Campus Review 'Me and Mine' Column

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The 'Me and Mine' Column, Campus Review 18 July 2002

Picture of Madeline Gass

Who and what are you?
I am Madeline Gass and my Father works at the University of Wollongong, my Mother used to work at the University of Sydney before I turned up, and my Grand Father wrote the story on page 10 of this paper.

What major project are you working on?

At the moment I am mostly just trying to be. This is something I will continue to do all my life. It is terribly important, and must never be confused with being busy or useful. Later on I will go to a University, probably the University of Wollongong or the ANU. Grandad hopes that I do a course which will help me to understand the causes of all things. He says ‘Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas’, which is probably right most of the time.

What do you hope to achieve by it?

I hope to be able to lead an interesting life and leave the world having improved it in some small way. I believe that I need to become well educated in the disciplines that enlarge my understanding of the world and how it works, and that in this way I will be able to live without harming other people or disturbing their lives by being fundamentally in error. This is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Pol Pot was a Cambridge graduate, but that did not stop him being a monster and wrong in everything he did. I do not want that sort of education.

What is your bedtime reading?

I like the colours and shapes in ‘Australian Birds’ and in ‘Wildflowers of Western Australia’. I also like our family photo albums because I know the people in them. They are familiar in the original sense of that word. I notice that when one gets older, the familiar gets more spread out. I think this is what education is.

Seen any good movies lately?


Like anything on TV?

I like rocking and rolling to ‘Rage’. My favourites are Shakira and Kylie Minogue. I also like the Beethoven Symphony series on the ABC and my favourite song is ‘Yellow’.

Been to any good restaurants – if so where?

The Verandah Restaurant at the Balgownie Hotel, Wollongong. They have great food and Nanna says they do not cost the earth. Also they are interested in people my age and don’t trip over me when I am running around the place minding my own business. The food arrives quickly, which is important for a person of my age and hunger.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about my friends who I play with; people like my Mum, my Nanna and my cousins. They are incredibly interesting people who seem to know everything. People are so interesting and so important. I want to know lots of them as I get bigger. I want to understand them and know what it is that causes them to be happy. This, to my way of thinking right now, is a very important project.

What embarrasses you?

My bottom seems to have a life of its own. The bigger people seem to have worked out how to control theirs. When mine misbehaves I have to find somewhere private to deal with it. When I was younger I was not embarrassed by it, but I notice that as you get older you can become more embarrassed about things. I think that education might even begin at my stage of life. In fact an uneducated person may never be embarrassed about anything much.

Short sharp message to the education minister?

Listen carefully Dr Nelson. I am the future. You can be a great help to me, like my Grandad says Mr Menzies and Mr Whitlam were for him. Or you can massively put things wrong like he says Mr Dawkins and Dr Kemp did. But he says he was lucky, because when they did that it was too late to have a bad effect on his life. Listen to your heart and not to your advisers. You have the capacity to get it right, and when you do you will give millions of people like me a good start in life.


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