Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ah ha--- Australia--- about time you came in more!

It’s so nice to see you coming in from the ---what--- the outback---bush--- I don’t care—I just want you in and reading my blogs. I have tried everything to get you reading--- hell--- for a while I thought that maybe you can’t read, but then I was just taking the piss. I know Kiwis get the absolute piss taken out of them in Australia, but we keep coming back for more.
I tried to call on the ANZAC spirit to generate interest. I was often deep down in the doldrums, thinking that Aussies really don’t love their Kiwi Bros.
I threw a few barbs about some ‘under armed’ notorious incidents in our sporting history—no nothing seemed to work.
I want you to read my books, and of course not forgetting to click on the adverts. That is how I am able to publish my books as a continuing blog online. You don’t have to buy anything, although I have to admit that as my blogs are read by more and more people in lots of countries (except China--- come on China—let your people read me and I shall come a d see you) they seem to be getting more interesting.
I k now that some of you have brought my first book, ‘Coastal Yarns,’ and that it is in some of your libraries. Unfortunately, if you brought them from my old website or my EX-publisher, I got nothing for them, because—well---that’s all water under the bridge.
What did I do? I decided to take a new line and release my books as a blog--- they are:
1)    Talk To Me—a tongue in cheek expose about the talkback radio industry.
2)    Roskill---a book for teenagers and their parents about the evils of Methamphetamine (or ‘P’ as we call it in NZ)
3)    The River Always Flows--- God knows where this book will end. I am releasing it as I write it and I may take alternate scenarios--- not sure yet.
So go back to my old blogs and start at chapter 1 eh mates. DON’T FORGET TO CLICK ON THE ADVERTS AND TO PASS MY BLOG ON--- I am relying on you coussies bros. If the Aussies can’t push this, no one can.
I promise not to stir you up any more--- oops--- of course I will and for Goanna’s sake give it back to me!

AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE--- OH hell--- I am going to be hearing that a lot from London soon eh mate.

If you want to read the first chapters of my books---

Just scroll back to the first chapters of ROSKILL, TALK TO ME and THE RIVER ALWAYS FLOWS.
 I know it is a pain doing that, but hey it's free and all I want you to do is ---yes----- CLICK ON THE ADVERTS!
There's gotta be a better way of doing this and I would love to hear from you. If you don't want ot comment publicly on here, then contact me at


bullies--- cyber-bullies or just plain nasty old-fashioned bullying--

Call it what you like, bullying takes many forms and is alive and well in many instructions, including families. I will talk about bullying in our schools, because that is my workplace. You may wish to read my previous blog on bullying.
I see in the Sunday Star times that the issue of cyber-bullying is being discussed and that there is a move away from restorative justice practices to a more punitive approach. I believe that we should be careful about reacting too quickly and moving away from a proven strategy, if it is used in the right circumstances.
RJP will only work if ‘all parties come to the table with an open mind and a will to make things better.’ If that is not the case, the RJP will not work and the issue feeding the need for the conference will not go away.
If there is a move back to more punitive processes in our schools as ‘the way’ to tackle the problem of bullying, then, we are merely covering up the cracks in our society schools. Bullying is a serious issue and I am not being glib when I say that the bully often has as many problems as the victim. Simply, throwing out the perpetrators will simply take the problem elsewhere and allow space for another bully to take the place of the ‘excluded one.’
No one approach to bullying will work alone. Firstly--- a school must have a ‘zero tolerance,’ policy towards all forms of bullying. The school must have a policy that allows for a variety of approaches, underlined by the belief that it must ‘do something.’ Too many of our children are desperately unhappy at school because of bullying and some go to extremes to escape their tormentors, including self-harm and suicide.
If a school has a policy that demands punitive approaches alone, then the perpetrator will take their issues with them, outside the school, sometimes still having an influence beyond the school gate. If schools believe that they exist in a vacuum and that once an identified serious bully has left the institution and the problem with them, then they are indeed naive. Our schools and students are linked in many ways beyond the school gate. They always were, but with the advent of social media in all of its forms, the extension is vast. I would venture to say that bullying has become easier to act out on, and the victim may not even know the person making their life hell.
What can schools do? They must bring in their community to talk openly about the problem. There is no point in following past practices where bullying was dealt with in a manner that actually normalized it as a fact of life and that kids should just get on with life and ‘toughen up.’
Schools m ay well need to be part of a programme that monitors the activities of their students, at least while they are at school. It is a known fact that students can text right in front of their teachers, without even looking at their cell phones. God, alone knows what they are texting and what messages of hate they are sending. Stopping this practice involves some draconian actions; ones that a large segment of our society is unwilling to embark upon.
I have often heard parents saying that they need to be able to get in touch with their children during the day, hence the necessity for their children to have their phones with them and turned on. I say--- ‘what did we do before the advent of cell phones?’ We rang the school office of course, for urgent matters!
For after school activities the problem is a lot more complicated; which lends urgency to the need to have a wider debate about where we are going with technology. In the hands of teenagers, who are already on a collision course with altered reality and questions about ‘who they are in this world,’ then it just becomes even more problematic.
It is pretty obvious that schools are under pressure to handle the problem of bullying. That should not be left to them alone. No ‘one way’ of looking at the issue will be enough in itself. Yes---- ‘for serial bullies,’ show them the door if they do not respond to other approaches, but simply moving them out is not the answer.
Schools need resources to deal with bullies, in the form of programmes and personnel, backed up by some of the more punitive methods when there is no change in an individual. Getting g the balance right is a challenge for all schools and communities.  For Governments, hell-bent on cutting resources, they will only have to spend the money in other areas, further down the track in ‘mental health services and the building of more prisons. I suspect that spending now on effective programs is the better way to go.

War!----? China--- The Philippines---DON''T!

There have been unverified reports that China is preparing for war against its smaller neighbour, The Philippines; purportedly over a few tiny islands. Of course there will be more to this--- no doubt possible oil reserves and other minerals will be driving this.
If this is true, and I am somewhat unsure about the reports, then it is not something we have seen a lot of from China. They are not known as an expansionist nation militarily. Why would they, when they are achieving much the same result re some sort of world-wide domination, through the strength of their bourgeoning economic power? Why would they use the possibility of gaining access to oil bearing areas, when they can simply pay for that through their massive monetary resources?
I would be sad to see this ancient nation go down the road of some of the European ex-colonial powers. They could have achieved this centuries ago when one of their famous emperors was in a position to conquer much of Asia and beyond. They didn’t--- they turned ‘inward’ and left the world to its own devises.
What about the Philippines? They are hardly a world power and if it did come to war, it would not only involve them. I would hate to see this nation plunged into an unwinnable military struggle, possibly dragging the USA and its allies (read NZ) in to the conflagration. I have always seen the The Philippines as a peaceful nation, albeit with some serious issues within its borders. It has had problems in the south with separatists and Communists insurrections in other areas. They can ill-afford to enter into a war with China. Surely both nations have enough ‘calm heads’ to avoid such an ugly prospect.
I hope the reports are nothing more than just that--- the figment of politicians’ imaginations, vying for influence, both at home and abroad. I wish for dialogue and a real attempt to come to an agreement whereby both nations can benefit from the resources that they see as their own.
It is in no one’s interests for this to evolve into something that will be hard to pull back from. It has wider implications than South East Asia alone. The sleeping giant of Indonesia and its Malaysian neighbour will be looking on uncomfortably, whilst Vietnam will be perhaps wondering where they figure in this simmering dispute.