17. Look beyond
When my two eldest children were teenagers they had some ‘lively discussions’ to put it diplomatically. I remember one argument vividly. One of them had made a statement, saying, the colour of indigenous Australians is black. “No it’s not,” the other shouted. ”Yes it is,” the first one insisted. I became more and more amused listening to their insistence about being right. (Where did they get that from?) It went on for quite a few minutes, before I intervened. Both points of view were correct. The colour of indigenous Australians is black, but when you literally compare it to the blackness of rubber, none would be that black.
Not much about life is all black or all white. There are shades of grey. Much of our society’s views can be argued, interpreted or twisted to make a point. Numbers can’t. Of course, they can be used to disguise statistics or manipulated to draw attention to certain facts. But a number is an absolute. I previously stated that if God wants to use numbers to make a point to us humans, who are we to reject it. Is it because we decided to reject HIM and therefore reject all HIS ways?
The number 55 in Roman numerals is LV, the two consonants in the word love. Our ultimate aim in life must be to love God, the No. 1. Two five’s are the fingers in our two hands. Stretched heavenwards let’s use them often to praise our God for his goodness. Love won, Love always wins.
As mentioned during December I kept wondering what the road toll would look like this year. A guess of 155 would not have been far wrong; the final figure was one more at 156.
One particular crash made me think. A car collided with a power pole on Cross Road, the one where I did a U-turn and visited two garage sales spontaneously. The story (chapter 14) was uploaded online only days earlier.
You and I can only form opinions or judge matters by the details we read in the press or hear on radio. Most times they match, make sense and we all assume they are accurate. Throughout 2003 as I read the newspaper I was increasingly aware that certain articles were either manipulated or totally fabricated. Why would this be? Was there more behind the daily menu of problems, solutions, adventures, triumphs or tragedies? Before turning to a serious subject, let me mention a series of photos I spotted in the travel section of the Advertiser, Saturday, 27 September 03.
It was not just the names, but the whole storyline and a plain misprint of page number references that caught my eye. Since we did not have the newspaper delivered at the time, I found it remarkable that I spotted this error. Below is the email I wrote to “The Advertiser” in late September 03.
When my wife buys the 'tiser then I feel obliged to read it too. I hate waste. When I have to sneak off (just before lunch) into the P/C room to send you this email, I feel guilty, because I have to do it under cover. My wife just can't see things the way I can. The job I was hoping to get would be as proof reader.
On P. 15 Geoffrey Williams speaks of Sarah Reed's first pictorial look at Hong Kong. There are supposed to be photos on pages 4 and 5. Not so. They are on Pages 18, 19. Nice photos, it really turns one's travel hormans on.
The girl in overalls is so cute. So is the bird and the old man.
I have heard of Cathay Pacific, but not Cathay and Creative. The writer (Geoffrey) ought to have explained himself.
How am I doing as proof reader? If there are any jobs going, please consider me, because I not only see what's wrong in the articles, I can read between the lies.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS Why am I sending this to you? The colours of the cars in the Motoring Section.
Was I getting a reputation for spotting incorrect information? To go one step further was false information deliberately printed? If yes, why? To go another step further was I to be led ‘supernaturally’ to even pick up the false information? You may think I have broken the sound barrier again, but I believed that this was happening during 2003 and even before.
One such example came out of a TV program I happened to see. A German teacher from Germany, on holiday in Australia, was trying to establish a ‘sister school’ program between her college in Bremen, Germany and one in Australia. Her email address gave me the clue: C106 – Birgit. Can you see 105 plus one and the name? I made ‘big tri’ out of it.
A radio station played an old favourite of mine: “The devil sent me to Laredo”. I don’t know what alerted me, but I knew there was something in that name - Laredo. Isobel and I had travelled through Laredo on our honeymoon en route from Acapulco, Mexico to Dallas, Texas in 1971. Of course, if anybody had read my adventure in April 03 to LA, they would agree that Laredo could mean - re: do LA. But I trust they did not seriously believe it was the devil that sent me to LA.
The next song was from Vietnam; the word I promptly shaped into – I name Victory [on the] cross. I certainly did no one any harm with such playful twisting of letters; it was keeping the aging brain cells from rusting.
On another occasion I was led (I know this sounds strange, but I can’t explain it any other way), to pick up a magazine off a table as I walked through the foyer a church. I had listened to an inspiring speaker at a Men’s Breakfast meeting. The circumstances how I happened to be there are a lengthy, miraculous story in itself. I took the magazine home, glanced at it briefly and did not think much more of it.
A few weeks later I had the inkling to pick it up again and read some more. I leafed through this glossy publication. My eye caught a teenage girl, dressed more suitable for advertising a nightclub than for viewing in this Christian magazine. To top it off the girl was the featured ‘reader-profile’ for this edition. She had won a number of accolades and awards. I first emailed the school she allegedly attended.
I'd like to send a message of commendation to one of your students (or a recent student). Her name is Loralie Haigh-Elite (or is it Eite?) She was supposed to have won some major awards last year.
How could I contact her? (Email address would suffice).
I would appreciate your assistance.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS I read in a magazine that she wrote the song "In the highest pl ace".
The answer came promptly: “Privacy rules do not allow the passing on of email addresses”. It was more than the usual silence I had expected. I wrote to the contact-email of the publication the following email:
Six weeks ago I was led to attend a prayer breakfast at the A…church, South Australia. Afterwards, on my way out, I happened to pick up the Summer 2003 Edition of NOW. I used to attend A… denomination for over 25 years. Didn't they call their Magazine "The Evangel" previously?
Pardon me, but my brain looks at words and issues back to front sometimes. Therefore I am a little puzzled at certain items in Now. Won, sorry one, is the fact that it doesn't say it's free, so I might have committed theft, without realizing it? Two, I am also sensitive to names and numbers. Your Magazine is full of the kind that triggers a nerd in my brian.
To come to the most outstanding example, please look at page 17. A young singer is receiving such acclamation; it would make me jealous, if I was the type. How does the Reader-Profile-wonder-girl have time to read your Magazine, being so busy with charity work, song writing, concerts at retirement resorts etc.?
I wonder if she dresses the same way during her concerts, while performing for 90 year-olds, as she does on Page 17 of NOW. To be among the elite you ought to give an example in everything, or people won't listen to your message. They may think it is all fake or a lie.
Anyway, I have emailed G. C. K. Christian Community College to congratulate Loralie, a true prodigy. Their website does not say much about the K. C. College Courage award or what you need to do to get it. Would posing nude in NOW Magazine qualify? The Editor of Now would also perhaps earn a courage award in the world of Christian Magazines?
Anything to be trendy.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS Your back page Smart-Saver at-call cash management account sounds a tempting offer. But I never have money problems these days. No money to be managed.
The email returned as a ‘dead’ one. I wondered if the whole magazine was a fake, a set up. The more I looked at the data, the girl’s name and that of the College, the more I became convinced of it. The ad on the back page, about the cash management account, pictured a bird’s eye, almost identical to the title-page on our ‘hawk-eye’ hazard-perception test on my driving-school website. The wording of the ad also looked suspect…?
To persist in getting the message across, I sent the email to the Australian Headquarters of the world-wide denomination involved. I never received any feedback. In this case I think ‘no news was good news’.
To not hear I am crazy is indeed good news. At home this happens only on my birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day or when Australia plays an international cricket match; everyone is glued to the TV, occupied with matters of national importance.