9. Any volunteers?
Turning the pages one morning I spotted an article in the Advertiser Newspaper, which mentioned the Queensland Premier Peter Beattie. He was supposedly a delegate to a conference on Bio-Technology in Washington DC. I suspected the story, which mentioned the researching of a vaccine for ‘melanomas’, to be fabricated. (Premiers don’t attend scientific conferences; they are smart in other areas). As my email below suggests a few data didn’t add up. How could I leave it unchallenged? Why let an opportunity for some fun go begging?
In the email I also refer to a controversial sex program introduced by the family planning organization Shine. It caused a major stir in Adelaide’s Christian Community. Aspects of the program were brought into the open (through an open letter to parents and later on talk-back radio) by the Principle of a Christian School in the Northern Suburbs. I tried to combine both subjects into one humourous email:
Dear Stuart, (Email to the Advertiser Newspaper dated 24/6/03)
On page 11 of yesterday's 'tiser (I bought one to read about the horror road toll) you report about Premier Beattie in the US for the world's largest gathering of biotechnology industry figures.
That article doesn't figure. Are we
a) close to developing a vaccine? (first sentence)
b) beginning final trials (second sentence)
c) at the last stage before it gets into the pharmacy? (third sentence)
d) five years from hearing the results? (last sentence)
This is not a "Who wants to be a millionaire" question but your respectable paper.
What has Peter Battie got to do with it, anyway? And how can you fight somethink
internally, when the cause is externally (the son)?
Last night I attended the widely publicized meeting at T… Christian School about a proposed Sex Education program in State Schools. Your Melanoma-story (and the contents) has parallels with this issue. On the one hand the revolting program (some of it is too sensitive to email here, let alone letting 13 year olds talk about it amongst themselves) had caused so many waves, on the other, the switchboard operator at S… P…High didn't even know about it, when I phoned her.
During a lively program on Wed. Radio 5AA invited parents from any school of the fourteen schools trialling the disgusting evil to phone in. I didn't hear one parent ring up and comment. There is a conspiracy theory circulating - the draft copy of this sex program is supposed to be so secret, no one is allowed to have one. I looked at the 240 page document at the School’s office. (It made me wonder how I ended up with 4 healthy children without having ever studied all that stuff). If it is all so secret, why did S. G. of SHine) sent MLC… a copy?
The law forbids sexual intercourse before age 16. If this is truly a serious proposal for teaching our kids about sex (and not just the radical Left stirring up the Christian Right for a joke) we ought to tackle it on its legality. Then we ought to suggest an alternative, something better that embraces Christianity and portraits sex as God given and a pleasure to be enjoyed. Of course, one must teach precautions as with any subject (driving and road safety, swimming and water safety etc).
The program, if it is truly as bad as it was preached last night to the converted, is ill conceived. One would hope it will never be born - in this case I favour an abortion. Like the melanoma article, certain things don't add up. Therefore, I speak out and ask why was the space on Page 11 of yesterday's 'tiser not used to promote a good program that is already available (even if it’s only online).
My ear is aching a bit at the moment, perhaps someone is telling fibs about me again or, more likely - because I had a melanoma cut out yesterday.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS Andrew E. urged all delegates at the forem last night to write letters. He reckons it only takes 15 min. for 3 letters. At this speed, Stuart, you ought to sign him up as a journalist. He's too fast for the 'steam roller stuck in first gear' on North Terrace.
Assuming the program was really a serious proposition for 11-15 year olds, and is as bad as was reported, I had reason to be particularly furious. For years driving instructors, not just myself, had been trying to introduce driver education courses into schools without success. How was it possible to find time and space in schools for such an outrageous sex education fiasco; all without parliamentary approval and minimal public debate?
A day or two following above email I pricked my ears when I heard the Queensland Premier and his wife speak on national radio. He celebrated five years in the top job. From the jovial reporting and flippant comments made, I wondered if indeed, the story about the Premier attending this Washington conference was a practical joke.
Readers of my story may think that I had nothing else to do than search for funny articles in the newspaper, in order to make fun of them. Was I glued to the radio and flicked the dial furiously, as not to miss something I am anxious to comment on? It wasn’t like this at all. I read the newspaper mainly Wednesdays and Saturdays and listened to the radio at odd moments during the course of my day.
One morning a traffic delay was reported that geographically didn’t make sense. Road works at point A, where supposed to affect traffic at point B, which I knew was kilometres away. I just phoned to let them know their mistake. One lunch time I felt prompted to carry my transistor radio while taking my dog for a walk. I had never done this before or since. Listening to the 1 pm News on 5 DN an item came to an abrupt end: “…this leaves us (striking bus drivers) between a rock and a hard…”
The cut was sudden and obvious. The word place went begging. Place. Pl ace? For what it was worth, I emailed the Station 5 DN a few days later, when the urge to do so would not leave me, and mailed the missing word “place”.
Another announcement I happened to pick up was outstanding. A policeman, at the end of a regular interview, announced that they were looking for volunteer staff for reception duties of a large police station in Adelaide’s Northeast.
As I had done many times, I expressed my interest, thinking I could fit in a few hours a week. A few days later I received an application form. Reading some of the names of the officers listed, I sensed a set-up. When you think about it, volunteers to man the reception at a police station?
To work amongst the police force would be a fantastic opportunity to whisper a few ideas into their ears. May be they were baiting me to do just that, spend a few hours here and there, so they can check out my story first hand? I was willing to do anything for the opportunity to seriously sit down and tell my full story to an official body. What better place than at a police station?
I mailed my application to be considered for the roster as volunteer receptionist at this particular police station. Unfortunately, in a reply some week or so later, I was told that they are reviewing the volunteers program. They thanked me for my interest and would let me know, if and when I was required.
How silly did they think people are? No doubt they were reviewing their volunteer program. I suspected it was a hoax ever since hearing the announcement on radio. What else does one do, who loves having a bit of fun? I wrote a letter:
(Letter 15/9/03 -to …Police Station – Community Programs)
How I looked forward to rubbing shoulders with the big names;
<<<I mentioned a few names from their letter that fitted right into my online story – but I won’t mention any for obvious reasons>>>
I will never know what I have missed out on. Names turn me on, it’s like an obsession.
Perhaps I could help formulate the policy after collation, disemination and utilization of information of your voluntary workforce reviewed and the extensive consultation process has been successfully concluded and its findings analyzed. My expertise lay in simpifying complex issues and putting them into words everyone can understand.
I forgot to tell you in my application that I was a volunteer before at the Whyalla police station, located inside its International Airport. I was on duty the night that plane crash occured on 31.5.2000. This guy runs in and says a plane had crashed. I says: “Excuse me, just take a seat until you’re called.” The kettle had just boiled and I was making cups of coffee for the hard working crew (playing cards) out the back.
I forgot all about the bloke waiting with his tall story. He couldn’t wait another half hour, so I had to interrupt the game of poker. “Why didn’t you tell me that it’s true a plane had crashed?” I yelled at him. “I’m just a volunteer here, what do you expect me to do, believe everything they run through the door with?”
They sacked me on the spot. Not because I didn’t believe the plane crash story, but because I interrupted the poker, while the boss was winning. Anyhow, if you will in the end take me on does it have to be at … police station? Some people are sensitive on these issues, the names I mean.
Thanks for offering to ring Chris Bet... but if she finds out I once wrote to a convicted paedophile in prison, she would not let me even boil a billy at a youth camp. And discos are not my kind of music.
I am an interested party, always have been interested in parties. If there is a time in the future where I could put my skills (coffee making, drug-ring busting, saving the world, clown acts, etc) to good use, you’ve got my details.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS. It’s true that it is against the law to offer bribes to a policeman. Does this also apply to people who want to jump the queue to get to the top of the volunteers list? If not, let me know how much.
The police station’s disappointing letter had mentioned that I could volunteer to help at Blue Light Discos or assist at youth camps. The phone contact name was Chris Bet… I decoded this as Christ bet. In German bet (or bete) means pray, an activity that could not be more opposite to bet (gambling) in English. Then again, if I looked at the “T” as a cross and separated the “be” all sorts of codes into be read into it. I had never been to Whyalla in South Australia’s North, but I know it definitely has no international airport.
A few weeks prior two well dressed men knocked on our front door one Saturday morning. They had parked a short distance away. I took note of their Police identification and knew then, why they had parked where they did. My first reaction was they were checking me out, if I was suitable for the Community Volunteer Service. (This was previous to the correspondence above). For a moment I thought the call for volunteers may have been fair dinkum. But they were visiting to query me about a letter from Peter Liddy, which I had published online.
The detectives were from the fraud squad. An investigation was under way into the disappearance of an alleged collection of antique guns. In one of his letters Peter Liddy told me that “Terry Stephens is trying to sell the guns as being worth millions”. Peter explained that the auction had only brought 100 000 dollars. I assumed that the guns where worth that amount.
However, the detectives pointed out to me that included in the hundred thousand dollars are also the proceeds from antique furniture other auctioned items. This would make sense of a story in the TV news later in 2003. A young couple, living near the Liddy mansion, admitted to having been asked to say that they saw someone load boxes into the boot of a car. It had been inferred that they were the guns that had gone missing. They young couple were promised money in return for telling the lie.
I placed a correction onto my website within days to clarify the value of the guns. (Chapter 33 - More in number…) Terry Stephens was reported to have been arrested and extradited to Western Australia on fraud charges. At the time of writing the TV News broadcast that he received 2 years imprisonment. The announcer concluded by saying: “It is unlikely that Mr. Stephen’s 19 million dollar compensation claim against Peter Lewis will go ahead, if he fails to attend hearings in Adelaide.”
Isobel had been present at the interview with the detectives. They had assured me that I had done nothing wrong. At one stage (as I was out looking for copies of the Liddy letters) they must have commented to her and confirmed Isobel’s belief that I was suffering from a psychosis. At least the visit by the two police officers would have demonstrated to Isobel that I have more readers of my free website than she thinks.
Slowly I began to realize that I was no fool. I saw things in a different light. Many times Psalm 94, Verse 9 came to mind: “HE who formed the ear, shall HE not hear and HE who formed the eye, shall HE not see?” My trouble was not only seeing and hearing more, but also interpreting what I saw or heard in an unorthodox fashion.
Taking the dog for a walk one day I noticed the Messenger newspaper’s headline by a copy on the ground outside a residence. Our street did not receive it that week. I saw the large print with the three words on the front page “Haven needs help”. It took until the next day and another walk with Becky, our Fox Terrier, to decipher what I perceived to be hiding inside the three words.
Around that time I had tried to cash in, as it were, on a video I had made with the camera I had bought at the garage sale. Cash was always a problem and I promised Isobel I would not borrow money again. I had hoped the people I gave the video to, would make an offer to buy the video tape.
After I had thought I could read something into the Messenger headline, I emailed the newspaper on 16/8/03 and made fun of the headline “Haven needs help”. I started as usual without script; words just flowed:
This week we didn't receive our weekly Messenger newspaper. (I think our whole street missed out). One week the paper was hidden on a rock in my garden. The other day it was right by our front door, as if placed there for a purpose.
Just when I needed some help! To finish a crossword puzzle I need the French word for "good". I already have the "n". Does anyone know French at Messenger Press? Des seems pretty knowledgeable.
"Stop Press" - my Isobel just appeared miraculously (first time this century) in this computer room and put me on the right track - she said: "Boo, probably to scare me out". I yelled - "O, drop it".
It didn't scare me at all. Actually it made the penny drop. Bon jour, tout le mond!
Dieter Rolf Fischer
PS When they had the colourful front page headlines in the Messenger 2 years ago, unwrapping the paper was the highlight of the week, it sent me over the moon. (That's funny - 15 down is moon in German. I have the n & d . Of course Mond. It all works out for good in the end.
For those less familiar with French ‘bon’ means good. “Replacing one o (O, drop it) with the ‘n’ that I already had (Have n) Isobel’s ‘boo’ changed to bon. Of course this was just a fun letter to hint what I thought was behind the headline, which in reality reported a drug rehabilitation program’s need for Government help. My suspicion that my emails were being read (possibly legally, if I was on a Government black-list) made me turn to writing letters. This one I delivered personally to the Messenger office.
Little wonder the family kept reminding me almost daily that I ought to take tablets to change my thinking. Mind-altering drugs were not my way to change my reasoning when I was having so much fun. I was also accused of drawing a lot of attention within in the family.
If this indeed was the case, the root cause was my daily struggle to be regarded as normal. Every action I took, every word I said, was regarded as that of a mentally ill patient. Just commenting on a TV News story landed me in hot water. Constant criticism started to take its toll. It could easily have sent me crazy. I knew it was difficult also for the family to come to terms with my strange thinking. But I was in control of my mind.
I pleaded with them to just accept me. “Look at it as if I followed a different religion to yours. You can’t change my fundamental belief with tablets. Our country enjoys freedom of speech, freedom of thought and freedom of religion”, I reminded them.
One time I considered conspiring with Isobel to pretend I am now taking tablets. I was hoping this would grant me acceptance and respect from my boys. But when you hint (even as a joke) that a hurricane in the US may be named after your mother, little wonder they don’t take you seriously. Did the family really believe that taking a special course of drugs would stop me from seeing the similarity between Isabel and Isobel?
Seeing and interpreting my immediate environment was a skill, even a gift I had. How could I ignore it? Were it bus stop advertisements, headlines in newspapers or ads on the radio, my brain never seemed to fill up, unless it was tired from lack of sleep. Five hours of uninterrupted sleep was sufficient at my age. Most nights I was able to reach that many hours.
While waiting in a waiting room of a school I casually picked up a magazine I had not heard of before. Titled “Adelaide’s Child” the publication was about raising healthy, happy children. One article invited readers to send in feedback or hints on the subject. I had long ago realized that my six attitudes towards road safety could be adapted in other areas of relationships, e.g. our relationship with God. After reading this magazine I sent the following email to the editor:
In Adelaide's Child Magazine you asked for anyone with hints on bringing up kids. Well, some time ago I came across a real co-incident. I had written a road safety book and described six attitudes to avoid road crashes. Later I discovered that these can be adapted to almost any situation in life.
1. Give a good example - the most powerful educator for children.
2. It's rewarding - taking child rearing seriously will reap rewards well into old age.
3. Learn to forgive - Some kids learn slower than others, how much you forgive shows your level of patience.
4. Don't insist on your rights - How often did I feel like wringing their neck, when I had to be calm and show mercy.
5. Don't become complacent - We must never give up trying, loving and teaching even the naughtiest of kids.
6. It can happen to all of us - Some kids who seemed beyond help may suddenly turn out right. Love works magic.
Hundreds of books have been written about child rearing. Saturating our kids in prayer every day is the best of all hints I can give you.
Dieter Rolf Fischer
With a little imagination can you see how these six attitudes could also transform relationships in a marriage, in employment, in churches or enhance business partnerships?
Despite our stark differences, my wife Isobel and I had and still have a strong marriage. She surprised me with a little humour just as I was writing. She asked me what the title of my second book was. I told her: “…and of a sound mind.”
“That’s all right”, she replied, “for a moment it sounded like: “…end of a sound mind.” Typical…!
One letter of the alphabet makes such a huge difference. What impact can a whole book make? As expressed in attitude 4, I have no right to insist she follows my thinking. I don’t demand this of anyone. Belief is a very private affair, as long as it is an affair, with the right man, Jesus. No logical thinking husband would get jealous if HE was his wife’s other lover.
No man need to be ashamed to admitting to his wife: “I’m in love with another man, Jesus”. Young people who can truly say, I have found a friend, His name is Jesus, will forever stand tall.
HE is the only one I want present when I make love to my wife. With HIM three don’t make a crowd, but form a union that can withstand the onslaught of adversity, tragedy or anything that comes our way. Without HIM I am helpless, hopeless, blind and lost.
If you trust HIM with your life and Give HIM your all, you can truly regard the following words as addressed to you personally:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour (Isaiah 43, 1-3).