Bad grammar good sign


The advertisement said: Next time you need an electrician, why not get them to . . .

It’s bad grammar to have a plural pronoun in place of a singular noun but the bad grammar is a good sign.

A few years ago the advertisement would have used him  rather than them.  

That it doesn’t is a sign of progress indicating it’s no longer accepted that an electrician will automatically be a bloke.

His work her work


A father and his son were involved in a serious accident. The father dies and the son was taken to hospital. The doctor looked at him in shock and said, “That’s my son.”

I was asked to explain that about 35 years ago and took a long time to work it out.

I’ll continue after the break in case you want/need time to get the explanation.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sick society


Hopstials  need security gurads  guards and the security gurads guards need stab-proof vests.

The people in the hospitals may be sick but this is a sign society is sicker.

14 year old slaves


How can girls as young as 14 years old be in a situation where they are beaten by abusive partners and slaves in their own homes?

Hamilton Abuse Intervention Project (HAIP) staff said the women they worked with were becoming younger and younger.

“We are working with girls who are literally slaves in their own homes,” project manager Lila Jones said.

Her comment comes ahead of Tuesday’s White Ribbon Day – the international day for the elimination of violence against women.

Project service manager Julie Pullman said entering into a sexual relationship at the age of 13 or 14 opened up more avenues for a girl to be abused.

“Young girls can be naive and don’t really know what an abusive relationship looks like,” she said.

“So they can easily slip into it and not know how to get out. We are certainly finding that in our youth programme.”

Ms Pullman said both young women and men needed to be taught about abusive relationships while they were still in school.

“A lot of it should be about self-esteem. Teaching them to value themselves,” she said.

“I think parents are floundering really to know how to empower their own children.”

Obviously she knows a lot more about this than I do. But I don’t think girls just a year or two into their teens are women nor that the problem is about the self esteem of children.

The problem is men who think this sort of treatment of anyone – female, male of any age – is acceptable.

The problem is parents who fail their chidlren, almost certainly years before they get to their teens – and that could be because they were failed by their own parents.

The problem is a society which sexualises chidlren.

The problem is a society which disregards the law which makes sexual relationships with minors illegal.

Mother love lapsed


I couldn’t read the court reports on the trial of the people accused of the abuse which led to Nia Glassie’s death.

The little bits I got from inadvertently listening to radio or watching TV news programmes told me far more than I wanted to know of the gruesome details of what this wee girl went through in her short life.

Then I noticed this headline last weekMother turned blind eye to daughter’s abuse court hears

So I read the story and when I got to this bit: “What would I do? Nothing, just sit there.”  I cried.

I couldn’t understand how mother love could lapse so badly, then Then I thought about the day I got to the end of my tether with my daughter.

I can’t remember what she’d been doing and why I felt so angry about it, but I’ve never forgotten my response. I picked her up carefully, put her in her cot at one end of the house, walked out a door at the other end and screamed so loudly that one of our men who was cutting trees with a chain saw hundreds of metres away heard me.

Then I took a deep breath, went back inside, picked up the toddler, gave her a cuddle and we got on with our day.

What’s the difference between me and those who were found guilty of murder or manslaughter of Nia? Why did I have enough self control to put my daughter’s safety first and why were these people capable of such evil behaviour?

Part of the answer could be in our backgrounds. I was brought up by parents who loved each other, my brothers and me. My mother was the most selfless person I’ve ever known and she taught us all the importance of caring for others. I married a man who had a similar upbringing and commitment to our children and me. We have the love and support of wider family and friends and caring relationships are normal for us.

But our normal isn’t normal for everyone, that’s why some people are desensitised to human suffering, that’s why chidlren like Nia are abused and die and that people who know about it in the house and the neighbourhood do nothing.

Parental love should be inherent because protection of our young is a basic instinct for people and animals. But drug and alcohol abuse mixed with intergenerational dysfunction contribute to a short circuit in that primal emotion.

Each time one of these dreadful cases becomes public, we say never again. But it will keep happening until putting the needs of vulnerable people first is normal for everyone.

Everything comes at a cost


More in your pocket may come at a cost.

This is the headline on an ODT opnion piece by Elizabeth Mackie, a Dominican Sister, who is writing on behalf of the Dominican Mission and Justice Committee.

She concludes by saying:

I’d like to offer a simple checklist to help us vote beyond the rhetoric of tax cuts.

If tax cuts come with increased government borrowing and debt, the cost is too high.

If tax cuts further limit the resources available for protecting species, or taking care of national parks and wild places, or protecting the Earth itself, the cost is too high.

If tax cuts mean that fewer resources will be applied to address climate change, the cost is too high.

If the billions spent on tax cuts mean that less is available to meet historic Treaty claims, the cost is too high.

If tax cuts result in increased numbers of children living in poverty, the cost is too high.

If tax cuts are achieved through reduction in health, education and social support services, the cost is too high.

If tax cuts reduce the nation’s capacity to habilitate prisoners and compensate victims, the cost is too high.

If tax cuts deepen divisions in the social fabric of this nation, the cost is too high.

What price tax cuts? We all need to be sure about the real costs before we tick the boxes on November 8.

If those are her priorities, then it is not only the cost of tax cuts which is too high, so too is the cost of everything else which doesn’t address the issues she’s raised.

If we look back at the last nine years of Labour’s mis-management we can see that, by Elizabeth’s criteria, the costs of much of their policy has been too high.

And today we have another one – a universal student allowance.

Keeping Stock notes the country is broke and asks: where is the money coming from?

Everything comes at a cost but good policy also brings benefits which justify the cost.

A universal student allowance is not good policy and the benefits to the few who receive it will not justify the cost to the many who pay for it.

It certainly woudn’t get any ticks when measured against Elizabeth’s checklist.

Naked kids banned from pool


Oh dear.

The “sad reality” of high-profile paedophilia cases means it is no longer appropriate to allow children to change into swimwear beside public swimming pools, says Family First spokesman Bob McCoskrie.

He was commenting after a Christchurch school was asked to refrain from its practice of letting children change by the pool in the city’s Jellie Park Aquatic Centre instead of in the changing rooms, following a complaint from a pool user.

St Bernadette’s School principal Maureen Moore said it chose not to use the busy changing rooms so teachers and parents could keep a better eye on the children.

It was purely for safety, and the school did not set out to offend anyone, she told the New Zealand Herald.

She said the school would now work something else out Mr McCoskrie said it was a sad reality of high-profile cases of child pornography and paedophilia that parents now needed to “err on the side of modesty”.

Is this an indictment on society or just a very sorry reflection of modern life?

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