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A new dawn, a new day

| 01.01,12. 12:58 AM |


A new dawn, a new day


January 1, 2012

AS THE endless rainbow symbol lit up the Sydney Harbour Bridge last night, it signalled the dawn of a new year - and fresh possibilities.

The four-coloured rainbow represents the theme for the next 12 months: time to dream.

If each new year is a blank canvas of sorts, now is the time to consider how it will be filled. Will we dream big, or are our concerns for the year ahead more prosaic?
We can take the four colours of the rainbow on the bridge for inspiration: yellow symbolising optimism, violet for peace, green for the environment and blue for the sea, sky and future aspirations.

Sydney-born designer Marc Newson, the creative director of the City of Sydney's New Year's Eve celebrations, conceived the rainbow to encourage us all to follow our dreams, large and small.

Newson knows about following dreams. Raised in the suburbs by his single mother, he graduated from Sydney College of the Arts before becoming one of the world's most influential designers.

His story shows that it is possible to achieve, but the stumbling block for many is often not so much the dream - Sydneysiders tend to be aspirational by nature - but the time factor.

In our permanently plugged-in culture, distraction from an array of electronic devices is constant. When was the last time we switched off, tuned out and simply sat and contemplated? And are we still idealistic enough to dream or has the daily grind blunted our optimism?

Newson describes dreaming as a luxury, and perhaps he is right. But for some it's a necessity. In the Middle East, the Arab Spring protests showed how powerful a collective dream of change can really be.

The global Occupy movement's dream of a fairer society has attracted controversy for its attacks on capitalism and its motley crew of protesters but it's proof that people are still prepared to think big and indulge in idealism.

Closer to home, many individuals are quietly pursuing their dreams, with spectacular results.

Take Brian Schmidt, the Australian National University professor who was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for leading one of two teams which discovered that the universe is blowing apart at an ever-increasing rate.

The astronomer donated $100,000 of his prize money to support science education for young people.

His mind-expanding research and generosity of spirit reveals that there are Australians among us who are not afraid to dream on a grand scale.

For many families, dreams are modest but no less important: a home of their own, a good education for their children, and more time to spend together.

Sydneysiders' dreams are perhaps more specific: a dream run down any of the city's main thoroughfares in peak hour, buses and trains that don't resemble sardine cans and a mortgage that doesn't look like a telephone number.

Last week a fair proportion of them were dreaming about finding a pair of shoes in their size at 70 per cent off in the post-Christmas sales.

And in the early hours of this morning, it's safe to say many were dreaming of finding a vacant taxi; evidence of our unflappable optimism if nothing else.

Achievable or not, this is the year we can all take a moment to dream.



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