11 June, 2010

Culture clash in action

Police have advised Asians, those from Southern Asia in particular, to not display national flags, lights and decorations on their properties and basically anything that marks them as being ...well... from Asia.

This is due to a continuing spate of burglaries where large amounts of cash and jewelery are stolen.

The Asian community are finding this advice odd.

Let me 'clue you up' if you are of the same opinion.

In several Asian cultures keeping large amounts of money, valuables and expensive, often heirloom, jewelery at home close at hand is normal.

My culture doesn't.

Even if there is a safe our valuables are often not on site but in a bank or very well hidden in an unlikely place. Like the middle of the flour bin in the kitchen.

I know this and so do the burglars.

So whose home is going to be burgled mine with the New Zealand flag being used as a curtain or the one next door with an Indian Flag and pretty lights on during Diwali?

If you keep large amounts of portable easily sold valuables at home - don't advertise and don't keep them in the master bedroom.

And if you come home to discover that the thieves have sifted the flour - congratulations. The would be thieves still think you are worth robbing - and Pakeha.

21 April, 2010

Will raising the driving age work?

Two things happened in the last week that have prompted me to put in my 2 cents worth on this.

1. Eldest child, one month over 15, has just passed her learner's licence. Her motivation to do so was a combination of a goal setting exercise and the government announcing that they were going to raise the age to 16.

2. My secretary got a lift with a friend recently. The friend is the mother of an 19 year old girl and was complaining about her daughter getting egg all over her car after some high jinx at youth group. Kids as passengers in car with Miss 19 driving throwing eggs etc.

So far so normal if not good.

This is the kicker.

It seems that Miss 19 is still driving on her Learner's Licence having never sat her Restricted.

Not only was she carrying passengers on this occasion in breach of her licence. Last year she was doing a training course away from home and using her mother's car to commute WITH HER PARENTS FULL PERMISSION unsupervised.

Better still this girl is now a qualified Nanny so it is conceivable that she will not think twice about driving a car with somebody elses children on board.

Secretary is in a bit of a quandary, this girl's mother is in a position of moral responsibility and in training to go higher up the ladder. She is also someone the secretary is going to get a reference off when applying for paid work.

So far the secretary has wimped out of expressing her true condemnation and just commented that the girl is risking a big expensive fine. Should she speak out?

Changing the driving age from 15 to 16 has been calculated as saving 4 lives a year. The problem is that there are 120,000 drivers caught every year driving in breech of their Learner's and Restricted Licence conditions.

How many, like Miss 19 are not caught?

How many of these law breakers are responsible for deaths and injuries on our roads?

I wager it is more that the number of lives that raising the driving age and toughening the test for a Restricted licence will save.

Changing the law will not alter the actions of those not obeying the law as it stands nor make them easier to catch.

Eldest Kid is not even getting behind the wheel of the old car before the insurance is changed to cover her and she will not be driving it in breech of her licence.

Only time will tell if that will make her a better driver than Miss 19 but it will make her a more law abiding one.

26 February, 2010

Beer bill board?


The secretary couldn't resist taking this photo in a place once known as Drunk Bay because that is where the sailing ships of old used to anchor in order to sober up their crews after leaving the Port of Auckland.

Is this bit of litter from an anonymous storm-water drain in the City of Sails or is its origin closer to hand?

Islington Bay, Rangitoto Island is still a favourite haunt of boozed up yachties.

12 February, 2010

Chips or a Banana, which would you choose?

MP Rahui Katene issued a press release fretting that Maori would eat cheap junk instead of quality food. She worried that a mother confronted with one banana costing the same as a big packet of potato chips would choose the chips. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10625653

The press release is really about GST on food. http://www.maoriparty.org/index.php?pag=nw&id=821&p=release-rahui-katene-take-the-gst-off-healthy-food8207.html

So with the right number of coins in you hand, no more, no less, which would you choose?

Eldest kid would choose the chips.
Middle kid would choose the chips.
Youngest kid would choose the chips.
He who earns money and has big pot belly would choose the chips.


They don't like bananas. They like chips better.

My secretary might choose the banana, but only if it was unbruised and at the correct state of ripeness (green tip, pale yellow skin). She knows, as does everyone else in the house, that the banana is the healthy choice and she is trying to lose her excess weight.

If she was really hungry or the banana slightly over ripe or too green or bruised however even she would have the chips. Like the others she likes the taste of chips better than the taste of banana too.

The result would be much the same if it was an apple rather than a banana even though they all like apples.

So if you were a shop keeper which would you stock?

The banana is delicate, easily damaged and perishable.

The chips though also delicate and fragile are packaged well so don't damage as easily and they have a much longer shelf life.

Almost all dairies, service stations, lunch bars and supermarkets sell chips. I can't recall one that doesn't.

Most supermarkets sell bananas and they are generally in good condition.

Some dairies and lunch bars sell bananas, condition however is very hit and miss.

When was the last time you saw a banana at a service station?

Weaning the population off junk food isn't as easy as making fresh healthy food GST free.

A sad reality

An intellectually disabled, autistic boy who escaped from a locked respite home was found dead, face down in a creek.

Less than an hour passed between Julian Stacey, 11, disappearing from the Spectrum Care facility in Mangere and his being found by police in a nearby creek on Sunday afternoon....

Julian's death is not being treated as suspicious, but the care home had a padlock with a number combination and children are supposed to be supervised.....

He said it was possible Julian had learned the combination for the lock.

Mrs Hankins said Julian was autistic and had a severe intellectual disability.

"He would have no idea of personal safety," she said. ' Julian was a good climber who scaled fences easily and loved water. But he would never have waded deeper than waist-height, she said.

"They think he may have fallen and may have been unconscious when he got to the water."

full article here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10625691

Assessing intellect in people like this is like looking for clear, colourless marbles in a bunch of transparent coloured ones.

The retardation (for want of a better term) is pervasive, sometimes very pervasive, but it is not global like it is in most intellectually retarded people.

I live with a child like this. She is of near normal, possibly above average intelligence so has grown out of escaping, mostly.

She still vanishes, in plain sight.

Turn your head for an instant and she is gone.

She comes back when called these days....most of the time....

04 February, 2010

Time to cover the books

Yes, the new school year has begun and the new year's stationery has been purchased.

I am not complaining about the cost. $21 for a pile of exercise books to last a year plus pens, pencils, ruler etc is a bargain.

My problem is the covering.

If you're not careful the cover-seal/ contact/ duraseal to cover 3 books can cost more than the books.

Easy to see why the pretty printed stuff is off budget here.

By the way a 1 metre roll covers 3 1B5 books or similar and produces 12 sticky triangles and 6 sticky slivers. More than enough to make life annoying for the average unwary cat. Don't ask me how I know this and please don't tell Bobby, he hasn't figured this out yet and I am looking forward to watching when he does.

The kids here have come up with ingenious solutions to individualise their school books.

As many parents and children have found out in the past. Gossip magazines (those aimed at women) are a poor source of pictures if you have no interest in so called celebrates.

The adverts in them are a better source of pictures. As are old calenders, special interest magazines, old birthday cards, junk mail, travel agent catalogues and new or recycled wrapping paper. Some of those book clearance shops even sell out of date calendars at 5 or 10c for the purpose.

Eldest kid's Pet Magazine subscription with just 4 issues a year produces a wealth of pretty animal pictures.

The other trick they use is to print out digital photos on plain paper.

My image stares out on the cover of a number of books as do the pictures of the other household pets both past and present.

I notice even Jet Boy (Mr Biscuit's brother, and Inky's son) who was put down after breaking his back in 2007 has pride of place on Youngest's maths book.

17 January, 2010

On the naming of names

This is worth a read.

I don't often agree with Michael Laws and even in that column I would like to give him a whack around the ear with a paw. He does make some very good points about the ridiculousness of name suppression and the damage it can to do completely innocent parties.

His description of Bloggers still deserves a slapping (and I know exactly where his carpark space is) but I will be nice and not use my claws.