the car, my mum was crying. “Are you okay?” I asked her. I was getting worried. “Yes, I’m fine,” my mum replied. A few weeks later my parents were still together and my mum decided not to split. I was so relieved and still remember that worrying moment to this day. By Stephanie Dan Georges Hall Public School Year 6 43


She’s the One She’s peaceful and loving, and lovingly peaceful. She laughs, she cries, she shouts. She’s kind ... most of the time. She came. It shattered. She blamed it on me. “Why did you put the damn glass there?” “But you’re the one who knocked it over.” I got told off for talking back. But it’s okay to forgive. She’s short tempered but cares. Glasses, short, and black eyes. She’s the lady I like best. She’s my mum. By David Dai Hurlstone Agricultural High School Year 8


Heaps of Love, Love and Love and Love Westside writer, Peter Polites talks to his mother about why she chose to have children and what matters most. Mina Polites was born in Greece in 1945. She moved to Australia in 1970. She has two children, Anastasia Polites, 31 and Peter Polites, 28 and two grandchildren, Avraam Carleton, 4, and Leonides Carleton, 3. She currently lives in Belmore with her husband and works as a librarian for Canterbury City Council. What makes a good mother? To be a good mother, you have to spend a lot of time with your kids, you have to look after them, you have to take care of them proper and spend as much time as you can with them. Spending quality time with them, teaching them, talking to them, feeding them, cleaning them, playing games. One like I do with my grandchildren, like pretending to go the shopping. What makes a bad mother? Who only care for herself, doesn’t care for the family or special for the kids, just leaves them all the times, goes out and with her friends and play and walk around. She never think for her kids. Being a bad mother is a selfish mother. Sometimes it’s not always the bad mother, they don’t have the right brain but they care in their own wrong way. A mother is bad because she doesn’t care for herself. Why did you choose to have children? I choose to have two kids because the life is not complete in a person without kids and a family. You have kids and you have your order in the world and then the grandkids come and you’ve done your job. Life is empty without kids.

What’s it like working and being a mother? It’s really hard. At work you think of your kids. Some mothers not like this. Myself: I always want to come home and take care of my kids. What kind of values do you think are important to raise your children with? To be good people. When they grow I want them to be correct, loving and caring; interest in society and life. Always I want my kids to do the right thing. They will have a better life if they have money and teach them to work and be honest. Which community helped you raise your children? Both Greek and Australian. They went to Greek school, Greek education and customs, they have full Australian customs. School is a very important community. I valued the community of school because I contacted the teachers, I went to every single parent and teacher’s meeting, I visited them a lot of times and helped them with their homework both English and Greek.

What is the best way to raise a child? Give them heaps of love, love and love and love. Show to them cuddles, talk to them, spend with them some quality time, go out with them. Make out like they are your best friend. Play with them and help them with their homework.


By Peter Polites


My Mum, My Brother My mum or my brother? My mum can be so embarrassing sometimes. But sometimes she can be so good to me. I never knew my brother. But if he grew up he’d have been the best brother to me. When my mum gave birth to my brother, she told me he smelt like bleach. My brother was an hour years old when he died. I miss him a lot and my mum misses him. She wishes he was alive, but she can’t bring him back. She cries all the time … By Sarah Adas Bonnyrigg High School Year 9


Breathe Mum, I’ll tell you a secret. Secret that I pray on Every night before sleep, and it feels so deep. I pray for you to breathe. Please breathe Mum, Please breathe. Coz’ you’re my air and I’m your lungs.

By Pipit Indrawati Intern from the Faculty of Letters, Diponegoro University Semarang Participant of the Australia Indonesia Youth Exchange Program 2008/2009


An Interpreter for the Deaf I was sitting in the back of a church, my eyes drooping with boredom. “Why do we have to sit through mass for a second time today?” hissed my little sister Belle into my ear. She was seated next to me with our three older sisters on her other side and our little brother on my other side. “Mum is interpreting again,” I replied. We had travelled all the way up to Orange to go to church with the deaf people who lived there so Mum could interpret what the priest was saying into sign language. Now we were back home sitting through another one. “I know, but why did we have to come?” Belle was really bad at whispering and an old lady with pink glasses shushed us. “Well she can’t leave us at home, can she?” I said, quieter than before. Belle shrugged. The music started and the priest walked in. I used my usual technique for relieving myself of boredom on these regular occasions. I looked at my mum’s hands trying to memorise all the different signs. This time I happened to look up from her hands and glance at her face. I noticed that she was miming the words as she interpreted them. She pulled the funniest faces. She twisted her mouth into a pout and then almost into a grin with her teeth bared like a wolf about to attack. At the same time she was raising her eyebrows and dropping them so they shadowed her eyes. I stared at her a minute longer and inspected her expression more closely. A small giggle escaped my mouth. Belle flicked her head around to look at me, her eyes questioning. “Look at Mum’s face,” I explained. She turned to look at Mum and I turned to look again as well. I pressed my lips together to stop another giggle escaping. Belle clamped her hand over her mouth to stop herself from laughing. We were about to get into a lot of trouble … By Brydie Clark Mount St. Joseph Girls’ High Year 7


A Gentle Soul In my younger years She cared for me when I was vulnerable and helpless She cleaned me up when I made a mess As I started to grow She taught me to walk and talk She taught me to read and write She was my tutor And now in my teenage years She consoles me with endearments when I feel dejected She guides me when I get lost She helps me when I get stuck Who is this woman? I’ll tell you who She is the most important person in the world to me She is the reason I have morals and understanding She is the person I love most She’s my mother By Nawal Antar Wiley Park Girls’ High School Year 10


… And Your Mum Now what would a Westside called ‘Your Mum’ be without some mum jokes? Here’s a few from us:

Your mum is so fat, small objects orbit her. Your mum is so fat, she has her own postcode. Your mum is so fat, even Dora can’t explore her. Your mum is so fat, the only thing that’s attracted to her is gravity. Your mum is so fat, her Uni graduation photo was an aerial shot. Your mum is so fat, she can’t even clap. Your mum is so fat, she wears an asteroid belt. Your mum is so old, that her birth certificate says expired. Your mum is so dumb, she returned a doughnut because it had a hole in it. Your mum is so fat, when she bends over, we enter daylight-savings. Your mum is so fat and dumb, she took a spoon to the Super Bowl. Your mum is so fat, when she sits around the house she sits around the house. Your mum is so fat, NASA plan to use her to shore up the hole in the ozone layer. Your mum is so hairy, when she lifts her arm it looks like she has Guy Sebastian in a headlock. Your mum is so dumb, she took a ruler to bed to see how long she slept. Your mum is so dumb, she was told drinks were on the house so she climbed on the roof. Your mum is so fat, when her beeper goes off people think she’s backing up. Your mum is so fat, when she lay on the beach people ran around her yelling “Free Willy!” Your mum is so fat, she has to iron her pants on the driveway. Your mum is so stupid, when your dad said it was chilly outside, she ran out with a spoon. Your mum is so stupid, that she puts lipstick on her head just to make-up her mind. Your mum is so stupid, that she tried to put M&M’s in alphabetical order. Your mum is so dumb, she climbed over a glass wall to see what was on the other side. Your mum is so fat, she lost a game of Hide & Seek because I spotted her ... behind Mount Everest. Your mum is so fat, when she auditioned for Raiders of the Lost Ark she was cast as the Big Rolling Ball. Your mum is so fat, she ate my mum, who’s also pretty fat.



Your Mum … Deserves Respect White Ribbon Day is a day that is designed for men, of all kinds, of all ages and backgrounds to commit themselves to the idea that violence of any sort against a woman is unacceptable. This edition of Westside is dedicated to your mum: it is all about respecting and loving your mother. Thus, I wanted to include some material about mums who are not respected – when mums, or sisters and cousins and friends who might eventually become mums, are bashed or at the receiving end of other kinds of violence from men. It is a difficult issue to talk about, especially if it happens in your family. It can make you feel totally powerless. We often prefer silence to the confronting truth that nearly half a million Australian women have experienced violence from their partner or former partner. Well, we can be silent no longer. For too long silence has been seen as tolerance. This is just plain wrong. It is time to turn this terrible situation around. The Bureau of Statistics figures indicate that:

- In any year, nearly half a million Australian women experience physical or sexual assault by a current or former partner. - One in three Australian women have experienced physical violence. - One in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence. - Less than one third of all physical and sexual violence is reported to police. - Approximately 90 per cent of women who experience sexual assault do not access crisis support, legal help or other support services such as telephone help lines.

Each of these statistics is a human face. It is Australian men who are responsible. My question to you is: what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? Violence against women is the great silent crime of our time. It is the silence that makes it the most insidious. As young citizens in and around Bankstown I would like us to commit ourselves to being White Ribbon kind of men. At your school, in your home, on the street, on the internet ... Don’t let it happen, speak up!

Tim Carroll Artistic Director Bankstown Youth Development Service P: (02) 9793 8324 F: (02) 9796 4581


Domestic Violence Line Available 24 Hours - Ph: 1800 656 463 55


Westside Jr. Vol 1: Your Mum  

The new series of Westside focuses on the youth of Bankstown, and showcases the talented and culturally diverse artists of this vast and und...

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