Supporting local business

Today I ran into a couple of small independent confectioners. Well, when I say ran into, the first actually came to the office this morning plying us with free fudge; the other was set up inside Eastgate Mall and plied me with free…. something. The business card says candy straps, so let’s go with that.

As amazing as it is to be able to place an order with a company in Auckland over a network of computers and receive the product the next day, keeping money in the local economy is also a good thing especially in these post-earthquake recovery times, and almost everyone likes lollies, so let’s play the advertising game. In terms of cost, these places both depend how you look at things. For general confectionary they’re slightly pricy, but for specialty confectionary they’re a lot more reasonable – we’re hardly talking Jelly Belly pricing, for example!

Prestige Fudge
This isn’t your normal fudge company. I did get a pack of the classic Russian flavour, but my other choices were chocolate licorice, cookies and cream, and belgium biscuit. They apparently have 52 different flavours, as well as chocolates, lollies, gelato, etc. Their new shop isn’t open yet but it will be at Shop 11, New Regent St, and in the meantime they have a website you can visit. Each pack of fudge cost me $5 and I’m looking forward to trying some of the others like hokey pokey, pavlova, ice cream and sherbert, black forest and choc pineapple (which, yes, is made with pineapple lumps).

Exotic Candy Straps
You know the long strings of licorice, particularly the ones that have chocolate inside, or the Willy Wonka brand ones that have sherbert in? That’s sort of what this guy sells, except in a lot more flavours and a lot of them aren’t really licorice. I got two strawberry and cream and one ice cream. He had quite a few sour varieties, as well as a few actual licorice ones. I’m not sure this is, strictly speaking, a local business as there seems to be stallholders throughout the country, but that’s okay. The straps are like three feet long (? I’m not hugely great at estimating that sort of length) and cost $4 each or three for $10. The website is listed as ecstraps.co.nz but seems to be down, so it’s possibly a case of hoping to see them, or sleuthing on google.

Raranga Harakeke

This is the speech I gave for an assessment at the Noho Marae I just spent two days at. It’s the same as the one I gave though if I end up doing it again for anything there’ll be changes – the biggest one being that my “mōhio”s will be “mātauranga”s based on the feedback the kaiako gave me, plus now I understand how to say can or cannot do something which is useful for the story at the end. I struggled trying to translate it without that sentence structure!

Tāku kōrero mō te raranga harakeke. I ngā Rātū, haere ai ahau ki Te Awa o Te Ora, tētahi whare tapere ma ngā tāngata whaiora. Kāore te nuinga o ngā tāngata i te raranga; tokowhā, tokoono anake ngā kairaranga. Kai ai mātou tahi. Mau ai mātau ētahi kai. He nui te kai! I ētahi wā, ka haere mai ngā toa. He kupu Kai Tahu te toa. He kuia te tikanga.

Te Tikanga Raranga
Kaua tū kei runga i te harakeke.
Kaua kai, kaua inu tata i te harakeke.
Kaua hauhake i te harakeke i te wā o te ua, i muri i te ua, i te pō.
Horoi ngā ringaringa i muri i te raranga.
Kaua hauhake i te whānau o te harakeke – te pepe, ngā mātua. [the three middle leaves in the fan-shape that harakeke grows in]
Kaua raranga i te wā o te māuiui.

Ngā Taonga Mahi
Ka hauhake ahau i te harakeke ma te māripi tino koi.
Ka numi ahau i te harakeke, a, ka okaoka au i te taha o te harakeke ma te hepu katikati.
Ka ngohengohe ahau i ngā whenu ma te naihi pūnuke.
Kōtahi, ka raranga ahau.

Tuatahi, ka ako mātou i ngā putiputi. He pukana lily pai ki a au. Kei te mōhio hoi ahau ki te rōhi, te Canterbury bell ["pere Waitaha"?], te anuhe, ngā mea, ngā mea. Kei te mōhio ahau i ngā kararehe: te poraka me te pīwakawaka.

A muri ake nei, ka ako mātou i ngā kete. I mahi au i tēnei kete i tērā tau. [obviously I had a kete with me for this] He ahua kino tēnei. He tangatanga ngā whenu.

Ka whakatae mātou ma te tae Rit. Ka whakatae ētahi kairaranga ma te tae tūturu o ngā putiputi, te hiako, te paru hoki [iron-rich soil]. Ka whakamahi mātou ma te tae me te tauira i te kete whakairo. He tahi-runga-tahi, rua-runga-rua, tahi-runga-tahi tēnei kete. He ahua noa nei.

He Kōrero Mō Te Raranga

Tuatahi, ko Hinerehia anake ka mōhio ki te raranga. He patupaiarehe a Hinerehia, engari he tangata whenua tana tāne. Ka raranga ia i te pō, i te wā o te ua, i te wā o te kohu. E kore ngā wāhine e kite ia. Ka pīrangi ngā wāhine ki te mōhio ki te raranga, engari he tino pouri te pō.

Ka whakangaio rātou i a Hinerehia. E kore ia e mōhio e rewa ana te rā. Ka mātakitaki ngā wāhine, ka ako rātou, a, ka tāhae rātou i te mōhio.

Ka haere atu a Hinerehia, e tangi ana ia, na te mea ka ngaro tana mōhio. He whakataūkī mō te whakarongo i te tikanga: Me mahara ki te raru o Hinerehia.

Stop it stop it stop it

I always find it funny how men call women emotional, but they flip the fuck out the second the rules they set for women’s lives inconvenience them. Like, don’t walk alone late at night, don’t get too drunk in public, don’t go home with strange men who say they want to watch a move at their place – but if a woman says no, I won’t have that drink you want to buy me, no, I won’t go home with you to watch a move at ten o’clock at night when I’d have no way of getting home and I’m not willing to walk, suddenly it’s “ARE YOU SAYING I’M SOME KIND OF RAPIST HOW DARE YOU CALLING SOMEONE A RAPIST IS AS BAD AS RAPING SOMEONE AND I WOULDN’T WANT TO FUCK YOU ANYWAY BECAUSE YOU’RE UGLY AND PROBABLY A LESBIAN.” I’m pretty sure all the women I know know exactly what I’m talking about.

Then there’s this. Did you know that a woman adhering to the cultural values originally placed on women by men is just like not allowing black people to sit at the front of the bus or drink from whites only water fountains?

No. No, it’s not. That is bullshit and you should shut the fuck up. You are not entitled to see an intimate, private view of a woman’s life, artist or not. She is allowed to set boundaries, and the fact that they are boundaries that men insist on because it’s easier to make someone else accountable for your own bad behaviour makes it really fucking gross when men throw a hissy about her putting them up. The comparison is especially gross because whether it’s true or not, many people see Muslims as a group that is largely non-white. (Despite the fact that there are plenty of white Muslims and brown Christians.)

The really interesting thing is that setting a boundary and seeing who gets unreasonably upset about it is actually a pretty effective way of finding out who’s going to be the most dangerous to you. I would hope that most of my male friends would read that article and nod and think, “Yes, I see where she’s coming from, that’s totally understandable.” Just as they’d think, “Of course a woman I just met who’s told me she’s already had enough alcohol doesn’t want me to insist she has more and might feel unsafe coming back to my house to watch a movie alone with me late at night.” Because getting upset that a woman won’t let you get her drunk and stranded at your house? Probably a sign that you were a little too invested in forcing that scenario. And I refuse to believe that the incredibly vague hints in that Stuff article were enough to convince you that your life would be fucking over if you don’t get to see this artist’s documentary. You just want to because she dared to say no. And that’s gross.

eta: Bear in mind also that even if you’re the most amazing stand up guy in the history of everything, if she did not place restrictions like this, there are other guys who might hold it against her. “You let strange men see you in an unacceptable (to me) state of undress = you are a slut who deserves whatever she gets.”

Turtles all the way down

Having just spammed my twitter feed with this, I’m going to save it for posterity. Posterity really likes pictures of animals, okay?

Turtle riding another turtle

Turtle riding another turtle

Lobster riding a cat

Lobster riding a cat

(soft-shelled) Turtle riding a roomba

(soft-shelled) Turtle riding a roomba

Bear riding a pony

Bear riding a pony

Kitten riding a rooster

Kitten riding a rooster

Bird riding another bird

Bird riding another bird

Frog riding a fish

Frog riding a fish

Owl riding a dog

Owl riding a dog

Zebra riding a giraffe

Zebra riding a giraffe

Snail riding snail riding snail

Snail riding snail riding snail

And finally, baby monkey riding backwards on a pig:

So that happened

For the benefit of those Kiwis who’ve been under a rock – last night Valerie Adams was awarded the gold medal in shot put after the Belarusian woman failed a drugs test. Immediately Twitter erupted into a massive seething ball of fury. That in and of itself was a little bit scary, but not as scary as what this anger showed about people.

I think anger is a bit like alcohol in that it tears your judgement apart. The things you say in anger might well not be things you’d normally say, but they are things you might normally think. They don’t magically come out of thin air. So when people are completely, utterly furious, and what they come up with to express that incredible rage is this:

“You fucking bitch, you cheating cow, you have a penis!”

Then you are not a person that I am safe around. No matter how you justify it once you’ve calmed down, you just showed that when you were reaching for a really vile insult, you thought the best one was “your genitals don’t match your gender presentation.” Whether you tweeted it yourself or retweeted someone else saying it, you are now a danger to me. I’m only glad that none of the people I unfollowed were ones I felt particularly close to.

The myth of equality of opportunity

My Social Policy Concepts and Theories course has recently been a source of much teeth-gnashing as the material covers neo-liberalism. Shockingly, I don’t like neo-liberalism. I don’t even like it when it’s described by people predisposed to play up its good points, partly because what they think of as good points I see as terrible horrible dysfunction. One of the things a lot of neo-liberal writers like to espouse is equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome – the idea that a neo-liberal society is a pure meritocracy where a person’s talents and hard work will be rewarded no matter who they are, but where those who refuse to put in any effort aren’t coddled.

The problem is that equality of opportunity is impossible in a society that doesn’t have equality of outcome. Even making the assumption of a society where no one is disabled and where sexism, racism, homophobia/transphobia, etc, have been eradicated, this idea of a meritocracy begins to fall apart after a single generation.

Imagine a simulation where a hard reset is performed and everyone now has an equal amount of assets. Person A is innovative and business-savvy and comes up with a plan to fulfill consumer demand, and subsequently grows their money. Person B maybe isn’t as talented, or maybe is talented but simply has very different priorities, and instead focuses simply on raising a family well – doing work with flexible hours, making sure they’re home enough to see their kids grow up, not taking big risks because if they fail it’s not just themselves who’ll suffer. Or, for that matter, Person B does take a risk, but for whatever reason it fails. No matter how they get there, as generation one ends, Person B has a great family life but not much money, while Person A has a lot more money and the family life they’ve managed to eke out is kind of irrelevant.

Person A has a pretty average kid out of one or two. Person B has a brilliant kid out of a few or several. However Person A’s kid X inherits A’s company and all they have to do is not fuck it up. The company is already returning profits; X doesn’t have to do anything. Meanwhile Person B’s kid Y doesn’t inherit anything, and if there was anything to inherit it would be split among more people, meaning a smaller share. Y has great ideas and is willing to work hard, but struggles to raise the necessary capital to get off the ground while also earning enough money to live on. People pass Y over because s/he doesn’t have the right education, the right background, a proven history. The idea might be great, but if Y was capable of running a business they wouldn’t be toiling away for minimum wage*, right? What money that does come in is of course so precious that Y has to spend it extremely wisely, avoiding high risk/high reward scenarios so that this limited amount of capital is only capable of a low growth rate which doesn’t add up to much over the course of a lifetime. If Y had inherited A’s assets instead of B’s, s/he might be able to take more risks while still having a safety net to fall back on if it failed. But they didn’t.

And this, of course, is the most incredibly simplistic take down. It doesn’t get into things like institutional prejudice that isn’t financially based, or corporate monopolies (I had/have somewhere a link to an article about a guy who made super safe retractable needles for the health industry that cut down on accidents where staff stuck themselves with used needles by an enormous amount, but couldn’t sell them to anyone because medical supply companies force contracts on hospitals where to get a good price on something they have to buy a million other things too), or unethical manipulation/hiding facts/lies, or bully tactics and smear campaigns, and only slightly touches on the fact that not everyone’s main priority is to accrue as much wealth as possible and in fact some people will actively take the opposite actions to what’s required for that.

*in a true neo-liberal society of course there would be no such thing as a minimum wage, I’m just using it as shorthand for the disdain rich people often have for the poor that is, hilariously, generally based on the idea that poor people deserve to be because society’s a meritocracy.

C-c-c-code switcher

It’s no secret to my Twitter peeps that I’m a fan of the Rotation Curation project, Twitter accounts for countries that are run by a different person every week. One of the ones I follow is @twt_malaysia, where it’s very common for people to speak in a mix of English and Bahasa Malaysia (I assume, since that’s the other major language of the country). I’ve actually read about this phenomenon when I was much younger – it’s called code switching and apparently it’s more common among people whose first language is not English, maybe because us first-English speakers are rotten at other languages. Even if a speaker is fluent in two or three, there’s some level of awareness that an English-speaking audience probably… isn’t.

Te Wiki o Te Reo brought this to mind, particularly the growing proliference of the neologism roflnui and the list of “txt reo” that someone introduced later in the week, with abbreviations like roto2, otau1, ktpk? and hyre my. (I’m more of a fan of the first ones than the last, tbh, but I prefer acronyms to blatant misspellings in English as well. And the numbers are kind of cute.)

It can be useful, is what I’m saying, when you aren’t sure on the grammar or when one language has a useful concept that the other doesn’t, or just when you want to use a word to get it fixed in your mind without actually writing out all your points in Te Reo. It’s also easier for others to understand than pure Reo, because they can pick up some of the context from the English parts. Obviously it’s not a habit you want to take into formal education or situations, but I think that as we try to carry the spirit of Te Wiki through the rest of the year, it’s something we can keep in mind.