Tuesday, September 26, 2006


"There are no bad fund raisers and there are no bad Fundraising campaigns. There are only bad visions and dreams." Robert Schuller

Generally speaking, I'm not one to balk at the prospect of proffering an obol, when said obol is requested, to the cause of the advancement of humanity, especially if such a cause will ensure that a superannuated progenitor of other members of the genus can live out the rest of her days in peace and obscurity without blighting the lifestyles of her beneficiaries or that a field of grass upon which the treated carcass of a bovine martyr slaughtered in anger can be manipulated by the side of the foot of a brawny hoplite with an expression on his face a cross between a village idiot and an unintelligent fried egg, into a woven net can be saved from insolvency, if that will ensure the continuation of the race.
The basic principle also applies to politicians in my view. If a politician of the blood cannot extract an obol from one cut from the same ream of loom-woven cloth in order to spare us the trouble of traversing the labyrinths of power ourselves and having to make interminably long speeches that would only otherwise be the prerogative of the Annual Report of a Rusfetistani community president, then where would we all be, I should like to know? Furthermore, in my estimation, being able to allude to an affinity, nay, even a conversation or two with said servant of the people, provides one with a polished, well-versed in the affairs of the world aura that would otherwise require years of salivatic secretions and glottal massages to maintain.
It was for this reason that I found myself a few Saturdays ago, along with the well tempered horde of Rusfetistani community doyens, arriving at the genial and convivial surrounds of a function center, wherein one of our own servants of the people would be feted and placed well and truly into funds. Armed with a war chest the size of which only our community could provide her with, a friend speculated, the servant of the people could conceivably have her tram fare to her office fully subsidized for the duration of her election campaign and that surely is a decent trade for a chance to shake her hand and be photographed with her as benefactor and close personal aide-de-camp.
Invariably upon arriving at what former NKEE spinal cord and now our 'man of the Cyprus High Commission in Canberra' Dimitris Tsahuridis, termed a 'geldin,' a unique term, derived from the Turkish to be applied only to Melburnian Rusfetistani community functions, the prescribed order of laryngeal genuflections is as follows: 1. Crane neck forward to see who else has arrived. 2. Crane neck even more forward in order to see list of invitees and attendees. 3. Speculate who was not invited/attending and why 4. Greet host. 5. Comment or consider history of host with peers. 6. Examine who else host is talking to and why. 7. While taking a seat, and this requires some delicacy and its mastery is indicative of Antipodean good deportment, crane neck forward and consider who it is worth striding over to greet and whom it is incumbent upon, to rise from their seat to greet you. Presidents of Federations should be greeted, those of smaller clubs ignored. As a rule, journalists only greet politicians, whereas authors are so publicity starved that they will even greet the catering staff. Community lawyers, their teeth re-whitened and glistening in a selachimorphic smile greet everyone, in the hope of finding a client who has not paid his bill, or foundering across a school of potential of compatriots who will fund their childrens' private school education.

As I ensconced myself to the left of the bread rolls, acknowledging with a vague wave converted to a nose scratch, a cohort of diehard devotees of the Party of Honest Toil, I perceived in the distance, a familiar figure, attempting to press himself into the plaster of the adjacent wall, causing him to remain as obscure and unobtrusive as a buffalo in a tutu pirouetting upon the stage of the Bolshoi, in gross contradistinction to the rest of the geldinoids. With the agility of a brown bear newly awakened from hibernation locating his first beehive, I snuck up behind him and placed my hand on his shoulder. "Gotcha," I announced triumphantly. He spun around with a sort of guilty bound, like an adagio dancer surprised while watering the cat's milk.
"Aren't you supposed to be an adherent of the Party of the Relaxed and Comfortable Compatriots?" I asked. "What are you doing here? Is this the opportune moment to expose yourself as a stool pigeon of the worst order?"
"I'm doing it for our servant of the people," he stammered. "She needs our support. Please don't tell anyone." And with that, he buried his face in his already considerably diminished wine-glass. As I walked back to my seat, I heard someone exclaim: "Hang on! Don't I know you? What are you doing here?" The expression on this selfless cross-grained benefactor's face could only be likened unto that of a man who stooping to pluck a small assortment of wild flowers on a railway line, is unexpectedly struck in the small of the back by the V-line express.
As the token band launched into the first of a series of Rusfetistanified Laendleren, the singer launching into a credible parody of that vegetable-grater larynxed troubadour Yiorgos Margaritis, I fell into a reverie, which was quite difficult as I was intermittedly aroused from it to pass the salad, the dips and the vagrant bottle of VB that threatened to elope with my lips. I mused that in a completely free marketised world, we should conceivably deem our servants of the people to be bodies corporate. This being so, we could all purchase shares in such bodies, the majority shareholder determining the modus operandi of each such body and it relative position in the hierarchy of bouillon cubes that comprise the public soup. Of course a captain of industry could own a majority shareholding in a majority of party members and could therefore determine policy for that party. But nothing could stop members of the Rusfetistani community rationalising their resources with a view to majority purchasing some really decent pollies as they once did in their homeland. This would mark the apogee of multiculturalism. Shares in such pollies could be traded according to their rising or declining fortunes and fundraising events such as the one I was blissfully tuned off from at that very moment could be seen as launches before a major share float of the likes Sol Trujillo has only countenanced in his most pimentoed Mexican dreams. The only drawback as I could see it, was that such shares would be expected to pay dividends, the execution of which would require vast and revolutionary changes in the culture of our Houses of Babblement. Still, a majority Rusfetistani shareholding in a few key seats could make all the difference to an impoverished elector who cannot get a permit to construct a fifth tier upon his wedding cake Templestowe mansion….
Eventually, like a dog perusing Hansard only to learn that in the second reading speech it was suggested that bones be taxed as a luxury item, I was startled from my musings by the announcement that the decidedly non-geldinoid companion sitting at our servant of the people's table was in fact, an august senior member and power broker of the Party of Honest Toil and that he was about to address us. Into the face of the man who sat upon the table there crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look that announces that an Anglo-Celt is about to talk French.
He didn't. Instead, that august scion of the Roman governmental hierarchy launched into an earnest and heartfelt declamation as to his admiration for our collective and singular personages, expressing his deep and humble gratitude for the great changes that we have jointly and severally wreaked upon our adopted land. While I reached for a share certificate, wondering who this high-ranking servant of the people's majority shareholder was, a gasp went up from the otherwise placated geldinoids.
For the good servant of the people was waxing lyrical about the fact that he had just arrived from a sporting-club function, where, we would be pleased to note, the erstwhile ethnic name of that club had been pasteurized and homogenized. Furthermore, while a decade ago the vast majority of the members of that club were of a homogenous extraction, at least 30% of the club players now were as Anglo-Saxon as Aethelred the Unready himself. Isn't multiculturalism wonderful?
The gaggle of geldinoids signed in semitones of chromatic scepticism and several could be seen shaking their heads sadly. On our table, an immense bull of a man snorted impatiently that one could put up with speeches of this sort if only the food was more plentiful. I readily agreed though I was lost in another reverie of my own. For from the position I was sitting, august Father of the People looked disconcertingly enough to be the spitting image of another Father of the People, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah of the Lebanese Hezbollah. As I pondered whether F of P and Nasrallah had ever been sighted in a room sitting together and watched the geldinoids shrug disinterested as Sheikh F of P explained how important it was to the fabric of our society not to discriminate against or exclude Ishmaelites from our national narrative, I had a vision of cluster bombs being dropped from the sky, decimating the entire geldin and pounding the Honest Toilers into submission.
Moments after I left the gathering, my wallet not so considerably lighter than anyone else's, I received a telephone call from a yoda like geldinoid informing me that I had just won a bottle of Retsina in the raffle. Dividend One paid. Now square we are. By the way, casting to one side Andrew Parker Junior's assertion that "We should never forget that no fundraising effort succeeds unless one person asks another person for money," what say you of the right of the State of Rusfetistan and ancillary customs to exist?

First published in NKEE on 25 September 2006