Other Writing

Tasman’s Bridge-Building

A conversation with Tasman Bain, co-founder of PNG gender-equality charity Meri Toksave.

When I meet Tasman Bain I know, among other things, that he once gained the respect of various military advisers by eating 15 boiled potatoes at the Polish consulate in New York. I know that he is an advocate for young people and social justice, and is involved in international policy work, gender equality, human rights and sustainable development. I know that he was recognised as a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, that he is a polymath and that he once danced with the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations. I also know that he is 24.

This article appeared in The Saturday Paper Edition No 187, Dec 16 – 22, 2017.  Read full article here.


The Good Fight

Fighting the good fight for veterans.

Terry O’Connor comes from a large Irish Catholic family, brimming with lawyers and military servicemen. His father, a labourer, the youngest of 13 children, served in World War II and, despite only primary school education, spent many years as a welfare officer for the Returned and Services League, preparing and lodging claims. Terry’s older brother was killed in Vietnam.

This article appeared in The Saturday Paper Edition No 184, Nov 25 – Dec 1, 2017.  Read full article here.


One Child at a Time

The woman working to keep Sierra Leone’s children in school.

Jane Shakespeare was deeply affected in her travels through Sierra Leone. The Ebola crisis, which left more than 12,000 children without parents, came after a near-11-year civil war. In one of the world’s poorest countries, aid agencies struggle to provide basics such as food, clean water and medicines, to treat preventable birth injuries such as fistulas, to protest against genital mutilation and child soldiers. Strangers shelter abandoned or orphaned children at risk of exploitation, discrimination and malnutrition. About 42 per cent of the population are under 14, and yet one of the most glaring deficiencies is education, critical for the country’s growth but often disregarded simply because of cost: carers cannot afford school fees or books, and even young children are required to work.

This article appeared in The Saturday Paper Edition No 179, Oct 21 – 27, 2017.  Read full article here.


Chance Encounter

A chance meeting with an elderly musician draws the author into his troubled life.

We met by chance. I had no idea he was a skilled architect, or that he danced the tango, or that his playing of the haunting doina lament on violin was beautiful enough to make you weep.

“I’m thinking of writing my memoir,” he said. He wore the colourful clothing of a younger man, a bohemian. His head was bald. “Call me Moshlo,” he said. I wondered if that was his first name or his last.

We exchanged emails. Almost 80, Morrice Shaw preferred to answer to the diminutive name his mother had used when he was small. We emailed about inconsequential things, only a handful of times; the doina intrigued me. Then my last few emails went unanswered.

This article appeared in The Saturday Paper Edition No 171, Aug 26 – Sep 1, 2017.  Read The Saturday Paper article here.

The published The Saturday Paper article was an edited version of a longer piece. Click here to read the full story.

My grandmother at 109

Looking back on the long life of the oldest Queenslander.

Her heart is old now, and tired. I imagine the physical process of the blood coursing through atria and ventricles, the ageing heart muscle clenching and relaxing, pumping the blood on the long journey through the veins and tributaries of her body. I imagine the beats becoming sluggish, slower, with the constant effort of motion: expand and contract; breathe in and breathe out.

She is 109 years old. Her heart has kept its beat, steady and sure, about four-and-a-half billion times.

This article appeared in The Saturday Paper Edition No 156, May13-19, 2017.  Read full article here.

© 2017 by Cass Moriarty