A Sibyl Watches Over the Myanmar Elections 2015

by Sue Lees

Myanmar election quote

Myanmar Historic General Election November 8 2105

Travels with a Sybil: We don’t stay home and knit when we retire!!!

Democracy is such an ordinary concept to us. We argue about how well it functions in aspects of our politics but ultimately we expect a democratic society to operate. Myanmar (Burma) has had no such belief. Democracy in Myanmar has been a cherished but fragile idea.

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I was privileged to have the opportunity to be in Myanmar for the November 8 2015 election as an accredited international election observer under the auspices of APHEDA (Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad also called Union Aid Abroad, which is the overseas aid agency of the ACTU) and under the leadership of Professor Damien Kingsbury, Deakin University.

Our purpose was to observe the election process – pre-polling, Election Day, counting and report any inconsistencies and problems. Particularly any opportunities that became apparent for influencing the voting. As observers we were to be highly visible, non-partisan and not allowed to interfere.

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The most positive outcome available from the electoral process that had been instigated would be (and now is) ‘Guided Democracy’ with the military constitutionally maintaining 25% of parliament and three key ministries – interior, defence and border security. The NLD must now govern with some of the military influence intact, but in can be argued that, at this stage, a full democracy with a party that has no governing experience could be unwise.

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I say that I was privileged because I had the opportunity not only to participate in the election process but also to meet and hear the Burmese. To find out what was important to them:

“Our vote is our chance to fight back”.

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Voiceless politically for so long, they were determined to be heard.

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Sue Lees, Venice, 2014

Sue Lees, Venice, 2014

Sue Lees, 56, is a retired teacher and apprentice Sibyl. Despite traveling from Australia to work as a volunteer in schols in Nepal and Timor and now observing electiona in Myanmar, she says she is quiet and quite insignificant!

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Please Squeeze: Why Pelvic Floor Exercises Count at your age!

by Annie James

Sibylesque Pelvic Floor Joke quote

A bit of essential leg-crossing when there’s no loo nearby? Not too keen on star jumps or sneezing bouts? The resorting to panty-liners to blot the odd leak? These are all signs that your pelvic floor muscles would like some attention, some action.

With age and especially following a vaginal delivery, the cradle of muscles around urethra (urine outlet) become less effective in contracting well and exercises may be all that’s required to make them effective again. The results can be seen quickly and the problem resolved. If you don’t know whether you’re using the correct muscles you can try stopping your urine flow mid-stream. This is not recommended as an exercise but will give you the correct sensation of ‘drawing up’ your pelvic floor and you’ll then be able to do it whenever you want.

Sibylesque  Pelvic Floor Joke

Ideally do it at least 6 times, 2-3 times a day, and try and vary length of hold, and how high you feel you’re lifting. It shouldn’t be obvious to anyone that you’re doing the exercises so make sure you breath normally! I know it seems a lot of exercise for one lot of muscles but if you do them say, once at traffic lights, once lying in bed and once when cleaning teeth or waiting for a coffee, it’s a breeze.

Please note, if you don’t have an idea of how to do the exercise or the problems continue, do see your GP or a specialist Physiotherapist for advice and other treatment.

Believe me, you’ll enjoy a much happier older age if you keep these muscles active; improves enjoyment of sex too!

You will find everything you could ever want to know about incontinence and more if you download this brochure from the Continence Foundation of Australia.

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Babylonian Sibyl

Babylonian Sibyl

Annie James is an adventurous spirit, who is passionate about women’s health. She has worked as a physiotherapist and also hikes and plays tennis.

Photo source: Social History Archives

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