SLACKTIVIST NATION? The new HIV activists of Oz

April 16, 2014

Has HIV activism really slackened off? Daniel Brace believes that it is alive and well in Australia.

Our history of HIV activism is certainly a remarkable one. Australia owes much to those committed individuals who at first challenged and then worked together with government to bring about change. The privileges people living with HIV enjoy today are due largely to those early HIV activists.

Poz Action tatoo.200-wide










Photo: Poz Action tattoos on display at recent Australasian HIV and AIDS Conference, Darwin

Sadly, many of them are not around anymore and of those who are, only a few have the energy to act up. Some are now senior and respected professionals in their own fields or within the community sector that emerged as a result of their struggle.

But what of the new generation of HIV activists? Have we really become a ‘slacktivist nation’? Are we all ‘armchair activists’, passively and virtually ‘liking’ every new cause? Are today’s self-proclaimed activists no more than professional marketers wanting to flex their multi-platform social media skills to improve their own employment opportunities?

Certainly, there have been seismic shifts in the way people now congregate, communicate and relate to issues. Networks are no longer limited by geography or post-reporting. Journalism has evolved and we now all have the ability to report news and to be followed. People can now be mobilized almost instantly. We may be physically disconnected, but we can all link-in to virtual community networks of like-minded people.

And if we look outside of HIV, for a moment—at gay marriage or refugee asylum, for example—we can see the attributes that we associate with traditional activism. We see community-driven, well-attended protests and rallies often mobilized by social media. They prove that, when necessary, we are still prepared to front-up and demonstrate our commitment to a cause.

While there are still issues within the HIV community worthy of a rally—stigma, discrimination, treatment access, prevention, gender inequality and inter-generational challenges to name a few—they do appear less urgent than those we fought for in the early days; when HIV treatments were being withheld and lives were at stake.

But across the globe there are many individuals working hard to change opinions and attitudes, to break down stigma, to increase and improve access to treatments, to reach out to vulnerable populations and to make sure that governments work harder to protect and care for those living with HIV. And many of these individuals are working here in Australia.

The ENUF campaign is a great example of HIV activism at work today.

Photo: ENUF activists congregate after the Melbourne Pride March

Online, individuals are able to investigate the research that sits behind the ENUF message. They can share their own experience of building resilience in the face of stigma and record the process of change as it happens. They can even sign a pledge to stand up and challenge HIV stigma should they encounter it; in other words, commit to becoming an activist themselves.

ENUF has achieved activist status by bringing people together under a banner with a challenge they believe in.

‘Poz Action’ is another example of organisation-based activism. Launched by NAPWHA at The Australasian HIV and AIDS Conference in Darwin, Poz Action is a national movement aimed at reinvigorating the HIV positive community-led response to the current and future needs of all those affected.

The red stamp is now being used by people living with HIV organisations across Australia to brand any work they do for the collective good.

But what about outside these organisations?

Positively Fabulous+is one example. This art project uses mannequins as a device to challenge issues relating to the 17 million women living with HIV worldwide.

‘Activism needs to be about getting attention in a way which challenges and stimulates discussion,’ says Melbourne-based organiser Kim Davis.

There are real groups of HIV positive Australians congregating in real time on social media for the purpose of activism. Some of this activist energy has even spilled over into the public arena. Voices are emerging that are not grounded within the HIV establishment, but are free agents for social change.

By acknowledging all forms of activism, great or small, individual or collective, as being driven by committed people wanting to influence change for the better, we will be stronger as a community. Handing the baton of activism onto those willing and ready for the challenge is about succession planning and the ongoing protection of our privileged position.

The latest HIV Futures Seven report shows our continuing need for positive action. While ART means that AIDS deaths are practically unheard of in Australia, nearly one third of PLHIV still live below the poverty line. Almost 50% of us worry about disclosing our status because of the current laws; and nearly a fifth of us have been diagnosed with depression in the past two years.

These worrying findings may not be enough to galvanize the broader community into rallies or protests, or even coax some of those original activists off their couches and into the streets; but it’s a reminder that there are still areas that need the directed energy of activism to challenge us to do better.

There is a strong and vocal community of HIV positive people who are not sitting idle or resting on the laurels of past success.

If we are to improve the lives of all people living with HIV, we need to acknowledge that these new activists are at work right now and join forces with them. Activism always needs new voices and new energy.

The nature of the epidemic and Australia’s response has changed. People with HIV are mostly living longer and better and can rise to the challenge of new responsibilities. We are better equipped now than ever before to invest in our own community, to support each other and to help reduce and stop the transmission of HIV.

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in Positive Living, the quarterly magazine of National Association of People Living with HIV Australia (NAPWHA), Written in response to Shirley Robinson’s Activism Revisited, both articles explore the past, present and future of HIV activism.

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Kim Robinson’s Signature Dry Cut Becomes World-Wide Trend

August 20, 2012

Western Australia native Kim Robinson has gone above and beyond when it comes to hair styling. Yet the renowned maestro of cuts and colour does more than just wow his A-list clientele with his unparalleled skill because working with celebrities such as Kate Moss, Cindy Crawford, Gong Li, Carina Lau Kar-ling and Sandy Lam Yik-ling does not happen over night with just any stylist. So what is Kim Robinson’s signature move behind the chair? Dry cuts.

It seems like a simple alteration from the usual wet hair cut, but it takes much more steel, poise, and experience to earn a name as a great dry cut stylist. Due to the way hair differs when it moves and lies down naturally for everyone, adjusting a technique for each individual is not a task easily mastered by just anyone. Not only is the idea of a dry cut designed to differ from person to person, it is made to be easily styled due to its natural shape.

After opening his self-named studio based in Singapore, Kim Robinson has taken the time to train each of his proteges in the signature technique he is well known for. Since then, clientele have been flocking to kimrobinson studio in order to experience the luxurious comfort of the studio and each has walked away with a beautiful cut and tint that is unique to them.

Finding a stylist who has mastered the dry cut can be a challenge. Visit kimrobinson studio to find a sure match with an expert stylist who will give you the most complimentary style.

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Prestigious Hairstylist Kim Robinson Around the World

July 30, 2012

Native to Western Australia, Kim Robinson began his passionate career over three decades ago and has since become a renowned hair stylist of fashion shows and magazines such as French Vogue. His prestigious clientele have included Princess Diana, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss, amongst others, with more lining up.

Upon arriving in Hong Kong, Kim’s love for the fast paced, ever changing fashion world blossomed and took him all over the world. From Asia, he travelled to Europe to hone in on his skills with Vidal Sassoon. In France, he styled for many couture collections such as Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent.

After years of his solo journey, however, Kim Robinson began his self-named studio in Singapore where his proteges and colleagues have found themselves washing, tinting, and cutting the hair of many well known figures. He also began to teach his dry-cut technique for which is has garnered his fame.

With his own A-list full to capacity, Kim looks to pamper those he can all over the world with products ranging from scalp treatments to growth therapy. Yet despite his busy life, Robinson continues to extend a helping hand wherever he can. This last April, Kim found himself and five willing stylists to cut and donate 20-25 centimeters of hair from women while giving them a gorgeous new look. The money raised from this endeavour went to the Children’s Medical Foundation to help programs for newborns in rural China.

Kim Robinson continues to turn heads with his masterful styling and tips, and winning personality that never fails to charm.

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Wheel2Wheel founder finishes amazing 125-day adventure

July 14, 2011

Morgan Parker, founder of non profit organization Wheel2Wheel, has come home…and he even arrived in style. Arriving on the 4th July at around noon, he was welcomed by friends, family, local motorbike riders as well as supporters. He led a pack of people mighty proud of his achievement. After all, how long has it been since a Brisbane, Australia native finished some 25,000 kilometers through Hong Kong, China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Timor-Leste and finally in his native Australia? We may be wrong but we have a feeling that no other Australian has done something like this…and all for charity!

Truly, what Morgan Parker did was an amazing feat. His transcontinental charitable motorcycle expedition took him 125 days on the road but in all these 10 countries, he was able to raise awareness and even provide financial assistance to 10 brilliant yet under-recognized charitable organizations throughout Asia and Australia. To say that what Morgan Parker did was truly inspirational may even still be an understatement.

The Wheel2Wheel founder rode his trusty BMW F800GS motorbike through some of the region’s most beautiful and challenging terrain. He has truly shown persistence, will, dedication and passion for the under-privileged. His feat has become a reminder for those who have lost hope. His feat also serves as an inspiration for those who want to become heroes in their own right. Nothing is impossible. One can start small and one can also start with a big bang. What’s important is that one DOES something.

Morgan Parker’s feat is a great example of someone out there who is willing to cross borders, if only to help some people in need.

Wheel2Wheel is an innovative independent non-profit organisation created to raise awareness and provide financial assistance to brilliant yet under-recognised charitable organisations throughout Australasia. Wheel2Wheel is carbon neutral and entirely self-funded.

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Westlaw International Blog – Hong Kong’s Legal Network Blog

January 9, 2009

Trusted by hundreds of thousands of law practitioners, students, academics, government and corporations world-wide, Westlaw International provides comprehensive legal research solutions with global coverage

Executive Centre: episode 3 – Focus on your business

December 15, 2008 presents Lisa Cheng in this third episode where she transforms her business from chaos to calm. Executive Centre serviced offices takes care of your business needs so you can focus on managing your business.介紹Lisa在這第三集,如何把她的業務從混亂到整潔。行政中心的服務型寫字樓照顧您的業務需求,使您可以集中精力管理您的業務。

Executive Centre: episode 2 – “Chaos to Calm” serviced office transformation

December 10, 2008 from Chaos to Calm. Piles of paperwork disappear as Lisa goes from Chaos to Calm in this serviced office transformation episode 2. Executive Centre whenever and where ever you do business.