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Campbell the Swagman

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   swagman  n   Austral. and NZ  labourer who carries his personal
                         possessions in a pack (swag) while looking for work.

Occasionally when you look into somebody's face you know that they have an interesting life story to tell.
When you come face to weatherbeaten face with Campbell the Swaggie you see an encyclopaedia of Australian folklore.

During the 1930's depression in Australia, swagmen were a common sight.  Men forced by economic circumstance to walk the back roads in search of work.

Today there is just Campbell and perhaps one other remaining, both of whom do it as a lifestyle choice.
Campbell is a consummate poet, storyteller and busker.
With a majestic voice reciting from a repertoire of more than 200 Australian poems and prose, and accompanied by an entertaining acting performance, he is a national treasure.

Reputedly the son of a Maori princess and a Scottish father, Campbell has, for the last 23 years been perfecting his craft by performing at folk festivals and country shows all around Australia.

All of his possessions in life are wrapped up in a single canvas swag.

Irving Campbell:  busker, poet, writer, swaggie, entertainer,
                             unforgettable Antipodean character.

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A matter of time

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One of the great frustrations of Westerners who choose to visit or live in a developing country involves cultural differences in the way people use and measure their time.

Every activity in industrialised nations is scheduled around the clock.
It is precisely that regimented adherence to "time management", and the achievement of work targets, which has of course driven our progress from the Industrial Revolution until this day.

Our morning wake-up alarms are set.
We expect trains and buses to depart precisely on time.
It would be nice if our bosses pay us on the allocated day.

Much of the world however, does not operate with such concern for the passage of time.  It has a more laissez-faire approach which results in local phenomena such as manana, Pacific Islands time, or one with which I have a more intimate knowledge,
"Papua New Guinea time".

The newcomer in these communities has two options.

1.  Fight it.  Whinge, whine, and bitch about it. 
     Try to change it.  Tell the people and the world how inferior
     their civilisation is compared to your own.

2.  Go with the flow, even if only out of concern for your own
     blood pressure.

Option one implies that Westerners have some superior life skills, including time management, which need to be mimicked by all societies around the world. 

So who is "right"?

Many of the communities in "developing" nations have existed more or less with their current philosophies, ethical and social values for thousands of years.
Compare that to our own unstable and frenetic activities. 
We have seen an explosion of technology, and unprecedented destruction of our environment and family structures in the relatively short period of time since the Industrial Revolution.

Have we simply been rats on the treadmill of life who have lost the ability to get off, or at least slow it down a little to enjoy the view out of the gymnasium window?  

Well folks, the treadmill is now defunct. Ratshit. Cactussed. Kaput.
Too many of my friends were thrown off it by the sheer mass of big feet pounding it into overspeed.
Treadmill wizards are attempting to repair the whole kaboodle with string and sticky tape.
It requires a total re-design and reconstruction, to accommodate all members of the club simultaneously, and at a regulated speed.

And if the Pope and his ilk continue to uncontrollably shove new members in through the front door, then the whole freakin' clubhouse will implode and eventually collapse.
The treadmill will then cease to have any relevance whatsoever.

Perhaps it is time for us to pay some attention to the simple, wise and dignified human beings who live in the cultural slow lane, and learn some of their secrets about longevity of society.
For it was one of them who said;

"You Westerners have the watches.

We…………………….have the time."    

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