Sunshine Mosque – a personal touch

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Open day at Sunshine Mosque, 618 Ballarat Road, Sunshine. Phone: 9363 8245

Consider The Sauce would like to believe our dismay and disgust at the recent weeks’ deliberately inflamed anti-Muslim hysteria is universal across the land.

Sadly, though, having read much in the press of all kinds, on social media and various websites – luckily I am pretty much completely out of the loop when it comes to talkback radio – I know that is simply not the case.

But while these events have been unfolding, a thought bubbled up: “Why have I never been to a mosque?”

At very much the same time, the Cyprus Turkish Community of Victoria started publicising its “everyone welcome” open day – and we are only too happy to accept the invitation.

Predictably and joyfully, our visit is a whole lot of fun, full of friendly people with big smiles.

And, of course, we have our fill of the food on hand.

 

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The cheese-and-spinach gozleme I enjoy is as good as it gets – hot of the hot plate, fresh and wonderful.

But the coolest event of the day has an unexpectedly personal note …

 

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We have been on the mosque grounds just a matter of minutes when I run into my Star Weekly colleague Yasemin.

I’m surprised to see her, and she I.

But we shouldn’t be … after all, I did know she’s a local; and she, in turn, knows of my foodie/multicultural adventurer persona.

Yasemin is very busy selling tickets for the kebab operation but we nevertheless squeeze in some conversation.

For me, this is the western suburbs one-degree of separation at splendid work and a valued opportunity to see a colleague with whom I have in the past year finessed numerous stories as something other than a reporter to my sub-editor.

And for Yasemin, I hope (!), it’s a chance to see me as something other than a cranky, demanding, nitpicking pedant – perhaps as an openminded foodie blogger with untold curiosity and as a father.

That latter description being, you’ll be unsurprised to learn, very much how I see and define myself these days.

This is Yasemin’s mosque.

I ask her if she pretty much grew up here.

Her answer is: “Yes!”

 

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After my savory appetite has been satisfied, I enjoy a super strong and sweet Turkish coffee with a deep-fried dessert called sam isi.

It’s filo pastry encasing semolina, and like so many treasured desserts from that part of the world, is sweet without being overly so.

 

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I stop and have a yarn with Tammy of Stylish Sisters.

Tammy refers to herself as a “convert”, her husband being Somalian.

And, yes, she knows all about our favourite Union Road destination.

I love the name of her business – in my opinion, which in this context is worth no doubt very, very little – many of the “sisters” do indeed have style to burn.

 

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Eventually, the presence at the event of a flagrantly mustachioed dude with a busy camera having been noted, Ekrem Fuldagli introduces himself to us.

Ekrem is the chairman of the Cyprus Turkish Islamic Community of Victoria.

It’s a busy day for a busy man, but he makes time to escort us into the mosque proper and patiently answer my questions.

Ekrem has been in the chairman role for about a year.

He tells me it’s a challenging but rewarding role, involving as it does issues and projects both within the mosque community and its interactions with the wider world.

He describes the mosque community as very mainstream and relationships with the neighbours as just fine

The domed mosque interior itself is truly beautiful and, yes, it has what I would call a “spiritual” vibe.

Ekrem tells me the dome itself has no religious significance.

Rather it is all about acoustics and the oration requirements of the pre-electricity and pre-amplification times.

Sadly, other commitments mean we are unable to linger for the scheduled Q&A session to which I have been eagerly looking.

Maybe next time!

 

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Gosh

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“You have prostate cancer.”

Not the gladdest of tidings then … but not unexpected given the anxiety and tests of recent months.

It’s surreal hearing that verdict coming from the mouth of someone I have known for less than half an hour.

“It’s low grade …”

That’s good, isn’t it?

“Yes, it’s good …”

My life changes …

I feel very, very grateful to a very good GP who sent me off to a urologist. She may have saved my life.

And so I become a member of the Cancer Club, yet prostate cancer is so common as to be almost banal.

In some ways I feel empowered, with an early diagnosis and a fighting chance.

Like countless souls before me, I am blown away by the way complete strangers open up and tell me their stories, offer their wisdom and friendship.

I am grateful for the support and love of friends, family, colleagues and acquaintances.

The medical and support staff who are already becoming a big part of my life are marvellous – and I am happy to be telling them so whenever the opportunity arises.

Boy, does that make the nurses, doctors, technicians and all the others smile – so giving, but all they often get are cranky grumbles.

But there are downsides …

The waiting rooms and on-hold telephone calls – so time consuming and tedious, and destined to become even more familiar as I become a more full-time player in the health system than I or any of us desire.

The already tangible financial worries – also destined to become more acute.

Presently, the most challenging thing is attempting to get on top of and (hopefully) intelligently filtering an overwhelming amount of information and often contradictory advice.

Some time in coming months, difficult decisions will have to be made regarding treatment.

How all this will impact on Consider The Sauce, I have no way of knowing or even guessing.

Very little, I most fervently hope!

In the meantime, I intend to summon up the courage to continue to live well and laugh often.

 

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Yarraville/Seddon paid parking protest – a super effort

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pro19pro21

 

When news first broke about Maribyrnong council’s intention of instigating paid parking in the villages of Yarraville and Seddon, Consider The Sauce initially assumed a somewhat uncharacteristic half-empty outlook.

OK, I figured, there’ll be some grumbling … but what council wants, council will surely get.

These days, I’m not sure about that … at all.

Truth is, the campaign against paid parking – and the community anger that fuels it – is gaining impressive momentum.

It’s well organised, too, with social media activity, a petition and an online survey.

 

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Today’s protest and march from Yarraville to Seddon was also an impressive display – a lot of people and many, many dogs (far more than covered in the pooch gallery below).

What I reckon were a couple of good points were made during the speechifying.

Namely …

That traders have a legitimate fear that many of their customers will shun paid parking and go where parking does not cost – particularly, though not entirely restricted to, Highpoint and Yarraville Square.

And secondly, if Yarraville and Seddon, then why not West Footscray?

On the rare occasions we have difficulty finding a car space, it’s just as likely to be in West Footscray as anywhere closer to home.

By contrast, the council’s case for paid parking – and I’ve read a lot – seems utterly wishy washy.

 

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Of course, you’ll be unsurprised that have yet to encounter a resident or trader actually in favour of paid parking.

Yet the council, it seems to me, has as yet fallen way sort of being in any way persuasive in demonstrating the desirability or the need for its plans.

We shall see …

In the meantime, and once more donning my half-empty hat, I see a possible outcome being the shelving of the paid parking plans – only for them to be rolled out again a few years down the track.

 

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The bloke on the right appears to have been partaking in the Koolaid …

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Salute to a foodie

8 Comments

laksa4

 

The above photograph was published in Consider The Sauce on September 23, 2010.

That review of Laksa King was our blog’s eighth story and the first in which a photo of Bennie appeared.

IIRC, the laksa into which he is somewhat less than zealously tucking was a little on the spicy side for him.

That bowl would present no such problems for him these days!

Back then, he was bemused about this blogging business.

As, it can be said, was I myself.

Sometimes, back then, as we were nutting out where to go to eat, ponder and take notes and photographs, he would whine: “Dad, can’t we just go out for dinner!?!”

Gosh, how things have changed!

Nowadays, Bennie automatically scans menus seeking out the unusual, the weird and the challenging.

Nowadays, he will ring me to eagerly pronounce: “Dad, dad – I’ve found a new bakery!!!”

As many CTS Feast attendees and others of our foodie pals with whom we regularly meet to eat now know, Bennie is a wonderful table companion.

He revels not just in the many, varied eating places we discover and visit but also in the festivals and markets and all the wonderful people we meet along the way.

And these days, my incredible, beautiful young man is quite grown-up enough to spend a school holiday day at home while his dad is at work.

He did so yesterday.

And what did he do?

He took the $20 I had left him, got on the train to Footscray and headed straight to a well-known pho joint … where he happily supped on a medium-size sliced beef bowl of wonderfulness.

He did this instead of splurging on an Olympic doughnut or a burger or a kebab or whatever else.

He did so not to suck up to his dad.

He went pho for the simple reason he really, really likes pho. And he really, really likes the idea of dining solo in a pho shop.

And why wouldn’t he? It’s a Very Cool Thing To Do.

Bennie Minter Weir – the World’s Coolest Son.

 

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Pay parking for Yarraville, Seddon, Footscray South

11 Comments

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Maribyrnong council is seriously looking at introducing paid car-parking for parts of the municipality that have thus far gone without having it imposed.

There’s obviously a lot of huffing and puffing and “public consultation” to go on before this becomes a done deal.

But the tenor of the council’s community and services special committee report on Pay Parking In Maribyrnong – which you can read here – leaves little doubt that this will eventually happen.

The pay parking areas being proposed are:

Yarraville:

1. Anderson Street Between Buninyong Street and Willis Street.

2. Ballarat Street between Simpson Street and Canterbury Street.

3. Canterbury Street between Railway station and Willis Street.

4. Canterbury Street car park.

5. Simpson Street off-street car park.

Seddon:

1. Charles Street between Gamon Street and Bourke Street.

2. Gamon Street between Charles Street and Station Road.

3. Victoria Street between Charles Street and Buckley Street.

Footscray South:

1. McNabb Avenue.

2. Nicholson Street between Buckley Street and Irving Street.

3. Albert Street between Buckley Street and Hopkins Street.

4. Albert Street car park.

Joseph Road Precinct:

1. Maribyrnong Street between Hopkins Street and Joseph Road.

2. Joseph Road.

3. Neilson Place.

4. Moreland Street between Hopkins Street and Neilson Place.

5. Warde Street.

6. Wightman Street and Selina Street.

7. Whitehall Street between Hopkins Street and Neilson Place.

I have an open mind about this.

The report is honest in stating that whatever other issues are at stake, revenue-raising is a significant part of these proposals: “The generation of non-rates revenue such as paid parking, is an important element towards achieving a long-term financially sustainable City.”

I can’t help feel a certain sadness that the sleepy village feel of Seddon and Yarraville is to give way to a more regimented form of commerce.

Pay parking for the Jospeh Road area is seen as a forward strike with the push for full-on development there growing: “Whilst Joseph Road precinct is not currently a saturated location, imminent multi-level development up to 32 storeys will create a substantial increase in parking demand.”

“Information and feedback sessions” to discuss these proposals will be held as follows:

Yarraville:

Tuesday, September 2, 4.30-6.30pm,

Sun Theatre, 8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville.

Footscray and Seddon:

Wednesday, September 3, 4.30-6.30pm,

Footscray Town Hall, corner Hyde and Napier Streets, Footscray.

 

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The beauty of western vistas

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rachel1

 

The western suburbs have certainly got their hooks into me.

When I am visiting other parts of the city, even those generally deemed as being more aesthetically pleasing than the west, I am frequently beset by an urgency to get home to our “industrial landscapes”.

And in those landscapes, I find beauty and allure.

I revel in the weirdness and the sometimes startling juxtapositions.

I love tooling around western residential areas only to be blindsided by paddocks and old farm houses.

That’s why the work of Tarneit artist Rachel Hanna reverberated with me when I learned of it.

Rachel has been painting for 10 years and has lived with her family in Tarneit for two, and she too reverberates with the west.

“You can breathe over here,” she tells me while installing her exhibition, On The Way From Here To There at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre.

Rachel tells me that, among other things, she adores shipping containers as subjects – although she confesses she finds them difficult to paint.

Looking at the paintings in her exhibition, I find some that I recognise immediately, others that are less obvious – but they all have a genuine western vibe about them.

The paintings are for sale, ranging in price from $150 to $650.

When I venture that such prices seem rather low for exhibition works, Rachel quips: “They’re priced to sell – I need more canvases!”

On The Way From Here To There at the Point Cook Community Learning Centre, 1–21 Cheethamis  Street, Point Cook, until September 19.

For more details, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sardines in Seddon?

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Amid all the usual spam and SEO offers this week, Consider The Sauce received an intriguing communication from reader Tenille.

Here’s what she wrote:

“Hi Kenny

This might be a bit of a strange request, but I’m writing an article for a course I am doing and thought you might know someone who I could interview.

I’m planning to write an article on the impact of planning policy on the inner suburbs, with a focus on how new development is threatening neighbourhood character in the inner west, particularly Seddon. It’s nothing political and the angle will probably change depending on who I interview.

I want to steer clear of the whole gentrification discussion and look at whether planning policy is providing sufficient protection to neighbourhood character. In Seddon, the issue is not so much about huge apartment blocks going in, but more about rendered townhouses popping up on every second corner and the impact this is having on property prices, accessibilty and the local culture.

I’m hoping to chat to someone who has lived or worked in Seddon/Yarraville/Kingsville over the past 5-10 years and has seen it change. I’ve been in the area for five years, but I think it might be a bit of a one-sided argument to interview myself!”

After lunch – of course! – and a wide-ranging conversation involving a couple of fave Sunshine food spots, she and I decided the best way to handle this was to put it out there as a blog post.

For myself, I’d have to say that as a food blogger/journalist, I am usually focused on the business activity in any given neighbourhood, including Seddon.

Having said that, on the way back from Sunshine, Tenille and I spent some time cruising the narrow streets and laneways behind both sides of Victoria Street.

And I confess to being quite surprised by the amount of change of the kind she refers to that has taken place in the handful years that have passed since Bennie and I lived in Windsor Street.

In any case, we’re both interested to know what folks think …