Crisis and Opportunity by Katherine Xiao 2012

Last night I was doing a bit of a tidy up at the pub and I came across this piece I wrote in 2012.   My how things come around !

So for your enjoyment (hopefully), one more time with feeling.

Story by Emmjay

I had the pleasure to look at this – and some other wonderful calligraphy as FM and I stopped over in Singapore.  Apart from the aesthetic qualities of Katherine Xiao’s work, I was struck by its challenging title.  Crisis and opportunity.  Interesting.

I’ve written in recent times that I am heartily sick of the way almost all mainstream media bombards us with one major disaster after another.  Just before our subscription to the Sydney Morning Herald ran out, I wrote to the editor of the Good Weekend pointing out that they were not presenting us with a very good weekend.  In one edition alone there were three  cancer stories – these are supposed to show us the meaning of courage against awful odds – particularly the one in  the “Two of Us” section where a woman’s diagnosis was followed quickly by her husband falling into his own battle with the big C.  And there was another C story reported plus a person who had brain damage rewiring their working hemisphere to cover the bit that had gone AWOL.  Even the usually humorous Danny Katz was having a shot at someone with deep pockets and short arms dudding his mates during his shout at the pub.  FFS !

Have you noticed that there is so little or no joy in any of this ?  Crisis. Crisis. Crisis.

The end result – or the impact on me is to start  a chain reaction of negative or nihilist thinking.  What’s the point of going on ?  Crisis.  Crisis.  Crisis leads to depression depression depression and an internal voice shouting “Why  bother ?”

Sometimes I’ve been feeling a little like this about the Pig’s Arms lately.  It’s a question put to me directly by one of our clearest and deepest thinkers, and by FM (who would have me shoulder a greater weight of domestic freigh).

Last month, the Pig’s Arms turned twelve years old.  My how time flies !

This makes it an oldy in Internet years, somewhat like the community members.  I’ve felt the pressure of work when it’s been on and the pressure of no work when it’s been off – demanding my time and sapping my energy for getting behind the bar and keeping the life of the pub a life I think is worth living.

We’ve also seen some of our regular contributors finding their lives in more fertile grounds elsewhere and this, I guess, is a natural thing – people do move on sometimes – they open new doors and find nourishment in new, greener pastures.  Th Internet is a big place to explore.

We opened the pub so that we could get pieces published without all the palaver that the ABC laid over Unleashed and their random, conversation-killing moderation.   The Pig’s Arms was and to some extent still is such a place – for exploring creative web writing and generally having a bit of fun.  And having commentary that reflects a willingness to lay a few more courses of bricks over the (sometimes slim) foundations of the posts.

From time to time I have felt like either abandoning the pub and leaving the community to its own devices,  but the pub has my name all over the place and it’s a child I prefer to not leave on the street to suffer the vicissitudes of a random and capricious world.  Neither am I easily able to abandon friends or the massive body of work we’ve produced. (over 2,500 posts !!)

So what is my job in what looks to me like a time of crisis for the Pig’s Arms ?  In the real world patrons of a watering hole come and go and come back.  Sometimes they have been chucked out for behaving badly.  Sometimes it’s for their own good.  Other times its for everyone’s good.

While tidying up and browsing through thousands of images we’ve begged, borrowed and stolen, I felt the sadness of our loss of Lehan Winifred Ramsay.

Should my concern be for the people or the pub and it’s history – or both ?

Since Waz asked the question I’ve been trying to ignore the elephant in the room – this, our porcine crisis – which, let’s face it is trivial in comparison with the pandemic and the global economic implosion and these. crises in so many of our compatriots lives.

But now the idea put so elegantly on paper by Katherine Xiao – that with  crisis comes opportunity – suggests to me that by asking questions rather than by pretending that everything will be hunky dory and just keeping on keeping on as Scotty from Marketing suggests, we could drive these crises into identifying new opportunities and resetting so much that has not worked on global, national and state levels.

Let’s have destinies that are fresh, vibrant and sustainable as the pub has been in previous years.  Or we could torch the place as we seem o be doing with the planet letting something new rise phoenix-like from the ashes (run by cockroaches and mice, one could well.

I don’t feel a strong fatherly relationship with the pub any more than I stay wedded to any other of my hair-brained ideas that have been flushed out in the name of a joke.  It’s your pub too.

IS there an opportunity – or just a crisis ?  Is there some good to hand ?

What are you going to do to breathe some life into the Pig’s – or to build the bonfire ?

Or will it be not with a bang, but a whimper ?