Monday, November 18, 2013

Knowing your neighbours can be a joy!

I live down a driveway, shared by three neighbours plus another two nearby. There is a parking area in front of our car parks which allows for turning and a few extra spaces. In some set-ups like this, there is a tendency for friction. Not so in our area. The 'zone' is one in which we all meet, sometimes inviting neighbours to take that extra step, bringing about a feeling that many people have forgotten; talking, communicating and sharing. Our conversations can be quick greetings or lengthy time-wasting but very enjoyable occasions. They have led to invitations to celebrate the arrival of a new baby, which means lovely Indian food, or a coffee made on my machine. We look out for one another; once even needing to help an older resident up when she fell. Our pets share the space, although Perdy thinks she is head bitch, but she is a Jack Russell, so everyone seems to understand. Perdy's barking informs neighbours as to who is in the neighbourhood. They know her different barks, some of which tell us that a person is 'a knocking' and about to sell us something. We stay inside, knowing that Perdy will chase them away. I am grateful to be part of this little community of neighbours, sharing out excess fruit or other products of our labour. What better than to arrive at home after a days work and then spend a few minutes, putting the world to rightness. Simple but perhaps forgotten pleasures.

Kiwi dies from a superbug that is resistant to all antibiotics. Is this a sign of 'things to come?'

I am a fan of ‘post-apocalyptic’ or doomsday world novels.  I read them from some weird sense of wanting to be shocked but I have to say that they are beginning to wear a bit thin with me, especially those written by American ‘Tea Party’ ‘Preppies.’  There is something about the story lines and the scary yet tantalizing future that is more simple but a whole lot more dangerous that ‘connects’ with me at some level. The politics of many of the writers is diametrically opposed to that of my own beliefs so I guess I could say that I am ‘sleeping with the enemy’ as a way of better understanding them. However another part of me is stirred by their stories of a world in which many of the products and services that we take for granted are no longer with us, unless you happen to belong to a group that has ‘prepared’ for this sad new world. Go to my Facebook page and you will see some of the books listed there that I have read, but I can feel a new direction coming on; it’s just a matter of when.
BUT----today’s headline about a Kiwi dying from a superbug, contracted in Vietnam and then having to spend the last 6 months of his life, isolated in a room because there is no cure for this superbug, gave me huge cause for concern. Doctors and scientists are reported to have acted in a manner that indicated they were ‘shit- scared,’ by this bug and the implications it holds for a future that resembles the stories in the books I have been reading.
Should we panic? Should we be pouring vast amounts of resources into discovering new forms of antibiotics or have we reached the end of that particular road? How much are we not being told about this possible scenario; a time when medical science does not have an answer. It seems that the medical professions and allied services around the globe may be sitting on a disaster in making; a final Armageddon of unprecedented proportions that would make the Black Plague look like a sneeze in a bathroom.
What are we to do as this possibility becomes a reality? If Science does not come up with an answer then it’s a mass ‘kiss your arse goodbye’ future. OMG--- the Preppies’ and ‘Survivalists’ are going to be in a heaven they have dreamed about for years. Their heaven, our hell! -----0r is this yet another conspiracy theory where the usual lot will profit. Go figure!

Will you give to the relief effort in the Philipines?

When disaster strikes in any country in all of its ugly forms, people in other countries put their hands in their pockets. The inevitable outcries follow along the lines that a good deal of this money is siphoned off into the greedy hands of corrupt officials and business people. This has always been so and before we scream out in anger, we should resist the urge to ‘not give.’ The Philippines have been through a terrible storm and have a long way to go before life returns to its fragile normal.
Phillipinos are scattered all around the globe and the money send back to their families represents a major part of the economy. If it were not for that huge contribution, the economy would look decidedly worse. These same people will no doubt dig deeply into their pockets, yet again and along with other contributors play a massive part in getting the Philippines back on to its feet.  
However, ex-pats are becoming very wary of giving in the light of recent publicity of corruption that has featured in the media, relating to large amounts of money being funnelled into the hands of those who it was most definitely not intended. This, after the President promised to make fighting corruption a major part of his policy. Of course the Philippines are not alone in this ‘affliction. I doubt there is any country on earth that is completely free of Governmental and private sector corruption in some form or another. It is just that a large number of countries seem to have it as an endemic factor in everyday life. The Philippines have made some progress and a recent survey found that many people believe that the country has made some important gains in the fight against corruption.
This still leaves many ex-pats and other well-wishers reluctant to give large amounts of hard earned money, unless they can be sure that it is targeted at those who need it most. Now that the reconstruction is slowly getting underway, it is the contractors who need to be watched as they attempt to overcharge and engage in other nefarious behaviours, all meaning that the people most affected miss out.
How can we be sure that this will not occur? We can’t---totally, but giving to agencies who are known to be upfront and careful re distributing aid where it is needed is a good start. It is when politicians and business establishments get involved that the leakage occurs, so give to those agencies like World Vision who keep a tight hand on where the money is going, is maybe the best way. At the same time, be aware of people posing as ‘collector’ or agencies tasked with a one-off organization, unless you want to line the pockets of unscrupulous people. Don’t stop giving; just be careful about who to give to. If you don’t know where to start, contact one of the TV stations in New Zealand (if you are a Kiwi, reading this) and they will know who to suggest as a starting point. They may even do a news item, based on accurate research about the agencies best placed and with the cleanest record.
Let’s help the Philippines!