24 December 2012 - Merry Christmas

[audio:http://clancytucker.blog.com/files/2012/12/When-A-Child-Is-Born-Full.mp3|titles=When A Child Is Born (Full)]



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MERRY CHRISTMAS


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G'day guys,


Well, it's Christmas Eve and most of us have made it. You might like to click on the small arrow above and listen to a great Christmas song by Johnny Mathis - a magnificent voice.


Well, how lucky are we? Christmas time can be an exciting time for many, but for some it is a time of depression, poverty or hunger - a time when so many feel lonely. Over the years I have spent Christmas day in a variety of places with an extraordinary mix of people. One year I gave up a magnificent lunch with my family to spend the day feeding homeless men in Melbourne, Australia. It was an amazing day. However, I was stunned by how few people had volunteered their time. Another year, 1973, I spent the day in a restaurant in Rome, eating pizza, but did manage to meet a beautiful Colombian lady who is still a very close friend.


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Another year, a mate and I who were sharing a house, invited eleven people to our house for Christmas dinner. All of them would have spent Christmas day alone. What did we provide? Everything - full dinner, colourful hats, pudding, cake ... even gifts. They were diverse individuals but all of us laughed and got on like a house on fire. It was a top day, and some of those people still mention that Christmas lunch.


One particular Christmas Day I sat fishing with Thai orphans on a pier, eating Thai food. Most of the kids caught fish, but I did not. What was that old parable about the loaves and fishes? Mm ... that particular year was my best Christmas Eve ever. I arrived in the south of Thailand to catch up with a man I'd loved for more than 3o years - Pa, an American Jesuit priest who gave fifty years to the great unwashed.


I'd travelled by train for 600 kilometres and arrived at the final station to find no one waiting for me. However, not concerned, I slowly strolled to the exit prepared to grab a taxi, stunned by what happened next. I'd just passed the main buildings and heard an extraordinary chorus of voices singing Waltzing Matilda. Guess who it was? Yep, my great friend, Pa, had taught his Thai kids, about forty of them, the words of a song that is considered to be Australia's unofficial national anthem. Standing behind the kids was the biggest kid of all, wearing a cheesy grin and a colourful floral shirt - Pa. What a moment in life, eh? I wiped my eyes and hugged a man who could swear as good as me. How did I meet him? Well, I was previously introduced to him by one of his stunning kids, Boo, who was eight years-of-age. Loved ya work, Pa ... loved ya work!


Many countries celebrate Christmas in different ways. Thailand, a country of 70 million people, is 98% Buddhist, but man do they honour Christmas. Sure, many foreigners (farangs) live in Thailand, but the Thai people seem to enjoy celebrating. The photograph below was taken by me some years back. It is a doll, attached to a massive Christmas tree in front of a big shopping complex. It must have been ten metres in height. Not far away was the biggest sleigh I've ever seen with six life-sized reindeers, and Christmas jingles played softly as you walked through the shopping malls. Amazing.


You probably wonder why I always seem to mention Thailand and South East Asia on this blog. Well, it's a beautiful part of the world and I make no apologies for loving it, especially the people. Fell in love with it a long time ago. The poorest people have a generosity that I have not seen in the western world.


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Copyright Clancy Tucker (c)


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It's been a busy year for me. I've had four trips to hospital, lost the top of a finger and have worked long hours on various fronts. Some of the issues I'm involved in have been regularly mentioned in my posts - some have not. You have probably noticed an image at the bottom of each daily post; an image of someone who has, or is, doing it tough. There's plenty of them. Trust me. Those images are a reminder for us who are doing okay - those of us who have food, water and shelter.


I've done much to promote my brand this year, but also promoted the work of other writers, human rights lawyers, other blogs, illustrators, photographers, inspiring young adults, translators etc. Why not? Wow, the world has so many interesting and talented people, and I'd like to thank all of you who have appeared on my blog during the year. Networking with people can provide side benefits. This year I've connected with hundreds of people from around the globe and many have become great friends. To all of you, don't forget that the road to a friend's house is a short road. Send me an email should any of you be heading to the land 'Downunder'. Always a spare bed.


I wish all of my readers and your families and friends the very best, whether you are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. Many sincere thanks to those who have offered me personal assistance during the year - those, like my brother and some good mates. Also, one of my Vietnam Vet mates, Eddie Stephens, who physically stepped up to the plate and organised things that matter when you need a helping hand. Grazie tanto!


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Let's hope the leaders of the world see a very bright star in the sky, have a good, hard look at themselves in a large mirror and make some worthwhile decisions for those for whom they supposedly represent. Sadly, from my perspective, I can't see anyone walking out of the mist to lead us to the promised land.


What did I enjoy most about writing this blog? Well, my favourite moment was whilst watching a video on Scott Neeson's post (24 September 2012). You know, the guru from Fox Studios who gave up the good life to care for orphans in Cambodia. There was a moment in the video when I saw two kids sitting in a rubbish dump, poring over a book they'd found. Man, I wanted to leap into the video, give them a hug and give them a copy of my books.


Amen!


Now, here is a selection of pictures of issues and people who have appeared on my blog this year:


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A superstar!


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Love ya work, Bob!


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Wow, such talent!


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Inspirational character!


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A brilliant artist!


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Thank you for sharing your land!


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The great man himself!


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A great advocate!


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Thanks, Doc!


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What a Saint!


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Watch this space!


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What a star!


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My favourite photo this year!


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My favourite flag!


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Loved ya work!


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Two wonderful warriors.


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An outstanding monarch!


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One of my mentors!


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Love ya work!


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Brilliant photographer.


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The future!


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Thanks for your company ... and for listening. Life's short ... use it. There's plenty to do. Now, you might have wondered about me as you read my blog during the year. Mm ... not much to say really, just a guy who has had amazing experiences in life and met some extraordinary people who have influenced me - mostly the poorest of the poor. What did I learn from them? Probably humility, and an appreciation and respect for those doing it tough.


 What's my ultimate dream in being a writer, storyteller, photographer and author? Simple, actually. I love my creative talents, but my main aim is to be successful enough to offer scholarships to those who were born on the tough side of town - any village, any country, anywhere, any time. Yep, that's my dream. We're here for a short time, but I'd like to pass something on ... and for them to pass on to others what I have offered to them. I call it the 'Village Theory'. We all live in a big village, so let's do what we can to help others along the way.


So, folks, let's do something special this Christmas. Know someone who is grumpy, lonely, homeless or just mixed up - maybe complete strangers, but who cares? Do a 'Clancy Tucker' on them. Walk up, smile and shake their hand firmly, but say nothing. It might just be the nicest thing that has happened to them in a long while. Can't  hurt, eh?


Better still, share your Christmas with them. Invite them home. I've always brought strays to our Christmas celebrations. One year I brought a mate and his three young kids who were 5, 7 and 8 years-of-age. Why, because their mother had left them the year before. Those kids were gob smacked by two things. There was a place for each of them at the long table and each place had a name tag. Also, my entire family had bought them gifts. Those kids are now in their thirties but they still recall that Christmas day with fond memories.


Oh, I almost forgot ... love ya work!


Now, check out this beautiful Christmas tree. It is written in Italian, but you'll get the idea. Click on 'Auguri' below ...


Auguri


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As always ... I'm ...