Blog 103 – Being A Ministerial Youth Advocate

My role involved being part of a seven-person panel over 15-months. The young people were all care experienced and all had their own stories. A youth panel was requested by the orders of Minister Tolley, Social Development Minister, and set up by The Office of The Children’s Commissioner.

Our name was Te Whanau Aroha or The Love Family, and we all had incredibly valuable insights into what we want to see in a system that looks after and cares for the most vulnerable youth in New Zealand.

You might ask why the adults needed our voices in the first place, and you’d be right to ask that question. But the why is important because it symbolises a huge shift in authority from the adults back to the people who matter the most in that equation and that is the young people.

Like a school kid catching the school bus. Young people in the care system are users of that system and so they occupy its service. Because they are considered as consumers or users of their care system they are effectively the best people to ask about the process. To help uplift and feedback on how the system operates and where it might be overlooked.

That’s why the voices of young people matter. Not because they’re the last resort, kick it down the street,, token. But because they used the system and are the best people to ask how it’s going and if it works or if it could do better.

What It Was Like Talking With A Minister. 

Normally I would say they’re just another person. That they are just another human being a deserve no more respect or effort than a service station worker or a bus driver. While that’s true, talking with Minister Tolley about the changes that need to occur from a tiny group of six people meant that we had a huge responsibility to ensure that she was informed at an educated level.

We would meet for two day periods bi-monthly and talk to all kinds of people from Judges to Policy Analysts to ensure that the people who are working on the ground and had hands on experience drafting policy or speaking with young people in youth justice facilities. It meant that we were informed about how the system was going and that drawing from our own experiences in the system we could then relay that information back to the minister or help the people working in those areas and point out things that could be easily overlooked.

It was a really nerve racking process talking with a lady who was renowned for being stern and to the point. Somebody who took no hostages and was very forthright at telling you how things were. Then to add that she was a politician really made things interesting and trying to convince a politician that some things she was saying you didn’t really agree on was really nerve racking.

One of the things that I wanted to put into the bill was to prioritise that brothers and sisters be kept together when they were taken from their families. That sometimes kids get split up because of gaps in the system. That these mistakes can sometimes go on to affect their lives all the way up until their late teenage years when in some cases, like mine, they’re reunited again.

But she was a lovely lady. She came to be known as Aunty Anne. Not this scary, wicked, power hungry machine that people call her out for being but this really eye’s open, down to earth figure that took on board everything we were saying.

Because of that, I am happy to announce that we were able to influence change onto the new legislation amendment that was designed to look after and protect young people in the care system.

And that’s pretty amazing.

Thanks for checking in.

Blog 096 – Ride On 

So these words are from a late night of both travelling and studying. Studying for what should be my economics examination but wasn’t. This is a short story of the perceived failed lifestyle that so many of us inconsistent students often face. 

You see, there is nothing liberating about studying. Some people just don’t learn shoved behind a desk listening to some guy rant on in the vast distance on the other side of a lecture theater. I know, who would have thought? 

Those people learn in other ways, such as doing and experiencing. They grow their expertise as they do things because it’s relevant to what they’re doing right now. It’s practicable. For a lot of students I know who struggle with the concept of University it’s often down to a lack of confidence. 

I’ve struggled with this too. Hitting my second year of study knowing that my track record shows D grades and A+ grades has helped me realize one thing. It’s not consistency that is as important as is passion for one thing or a few things. 

When I was sat at my desk tonight, all I could remember was being so incredibly fascinated by this bike ride that I’d planned. Not your motorcycle kind either. No, a push bike plan. A plan to cycle half the length of New Zealand across its North Island during the middle of winter to raise funds for kids in care. 

My philosophy is that when it comes down to the line what matters most to people is their satisfaction to life. Not by what credentials they have or what job they could get with their A-grades.

We are moving into the age of deep fried avocado chips and Jacinda Ardern’s. Where every system will be questioned for its familistic value under a more liberal, intelligent and practical democracy. Where children won’t feel isolated in an abusive home because there is someone out there advocating for them. A time when family traditions are pushed aside for non-sexist, relationship building communities of people who widely accept individuals as family. 

A time when a bachelor of commerce won’t be necessary to get a job in selling shirts at K-Mart. A time when a bachelor of business communications wouldn’t be needed to work as a Journalist in Syria but instead let you prove your worth by showing the work you have accomplished. 

I’m talking about higher education becoming less relevant to employment, which I’m sure 90% of students and 100% of their parents want. Is to become employed with a job that provides, or better still, allows that person to buy their first home. Get a nice car, start a family. Erect a white picket fence…

I’m not saying the white picket fence cookie cutter lifestyle trend is bad. I’m saying it’s boring. Where is the life in that? 

My point is that if you want to get the most marginal utility, or satisfaction – something I’ve learnt in economics tonight, you need to make sure you’re doing what you’re passionate about. Good old fashioned, do what makes you happy mantra. Instead of being passionate about university, tonight I chose to arrange my bike ride. Not because I hate my parents for funding my education but because it was something that made me happy. It gives me purpose. 

Excuses Excuses… 

The immediate assumption leople could make is that students come up with every excuse to avoid studying at all costs. But what kind of a student doesn’t avoid studenting? 

I have a close friend who has had difficulty this year trying to find his way through university. Not because he isn’t smart or isn’t capable because in many ways he’s gifted and talented. He has all the right qualities going for him and is genuinely an intelligent guy, like so many students out there. 

He’s not doing very well because the pressure of his parents to achieve great things swallows the pride he gets from doing what he loves. In turn he blames the system for not letting him walk into a job just because he’s gauged interest.

When people ask kids the question what they want to be when they grow up they always expect half of them to be jobs requiring higher education. The thing is that only some of those jobs really “need” an education. The British Navy had unqualified doctors during the world war mending wounded people back to life. Stammering King George VI of England hired an unqualified speech therapist to help him become the first live broadcasting Monarch to The British Empire during a time of war. The therapist was an actor who had experience in the field of speech therapy also during the war. No qualification, no APA referencing expectations.

What I’m getting at here is that not all students should be forced to do well in school. They shouldn’t feel like cogs in a machine because there shouldn’t be pressure to do well in something because it’s probably not going to work out that way, especially if it’s not liberating. 

I think it’s important for everyone to know that liberation is not the American type, but the type who can prioritise family, health and happiness above money, A-grades and white picket fences. 
Obviously, that student who is up late at night pondering whether to organize a bike ride or study for his exam tomorrow is going to pick bike ride. And there will be consequences for that, he probably won’t do very well. Will go onto failing the course and will probably sit it next semester. The consequence is not the time wasted, it’s the money it will cost to repair the damage done. 

The cost will be to resit those papers. 

The cost will be to ask for forgiveness from your parents. 

The cost will be thinking about how hard they had to work for that failed examination. 

It’s a real stress that a lot of students face. 

So there is absolutely a level of accountability from the student to their parents. But there is also a level of support a parent needs to provide that isn’t financial to encourage their child to do the best they can without asking any more from them because they love their child endlessly because that’s what families do and that’s the most important thing. 

I guess when it comes to living you need to be sure you know what you’re passionate about and gravitate to it like water to the Earth. 

Mine is cycling and spinning yarns at six in the morning… 

Blog 093 Sexism/Feminism & What I Think

Let’s do this!

First off for those who don’t know, I am a nineteen-year-old male student studying in Wellington city. I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I did and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them at the end of the blog!

Why does it matter what I think?

Because it’s an opinion piece. Choose to listen or take off your apron and f*** off upstairs. Now that we’ve covered my inner Gordon Ramsay, I’d like to talk about feminism and what it means to me and why it’s significant. Well first off I’m your typical kiwi bloke. I enjoy the banter of cracking mum jokes, l enjoy sparring with the lads in the dining room. Going out to town with zero thoughts about sexism but instead, jam out to some sick tunes at a drum n bass concert.

I don’t like doing the dishes, cleaning the windows, unblocking the drains. I don’t like having to finish assignments, sit in exams, worry about hand ins. There is nothing nice about having to stay up till late o’clock to finish an assignment in the morning. I don’t like it when my friends are disrespected by other people. When they’re groped In inappropriate places, when they are wolf whistled at from the other side of the street.

There’s nothing nice about watching your friend upset in a rut because she was told that there was a guy staring at her breasts. There is nothing nice about being accused of being that guy either. Walking through the bras and underwear section of Farmers with your girlfriend or female family member and being accused of perversion. Both sides have to make more of an effort that’s for sure.

We are on the same page. In an urban society, we are on the same page. Not to say that all places are urbanised or support females in their rights and needs. No person in their right mind likes to see another person being treated like shit, guy or girl. It’s a human thing, so easy to relate when you’ve been through it all before. Feeling upset when somebody else lets you know that they’ve been traumatised from sexual harassment or abusive behaviour that people seem to think is okay.

There’s not much international support to stop historic cultural sexism. But the feminist regime is slowly becoming an urbanised trend. For me at least I feel that there isn’t as much sexism in New Zealand as there was back even when I was a kid ten years ago. Technology has evolved to allow the media to expose those who withhold strong opinions against females. Kids are taught in school that females and males should have equal footing in any environment.

Back then they might not have been telling us the whole truth because I don’t believe personally that there ever has been a true representation of equality between both sexes. My point though is that we are starting to realise in my generation, the millennials, that girls have exactly the same right to express themselves as men do and that’s reflected through more frequent independent advocacies speaking out at major global conferences such as in the UN and in major countries like India and Germany.

I can’t speak for the youth ambassadors of yesterday but what I can say now is that the urban population, due to higher education and greater exposure to the likes of other social conflicts such as homosexuality, gender stereotyping, racism, fascism and general independence. Because there is so much more awareness in western culture it seems more valid that the population is becoming less sexist and more feminist.

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But what does feminism actually mean to me? What stock does it have? I don’t think that feminism has historically been about providing equality. I feel that a lot of the time there have been cases where individuals have abused their power to justify their own personal hardships dealing with sexism. Where some people have used their right to speak just to abuse those who oppressed them. When ladies try to claim feministic causes but they’re actually just trying to tip the scale and make men pay for everything wrong in the world.

I’ve come to learn that feminism originated and grew from the idea of equality between males and females. That it started with a group of people who collectively believed in the greater good the same people just of different sexes. That the idea came from promoting even footing both at home and in the workplace but more importantly in society and around the community. So my point is why can we not keep it that way? Why does it have to be tarnished by reputable indifferences which determine that we should fit certain stereotypes?

To figure that out let’s talk at a deeper level for a second or two. So historically guy’s were the ones who would lead because in many ways it was about survival, it was about having a person with enough muscle to see the tribe fed and the only way to garner that support was through hunting, gathering and labouring. So in effect without getting too specific it was more important a thousand years ago for the stronger person to lead so that we would survive.

Guys, for the most part, were given full reign over leadership opportunities. They could say, do, and be whatever sinful person they desired. They could also be a genuine person and treat others how they would like to be treated. Queue the Industrial revolution. A time when people no longer had to farm or labour as much because there was now machinery to do so for them. People were lazier and had more time in their day to create new opportunities.

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Fast forward through the world wars and the great depression, beyond technological innovation, racial inequality and you get supermodernism and the creativity generation. An evolvement from survivalist instinctivity into becoming a diverse and colourful people who have time to iron out a few mistakes in the ways things are run. We no longer live as a people who rely on the strongest for leadership and survival but instead rely on the most creative and entrepreneurial for innovation and progression.

And you definitely don’t need a dick for that…

What I’m saying is that I’m not about sexism at all and I think that at a human level we can agree that sexist stereotypes are archaic and outdated. Feminism should be treated as an opportunity to prove that we can stick to one thing and that is equality for everyone. Not used as an opportunity to spite the other side. Because when you step on a demographics toes you are affecting everybody innocent.

It’s also a question of ego. Because guys were always the ones who had to prove themselves as being the strongest in order to hold leadership opportunities. To have any real mana in conversations or decision makings it was vital that they never showed any sort of vulnerability. It was expected that the male would never cry, would never show weakness because they were expected to pull the weight and the only way to do that was to show that they had no weaknesses.

But what makes social roles in urban spaces so different to the ruralist lifestyle? 

With urbanism comes an increase in population, there are more people. Becuase there are more people there is usually more money, particularly in western culture. My theory is that it makes more sense for businesses to exist in those urban spaces. Like food stores, supermarkets, clothing stores etc. Because everything is more convenient you skip out the necessity of just surviving and you create an atmosphere where people have time to stop and think. Stop and think of societal needs like racial equality, gender stereotyping, feminism etc. Space where the only variable is creativity. From that sparks a whole lot of other things such as innovation and progress.

What I’m saying is that it’s all good. We’ve now got time to chill out and not think too hard about surviving in urban spaces. I’m not claiming that all places are urbanised, and we’ll talk about New Zealand in just a second. But the marginal discussion is that we no longer need sexism or ever really did because girls have just as much purpose in modern society and just as much responsibility to upkeep their civil duties. Pay taxes, drive on the left, don’t be a dick and respect other people. So yeah, of course, I think there should be equal pay in the workforce. Of course, I support female independence. I am totally on board with females having the right to express themselves and how they wish too.

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Especially in New Zealand. Such a small population means less convenience. Less urbanism back in the 80’s and 90’s because there was so much manual labour. Things weren’t done for you if you wanted to keep your family warm you’d have to go out and chop up some wood after work during winter. The great depression meant that New Zealand was in a rut in terms of making ends meet.

There has always been more sheep than humans in New Zealand. it’s a country built on farming, and I don’t know about you but it’s a far cry from sitting in an office block doing the coffee rounds. It was harder economically and so it was tougher for people to survive. At least that is my interpretation of what New Zealand was likely like well before I was born. There was more of a necessity to silence women even though New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote.

If we want to put a label on New Zealand’s sexist culture and gender stereotyping, from a guys position it would seem more likely that sexism existed because we live in a working class country full of farmers, full of labourers and tradespeople. Work was more manual due to the population being so sparse. If we compare ourselves to countries like The United States or The United Kingdom, not only are we sparse but we’re also so isolated out in the middle of nowhere.

So when you get all of these guys who are acting really tough because they’re expected to chop the wood, mow the laws, bring home the bacon. You get a whole lot of guys with really sensitive egos. You get lots of guys bottling up all their shit. I know for me growing up and coming through an all boys high school things like expressing your feelings was such a rare thing. It still is because I came from a small agriculture/horticulture community it’s so rare to see any rainbows or any metrosexism because it’s so ruralised and very unurbanised. So you get this population of people who still believe in archaic values because they don’t know any better.

It’s like this pressure cooker environment where guys think that they have to be this silent protector and hero for the ladies because we’re taught that females can’t look after themselves. That they need a man in their life to protect them and keep them safe. Last I checked most girls seem to be pretty independent by themselves. No, I’m not saying they can walk home by themselves in the middle of the night because there are some crazy people out there who do some nasty things to people. But not for a second do I believe that females can’t look after themselves. This is New Zealand. We live in one of the most isolated and rugged ruralist countries in the world, we all ought to know how to look after ourselves.

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Feminism, as I see it, is permission to be self-sufficient without socialist expectations and rules on what you can and can’t do by yourself. Whenever somebody says sexism is still a problem in the world I say that it’s true, of course, it’s true. Because people hate change. People have always hated change, they’ve always hated accepting something new because they’re afraid of the unknown. it’s a completely irrational fear to have, like tickling. There is no precedence to be scared but the problem is we don’t know when it might end.

I’m not saying feminism is like tickling but instead the irrational fear is similar. Guys struggle with egoism because they’ve been dealt a bad hand too. Sure, it’s not nearly as rough as what girls received but that doesn’t mean it can’t be respected because those needs must be met if we are to work together and make any tangible change. Most guys don’t actually mind it’s more just about wanting to feel just as valued, which is interesting because isn’t that the point of feminism also?

Now I’m not saying that girls should compromise their success or their happiness or their independence to accommodate for male acceptance because that’s not the go. It’s more of a consideration factor. To consider that actually everybody deserves to be treated with respect, their successes should be accommodated for, they never deserve to be doubted on as an individual, and that nobody regardless of sex should ever be expected to lead in the first place.

Because some people just don’t care, like me. Not everyone wants to be a survivor and not everyone wants the responsibility of innovating. Some people are just content with being themselves and some people just want full autonomy to do that. Full autonomy to love who they want, full autonomy to be loved by who they want and be treated with respect as individuals.

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It also comes down to what values your parents teach you as a kid. What your parents teach you. What their parents teach you. As you get older you tend to give less of a shit about what other people think so the older the better sometimes. My point here is that I’ve found my family cares about my interests a lot so I can trust them with the really hard conversations. When I call dad out for being a dick or if mum is stressing everyone out. What you learn at home defines how you treat people outside of the home a lot of the time.

It is a parent’s responsibility to exactly articulate how you are supposed to treat other people. I guess it’s a call to arms to invite people to think on their feet with regards to how they respect females and males equally. That they show decency when out on the town, that nobody is accused of being something they’re not just because they fit a gender stereotype. That feminism is at the end of the day treated as an opportunity for change collectively. It’s everybody’s responsibility to upkeep equality and freedom of expression. Whether they’re a New Zealander, Islander, Irelander, Avatar character, whatever goes man everyone is responsible for the upkeep of relative equality.

Sorry for keeping you in this space for soo long, if you’ve managed to stick it through all the way to here then you’re a bloody legend. So if I could round up all of my opinions on sexism versus feminism and collated them into a list it would come across a little something like this:

  • Sexism is shit.
  • The original idea of feminism was great.
  • It’s been taken out of context too often.
  • Gender roles have evolved.
  • Urbanism has created a niche society.
  • New Zealand has adopted new values in the reflection of an urbanistic takeover.
  • I highly value independence, full stop.
  • Family values are where you start. It’s your parent’s job to teach you right.
  • It’s our job as an international community to do something about it.

 

So… What are you going to do to voice your opinion? At the end of the day what matters the most is that change is occurring. It’s real and it isn’t going to go back to the days of slavery again. You already know my position on all things sexism and feminism. But just keep asking yourself how you’re going to change the face of the planet, what can you do to help. It honestly doesn’t take much, it’s simply just as easy as being polite and respectful towards others in every capacity. Putting your own personal ego to the side and celebrate other people’s successes male or female. It’s free to be nice bro…

Today’s talk has been a work in progress for a while now, but I’m glad it has been said. If you would like more of this sort of content or if you have any comments or messages please feel free to comment on my work. hopefully we can reach an agreement somewhere.

Thanks for checking in!

 

 

Blog 079 Family Values and How They’ve Changed

This conversation is in regards to the evolution of family values and how they effect the way we interact with each other and also how these changes are preserved and why there has been changes made in the first place.

I want to look deeply into how the advancement of technology has altered the way we interact with one another and I would also like to discuss how dinner time talk has adjusted to suit that. What I’ve noticed over the previous few years is that kids are becoming more aware of brand names and less aligned with the important stuff such as valuing peoples time, getting into lots of mischief and falling out of trees.

Kids, like me, have grown up in an individualistic environment dictated by big money corporations who “help” the system to benefit themselves. As a kid I used to enjoy climbing every tree in our entire neighbourhood. Just last weekend I was on a campsite in the Marlborough region where we spent time with our cousins. Because I was adopted into an older family, the generation below me is in this strange niche where they could neither call me an uncle or call me their cousin.

During our camp I noticed how much the kids were interacting in games like rugby, soccer and even falling out of trees. It was a pretty cool time and it reminded me of when I was that age doing similar things. It’s a rare thing to see kids getting into mischief or doing things that might risk their health now.

But why is that? Why is the urbanized generation taught not to go out and explore anymore? My theory, as mentioned in a few other discussions, is that it could be down to the fact of increased health and safety standards in reflection of insurance companies jerking on the lapels of our justice system complaining that kids shouldn’t be climbing trees in the first place. Because big money insurance companies don’t want to pay people out when they state a claim. My theory is that these economic changes prevent people from doing what they want and so it becomes a social norm not to. So we are stuck in an age that spends less time being wild and more time inside, stuck behind screens up to nothing much. Probably watching The Bachelor…

As far as I’m concerned this is one of the biggest contributors to the evolution of quality time spent with our loved ones. As a result of economic change our kids are being taught that it’s less important to get hurt and more important to be safe or cautious. But I would argue it prevents kids from learning some important lessons.

Lessons like asking a girl out on a date. They might be rejected but you have to learn to grow a skin for that. Building a snow man and catching a cold, you’ll learn to wear more clothes next time. Going for a bike ride without having enough food, starve until you reach your location.

Learning through experience is valuable knowledge growing up. Learning the hard way grows a patience, using google to find the answer doesn’t teach people the precious lesson that sometimes you’ve got to persevere and find out for yourself. Booking an Uber doesn’t teach us how to walk. Ordering pizza doesn’t teach us how to eat healthily. Relying on internet service doesn’t teach us how to appreciate right now!

My second point is that technology has adverse effects on our all people, particularly the younger generations who are taught that asking for the wifi passcode is normal and that catching an uber is manual labour.

When the younger generation decide what is normal they follow their elders, when little sisters wonder how long they should spend on Facebook each night they look to their older brother. Because we are stuck into our laptops, because we are so heavily involved with work, our younger generation are adversely effected by our actions.

Family values today have evolved from those of yesterday because technology has intertwined with our routines. We keep our cellphones charging in our bedrooms, we keep our laptops consistently on stand by mode. When we allow technology to come into our daily lifestyles they influence our belief systems or culture. Within those belief systems are social normalities, knowing what is normal and what we will be able to get away with. In that space, technology effects our values.

There are many adaptations of evolvements of our livelihoods at home and away from home. For me however, I feel that a couple of big things which have merged into our lives are the increases in safety standards and the involvement of technology.

The most important thing is to remember that as adults we are ambassadors for the next generation to ensure that the trend doesn’t continue and that the most important  values such as love, life and individual development are protected at all costs.





Thanks for checking in! 🙂

Blog 078 ANZAC DAY – Now Vs Then!

Though today’s conversation is aimed at discussing how propaganda is still alive and well in today’s economy, I would like to emphasise the significance of lives of those lost. That ANZAC day is important because it serves to commemorate the lives of those who passed away and not a day to blame people or a system for encouraging enlistment. It is important to remember the characteristics that these people had. They all have families and they all deserve to be treated with respect outside of the fact. During the first world war when battalions of our soldiers were encouraged to head overseas to war our country wasn’t informed about the graveness of war and weren’t given the same indication as we would receive today. I’ve learnt that it wasn’t until after the war when our people came home when there was radio silence about the experiences our soldiers had.

When dad’s, brothers and grandfathers didn’t come home from war did they feel the real impacts of war? When people realised that the army intercepted letters and moderated explicit wordings where the men would explain how grave war was because it conflicted with our militaries interests to recruit reinforcements over the years of war. That our leaders wanted to train new soldiers to send overseas because numbers won wars and numbers showed our support for other beneficiaries such as trading with allied countries, it gave our allies reasons to support us in future conflicts. That it seemed easier to cut out the words of soldiers to their loved ones to prevent them from discouraging enlistment.

It was reported that before World War Two, prior to the Gallipoli landings, that many people refused to go to war and were branded as “objectors” who were simply people who dissented from participating in another man’s war. Men who declared themselves not willing to enlist as a part of the ANZAC were arrested in their own homes. In one particular case that they made a series on TVNZ called The Field Punishment. A documentary series on the second world war making accounts of when 14 of the staunchest “objectors” were persecuted and imprisoned in Trentham Army Camp where they would later be sent overseas to set an example of what happens to people when they dissent to enlisting or decide to pull out.

It does set an example but only as evidence that our governing body at the time would do everything within their power to slip between the lines of political interest and the trenches of our soldiers on the battlefield. That at the time our government wanted to acquire more monopoly over the world stage than valuing the lives of brave people who didn’t want to have to demoralise themselves by killing other people in vein.

Isn’t it great that we don’t have to deal with that sort of propaganda today though? That we are much more able to what we wish because we have the technology to allow that. We are much tougher on our governments to produce good legislation and make wiser decisions regarding the involvement of our people in matters of warfare. We say we couldn’t imagine the confliction of war because we re better equipped with our personal rights and less easily led on. That much is true…

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Above:  WHATMANASEES Instagram

But are we actually free from propaganda?

In my respectful opinion, the marketing and advertising of material things are today’s equivalent to wartime propaganda. We are made to believe that we need new clothes all 25 seasons a year, we are made to believe that having a fancy house is the destination of success and happiness. We are told that using certain chemical pills will increase our health and fitness.

When in reality clothes should last for at least a year without breaking, most people cannot afford a fancy house and should never need to because they should be giving their money to families who are struggling to pay rent and then settle for a more modest home that they can actually call home. When the only chemical we need can be found in organic foods such as fruit and vegetables. If we actually need protein then we should eat meat instead of being lazy and finding unnatural alternatives.

Morally, we already know this stuff. The problem is that there is advertising on our social media sites and on our televisions. While ad-blocker might work there it doesn’t prevent that advertising is in our supermarkets, on giant billboards slapped against bus stops and even on the sides of student accommodation complexes.

We’re made to believe that eating certain foods, wearing branded clothing and buying the latest smartphone will eventually make us happy. That we will get access to “freedom.” That only by getting all this stuff, we might make it to this imaginary place. It’s like telling a child that if they spend a few bucks on a postcard to Santa it might actually make it to The North Pole and that their wildest dream might to some capacity come true.

No different to the propaganda used to encourage unknowing 18-year-old boys back in World War One to enlist into the ANZAC campaign. That it would help their country reach a state of “freedom” and that it needed to be done to prevent the war from reaching the shores of New Zealand.

When to be honest it only comes down to a few war mongering dick heads making a whole lot of uni-modal decisions to stamp their weight on the world out of greed, power and wealth. That war at the end of the day is a huge waste of human life and a massive unnecessary burden on the lives of people.

Advertising is modern propaganda aligned with a similar ideology that purchasing good will bring us happiness. The key differences are that it concerns big money businesses and not primarily our government. Secondly, it concerns individual freedom and not national freedom. It’s a case of feeling free as an individual versus feeling free as a nation or a people. Liberation from the opinions of others based on the belief assumption that the clothes I’ve purchased are expensive, branded and aesthetically appealing therefore I am immune from the judgment of others which subsequently gives me the freedom to do as I wish. Versus liberation for my country because if I enlist it may improve our chances of taking the beaches of Gallipoli and subsequently our allied forces might be able to disable the Turkish forces from aiding our countries “enemies” and therefore we may have a better chance at winning “our” war. Which means that we will be able to achieve a state of “freedom.”

Some people treat objects as leverage to feel better about themselves with money as their resource. We are to wear certain clothes, to drive certain cars when in reality we are just as functional in the clothes we wear and don’t need a $120,000 Tesla electric car because lets face it you only want it because they look amazing and you think it’ll make you a better person and not because of the functional benefits.

At the end of the day.

As stated at the beginning of this chat I made it very clear that this chat is not to blame anyone in particular for the deaths of these individuals but instead use the occasion to reawaken the exposure of false beliefs.

At the end of the day, freedoms lie within the growth of individuality. That we construct our personalities uninfluenced by assumptions of false freedoms and know the difference between our own battles and another person’s war. That we are unmodulated in what messages we send to ourselves and others.

Something this generation is good at is questioning the resolve of our governing body. We have the technology to inform us from multiple lenses and therefore we have a healthy scepticism for things we are told.

One of my main concerns and you’ll find it through most of my blogs is about marketing and the lack of individuality. That so often I see clever marketing skills that have been driven from an age of professionalised creativity which tricks our vulnerable generation into buying shit they don’t need. That our kids are adversely effected by the condemning nature of false beliefs and assumptions that they can only be happy if they buy stuff.

My point today is that we should be aware of these big money corporations who claim to act in the interests of our people but are only interested in making lots of money and aren’t even remotely interested in providing value to their customers. Like making clothes that don’t last, smartphones with battery life expectancies.

We need to priorities our social development by ensuring that our beliefs are built well on facts and are informed by people uncorrupted with power or giving into marketing strategies that give us no value and make us build assumptions that cost us individuality.

Ultimately, ANZAC Day is a time to commemorate those poor soldiers who passed away in war. They had lives, they had families and within those relationships had very meaningful memories. They were still human. Lest we forget the lessons of ANZAC Day so that we don’t repeat it under similar circumstances in the future.

End.
Thanks for checking in.

Blog 077 Legalising Marijuana – The Age Old Debate!

NOTE: This conversation is by no means to encourage smoking marijuana. I don’t smoke nor do I drink alcohol. My opinion is only to discuss the legality of growing, possessing and smoking marijuana in New Zealand, not a lecture on how to live your life.

Today I want to talk about how our government is inconsistent with making policies against certain substances and lenient with others. That it’s money which impedes our leadership and in reality, the most important thing is and always will be people health. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. That the only way we will be able to grow properly is by realising that loving people is the only thing that matters. If you are convinced stop reading here… Otherwise I have set up a conversation below.





Ever notice how the word legalise now days seems to be fused together with marijuana? It goes to show how long this argument has been going on for and the sorts of social affairs we as a society are currently discussing. But what is the end goal and how do we reach freedom? To reach a point where we have absolute power over our lives, to be allowed to smoke whatever we want. The clear message is that people are becoming more aware of rules that make no sense, we are becoming more aligned with the powers that exist and are taught democracy is supposed to be about people power. So when we take it to the man we aim to get down to the gritty stuff because the new generation has been brought up being told they should question the status quo.

People are empowered in modern society to be loud, they are encouraged to make their own decisions. When there is bullshit being told to the masses, us younger generation are more inclined to speak out about it. To tell our leaders when something doesn’t make sense and challenge the powers that be to make sure their reasoning is well informed and not influenced by money and not ethics. So today’s discussion, while it’s titled legalising marijuana, is more about how times have changed and that we should look at it from an alternative perspective which reflects 2017. There are many opinions both leftist and rightist but I think what matters is discussing how we can all take something new out of it.

I’m a teenager, I’ve smoked the green stuff before. Do I regret it? Never. It is a good experience. It’s like eating Turkish food for the first time, like biking without a helmet on, swimming way out into the ocean by yourself or starting a giant bonfire. Experience defines opinions and future decision making. What I’m eluding to is realising that you can’t make an informed opinion about something if you haven’t done it and don’t understand the benefits and consequences of those actions.

Weed is numbing and fun when around the right people. As is understood, there are two primary species of cannabis leaf, the first is Sativa and the second is Indica. Sativa energises and motivates while Indica mellows and relaxes. The effects are hardly different from sleeping pills and anti-depressants. The only difference we are told is that cannabis has long term effects in high usages such as hallucinations and in extreme cases can lead to psychosis. To be honest it’s seriously just a case of not overusing the bloody stuff. Like if you ate chocolate three times a day every day, asides from Sunday when you chopped up another couple for lunch, then you’re probably going to go into a sugar coma or worse create health problems like diabetes. It’s about being smart and realising that balance or only using in the rarest occasion is the way to go, it is still a drug at the end of the day and should be treated with an equal seriousness as alcohol. Not being high whilst driving, not operating machinery and not using around children or schools. The biggest difference is actually knowing in yourself that you don’t need them in the first place.

Existing in a world where teenagers binge drink and crash cars versus stoners who fall asleep on the couch. Weigh up which drug is worse. Coming up with excuses to cause fights in town by blaming alcohol instead of owning up to your own problems. Like a chemical reaction, the catalyst (or alcohol) isn’t the reason that the reaction occurred because it only speeds up the reaction. The real problem is the two things which collided, emotions and personal circumstances like being cheated on etc. Taking ownership for situations we get ourselves into while drinking should be legalised. Not a plant that grows the same way a mint plant or a basil plant or a coriander grows up, naturally.

If the New Zealand government is going to have laws in place which prevent the production, possession and usage of marijuana. Then it needs to be consistent in creating legislations that consider all drugs including alcohol. That if alcohol is legal then why is marijuana not also? Or even better, if marijuana is illegal then why is alcohol not also illegal? Alcohol is involved in approximately one-third of all police apprehensions and family violence cases in New Zealand. Why is it that during 2015, 50% of all serious violence cases involve alcohol?

One of the main reasons New Zealand has so many social problems due to the consumption of alcohol is because it is legal and readily available to anyone over the age of 18. It makes me question why our legal system provides the alcohol and beverage industry with such leniency regarding consumption when the evidence is overwhelming that New Zealand’s drinking culture is unable to look after itself let alone drive itself home after going to the pub. So my resolve is quite simple really, why do couch bound stoners face illegalities while binge drinking teenagers are allowed to ruin parties and drunk abusive adults can cause domestics.

Money, money, money. Ever noticed how health and safety standards have increased in the last ten years? How construction workers are forced to wear more safety gear, heftier fines are applied to organisations who fail to enforce operational safety checks more stringently. How architects are forced to build ramps on a certain angle to ensure disabled people are easily able to wheel themselves to the top? That steps have to be designed at a certain rise and run?

Offences such as driving under the influence have become far more punishable and the consequences have become much more serious. The reasoning behind that is because when things go wrong, like when a worker comes to work stoned out of their brains and gets behind the wheel of a forklift carrying 2 tonnes of wine. If they knock into a shelf of wine and break $20,000 worth of product a business will want to claim on insurance because they will still want to make money. Happy to pay the excess price to recover the money in which their worker lost for them. Insurance companies investigate and look to find reasons why the wine was spilt. The investigation is based on health and safety standards.

My theory is that across the year’s insurance companies have investigated accident claims and have tried to find people to blame for causing it. Each time they find a case where there is no validation that a person could be held accountable for something happening I reckon the insurance company would go away and think of reasons to screw people over. They would probably spend weeks coming up with a way to create rules which prevent certain mistakes from occurring.

And they must… My theory is that these massive insurance companies must hire lawyers who are good at finding loopholes in our legal system to force The New Zealand Occupational Safety and Health commission (OSH) to tighten their rules and make it so that people are more closely monitored. That money and business are to blame for our government coming to heads about legalising marijuana because they know a five-year-old could make the comparison and wonder why alcohol is legal and weed isn’t. That alcohol is the leading cause of family violence in our country, that thousands of kiwis have died on our roads in the last few years from driving drunk. It doesn’t take a stubborn nineteen-year-old blogger named Mana to see that it’s a shit system.

It’s really sad that the little guy gets shit on because these big money corporations get greedy and want to save money by not paying people out when they make mistakes, no wonder people are getting off their chops. In the world where everything affects everything. Ethical morality matters more than financial security and profit margins. Socio-economics matter more than money, power and greed. People matter more than money. By addressing the needs of the people acknowledges that as a government you’re prioritising people health (mental, social, physical) and not specifically aiming for economic development.

In the case of legalising green stuff, it’s a classic example how our legal system is flawed beyond belief and pays homage to shitty leadership and a lot of social issues left unresolved. That cabinet would rather ignore the entire saga because it won’t give them seats in parliament. So instead we have kids growing up believing that marijuana is an unnatural chemical, alcohol makes uncle very grumpy, and that social media is our friend and that the black mirror of our cell phones is actually never going to affect us.

So let’s then talk about how social media may be evidence of another outlet for our next generation to be focusing in on. The redistribution of social problems such as stress, anxiety, and just a general expectation that it might make them feel better about life by searching for that dopamine kick. Because there is evidence to suggest that getting a notification on Facebook or a text message on our smartphones releases a chemical called dopamine. Which is the same stuff lance Armstrong used to win seven Tour De France races and is the same kick we get from drinking alcohol or smoking illegal marijuana.

I would argue that our addiction to social media is indeed a reflection of a change in time. That perhaps in ten years there will be new youth advocates arguing for the illegalization of prolonged social media usage. That OSH may put a meter on the number of hours we spend scrolling down our Facebook feed, that our employers must have a panel which, when arriving into our workplace, tells our employer how many hours we had spent surfing social media in our evening. So that when a worker crashes into a shelf full of wine, and due to inflation, destroys $49,000,000 worth of product and a business claims insurance. The insurance company undergoes an investigation. It is found that while the worker was not drunk, while they were not under the influence. Unfortunately, they were sleep deprived because they were three social media usage hours above the legal limit to operate heavy machinery.

When the older generations claim that our kids are soo bubble wrapped and protected from everything, this might be the reason why. But ask yourself what our kids are actually being protected from. Ask yourself what they’re being exposed too. Because these sorts of inconsistencies while they might be extreme they do reflect that our legal system, while it seems logical and well thought out. Why are we still arguing about the legality of a Mint plant looking sleep inducer when we should be outlawing the consumption of alcohol entirely and encourage social development by actually developing socially.

The truth is our government can love us, we are just fed bullshit to make the legislation look spotless, who said marketing was the only moral-less industry. We just need good leaders who are clear about things and are themselves informed.

End.

Thanks for checking in!

Blog 049 Student Debt. (Something that a student doesn’t like to see)

By Mana Williams Eade   10 Minutes

Money is horrible to think about. It’s not designed to be saved. It’s never nice to run out of and is constantly used as a way of defining happiness. To cut to the chase, today’s chat looks at student debt, and how it’s not a sustainable option over short or even mid-term. To share my opinion of student debt and look at other students views on the elephant in the wallet.

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There’s just so much clout surrounding the expenses that so many students are forced to take out. We all know how hard it is to save up to pay for University. It’s not even a reality for the majority of people out there. When labor work fails to pay upwards of $20 an hour, a barista, a trolley boy, a hotel valet, a petrol station assistant, a library worker, a carpenter, a painter.

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At over $8,000 per year alone, a full-time year in an architecture degree at $20 an hour before taxes equates to 400 hours of work, minimum. Which at full-time rates, 40 hours per week, is a minimum of 10 weeks of work. Which doesn’t sound like much but that’s without being able to afford that coffee, those shoes, that car, and that life that you’ve always wanted to have.

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A lot of people are under the impression that student debt is what causes students to be poor, and while that’s true, it’s something that is so often under looked or unseen. I don’t want to ruffle any feathers when I say that there must be a lot of people out there suffering from the idea that they have a debt the size of a down payment on a house, unimaginable.

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It’s something that I don’t believe we talk about enough. There are so many people going through it with their eyes wide shut. It comes out through frivolous binges on alcohol, clothes, useless knick-knacks, and I’m a classic example of that. Going all out on a weekend “Bender.” The student world is full of spendthrifters who love to binge on things unneeded.

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Can we please take a few minutes to elaborate on the pointlessness of student levy costs. Wellington University has four campuses which all operate in accordance to their different faculties, true. But their cleaners, real estate, operational costs, insurance costs are all paid for through our student levy bills, which for me this year was around $700.

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But why do we need physical campuses still? With online communications technologies where we can live stream our entire course content in minutes, access an online library, order our books over the phone, live chatting with our tutors, what is the necessity for having physical campuses? With their large lecture theaters, Sushi Shops, Coffee Stores, and carparks.

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University is a big business. Through marketed normativity, it is given the key to our cities, our educations, our social infrastructure. We are made to believe that University only cares about us and our wants for studying but it isn’t. It’s not there to make you rich, its there to make you work, and make a lot of money for the government. That’s why it’s subsidized by 70%.

My Financial Position.

Just kidding, that’s my business. But it’s really saddening that we have to compare and contrast each other’s financial statuses as a means of treating people less than or not equal to another. I don’t care about your financial position. I don’t mean that in a mean way either it’s this way because I understand that it must be really tough for some people and their families to cope.

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That constant nagging and thinking if you could afford that coffee, those pants, this food, that Uber. It’s a stress and it seems to add to a building pressure around late assignments, missing family, social dramas, weather. All of this stuff adds to the growing binge trends and it looks like our leaders really aren’t doing shit about it. I’m not sure about you, but that sucks.

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These bureaucratic establishments full to the brim with suits who were provided with fully subsidized University fees, who were given education free of charge. John Key is a classic example of a person who came from humble beginnings, was given the opportunity to study for free, and then later on in his career use his political power to change funding policies.

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Although John would likely regard it as, “Just a bit of banter, no drama.” The reality is that over a hundred thousand kiwi kids are building debts bigger than a person with two cars, a boat and a kid on the way 25 years ago wouldn’t have had to juggle. The market inflation hasn’t increased relative to living costs, so we’re earning less and paying shit loads more.

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What it all boils down to is the ignorance of a political leadership, the unwillingness to believe that student debt is debt regardless if interest-free or not, and a gigantic business scheme that hasn’t changed in the last hundred years. It’s honestly truly whole heartedly a big waste of time worrying about it all. So I instead encourage you to build relationships with people. Buy your friend something for no reason. Pull out that box of chocolates you’ve had lying around for a while and share the love. Do the dishes for somebody because you know they have something due. Put away your cellphone instead of haggling on about somebodies Instagram filter. Create more meaningful relationships with those around you so that you’re not taken away by the systemic problems everyone is told is “reality.” Realize you don’t need to “harden up.” Because at the end of the day what matters is that you are always loved and that a numerical value shouldn’t define the person you perceive to be you.




 
That’s another chat for you guys. Something that I feel plays on a lot of peoples minds. The urge not to want to speak openly about how they are feeling about the whole situation is really worrying and from what I saw last year with people dropping out, people not being able to afford many things it really hit me that its shit out there and I wanted to share some light on the matter. I just want to re-iterate that this is not to put anybody down about their current financial situation it’s just a friendly reminder that it’s not your fault and isn’t your fault for being there and that there are a lot more important things to put your time and energy into and I guess at the end of the day time and energy are their own currencies, something which students definitely don’t have debt owing on…. So cheers…

Thanks for checking in…

 

Blog 046 Why Don’t We Trust Homeless People To Live On Our Streets – But Trust A Random Person To Uber Us Home?

By Mana Williams  15 Minutes

Some people live their lives homeless because it’s the lifestyle they understand. However, there is a space for recognizing that homelessness is a systemic issue. An unwillingness to accept that homeless people exist and that it isn’t some urban myth. This chat focuses on the expression of homelessness. We will go through a process of recognizing normativity and the stigmas associated with homelessness, in the hopes that it will evoke a sense of difference in somebodies life.

What is my opinion of homelessness?

Not everyone has been dealt a bad hand. Some people live a lifestyle that is uncommitted to the confines of a house. Some people choose to live homelessly. It’s my understanding also that there are people out there who were dealt a bad hand. Mixed with poor decisions as well as social discrimination for whatever their reasoning they are in this predicament.

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The truth of homelessness.

Homelessness is a social gray area. It’s always so interesting watching a fresh out of high school student walking along Wellington’s Courtney Place coming across the twenty or so homeless people living there for the first time. The expressionless faces as if they never knew it was a problem epitomizes the reality that so many people are aware of homelessness but never really see it until we get out of our comfort zones. The thing is we all know that homelessness is real but we don’t want to stop and say hello and ask how their day is.

We barely even smile to the guy at the coffee shop or the trolley boy at the supermarket. So consumed by the romanticisms of a well-noted piano piece that we lose touch with reality for the first 18 years of life, then when it hits us that life is more than our own selfish aspirations of becoming the next big thing that we can barely afford to smile whilst looking at the barista. We need to transition our way of thinking about homeless to a way of positivity. If it were our brother or sister, how could we walk by without such as the kindness of a small gesture of appreciating their efforts?

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An inability to change the way we feel about homeless people.

An unwillingness to grow within oneself is about as tragic as this story gets. So often I hear stories about politicians making smearing remarks about how homelessness doesn’t exist or isn’t a problem in New Zealand and that we should be focussing on more significant matters such as international exporting and immigration laws instead of housing or the protection of kiwi children in foster care.

We negate the beliefs of change through our leadership. When they feed us this shit about not needing to worry about matters that don’t concern us, like the Pike river mining incident and the effects that had on the families why their loved ones after all this time are still unable to be recovered. The notion that Christchurch and its people have recovered from the earthquakes when in reality there are still families living out of their cars and are still displaced by lodges to the government to have their houses reimbursed six years later. The executive wing in parliament are concerned with their next election and promote growth elsewhere without going back, picking up the pieces of a shattered society and learning through their mistakes. Therefore they are making the same mistakes.

I remember last week walking down Wellington’s Streets after meeting up with my mum for dinner. She gave me $4.50 in 50 cent pieces and told me to go and give them to people who live on the streets. As I was walking along, I got this tremendous shock when a lady came up to me with her hands in front of her asking me for money. Full of passion and full of love all of my strength just collapsed and I walked away without so much as an acknowledgment to the lady. Having seen her around before I knew that she was a regular in the neighborhood. For the life of me, it wasn’t computing why it was so difficult to stop and spend time with this lady. I was scared and uncomfortable. Having made the decision to want to go and photograph some of the storyboards that these people had in front of them, I found it tremendously hard to encapsulate what these people’s stories were on a camera without exhibiting them in a way that might compromise their mana, which is their power and authority over their own life.

After being reduced to feeling shit about myself. I made the commitment to finish this blog and make damned sure that it gave these people some justice. That I would go away and think about why I was afraid, why I made certain assumptions and where the problem, from a people perspective, might have been. In the hopes that I could bring this message to you and tell you that it’s disgusting how we treat homeless people.

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Why don’t we trust homeless people?

Why do I bother saying my opinion? Sit down and listen. When I passed this lady last weekend I was feeling uncomfortable. Not because she was covered in dirt from shoulder to toe or because she was asking for my money but because I didn’t trust her. Coming from a small town in the tiny winemaking region of Marlborough, it’s rare to find someone who wouldn’t wave and say hello, who wouldn’t wash you down with a hose and drop you off at home if you fell into a drain trying to bunny hop across it on your new bike. The issue is far greater than just because a person is homeless. It’s a people problem. Something I’ve picked up since those days. Through social media, on the news, in the newspaper, at school, in the supermarket. Our daily interactions shape our faith in people, shape our trust towards people we don’t really know.

Even somebody full of life and full of passion for loving others was pulled down by the defecating stench of distrust. I couldn’t stop to say hello because I felt so uncomfortable that it probably made her feel worthless. When she’s not! We get caught up in not wanting to give our money to those who need it more than we do because we think that maybe she might spend it on drugs or on alcohol but really who’s business is it to tell a person how they spend their money? Nobodies. It’s nobodies business to tell someone else how they spend their money. The underlying assumptions are what make us hesitate from providing these people with the comforts and resources they need.

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If we boil it all down what do we get?

We’ve discussed that homelessness is either by choice or it is by circumstance. Analyzed governments portfolio as being a dysfunctioning source of wisdom. Looking into social normativity as being a vehicle of discrimination and that these people deserve so much better than what they get. Basically, it’s a very real problem and needs a very real change from an individual’s point of view. Something that is tangible and is hard for us to accomplish. because these issues aren’t fixable in a day they require strength and consistency. I need to be able to walk down Courtney Place, ask a random person sleeping on the pavement if they want to go and grab a coffee. I need to be able to go into a coffee shop with this person and ask the baristas how their day is going. I need to not take for granted the daily struggles of any person. If I could accomplish this faith and hold this kind of change then it would maybe one day change the perspective of one other person, even if that’s in Zimbabwe, how cool would that be?

Trust is a fickle business. But that’s a story for another day…




I hope you enjoyed this wee chat. It’s certainly a really powerful topic that deserves so much more than I’m giving it. But for today I hope this shares a bit of light from my own perspective. As always…

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 040 Social Stigma 

By Mana Williams Eade   20-25 Minutes

Today’s lengthy chat is about social politics but looks at identifying the key relationship differences between making a judgment call by stigmatizing versus giving a person special treatment. With a few examples and with relevance in the hopes of evaluating a little bit more about the massive dust cloud that is way too often used as an excuse for something to be right or okay when in reality both need to be understood and separated.

What does it mean?
Stigmatize – describe or regard as worthy of disgrace or great disapproval.

Special Treatment – distinguished, set apart from, or excelling others of its kind.
Judgment – the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.

Let’s talk about making a judgment call on a person.

Instead of writing up a whole blog about judging somebody I thought I’d make an entire paragraph dedicated to explaining my interpretation of making a judgment call on someone, so apologies for not having content out yesterday. When it comes to judging a person, there is a difference between stigmatizing and giving someone the benefit of the doubt by allowing them special privileges when appropriate. The act of making a judgment call, in my opinion, is just a way of protecting yourself from getting hurt in social situations. Recognizing a person’s caliber will let you know how many barriers you need to put up in order to stay level headed.

Time for an analogy.

Like a fortified castle, judging someone is the curation of the outer walls. Walls put up to protect yourself from other people’s shit, or vice versa. But it doesn’t change the reality that you shut people out whenever you erect walls. So why are we afraid of people’s shit? Is it memory conditioning? Is it a reaction from traumatizing childhood memories? Is it reactionary as an outlet for us or do we have to make assumptions to make ourselves feel better? For whatever reason, there are a few categories of judgment that can come out for ‘whatever reason.’ But for the relevance of the chat, I’ll focus on what I feel are the most important contrasting reactionaries which are stigmatizing and giving special treatment.

When is it ever okay to stigmatize?

Stigma is never nice, it’s easy to build your life around, it’s almost an excuse to be racially biased. This chat takes a really quick look at stigma and a couple examples of when it can really affect someone. To put it short and sweet, it’s never okay to stigmatize. The definition of stigmatizing is to recognize a negative change or characteristic of a person or to enlighten that they are different in a bad way. It’s when you use their indifferences against them to call them out on something or convince someone else that this somebody is bad without reason.

Storytime.

I was sitting in the university library last week when I struck up a conversation with a dude who lived outside of the city. It started off really nicely and we talked about what most students talked about, what degree they were taking, what year they were in and if they lived in a hall, whereabouts their parents live etc. The whole time was pretty casual in general. Until we started talking about socio-economics. We started discussing why certain areas of Wellington were really nasty in comparison to others. After discussing why certain areas within the city might not be very nice, he alluded to one area being very impoverished by the presence of the mongrel mob and the problems that they cause. But it hit me when he was talking about it, he made the assumption that just because an area has a low socio-economic rating it’s only due to the presence of gangs and drugs. In reality, any area everywhere is affected by drugs. It made me think about why he would comment on the presence of a gang. To assume that each individual within a gang is to blame for every ounce of heroin or cocaine in a particular suburb. To assume that the intimidation is real and that each gang member has no personality or no story to be told about why they are so inclined to create ripples in society in the first place. Who’s right is it to stigmatize against a group of people simply because they choose to live in a particular way that opposes the belief systems of others? Where in our constitution does it state that we have the right to stigmatize against a collection of people simply because their beliefs are indifferent to ours? Mate… To put simply, nobody has that authority. Sure we have the right to build our own opinions, but we have no claims to convince those opinions as fact or any authority to impose them onto somebody else.

Time to pull it apart.

Everyone has their own shit to deal with, whether that’s a mongrel mob member or my new library friend. It doesn’t give us the right to stigmatize them. Sure, don’t go out and wave your bum at them because that’s never respectful. We have no authority to say that an area is impoverished due to a particular group of people being present. What worries me most about my friend’s opinion of a certain area being really dodgy is probably because he told me that he gained his knowledge from the word of mouth from somebody else, who probably learned that from another person who may have had some sort of running in with a gang member at one stage in their life. But who knows? That gang member might have just lost their mum or dad to a car crash. They may have been going through some really tough times. Only after calling him out about it was it actually apparent to me that he was stigmatizing.

So how does giving special privileges differ from stigmatizing?

When something has happened to somebody and we are informed about it like if a lady is widowed by her husband’s passing, it’s usually normal for people to change their tone of voice or their way of communicating to this person. Conditioning our way of treating that person because they are grieving, because they deserve to be treated with more respect. I was recently at a funeral of a person who meant something to me, spending time at her funeral service and then spending time with her husband. It was obvious that he was grieving, so I and everyone else went out of their way to treat him with extra respect because he had just lost his loved one. Equally, if we learn about somebodies birthday we all of a sudden treat them nicer than usual regardless of what role they are in, whether they’re our waitress or if they are our parent. Giving special privileges, regardless if they are wanted, actually are appropriate in certain situations. They aren’t used against a person they are used for the person’s benefit. To lend a hand and bring them up to speed. it’s our most human contribution. To bring down a drawbridge to invite a person in and go out of our way to be there for them. Giving somebody special treatment is the opposite of stigmatizing. It is giving somebody the benefit of the doubt. I think it’s really sad that we are conditioned to only lend a hand when we are made aware of a problem. That we are only comfortable letting down our walls during a special occasion.

It’s almost like we are sitting behind the reigns of a high horse, only willing to come down when society expects us to. We should be able to do this any moment of the day. To show love and affection to our friends without needing a prompt, without somebody dying. That we don’t have to make assumptions around a certain gang of people, that we don’t have to stigmatize. Our families are closer than ever when we provide them with positive reinforcement, not stigmatic judgment. So how’s about we spend a bit more time treating everyone a bit more special?




And I guess that’s my talk for today! It was something pretty heavy on my shoulders so apologies for taking an extra day to deliver this one out there. Tonight’s talk is going to be pretty exciting! I’m interviewing a really impressive advocate and talking about the new child based New Zealand Ministry, VOYCE – Whakarongo Mai. So stay tuned for that!

Thanks for checking in…

Blog 032 Behind Already! 

By Mana Williams 12 Minutes 

Late nights trying to damage control unfinished assignments due in the next morning, trying to find time to meditate or exercise because your day is stressing you out. Tissues in washing machine woes and broken dryers making you go bankrupt. This chat just takes a look at why I’m feeling hesitant at really getting invested in the work that’s been set down on my desk lately. The cognitive limbo between knowing something is due and actually doing something about it. 

What’s been going on? 

Okay so the first three days of the new University year have started and I guess it’s always a bit daunting not knowing what you want out of it. Staying on top of all of your stuff online, in class and in assignments to be ready for the exams. On Monday I went to Taekwondo because I thought it might feel good to get out and do some light exercise just to loosen up and connect with different people. Little did I know how intensely difficult it was going to be after way too many push ups and sit ups, I pretty much fell to the floor in a puddle of my own sweat. Not cool. As a result I was lethargic and grumpy on Tuesday and Wednesday which isn’t ideal but in hindsight the exercise has probably done me a world of good. 

So what’s the issue? 

In conjunction with my last blog about looking for ways to get back into the swing of things. I struggled to mention the psychology behind studying and really looking at how you can possibly justify spending thousands of dollars, using thousands of your own hours just ti listen to a guy going through a mid life crisis teaching you about the architects dress code. Or have a Brazillian lady tell you that it’s important to build an interior project at 1:5 scale and spend hundreds of dollars per person just to throw it out. Or to have an over enthusiastic lecturer spend ten minutes negotiating the colour and font choices of his presentations slides. Does University actually teach us good time management skills or is it just another thing we can learn to avoid and actively feel anxious about not knowing what to do and the lack of courage from not wanting to bail up a lecturer during a class of over three hundred people. 

So what do we actually get from it? 

It’s an investment, from a financial point of view. A place where you exchange money for education and knowledge about a job you want to do. From a personable point of view, it’s not a place for you to grow much as an individual. It’s designed to help give you the tools to work, or to manage the job. University gives you all of the tips and tricks of your chosen field. It’s not designed to teach how to manage the psychological stress of your job. 

Speaking with an architect working for a firm in Wellington, I found that often at times people who actually work in the industry don’t actually work on their weekends. Forty hours per week and no more or any less as is contracted. So as you could assume I really struggled with the idea or notion that these universities could force us to work through our own down time just to be more ambitious with the assignments they set. Too often it falls by the way side that university is a service that we ordered, like an Uber, to teach us and guide us to the place we want to get to using the tools and strategies that they have existing in place. It’s often taken for granted that as individuals we have complete autonomy for the enlightenment and stress we bring into our daily lives. So we can sit and banter in our lectures or make remarks about the work loads but at the end of the day what University does is prepares us for work. 

I know I set out to write this blog about procrastinating doing work, but it’s meant to express how much I care about exposong this bookshelf business that is university.

 Just thought I’d say something… 

This is todays random rant about university life. The next couple of chats will probably look into the state of Child Welfare in New Zealand, should be really intense. But as always… 

Thanks for checking in. 

Blog 030 Living In Wellington

By Mana Williams 20 Minutes 

“Cuba Street is where you trip on a latte and land in a tattoo parlor.” – Peter Wood, Architecture Professor.

With its bureaucratic corporate wear and it’s Courtney Place nightlife, the alternative trends, and Student Ville lifestyle, multi-cultural vibrancy, Wellington must be the most sprightly place in New Zealand. Looking at it with a closer lens, this chat will look at what Wellington has that makes it special. There are a few things that will be covered in depth here so it will likely take some time. Like reviews of all places, there are three categorical mentions that can be used to judge a place. These are people, climate, and affordability. These blanket rules are basic and I’ve noticed people usually consider these three things when assessing how appropriate it is for them to move.

Time for a story. So sit back for a second.

Last year I moved to Wellington. Late January, a whole month before University classes started. Backpacking and carrying on, looking to make friends and do as much as possible before the restriction of school began. It wasn’t long before I accomplished that, and thankfully I was able to secure myself a job which is pretty awesome. After I got into my job and started getting into University stuff, very quickly I saw how expensive living in the city was.

So we’ll start with affordability. One way to look at affordability is to compare the price of a two-litre bottle of milk. There was a contrast between the price of milk in Lower Hutt versus the price of milk in Wellington City central by $0.80. That has much to do with convenience. Stores like The Fix remaining open 24 hours per day, because of that there is a huge emphasis put on operating costs for the store as well as convenience. Small apartment lifestyles, student living or couples with children, corporates living away from their homes on a work contract, temporary residents such as backpackers often occupy the central city space. As a result of this, there is a little microclimate that gets people doing little purchases often rather than large purchases weekly. In comparison to places rural or small town regions, Wellingtonians visit grocery stores more frequently, usually because they don’t have an easy way of carrying their groceries home, or perhaps they don’t have enough cupboard space to accommodate a huge grocery shop. Because of this, Wellington has a little niche for small purchases and higher prices for things like two-litre bottles of milk.

If we take the price difference mechanism of milk and apply it to rent and the cost of living. The closer to the central business district you are, generally, the cost of living and the cost of renting is more expensive. Last November me and my flatmates went looking around the city to find a place to live. Our price expectation ranged from $170-$220 per person on a weekly basis. The $220 group usually related to the more expensive stuff or fully furnished apartments etc. In our case, we were looking for a place to live that was close enough to University so that we wouldn’t have to pay for public transport. So generally we looked at places close to the central business district. – Thanks to Lauren for managing to find us a home in the end.

So what makes Wellington different?

Wellington is surprisingly hilly and there are a few suburbs that aren’t realistically very far from the central business district but because they are behind hills or at the top of hills they generally fluctuate in prices due to the quality of living for: warmth, sunlight hours, vicinity to shopping centres, and closeness to University. Places like Karori aren’t actually far out of town but because the suburb is behind two sets of hills you have to drive over a hill and through a tunnel. We looked at buying here at the same $170-$200 range and we were able to get a beautiful house with five spacious bedrooms, and a top of the range dehumidifier system. Way more than some of the slum-like apartments we visited in the city at the same price margin. To put it bluntly, city life is pretty expensive at the best of times in Wellington, but it can fluctuate significantly from place to place.

There’s more than meets the latte.

Otherwise, coffee shops are plentiful in Wellington. It’s not uncommon to pass four or five coffee shops on your daily walk down the road. In a lot of ways it actually builds up a resilience to building people and growing a cultural diversity. Left Bank down Cuba Street and Capital market are like oriental shopping centers. Lambton Quay and The Terrace are like corporate hang out zones. Wellington people exist as all of these little collections of ethnic groups, there isn’t a noticeable Tall Poppy syndrome in Wellington. It’s kind of sad really that we are still today having to suffer through that sort of crap outside of Wellington in places like Christchurch and Blenheim. But I guess that’s why when most people who’ve lived in Wellington usually say they loved it or they enjoyed it thoroughly. There’s a place for politics but it’s not usually buried in the sand in Wellington.

So what are the people like?

There’s a massive vibrancy here. As I mentioned before it must be one of the most sprightly places in New Zealand. I say this because there is a place for everything, normal and not-so-normal. Who can say really what a person is allowed to be or practice? I once walked down Cuba Street heading across to work, and I was held up  by a drag queen who for those of you that don’t know is a person who dresses up as a queen, usually a guy of the male gender right, but this drag queen was driving a couch down the road, and the couch was on fire. There were five people pushing the couch around but it was honestly the most Wellington thing I’ve ever seen. It was only a Tuesday as well. The part I loved about it the most was that nobody really took any notice of it or even questioned them. That really epitomizes Wellingtonians and how little they care about what people are up to. We had a group of friends over at the flat last week and one person was talking about the fashion trends of students in Wellington or just everyday people wearing hugely alternative clothes. For those readers who don’t know what I mean by alternative, it’s in regards to the hipster fashion trends. If you still don’t know what that means, it usually refers to the various slit jeans and four black layers, ear piercings the size of a burger ring. All just a bit impractical, but again, nobody seems to care. Our friend piped up and made the comment that it’s more alternative to wear normal clothes than alternatives. Which means basically it’s weirder to be normal now. It kind of points out that the culture of Wellington is constantly dynamic and is changing every day. In short, Wellington people aren’t massively judgmental. You can be who you want to be and nobody will care too much.


How about climate?

It’s consistent. Either in a bad way or in a good way. Wellington City is a huge wind tunnel. That’s why it’s so notoriously windy. But if it’s wet, or if it’s windy, it’s not far to your nearest coffee shop, your nearest library, or even actually, home. So it’s not a massive factor that would be too concerning living in Wellington.

So overall, Wellington has a lot going for it. There are two Universities, it has every corporate opportunity available, Government resides here, drag queens on burning couches, and an international community.Wellington’s a little micro-climate and it offers up expensive accommodation and costly milk, but it’s convenient in many ways for you to get to where you need to go. So to be fair, I think living in Wellington, is pretty damn good.




So that’s today’s talk. I didn’t have heaps to say about Wellington so I thought I’d get it all down on one blog instead of three or two parts. So I hope you enjoyed it! Tomorrow I’ll be looking at Getting back into the swing of things at University. That should be fun…

As always…

Thanks for checking in.

Blog 028 The Weekend

By Mana Williams 20 Minutes

I visited Auckland this weekend, headed to the Coromandel Peninsula for a quick getaway and a catch up with some friends. The whole occasion though was mostly spent offline. Which for most people of my generation is completely taboo, which I feel is stupid. So this chat is in discussion with some of the psychological ties created by our media devices at a social level and looks for some answers that people might be able to try.

Imagine you’re going on holiday. Spending time with people you’ve never met before on a beach in the top of the North Island of New Zealand. A nice holiday home with large open rooms and modern decor. Food and drink of all kinds available to you and you are comfortable with the people around.

But there’s one catch. There’s no Internet or cell phone coverage!

This happened last weekend. Within two hours there were a few lost lambs holding their devices up like the Liberty Statue in New York holding her torch into the sky trying to get reception. It’s almost like they expected to get data in the middle of nowhere. I remember one time when I was biking on the top of a hill in Christchurch, New Zealand, looking for a decent photo when it hit me that my entire life was basically a photo book. Wasting around looking for reasons to consume my time on social media like Snapchat or Facebook.

It’s sad that we acclimatize ourselves to become used to natural beauty or adapt our way of living to find pessimism in our own climate that it’s honestly disturbing! We have access to unlimited natural beauty yet we moan and complain about ICloud updates and Facebook posts about Donald Trump that too often we miss what is really important. New or existing connections with friends and the love of our family are the most significant things we will ever have.

So why do we care so much about communicating with the outside world?

I can’t speak for other people because someone might have something important going on, but I can suggest a few things that might shed some coverage on the phony addiction. Reading from a scientific point of view, when we receive text messages or a little red notification number on Facebook, our brain receives a shockwave that releases a chemical dopamine in our body. Yeah, dopamine, one of the many drugs Lance Armstrong used to win the Tour De France seven times. To put it bluntly, it’s a drug which induces addiction. The same kind of chemical reaction that is caused by drinking alcohol and smoking Marijuana.

But by all means, take that call in the middle of our conversation. By all means, sit outside a neighboring house with WiFi. I should rephrase by all means into by any means. Because by any means necessary we look for reasons to sit on our phones. Dinner tables, Funerals, Graduations, in the hospital, mid-conversation on our date, it’s shocking.

So what can we do to change?

Not much is accomplished without a lot of effort. As time ticks over we look at ways to make our lives easier by letting go of stress and self-anxiety. Like watching TV, cell phones offer us some lazy time. But you’re on holiday, spending time with new people who are actually interested in your business, so get off your phone, stop looking for reception, and live a bit better. We are all so consumed by social media, the aspect to socializing and a need for politics and information or communication erodes our time spent with others. It’s corrosive attributes bleed out when other people want our attention. When your little sister is wanting to talk with you or when a parent is trying to spend some quality time with you, when your lover is trying to gaze into your eyes. We are all catalyzed by our lust for social mediums that it’s noticeable when we are addicted.

Why the fuss?

Wouldn’t it be great if airports were not a warehouse full of anxious people and overpriced Powerade’s? I was sitting in an airport last night next to a power outlet charging my phone, and I was looking around the airport terminal thinking about all of the people with their cell phones out and how nobody was talking to each other. It was like we all had this predisposition that we were all traumatized by the idea of missing out or the idea of being late for something, even if that something wasn’t really that important. This made up fear like a whip forces us to converge into this way of living and keeps us in a state of anxiety. It shocked me that so many people were in one room and you could literally hear a coin hit the floor. Almost like sheep in a slaughter house waiting for the chop.

What would be a reasonable change?

Sitting in church last weekend was one of the first churches where all of the new students had arrived. Looking around I could see a lot of faces old and new. I was triggered to go and socialize. After chewing a guys ear off, I got an overlay on the significance of properly socializing. Going out of my way to make a new connection with a guy who I had a ridiculous amount in common with showed me how important it is to open your eyes and get out of your comfort zone. Or should I say cell phone zone? Anything to disconnect. Being able to get off the grid helps you find moments of randomness where you learn something new.

So what does it all look like?

If you were on holiday, your cell phone was disconnected, sat in an airport hangar sitting next to your family, what would you talk about? You would gain some rich connections that’s for sure. Precious moments where you might talk about the good old days with your mum or something stupid you did on your first day of high school. These little moments is what it really looks like. I’m not saying you’ll get cheaper Powerade’s at airports but you’d certainly feel less anxious if everyone was talking about something.


This is today’s blog for you guys, I hope it wasn’t too long as I had a long time to put this one down into words. Tonight I will be writing up my monthly talk to check in and see how I’m feeling and see how I’m doing. Would like to say again how thankful I am that you are still here, and as always…

Thanks for checking in.

Blog 026 Friday Nights at University

By Mana Williams  7-10 Minutes 

Late nights getting loose, flat parties, trashy fashion, low standards, ex-girlfriend drama, and loads of hype. Friday night university life in a place like Wellington can be really full on. Less than a Saturday but more than a Thursday.

A time for short-term promises and long term goals. We are all a part of the problem whenever we enforce the ideology of alcoholism. From about 12 pm every Friday, students begin the descent into the lands of drunkenness. This blog is in regards to University life and the culture of drinking on a Friday.

Why all the hype?

This generation has a belligerent fear of missing out that drives us to seek out the hype. So many push the idea of getting more or getting loose and when you are young it is so easy to accomplish that. This fear of missing out drives the urge for us to be bothered getting into nice clothes have the energy to go have fun, have time to go find love. So we push and we push till we find some hype.

A time of the week when society stops spinning it’s cogs so dominatingly eases up and starts relaxing. In the meantime, students are looking for questionable adventures and intangible developments. We find solace in the rhythm that we are better off joining in rather than resisting the current. It’s worth getting out of pajamas for because it gives us freedom to do silly things.

But what are the consequences of doing silly things?

It’s only a moment, it’s only a night. Looking for short-term preoccupation is about as intelligent as consuming elicit drugs. Short term gain, long term stupid. Within the wobbly world of nightclubbing, it’s not uncommon to do dumb stuff. But for me, not a dance, nor a ballad has encouraged any sort of meaningful relationship. Because it’s probably not a meaningful connection. In the sense that they probably don’t care very highly about what you have that makes you, you. That’s sad.

You’re only kidding yourself believing that you need to go out!

It doesn’t take an architect to realize that going out on a Friday night is unnecessary. With the cost of alcohol at ridiculous prices, how in the world do students afford to accommodate their binge drinking culture? No wonder there is a stereotype of low-quality two-minute noodles marked as a staple diet for students. They aren’t poor they just spend their money on stupid shit.

What else is there?

I’m not saying don’t go into town, I’m just letting you know what’s out there. Guys and girls are both full of potential but they are equally full of drama and that’s not healthy. Not in the sense of unholy stuff, or things that draw you to a person that makes you feel special. Looking for wisdom where there isn’t any.

Instead, adjusting strategy to hang out with the lads, or the girls. Being content with one another and accepting each other for their shortcomings, likewise. Making compromise through their cloud of rubbish because you know your relationship with them will last longer than Friday night.

An early stab of wisdom on a Saturday. I feel that if I continue pushing we might eventually reach a perspective that makes more sense. But for now…

Thanks for checking in.

Blog 025 Compromise

By Mana Williams. 5 Minutes 

To agree on standards lower than is acceptable or to reach a settlement for less than is wanted. To be able to let go in order for a certain situation to occur which might be helpful in the long term is to compromise. This chat is aligned with lessons around reaching a compromise that is peaceful without having to change your personality to suit somebody else’s needs. Particularly in the case of flatting and learning how to become comfortable with those around you.

Is there an ask?

Treating others like shit won’t get you anywhere. So positive thoughts! There’s so much going on every day in the mind of a human that it’s almost fruitless to try and figure it all out. So don’t bother wasting your time trying to argue someone else into a corner. Instead of trying to reverse engineer someone’s personality, be more reasonable and make a compromise.

Some people have personalities, which is usually stuff that they need to deal with. Let them accomplish their own hassles and focus in on protecting yours. Enforcing your own knowledge onto others is like turning over a new page and going back two.

Therefore the first compromise is to listen.

If you think of a house dog, as a neutral member of a family, they are valued and trusted. They earn their stripes not based on how fast they can run or how loud they can bark, but primarily because they are selfless without kicking up a fuss and are content with listening to you.

A dog is a perfect listener, I know shocking right? The ethics of using a dog as an example is they are the extreme value. The opposite extreme value would be a person who doesn’t listen and isn’t willing to make any sacrifices or compromises, they are not willing to listen. That is not to say that you must be somebodies bitch, it just means that within the context find how much you are easily able to compromise without changing who you are, then making that change and show it by listening. The word listen is to pay attention, payment of which we people are often in debt with.

Why would you tell someone what you already know, why would you not just listen and see what new stuff they have?

When you’re missing home, missing someone or going through something tough, it’s important that the people around you are supporting you and showing you respect. But this is a two-way street. If you both have personality differences and cannot acclimatize then you both need to make an effort to compromise. By coming to an agreement you’ll be able to support and be there for each other. Listening to each other and providing answers to any given situation is a bold move, but if sustained for a long period can build stronger and stronger relationships.


Another quick thought for you. I quite like these five-minute hits, if you have any feedback please do say in the comments section below!
Thanks for checking in!

Blog 024 Missing Home

By Mana Williams. 5 Minutes

It’s true, I’m missing home. The epic feasts put on every Sunday, the coinless washing machines at home, the 8:30 pm movie nights, The Chase playing after work, Dad yelling at the dog to get out of the kitchen. This blog is in regards to shifting away from home and the adjustment of going into flat life.

Moving away from home is easy, some say. The daily phone calls from mum to check in and make sure you haven’t burnt the house down, the really persistent friends that Facebook message every day to have a cheeky catch-up session. Significant reminders that you are cared about. Pulling away at your home strings in some weird way.

As much as I enjoy resisting the urge to say that I miss home, blood is thicker than ego. There is an expectation that I remain in close contact with my parents, mum, in particular. From experience, it is seldom I am able to accomplish anything without my mum first putting in place measures to ensure that I don’t fall flat on my face. Perhaps with age and experience comes wisdom and independence.

The attachment you have with your family or your friends every time they call is like a small kick to the guts, usually hits when somebody says “okay, I’ll talk to you later, bye.” Generally, people have this urge not to enjoy ending conversations and only when they reach the goodbye section do they start to regret not saying what they really wanted to say.

So what do I do?

Looking forward positively, harden up, doesn’t quite cut it. We need other alternatives to address the gap. One of those things for me is blogging. It lets me express something that’s going on. A more potent way of dealing with family isolation is making compromises and socializing with people you are having differences with.  Flatmates, in particular, will have a huge impact on your daily life so it would be crazy not to show some connection with them and gradually build them up so that they can support you, even if that means compromising a little bit. It’s the first stage of building a solid foundation that counts. Make time for others and slowly building a new home.

This is today’s food for thought.
Thanks for checking in.

Day 023! TV Today?

By Mana Williams. 5-7 Minutes 

Plagued by unimaginative closed sourced business enterprises like Sky Television and Freeview, what does the future hold for Television? This blog chats about the progressive evolution of the TV and where it has come to and also the problems television is causing our generation today.

Sky television is a significantly stagnant business, unchanged by modern advancements, we are living in 2017 with television that is from ten years ago. Channels we can not access without outrageous prices, like sky box office on demand, and it all seems nonsensical to even think that it all still exists! Lest we forget about My Sky which allowed us to record shows. Remember the novelty of the first time you were able to pause and rewind a show if you needed to go to the toilet, or if there was someone at the door? It was like we earned the right to be able to do that when videos have always allowed us to do so.

Let’s talk quickly about the video world. We have gone through video tapes. The VCR situation where you would have to rewind for hours on end to get back to the beginning of the video. But it was immersive, people would have the ability to control their user experience. The expansion from this came in the form of DVD’s which were condensed disks of glass that would reflect light as an image and be projected onto a screen. This allowed us to quickly skip to any part of the film within seconds, improving our user interface. Post-current we see media sites online such as Netflix, Putlocker, Lightbox, 123 Movies, all assuming the roles of the DVD. The result from this is that we have the ability to skip across to different movies and watch different episodes all from our laptop. Once again media is made easier to digest and the user’s interface made more simple. Today we have the likes of Chromecast and Apple TV giving us uninterrupted access to use our online media sites like Netflix and Youtube whilst connected from our laptops to our Televisions.

It’s this last step that makes it all interesting because we are faced with a generation who has progressively stopped watching normal television. The exorbitant prices set out by companies such as Sky Television make the network unreachable. Needless to say, that Sky has a lack of new shows or new movies. Not to mention the poor user interface allowing people to skip ahead to their favorite show, or watch any movie without it costing $9.99 per viewing.

So what issue do you see?

We are living in a world where all of our media has become more and more user-friendly, so much so that often we come to a point where we realize how lazy it’s making us become or how antisocial we are when sitting in a lounge full of our friends or family. Television has become another way for us to dull our senses, to feel less and digest more. It’s food for our eyes and now we can put on the food that we like faster and more accessible than ever before.

How do we fix it?

An effort, which many people in my generation lack, is what is needed. To pull away from our devices and sit without bringing them to the table, at least for a while. The temptation of going to our phones or staying by our computer screen whilst others conversate for many people young and old has never been more of a chore. That’s sad. It’s almost like you could be considered old fashioned if you sat throughout an entire sitting with friends and never once pulled out your phone or immersed yourself into a television. This is not to say that it is entirely a bad thing that we have a television to divert our attention into. For some people, it is a place they can escape. Not everyone wants to have conversations all the time, but you need to ask the question, do the positive effects outweigh the negative ones?

But hey! Who doesn’t love a bit of explosive commentary during a Michael Bay film?

This was today’s little journey. As always…
Thank you for checking in.

Day 019 ! What it’s like to live in Blenheim – Part Two 

By Mana Williams. 8-10 Minutes 

Please Note: This one’s a dense one. I tried my best to condense each section but there is much to be said here.


In my earlier blog about living in Blenheim, I began to discuss the wider aspects such as what the people are like, what the schools have to offer and what business opportunities exist. However, those wider generalizations don’t bring full grasp to the sun struck vineyard village.

What we need to talk about is what is wrong with Blenheim.

As I discussed before, with smaller towns and smaller populations there tends to be more manual labour and less time in a day to do the things that you want. From this attitude grows a need to lust more than what you already possess. Kids are kept wondering how they might stack up against others but have no way of gauging their interests due to lack of social groups/gatherings for the alternative stuff like martial arts and interesting hobbies. In this way, it is evident that there is little mischief teenagers can get into to find who they are and where they stand at an individual’s social development level.

So what really is it like to live in Blenheim?

When I was five years old I started a martial art. My brother was my instructor, my mother and my sister were both black belts and had pretty high expectations of their little brown counterpart, me. I was really fortunate to have this martial arts family exist right from the get go. Without this hobby, I couldn’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be to self-motivated and challenge yourself while remaining positive in such a claustrophobic environment.

Blenheim doesn’t offer a lot of things because it is so small. There isn’t a population to drive numbers for interest, subsequently, it becomes too expensive for people to hire out halls and gain access to equipment. Luckily for my family and I, there was already a community created for our chosen Martial Art. This ran in tandem with my families vested interests and camaraderie between myself and my peers.

For those who don’t fit into the cookie-cutter lifestyles of playing for the first XV rugby team, the farming/pig hunting lifestyle, the grape growing industry or the Rav 4 with a job in town, life in Blenheim can be equally as manual.

If you want to be or do something, you’ve got to go out and get it then fight for it. The cliche attitude applies in small towns like Blenheim. As aforementioned in Blenheim blog one, the likes of the tall poppy syndrome may persist when you achieve something and someone else doesn’t agree with it. The envious environment can drive spears into the hearts and minds of youth growing up in this community. The likes of hobbyists or the LGBT community struggle in these sorts of places. Lack of numbers, I could imagine, would make difficult the ability to meet someone in a place like Blenheim. Not to mention the judgment from the ‘everybody knows everybody’ gossip circles.

With strengthened hardness ensuing in matters of stereotyping and discrimination, generational indifferences compel many younger kids to react similarly when someone opposes their families beliefs. In turn, Blenheim is not really a place all about diversification. You can see this behavior spill onto the middle generations as well, usually justified by the oldest generations in a way that in itself describes Blenheim’s “just get on with it” social suffocating attitude.

So what for the cultural diversity?

Blenheim is home to nine Maori Iwi. All of which are actively operating at all times to retain their cultural heritage or the ‘kaupapa’ of their history. There is a huge support for the Maori community within the Marlborough region, with some Maori entities branding their own wine, their own foods, and exports from the region. The cultural diversity exists.

However, even within these communities, having lived in Blenheim and being a Maori boy, it is apparent that a percentage of Maori also share these same symptoms of the tall poppy syndrome. There is just as much politics, and the gossip circles are just as close as any other culture. There is a much deeper story that could explain the situation better but I will keep this for another time.

Is it money that makes small communities like Blenheim suffer from lower socio-economics?

Blenheim in comparison to Wellington, Christchurch and even worse, Auckland, is quite affordable. Depending on which lens you’re using. Housing is defined solely on location terms. But I am not qualified to comment on this marketplace. In terms of wages and costs of living there is, however, a considerable difference. Particularly if one is working in the Vineyards. This is because of contract work which is a way for the farm owners to force their workers, often from overseas from places like Vanuatu, to work harder for nearly no pay increase. This hard work combined with ever rising costs of food and other essentials creates an atmosphere where the socio-economy of Blenheim can suffer, yes.

After all that, Blenheim still is actually a really nice place to visit. The food is good, the sun is nearly always shining. They do make nice wine and the location in regards to other features of New Zealand is really good. Despite its habit of forcing people to merge into cookie cutting lifestyles, just get on with it attitudes, tall poppy syndrome mixed with cultural politics, Blenheim is actually still a really nice place… to visit…


Thank you so much for reading up on this blog! I really appreciate your support. Two blogs were sent out today because I was so happy with the responses!

“Your comments are my oxygen”- Gary Vaynerchuk.

Thanks for checking in.

Day 018. Shifting – Part One. 

By Mana Williams. 13-15 Minutes 

In three segments I want to explain the process of shifting. The first discusses packing up and leaving behind luggage associated with relationships. The second part focuses on a lens which looks into the transitioning process of leaving. The third looks at arriving somewhere completely new, and the connections you make in your new home. This blog is all in regards to my current situation of moving back to University, and looks into the conversation of psychological politics but also the aim is to be forthcoming and motivate people to try harder at being nicer, because it’s something I really suck at.

So where to start. 

Looking into it, the process of packing is all about taking with you only what is going to be necessary. Which means conversely leaving behind anything that is excessive and will cause difficulty in the great migration later on. The most important step is to let go of any baggage, and no we’re not talking about your pink underwear. I’m referring to relationships, unwanted grudges and personality anxieties. 

What good will it do for you in the long term? 

Happiness is overrated and often considered a destination when it’s a way of simply being you. When you are living in an unhealthy relationship, particularly at my stubborn age of nineteen, the unwholesome conversations at 3:00 am with your long distance partner can erode your days wake. If you can find a way to hang that old relationship up in your wardrobe then you are doing yourself a massive favour long term because you will have fresh shoes to walk in and what better way to turn over a new leaf than to leave all the crap behind.  

Don’t fret about the last chapter. 

The next step is to let go of the grudges you’ve been dabbling with for the last section of your life. The confrontations between family, friends, work colleagues, gets people nowhere in the long term. Refreshing your outlook so that you get a new perspective on what is. Even better if the angst you have is connected to your previous relationship with the other guy. You get two birds with one stone, without even throwing a punch. Letting go is hard work but the only thing is that you have to live with those decisions forever, so why not make the decision to bury the hatchet?

Anxious to say the least. 

If you experience an anxiety when you’re around somebody else with a personality, when I say personality I mean strong personality, then look no further. Beneath the same category as relationships, anxiety is like a book dipped in water, nobody needs that on a new day. If you can talk it out, do so. If you can’t reach a compromise, let it go. (Don’t start singing Let it Go either, talk about anxieties…) There’s nothing worse than resorting to small talk afree catching up with a person from your past and having nothing meaningful to conversate over. Like a shark, they’re probably more anxious to talk with you than you with them. So to ease the strain between you, relieve the pressure by treating yourself better, or coming to a compromise with that family member, ex best friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, gender non-specific friend, dog, shark, cat, cabbage tree or even maybe yourself. Once again, make the decision to bury the hatchet. 

Now that we have gone over the basic ties which have shackled you to your old home, you now have a key to unlock them. Tine to sort yourself out and start shifting. 

We should have a talk about love though. 
Because one paragraph is usually not enough to convince you that he/she/they are not worth carrying to the next place or these words don’t prove anything to suggest that they deserve second chances. I cannot argue that your previous relationship is anything similar to mine. But for me I know that it’s true that the love was real, but more so was the thought for my own self. In self reflecting selfishness you’ve got to put yourself at the top of your priorities list. When you care for something external you rely on it for support. Let me tell you, that never ends well, but it definitely ends. When your balance is internal you have more willpower to sustain yourself when things get tougher. When things get tough, and they will. When the seasons change, and the mood is darker. Things can get pretty foreign and sometimes you have to push shit uphill. But you’ve got to think is it worth pushing the buck next time. Can we be bothered carrying their issues into tomorrow? 

By letting go of unhealthy relationships, burying personal grievances with individuals, resolving anxieties with people that have strong personalities and appreciating how hard love can be during the varying seasonal changes is a great learning curb to consider before shifting. By leaving this luggage behind makes us lighter and more agile, amd more importantly we are happier. 

This is today’s thought. The conversation is in regards to my move back to University, and all of the personal business that needs to be dealt with in a way that I can feel more enlightened by my choices and know what I’ve done and done where I’m going and reflect on that better. So thank you for being and depart of this talk and as always… 

Thanks for checking in. 

Day 017. Why Is Everyone A Politician Now?

By Mana Williams. 8 Minutes 

With keyboard warriors attacking money loving economists about ethics. Environmentalists battling it out against businessmen with profit margins. Today we have more stuff than we had yesterday!

So why is everyone a politician now?

Politics are a non-violent version of catching someone outside, without all the rough stuff. Just words with no kick. Like how two armies a thousand years ago would come together in battle formations, ready to kill, ready to fight, with only their leaders coming together in a private domain, this was because it was a place where clarity could be met, that both parties could be on the same page. Now the whole army is in on the conversation!

I originally put it down to technology. But that was a thing of the past. For the first time ever it has become common ground for many generations to actively converse over politics, it has become a trend. A time when talking about Trump happens in every classroom, every lunch room, every meme, and on every bus. It has become cool for us to talk about politics.

Is that really the reason though?

With so many opinions, it is easier to become misconstrued with reality. When the words of someone are taken out of context and gain momentum on social media they become viral, but the triviality is not the problem, the problem is the confusion created. Effortlessly people see headlines without checking for factual evidence to suggest the contrary. We see what we want, a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not dissimilar to lawyers creating cases for themselves, businesses arguing that what they’re doing has many benefits but almost always forget to mention the down sides. What has happened is there is no longer only one complete truth to everything, there’s several. Created out of reasonable doubt, arguments can be made. Through these arguments people find a reason to believe in alternative facts, as US counselor for Donald Trumps administration, Kellyanne Conway used when interviewed about Sean Spicers comment about Trump’s inauguration.
Is it helpful?

The media has grown overtime to bridge the gap between society and those in a position of authority such as governing bodies, corporate entities, and noteworthy individuals.  But this gap has become less as the people become more engaged in their daily news and it empowers people to get involved with the talk. But equally it provides more room for interpretation. The concern is that from these fundamentalist interpretations, people perceive a lie when there isn’t one, or more concerning a truth when there isn’t one. So beyond the cloud that we perceive to be helpful politics, actually leaves plenty of space for corruption and room for spin doctors to exacerbate their propaganda by becoming conditioned to adapt to hide from a story, like a jewel thief dodging lasers. So it is both helpful but equally making matters more complex.

So what do we do to combat this instead of being politicians?

I’m glad you asked. The youth generation draws huge differences to any other generation before them. More so that they have a strong skepticism for stuff they hear on the news. With so many outlets available to them, kids simply don’t treat news like gospel anymore. What they might see on the news, on their Facebook, through their Instagram, on their Snapchat, on Youtube, on normal news sites, from word of mouth, all of these different sources have different angles to portray and it helps improve the image from multiple lens perspectives. Sometimes there might be conflicting evidence between what one person says versus what another person says and it carries with it this lust to be rightful about your evidence. This in my opinion is the best way to form your own view on a political matter. Gathering as many sources possible, comparing and contrasting and then forming a judgement.

Midday rant over – solid 8/10 Mana.
Blenheim- Part Two is coming soon.
Thank you for checking in.

Day 016! What is it like living in Blenheim?

By Mana Williams. 12-15 Minutes 

With 79 % of New Zealand’s wine produced in Marlborough, a plethora of bays to visit in the coves of the Sounds, a tiny population, and a bustling little town, Blenheim is really well situated. But this is a blog of truth. Having lived in this small community for over ten years of my life and having revisited as an adult, I can now bring to you a well-rounded account of living in small town Blenheim.

So what is it like living in Blenheim?

Blenheim is a little Christchurch. For those who don’t understand what I mean, I’m referring to its people. I could talk for days about the positive and negative effects the grape industry has had on the Marlborough region. But, like Christchurch, there are three golden rules that can be used to judge a place: People, climate, and affordability. Together, these three guidelines encompass the lens we use to decide whether a place is good enough for us to live. In essence, Blenheim fails to contrast in many ways to the likes of Christchurch and it’s people.

So what are the people like?

Blenheim has never been known for its snobbery. Because it’s the opposite. Like Christchurch, Blenheim has the “Just get on with it” attitude. This is standard with most places you would visit in the South island of New Zealand. South island towns tend to have fewer people and larger properties due to more space. Smaller populations naturally have fewer people, therefore fewer workers to do things for you. In comparison to city life where you don’t have a lawn or a garden or distance to travel to work to worry about, life in small towns can be more manual. Development is slower which means that more labour is required after a day at work. Therefore there is less time in a day to worry about vanity, snobbery and what colour shoes you’re wearing.

BUT JUST BEFORE YOU GO BACK INTO THE WATER!

In many places in New Zealand, particularly in places of small populous like Blenheim. There is an envy about the place. In a community where everyone knows everyone, outsiders are more judged. Even more so insiders! In a place where hard work is expected due to manual labour and a just do it attitude, it is easy to become envious of other people when they achieve something. Tall Poppy Syndrome exists, although many people are supportive, keep your wits about you.

For the young ones.

Academically weak, strong in sports. There is a wide variety of primary schools within Blenheim which are well rounded both academically and in their sports. There is an opportunity for development in many aspects. As you head through to intermediate years, options become more restricting and ultimately you learn to recognize that Blenheim is not a place for teenagers to experience very much, get into very much mischief or say very much without the entire town hearing about it. Reaching high schooling years, there is not a huge emphasis on intense academia. So if what you are looking for is to become the next Elon Musk then this is not the place to go. Musk is a billionaire American physicist, engineer, and entrepreneur. However, their sporting achievements from the likes of Marlborough Boys’ College blasts back decades. With a massive amount of support shown towards kicking a different region, namely Christchurch boys’ College, off of first places in cups and trophies. These sports include softball, first XV rugby, football, road cycling etc. Unfortunately, having grown up in small town Blenheim, I know there is not much for the young ones to do and see. But I’m sure they will appreciate spending more time with you.

Climate and Economy.

From a business perspective in the adult world, it really comes down to what industry you are working for. The region has a sunny climate which is why the wine industry does so well, namely Sauvignon Blanc. Due to the wine industry having such good success the tourism market has grown relatively. Tourists passing through from the likes of Wellington via Picton, Christchurch via Murchison, and Nelson via Nelson. There is also a strong Hospitality industry in Blenheim with small bars and restaurants. Other retailers like clothes stores also do well. There seems to be also a reconnaissance for nice European based restaurants in the town for the older generations to enjoy. The likes of Raupo with is French cuisine does a really nice platter. Gramado’s presents a really delicious pasta and is renowned for their Brazillian staff. Even Kiwi stuff does well! The semi-new Speight’s Ale House in Springlands also serves a good Blue Cod or a strong Kiwi steak. With its growing Hospitality industry combined with healthy Tourism, agriculture, viticulture, and horticulture, Blenheim boasts a strong economy.

Be sure to tune in for part two! I will be looking at the affordability of living in small town Blenheim! Thanks for checking in!!

Day 015. What is it like living in Christchurch – Part Two. 

By Mana Williams. 11 Minutes 

The South Island of New Zealand is better than the North Island. We have the private bays of Marlborough Sounds, two-thirds of the countries Vineyards, areas of unexplored land within the Fiordland, the largest military base in the country, the largest mountain in the country, rocks that look like pancakes in Punakaiki and a pancake shop built inside of the freaking rocks!

But we also have Christchurch… Now notice the use of the word Island when referring to the South being better than the North. I was referring to the land, not the people because it is land that makes the south island better than the North. When we rank places by the opinions of people in a way that is non-judgmental, Christchurch comes close to last place.

So why does Christchurch suck so bad?

When a place is swamped in fire, split apart in earthquakes, is home to a nightlife depressed with drama raged arguments and street fights. It makes me think about how an imbalance could have occurred so badly in a place as beautiful as the south island of New Zealand.

I got it down to the weather. When it is cloudy we feel bored and complain about it not being sunny enough. When it’s sunny we complain about it being too hot or too bright.. When it’s raining we feel comfortable but complain because the washing is on the line. When it is windy we complain because we lose a sock to the garden. Everywhere is like this but Christchurch is generally more inconsistent than the likes of Wellywood and Auckland. With four seasons everyday in the wrongly timed order, some Cantabrians complain till the cows come home.

People complain a lot about things not being in balance. We grow up dependent on the world around us being ideal as if to say that everything should be ideal no matter what. Then when things aren’t ideal we find ways in which to impose hardship into someone else’s life. When we see someone who is succeeding with their goals some people feel the urge to corrupt that growth or otherwise known as tall poppy syndrome.

Its funny how the definition of ‘ideal’ is the conception of something perfect. As to assume that perfection is a concept not a reality. That we imagine only that something is perfect or ‘ideal’. But if we look at it from a cultural perspective. The word ‘ideal’ is from the English language. A language designed to convince or appeal to the listener that what is being said is true. Does the English culture dampen people’s spirits? Does it have something to do with the first British settlers being prisoners, sailors and hard working people? I don’t know the answer to that question.

All I know is that there are  positive differences in other cultures such as Maori. Symbolically, fairness, love and compassion is something instilled within you at birth and is taken away from you through your life. ‘Mana’ and not me, is taken from a person out of unfairness. It cannot be resorted without difficulty. This process of restoring and providing support for the people of Christchurch who lost their Mana, or their balance, their feet, their prestige. The environment within post-quake Christchurch has become sour. Where love has been fighting with unfairness and upset. This in turn spills into business, into the adult world and subsequently pours into the way kids treat other kids.

Kids are our future. The kids of Christchurch will define the future of Christchurch. Having lived in Christchurch during four of my schooling years, I learned quickly some people are cut down at the knees as collateral of unfairness. That Christchurch suffers hugely from the illness that is tall poppy syndrome. Many minorities within Christchurch are generally the first demographic to receive heavy judgment. Gays, Muslims and Maori are some parties whom receive the back hand from the majorities within The Garden City.

And that’s pretty sad. But when you recognize that individuals are influenced in their way of thinking based on our biggest life-threatening force, the weather.

Thank you for ready Sundays blog! We will see you tomorrow.

Day 014. What is it like living in Christchurch?

By Mana Williams 7 Minutes 

With its undulating plains, it’s surrounding dormant volcanos and close vicinity to the southern alps. Christchurch is conditioned by its earthquakes, kept on its toes by its stark fires, kept cool by its 4 pm southerly wind change and made close by its clicky groups. Beyond these controversies, what isn’t recognized is how stoic their communities remain.

So what is it like to live in Christchurch?

Every place has its own set of challenges. There is a process of residing in a place. Three golden rules of people, climate, and affordability. When we look at a place in a lens we look at what it has to offer us.

Quickly within my first few months of living in the garden city, I learned of its culture. The cuisine of lycra dominated roadsides, Wilson parking lots where buildings once stood and an architectural perspective on restoration and recovery.

Like every city, there are good areas and not so good areas.  Those of a wealth status that are high in the hills of Cashmere and Huntsbury. Those with a more modest budget located just within the city limits.

There are all sorts of demographics. Christchurch is an older community. It’s England’s, Manchester, America’s, Los Angeles. Australia’s… no, it’s not that bad… A large collection of many different communities and suburbs. So many that I still don’t know the names of half of them, new ones every month. It’s a developed city where people mind their own business and definitely mind others’.

It’s no walk in the park. Unless you’re in Hagley Park. There is judgment in this cold pressed region. This is not a place to be falsely enthusiastic. A real kiwi city with the,” just get on with it,” attitude. You’ve got to stay positive, though. In the middle of winter it isn’t uncommon to reach 25 degrees (Celsius) nor is it equally uncommon to have snow in December (New Zealands summer).

There is a nightlife. I know, how surprising is that! Although there is a dynamic culture that exists with different clubs holding the popularity stick. Banter in general can be enjoyed over a class of Corona or a few shots of Absinthe. In general Christchurch operates under a hot spot concept due to its shear land size.

There is always a place for community! Family power dominates most events. The likes of Christmas in the Park draw tens of thousands of people. But what is noticeable are the sheer number of families that get involved with populating these events.

It’s not that expensive. Auckland is not comparable to Christchurch. Wellington City is contrasting to its out skirting suburbs with the likes of Porirua and the Hutt Valley. With Christchurch there is less variation in expense due to the size of the city and its connectedness.

Christchurch is a place you can work hard. Or not, if you want to be in construction. A place of culture a place of four seasons in one day. Like a restaurant, it depends on what you’re looking for.

Today’s blog is late, stay tuned for Christchurch part two tonight! Thanks for checking in.

Day 012. Pretty Things

By Mana Williams

Colors have never been so vibrant, words have never been loaded with so much significance. We are in a decade of professionalism and corporate dominated marketing techniques. Marketplaces exist in places never before. From YouTube to Facebook posts. Marketing is all about satisfying consumer requirements. But we are all made consumers with this money never sleeps reality, where marketplaces are put on our cell phones charging up a meter away from where we sleep.

That’s okay for our older generation who are more content with reading a newspaper or sending out a Morse code. Their vintage culture is strong, spare a thought for our youngsters. What effects do these marketing ploys have on the minds of our younger more vulnerable generation? Things were bad enough when kids were comparing Yu Gi Oh cards in school fifteen years ago, but it’s got so bad that Paris has become the new candy shop for kids.

In a time where you could order a pair of Moccasins from a European Online store within thirty seconds, technology is getting more private and kids are evolving to hide beneath the blanket of incognito. What mediation does an older parent have over a tech savvy little person? But kids aren’t the only one’s to hide beneath the privacy of Google. Business advertisements live everywhere. Through their video games, on their cellphones, on their Facebook, in the news and it only takes a credit card to spend your hard earned money.

Now to talk about this idea of One Word Marketing. It is a tool used by businesses to add value to their brand. These terms are there to make us feel better about our purchases like a placebo is made to trick a person into thinking they’re better. If we had two pairs of shoes that were similar. One had the term “authentic” and the other shoes were plain. You would be more likely to pick the authentic shoes even if they cost $15 more. If we had two ice creams to choose from, both were vanilla flavored but one was “french” vanilla, we would be more inclined to buy the romantic sounding one, even if we knew there was no difference. Although we might tell ourselves that we are bigger than these cheap marketing strategies, we are not, because every week we might buy items from the supermarket with the “special” sign on the shelf or ‘super-saver.’

Our problems as consumers are that we need to feel better about ourselves as we know that many things are dysfunctional about the way we live. That nothing is ever perfect, glass is the half empty mentality. As a result, we need instant gratification from what we buy at a store. Out of our addiction, we have let our kids become spoiled by the desires of pretty things. One-line slogans and One Word Marketing.

Just a quick little rant this Thursday evening. Thanks for checking in.

Blog 010! Valentines Day 

By Mana Williams.

Is it necessary?

Each year we reach this day in February. Each time we reflect on our loved ones. But what has changed about the day and is it all still necessary?

Love, the concept that romanticized music. In all its complexity and frustration we take one day a year to celebrate that we have someone to love. An invisible force or if you believe in the movie ‘Interstellar’ love is somehow quantifiable. That pull you get from the person you care about when they aren’t with you. Or a beloved family member you are close with and share many positive memories which create what the Bible refers to as spirit ties.

Valentine’s day was named the day of the feast of Saint Valentine. During the time of the Roman Empire, all Christians were persecuted for their beliefs. Saint Valentine was captured and whilst locked away in the cells he wrote a letter to the King of the castles daughter, with the end note stating,”Your Valentine.”

Although somewhat heartfelt is the story of Saint Valentine, with many historical legends we can learn from what we see today that the way history recalls situations is not always a good representation of the events that actually occurred. Take for example the inauguration or indeed the election of The President of the United States… History in many years time might remember a time when Trump came into power, but they won’t know about the FBI investigation undertaken against Hillary Clinton one week prior to elections closing or the real crowd sizes of his inauguration. These situations really raise the concern about having a healthy skepticism for everything you are told.

So was Saint Valentine the most romantic man in the world or something?

When I think of the term romantic and it’s origins, I am more inclined to believe in a different story than the one of his letter to a princess who’s dad imprisoned him, just a bit of a conflict of interest situation don’t you think?

The term Romantic or Romanticist originates from the Romanesque period. Which was in the late 17th up until the 18th Century.

But hang on a second… the period of the Roman Empire ended over 300 years earlier .. During the Romanesque period, art forms and creative liberalism allowed Christians more leeway with their faith. They would be able to practice their religion without the benevolence of a church. So they took it upon themselves to celebrate this day of Saint Valentine. To put it bluntly, it was a Christian trend that came about when people wanted to love the person who was special to them, without the domination of the church.

So why isn’t Valentine’s day a day dedicated to creativity and expression but is instead linked directly to love hearts, colorful cards, pretty bunches of flowers and confectionery?

Marketing ploys. Some cunning businessman out there many years ago would have sighted or perhaps exaggerated the story of Saint Valentine. A rumor between two people is no longer a rumor right? In effect, we have millions upon millions of dollars being spent on useless stuff during an occasion that was originally about feasting with family and loved ones.

Sounds a bit odd right?

Hope everyone is keeping safe this Valentine’s day, stay tuned for more!

Blog 008. You know what Grinds my Gears?

By Mana Williams.

Every morning at around 8:00 am I ride my bike to work. It’s not a far stretch between home and work but it’s a Tour De France sprint that’s for sure. Ever since I was a kid I’ve always loved riding bikes. From the cheap kid’s type to the bespoke fixie handed down from generation to generation. But something that has caught my attention over time is the necessity of cycling and the cheap marketing that businesses gain from it.

Like many sports, what drives professionalism is money. The way we look at sports today is significantly different to how we looked at sports ten years ago… While the technology is incredibly fascinating, it is also interesting to see how cycling has evolved as a sport into a science.

The lycra game is strong with this one, but it is tactical branding in the media and on the roads. With big brand names like Giant, Shimano and Specialized all getting their noses in the money with passive pedal strokes. You can be sure that marketing has grown in conjunction with the technology.

About four years ago I rode my bike between Christchurch to Akaroa in a sportive dubbed “Le Race.” A 6: am wake up ride to the starting line, got into the first hill, and all I clearly remember was bums flying all over the place. You heard it first folks, bums. But on most a gluteus Maximus’ were company names as aforementioned. Whose business is it to put sans serif font on someone’s backside?

Adopting the prejudice towards women cyclists, companies take it upon themselves to promote their brands in this way.

The psychological expectations set by these business modules is ridiculous! Born from this, of course, are standards in equipment. Like the world of motorsport, comes pedal sport? They deem “entry-level performance bikes” to be within the price range of $1000 – $2500 NZD… The term ‘entry’ as to insist that if you ever amount to anything you might one day have money for another engine-less marketing ploy with pedals…

A market exists where you could spend $20 000 for a standard issue pro team sports bike. Last year Italian-born company Pinarello sold their flagship road bike, The Dogma F8, for a meaty $18 999 NZD.  AND THAT WAS LAST YEARS BIKE! When you get to the crux of it, how is a twelve-year-old boy from a middle-income family supposed to catch up with the competition when they have a competitive advantage of $16000?

Each to their own of course! But when it comes to snobbery, cycling knows a thing or two on ways in which to grind people’s gears.

Just a thought… I hope you enjoyed the imagery…

Today’s blog was late as I attended a Funeral so am home tired.