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Unsung Heroes recognized in Queens Birthday Honours -PHILIP FEINSTEIN

Written by Aksel Ritenis

Unsung Heroes recognized in Queens Birthday Honours -PHILIP FEINSTEIN

Extract from the Official List- AOM Recipients  

Government House CANBERRA ACT 2600 14 June 2021

Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List .

The Governor-General is pleased to announce the following awards:

*Mr Philip Morris FEINSTEIN Rose Bay NSW 2029 For service to refugees.

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Under the Spotlight ,…so who the hell is *Philip Feinstein ,..what is his claim to fame?,… (to use the proverbial expression.)

-These are the question we ask ourselves when looking at the recipients of the awards system,.and how does the sytem work to recognize the contribution made by the recipents to “the rich tapestry of Australian Life ?

The Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2021 are appointments by  Queen Elizabeth II to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of Australia. The Birthday Honours are awarded as part of the Queen’s Official Birthday celebrations during the month of June.

The Australian honours and awards system refers to all orders, decorations, and medals, as instituted by Letters patent from the Monarch of Australia and countersigned by the Australian Prime Minister at the time, that have been progressively introduced since 14 February 1975

Honours and awards have been present in Australia since pre-Federation, primarily from the Imperial honours and awards system.This Imperial system remained in place until its full phase out in 1994 (although the Monarch of Australia may still confer some of these honours to Australians in her personal capacity). Between 1975 and 1992, the Australian honours and awards system and the Imperial honours and awards system operated in parallel, although the last Imperial awards to be made were in June 1989.

The Australian honours and awards system consists of honours, which are appointments to orders of chivalry (namely the Order of Australia), and awards (which are decorations and medals – decorations are medals for valour, gallantry, bravery, and distinguished or conspicuous service).

The Australian honours and awards system recognises the contributions of individuals, and for the Group Bravery Citation, Unit Citation for Gallantry, and Meritorious Unit Citation, the efforts of individuals as a group (the unit citations for meritorious service and gallantry also recognise members currently posted to those units, so long as they remain posted there, but without the display of the Federation Star device on those decorations that signifies personal contribution to the granting of that award). Most honours and awards are announced on Australia Day (26 January) and the Queen’s Birthday holiday (June), with the exception of the bravery awards (typically announced in March and August.

Who is Philip Feinstein?

Philip Feinstein has run the Music for Refugees organisation for the past 14 years.He has already been awarded various accolades (e.g. Humanitarian Award from STARTTS, Finalist in Human Rights Awards for 2019, Volunteer of the Year Award 2019 and others)

Prior to Covid 19 , Philip visited the Villawood Detention Centre (Sydney) every fortnight to organise jam sessions and music lessons for detainees. The process helps to reduce stress.Donated instruments that need repair are paid for by Philip.The Australian government invited and paid for him to visit Christmas Island Detention Centre a few years ago to support their music program.He has sent music instruments to refugees at Nauru and Manis Island.Philip helps refugees from Burundi and organises fundraisers for them. He recently visited them in Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya. (There is a genocide happening in Burundi)He funds medical programs in Uganda every month. He has organised clothing drives and shipped two container loads of clothing to Zimbabwe.He is a writer for Australasian Muslim Times with all editorials designed to bring harmony between Muslims, Christians and Jews.

In addition to all of the above ,..Philip wrote and produced a musical about refugees in detention – it was staged last Saturday (5 June 2021) at the Wesley Convention Centre for 500 people who donated in excess of $2,000 for Australian and Burundian refugees.
The musical detailed what refugees feel and go through whilst in detention. All income goes to refugees.He funds medical programs in Uganda every month.He has organised clothing drives and shipped two container loads of clothing to Zimbabwe.

He wrote and produced a musical about refugees in detention – it was staged last Saturday (5 June 2021) at the Wesley Convention Centre for 500 people who donated in excess of $2,000 for Australian and Burundian refugees.The musical detailed what refugees feel and go through whilst in detention.
All income goes to refugees.

He also conducts free specialised auctions for various charities.

 

He conducts free stop smoking programs in NSW jails to improve recidivism levels – the program involves personal growth.  See www.smokenders.com.au

As a man of many talents with many bows Philip conducts free specialised auctions for various charities and He conducts Free stop smoking programs in NSW jails to improve recidivism levels – the program involves personal growth. Pretty amazing range of projects for one person ,..wouldn’t  you say?

The editor of this publication asked Philip what motivates him and how he finds the energy to do all of the above and he replied : 

“I feel I am the main beneficiary because when I help people I feel good about it,… and I sleep very well,.. iIrecommend that people volunteer to do things and  their life will definitely improve. Prior to this,.for  35 years I ran a behaviour modification Stop Smoking Program which empowered successful graduates to improve their life  I did the same programme in 1983 and that lead me to an understanding and gave me a new perhaps enlightened consciousness and calling  ,…that I could help people wherever I could !”

 

 

 Philip Feinstein has run the Music for Refugees organisation for the past 14 years.

 

Philip Feinstein in his own words:

 “For the last 14years I have been actively working with refugees and I have  written a musical aimed at highlighting the plight of refugees.I staged this  musical for one performance on June 6,.. with the intention of the show being picked up by a theatre producer and/or director for future commercial staging.”

We asked him how he came to write and create such a musical and it trsanspires Philip has been going to Villawood Detention Centre for the past 14 years to teach adult and children refugees music and also to jam with them. Because he is a strong  believer that music helps refugees with stress (of which they have lots and lots) he has  set up music programs in all the other detention centres throughout Australia.

His  Website and Facebook listed below will also give much of the history of what he has been been doing for refugees. And for the record, he has  attained many accolades and awards over the years for my work. The highlight was achieving the 2019 Volunteer of the Year award.

VILLAWOOD THE MUSICAL© INFORMATION

The entire musicalis is  based from 2007 until present time. This  includes the period when children were also held in detention, including the moment when the government scrapped that piece of legislation. The musical is based only in mainland Australia and does not include any scenes from Christmas Island, Nauru nor Papua New Guinea.Most of the music will be performed in groups, although there will be some scenes with individual lead singers. Many of the cast at this one-off performance are real refugees for whom music and performance have been their lifeblood and saviour.

With the multitude of visits I have made to Villawood Philip  experienced many interactions and situations with refugees. Other groups, like church groups, social groups, multicultural groups, solicitors and more, have also had a variety of experiences – they have all shared them with me.

With a rowdy group of protestors outside the detention centre fence, and refugees on top of the roofs waving placards, the opening scene of the musical leads the audience into the extreme atmosphere. The detention guards play a purposeful part while appropriate music and song accompanies these stressful scenes.

And so the story begins . . . .

For many years refugees have had their hopes and dreams disappear and have relied on visitors to bring them out of their despair. The scenes with visitors relay exactly what the refugees are going through.

To ease the stress of refugees, my character visits many times to interact with male and female refugees, as well as the children incarcerated. Although music is the main theme, other modalities are also used to ease their torment.

Despite the heavy restrictions, the government allowed me to invite outside entertainment into Villawood, like an opera singer, an international pianist and a small orchestra for the refugees entertainment. One such scene also happens in the musical.
The government finally also permitted ABC-TV and SBS-TV to enter Villawood and to film my jam sessions – see website below.

Visiting solicitors enact the intense dialogue between themselves and their refugee clients. It becomes a difficult task to raise the hopes of refugees when the solicitors themselves have their hands tied.

Occasionally the government lowers restrictions by allowing special events to happen inside detention centres. In this instance a refugee in detention was to marry his fiancé who actually lived in Sydney. The entire wedding with outside guests, but still with many restrictions in place, went ahead with some clever interplays. The final scene of the musical is at the wedding and involves audience participation.

The songs are  a mix of well known tunes from the 70s and 80s plus original music and songs composed for this musical.

It is mportant to note that all the scenes are based on fact and what actually happened and still happens in the confines of the centre – there is no fiction.

Philip Feinstein has run the Music for Refugees organisation for the past 14 years.

He provides free music instruments for refugees and asylum seekers throughout Australia.

See www.musicforrefugees.org

and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Music-for-Refugees/1500789130197574

 

 

 

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Publisher and Custodian of the Sydney Times

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