Monday, December 10, 2012

The journey begins---first the bank loan.

This Thursday (the day after tomorrow) I shall have first appointment with my Bariatric surgeon. I have to pay for this operation because the health system doesn’t do that for old buggers like me. That is of course false economy because if I didn’t have the operation, the State would have to pay for all the complications related to my ‘condition.’ Oh well, at least my insurance will pick up 33% of the bill.
I just rang the bank and they agreed to loan me the money. Well, that part is over, so now I shall go to my first appointment on Thursday with the knowledge that I can finance the procedure.
I spoke to a guy I have known through my work for the past ten years and he had the operation (the sleeve) 14 months ago. He has no regrets and he had me laughing. He said he has disobeyed the surgeon on a few occasions and paid the price in a most dramatic way. If one eats the wrong food or too much, there is a tendency for you to become a bit of a floorshow. There is an immediate response from your body in the form of projectile vomit. MM—I think my days of chucking up are well and truly over so I shall be an obedient patient. TMI---- well, I did say I would be honest. Look out for my next episode of ‘Neil gets skinny!’

The Jihadists will soon show their hand in Syria.

The war in Syria is reported to be stalemated and that the ‘West’ (meaning the USA) will soon show it’s hand, stating that the incumbent President is close to using weapons of mass destruction.’ That will be the excuse to back the Jihadists who will then sow their own seeds of destruction on Syrian society.
There will be no real winner in this war, but many will lose their lives, all in the name of ‘religion’ or the desire to hold onto power. I find it hard to wish either side a victory.
On one had we have a despotic (Western Educated President) and on the other, a disparate group of fighters who will turn on one another once victory is achieved. At the very least we will see a repeat of the Iraq situation where sectarian violence will be the order of the day. Old enemies will be dealt with and once again the ugly side of sectarianism will show its face.
Russia has accused the USA of wishing to install a Fascist Islamic Government. How does this suit the foreign policy of the USA other than acting as a blunt tool against the aspirations of Russia in the region? The people of the area are merely the tool of old rivalries and alliances.
We are left with the sad fact that innocents will die and a new nation will emerge that will make the situation re Israel even more precarious. Watch out for an alliance (after the dust has settled) between Hamas and the new Jihadist Government of a new Syria. As with all such Governments, they will seek a scapegoat, and that will be Israel. The USA, in backing this group will find itself in a situation well beyond their control. They won’t sit this one out, and will gain from the arms sales they make (as will Russia and others) along with favourable trade terms re oil---or will they?

That call that has caused so much anger!

I have just listened to the ‘call that caused so much angst and sadness.’ The segment included the silly goings on that one associates with such pranks. It was shallow and nothing more than a game to amuse listeners. What happened as a result of this badly acted and played out call was nothing less than crazy. That anyone could be taken in, thinking that it was genuine is beyond me. The accents were hopeless and unbelievable.
The poor nurse who took the initial call before quickly passing it through to the ward was taken in. The fact that she was not the usual receptionist leads me to believe that ‘systems’ were not in place to prevent what was so patently a ‘hoax call.’
Once the call was through, the nurse in the ward was also taken in and immediately gave her ‘all’ re details of Kate’s pregnancy. I find it hard to believe that she was so easily fooled. Management in both institutions should front up and take some of the blame for this whole stupid, yet sad affair. The hospital management was lacking and the radio station management the same.
 It was all very well that the initial reaction to the stations call was one of glee, because they saw the $sign in their heads; not thinking of nay consequences that could occur. I hope that now that we have seen the death of a Mum and the ramifications for their own employees that they and other radio stations around the world take note and make some changes.
As for the hospital, that prides itself in that it caters to the Royal Family; well they have a great deal of soul searching ahead of them. The fact that they have set up a fund for the grieving family of the deceased, is a good start.

Child poverty--a blemish on our nation.

One on five New Zealand children lives in poverty. This is not surprizing in a country where the gap between rich and poor is growing year by year. If you live in Auckland the problem is even worse because of the high cost of housing and other expenses. This is despite the fact that there is State support. Much of the poverty is hidden and only comes to light in the schools, health clinics and ‘loan shark offices.’
Many reasons have been put forward to explain this poverty. Some suggest that it is made worse by cultural practices. These include the high level of sending money back to homelands, where families live in more dire straits than their New Zealand relatives. Then there is the practice of ‘giving' to various churches and other religious institutions. The drain on family finances drives such families into the arms of ‘loan sharks,’ further exacerbating their situation.
The children of these families fail at school for several reasons. They are hungry and every teacher knows that hungry kids do not learn. Their health is bad and the links between attendance and school engagement are obvious.
I am sick of hearing the heartless comments of people who have ‘done well,’ and who have ‘dragged themselves’ from the mire of their upbringing and ‘if I can they can.’ OK, for a small minority of people, that is true but for the majority of people who are born into poverty, that is their future, unless there are programmes to address inequality and replicate success through intervention and support. This is not a hand-out, but a hand up.
Cheap student loans (perhaps with an element of ‘bonding’ at the conclusion of the study period) and access to health services are good examples of such ‘interventions,’ and in the long run they save money for the ‘taxpayer.’ That argument should be enough to silence those ‘critics’ of Government spending.’ They just need to see the bigger picture.
Let’s support the ‘breakfast programmes’ but combine them with family support and education. The fact is that many families do not use what resources they have well. Where would they have learnt some of the lessons the lucky ones amongst us did, from our grandparents about budgeting and surviving difficult times? What I am saying sounds like a mixture of good old fashioned advice and modelling, along with caring ‘government support.’
The choice is between living in a caring nation, or one that is divided and retreats to the ‘class-ridden societies’ of yesteryears and other societies we all as ‘immigrants’ thought we had left behind.