Category Archives: It’s all about community, man.

No really…it is all about community. Here’s what I’m doing in mine.

Hmmm…never going back again

After another glorious day in the country, this is my current plan for returning to the city and the 9 to 5 grind:

A momentary flight of fancy perhaps. In fact, I’m sure I’ll go back again. But lovely to ponder anyway.

Dirt, dirt, dirt, dirt

Oh hai, I posted a new tip on Lip! 18 down, 81 to go.

99 tips for a better world (18 of 99): go play in the dirt

digging in the dirt

 

What the UN Doesn’t want you to know

Reading a fascinating piece in the Telegraph about Kathryn Bolkovac, the woman whose story has been made into the film, The Whistleblower.

In What the UN Doesn’t Want You to Know, Kathryn Bolkovac tells a story of horrific human trafficking in Bosnia after the war where:

“She discovered numerous individuals in the Bosnian and UN police…who were not only using trafficked prostitutes but were on the traffickers’ pay-roll.”

It’s shocking to read about both the involvement of UN personnel in human trafficking but also the backlash Kathryn Bolkovac experienced from other UN colleagues as she drew attention to it. Read it here.

One part of this story that struck me as absurd (i.e. ridiculously unreasonable) was the fate of Jacques Paul Klein. The article reads:

In fact, Jacques Paul Klein, the head of the UN mission in Bosnia, went on to lead the UN mission in Liberia, where he presided over similar scandals.

He has now ‘dropped off the face of the earth’, says Bolkovac.

He was retired from the UN after allegedly having an affair with a woman who was taking his UN secrets to the Liberian dictator, Charles Taylor.

Interesting, isn’t it, that the downfall of Jacques Paul Klein was not due to his complete failure to protect women and girls from being trafficked. It was not due to his failure to stop his own personnel from working with and for human traffickers. His downfall came when he made a romantic misstep into the clutches of an immoral woman. His crime? Not being able to keep it in his pants.

Indeed, isn’t that the only crime being committed here? Men, too weak in the face of deprivation, make errors of judgement.

But we can’t just let men get away with it, can we? Some of them fall on their swords and lose their jobs (a man losing his job…the greatest indignity).

A final quote from Kathryn Bolkovac from this interview in the Huffington Post which articles my own opinions about the UN. The question was asked by .

Do you feel that people who decide to work for an organization such as the UN should be held accountable to higher moral standards? Did it disappoint you more when UN staff on management level failed to support you in the disclosure of your findings?

Absolutely! A higher moral standard should be expected by UN staff, peacekeepers, IPTF, and contracted private companies. We all represent the United Nations and our home governments. This work should be a calling to service, not a money-making venture.

My kind of Sunday morning

IMG_1101

My days in Carlton are numbered so I’m making the most of weekends to do my favourite things.

Going out to cafes and restaurants is great but it’s hard to beat the satisfaction (and economics) of a delicious loaf of bread and some peanut butter (I discovered this morning that I don’t own any Vegemite. Quelle horreur!)

Bread from Baker D. Chirico, Faraday St, Carlton

Coffee from new Market Lane pop up right next door

Baker D. Chirico and Market Lane Coffee, Carlton

Baker D. Chirico and Market Lane Coffee, Carlton

Russ Harris @ School of Life Melbourne

image: Broadsheet.com.au

image: Broadsheet.com.au

“If beating yourself up was an effective way of changing your bad habits, wouldn’t you be perfect by now?” – Russ Harris

I took in my first event at The School of Life Melbourne last night (after sleeping through John Safran’s 6.30am Sunday Sermon).

The Self-Esteem Trap with Russ Harris

I’ve been a fan of Russ Harris’s work after reading The Happiness Trap about a year ago. He cuts through the confusing and contradictory messages of positive psychology by describing Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in a very compelling way (I think Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a terrible name for what is essentially a very useful approach to everyday functioning). He used the term “psychological flexibility” – a concept I find fascinating.

The School of Life is great. Enter through a rickety bright yellow wooden gate to the backyard of what was probably a factory. A retro chrome caravan stands in as a cafe and wrought iron tables and chairs are laid with cheese and biscuits for guests.

You can’t help but sit down and talk to strangers. Anything else would be even more intolerable than approaching a stranger and engaging in small talk. Conveniently, each table had a “Conversation Menu” with tips on how to start and keep a conversation going. Fortunately, I find that saying hello is the hardest part. Once you’ve overcome that truly horrific prospect the words can flow.

Russ Harris’s event was more like a workshop/group therapy session than a lecture. I shared a moment with a fellow audience member in which we took turns telling each other what we’re bad at for 30 seconds. It was a strangely liberating and fun exercise.

The School of Life Melbourne Summer Term is a temporary concern, but hopefully the fact that almost every event is sold out will mean that The School of Life in Melbourne is here to stay.