Tag Archives: social comment

AS I SEE IT!.. HIDDEN RELATIONSHIPS

Carl Jung once said  “The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”

Hidden RelationshipsI read of a relationship that to me had everything that Jung was talking about. Both persons transformed by love, emotion, sexuality, chemistry, commitment and that special bonding two people have. Unconditional love.Both are in their 60’s..Warm, intelligent, honest and completely open. They ran a successful business in a small, idyllic, sleepy seaside town, where people leave their doors open whilst they pop down to the beach for a swim.

Now.. this couple is at the centre of a hate campaign. Their mail-order gardening business, that they built out of their love for horticulture, (after both leaving successful teaching careers,) was torched 6 months ago. The packing shed destroyed, along with the part-time jobs of 8 employees at the height of the season..

Now here’s the thing..

It has cost them their business, and left them preparing to quit the beach-side community that they love.  But, more than this, it has caused them to question being openly gay!!

Between them, the couple has five children and 10 grandchildren who all know that their grans are in a lesbian marriage. They have both lived in heterosexual relationships. They married each other, celebrating their love and Lesbian commitment in a Civil Union ceremony.

In their time living in this tiny community, they have never had a bad word uttered against them. Now the hatred has escalated to crudely written graffiti scrawled across their cars, fences, sleep out and the walls of their cosy house.

People are disgusted and asking why them? There has been a gay presence, including a lesbian community, in the area for many years, without anything like this ever occurring.

So…why now?  They’ve never hidden their sexuality, or in fact their relationship.

They’re optimistic that the general ease with which they, as a gay couple have been accepted as any straight couple, will continue to be the hallmark of the seaside village in which they live despite the ‘homophobic’ attack on them.

It is a sad indictment in today’s society, where we are taught tolerance and acceptance that attacks of this nature continue to take place.

We don’t care that politicians living in a Lesbian relationship can become pregnant, or that a ‘super-star’ and his partner can adopt a child, but when it comes down to this everyday ordinary couple, out pours the hatred.

Perhaps they are a much easier target for the cowardly, gutless person that has set out to destroy this unassuming couple in their 60’s.

Many of my friends are gay and openly in loving relationships.  I love and respect their decision to commit to each other. Sometimes I look at them and wish that every couple had what they have.. Sadly this is not the case.

There is still far too much hatred and homophobia on this Mortal Coil’

Even Pope Benedict has said the Catholic Church could not accept gay marriage and urged young people to root out evil in society and shun a “lukewarm” faith that damages their Church.

He needs to take a long hard look inside His own house first!!

As my mother once said…

“Before you try to change other people, just remember how hard it is to change yourself..”

AS I SEE IT.. SEPTEMBER 11TH 2001

I was going to write about 9/11 but I have decided to wait until I visit ‘Ground Zero’ later this year.. I do not believe I can do justice to such a poignant event in world history without having visited and experienced for myself first hand.. I particularly want to follow the “Cross at Ground Zero” so much has been said and written about the significance of this piece of steel.

What I do know is this. The shape was oddly identifiable in the blasted wreckage of the World Trade Center, standing upright amid beams bent like fork tines and jagged, pagan-seeming tridents. A grief-exhausted excavator named Frank Silecchia found it on Sept. 13, 2001, two days after the terrorist attacks. A few days later, he spoke to a Franciscan priest named Father Brian Jordan, who was blessing remains at Ground Zero. Fr Brian has been asked countless times, “Why did God do this?” His reply has always been the same.. He would say, it had nothing to do with God, but it was the actions of men abusing their free will.

The 10th anniversary has come and gone, but the memories will forever live on in all of us, one way or another affected by this destruction and innocent loss of nearly 3000 lives..

We all know where we were on that fateful day. It is etched forever in our memory. The symbolic ‘Cross” has become controversial in itself, with the American Atheists, a non profit group, who sued to remove it, calling it an unlawful and “repugnant”.

Like it or not, the steel and debris of the World Trade Center has become more than just wreckage. It has been alchemized into relics, not just by fire but also by memory and trauma. Larger spiritual meanings have been attributed to it.

The Latin term for relic (reliquiae) means “remains” or “something left behind.”

Somehow among 1.8 million tons of debris, this cross rose from the rubble and caught the eye of Father Brian Jordan. I don’t know the reason or have any answers.. Do any of us?

Ten years on… this I do know, much of the sacred steel recovered from Ground Zero has been held in Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy Airport.

To this day, items are still being recovered.. A rack of bikes, a battered shovel, a dented filing cabinet bursting with papers.

To quote Nancy Johnson, who directs the World Trade Center Artifacts project and has overseen the preservation of the Ground Zero wreckage since 2006.

“Wreckage becomes relic when it is associated with people and experiences that brought you joy,”

You can take the cross out of the World Trade Centre. But can you take it out of someone’s skin?

 

AS I SEE IT.. FATHERS DAY 2011

Bartrand Hubbard once said– “I’ve had a hard life, but my hardships are nothing against the hardships that my father went through in order to get me to where I started.”

My dad is in his mid 80’s now.  His body is telling him it’s nearly time, but his mind remains as sharp as the day. He grew up in a small rural community, riding a horse 10 miles to school every day.

A couple of years ago, I took my youngest son on a journey, to visit and spend time with his granddad. I wanted him to know about those early days. He remarked that my son was a walking magnet, with all the steel in his body, and that he had more ink on him than in the classroom he learned in. (he has a couple of tattoo’s and at the time, two or three piercings).

So.. I wanted him to open up to my son… I asked him about those informative years.. “Hard years” he said and started to open up. I learned as much as my son that day.. You see, I thought I knew my old man. Turns out I only knew what he decided I should know.

I never knew about the beatings he regularly got from his ‘old man’ my grandfather. I did know about his brother chopping off his toe, but not about being chained to the chopping block because of it.  I had always wondered about the truth of this, but when he started reminiscing with my son, I began to believe in the reality of life during the depression and those years that shaped my dad into the man he became.

He would over the years say to me on more than one occasion. “Your grandfather was a hard bastard…but a fair one!”

Somehow, that cliché ‘Like father. Like son’ rings in my mind. My old man was hard. But fair! I never really saw him show true affection to me or my five brothers all that often.. but then, I was not really around most of their growing years.

He did love us… unconditionally, protected us and kept us safe.. Many times he covered my arse.. I just did not know it! Not then at least.

I do now, but it was to be many years later that I learned the truth. We never came to blows, but there were many harsh words. He was, after all just trying to instill the values he had been taught by his father, into me. I really didn’t want to listen.. At 16 I knew it all and it was the dawning of ‘The Age of Aquarius’ and I had an adventure to begin.

Some years later, when he got the call that no father wants to hear “Your son has had a very serious accident and may not make it through the night…you best get here quick” he just downed tools and come hell or high water was going to be at my bedside. No questions asked.

He was there and remained until I was out of immediate danger. He cared not for his business or any other matter, apart from getting to the hospital to be at the side of his eldest son.

As we drove that August morning some 2 years ago, my own son began to learn more and more about this kind, loving and compassionate man…My father, his Granddad.

We stopped at a little country café for lunch and all my old man wanted was a cold beer and a plate of seafood chowder.

I have never seen that smile since.. He was in old man’s heaven.

We got back into the car and he proceeded to ramble on about his lunch for what seemed hours.. Issuing directions with military precision on how to get to the family homestead.. After an hour, my son and I looked at each other bewildered, as we were so certain we were just plain lost!!

Next thing, we are right outside the gate to the family farm.. He had let us to this gate with pin point accuracy.

It was about this time that he demanded we stop for lunch because he had not eaten since breakfast and he was hungry.

My son told him he had lunch an hour ago and couldn’t understand why he was getting so agitated.

My dad now lives in a very comfortable retirement home.. He has all his wants & needs met and is surrounded by loving family.

I hope the good lord allows me one more visit.

I for one, will be calling my old man this Fathers Day, to tell him how much I love him.

Yes…he did teach me well. I hope through him, I have taught my boys well.

AS I SEE IT ‘ATTITUDE’

Winston Churchill once said, “ATTITUDE is a little thing that makes a big difference”. How right he was.

I was reminded of this at the weekend, when I had coffee with an old work colleague.

He enquired, “Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?

He simply said, “Mate, I have always admired you. You don’t let anything get in the way of the road you walk. If it does… you embrace it! What is it that makes you the person you are?”

I just replied, ”ATTITUDE” and he nodded..

So… I started thinking..

Over the years, I’ve had a pretty good career as a broadcaster. The industry has been kind to me and paid me well. Sure there were the 4am starts and late nights, sometimes not getting home till after 10pm. The highs, the lows, but to achieve what I have after loosing my legs was no mean feat. (I know, the pun!!)

I worked hard to prove to the skeptics’ that I could cut it with the rest of them. I also took pride in the fact that I was unique! After all, there was no-one else with no legs and in a wheelchair working in the industry at the time.. I always had a positive ‘ATTITUDE’ no matter how good or bad I was feeling. I never let it drag me into the depths of despair. Sure, there were many times I rode a ‘Rocket to Hell,’ but I always remembered a conversation I had with a very dear friend just after I lost my legs. It helped every time..

I’ve never forgotten it. I try to live by what he said and taught me to this day.

It goes a bit like this…

“Develop a positive ‘ATTITUDE’, a sunny ‘ATTITUDE’ and something wonderful happens. People will like you. People will welcome you. Through them, you will meet other people because you’ll be a pleasure to have around. If you believe it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can do it!!!”

He said, there would be times I would need to be bold in order to achieve. There would be times when I would have to take risks with my life’s direction. He suggested that fortune favours the brave and there would be times when I would need to be brave, even if I felt I couldn’t. He told me that people are everything and never to dismiss them just because they may look different to me. He suggested I find out what makes them tick… Once I’ve done that, I might be amazed at how much I learn and how much I can give back.

He taught me many years ago that understanding other people are one of the keys to success. He suggested that knowing what people want and why they want things and want to do things will help them towards their dreams. Once again, I was told that if I helped other people with their dreams they would help me with mine. How true this is! He taught me to take an interest in other people. He said we all have our own story and our own strengths. He put it to me, that if I took an interest in others, they would take an interest in me.

Here’s another thing he taught me. Be kind to other people and try not to hurt them. Remember to be generous. Being kind and generous is far more powerful than hurting. The more you give, the more you’ll get back. Finally… remember this. If a person makes a mistake against you, forgive them. Don’t keep it in your heart. Your resentment will over time become bitter.. and bitterness is a bad attitude. If a person falls, help them up.

Remember, ‘Love’ always wins. It might take longer than evil and hatred, resentment and envy, but ‘Love’ always wins. Always trust ‘Love’. Always know that no matter what.. Water can cut through iron. His final words were; “Find out who you are. Know who you are. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be proud of your strengths and laugh at your weaknesses. Be brave even if you are frightened. Value yourself. There is only one of you. Don’t worry if you feel different from everyone else. We’re all different.”

Your new journey is beginning. Just embrace it with a positive ‘ATTITUDE’

I have never forgotten these words..

RIP my friend. You taught me well.

AS I SEE IT… IS IT PRIDE OR PROFIT?

Global sporting giant Adidas has been at the centre of the New Zealand All Blacks’ jersey-pricing controversy since it was revealed the replica tops could be bought from online stores overseas for a much cheaper price. In fact a fraction of the $220 that this company demands. This has outraged most people that support this team.

It begs the question. “Who is controlling who?”

All BlacksI have read lately of business being banned from using the Silver Fern logo, or the words All Black. Next thing you know, the design on your latte will be banned because it looks like a “Silver Fern”.

This whole marketing, branding exercise is out of proportion. Sadly it is all about the almighty dollar! And the only ones to profit are the agencies pushing this brand. Rugby is no longer about pride, it is about marketing and promotion and gaining the best price per player.

There has been much debate on Social Media sites, in pubs and workplaces, even in the local Rugby Club itself. These replica jerseys are being churned out in third world country “Sweat Shops” controlled by this global sporting giant, for as little as $8.

One does not have to be a mathematical genius to work out the profit. I don’t care what Adidas says, the bottom line is. They are ripping off the ordinary bloke. The ‘grass root’s’ supporter. The kids that want to wear this jersey with pride, in support of their rugby-playing heroes.

Personally, I believe blame must be laid squarely at the feet of the NZRU (New Zealand Rugby Union) the IRB (International Rugby Board) and the All Blacks themselves. They have allowed it.

It’s less than a month to the Rugby World Cup kick off and what a kick off it will be. No expense has been spared promoting this spectacular event throughout New Zealand and on the world stage. It’s reported that over 1 million tickets have been sold, international visitors to New Zealand shores are expected to top one hundred thousand (100,000) Impressive to say the least. I agree it is an international showcase, but will it portray NZ in its best light?

I’m not so sure! What I am sure of is this, it will be one big party, the NZRU along with the government has made certain of this.

Meanwhile, the average hard working Kiwi family will find it difficult to afford to take their family to this sporting spectacle. It is priced beyond their reach..

The NZRU, the IRB and indeed the All Blacks themselves had made sure of this.. They are only interested in lining their own pockets. Television rights will ensure most will get to see something of this event.

Adidas has made sure that most will not be able to afford a living memento in the form of a replica All Black jersey. They will however make sure their profit soars.

Is it any wonder I, like a growing number of people are turning away from what was once a true tradition. Supporting the nations national rugby team.

I hope they do well. Do I want to see them win this world cup? The jury is still out on that one!

The days when the All Blacks played their hearts out simply for the pride and love of wearing ‘The Silver Fern’ are long gone.

Today, it is all about the dollar and how much the incentive will be.

Where’s the pride in that?

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