Sunday, January 16, 2011
...but they sound far too Australian to me. Sigh.
Click the headline for the (very short) news story.
I dunno. When I was a kid in Far North Queensland, the wet season was a time for some serious fun. Gullies became creeks, and big, open culverts became water races. You'd climb into your swimmers, grab a beat-up polystyrene surfboard or a vinyl air-mattress, and go flood surfing.
In all the years I was up there, I don't recall any kid getting killed playing in the monsoon flows. I know it's verboten these days, of course. And I know that Sydneysiders are routinely sucked down drains during flash floods.
But we lived there, and the rains came every year. The roads were quite reliably cut for maybe two weeks a year (not all at once, usually.) The power would get knocked out, and you'd have to rely on your stocks of non-perishable food, plus candles and Tilly lamps, and you'd boil your drinking water.
I'm not saying that we're not better off these days. But there's something to be said for being prepared, and for knowing the enemy. Almost nobody had to rush off to buy kerosene and lamps and candles and matches and tins of food, because everybody had a cupboard or a box full of essentials for the cyclone season.
And as for stormwater surfing... again, I don't think kids then were smarter than kids now. But I do think they were allowed to take more risks, and as a result, developed a better sense of their own physical abilities.
We didn't get sucked into stormwater drains because we didn't play in the places that might have been too dangerous for us. And we knew how to judge that because we'd been given the chance to have a few falls, take a few risks, and acquire an understanding of the need to look after ourselves.
Ah well. There's progress for you, eh?