Home' Greymouth Star : April 28th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 9
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
within 300 words. Letter writers will generally not
be published more often than weekly. The Editor
reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
uLetters to the editor
1789 - On a return journey from Tahiti, the
crew of British ship Bounty mutinies and sets
Captain William Bligh and 18 sailors adrift in
the South Pacific.
1876 - Queen Victoria is declared Empress
1936 - King Farouk ascends to
throne in Egypt.
1945 - Italian dictator Benito
Mussolini and his mistress are
executed by partisans.
1947 - A six-man expedition sails
from Peru aboard a balsa wood raft
named the Kon-Tiki on a 101-day
journey across the Pacific to Polynesia.
1967 - Heavyweight boxing champion
Muhammad Ali refuses to be inducted into the
1996 - Gunman Martin Bryant, 28, kills 35
people and wounds 18 others at Port Arthur in
1999 - Sir Alf Ramsey, who guided England
to the greatest day in its soccer history when it
won the 1966 World Cup, dies aged 79.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
King Edward IV of England (1442-1483);
Lionel Barrymore, US actor (1878-1954);
Harper Lee, US author (1926-); Saddam
Hussein, former Iraqi president
Swedish-born US actress (1941-);
Jay Leno, US tv personality
(1950-); Jimmy Barnes, Scottish-
born Australian singer of Cold
Chisel fame (1956-); Ian Rankin,
Scottish novelist (1960-); John Daly,
US golfer (1966-); Penelope Cruz, Spanish
actress (1974-); Jessica Alba, American actress
“ It takes a long time to understand nothing.”
— Edward Dahlberg, American author and
“And Jesus came and spoke unto them,
saying, All power is given unto Me in Heaven
and in Earth.” — (Matthew 28:18).
Most of their ages
exceed 70. Some suffer
from ailing health.
Many carry deep
bullet scars, grim reminders of those ugly 259
days that began 50 years ago on shell-splattered
Gallipoli. Yet neither time nor physical defects
have dulled the awesome and painful memories
deeply rooted in the minds of Greymouth’s
This band of men who figured in the most
heroic campaign in New Zealand military
history is rapidly diminishing in size. In a
recent roll call, 15 Gallipoli veterans registered
with the Greymouth Returned Ser vices’
Association. Their names are: Messrs F H
Newcombe, A V Nisbet, W Dunn, H Smith,
G E English, J Swinburn, D Bannister, E W
Dalzell, F G Frankpitt, J R Sheedy, H Moar, E
C Thompson, W Inglis, H Swetnam and E R
Mrs Isabella Jane Webber, of Kokiri, died
yesterday morning. Born at Hokitika 80
years ago she moved to Aickens as a child
of three. Her parents, the late William and
Jessie Aicken were pioneer settlers. Aickens
was named after them. Mrs Webber lived at
Stillwater for a number of years and had lived
at Kokiri for the past 40 years.
Predeceased by her husband John 30
years ago, she is sur vived by four sons, John
(Kokiri), Jim (Blaketown), Cyril and Russell
(Rotomanu); two daughters, Alma (Mrs W
Messenger, South Beach) and Evelyn (Mrs J
Ilton, Poerua); one brother, Mr J Aicken; and
three sisters, Mrs Lizzie Ellis (Melbourne),
Mrs Jessie Wilson (Greymouth) and Mrs
Florrie Evans (Aickens). There are 25
grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
n a small town south of Beirut,
Fawziyeh keeps her apartment
immaculately clean despite its
crumbling walls and the plastic
sheets flapping across its windows.
She shares the three-bedroom flat
with 12 others including her five children
— all, like her, refugees from Syria.
Almost every day she gets cellphone
messages from her younger sister Rabab,
They both fled their homeland three
years ago, and their divergent lives capture
the fates dealt to millions of Syrians
forced from their country by its four-year
Rabab, a 42-year-old widow, and her
two teenage children are among the
few thousand Syrians selected by a rich
European country for re-settlement. They
live in a comfortable house and receive
free education and health insurance.
Fawziyeh, 10 years her senior, was not
re-settled. In L ebanon, she is one of more
than one million Syrians with no legal
right to work and little aid. She and her
children cannot return to Syria, she said:
Neighbours there told her the facade
of their old apartment block was blown
Thousands of other Syrians have
gambled on paying people-smugglers a
few thousand dollars to board leaky boats
that could carry them to a better life on
the other side of the Mediterranean.
“I think about going to Europe ... but I
don’t think about going in a boat because
the life of my family is much more
precious,” Fawziyeh says. Last year 42,323
of the 170,100 migrants who arrived in
Italy by sea were from Syria, according
to the International Organisation for
Migration (IMO). So far this year, Italy
says, nearly 2000 have died.
The chance of a refugee winning official
resettlement in a rich country such as
Germany according to United Nations
data is small: around 0.5%. Around 90%
of the four million people in what the
United Nations calls the worst refugee
crisis since World War Two now live in
Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
The two most generous wealthy
countries, Germany and Canada, have
promised to take 30,000 and 11,300
refugees respectively but have yet to
receive anything like that. The United
Kingdom, which supports armed Syrian
insurgents, has taken in 143. Russia,
which supports the Syrian army, and
Japan, the world’s third largest economy,
have each taken zero.
In all, the UN refugee agency UNHCR
thinks about one in 10 Syrian refugees
in the region are, like Rabab, vulnerable
enough to need resettling. That ’s a total
of 400,000 people. It has asked rich
countries to help resettle one third of
that number — 130,000 between 2013
and 2016. A UNHCR official described
that goal as “ambitious.” The official said
that asking to resettle all 400,000 was not
Rich countries have also promised cash.
But the UN says it has received only 19%
of the $4 billion it asked for.
That leaves people like Fawziyeh facing
a tough choice: Forge a life in L ebanon,
return to war, or risk the sea passage.
Fawziyeh shares Rabab’s blue eyes and
soft croaky voice, and is thrilled that her
younger sister is now in Europe. “She
suffered a lot, I’m so happy for her,”
The pair were so close as little girls
that their family called them “the secret
keepers.” Their regular contact today is a
mixed blessing, Fawziyeh said. The
contact reveals a stability she may never
“She is going shopping, getting stuff
for her house. She is sitting at home, her
children are going to school, her house is
organised, she’s secure and provided for,”
The sisters left their respective homes
in 2012. Rabab, who lived in the now-
devastated city of Homs, fled first;
Fawziyeh, who lived amid farmland and
orchards outside Damascus, left a few
Like many Syrians, the women initially
sheltered with their extended families
in Syria. Then their money ran out. The
Rabab headed for Lebanon. Initially,
she was refused entry and had to take the
children back to Damascus to sort out the
paperwork. While they were there, her
son was wounded in an explosion.
Fawziyeh held on. Rebels took over the
area and the government responded with
air strikes. Later that year, the area was hit
by rockets containing Sarin gas, a nerve
By the end of 2012, both sisters had
crossed into L ebanon.
Unlike Turkey and Jordan, which house
half of Syria’s refugees, Lebanon has
no formal camps. Various factions in
the government have refused to let the
UN and other aid agencies set them up,
worried they could become permanent.
Many refugees live in rented housing,
self-made camps or with local families.
Lebanon’s media and some political
figures accuse refugees of harbouring
Islamist militants. Others say they
take jobs, undercut wages and overload
hospitals. Lebanon, which suffered its
own civil war from 1975 to 1990, brought
in new rules this year that forbid Syrian
refugees from working.
Rabab’s family lived in a damp, oily
garage, with no water or electricity. “Life
became impossible,” she said. The family
had registered with the UN as refugees
but she felt she had no rights.
Fawziyeh was luckier. She and her
husband, a thin man with a thick silvery
moustache, found work picking weeds
from a farmer’s fields.
Rabab’s only hope of resettlement was
with help from the UNHCR. The UN
agency says it chooses people based on
“acute vulnerability,” including those
who have been subjected to torture and
violence, women and girls at risk, the
elderly, sick, or disabled.
As a widow with dependants, Rabab
fitted: In February 2014 she was chosen.
Weeks of interviews followed; finally, she
applied for a German visa with UNHCR
backing. Last November 18, Rabab and
her two children headed for Felsberg, a
small town close to the French border.
“The reception in Germany was so
great,” she said. “ They gave the children
toys and sweets.”
Rabab’s flat is furnished, has wooden
floors and freshly painted walls. There are
trees outside and an old church sits on a
hill. Through her windows, she can see
a playground and her neighbour’s neat
“It was like we were given a new birth
date,” she said, sitting at a table in her
kitchen, which has new blue cabinets.
Rabab’s daughter, 19, is working on her
German and wants to be a journalist. She
sits across from Rabab in a denim jacket
with her 16-year-old brother. As their
mother talks, they browse on a laptop and
“ When Syrians have the chance to leave,
it means they are getting a new life, they
are getting a new hope,” Rabab said. “It
wasn’t only my children. It ’s the whole
Back in Lebanon, Fawziyeh uses an old
Singer sewing machine to make dresses
for fellow refugees. The rent on her
fourth-floor apartment is $300 a month.
She can barely afford medicine, she said.
She wishes she could join her sister. “It
would have been a chance for my children
to leave.” — Reuters
Fawziyeh, a 52-year-old Syrian woman, sews clothes at her house in a small town south of Beirut, Lebanon.
Simon Brown’s ‘office’ is so steeped in
rugby history that some of the sport’s
biggest names recently turned up for a
visit and could not resist pocketing a few
Ex-Harlequins prop Brown is the
Director of Sport at the esteemed Rugby
School and spends much of his working
week on the idyllic surroundings of The
Close, an eight acre expanse of playing
fields flanked by the school’s imposing
neo-Gothic chapel and the battlemented
skyline of School House.
It was there in 1823 in a game then
named football, but more closely
resembled a mob fracas, that a pupil
named William Webb Ellis caught the
ball and, rather than retreat and attempt
a kick at goal, ran with it — breaking the
‘rules’ and planting a seed that would grow
into modern-day rugby.
That is the romantic version anyway and,
whether Webb Ellis knew exactly what
he has started or not, is why no visit to
this year’s World Cup would be complete
without spending a little time in the
sport ’s spiritual home.
When French club Racing Metro were
in England for a European Cup match
this season their players made a pilgrimage
to Rugby School and a few tears were
“They were taken by the history here,”
Brown told Reuters on a bitingly cold
early Spring day in the Midlands as some
of his under 14 players went through their
routines in replica long flannels, white
shirts and red caps while being filmed for
a documentary to be shown during the
“They took a little bit of the grass. That
was extraordinary because you had some
of the world’s best players in one place,
Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips, a whole
variety of players.
“Manu Tuilagi also came to visit and was
They visited the Chapel building where
former headmaster Thomas Arnold in the
early 19th century used to indoctrinate
his pupils in the morals of muscular
Arnold’s ideals of athletic chivalry were
romanticised by author Thomas Hughes
in the pages of ‘Tom Brown’s School
Days’ —- a novel that inspired Pierre
de Coubertin’s vision of the Modern
Olympics — and were exported across the
A simple plaque celebrates the
connection between Rugby School and
the Olympics, one of many interesting
artefacts that can be found when strolling
around the grounds of one of England’s
oldest independent schools.
But for rugby enthusiasts, no visit to
what some regard as the spiritual home
of the sport is complete without dropping
into the small museum lovingly managed
by the school’s official archivist Rusty
Among his prize exhibits are the first
set of written rules for rugby union, then
simply known as football, penned by a
committee of boys knows as the Big Side
Levee in 1845.
There were 37 rules in all and many are
still recognisable today, such as offside,
knock on and fair catch (mark).
Some are plain curious.
“A player having touched the ball
straight for a tree, and touched the tree
with it, may drop from either side of it if
he can...” states rule 18.
A “try” in those early days was the
process whereby after a touch down a
player was permitted to kick at goal.
If the kick failed no points were scored,
hence the necessity to kick the ball, usually
a pig’s bladder covered in leather in those
days and rounder than the modern ball,
over the bar to avoid the massed ranks of
junior boys blocking the goal.
“It was a very different game then.
You could have over 300 boys on the
pitch, teams could be of very different
sizes,” MacLean said, pointing to an
1839 drawing of a match between
School House (75 players) and the Rest
(225 players) with Thomas Arnold and
Dowager Queen Adelaide watching on.
“Matches could last six or seven days, no
games clothes, you just played in jackets,
waistcoats, breeches and boots... it was
fairly fluid shall we say. ”
Rugby School began the tradition of
handing out “caps”, playing in matching
kit — School House wore white shirts and
shorts later adopted by England and the
British Lions — and half-time inter vals.
On the ceiling of MacLean’s museum
there is a cart-like contraption known as
the ‘death cart ’ which was used to trundle
injured players off The Close.
The nearest this year’s multi-million
pound World Cup will get to Brown’s
office will be 25 miles away in Leicester,
one of the host grounds, but the spirit
of the tournament has its roots firmly
entrenched at Rugby School. — Reuters
The hallowed turf where rugby grew its roots
A pupil runs with the ball as he takes part in rugby practice on the playing fields of
Rugby School, in England.
Blue light emitted from smartphones,
tablets and computers could be putting
users at risk of early onset macular
degeneration, a Palmerston North
Harmful ‘blue-violet ’ light emitted from
the LED screens of these devices, as well as
close proximity to the light makes the risk
of damage worse, and can also contribute
to eye fatigue.
Optometrist Brian Naylor said blue light
damage was of growing concern as people
spend greater periods of time every day on
digital devices while working and studying.
“ Recent figures show that a typical multi-
screen user in New Zealand are clocking
up just under seven hours of screen time
daily, which includes laptops, television and
“All of these emit significant amounts
of blue-violet light, which is the highest
energy wavelength of visible light, and
because of that can penetrate through
the eyes’ natural filters, all the way to the
back of the eye.” Recent studies show
the effects of blue light are believed to be
increasing, and computers are the worst
culprits, closely followed by tablets and
“Over-exposure to blue light can cause
headaches, dry eyes, and difficulty sleeping
in the short-term, and there are potential
longer-term effects that we are also
“In particular, blue-violet light is a
proven risk factor of age-related macular
degeneration (AMD), along with genetic
factors, smoking and diet.
“Currently, AMD is the leading cause of
visual impairment in the western world,
and it could be getting worse due to these
Those who spend long periods of time
on computers, tablets and smartphones,
should think about protecting their eyes
from damaging levels of blue light.
“If you wear glasses, there are lenses
specially designed to help filter blue light.
They let in the good blue-turquoise light
that helps regulate your sleep cycle and
keeps your pupillary reflex healthy, but
keep out virtually all UV and blue-violet
For those without prescription glasses,
it was becoming increasingly common
overseas for people who have blue light
exposure for hours every day to wear
blue-light blocking clear lenses in order to
reduce eye fatigue and protect them from
Dr Naylor also
reducing time spent
on devices wherever
night, it ’s important
to give your eyes a
rest from screens
so the blue light
your sleep patterns
and you get a healthy, restorative rest.”
Computer blue light could be putting users at risk
Links Archive April 25th 2015 April 29th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page