Let’s end this shopping frenzy…

Let’s end this shopping frenzy…

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Sydney Central Arcade: shops, shops, and more shops…

I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with conversations that start something like this: “So when do you plan on finishing your Christmas shopping?”, “What are you buying?”, “Have you got a shopping list?” and so on and so forth…

With Christmas being just around the corner, these conversations are becoming commonplace.

Why is it that Christmas is associated with shopping so much? And not only Christmas…Why is it that, as a society, we are so obsessed with buying?

The other day, as I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, I came across an article which was about a kangaroo that had ‘visited’ the newly built shopping centre carpark at my neighborhood. I must admit, at first, I thought about how great of a story that was to tell to my friends and relatives from overseas who would always wonder if kangaroos were freely roaming Australian streets. Upon reflection, though, it occurred to me that it was not the kangaroo that visited our territory.

…It is us, human beings, who get rid of the natural habitat for the sake of building places that hold almost nothing more than objects of desire.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am not against gifts. Gifts are one of the ways we can express our gratitude, appreciation, and care for our loved ones. Selecting gifts for our friends is about mentally spending time with them, imagining their happiness upon receiving that gift and being sure they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

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Photo by Roberto Nickson

However, there is a fundamental difference between gifts and ‘things’.

I am sure we all have at some point received ‘things’ that we didn’t know what to do with. I, for one, remember once receiving a ‘thing’ that had someone else’s name in it… Please don’t be that person…I promise it is awkward for both parties involved…

I have noticed that Christmas is one such time where we all end up accumulating a lot of ‘things’.

The bigger problem, though, is that we get ‘things’ not only for others but, more often than not: for ourselves. We constantly desire for and spend on objects that we do not necessarily need and will possibly end up not using anyway.

The first time that this thought hit me was when I was volunteering at a second-hand shop-Lifeline. We would receive boxes upon boxes of donated ‘things’. It was certainly beautiful to see just how people were willing to donate and help. At the same time, though, I have noticed that many of these ‘things’ had tags and were new.

I think we are all guilty of that to some extent. The truth is we often shop to satisfy our desires to feel fulfilled and happy. Nothing more.

By writing about this issue of consumerism, I am hoping to encourage you the mindful spending and thoughtful gift selection. I guess if we all try to modify our behaviors and err towards being less greedy, we can live up to the standards of our past generations, who would fix broken things…who would not buy new things because of their ‘new features’.image-b12213b08b7b77af7aa1ee7b31d477abea7f2bc6d6a86b3d8a4aa03ec06acfa6-v

And perhaps if we modify our behaviors just a little bit, and collectively reduce this spending frenzy, we could all enjoy Christmas with our families and friends rather than having to work long Christmas hours to make the ‘biggest sales of the year’…

Take care and let’s constantly remind ourselves that fulfillment comes from experiences and quality time spent with our families, friends, and loved ones.

We remember and we demand!

We remember and we demand!

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Making my speech at the Armenian Genocide commemoration night in Sydney (2015)

April 24th, 1915, is etched as one of the darkest days in humanity…

Every year on April 24, I get shivers…thinking of innocent men, women, and children whose lives were destroyed by the atrocities of Ottoman Empire 101 years ago. One and a half million lives…and their generations were destroyed.

April 24 is the remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide, a historical fact that Turkey, unfortunately, continues to deny. Imagine Germany claiming that Holocaust never happened? It is absurd, isn’t it?

In fact, Adolf Hitler cynically used this phrase to justify his horrendous acts:

Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?

Both Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide are historical facts. The only difference is that one is recognised, and one is yet to be recognised.

Twenty-nine countries accept the factuality of the Armenian Genocide. 44 US states do too…and the only two governments that directly deny the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide are Turkey and Azerbaijan.

The injustice is what bothers me. Not the politics. The pain that Armenians still feel is incredible. Each and every year for 101 years Armenians walk to the memorial to show their respect and tribute.

I first visited the memorial 10 years ago. With red tulips in my hand, I slowly made my long walk to the memorial. It was an opportunity to reflect and feel the pain of those who were victims of these atrocities.  This was when I realised that it was my responsibility to remember the past and to demand justice.

 

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Armenian Genocide Memorial

 

I was humbled to be part of the Armenian Genocide Commemoration Night in Sydney, last year and have my say through my speech.

 

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Commemoration night in Sydney

 

I visited my home country because…

I visited my home country because…

Part 1

Do you like to travel?  Let me ask you why? There is a good chance that it is to see the world and to experience new things. But sometimes the motif behind travelling is to relive your previous life, to bring back childhood memories and to test yourself.

How much had I changed since I came to Australia? Had my values and principles changed? What had I gained from living away from Armenia? What had I lost?

With these questions in mind, I boarded the plane from Sydney International airport and began the journey to my past. At least, that is how I saw the trip that I had planned for a considerable amount of time.

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The view from up above

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