The Big Issue : Edition 448
10 THE BIG ISSUE 26 DEC 2013 – 9 JAN 2014 Was one clearly seen by me, Buying a magazine and speaking to him His gratitude was plain to see Is it nothing to you all you who pass by, Not caring about someone in need? More blessed it is to give than receive, Will prove true when you do a kind deed Vivien Wade, Seaford, SA I am a proud Australian immigrant and happy Big Issue customer. I was raised in near poverty on a small farm in Southern Ontario. I gained access to university by working hard at school. Education helped me rise from poverty. I’ve never looked to the state for redress, nor have I ever fancied myself a victim of circumstance. There are lots of people who were, and are, worse off than me. I have always viewed the future with optimism, and it is only in the past few years that I see the freedoms that I grew up with being eroded. I fear that civil debate is nearly dead. I fear that the growing government-media complex is only limited by small, independent voices on blogs and social media. I fear that those of the younger generation, born into liberty, prosperity and unlimited potential, are turning their backs on all three in favour of an increasingly controlling and all-powerful state. Be proud to be part of a sovereign nation that values civil rights, separation of church and state, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press. The Big Issue is an important part of that free press. I salute all the Big Issue vendors. You are helping better society, one magazine at a time. Ruth Beardsley, Brisbane, Qld THANKS, MARIANN In response to ‘What I see, One Year On’, by Big Issue vendor Mariann B in Ed#447: thank you, Mariann, for writing so honestly and so well. On an emotional level I identified with every word, even though I have not had many of your experiences. Thank you for your description of Melbourne, and how it really is for so many people. I enjoy having you as my vendor. Oliver Christensen, Footscray, Vic Oliver receives a copy of The Hillbilly Pickin’ Ramblin’ Girl So Far by Catherine Britt. (See Music Editor Doug Wallen’s article on p37.) Read more of Mariann’s writing at thebigissue.org.au/blog/mariann-b. YOUR SAY ‘Your Say’ submissions must be 100 words or less, contain the writer’s full name and home address, and may be edited for clarity or space. Have Your Say about The Big Issue: • email firstname.lastname@example.org • post The Big Issue, GPO Box 4911, Melbourne, Victoria 3001 • facebook The Big Issue Australia • twitter @thebigissue LETTER OF THE FORTNIGHT There is a sad, but perhaps not surprising, postscript to my story, ‘Visiting George’, published in The Big Issue’s Christmas edition (Ed#447). I visited George’s nursing home in early December (for the first time in a while, admittedly), only to learn that George had died in late November. He was 61 years old. The combination of a stroke he’d suffered previously and the decades of medication for schizophrenia had, it seemed, finally taken their toll. The official cause of death was pneumonia. “He was a nice man,” said the male nurse. “Always singing.” “Elvis songs?” I asked. “Yes.” I gave a copy of The Big Issue to the nursing home staff and then visited George’s sister, Mary, and brother-in-law, Wally. We toasted George with a drink of his favourite beverage, Pepsi. Mary showed me a picture of George in the nursing home with one of the Morning Melody singers, an Elvis impersonator. I also got to hold George’s hat-trick ball from his junior cricket days with Yarraville in the mid-1960s. Wally drew a map of the cemetery and a few days later I found George’s headstone, which has a picture of goalposts and a footy. I also returned to Mary and Wally’s and gave them a copy of The Big Issue. Vin Maskell, Williamstown, Vic MAN IN THE MALL I saw him clearly, this man in the mall With magazines laying at his feet, To those passing by he seemed invisible, Not one they would care to greet Though the mall thronged with people, They avoided glancing his way, Hurrying past this needing man, Had no time for him that day I watched him for several minutes, He wasn’t begging or shouting out loud, Holding a magazine called The Big Issue, One of which he seemed quite proud This man, though invisible to others, @matilda_moon @MicLooby I’ve always enjoyed your columns Mic. Hope you keep writing stuff. @thebigissue Our Christmas edition has the last column by the wonderful @MicLooby he’ll be missed!