Helen Briton Wheeler

An Overview from Down Under - Helen is a retired journalist living in Sydney, Australia. She will be bringing the NFP readers regular comments on current social, environmental and political topics from an Aussie's perspective.

Sunday, 22 November 2009 18:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageThat desirable duo, success and money, don’t come joined at the hip. As economies improve, it’s time to ask ourselves are we equating success too simply and too completely with acquiring money?

It’s time to see that success is a moral, creative and professional attainment that rises above financial plenty. The two may go hand in hand – but they are not one and the same. Was the late and lauded violinist Yehudi Menuhin a success? Yes. Was he enormously rich? No, his attainment came through dedicated pursuit of the highest standards of his art and then helping others to pursue their musical dreams.

Wednesday, 04 November 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageTolerance doesn’t often create headlines: hate and violence deliver much more sensational coverage in the media. Yet tolerance is like a dove of peace in a world lacerated by conflict. We cannot achieve peace unless we take the steps that lead to it. Tolerance is a tool of peace. It is one we can all take up and so become active contributors to peace on our communities.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited St Paul’s Anglican Church Manuka in Canberra, Australia’s spacious and leafy capital city. The sermon was preached by the Reverend Dr Brian Douglas, the Rector of St Paul’s and tolerance was a strong message that came through what he had to say. He made a special point of interfaith tolerance and gave an example from his experience.

Friday, 23 October 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

Demonstrators chant during an anti-war rally in London, October 24, 2009. Hundreds of people took to London's streets on Saturday demanding that British troops be brought home from Afghanistan but an opinion poll showed fewer Britons were calling for an immediate returnLives are being lost needlessly and tax payers money is going down the drain. That is the disturbing conclusion I reached this week after viewing the television documentary Afghanistan, on the Dollar Trail, an on-the-spot reportage screened nationally for Australian audiences by the ABC’s well-regarded Four Corners program and produced by Studio cooperatif Premiers Lignes of Quebec.

Forget winning hearts and minds – or beating the Taliban. If even half of what I saw on Four Corners this week is substantiated then we have squandered lives and money and have almost nothing to show for it. How? Through corruption.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageDepression, homelessness, addiction: life can have tough edges and certain people fall through chinks in the social fabric into a personal abyss – and long-term unemployment. It’s a global problem. The climb back out requires helping hands. In inner-suburban Sydney, Australia, one mission offering very practical assistance is HopeStreet - Urban Compassion.

At HopeStreet, participants in their employment program can take the first steps towards finding a lasting job. They can make mistakes, fall over and get right back up again in a safe environment and with support tailored to meet each individual’s needs.

Monday, 13 April 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageI feel tossed between the above extremes as if imprisoned in some crazy electronic game: good outcomes versus bad outcomes; good resultsĀ  versus complex problems.

Right now, I am watching Australian TV reports and online Thai news as a bad situation unfolds on the streets of Bangkok, where my daughter and grandchildren live. The conflict is bad news. The only good I can see is in the level of restraint being exercised by the Thai military. Things could be much worse and I hope restraint works.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009 19:00 GFP Columnist - Helen Briton Wheeler

ImageListening to news reports can make the world seem full of problems. Yes it is; and yet that’s a glass half empty view. There is a glass half-full side, and it’s receiving less attention than it should. Many good and positive initiatives designed to promote peace and overcome problems are underway around the world.

On a visit to Bangkok, Thailand, over the past two weeks, I was lucky enough to glimpse one such initiative in action at the city’s Chulalongkorn University.

I was there at the invitation of Jennifer Weidman, Deputy Director of the Rotary Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at Chulalongkorn University.


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