COMMON SENSE PREVAILS

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All Ages Matter. As it should.

Four months ago I wrote a blog on Dr. David Goodall – a 102 year old botanist and ecology scientist – who had been told to pack up his office with the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia declaring him unfit to be on campus.

His career spanned 70 years resulting in more than 100 research papers, earning him three doctorates and the Order of Australia for his contribution to serving Humanity.

David Goodall is also a Shakespearean actor of note.

Below link leads to the short original ABC News article on this 102-year old scientist.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/102yo-researcher-told-to-leave-his-edith-cowan-university-job/7769422

 

  • It turned out to be a silly decision.

 

The below link leads to a 20 December 2016 article titled “WA university reverses decision to eject 102-year-old scientist from campus”.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-20/wa-university-reverses-decision-to-eject-102yo-scientist/8136836

 

The 102-year-old scientist will now remain on campus after the institution reversed its earlier decision to kick him out of his office.

“I hope to continue with some useful work in my field in so far as my eyesight permits.”

Dr Goodall’s plight gained international attention, sparking debate about the value of older people in the workforce.

“I think people were rather sympathetic to me as a centenarian who wanted to continue life in society,” Dr Goodall said.

“I prefer to be on campus because there are other people around and people who potentially are friends.”

Dr Goodall has accepted an offer from the university to serve as an unpaid honorary research associate for another three years.

It feels great to blog a feel-good story in a year when The Grim Reaper and Father Time have plucked away so many very talented artists to perform on The Great Stage in the Sky.

 

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Ageism at Work: “Unfit to be on Campus”

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  • Discrimination is discrimination. And none more so despicable, pathetic and cowardly than when perpetrated against the elderly.

 

Today’s News in Australia:

 

Dr David Goodall – a 102 year old botanist and ecology scientist – has been told to pack up his office with the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia declaring him unfit to be on campus.

His career spans 70 years resulting in more than 100 research papers, earning him three doctorates and the Order of Australia for his contribution to serving Humanity.

David Goodall is also a Shakespearean actor of note.

Below link will take you to a short article on this 102 year old scientist:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/102yo-researcher-told-to-leave-his-edith-cowan-university-job/7769422

 

This will be a death sentence. Most of his social exchanges are at the University.

This man is a scientist. Not a fitness instructor. Why send him home?

 

The Edith Cowan University is a public university, thus taxpayer-funded.

We also fund jails.

  • And this is where they are sending this man who has devoted his life to Humanity.

 

Says Dean of the School of Sciences, Andrew Woodward:

  • “This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly, this is something that has been considered over a period of time.”
  • “We are now of the opinion where the situation is at a point where we really do need to make this change in David’s best interest and our own.” (my accentuation)

 

(George Orwell: Rule # 3 on writing: “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out”

Question: Can anyone spot the excess words in the above statements? Or are both statements excessive?)

 

Here is a snip from Dean Andrew Woodward’s public LinkedIn profile:

  • “In my leadership role at ECU, I have a strong commitment to quality teaching, engaged research and a focus on expanding international partnerships. I believe strongly in ECUs values, particularly those of integrity and respect, and make sure that I demonstrate these values in my dealings with others.” (my accentuation).

 

Mr. Andrew Woodward, let me put this in a different context:

  • So, a person can be too black and must move off campus?
  • Or too white?
  • Perhaps too short?
  • Too tall?
  • Bald?
  • Wrong sex”

 

Or Too Old?

 

With modern science you may even be able to change some of the above parameters.

But age?

 

Here is a suggestion:

  • Let us put in place forced retirement of Deans after one year in their job. And move them off campus. For their best interest.

 

Sounds silly doesn’t it? But to paraphrase Andrew Woodward:

  • This is not a suggestion I make lightly, this is something that has been considered over a period of time.
  • I am now of the opinion where the situation is at a point where universities really do need to make this change in their Deans’ best interest.

 

I repeat: Discrimination is discrimination. And none more so despicable, pathetic and cowardly than when perpetrated against the elderly.

 

I would like to close with 6 points on “Remember – Age is Mostly a Number” from my 2nd book “50 PERSEPCTIVES – The Value of Things Unseen”.

 

KEY POINTS

  • How ‘old’ would you be if you didn’t know your birthdate and real age?
  • Ageism is another –ism, and is as offensive as racism and sexism.
  • Some reach mental maturity earlier whilst others are slower and even stagnate.
  • To age is a privilege. It is neither a sin, nor anti-social. Character is what counts.
  • Knowing and understanding things become easier as we age.
  • Ageing is as much a spiritual journey as a physical one with challenges taking on different hues.

 

I note Andrew Woodward was an IT Network Security Manager and Advisor for 10 years of his life. I can relate to that having been in the IT domain for 43 years of my life, and having had IT Network Security Managers work for me….

I can share the passion for acting with Dr. Goodall, having been able to play in numerous student movies and one feature film (at age 68/69) care of Singaporean independent filmmaker, director and producer Tzang Merwyn Tong. And am thankful for that opportunity to do something outside of the IT world…

 

Hence in closing:

 

“You are not old until regrets take the place of dreams” – Adapted from John Barrymore

Dr. Goodall – don’t be bullied. May you be spared for many fruitful years!

 

We all get old. Or die on the way trying to get there.

The “Department of Justice and Regulation”

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Law. Not Justice

After a long time between drinks I had a chat with my friendly neighbor Marc on social matters that bother him. Here is what he had to say:

 

Upbringing embodies two components i.e.

  • Respect, including self-respect, and respect for values – or a lack there-of.
  • Discipline, including self-discipline – or a lack there-of.

Our lawyer told me that when you go to court, you receive Law, not Justice.

  • So why is it called the Criminal Justice System?

Or the “Department of Justice and Regulation” as it is in our state?

  • It is a misnomer. Politicians misname things to suit certain agendas.

To quote George Orwell of “1984” and “Animal Farm” fame:

“Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind”. “Politics and the English Language”, 1946

 

Solidity to Pure Wind

 

We are going through a crime wave where we live. Home invasions, car-jacking, assaults, violent robberies, drug-fueled violence, hit and run drivers (literally) who leave their victims to die by the side of the road.

Lets put solidity to this:

  • Car-jacking/theft is up almost 85%.
  • In general – crime is up almost 13%, while it is receding in other states.
  • Violent crime covers the first 16-18 items on nightly news.
  • In some suburbs the citizens have formed watch-groups and even vigilante groups.

Imagine the trauma for the normal citizenry.

 

  • The head of police warned the citizenry not to form such groups. “We are making progress”.

Solidity to pure wind. It has been 7 months and crime is rising

 

  • The state premier told the citizenry to leave it up to the police to handle (49 police per 100,000 residents, police stations are being closed in most suburbs).

Solidity to pure wind.

 

Do Not Overstep the Mark

 

A popular legal expert warns on TV “Careful not to overstep the mark if you catch a group of home-invaders – because you do not want to be jailed for 8 or 10 years.” That is the law.

WHAT!

Stuff the Law mister legal eagle.

We want Justice.

Like it says in the” Department of Justice and Regulation”. Otherwise, name it correctly.

  • Question to the legal eagle: What does overstep mean when you are 71, alone in your home and get attacked (in your home) by a group of crowbar swinging youths who inflict bodily harm, steal your car, drive it 20 km and then set it on fire?

Dear Mr. Legal Eagle: Will you kiss and cuddle the perpetrators if you or your family were the victims?

If the state cannot protect its citizenry, then may the citizenry protect themselves?

We provide state lawyers (i.e. society pays) for those who get caught. And if they are under-age they are often released (without bail) into their parents’ custody.

  • The same parents who let them roam the streets at 3.30 a.m.

People of age less than 18 are considered under-age, regardless of the crime they commit. They do not get named publicly and get soft-touch sentences. Even get sent home.

  • Case in point: A group of 3 gets caught for a home invasion and car theft at 3.30 a.m. Ages: 17, 14 and 12. The 12-year old’s rap sheet shows 21 break-ins and entry, car theft, even bodily harm. 21 times. And he gets released into the custody of the same parents who did not know where he was at 3.30 a.m. in the morning.

I suppose that is the “Regulation” side of the Department of “Justice and Regulation”.

Three questions come to mind:

  • Should the legal age of being considered an adult criminal be lowered?
  • Will these parents ever get control of their children?
  • OR are they possibly beneficiaries of the loot?

A volunteering bleeding-hearts person in our area visits these under-age criminals when they are caught – to help them understand their rights.

  • Their RIGHTS? But should someone not focus on the WRONGS?
  • Who helps the victims overcome their trauma – inflicted by those who now all of a sudden are too young AND have rights?

 

How Do We Correct This?

 

Here is what needs to happen – and I know the bleeding hearts leftists will disagree but that is fine.

Just to make clear: I have degrees in Sociology, Psychology and Criminology. And I have been involved with criminals in jails, including for violent and drug-related crimes.

 

Restore discipline

That includes making the criminal accept responsibility for the crime.

An “I am sorry” to get a reduced sentence does not work.

Victims do not get reduced sentences. Neither should criminals.

 

Hand down appropriate sentences

100 hours of community services on how to make jam or to cut grass (these are real sentences!) will not teach a criminal not to assault an elderly person on the train or not to invade a home.

Soft-touch community correction orders are nonsense.

 

Create Citizen Review Boards

Citizens should review parole boards and judges/magistrates’ performance.

Let the citizens develop a scoring system that affect judges / magistrates’ annual increases/promotions and even retaining their jobs.

With all due respect to a separation of the judiciary from the citizens, we vote for government and if we don’t like them we can repeal them only after a certain timeframe. In the mean time we have career judges / magistrates who are appointed and who are beyond the citizenry’s reach.

It they fail us, then how do we correct it?

  • The citizenry are the victims. And pay the taxes that pay the politicians, parole boards, judges and magistrates salaries. They actually work for us. So we should be able to fire them.

So rather than let a situation develop to a point where vigilante groups are formed, get rid of “soft touch” judges/magistrates. Two strikes and they are out of a job.

Keep parole boards and judges responsible for any criminal behavior perpetrated by criminals they release into society.

We pay the taxes and we want to see it at work.

Create Citizen Review Boards.

 

Let the citizens set lower limit sentences for crimes

There is a trend to give increasingly lighter sentences and parole reviews for even murder after a few years.

This is in no-body’s interest. Victims of violent crimes live in constant fear when the criminals get out on parole. And going back to jail AFTER another violent crime is not a deterrent for the criminal.

Let citizens decide lower limit sentences.

 

Let Victims Sue Ministers/Judges/Magistrates/Parole Boards

Develop a mechanism for victims to sue the ministers/judges/magistrates/parole boards in their private capacity.

We are kept responsible for our behavior and mistakes we make at work.

Make ministers/judges/magistrates/parole boards fire-able by the public.

 

Life for certain categories

Certain groups don’t get to walk free – ever: Murderers, child molesters, drug-lords, perpetrators of grievous bodily harm – regardless of whether perpetrated whilst drunk or drugged-up. That should be aggravating circumstances – not grounds for leniency.

And this should include vehicle-related crimes.

Serious crimes don’t have parole.

 

Restore respect

Criminals must face their victims and explain why they did what they did and how they intend to change for it not to happen again – in the presence of their parents/partners and the court.

Criminals must face victims (at the choice of the victims).

 

Keep parents responsible

Keep parents responsible for their children’s crimes in terms of financial costs to victims. Not the state. We do not want to pay for a criminal’s misbehavior.

This should also include legal costs. If necessary, sell their belongings. That should be part of the punishment.

Keep parents responsible for under-age kids’ crimes.

 

Tackle problems at the core

Fix the core/source of the problem.

Confiscate property. Solidity to pure wind.

Then deal with the criminals

Do not treat symptoms. Be relentless on the problem.

 

And a nice last touch

Let real hardcore crims have a session with repeat offending kids. Like it is done in some places in the USA. An in-your-face session that is.  Sweet talk, return to parental custody, and community service apparently does not work. Neither does light sentences.

Consider in-your-face therapy.

Where Does The Greying Of The Workforce Lead?

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Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age ~Victor Hugo.

The ageist bias against seniors is rife, but how long can the workforce ignore them as part of a productive economy?

  • Shifting demographics and workforce movements point to resource shortages which may give seniors more bargaining power in time to come.

Following are welcome facts for those seeking to be “still in demand after 65”, albeit worrisome for countries / organizations, but:

  • 31% of employers worldwide have a challenge filling positions due to a shortage of experienced talent in their markets.
  • USA: One in 7.5 is 65 or older. Credible data is unavailable for the exit and entry numbers of the workforce, but using other countries as a reference, it should be almost 1 for 1.
  • Canada: One in 7 is a senior citizen. For every worker that exits, just over 1 enters.
  • Europe: One in 5.9 is a senior citizen. By 2030 it will be 1 in 4. More people are exiting than entering the workforce.
  • Japan: One in 4.4 is a senior citizen. More people are exiting than entering the workforce.
  • By 2020 in China, Russia, Canada and South Korea more people will reach retirement age than entering the workforce.

Shifting Demographics

  • The under-65 skilled workforce in the USA / rest of the Western world is shrinking.
  • Recruitment may thus soon be from both an aging and dwindling workforce.
  • Labor demographics are shifting and will present local/global employers with resourcing challenges – which will eventually favor both seniors and countries with a younger workforce.
  • The global workforce will be augmented from retirees and women in countries where woman traditionally do not enter the workforce.

Effects of Workforce Movements

  • The available global resource pool has become more mobile. This often leads to xenophobic backlashes in countries where an influx of foreigners is seen as taking jobs away from locals.
  • Loyalty in terms of remaining with a company for many years is largely a concept of the past – for both parties.
  • In some countries the replacement is almost 1 for 1, except that those who exit has more than 40 year of experience.
  • This will create unparalleled competition/polarization between young and old, skilled and semi-/non-skilled, knowledge/non-knowledge workers, possibly amongst different industries and countries.
  • Countries/companies must develop new policies and strategies to maintain/re-engage skilled workers who are leaving the workforce due to reaching retirement age, and put in place knowledge/skills transfer policies and programs.

Enter Generation U

Generation Unretired is the newest – if not youngest – segment of the workforce. They:

  • Represent 8 out of 10 baby boomers who will work past retirement age or return to work after retirement.
  • Have significant depths of knowledge, experience and interpersonal skills, developed over 40+ years.
  • Have a strong work ethic – comparable to, if not better than other “generations”.
  • Can overcome the technology learning curve in certain industries through training.
  • “Sees the big picture and have strategic thinking experience” or a zest for detail (retired accountants).

In summary Gen U is the critical mass that has reshaped all facets of life as they moved through it and will continue to do so.