Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Marie Bashir

I don't know who Marie Bashir is. Her name sounds Middle Eastern or Indian to me...not that I'm an expert on such things.

I shall go to talk to Lord Wiki and find out who she is.

Bashir is the current governor of New South Wales. I'm confused about that. So, there's a Premier AND a governor? I didn't know that. Is that true for all the states?

Oh! Okay. Lord Wiki says the Governor is kind of like the state-version of the Governor-General. He says the Governor usually works under the advice of the Premier. So the Premier is the boss. HOWEVER, the governor has that connection to the Queen, and he/she does have that power to dismiss the Premier.

I hope Australia becomes a Republic one day. I think I've pretty much given up my dream of becoming Australian. Now my new dream is to live to see the day that Australia becomes a Republic. I'll be so happy and excited.

I was right about the Middle Eastern thing. Bashir's parents were Lebanese born.

Baby Marie was born sometime in 1930. Lord Wiki doesn't want to tell me the date or month. I think he's scared I'm going to try and send Bashir a birthday card. I won't. I promise. I'm horrible at snail mail.

Marie was born in Narrandera, New South Wales. Narrandera is about seven hours south-west of Sydney...more west than south. It's close to Wagga Wagga, about an hour away.

Bashir attended Narrandera Public school. Then later she went to Sydney Girls High School. I don't think the school has a boarding program, so I'm guessing the whole Bashir family had moved to Sydney.

Bashir earned a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery at the University of Sydney.  She was in the medical field at first. I wonder how and why she got into government.

Before she got into government, she did many other things.

She taught at the University of Sydney.

She taught at the University of New South Wales.

She mentored post-graduate medical students from Thailand and Vietnam.

From 1972 until 1987 she was the foundation director for child adolescent family service at Rivendell Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

From 1987 to 1993, she was the area director for the Central Sydney Area Health Service.

From 1993 to 2000, Bashir was the consulting psychiatrist for the New South Wales Juvenile Justice Facilities. She was also senior consultant to the Aboriginal Medical Service.

The woman kept busy. Well, she had a lot of important job titles.

In 2001, the Premier of New South Wales, Bob Carr, recommended to Queen Elizabeth II that Bashir become governor.

Bashir is the first female governor of New South Wales. She's also the first Lebanese governor of any state in Australia.

Oh. I almost missed this. She's also the Chancellor of The University of Sydney. This woman has an impressive resume.

Bashir is married to the former Lord Mayor of Sydney....Nicholas Shehadie. He's Lebanese too. He was Lord Mayor back in the 1970's. Shehadie and Bashir have three children and six grandchildren.

In 1971, Bashir was honored as Australian Mother of the Year. Did she win that because of her prominence in society, and her husband's career, or was she really good at mothering? I'm a bit skeptical of these awards sometimes. Lord Wiki says the mothers are nominated by their children. That's good. In Lord Wiki's list of the winners, most of the names don't have links to their own entries which means the mothers are NOT all celebrities.

The Father of the Year award is different. It seems like the winner is usually some kind of celebrity. It also seems like whoever passes out these awards leans to the right. I see many Liberal Prime Ministers on the winner's list....Robert Menzies, William McMahon, Malcolm Fraser, and John Howard. I don't see any Labor guys. Were these guys really great fathers, or were they just well-known enough to bring attention to themselves?

I think I am done with Lord Wiki. I shall seek information elsewhere now.

Here's her page at the University of Sydney. She's been the Chancellor since 2007, so she hasn't been in the job that long. How long are people usually chancellors? Well, it says on the website that the term for office is four years. But is there a term limit?

They have some of her speeches. Maybe I'll read one...or two.

There's a speech from September 20--just a few days ago. It's a PDF file, so I can't link to it. But it's not to hard to find if you follow the link to her University of Sydney page.

Bashir is speaking at the birthday for the Fisher Library. I'd love to live in that library for a month or so.

The library is named after a guy named Thomas Fisher. Bashir says he was generous. I'm guessing this means he donated a lot of money to the library. She says he had very little formal education, yet he recognised the importance of learning and libraries. I love hearing stuff like that. I know people who've had the full sixteen years of formal education. They rarely enter a library or open a book.

Bashir says that when Fisher died and the money was left to the library, there was a debate. Some people wanted to use the money for the building. Other people wanted to buy more books. Eventually, a compromise was made. Two/thirds of the money went towards the money. The other third went towards buying books and paying the library staff.

A part of me wishes that they put more money towards the books. But I guess you need a building to house the books. And it's nice if a library is comfortable for people to sit in, relax, read, and learn. I wonder if there already was a building though. Was there no building, and Mrs. Fisher gave them what they needed to build one. Or did they have a library building, and Mr. Fisher gave them the money to make a fancier one?

Bashir says, I feel somewhat awkward in telling you that an entire cedar forest in Queensland was logged to provide the timber. Yeah, I don't think people cared as much about ecology as they did today. And there are people today who STILL don't care.

From the way she describes the library, it seems people cared more about having an impressive beautiful building than they did about the intellectual world of books.

It seems eventually a new library was built. So here they build a fancy library, and later it's not good enough for them. Lord Wiki says the old building became MacLaurin Hall. The new building was completed in 1962. Before Fisher came along and left the University all that money, the library was housed in the University's main building. This page of the University website has photographs of that version of the library. This Sydney architecture website has photos of the original Fisher Library...now MacLaurin Hall). It's BEAUTIFUL. I really like it.

It seems now this hall is just used for venues...weddings and corporate dinners. I think that's sad. I wish it was still the library. The current library looks so blah in comparison.

Bashir was in the news recently saying that children are more important than water. I don't know. I'd say both those things were pretty damn important. I mean I love Jack much more than I love water. He's sweeter. He's cuter. He's more precious. He's more interesting....But let's face it. We NEED water to survive. We might not want to live in a world without children, but we CAN'T live in a world without water. Of course, if we had no children....we'd eventually all die out.

What Bashir is trying to do with her bold statement is promote her new initiative. She's helped develop a program to teach children how to keep themselves safe. I think that's wonderful, and MUCH needed. I just don't see why she has to diss water. Can't we help our water AND our children? Why do we have to promote one cause by downplaying another cause?