Prejudice and ignorance

Prejudice and ignorance are two biggest killers of women soccer.

Just as FFA announced placing their bid for the FIFA Women World Cup 2023 and launched a new #GetOnside campaign, I decided to write why #GetOnSide can quickly become a #StandASide campaign.

Our Government developed a strategy to help shape the future of women’s sport at all levels: Government of NSW – Office of Sport “Women in Australia sport are shining brighter than ever”; Government of Victoria – VicHealth website “Sport provides a valuable setting to change social norms, attitudes and culture to advance gender equality. VicHealth has been proudly championing the important role women all over Victoria and Australia play in society, and in today’s context, in sports participation, leadership, management, media and as professional athletes, “

And yet, the reality is very confronting. Last Sunday I went to see the W-League’s Melbourne Victory vs Adelaide United game.

The first game of the season. A pretty big deal, you would think? If you think that then you are the only one who does.

Not because the girls played badly, they did well, indeed it was a very interesting game, but because of the number of spectators.

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For those of you who don’t know – this game was free. Yes, FREE! You buy a ticket for the men’s game – you also get a free entry for the earlier girl’s game, buy 1, get 2. It is some sort of sale of an unwanted product or an awkward promotion of an expiring offer. Or even worse, you are buying a ticket for men’s game and if you come earlier – there is an entertainment for you: a few girls chasing a ball around– what a bonus!

It would be funny if it had not been so sad. Girls are not attracting a crowd therefore, they will wait for 2023 to get acknowledgment and cost controlling sorted. International guest will fill the seats. And problem appears to be solved!

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I’m sure many people think that there is only one sport dedicated for girls: netball.

Is it because we assume women’s soccer is a low-quality game?

Seriously? Look where on the International ladder the Matilda’s are and where the boys’ Socceroos finished at the last World Cup. Unpleasant truth. Do we still believe boys are playing better?

Or is it because as a culture we give more support to the boys, rather than to the girls? Five minutes after the girl’s game finished I saw a thousand of fans pouring into the stadium to watch the guys play. Moreover, our wives and daughters, friends and mothers also arriving for a boy’s game only. Cause they could not care less or maybe they decided not to support girls at all? Maybe they don’t even know that girls were playing earlier on the day. Is it something to do with a decision taken by the “family decision maker”? And that is exactly the point – where women make themselves unimportant.

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But tomorrow, you will be fighting for gender equality and crime prevention against women. It all starts from here: from our disinterest in something what is not directly related to your household or the life of other family members. Unfortunately, when we make sure we put others’ interests first we end up neglecting ours.

There is a thread, which unites few things, which at first, so different:

  • being unequal in spectator’s representation at sporting arenas is linked to having a high rate of domestic violence against women,
  • being unequal in pay and job offers is linked to being unequal in decision making, which all leads to general inequality in rights.

If we put ourselves second – we arrive last.

We send out a damaging message that physical strength is the prime quality. Unintentionally, we let everyone think that what girls want doesn’t count. And intentionally we have to change that now.

We not only can change, we must change it today!

This country has a chance to do things differently: to make a women’s game the main attraction and it depends on us here and now to make that change.

Simple as that, just pledge to visit at least three games of W-league this season, not all of them, but at least three games!!!

I’m opening up my calendar right now. It will only take a minute of my time. Let us not wait until tomorrow.

Invite your friends, bring your partner earlier to the stadium, let your family enjoy the girl’s game, the game which will make a big difference to how women are regarded in our society. The game which grows healthy kids and healthy relationships, healthy dreams and healthy ambitions.

Can’t visit three games? Buy three tickets – you don’t have to come, give them to your friend as a gift.

Don’t have spare money? Let’s create a #I’llBeThere and make it loud, spread a word around.

You are too busy to think about it? Share this article with three of your friends for a start.

I don’t know what else I can/may ask of you? We can do so much(!) and so little at the same time. This should be just like elections, you don’t let anyone choose for you. After all, one game will show you why women’s soccer will be number one in this country.

Go girl power! Our time has come.

#I’llBeThere!

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Message to me

IMG_5203 (3)Last week I was in Tasmania experiencing the best of the island. It was not my first time, so I knew where I was going, I was prepared. Tazzie is famous for many things and a few of those were on my “to do” list: Tasmanian sparkling in the morning with oysters, fish and chips for a dinner and Mona during the Mofo festival. I also wanted to see as many sunrises and sunsets as possible.

People say: “good things come unexpected”, I have to add a Tasmanian twist to it: some of the “expected things” were even better than just good and some of the unexpected things might be considered by as bad. Not only by us! For example, who knew that in a few areas in Tasmania petrol stations are more than 100km apart? And there is only one taxi driver for the whole area, which might be busy or have a day off. Who knew?

Good things: now I know that running out of petrol near the Great lake is not such a good thing, unless you want to get an additional day in Tasmania as present because you’ve missed your flight ;P

Another positive thing – at Mofo I had a chance to leave a message for Donald. If I knew the situation with the petrol stations in Tasmania I would probably reconsider my speech and leave a message for myself: “Don’t trust in petrol, believe in sparkling”.

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XS Australian “brands” Kids

Eugenics- science or, better to say, it is a set of beliefs and practices that aims at improving the genetic quality of a human population.

What does it mean exactly? It means that we are able to choose genes for our new generation, for kids basically. We can take all undesirable chromosomes and replace them with the qualities of any personality we like. Replace bad ones with good ones. Possible? Yes! Most importantly, we are almost there. Unethical? Yet… But till the moment when we can control diseases and engineer our body to perfection it will be kind of unethical for us. Illuminated errors allow us to manufacture better human beings in the very near future. May be within the next 10 years or so we will be able to buy a perfect child for ourselves in the shop, but for now we only have an 80% sale on an “unperfect” us.

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When you are a future…

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This December I was in Russia and got to know a few interesting people.

One of my new “friends” lives in Switzerland, another in United States of America. So when I text them simultaneously I wake up one of them and say “Good day to another”. At that point I’m almost ready to sleep and experienced my day to it’s best. So by the time I go to bed, I can let them know how good this day was. I never thought about it before, but by living in Australia I always live in the future and can send greetings to the past.

I guess, it must be funny to receive messages from the future and feel like you can send a thought to a digital universe and catch up on it a few hours later. Magic power of life prediction!!!

It is kinda easy to prognose your future if you are American…. I guess…😃😃😃😃

May be because Americans are the past in chronological sense. At least for Australians😃😃😃 uuups… sooorreeeeey

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Death attraction of an easy fix(?)

20171112_130054The other day I passed by the Shrine of Remembrance and was amazed how stunning this place is. It is located on a hill overlooking the lengthy Swan street. The main street of Melbourne starts from here, running through the Art Precinct, Federation Square, shops and the Cathedral.
This order is almost logical, and would be even more logical if Cathedral changed places with the Art centre, but so far street starts with a house of mass killed people and finishes with a house of…a crucified dead person.
And in-between we have a representation of the sole (art quarter) and government institution. Hmmm… kind of reality talking.

Anyway, even if art is not a final destination, the Shrine of Remembrance decided to bring some art into their place, attracting more people from the neighbourhood. Marketing team was brainstorming  (yes, I know, they have a whole team for it!) and came up with a great arty idea: to “plant” crafted poppies. The idea is incredibly attractive and it’s made this vast space even more artificial (excuse my ).

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It’s bloody vivid! (Looks like today is a word play day)

Staying at that place for a bit I again came back to the same conclusion that places like a “Shrine” glorify war even more.
We wanted to be remembered for generations and if you are not an important leader, artist or philanthropist you better die and be remembered forever that way.

No wonder that toy guns and pistols are a first effortless solution to be powerful and meaningful in games for every child, some sort of an easy fix (?)

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A wish

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I wish I knew….

I wish I knew what kind of person I am.

Am I the one who sits on the side of the warm pool? “It is the same water though, the same colour and probably the same taste,” – one says.

It is.

It is also safe because it’s framed around that “same water”. No, it’s not a box, no… Just a frame, which raises us above, gives stability and satisfaction. Probably, it promises a longer life as well…

Probably…

But… there is another person. The one who looks at the ocean, the one who is waiting for the moment, the one who takes a risk and claims it all. The one!

And between those two there is only a frame. One line. One concrete line.

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Caffeinated Russia

drink coffee hot.jpgThis summer I was invited to Russia. A fascinating journey to the land of vodka, bears and Putin. That’s what everybody thinks.

I was on a mission to discover something else but vodka. Coffee!

I got a few bags of coffee from five different roasters from Australia and head to Russia to visit some of the biggest coffee houses and Russian Barista Association. What did I expect? Not much, because I even didn’t know whether a coffee culture existed there. Well, here is one big snobby thought of mine.

In Melbourne you don’t hear a lot about Russian baristas. Hmmm, not me at least.

But according to BusinesStart analysis the volume of the Russian coffee market reached more than $3 billon US dollars. It is one of the big markets in the world! The supply of coffee in Russia has increased by almost 80% in the last 5 years with 30% of the volume consumed in two main cities, Moscow and St Petersburg. Definitely something to look at.

I arrived in St.Petersburg at midday. My thirty hours journey added up to one very long day in the most beautiful city in Russia. I just had time to get a shower and run to my first cupping.

So many questions raced through my mind: Is the water good here? Can you drink it from the tap? How do they choose a water supplier if they buy potable water? How do they prepare coffee? Which tools do they use? I was also curious to find out whether our coffee tasted anything like it does back home. And on top of this I wanted to find out how established this market is and what growth potential they have.

I was on a mission with the Australian coffee flag in my hand!

Now imagine! A Scandinavian style café inside of an old Baroque building. Sounds like a mad mixture? It is! Mad coffee espresso sits behind the main city streets. Here I met Irina, a Barista trainer and International coffee judge, who was leaving to Budapest the next day where the World Coffee expo 2017 was just about to open. It is 6 o’clock in the evening and the café is full. St.Petersburg doesn’t sleep, it is celebrating White Nights which means that the sun never disappears, so you can drink coffee at any time of the day, especially if you are not planning to go to bed. Definitely not in my case today.

mad coffee.jpgI noticed that the majority of coffee here is from Ethiopia and Colombia. We started cupping. I caught myself thinking that our coffee tasted good, but not as good as back home. I missed the vibrant note and the depth of a beautiful floral bouquet of my favourite Australian roaster. In comparison, their coffee was a bit darker but roasted to suit the quality of the local water. I was slightly disappointed of the performance of our coffee but decided to try their espresso. Well, after a drink I certainly felt better. Espresso in Russia is something not many people drink and I, probably, know why.

After the cupping I asked Irina what did she think about coffee. She seemed to be positively surprised by the variety of beans although I just brought coffee from Indonesia, Tanzania, Colombia and Ethiopia. The Russian coffee market is swamped by Ethiopian, Kenyan and Colombian coffee, so not often she would have an opportunity to try coffee from Sulawesi or Java. She mentioned, that as a judge she would be impressed to see coffee from Indonesia or Tanzania. But, Ethiopian Geisha took the first prize in today’s cupping.

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My second cupping was with one of the first and most interesting coffee houses “Bolshe coffee” – an unusual name with an unusual interior and one very friendly and professional owner, Nicolay. They do public cupping every Thursday which usually attracts around 15 people or more. The cupping with coffee from Melbourne was announced on their Facebook page and brought in 35 people or so. Not bad for a midweek event.

Nicolay went on to show me “his” St.Petersburg by visiting some amazing coffee places. It was so fascinating to see many alternative brews on every café’s menu and it costs less than the “standard” machine coffee. The main reason behind that idea is to attract the attention of alternative brewing methods and single origins. Some sort of a Marketing tool that promotes additional education. I have to say, it works. Here I saw more people drinking coffee from Chemex or V60 than in Melbourne.

A few days later I had a meeting at the North-West Coffee Company (NWCC) and Russian Barista Association (RBA). Lost somewhere in a forest of warehouses, the North-West Coffee Company shares an office with the RBA. And what an office it is! Run by an immigrant from England – Chris – NWCC is the biggest roaster in St.Petersburg. I brought a few samples in order to try their coffee with our Melbourne water. I call it “Revenge cupping”.

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I have to say, I tried their coffee in a café and was pleasantly surprised. To be honest, even their baristas don’t look much different to ours: tattoos, beards, shaved heads and snobby looks.

We set up for a cupping on the workbench next to the Mahlkönig grinder and Hario scales. I caught myself in a déja vu image. That’s how I know it from Melbourne. We talked about the industry, it’s difficulties and the necessity of education and investment into barista’s training, coffee supplies, the lack of International workshops and about water quality. Unfortunately, no one drinks water from the tap in Russia and it made my life so much more difficult. I was struggling to throw one plastic bottle after another in the bins.

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A few days later I head down to Moscow which was such a different experience.

After visiting a few cafés, the famous and biggest chain Double B, Drinkit and a few others, I had a clear understanding that coffee culture here is definitely on a rise and people are prepared to pay premium for a better quality, cup of coffee in Russia costs around 300 Rubble, what’s equivalent almost to $8 AUD.

Water in Moscow was closer to Melbourne’s, yet in Terrefacto – one of the biggest roasters in town – they took a decision to buy a potable water in big 19 litres bottles. It gives them consistency and provides filtered, good quality water.

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I definitely was expected in Moscow. In the office of Terrefacto we had one of the biggest blind cupping sessions together with the whole team plus some International guests. Australian roasted coffee was on offer directly next to the coffee from Copenhagen and coffee roasted in Moscow, some of the samples were even from the same region. It was a great experience where I got to know not just new talented people but passionate coffee professionals from different countries.

You might wonder, what does coffee in Moscow taste like? Great! Our coffee tasted better in Moscow too, it was fruitier and rounder than in St.Petersburg, though slightly “tired” from travelling. During the blind cupping we were guessing the origin and the roaster of the coffee, and to be fair few times I was confused where was our coffee and where was a coffee from Moscow. Light roasts, juicy, mouthful coffees from Ethiopia and Kenia were a few of my favourites. But for home I took Moscow roasted coffee from Yemen. That’s something I look forward to cup in Melbourne soon.

I spent more than 3 hours there and we were sharing news from the coffee industry, deciding to keep in touch and, hopefully, make this an annual experience.

Overall, this Russian experience was very positive. There is a lot to improve and develop as Russia is a vast land of opportunities. But as it happens in any young market, it’s often starts with a few passionate fanatics and that means curiosity and fast development. Next year, it might be a completely different story. Hopefully, I will be back soon with a news from a Russian Coffee Forum.

Climbing thoughts

shadow (2).jpgI’m on the run.

Again can’t find a time to reflect myself. I should do it like Tolstoy who had at least 3 diaries with him and a pencil everywhere he went. One, the main diary, was shared with every member of the family (I would love to be a part of such family evening readings), another one was kept for his ideas and a third one for himself, this one he would hide in the trousers or in his shoe.

Every little thought was recorded and reflected. May be that’s why he is still the writer number one on the planet and a great thinker?

A few days ago I stayed up late with a friend and shared a bowl of ramen in the CBD. Thanks God there are a few places in Melbourne which are open all night long. And of course, we were discussing a cosmic energy transmission and a transition of one type of energy into another; what else can you discuss at 2am?

Anyway, knowing the first law of thermodynamics, which says that energy doesn’t disappear, it just transforms itself into another form, we assumed that the energy of electric impulses in the brain plus a few chemical reactions create a thought; thoughts create movement, movement is physical action which leads us to the following: electric impulses in your brain is the cause of physical movement. The energy of movement is undeniable cause we can see and may be even measure it. That leads to the assumption that the same energy in form of a thought exists and that means it can travel. Are you still with me?

Now here is the most interesting part: if it can travel it means that with my thought I can transmit the information over an indifferent distance. Not that I opened something huge now. It is a well-known fact, but I just suddenly realised that by thinking I create a big wave, which travels the space and effects people’s senses and potentially influences my future. Boom! Your wishes – your commands. So that brings us to another conclusion: firstly that only those people who think positively will have a positive future. And, secondly, that enthusiastic people are more likely to succeed.

My granny was right when she said to me: you always have to think good and positive – every moment of your life – because once a day there is a minute when your wishes come true and if your thought is bad it will effect you quickly.

O.k. today I decided to take my time not just tracking my thoughts (Oh, hello, meditation!) but also dream bright and big.

That’s what I wish to you too!

Ministry of Manpower…or… Power of Man in Ministry

20170709_172333 (3).jpgIn former times I used to think that Governments and legal institutions around the world are alike. That there are always a Ministry of Finance, Culture and Sport, Defence, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Science and Innovation, Ecology and Environment… what else is there? May be Tourism, Employment and Social services.

But the older I grow and, hopefully, the more I know the more I notice a few differences.

For example, I didn’t know that in Australia there is a Minister for Women (strangely, but this time it is a woman who curates it. If I would be a man I would talk about discrimination…), a Minister for Indigenous Affairs (white person, of course) and no more Ministry for Climate Change (that’s been cancelled, may be due to a fact that we found out that climate stop changing. Bad news… or, may be a good news?).

I wrote once that in the UAE there is a Ministry for Happiness, which probably gives orders on how citizens have to feel and live. Looks like Ministry of Happiness needed in a country where women have no rights at all. That’s probably why they need it – to control their happiness.

I even got to know that in Bhutan they created a Gross National Happiness Index similar to a GD, as indicator of the country’s economic development. But this one is based on Buddhist principles, so they decided to create a Secretary of Gross National Happiness too. Well, I wonder if my happiness would be measured in percentage or days equivalent, or will it be just a dry number? The government probably sends you a happiness slip with this text: “This year you were happy for only 180 days, which is lower than the average. Please ensue you make yourself happy due to reflecting our policy” or so. Let’s assume that I’m an absolutely happy person (which is quite close to the truth) and my neighbour is the complete opposite. On average our neighbourhood is 50% happy. I guess, that’s a positive number, which makes us all so positively equal…. At least they don’t have a Ministry of Truth, like in the famous book “1984”.

India, for example, created a Ministry of Yoga. Their Minister is probably sitting in the lotus position for 14 hours a day to ensure that the whole Ministry enlightens. Or is he stressed from trying to relax people?

I recon, we also need something like this. I said it long time ago that we need a Minister for AFL (and let it be a pretty woman….please? She probably will find a common ground with every player.)

This time in Singapore I saw a Ministry of Manpower. I don’t know what it means, but surely it must be something that human beings do the best. What could it be “A power of a man”? Where is it? Is it in words, art or construction? Or is it a power of negotiations? Yes, that’s probably it. We are human and we are known for the ability to THINK and WRITE. That’s what puts us aside from animals. So, my guess is that the Ministry of Manpower is a Ministry for Art and Science or in the worst case scenario is the union for trade or labour (how boring!). I couldn’t stop thinking and tried to search the Internet. It is a Ministry “…which is responsible for the formulation and implementation of labour policies related to the workforce in Singapore. The ministry oversees matters related to immigration, issue of Employment Pass to foreign talents, student pass, passport, visa, grant of residency/citizenship etc. The Ministry was known as Ministry of Labour until 1998.”

O.K. now I know that the greatest of all powers that us human being have is the power of Labour. Socrates was wrong.

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The morning rise

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There is one small town in Europe I visit every year. Almost always I drive through the same shady streets. And every year I try to notice a little differences on the face of that old town. EUROPE is conservative, they don’t like to change things. They repair, remake or redo thing again if they are old. But If something is taken down most likely for a restoration.

Once I noticed that one of the iconic bakeries took their store symbol off the roof. The bakery was sold to a bigger chain and a new contemporary design was introduced to the neighbourhood.

Shortly after I witnessed that the store symbol was put back in its place. The new, shiny and fresh Baker (the roof symbol) offered a bread and suggests a little more to the citizens of the town.

I don’t know if it is on purpose or not, but this baker has a bread sticking out from his basket as he promoting a men’s health together with a freshly backed rolls. Hot bread, hot guys – I guess, now I understand, why people loved him. Back in place above everybody else’s heads he is like a Cupid reminding everyone about the early morning rise.

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