Opinion: How to turn a First World Problem into a solution for the less fortunate

Monday February 16 2015, 2:00pm

So, I'm sitting there in front of the idiot box (as my dad used to call it - I'm sure if he were alive today, he'd bask in the glory of his terminology for "Television" given the plethora of (un)reality shows on the box nowadays) and thinking about the first world problems we face.

Things like 'what's on Facebook worth reading' and 'why didn't they send ME a copy of that?"; like 'why does Jetstar only allow 7 kg of carry-on luggage when it used to be 10?' (have you ever weighed your luggage and realised just how much clothing, footwear and bag can be packed into a 7kg load?); like 'is this the worst Prime Minister Australia's had for a generation?'; like 'how come the dumb people of Queensland voted out the LNP after one single term?' and other mind-numbingly innocuous questions......

 When, on said Idiot Box comes a story from the Middle East - where, dear reader, it's WINTER (and I mean a middle eastern winter, not a tropical winter, not even an Adelaide or Melbourne winter, but a middle east winter - where refugees from the conflict in Syria, living in tent 'cities' don't have enough fuel to keep themselves warm; where every morning the able-bodied (of which there are less and less each day) scrape the snow off the roof of the tents, where the men and women and children - children! - don't have warm clothing, don't have socks, sometimes (many times?) don't have shoes!  No socks or shoes in WINTER - can you imagine it? 

Well, that got me thinking; thinking about my own wardrobe (walk-in, of course, as we all seem to have in Australian suburbia), and the t-shirts lined up - not colour-coordinated, but lined up on hangers nonetheless; next to the dozen or so polo shirts of different makes, styles and colours; next to the long-sleeved shirts (about 10, all bought by mail order from a tailor in London - London, I say, that's "London, England!!") and on the side wall, a few pairs of tailored and off-the-rack shorts, accompanied by a few pairs of jeans and a couple of pairs of slacks.  

Oh, then the hanging-thing my wife put there to store my socks, jocks, and other paraphernalia.

Thinking, too, about the 'other wardrobe', in "Emma's Bedroom" so called because Emma (our younger daughter) lived with us for a few months before heading west, then south-east and finally to Tasmania - about 8 years ago!  

Now, that wardrobe contains what I affectionately call 'my winter clothing' or 'my European holiday clothing', as if we travel to Europe at the drop of a hat.  

But, you've got to have it, haven't you, when you live 11 1/2 months a year in The Tropics.  Bluey jacket, Wild Country Japara jacket (with hood, of course), together with pullovers, a few shirts left over from my days with the SA and Qld police, and none of that even touches on the casual and semi-formal boots, shoes (lace up and slip-on), running shoes, cycling jerseys and knicks, foul weather jackets and the like.

Like two pairs of black lace-up shoes that I hardly wear, and a pair that I NEVER wear, and boots (lace up) that I'll never wear again but which are in great condition.

Thinking............ what on earth am I doing with all this, when so many have so little?  

Plan germinating in mind, I contacted a friend of some local and national influence and the seed was sown.  

How about this?

The push to clothe those poor unfortunates, dispossessed of their homes and home country; who've lost everything of a commercial value - their clothes, their houses, their jobs - as well as those of familial and sentimental value - their loved ones and the ability to keep warm, well fed and well-housed - could start right here in Douglas Shire, Tropical North Queensland, in the warmest time of the year, in order to relieve the suffering of those much less-fortunate than ourselves.  

I suspect that a local trucking company (maybe even a multi-national) could warehouse and transport clothing, etc., from here to Cairns, thence to be airlifted to wherever it's destined after we lobby airlines to assist.  

All it takes is for everyone to go through their wardrobes and drawers and donate whatever you reckon you can do without to help people on the other side of the world get through this and future winters.

My guitar teacher (very good teacher, very poor student) taught me one idiom - "if it is to be, it's up to me."  Well, that's good enough to get me started.  

Are you in?