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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 June 2015
NEWS 10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 JUNE 2015 Ex ungue leonem Nick Andricopoulos aspires to unite Greek motorbike riders from Canada to Oz and beyond under the PanHellenic Motorcycle Association ASHLEY LOH-SMITH Motorcyclists have unfortunately been given a bad reputation in recent years due to the unsavoury actions of a few groups and individuals. However, the truth is that the majority of bikers, clad in patch-covered leather vests and sitting atop a rumbling Harley-Davidson, are simply enthusiasts of motorcycle culture and want to share their passion with like-minded people. One of the many groups promoting this spirit is the PanHellenic Motorcycle Association (PHMA), founded and based in Canada, but with interest already spreading throughout other countries. They are registered as a non-profit corporation and aim to promote friendship and unity, not only amongst riders of Greek heritage, but also in the wider community through partnerships with Hellenic organisations and philanthropic groups. Australian-born Nick Andricopoulos is one of PHMA's founders and its national president, and speaks highly of the individuals in his organisation. "The association has been formed by a body of dedicated, passionate founders which is reflected by the select members that are currently wearing the PanHellenic insignia," he explains. "The quality of our members and those interested in becoming future members are, in simple terms, reinforcing this solid foundation that is making this Hellenic association within Canada presently one of the most desired and sought-out groups." In hoping to change the public's perception of motorcyclists, all PHMA members must adhere to a strict code of conduct and are strongly encouraged to adhere to safe riding techniques, lest they face expulsion for putting fellow road users or the public at risk. Furthermore, whilst it is typically - and unfortunately - the behaviour of criminal motorcyclist gangs that tends to draw the media's attention, they are substantially outnumbered by associations and clubs who are making positive contributions to their respective communities. PHMA is one of those associations, and despite being founded barely a year ago, Mr Andricopoulos has disclosed that it is currently in internal discussions to select an affiliated charity for which it can raise donations. "One charity is geared to assist with housing; another is about children; another is about fighting terrible diseases," he says. "We will do everything we can as Hellenes in promoting our values in the spirit of philotimo and philanthropy as we as a culture are well known for." Even at this early stage of their existence, they already have one high-profile honorary member in the form of Alexandros Ioannidis, Greece's Consul General in Toronto. PHMA's chapters organise regular group rides within their region, promote Greek networking events, and even arrange bike blessings with the Greek Orthodox Church - a seemingly unusual custom to most, but not uncommon amongst motorcycle aficionados. PHMA’s back patch insignia. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Let’s go Greek! New app map of Greece. breaks down communication barriers between the elderly and aged care workers ASHLEY LOH-SMITH Big hearts behind the leather and denim. Mr Andricopoulos explains that this practice is similar to the Hellenic tradition of blessing one's own home each year - "the Greek Orthodox religion is part of all of us" - and for riders, is done at the beginning of the riding season. "We motorcyclists share the road with many, and there is no safety feature if something were to unfortunately happen to us. "Therefore we look upon this as a means to have a safe riding season as our journeys are based on the pleasure of riding and safe travels, just as we wish our family and home prosperity and good fortune after it has been blessed." The association's motto, as seen on the striking back patch worn by PHMA members, derives from the Latin ex ungue leonem - 'from the claw (we may judge of) the lion' - and if their kind deeds and positive attitudes are anything to go by, the roar of a motorcycle could very well herald a new force for good in the global Greek community. A new iPhone and iPad app has been developed to assist communication between elderly Greek Australians and carers who look after them. The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia (GOCSA) collaborated with Custom Business Apps to create 'Let's Go Greek!', which can be used as a quick reference tool to find commonly used words and phrases in Greek when bilingual staff are not available to assist. Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Luisa Stenta, GOCSA's Community Care Services manager said: "We've released this app free of charge, as we strongly believe that this resource will benefit and support most professionals who communicate with Greek speaking people as well as Greek language students of all years of age.”. With a steadily increasing population of Greeks in Australia requiring the services of workers in the health and aged care industry, the app has a particular focus on including words relating to health, parts of the body, religion, basic instructions, feelings, and even includes a "Our goal is to help the Greek Australian community benefit from a culturally responsive service," said Ms Stenta. Users are able to press a button to hear the word spoken in Greek, and can create a customised list of frequently used expressions. Each word also has an accompanying image to clarify its meaning. Despite the main intention behind its development, the app is also useful to individuals who are either learning Greek or travelling in Greece, with sections for greetings, numbers, and food. Marianthi Kosmarikou, GOCSA's community care services officer, said she was pleased with the response to the app since it was released in March. "The first feedback we got from Apple is definitely positive," she says, but would like to see more users give their opinions on it. "At the moment we have only been given the ratings from 15 per cent of the 343 people who downloaded the app. They find it really useful and practical." The largest number of downloads has been from the Asia-Pacific region, which includes Australia, which represents 37 per cent of the app's users. There have also been downloads in the US and Europe, at 28 per cent and 26 per cent of users respectively. 'Let's Go Greek!' is free to download through the iTunes App Store. Maria Mazis receives Vic Premier’s Award Victorian Premier's Awards have been bestowed on 250 students from across the state who have excelled in their VCE exams. Among them is Maria Mazis, a Greek schoolgirl who migrated just a few years ago to Australia. "I arrived here with my family in July 2012 after finishing the third year of Greek high school," Ms Mazis said. "When I came here I went back to ninth grade, midyear." Each PHMA member chooses to represent a region of Greece - this rider is representing Santorini. Two of PHMA’s members. Maria says that she encountered a completely different reality in Australia, as the educational system has almost nothing in common with its Greek counterpart. She went to the Language Centre to assess her standard of English. "I was studying English since I was 8 years old," she said during an interview with SBS Radio. "My level of reading comprehension and writing skills were quite good, however my ability to speak has improved significantly thanks to my teachers." Three years later, she is attending year 12 and not only has she managed to reach the level of her English-speaking classmates but she exceeded her teachers' expectations with a score of 47/50. "My dream is to pursue medicine and biochemistry, and it takes a great deal of effort," she said. "I've always been a good student, but being in a new country with so many opportunities has inspired me to work even harder."
20 June 2015
4 July 2015