Wednesday, 12 March 2008


“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” G. K. Chesterton

I am in Adelaide for two days for work. The temperatures have been scorching for the past 9 days in succession and today the mercury rose to 37˚C! This is definitely a heat wave that we have been spared from in Melbourne. Walking in the streets today was quite a task as the asphalt was radiating the accumulated heat of several days. The sun was relentlessly sending searing rays down and people had that listless look of powerless resignation that comes with an onslaught of the elemental forces of the weather, over which we have no control.

However, the up side was that my work commitments were successfully carried out and there was a tremendous feeling of achievement and of a job well-done at the end of the day. We had a delicious dinner at a wonderful Thai restaurant called “Star of Siam” – definitely worth visiting if you ever go to Adelaide! Gouger Street is certainly a bustling place and wall to wall restaurants and cafés line its lively neighbourhood.

Sitting here in my hotel room, after a full day, busy with satisfying work commitments, replete after a delicious meal, content with my lot in life, pleased with my decisions of the last few months, I can only come to the conclusion that life has been good to me and for that I am deeply grateful…

Thanks to life
( By Violeta Parra)

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me two eyes, and when I open them
I clearly distinguish black from white;
In the high sky, the starry depths,
While in the crowd, I can single out the man that I love.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me hearing, which in all its breadth
Day and night detects crickets and canaries,
Hammers, turbines, barking of dogs, dark cloudstorms,
And the tender voice of my beloved one.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me sound and the alphabet
And with it the words to think and speak
Mother, friend, brother, and the light that brightens
The path to the soul of my beloved one.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has kept my tired feet walking
With them I walked through cities and puddles,
Beaches and deserts, mountains and plains
And the roads that lead to your house, your street to your courtyard.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It gave me my heart, which shakes to its depths
When I look at the fruit of the human brain
When I distinguish the good from the bad
When I look at the depths of your light-coloured eyes.

Thanks to life, which has given me so much
It has given me laughter and it has given me tears
Thus I distinguish between joy and pain,
They are all elements of my song
And of all your songs, which is the same song
And of everyone's song, which is my own song.

Violeta del Carmen Parra Sandoval (October 14, 1917 - February 5, 1967) was a notable Chilean folklorist. She set the basis for "The New Song" (La Nueva Canción chilena), a renewal of Chilean folk music. Parra was born in San Carlos, province of Ñuble, a small town in southern Chile. She was involved in the leftist movement and the Chilean Socialist Party. She established the first Peña, (now known as la Peña de los Parra). A peña is a social and political community center. The word is Spanish for "hard rock." There are now many peñas throughout Chile, Latin America, and in North America, Europe, and Australia. They serve the expat communities that fled Chile after the CIA-backed coup of 1973 that overthrew Salvador Allende's democratically elected socialist administration.

Violeta Parra is a member of the prolific Parra family. Her brother is the notable modern poet, Nicanor Parra. Her son, Ángel Parra, and her daughter, Isabel Parra, are also important figures in the development of Nueva Canción in Chile. She committed suicide at the age of fifty. Her most famous song, Gracias A la Vida, was popularized in the US by Joan Baez. It remains one of the most covered Latin American songs in history.
(courtesy of YouTube)


  1. hi,

    i read a post re. your trip in Singapore - Art Sunday, whereby you visited the national gallery. I'm planning one of those trips to go to Singapore for its art museums and galleries. Any other places worth going to?

    Thanks! I used to live in Melbourne, but I'm back in Malaysia. How's it goin' there?


  2. Hello kH,
    Lots of things to see and do in Singapore! Sentosa island has many attractions, including lovely parks and beaches. The harbourfront with the entertainment centre auditoriums the Merlion and the markets. Chinatown and Little India. The Botanic Gardens are fantastic and don't miss the Orchid section!
    Singapore has excellent Tourist Information offices, so make sure you go there as soon as you arrive to get very good information and help.
    Enjoy your trip!