History Is Not Young

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If “youth is wasted on the young”  – as Oscar Wilde’s witticism had it – sometimes I wonder whether history is too.

Not that young people cannot understand history ,when stories of the past are told well (as they must be), it is more that their present is constantly shifting,and becoming the future at light speed.

Leaving little time and energy to reflect on a past which appears increasingly irrelevant to them.

Case in point : The young man in the photograph sits at the foot of the Savage Memorial  in Auckland. It commemorates Michael Joseph Savage,New Zealand’s much respected  first Labour Prime Minister,and he is buried there.

One of Savage’s government’s great achievements was the establishment of comprehensive state social housing in the 1930s.

The young man and his peers face a crushing reality of totally unaffordable rents and house prices ,totally removed from the vision of affordable housing for all ,even the poorest, expoused by Savage.

That dream has faded in recent times, to the point that it appears to the young that is as dead as the late prime minister, and his memorial  is just something to lean your back upon….



Collapse Into Fall

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“All at once, summer collapsed into fall” – Oscar Wilde

Easter approaches  – almost on cue summer disappears speedily, and the first autumn chills arrive.

Leaves start to fall; beautiful golden, reddish debris will soon cover the ground.

In the Southern Hemisphere ,Easter sits seemingly opposed to the new season, with its imagery of eggs ,new life and rebirth more redolent of  spring.

But not really, as for every birth there needs to be the death of something ; there is no beginning without a  prior ending….I know myself what it is like to have collapsed, fallen and then started afresh in life.

(PS: Grateful for the end of humidity, hot sleep-disturbed nights and mosquitoes!)