Saturday 30 August 2014

Trivial moments

One of my accomplishments as a school student was winning the game 'Current Affairs' on a fairly regular basis. Everyone in the class would stand up and pairs of kids would be asked a question the person who didn't answer correctly would have to sit. This would continue until one kid was left standing.

I always did OK at school but I wasn't one to excel. I never got top-of-the-class certificates or sporting awards or anything like that, so Current Affairs was my lone claim to success. To this day I love reading about the world - any type of news or information, fluff or hard hitting. A master of nothing, but know a little about everything. I love to speak to new people from all walks of life and I love to soak up that information. I'm the kind of person you want on your Trivial Pursuit team or at your Quiz Night. My brain could never remember the multiplication table, but I can remember that Agatha Christie's Ms Marple lived in St Mary's Mead. I never quite got long division, but I remember that the largest lake in the world is the Caspian Sea (the winning answer in a heated year 6 game of Current Affairs). A head full of fairly useless knowledge.

I look at Lil now and she's very similar to me in that way. She likes to watch videos on the internet about famous people - she's always telling me about civil rights activists and suffragettes and inventors. She's always asking me to turn the news up when it comes on on the radio and then she always has a million questions about it ("ceasefire? how on earth can there be a fire on the sea?"). She tries to look at the newspaper, but with the often confronting coverage we receive here I try to keep it away. What a privilege that is, there are so many parents who don't have that luxury - their kids see first hand the barbaric and the brutal. When she hears that there's protests in Pakistan, she wonders if her friend Anaya who's visiting relatives saw anything or if there's riots in Brazil she hopes her mate Fillipe is OK. The amazing thing about going to an International school and having friends from everywhere means she can take news and give it an anchor point.

Living in the Middle East at present, we really are the centre of world affairs and I find myself reading anything I can to try and understand what's going on in all corners of the region and why. I find it fascinating. Thankfully we live in an age of the internet where you can get all sorts of information at your fingertips.

I remember 20 years (and more) ago we used to laugh at the US news, it was so centred on themselves and celebrity - they lived in their own little bubble and didn't look past their own shores too often. Sadly, I think Australian news has gone down this path too. This week with so much going on everywhere in the world the biggest news stories seemed to be Sonia Kruger getting pregnant and Lara Bingle getting her boobs out in Hawaii. Thankfully, there's the internet so you can get information - if you want it.

My best sources come from Twitter. Find a good batch of writers around the globe and follow their lead. Many foreign correspondents have Twitter accounts and I find great links to news stories that way. Things that might not ordinarily pop up on your radar.

I suspect I'll always be a collector of random facts.

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