Petition to Melbourne City Council, Victorian State Government
Leave Burke and Wills Behind
Are Burke and Wills national heroes? With the Metro Tunnel project under construction the Burke and Wills statue has retreated into storage. Upon the completion of the tunnel, do we wish to uphold the legacy of Burke and Wills by submitting to the statue's re-installation? The return of Burke and Wills to the corner of Collins and Swanston will perpetuate their standing as national heroes and only serve to obstruct any meaningful engagement with our violent colonial history.The space would be better suited to a more meaningful representation of our history. Why do we continuously paper over the rich 65,000 year-old Indigenous history of this country with the trifling affairs of posturing colonial explorers? In recognising the undue credit that Burke and Wills were given on the original plaque on their statue, which claimed that they were the 'first people' to cross the continent, the City of Melbourne agreed to amend the wording on the plaque, slightly. However, this is not enough. To honour, celebrate and learn more about our rich history, we need to make space, by de-emphasising stories about white colonists. We need to move the focus away from shallow narratives of heroic colonial exploration, through lands that were long before named, and long before mapped. SOME MORE INFO ON THE BURKE AND WILLS EXPEDITION“When Yandruwandha people in 1861 found the poor men who were the remnants of the Burke and Wills party roaming around apparently aimlessly, they felt they were lost either in mind or spirit. The Burke and Wills party did not know how to communicate effectively with their surrounds, utilise the resources at their fingertips or share their intentions with the native people with whom they came into contact.” —Aaron Pateron (Yandruwandha descendant). Robert O’Hara Burke, the leader of the ill-fated Burke and Wills expedition across the so-called Australian continent 157 years ago, was inexperienced, incapable, and rash. These were the qualities which led to the avoidable deaths of seven party members. The avoidable deaths of party members are ultimately what led to the expedition’s fame and place in Australian historical consciousness (though informed observers have been critical of celebrating the expedition or “expensive mistake” all along). The Yandruwandha people at Cooper’s Creek offered fish, nardoo and other foods to Burke, Wills and King – the stragglers of the starving upward march, only to be treated with disrespect and violence. Burke shot over the heads of the Yandruwandha people when they sought a meagre piece of cloth in return for the copious amounts of food they had given the entitled explorers, prolonging their survival. Just days before this shooting incident, a man nicknamed Pitchery, out of concern for the lone-wandering Wills, took him to a camp and fed him until he was ‘unable to eat anymore’. Burke struggled with the idea of being dependent for life on people he saw as inferior. Had he not jeopardised the relationship with Yandruwandha people, Burke and Wills could have survived. After they both died avoidable deaths, the Yandruwandha people saved King, the remaining party member in the area, from the same fate. One of the party’s two Indigenous guides, Dick, at one point saved the lives of two party members – Lyons and McPherson. Peter was the other Indigenous guide to the group who has received little historical recognition. Burke and Wills were part of a disorganised and disruptive expedition through lands that were already named, and already mapped. We don’t think they deserve to be honoured and celebrated via the returning of their statue to the city of Melbourne. These kind of narratives already take up too much space in our national conscious. “The barriers that have for so long kept Indigenous perspectives out of the Burke and Wills story were based not on lack of material but rather on perception and choice.” — Ian D. Clark and Fred Cahir, 'The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills : Forgotten Narratives'Please email email@example.com with any questions, comments, concerns or to request more reading materials.
Petition to Prime Minster Lee Hsien Loong
Save Sentosa Merlion
24 September 2019Mr Lee Hsien LoongPrime Minister of SingaporeTo: firstname.lastname@example.orgDear Mr Lee,I implore you to reconsider the need to demolish our beloved Merlion on Sentosa Island.Sentosa Merlion has grown to become an important cultural icon in the past 24 years. It is a place where many fond memories have been created -- for both Singaporeans and visitors.Sentosa was once called Pulau Blakang Mati. One netizen commented that the Sentosa Merlion was built to suppress the spirits that once lived there. Perhaps the Merlion over the last two decades have managed to do that and more - protecting our economy as it stood high up on the ground overlooking our Central Business District. I understand that Singapore needs to constantly reinvent itself to stay competitive and stay ahead. That has been our formula to our success for the past five decades. But there comes a time when we need to dig deeper to try to find a balance between the old and the new. It’s not an easy task for sure. Demolishing the Merlion is the easy way out. We need to learn to cherish our landmarks as over time it will become part of our Singapore story.I am a tourist guide and each time I take my group of tourists to Sentosa, the Merlion is an important stop for photo taking and they love it. Whenever we visit the Merlion Park in the city, we always tell our foreign friends that: “You are looking at Mama Merlion and her little one”.Sentosa Island is where they will find Papa Merlion, which stands 37 metres tall, overlooking and protecting the city. This his how we promote Sentosa to the tourists.Although the Sentosa Merlion is relatively young, it is still an important part of our new heritage -- just like our very first Merlion, built in 1971 at the mouth of the Singapore River.In the last few decades, we have mourned the loss of many iconic Singaporean buildings. Please let us not rush again -- in the name of so-called ‘progress’ -- to demolish things that we no longer see as having ‘commercial value’. As we grow and mature as a nation, let us take a moment to reflect beyond the glitz and glam.Instead, we should also be focusing on the heart and soul of the nation -- because it is these fabrics which bind Singaporeans together with our shared memories. Next steps: Could we save the Merlion and incorporate it as part of the Sentosa redevelopment? Alternatively, could the Merlion be relocated to a new location? For example, near Pulau Brani so that it may continue to watch over our city. Yours sincerely,Stanley Ngo #savesentosamerlionNote: This petition will close on 15 October 2019 and it will be printed with all the signatures and comments to be delivered to the Prime Minister's Office.
Petition to Scott Morrison
Bring all the cricket back to channel Nine!
Why should we have to pay to watch the world's most iconic sport? The cricket has been on channel nine for over 40 years, and it has become a tradition for Australians all over the nation to watch the cricket on 9. We want it back!