MDFF 14 April 2018

Nonsense April 2018

Ntambama enhle abangane bami,

Roald Dahl wrote the screenplay for the 1971 film  “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”

In it, Roald used an old saying to great effect in a scene where each egg was analysed by an “eggdicator” to determine whether it was a good egg or a bad egg:

“A little nonsense, now and then,
Is relished by the wisest men!”

Phil who worked as a clerk for DAA (Department of Aboriginal Affairs) at Yuendumu, was a prolific writer of Letters to the Editor in the Centralian Advocate. Long after he left Yuendumu we would look forward to and relish his letters. He wasn’t the type, but each letter would have us pondering what it was that Phil had smoked or ingested.

His letters were lovely bits of prose which made no sense whatsoever. Nonsense classics.

A former Centralian Advocate sub-editor came to work as a printer for the BRDU (Bilingual Resources Development Unit) at Yuendumu School.

The printer revealed that Phil’s letters were very lengthy but he’d edit them down to fit whatever spare space had to be filled on the Letters to the Editor page. No wonder they made no sense, I said. Oh no! He told me, the whole letter made no sense and which morsel he used made no difference.

We all missed Phil’s contributions after he exited the Land of the Living.

I’m happy to report, that whilst Phil’s style was unique, his spirit lives on.

This recently landed on my virtual desk:

Have your say – Aboriginal Contracting Framework

Lovely picture of a happy native wearing a hi vis vest and pushing a wheel-barrow. What is in the barrow? Might it be BS? (Ed.Note)

Territorians have an opportunity to put forward their thoughts and ideas on the development of a new Aboriginal Contracting Framework for government procurement and grants.

The new framework will be developed through an extensive stakeholder engagement process. Although the new framework will have a wide reach, for infrastructure works, it will replace the Indigenous Employment Provisional Sum policy which ceased in August 2017.

Targeted stakeholders sessions with government, industry, business, Aboriginal stakeholders and non-government organisations will begin next month to identify and consider different ideas for the Aboriginal Contracting Framework…… and on it goes.

I have nothing to add, suffice it to say, that I consider that my complete oblivion when it comes to the existence of the now ceased Indigenous Employment Provisional Sum policy to have resulted in a missed opportunity of gargantuan dimension.

Then there was the Jabberwocky:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”  … and on it goes.

And then there was a Whiter Shade of Pale:

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
…and on it goes.

Well may we ponder what Lewis Carroll and Procol Harum smoked or ingested before creating their little nonsense for us to relish.

We might ask the same about the public servant who wrote the “Have your say” piece.

And now for contrast a lovely piece of music for you to relish, even if it makes perfect sense…

mlanjeni Mafikizolo (Meet Me At the River)

kuze kube yisikhathi esilandelayo