Join Date: May 2006
Jussi, I'm going to ramble a bit here, so I would ask you to be patient with me.
In my misspent youth I had some sort of a distorted idea that one day I'd get selected in an Olympic Games team.
I was a fanatic cyclist. This fanaticism lasted a bit longer than my youth, but what I'm going to say here is relevant to that long ago time, so I'll just concentrate on that period.
At that time the Olympic Games was about equivalent to a Holy Crusade for amateur athletes. Runners, swimmers, wrestlers, cyclists, everybody who had an ounce of ambition and was an amateur sportsman had his --- or her --- eyes firmly fixed on the chance of a gold medal. If it wasn't going be a medal, well, selection in a Games team was almost as good. Just being there meant that you'd made it.
In those days Olympic athletes were all very much younger than they are today. You tended to think in terms of the Games by 22, and if you were a cyclist, you then went to Europe, rode as an independent for a couple of years, got into a professional team, and hey presto Jacques Anquetil's your uncle.
Well, that was the dream. Virtually nobody from the Land of Oz realised that dream back in the 1950's.
But we tried.
In those long ago days amateurs were amateurs.
Cyclists who wanted to ride the national selection races were told that if they took more than two weeks off work to train in the month preceeding the test races that they would automatically be disqualified. This was considered to be a professional action, and not in the spirit of amateur sport.
An Australian road champion who was selected to represent was thrown out of the Games team because it was discovered that as a 12 year old he had raced for sweepstakes with his mates around the houses where he lived. He appealed this dismissal and was grudgingly allowed back into the team.
But anyway, that was the spirit of the times. At least it was in Oz, and a few other countries.
The Eastern Block countries, notably East Germany can be credited with putting a stop to amateurism as we knew it then.When the blokes in white hats found that they were consistently getting beaten by the blokes in black hats, and those blokes in black hats were getting well paid to do the job, the white hats were taken off and thrown out the window, and amateur sportsmen were re-evaluated as political weapons. The Olympic Games became a battle ground of nations, rather than a shrine to the ideals of brotherly competition. Members of national teams became employees of the state, and were permitted to maximise monetary return for their sporting skills, subject to a few rules being followed.
This state of affairs reached its natural conclusion a few years ago when the Olympic Games, that shrine of purity to the human spirit was opened to professional sportsmen.
The Games are no longer about the striving of the individual, but are now a fully blown political battleground with the warriors supported by national budgets.
The Olympic Games are now unabashedly about power, money and political prestige --- not necessarily in that order.
Well, I guess this reflects the dominant attitude of almost everybody today. Its probably a natural outgrowth of the outdated system of continual economic growth and expansion that we all contribute to in one way or another.
I reckon the Baron must be spinning in his grave.
But I'm a bit of a dinosaur.
I add up with a pencil and paper; I shave with a straight razor; I split wood with an axe, and I use a bow saw, not a chain saw.
I also have an irrational yearning for the days when money was not equated to God, and people did things for other people simply because it made them feel good.
And that brings me to my point.
If somebody asks me for assistance, and I can give that assistance, I will give it.
As far as keris go I've given probably hundreds of free appraisals and opinions, and I've enjoyed doing it. Its something I do have a little bit of skill in, and I don't mind sharing that skill.
There is no way I could ever be a part of a cash-for-service arrangement involving keris appraisal.
However, that said --- and it took me long enough to say it --- I do not want to see this keris discussion group tainted with any of the commercial aspects of keris collecting. The primary reason I am here at all is to try to assist others in the study of the keris and its culture. In my opinion any part of the commercial aspect of keris collecting has no place at all here. There are plenty of other places for that.
In some respects I have never moved out of the 1950's. I like the idea of fellowship for the sake of fellowship, not fellowship for the sake of money. Its the old amateur ideals that I just can't get rid of.
Now I'll make a recommendation that could change your life:- sit down and watch the movie "Chariots of Fire".