First year assessment

Turning hate into love

A Sunshine Coast mother has taken to Facebook to write about an incident at her local Coles. Katie Maree has written an open letter on the Sunny Coast Community Board directed at an unknown woman who commented on her children’s behaviour.

What the woman didn’t know is Katie’s children suffer from autism.

The Facebook post which started it all. Katie Maree, Facebook 2016.

Now, the mother isn’t trying to say her children are angels – she admits they weren’t behaving. But says the stranger and her remarks were ignorant and lacking empathy.

Almost 800 responses and counting, the post has now gone somewhat viral, being mentioned in numerous blogs (including this one) and even becoming a news story because of it’s relatable nature.

But many of us have one simple question: What do open letters achieve?

We live in a world where we want to post anything and everything on social media, but why?

It seems as though people are so inclined to sit down after a crappy day and tell the world about it (literally).

People are taking to their computers to share their bad experiences. Carly Hagins, Flickr 2010

I’m usually pretty sceptical about open letters and I don’t know if online is the best place to be talking about such personal experiences but sometimes these open letters achieve great things.

Just four months ago, Canadian mother Jennifer Kiss-Engele wrote an open letter on Facebook saying her down syndrome son was excluded from a birthday party. The public’s incredible and unexpected reactions to her post resulted in her child being invited to the party while also spreading a message of love and acceptance.

I completely agree with Jennifer and Katie’s motives to defend their children. I’m extremely protective of my family, as I’m sure we all are.

If one tiny post is going to make a slight difference in the world, or even in the life of someone I love, then I would be willing to take that chance.

And I’m not the only one.

First year assessment

Release them before they do it themselves

Another gorilla has made headlines this week. London Zoo’s Kumbuka roamed the grounds for more than 90 minutes after escaping his enclosure causing tourists to hide inside zoo buildings.

The western lowland silverback gorilla, known for his fiery attitude, smashed through the glass of his enclosure to break free. Witnesses have said staff asked them to avoid eye contact with Kumbuka moments before the incident as he was becoming agitated.

But was it the people making him agitated or the fact he is in captivity?

Kumbuka is the second of his species to be in the news this year after the Cincinnati Zoo shot Haramabe in May following a child falling into his enclosure.

Thankfully this time the gorilla was tranquillised and recaptured before anybody was harmed.

Kumbuka has been enclosed for three years now. Willard 2013, Flickr

However, both incidents raise a widely debated question: Should wild animals be in captivity?

I can see both perspectives.

On one hand, it’s great to be able to see such fascinating creatures up close. From a conservation stance, taking animals out of the wild for their own protection and to populate their species is also a wonderful idea. These gorillas have been successfully bred for generations in zoos and can survive up to 20 years longer in captivity than the wild.

But where is the quality of life?

Sir David Attenborough said the escape didn’t surprise him as zoo visitors don’t show enough respect for the enclosed animals.

“If the people were respectful that would be something,” he said.

“Sometimes visitors to zoos are not respectful and they start shrieking or waving their arms in order to get the poor gorilla to do something.”

I agree with Attenborough. If these animals, especially the dominant ones, have to be in zoos they shouldn’t be subjected to so many people as it’s clearly distressing them.

Ultimately, I think animals should be free to roam in their natural habitat, the way nature intended. Currently there are over 6000 different animal species in zoos across the world, quite a large and unnecessary number if you ask me. We’re at the stage now where if we wanted to see an exotic animal we could just “Google it” rather than seeing them miserably locked up in a zoo.

Do you want to see these animals enjoying themselves in the wild or placed behind barriers for our own selfish entertainment?


Enough of the remakes

6344955477_19ce98fd28_zIt seems as though movie remakes are the new black. Originals can’t stand alone anymore as Hollywood keeps trying to profit from loved, older films.

The whole remake saga over the past few years has been slightly overdone and leaving us wondering which film will be ruined next.

But I won’t be too harsh on all of the recent remakes. The new Jungle Book was actually quite entertaining considering I had never watched the original. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it, no childhood memories at stake.

Aladdin fans have been upset this week when it was announced Guy Ritchie will direct a live remake of the Disney classic.

People aren’t convinced it will do the original justice, especially when it comes to replacing beloved Robin Williams.

Who can blame them? It’s kind of like replacing Health Ledger with Jared Leto – still commendable but not the same.

The UK Telegraph says even more of our faves could be set for a reboot including…

  • Splash
  • Mary Poppins
  • Jumanji
  • Drop Dead Fred
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids
  • Police Academy
  • IT