Words taught. Ideas thought. And spoken. A gift, a token, a day awoken. Mums are brilliant. They’re resilient, they’re efficient and sufficient. A guide along paths. A shoulder to turn tears to laughs. Mums, moms, mams, 妈妈
Books given. Lies forgiven. Lessons learned. Trophies earned. Encouraged. Discouraged. Pushed on. Troubles gone. Forever enduring, securing and helping you before and during. A fanatic supporter helping and scoring. Moms, mams, mums, 妈妈
Try this, try that. Do this, do that. Eat your corn. See her scorn. Tidy up, fold it up, put it away. Have your say. Listen to the way. Day after day, always there for you. Truthfully, forever true. Mams, moms, mums, 妈妈
Loving, caring, sharing (through choice or not), supporting (win, lose or draw), there for you, no matter your lot. MUMS, MAMS, MOMS, 妈妈
Eternally. How long is that? Forever and a day. Surely that is too long, right? Always. When does that end? Until I know when, I’ll carry on. Until I know how, I will turn the now into the future; And the future into the past. Interminable. Apparently.
Key worker and essential cog one day, discarded the next week.
“Valued employee” and “fine example” until you’re not relevant.
“Outstanding” and “innovating” before being outdated and obsolete.
“Indispensable” or “central to the team” as a budget slash deems your release date now.
Punctual, loyal, and attentive to fine details, followed by succeeded and outdated.
Moving on up, rising to the top, but all of a sudden, tumbling and spiralling downwards.
There’s a margin. A wafer thin gap. A sliver of light between dark and lost. A piece of hope dangling on the thread of chaos and change. Which way it blows is not always your choice. Which way you respond, use your own voice. A pathway here or a tunnel there. Give in, or go on?
23 days since the need to first go to hospital. That first wrap and support. Those X-rays and CT scans. The pain and self-annoyance. The fracture. The immobilization. The inconvenience. The anger. The rage at one’s self. The self-pity and self-loathing. The humiliating feeling. The worry. The stress. The tears that built up but haven’t yet released.
6 days since the doctor said another 28 days needed; maybe 21 to walk on the foot again. Hope is around the corner by to get there crutches are needed, and some hopping. Avoid the wet floor. No slipping. No placing your right foot down.
Keep it elevated. Keep up your spirits. Pain for a week. Codeine for a week. Bone setting traditional Chinese medicine. Maybe it works, maybe not. Support wrapped again. And again. One trip out. One barbecue. 23 days. 13 journeys to and from work. Avoid the wet floor again. Still no placing your right foot down.
For God’s sake! It isn’t bloody COVID-19! Grow up! Dig in. Dig in deeper. No pain, no gain. Call it a challenge. Growth experience. Aches without ibuprofenbfor a week. Bones grinding and aching. Mosquito bites under the bandage, maybe not so fun. Support from friends. Glorious friends. One trip out. One barbecue. 23 days. 13 journeys to and from work. Keep avoiding the wet floor. One chicken meal nearby. Coffee delivered. Friends. Support. Still no placing your right foot down.
22 more days? 15 more days? Keep going forward. Keep going. Forward. Keep buggering on. K.B.O. Without putting the foot down.
We’re all writers putting pen to paper, typing night and day; Singing love songs come what may. Banging out letters of dismay; Giving our opinions on hearsay. All in front of us, our display; Making sure we have our say.
Place down your head, just go and lay; Eyes to the left, eyes to the right they bend and neigh; Come month end’s wait for our pay. Should I go or should I stay?
Passing our eyes over the latest play; Heartfelt causes won’t go away. In hard times, we kneel and pray; Write that letter to the girl called Fay. Oh sweet Fay, the next day your name is May; Life moved on and we found our way.
Children rejoice, they jump and say, “Yay!” No more waiting, no such delay. Watching movies until we hit the hay; It doesn’t really matter if anyone’s gay. Dipping our toes in the deep of the bay; All around the sound of that lovely jay.
On cloudy days grabbing each ray; Talk about football on the Saturday. Watching movies until we hit the hay; It doesn’t really matter if anyone’s gay. Dipping our toes in the deep of the bay; All around the sound of that lovely jay.
Trapped, twisted and descending; landing seemed so far; never ending. Flushed from on high; plummeting from cold beginnings to the warm decks below.
When it rains, it pours. The heavy hard rain begins as a gentle drop here. And a small drop there. Booming on the surface. Shattering outwards. Explosive force on almost microscopic scale. The end of the flow.
Drifting by influence; winds pull and push; tugging at the deluge and its wild rush; and unending battle of elemental force; tectonics in the sky; ending the moment of dry. Neither fast nor slow.
What started out condensed; freezing and crushed together; slid out and fell; spiraling like a dog fight; drifting and shifting; catching every light; warmer now. Hot snow?
The mind’s eye. Cry. Cry. Cry. Bellow out the yell. Roar in pain. Not now. another again. Victor slain. End of the game. Ended flow.
“Freedom!!!!”, shouted William Wallace as they drew the axe over his head. But what exactly is freedom, and how do we express it? Are freedom of speech and freedom of speech two different matters? What should we class as hate speech? How fine a line is the difference between abusive expression and creativity? How should be express ourselves to each other? Did Lenin come down the chimney at Christmas, for Marxists?
The 21st century is a time of flux for humankind. Was this any different for previous generations? Perhaps not. Civilisations have come and gone. Manners have been taught and unlearned. Nations have grown together and drifted apart. Wars have torn the fabric of perceived time and conscience into pieces, only for peaces and treaties to reaffirm calmness. Humankind’s communities and their individual personal breadth of histories have delivered humanity to a lens unique in time. Those discoveries, explorations, migrations and have led to a wider acceptance of expression. Gone are the chains of slavery, mostly.
The relationship to others through interconnectedness of individuals and civilisations offers both a global and local perspective of humanity’s varied interpretation of freedom of expression. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘the power or right to express one’s opinions without censorship, restraint, or legal penalty.’
Freedom differs from place to place. As does expression. The homes and journeys an artist in Beijing, Tehran or Moscow may differ to that of an artist in Berlin, Paris or Manchester. Many so-called free countries such as U.S.A. will argue freedom is quashed in China, Iran, or Russia. Censorship to protect ideals, culture and people or nations is not a new thing. The word treason finds its origins in Latin. The Latin equivalent is traditio, from tradere (a verb meaning ‘to hand over’ or ‘betray’). Every empire or organised culture, since the dawn of mankind living in groups, has perhaps experienced the handing over of something to a rival tribe or clan. This was not a word invented for the two 20th century World Wars.
Democracy allows freedom of expression to grow and develop. Society can flourish based on access of information and hold those in power to account. From Emmeline Pankhurst and her suffragette movements to the formation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19) laws, rules and legal systems have evolved to support voices. The systems and cultures surrounding criticism and opinion needs to be an environment supportive to a voice. There must be the right to assemble, gather and share. Libraries and print go hand in hand with allowing debate and discussion. Some western and civil countries, like Australia and the U.K., threaten the rights of protest and questioning. To remove the ability to stand together against something a person truly believes in, is not seen as democratic, yet democratic countries are doing just that. Football manager Sir Alex Ferguson frequently banned journalists who asked questions relating to footballer Ryan Giggs concerning a court injunction and his reported affairs. That was his right, in a democratic society. But, was that withheld information something that people should have had the right to talk and express opinions upon?
In 1982, the Chinese government passed a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech. They also have clauses to cover ‘subversion of state power’ and ‘protection of state secrets’ with imprisonment a tangible possibility for such threats to their state. Many find difficulties with China’s image of their interpretation. But, are democratic nations perfect in their treatment of freedom of expression. The UK has a long-standing tradition of censoring theatre, movies, and the press. Reporters Without Borders, an international independent non-governmental organisation that safeguards freedom of speech, added the UK in the top 24 of global nations. The British Broadcasting Corporation prides itself on being impartial, yet many criticise the corporation for a growing list of bias.
“The free expression of opinion—even of opposition opinion, I do not know if you are prepared yet for that much freedom here.” – H.G. Wells, having met Joseph Stalin in 1934.
“Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) is a term that has caused division in France and the wider world. Charlie Hebdo‘s magazine headquarters were attacked by extremists. The mass shooting on January 7th in 2015, by al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch perpetrators killed 12 and injured 11. They objected to the prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah being drawn in cartoon style alongside a phrase translating to ‘all is forgiven’. The ripples of time gave rise to much attention including South Park influencing the ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day‘, and countless pieces of journalism that could raise questions about the safety of journalists.
Liberalism allows movies such as The Whistleblower be filmed, based upon true stories like that of Kathy Bolkovac to be told. The rights of the individual, their liberty and consent allow equality before law. The Nobel Peace Prize is nominated and awarded for such things. The continued debate of Confucianism philosophy keeps Kǒng Fūzǐ (孔子) relevantly rock and roll. Liberal thought continues to influence freedom of expression and finds its niche welcoming for continued proliferation.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi-Wan Kenobe – Star Wars: A New Hope
Censorship in media can take many forms. It could be substantial or partial. Whether it’s blocking Premier League football from copyright infringement or Tunisia hacking an individual’s Facebook account. Pervasive overseeing of the world wide web may require the use of a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Social media can often be a hotbed of freedom of expression and sharing of materials. The internet is full of information. Disinformation, misinformation (fake news) and malinformation can be used to cause harm or detriment to others. Much like putting your faith into a higher power, the believers, armed with false information may not intend to cause harm, but may muddy the waters and cause it nevertheless. Leaks, harassment and hate speech could follow.
“If you open a window for fresh air, you have to expect some flies to blow in.” – Dèng Xiǎo Píng (邓小平), reported by Torfox.
World War One and its poorly organised sequel World War Two saw a huge rise in hate speech between nations. Races of people were referred to as cockroaches. Something that history repeated in Rwanda, the Yugoslavian wars and probably happened long before The Great War was born. Discrimination has been around a long time, and sadly in the 21st century it does not appear to be disappearing anytime soon. Race (or colour) division: Kick it out. National origin is dividing. Age. Gender. Disability and ability. Religion. Sexual orientation. Animosity and disparagement has been targeting individuals and groups for as long as humanity has disagreed. Freedom of speech arms and disarms both sides of the divide. That’s where responsibility could glue together these problems.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” – Voltaire A.K.A. François-Marie Arouet [not just Spider-Man]
Nazi flags belong in museums as an example of what was, what went wrong and an alarm bell for the future. Students should be reflective – and caring enough to want to change the future, to avoid the negative history from repeating itself. Whether students at Tungwah International School (TWIS) or Chapel Street Primary School, or any other educational institution, the environment of learning is important. The right to seek information should be nurtured and encouraged in positive ways. Inquirers work towards being knowledgeable. Ideas can be received and expressed freely in the classroom. Thinkers should become communicators. They should remain principled and open-minded when doing so. Expression can allow balanced students to become risk-taking, by showing different shapes and forms. Likewise those who study should feel privacy keeps them from harm. Their freedom to learn must be a safe haven.
The street artist Banksy has been awarded great artistic freedom. Negatives of expression his work includes dissent towards his work. Peckham Rock was placed into the British Museum. Like all matters concerning freedom of expression and speech, the world is full of examples and sources to both support and offer facts about the subject. In explaining the subject briefly, a simple conclusion can be drawn. The debate of freedom of expression is open to interpretation and can be supported or argued against through varied means and ways. Research and examples can only stretch do far.
The notion of freedom of speech should be a fundamental global goal, both in democratic or autocratic societies, in order for change. The world is constantly changing and over a great period of time, evolution to adapt to ever-mobile conditions is a necessity. The mind must also progress. The Great Pyramid of Giza forms part of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Ancient World‘, factoring in a small region of the Earth. It completely ignores the far east, the northern areas of Europe, huge sections of Africa and countless other world places. There are examples globally of other wonder-worthy titles, yet these other ancient advances and constructs make a varied and broad set of cultural lists. Politics and idealistic perspectives shape views. Views need to be expressed. Expression is a tool of progress.
The ability to say no, or to filter our Twitter retweet opportunities is something embedded within our personal philosophy. We can each ask questions, perform reasoning and impart information and knowledge whilst taking into account values, the mind and the existence of others. Whether you aspire to be Malala standing up to the Taliban for education equality or Emily Davison jumping before a horse to raise a voice for women’s voices or Pepe Julian Onziema fighting for sexual minorities, freedom of expression will act as a tool for freedom of speech.
Enclosed at the face; A covering for all; A covering in part; Worn as a disguise; “I am Batman!” This one is to amuse.
Industrial melanism in evolution; From one code of darkness to natural selection; Pollution and solution across generations; Soot deposits and sulphur dioxide making way; But, in better times it did not stay.
The fibre, the gauze, the fitting; Bringing laughter, applause and teeth-gritting; The wearer or a surgeon, or that of the patient; Bedragglednon-conformity latent; Attitudes infect and vendettas follow; Collaborate via masking tape bridging the hollow.
A shield used to frighten; This veil; The shaped false face; Fancy dress? The vizard. The visor.
Bound together, hidden from all; Abducted and placed up against a wall; The collector hidden, concealed and camouflaged from sight; Lovell’s telescope uncloaking the night.
Turing screening the enshrouded Enigma; Overlooked by figures with their stigma; How did the cell know what to do? Sent messages of Morphogenesis vertigo.
The wall doesn’t keep you inside nor does it stop you escaping. The range of the boundary’s grasp sit inside refusing to ruffle or fold ever slightly like two ever strong shoulders of foundation. The fences you make prevent you living and pay sacrifice to the freedom out of your longing reach. Barriers change in time and ruins rise to fall, with temples and churches spilling outwardly, full of prayers for one such deity or another, seeping your skin’s inward desire to be led and let go, while forever knowing you carry the weight of slumping shoulders bound by boundaries of the mind.
It isn’t the panic that draws you ever closer within its tumbling realm of vision or that tremble in your loin, dancing upon the shaking shoulders of sacrifice. It is the bite that remains forever itching failing to heal and settle, a ruin which ever leaks over your skin intoxicating the inward desire while forever guilty mite weakens slumping from shoulders into the abyss.
I read a few chapters before bed. I carry a book in my pocket almost religiously. I aim to have books on my desks and near my bedside. The bookshelf I have is full to bursting despite attempts to forever re-home unwanted texts. If I can read on a walk, at lunch or between classes, I do. It has always been my way. Reading is a lifelong pleasure and habit. It helps me to feel relaxed and whenever I have felt tired, alone or under the weather, reading has been my medicine and friend.
Having a to do list is seen as normal in many households. Why not create a list of texts and books to read? Mine keeps getting longer. It never reduces. That’s the joy of reading: there’s always something new to expand your horizons. I find my television and movie viewing list also remains quite lengthy. By being balanced and principled, I can reduce my screen time in favour of reading. I often use TV as a reward for completing a reading target.
“One of the greatest gifts adults can give – to their offspring and to their society – is to read to children.: – Carl Sagan (Scientist)
I recall the joy of Mum and occasionally my Dad reading to me when I was a child. Those bonds and memories never fade. As a child I listened to it as we shared a reading habit development together! Such quality time is essential for reading habits. I recall how my Mum used to log when I would start and end a book. There was a list of great books we read together, those I picked up at school and some I had read all alone. Reading can instill self-esteem.
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” – Kate DiCamillo
The library was a weekly excursion. It was a few hours outside of the house to explore new worlds from the pages. And, on occasion, Mum would ensure I had a special trip to buy secondhand books or new books from stalls at Manchester Victoria railway station. There, I’d often find books that gripped my attention and make me want to read. Not everything read must be a masterpiece. Those books would make for a wonderful day or hour here and there. Having a day, every month set aside just for reading has become a way to slow the pace of life down and enjoy new works. Mum gave me lots of choices for reading. That’s important. What interests me may not interest you. You can recommend reading materials but giving a child a chance to pick will always work best.