Allan Takes Aim Blog

Get a life: Get a hobby

Posted on: 14 July 2009


Published Chronicle, Tuesday 7 July, 2009

Canberra’s two adult political kindergartens, known as Federal Parliament and the ACT Legislative Assembly, have closed down for their annual winter break. Their closure has also closed down sources of comment for some political journalists.

Some people also think six weeks not long enough because the behaviour of some of the kindie kids prior to closing down (particularly in the federal kindie) when it seemed their principal occupation was to serve themselves and their “mates,” has given cause for some voters to think of permanently cancelling their registration.

For myself, I concluded that many of them, along with former politicians (is there such an animal?) bureaucrats, ex bureaucrats, business people, consultants and, sadly, journalists are members of the exclusive “Backscratchers Club, a club founded by con men and charlatans, motto: only do favours for people who can do favours for you in return.

However, it should not be forgotten that the people behind the scenes do not get the same break as their bosses. Indeed, on behalf of their “bosses” (isn’t “bosses” a strange word to describe politicians who allegedly serve the people?) many have to keep their nose to the grindstone.

And if only to show how some ACT citizens see politicians I heard one say, cynically, that if politicians needed six weeks to recuperate from their labours then voters needed twice as long to recuperate from those labours.

 While their cynicism might be well founded I won’t complain about the break as it gives readers time to send me ideas I wish I had thought of first but, unlike politicians, want to remain anonymous. Many of the ideas are funny or serious and sometimes at the same time. However, I treat all ideas seriously and so am pleased to put forward an idea I received only a few weeks ago, that The Chronicle publish a Hobbies feature every week. 

Now if you’re a couch potato or only read the front pages and sports pages of newspapers, you might think a hobbies feature a waste of time – so might Chronicle management. But say that to a lepidopterist (butterfly collector). I hasten to add that I don’t collect, nor have I ever collected butterflies but, with more than 200,000 species, apart from helping collectors keep fit catching them, butterfly collecting could become the hobby of a lifetime for someone with an interest in the environment.

On the other hand perhaps you might like to say it to people whose hobby is trapping rats, mynah birds or bent pollies (the latter could also be a lifetime hobby). By the way, if you think the latter hobby exclusive to journalists, it appears that some bureaucrats have the same hobby.

And what would you say to people with more mundane hobbies such as collecting antiques, stamps, stickers beer mats, autographs, matchboxes, cars, toys and model airplanes. Indeed I confess that as a boy, with many of my contemporaries, I had a mundane hobby: collecting picture cards of sports stars, some of which sell to today for thousands of dollars. (I wish I still had mine). My hobby today: collecting books and newspapers.

Experts also say having a hobby is beneficial as morale boosters, not to mention encouragers of creativity, something badly needed in these times of a failing economy, recession, long term debt, home repossessions, homelessness, the use of amphetamines, public corruption, sudden and inexplicable violence and Swine Flu. It has also been suggested that, apart from encouraging people to become interested in what was of interest to others, hobbies also help prevent boredom, depression and suicide.

My ideas correspondent suggested also, that a hobbies feature could increase The Chronicle’s readership and encourage writing letters to the editor, a hobby I agree with. I’d also like to extend that idea through to the formation of a Letter Writers’ Club.

 Let me add that for those who think hobbies a waste of time, some of the world’s greatest thinkers use hobbies to relax and refresh their mind so that they can tackle and solve major problems. Indeed I wonder if Archimedes’ hobby was collecting toy boats and that playing with them in the bath led to him discovering the buoyancy principle?         

For Canberra Community News get The Chronicle: published every Tuesday

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