Wednesday, May 18, 2011

To plank or not to plank?

Planking is described as "in which a person has their photo taken while they lie motionless on their stomach in various locations"(Herald Sun 16/5/11)and I could add "on various things". It's even got rules on how to plank, and it's become a craze in this last couple of weeks. Some claim that it was the death of Acton BEALE in attempting a risky plank that spiked the trend, which maybe true, but the week prior planking made the news. It may have been David Williams who brought it to light when planking to celebrate a try scored in an NRL game. But it's definitely peaked and the fruit rather than the source of the craze is the subject of this blog.

I first came across planking about 4 years ago on, and the pictures there had no such attempts of trying to see how risky one could get. They were just people planking in well known areas, such as Ayers Rock, Paris, Sydney Opera House etc. And then a friend posted a picture of a news worker planking the news panel desk. (Izzy that's you!) However, other's have felt the urge to get more creative, and more risky to make their plank better than the others. So now I've seen photo's of people planking on train tracks, high structures, under a car even? etc etc. Sure there are ways to be creative without having to get dangerous, but last weekends tragic event was a reminder that we can all take things a little bit too far. And today I hear another person is in a coma after planking a moving car.

But regardless of how it came about it begs to question, how did a craze which is undeniably unaggressive and harmless lead to the death of a plank practitioner and recently serious injuries to other individuals? Well apparently it comes with trying to perform the pose in high risk situations.

Why? I think the obvious answer is to compete with other's who have attempted similarly dangerous planks. Specifically to out do, and go further on somebody elses plank. Now we're pretty bombarded with cooking shows, talent shows, amazing race etc etc. But this is where we all really need to check ourselves, will we allow our competitive nature to get to such a degree as to hurting even KILLING ourselves in a state where you're practically in a stationery position?! There aren't even any judges or prizes involved, planking at present is purely egotistical, and

So if you're going to plank, plank safe and try to stick to the rules below.

1. Don't plank on high structures
2. Plank with responsible friends (you know what I mean?)
3. Be creative without having to jeopordise your safety.

It's funny, it's undoubtedly Australian, and unfortunately although it's nothing like bungee jumping, it has it's risks. So if you're going to plank, plank safe. Personally, I like the creative planks, safe places, effort in thinking of the environment and obviously not looking at the thrill of targeting a dangerous spot/situation. But truly, if you're really enthusiastic about this, go professional and find some sponsors. I think this guy in the photo below is a winner.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Kings Speech

Dear Reader, before you go any further, please note that this blog is not a review on the actual film.

In fact I just want to harbor on the point that this movie makes about having a voice. I am in no way advocating the film (as it does have scenes of profane language although is character relative), but when I was first exposed to it, I must admit that I had an urge to see the film, and caved in to getting the dvd to watch today. The story was much better than I had expected.

If you haven't seen it, it is simply a story about King George VI, known as Albert Frederick Arthur George, prior to his ascension to the throne being trained up by Lionel Logue (your average Australian bloke) to overcome his stutter. The time setting is the 1930's and Arthur George is in his adult years. The wireless and the radio broadcasts were making their mark in society much the same as blogging, and social networking have pervaded todays society. I even love the term used in the movie to affirm King George VI "You are now a broadcaster". A broadcaster? Who uses these words? The unlikely pair strike up a unique friendship which allows the King to overcome his stutter by simply facing his fears with the help of a friend. The relationship moves on even further during King George VI reign and Lionel is awarded and formally recognised for his personal contribution to the King.

Lionel Logue

This film illustrates how important it is for us to train our voice, and speech. Our mind is capable of receiving a huge amount of data, but to transcribe it and communicate it is a different ball game altogether. The person who is able to deliver it in such a skillful and tactful manner, is the person who draws attention, and is able to influence thoughts to continue the cycle all over again. Such people have been a huge cog in the machine of history, such names are Hitler, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Margaret Thatcher, Emeline Pankhurst, John F Kennedy, Winston Churchill, just to name a few. Each of the names mentioned led an incredible movement and was able to change the thinking of peoples in their time. In fact as a 10yr old child, I was moved and compelled to speak like Martin Luther King Jr when I first heard his "I have a dream" speech.

We shouldn't take our voice for granted, you must speak with that voice, because people want to hear what you have to say. Even if they don't, when you speak, and if you speak with skill, tact, and an intent to influence the mind of the receiver(s), your voice will attract and demand and audience on cue. It's a shame that this type of training no longer happens in our schools. English classes have an attempt to teach us the mechanics, but to teach with purpose doesn't seem to happen. Unless of course, you were trained from a young age. I'm thankful that I have been:

  1. brought up in a Christian household where it's crucial that I am able to communicate the gospel in a clear, simple yet impressionable manner
  2. I'm Samoan, and being able to speak skillfully is a must. So I have a double portion of blessings from parents who were both Christian and Samoan.
  3. Furthermore, my high school teacher Mr Murchision, had a real interest and passion about speech. He asked me who I thought was a good speaker, I said Martin Luther King Jr. He then referred me to books, and videos, and my mind drew in on the vision that Martin Luther King Jr had. From that point on, I knew that to speak was to add and influence. Public speaking, performing, rapping was never the same for me after that point.
In saying that I believe it is important that you are able to find somebody to train you in speaking. Especially someone that knows and is experienced in delivering a purpose fulfilled message.

The Kings Speech confirmed whole heartedly that the core of speech impediments are based on fear. or for want of a more better term, lack of confidence. My evidence is based on numerous people that I have known, (my wife, dad and brother) where the mere thought of public speaking shook the words right out of their mouth, to developing the ability to speak with confidence to any given audience. The common thread these people all have is that they came to know the person of Jesus. And in my personal walk, after that you can't help but speak with purpose, the purpose is what conceives confidence, and with confidence you speak words from One whose words are laced with wisdom beyond comprehension. I love hearing great speakers, and I love speaking, and when speaking on Christs behalf, in every moment, you and me are delivering the Kings speech.