Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sometimes kids can---just 'floor' you!

As a school counsellor, I have many moments of the ‘emotional kind. Sometimes it is the sad stories, but that is counterbalanced by another one that quite literally ‘floors’ one, in a way that adds interest and joy to the job. Take the other day, for example. I was talking to a young man about some issues, and right at the end of the session he made a comment that quite took me by surprise. I mean one does a small amount of self-sharing as part of the process, but this one took the cake, once I was call upon to answer a ‘question. ‘Sir,’ he asked---maybe tentatively or out of sheer curiosity---not sure, ‘are you shedding?’ What---I thought---am I losing my hair at such a rate that even a kid who hardly knows me notices? He pointed towards the back of my chair—at the white hairs, that seem to stay, no matter how much a try to get rid of them. You see---- they are not mine. I am not blond, neither am I going that way, having gone through the ‘salt and pepper’ stage of life (OK---- going through). I laughed and pointed to a picture on my wall---of Perdy, my crazy Jack Russell, who from time to time, graces my office as an ‘assistant.’ ‘It’s that girl,’ I explained, adding that she sometimes drops copious amounts of dog hair, especially in the summer. The young man went away with a glint in his eye. God knows what he was going to say about the ’visiting blond,’ I entertain in my office. Oh well---such is the nature of being a school counsellor---one never knows what will transpire in a ‘normal’ day. MMM---what the hell is that?!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Indonesia executes the Bali 'Eight.'!

When a traveller lands in Indonesia, two things stand out---especially for NZers. One is the sight of gun toting (they look like semi-automatics) police or soldiers and the other---- the large signs, clearly stating that if you bring in drugs, the death penalty is the consequence. I very much doubt that travellers did not know about the latter! Yet---people still take the risk, and at the moment there are numerous people on ‘death row,’ pursuing appeals and exploring every option re the ‘sometimes’ questionable Indonesian legal system. Many of these litigants have been on death row for many years; in the case of the two Aussies, nine plus years. Their appeals fell of deaf, or some would say ‘politically charged,’ ears, as the new president of Indonesia n refused all calls for clemency. There are those who say he is under pressure, re his presidency---he has not made the differences yet, that he promised in his election campaign. Let’s face it—who does in their first year! There have been accusations that he is doing a ‘classic’ John Key---he has sought a diversion, and the foreigners who transgress Indonesia’s’ tough drug laws are an easy target. He has the vast number of Indonesians behind him re this approach and they too believe that Indonesia has a huge problem with drug use. I have heard figures of up to 80,000 deaths a year attributed to drug use. Put aside those factors and look at Indonesia colonial past. They have had a long history of ‘Western interference’ in their lives and the calls from other nations to change the law, to drop the death penalty, have jigged’ the Indonesian response to one that says---‘leave us to make our own laws---you come here, break them, you accept the consequences. That the UN is one body that also calls for a change has also had no influence. Even in Australia and NZ, there is not a clear majority of those surveyed who wish to change the fate of drug dealers. Both nations are split, seemingly quite evenly on the issue of the death penalty re drug trafficking. The argument is often that---‘if you deal in drugs, you are killing people by your actions.’ Politicians in both countries are more than capable of using the issue for their own purposes. At the last moment we heard form a former lawyer for the Australian men, that two Indonesian judges allegedly tried to gain from the debacle, seeking a bribe to send down sentences that were non-death sentences. It seems that the Jakarta Government put a stop to that. So---there is also the question of corruption in the mix, one that the new president states is one of his main policy platforms. Australia has recalled its ambassador, for ‘consultations,’ an action that is not usual for such events. One would think that it is merely a cooling off. Australia (and NZ) must keep close relationships with its near neighbour. Neither nation can afford a serious breakdown in their ties. They need to work together on a number of issues, not the least being the ‘boat people,’ refugees, and crime. Hey---was it not the Australian police who informed their Indonesian counterparts about the two men and their ‘luggage?’ Australia could be accused of delivering the two men to their fate, so it’s a bit rich complaining after the fact! One thing is for sure. This is going to happen again. It still goes back to people making a decision, when they know the consequences and all the furore about human rights and the sanctity of life are in the end--- not going to make any difference! I do not favour the death sentence, and I would like to see an ‘arrangement’ made between the two Governments to find a better solution, but I can hear the clarion calls, when the cost for this is sent to the taxpayers! I suspect that NZers will remain divided over the whole issue too. One of course always has that feeling--what if they were innocent, as in the case of the ninth accused? That is one of my objections to the death sentence!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Russia is reading my blogs and FaceBook posts--how about reading ROSKILL?

I am always pleasantly surprised that so many of my 'blog readers' are from Russia. At this moment Russia is third on my reading numbers. Why is that? Is there an interest in 'things' New Zealand? If that is so, how about reading Roskill, a book I have written, which attempts to raise an issue that affects many New Zealand families---the issue of Methamphetamine, or 'P' as we call it in NZ. I am sure Russia has issues with illegal drugs too. Go to my webiste to either buy the hard copy or download the Kindle version. There is a link on my page for a free download of the AP, if you do not have a Kindle. Happy---or should I say 'questioning' reading.

#PONYGATE may be a 'silly label' but there is a very serious side to this!

Prime Minister John Key is embroiled in a stupid, silly, bullying, ‘sinister’ situation that is entirely of his own making. It is about his behaviour towards a waiter, whereby he repeatedly pulled her pony tail; this after several ‘indications,’ that the waiter was uncomfortable with his actions. Of course there has been a subsequent furore in the media, both in NZ and overseas, much of it of a fairly light manner, which in itself in my view is lessening the seriousness of the action. At the very least, it makes NZ look like a backwater nation, with a leader who is a clown and more seriously challenged our much vaunted position as a nation that can be proud of its leaders and the behaviour they exhibit towards their people. Many NZers are NOT surprised at this latest craziness from John Key, but it also has to be said that for many, it still does not decrease his alleged popularity to a segment of NZ’s population. The reaction from within NZ has been across the board, with some putting it down to just a silly, even funny action on the part of the PM, right through to those who would demand his immediate resignation. It seems that he just doesn’t ‘get it,’ that his actions, throw-away comments, do not represent the stance that a politician, albeit a “Leader” should take. John Key is supposedly one of the most powerful persons in New Zealand. It is that position of power that he has ‘abused,’ and it is this factor that makes me most uncomfortable. How could a waiter, possibly paid at the lowest rate of pay, with very little power, going to be able to stop a man so powerful, to desist in his actions? The power imbalance is obvious and to those who say, ‘she should have taken stronger action,’ I say---get real. People in positions ‘at the bottom,’ do not challenge abuses of power unless they are a very strong personality type. John Key’s apologies do not ring true. I do not think that he has accepted that he was very wrong re his bullying school boy behaviours. It is not the first time and ‘sadly for his victims,’ it will not be the last, Unfortunately, the NZ public will not get to show their displeasure in a meaningful manner, unless of course, other events in the political world throw up something else that will demand a ‘re-look’ at who would lead us!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Terror on the seas driven by terror on land! Yet another ship goes down off Libya.

Today we awake to the terrible news of possibly another 600 plus people, lost at sea off the coast of Libya. The Italian Navy and Coast Guard have yet again arrived on a scene of terrible loss as a group of people, trying to escape lives that are worse than the risk of being drowned at sea, trying to escape it. In the last week alone more than 10,000 refugees have arrived in various ports in Italy and many others have died in making the attempt to find a better life in Europe. These desperate people are escaping from the threat of violence, shattered economies and failed states. Much of the first response falls upon Italy, a nation that is reaching a point where its efforts will be completely swamped. The rest of Europe seems to be looking away from the problem, as if they sense that it is too much for them. They fear the influx of the refugees for a variety of reasons, not the least being the possible intake of Jihadists or members of ISIS. They may not say so, but that is part of the issue they face. In the meantime, Italy struggles to fill the gap, knowing that just over the horizon, countless thousands, if not millions of refugees await their turn to take the plunge---they will do anything to escape lives that are ---not worth living. The issue will not go away. Unless conditions in those nations ‘feeding the flow,’ improve vastly, then the deluge can only grow. Tine to pull your heads from the sand—Europe—and the rest of the world.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

If this was in the USA, the guy would be ---DEAD!

On the way through the town centre in Pukekohe today I was confronted with a scene that both scarred me and made me very angry. A young man was strolling across the street, pointing what looked like a hand gun--it could well have been a replica, a pellet shooting version; whatever it was, it looked real. His behaviour suggested that he had an attitude that added to the discomfort. I was not alone re my feelings; I observed a lady with a dog looking over her shoulders as she exited the area. What made it even more threatening was that he was pointing it at the shops---OK not at me or anyone that I could see, but God knows what he was doing or where he was going. Trailing behind him was a female. She seemed oblivious to the effect his actions were having, so I would out her in the same brainless space of mind! All this scenario needed and part of me wished it to be so, if not for the terrible possibilities, but for the safety of others, was for the polices to be called. The guy would then have been the centre of a police AD operation (Armed Defenders Squad)and they would not have mucked around. If he did not 'put down his weapon,' he was risking being shot. In the USA things would have moved far more quickly, depending on the State, of course. No doubt in Indiana, he would have been shot immediately, given their attitudes to anything that isn't white or a member of the 'establishment! Back to Pukekohe. I wonder now how this all worked out. I just hope I do not read of sad consequences re today's events. I wish the 'fool' would think about being so STUPID, leave the 'toy' or whatever it was at home. Things could have gone very wrong.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Optifast---some comments.

It is now two years since I had my Bariatric Surgery and so far---everything is just fine. My health, outlook on life and energy levels are great. I have noticed lately that there have been quite a few hits on my blogs where I had mentioned Optifast, so I thought I would make some comments about that ‘phase’ of my journey. When I embarked on this new direction in my life (I was 120 Kilos, and only 1.70 m tall and heading rapidly for an early grave with all of the attendant health issues, the least being Diabetes type 2. Once I had decided to go the Bariatric Surgery way, I had to prove that I could be disciplined enough to be able to cope with e pressures. The surgery was ‘key-hole’ and the operation is less risky if some weight-loss has occurred. There are several options re the product and I am not pushing any one in particular. All would do the trick if the direction are followed. I was advised (maybe there is a hook-up between the ‘suggestor,’ and the manufactures, much like I suspect that doctors are well into ‘rewards’ for being loyal prescribers of certain and products, but that’s another story that I am not going into! I think USANA products would work just as well. I went with Optifast. Three weeks prior to the operation I lived on the bars, drinks and some soups. I quickly tossed the latter because I hated them. I was also aloud to have steamed veggies with any condiment of my choice. Boring---bloody boring, but I had an end goal. I got to like the bars and drinks, but I yearned for something ‘savoury.’ My weight loss was fast---13 KGs in three weeks. I was told by some people---‘why don’t you just stay on it and avoid the operation—hell you would save NZ$18,000 because being over 50 it is not free!’ ‘Come on,’ I said, ‘do you really think you could stay on that regime?!’ Got the point? So---I found that Optifast did the trick. It got me into the right frame of mind, gave me the will and motivation to extend my weight-loss and achieve my ultimate goal towards reclaiming my life. After the operation, I occasionally used one of the Optifast products, simply for convenience, but as our esteemed leader so often says, ‘At the end of the day,’ there’s nothing like the real thing---food that looks like food and is enjoyable n every sense!