Pictures speak every language


Buenas tardes, buona sera, and bonsoir.

That’s another token gesture towards International Languages Week and this a follow up from yesterday’s post about using pictures rather than words to get the message across to people who can’t speak your language.

When I put my card in the cashpoint machine today I was momentarily confused by what I saw on the screen.

Instead of the message I was used to, there were little dialogue boxes down the right hand side in English and an Asian script. The English said only use this if you want another language.

If you need another language it’s possible you can’t read English so how will you understand that instruction?

When we were in Europe, every cashpoint machine we used had flags denoting different language options. If you don’t understand what español, ingles,  italiano, alemán or francés meant, the flag beside the word told you it was Spanish, English, Italian, German or French so you didn’t have to understand the host country’s language to work out what to do.

How hard would it be to do that here?

A picture doesn’t just paint 1000 words, it does so in every language.

Apropos of International Languages Week:

 goNZoFreakpower shows us how Flight of the Conchords cope with French.

Jim Mora  interviewed Professor Cynthia White from Massey University’s School of Languages.

Does an accident of marriage make a woman powerful?


Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most powerful women  is topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The rest of the list is made up of business and political leaders, a couple of Queens and one wife.

Michelle Obama whose position of power is listed as First Lady is regarded as the 40th most powerful woman in the world.

I can see how she could be influential, but is she powerful?

If she is, is that a positive indication about the status of a wife or a negative one because she’s powerful not in her own right but because of whom she married?

Furthermore, does it raise questions about how someone who hasn’t been elected could have so much power in a democracy?

And what does it say about the different way men and women are regarded? I don’t think a president’s husband would  be on the list of the world’s 100 most powerful men just because of whom he’d married.

Accidents of birth may make Royals powerful but can an accident of marriage make a woman powerful and if so, why doesn’t it also confer power on a man?

Hat Tip: NZ Herald.

Immigration system a big part of the problem


Some of the staff we encountered when dealing with the Immigration Department in recent years were helpful. Some weren’t and even when the people were helpful the system was not easy to negotiate.

At one stage I phoned Federated Farmers for advice. The bloke I spoke to said Feds was working at the policy level, but if he had wanted to get into individual cases he could easily have a fulltime job.

I can understand why because at its worst, navigating through the process required to get the paperwork which would allow someone to work for us was like trying to swim through syrup with gumboots on. 

This was when unemployment was so low that any New Zealander not in work either wouldn’t or couldn’t hold down a job. The maze through which you have to navigate won’t be any less convoluted now that unemployment has climbed.

If we found it difficult how much worse it must be for people from other countries who speak English as a seoncd language, if at all, and are used to different customs. It’s no wonder they seek help from immigration consultants and that leaves them open to exploitation from unscrupulous operators.

Any questions over the conduct of people dealing with potential immigrants ought to be investigated and where necessary referred to the police. I am sorry that allegations over National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi’s immigration dealings weren’t settled earlier and hope they will come to nothing but I don’t question the action being taken.

However, like Macdoctor, I do wonder why other apparently more serious allegations aren’t being investigated.

I also wonder if it is possible to simplify the system. If people found it much easier to navigate  through immigration applications the process would be less open to abuse, applicants would be less vulnerable to exploitation and there would be less need for consultants to help them.

Agreeing to disagree


Political relationships are like personal ones.

Sometimes the people in them are in complete accord, sometimes they have to work to get consensus, sometimes they have to compromise and sometimes they can only agree to disagree.

If they are mature, principled and committed to the relationship they can do this without breaking up.

The Act and Maori Parties are showing they are mature, principled and committed to their coalition agreements with National in their stance on Maori seats in the proposed merger between Auckland local bodies.

Act leader Rodney Hide says he’ll step down from his role as Minister of Local Government if Maori seats are created on the new Auckland council but that won’t alter his party’s support for the government. Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says she’s disappointed by this but her party won’t be withdrawing from its support for the government either.

You can’t always get everything you want in a relationship but you can agree to disagree without tears and tantrums and without threatening the relationship.

What goes round . . .


The proposed merger between PGG Wrightson and Silver Fern Farms riled some farmers so much they took their business from PGW.

That loss was Combined Rural traders’ gain and is one of the reason the co-operative did so well last year.

However, what goes round comes round. CRT’s purchase of a livestock company has upset SFF and prompted it to take its business away from the co-ooperative.

Business is business and any company has the right to enter the market. 

CRT has a large client base and will be counting on that to give them a good start. However, the livestock market is already crowded ansd success in the business relies on strong personal relationships between agents and clients rather than brands.

The challenge for CRT, like every other stock firm,  will be to employ the best people in the field.

August 20 in history


On August 20:

1000 Hungary was established as a kingdom.





1858 Charles Darwin first published histheory of evolution.

1923 US singer Jim Reeves was born.


1940 the New Zealand shipping freighter Turakina was sunk by a German raider in the Tasman.

1941 India’s 7th Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was born.

1991 Estonia seceded from the USSR.


Sourced from NZ History Online and Wikipedia.

You won’t find breaches of court orders here


A large number of people have landed here while searching for a name. It has been linked to a news item about a court case in which the judge has suppressed any information which will identify the people involved

Anyone wanting to find out news or views on the person or issue won’t find anything here.

I won’t pretend to be a media – or any other – law expert but I do understand and respect suppression. If a judge makes an order I’m not going to breach it directly or indirectly with cryptic links, innuendo or by joining dots between stories.

Comments on blogs about a recent court case while it was under way led to suggestions a test case might be made because bloggers were unaware, or careless of, the fact they are subject to the same laws as other media. Several posts on other blogs about a current case show some either don’t know, or don’t care, about the risk they are taking in breaching a suppression order.

I do which is why I won’t be writing anything at all about the case or the people involved in it.

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