Jawa #1 Semeru

As explained to me in the 1990’s by President Wahid’s friend, the Sufi poet, Gus Mus, there are two geographically different cultures within Javanese culture.

There is budaya pesisir, an outward looking coastal culture, and budaya dalam, the culture of most of the people who live in awe of their island’s many magnificent mountains.

Mount Semeru, Java’s highest peak.

Geoff Fox, 8th March, 2023, Down Under

Camelot And Freedom #1 Elinor Remick Warren

For composer and pianist Elinor Remick Warren, date of birth 23rd February, 1900, music was an inextricable Ji part of her family life.

Her talent for creating melody was discovered by her mum when Elinor sat as a toddler beside her at the piano keyboard. Later on, Elinor’s second husband made certain that their children fully understood that their mother’s creativity was almost never to be challenged, jokingly warning them: “Only if you break a leg may you interrupt your mother when she’s composing.”

Like Indonesia’s great women’s rights pioneer, R A Kartini, Warren’s life of almost nine decades of unique achievement in music began and was sustained in having a family that understood and protected her.

Warren’s major symphonic composition for orchestra, The Legend of King Arthur, had been brewing in her mind since her days at the Westlake School when she heard a teacher read from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. “I was so (mesmerized and) thrilled with that part of it called ‘The Passing of Arthur,’ It just took hold of me, and I knew I wanted to set it to music.”

In the perhaps semi historical world of King Arthur, the legendary king ruled via consultation with his knights at a round table in their seat of government at Camelot.

How close has the modern world in which Elinor Warren lived come to ever having a real Camelot?

I see many possibilities:

Either Roosevelt? Bob Menzies? Bung Karno?

The imaginative kingdoms of any or all of Hank or Frank or Elvis or John, Paul, George and Ringo?

Jackie’s fabled husband?

Bob Dylan’s literary conquest of the comparative inanities of rock ‘n roll with Bringing It all Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde?

Van Morrison’s one man spiritual renaissance conceived out of tussles with contractual conflicts in old Belfast but reborn in New York to the catacombs of the century’s sound of freedom as Astral Weeks?

Joni Mitchells sublime totally female emotional triumph on Blue?

The many spirits inspired by Iwan Fals and Kantata Takwa’s triumphal hymn against tyranny, Kesaksian?

Gough Whitlam? The Gipper? Gus Dur? Jokowi? The Donald?

Arthur was probably a legend but the above figures were definitely real.

The true human spirit needs its life of dreams.

It is where we find ourselves.

Warren said of the creative process she needed to do her work: “How can one listen to the inner voice except in aloneness?”

Remick Warren was a truly beautiful woman, mother and composer.

Geoff Fox, 23rd February, 2023, Terra Australis

Sejarah #1 Ambon Tsunami And R A Kartini’s Approach

Tsunamis are both Acts Of God and geological phenomena.

On the 17th of February, 1674, a very severe Tsunami in the island of Ambon, in what was then known as the Spice Islands, saw the rush inland of ocean water water 100 meters high killing over 2,000 people.

Approximately two and a quarter centuries later, writing after the event about a local flooding disaster in Java in 1899, socially conscious women’s rights pioneer Javanese princess, Raden Ajeng Kartini, wrote of the plight of the people:

“If the “West Wind,” as now, causes the rising of the waters in the rivers, and the dikes break, the rulers do all that is possible to mitigate the distress. Last year a fishing village lay for a whole week under water; day and night Father remained at the scene of the disaster. Out of special funds that were at the disposal of the Government, the breaks in the dikes were restored for some kilometers. But who was to give back to the people what the water had taken away from them? And what of the fish in the rivers destroyed by the floods?” (12th January, 1900)

Words of R.A. Kartini from 1900 with an image from the aftermath of the Aceh tsunami of 2004.

Geoff Fox, 17th February, 2023, Down Under

Communication Tujuhbelasan #1

A crucial thought of my friend, the great and probably late people’s poet of Central Java, Wiji Thukul, was “Sesungguhnya suara itu tak bisa diredam.” (The voice truly cannot be suppressed.)

Communicating is built in to who we are both as individual human beings and as social entities.

Father Grant Edgecombe is both a master communicator in his services and pastoral work but also the possessor of a very important awareness of what we are as communicators: we are limited beings.

Here you can see the calm still energy of a mind both proclaining ancient teachings and busy looking for and open to new words connected to that truth. I see Father Grant as fully aware that only God is omnisicient:

Jesus acted in this world in more ways than one.

Geoff Fox, 7th February, 2023, Down Under

(Wikipedia suggests it is likely that Jesus as a native of the Levant had an olive skin. I think the right to freedom of speech and freedom of thought make it acceptable to speculate about Jesus having a non-white skin. For some people that may be an unacceptable speculation. I hope the above image does not offend them.

If we are in God’s image, then our diversity probably leads to the possibility that what God looks like is diverse too.)

The Fundamentals #17 – 2 Men Of God & Paulette Goddard & Modern Times & Me

In this post, I seek to create Kebersamaan (common ground) between the thoughts today of two priests, with some of my own thoughts and two 1930’s images.

If Francis Assisi really did write or say,Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary. then he could have been talking about Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times”, a predominantly silent film with a little talking made 5 or more years after the Silent Era had ended. (Modern Times was released on this date, February 5, in 1936)

Father Grant Edgeco bymbe this morning added the ideas: “Be Salt. Be light. Share a joke.” to tell his congregation of some ways to live out the Preach the Gospel ……… Use words if necessary. maxim. Being salt could have a multitude of meanings since salt has many uses: seasoning for food, preservative of fish and cleaning the teeth were three which Father Grant mentioned. And he cracked some really good jokes before and after the service.

At a time of trouble in my own life Father Grant’s lived commitment, in The Word, to helping people laugh has been a blessing to me.

Later this morning, “Faith is relational.” said Father Michael Bowie in his homily in his national heritage church across a large city park on the same side of town: for me, faith becomes about who we are when we are together and, in his deeply and gloriously traditional 176 years old church, Father Michael explained that those in the church need to “be refreshed in who we are.”


This image of Paulette Goddard was from the front cover of Cinegraf magazine, published in Argentina in 1935

I believe that modern life, especially in the cities, often leaves people flat, dulled and out of touch with their own true selves.

In the “Modern Times” story, there was a series of troubled adventures before Chaplin as the tramp and his co-star Paulette Goddard, as Ellen Peterson “The Gamin”, could find a fresh life together.

(In real life Chaplin started dating Goddard in 1932. They lived as man and wife from 1936 to 1942.)

After many misadventures, the movie finished with the laughing image of two good friends.

Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard having fun together.

God Bless Freedom. In Modern And All Times.

God Bless Friendship.

God Bless Loving Care.

Geoff Fox, 5th January, 2023, Down Under

The Fundamentals #16 Simone Weil on God and Us and Love and Colette on Books

Colette was a great French writer and, IMHO, an important libertarian, who was born 150 years ago today.

She wrote: “Books, books, books. It was not that I read so much. I read and re-read the same ones. But all of them were necessary to me.”

In Colette’s greatest work, her novel Gigi, something that started as the prostitution of a courtesan leads to marriage and love.

I describe that in my own way here:

My words above Collette’s image.

Another acclaimed French writer, mystic philosopher, Simone Weil, believed: “God created beings capable of love from all possible distances …….. and God himself went to the greatest possible distance, the infinite distance.”

I paraphrase or transcreate this thought to become: “We are made capable of love all the way to God.”

Filmed at a church in Melbourne.

Geoff Fox, 28th January, 2023, Down Under

Simone Weil and another transcreation by me of her thought.