Aotearower's Blog - Speaking Up for Small Voices
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Sophisticate or Snob?

When travellers meet they inevitably converse about their experiences in the countries that they have visited.
There is also a high chance that their recall of events will be assisted by alcoholic refreshments.
There is an equally high likelihood that the choice of drinks will reflect the tone of  conversation.
Recently I attended a meeting of beer drinking men from around the globe - those from the Southern Hemisphere,  Europeans and British (who must now be distinguished!).
Whilst lager drinkers  may be distinguished from  craft beer drinkers there seemed little likelihood that this group would raise anything contentious.

Is there a Value in Trust?

The hospitality industry is a very difficult industry to manage. The three products in which it operates, food, alcohol and cash, are plentiful and easily accessible to staff, customers and suppliers. The temptation is always there for people to abuse the responsibilities given to them.
For the owners of these businesses there is a dilemma about the level of security that should be provided. Noone wants to work,or frequent a premise that is regulated to the extent of Fort Knox but the absence of any form of control would inevitably be financial suicide.

Bitter Sweet Fads

It is hard to argue with Nigel Latta's evidence that sugar has played a significant part in the rise of diabetes in our society. No surprise then that his solution was to raise a sugar tax to pay for the health consequences and to deter consumption - the same remedies that are applied to other evils such as smoking and alcohol.
That solution however just seems to perpetuate the problem and if one is to believe that it mainly affects the poorer echelons of society it hardly seems to be a fair approach.

Personality Profiling

One of  the best reasons for living a singles lifestyle is that society licenses you to approach and meet completely random people in your search for a partner. Internet dating sites have proliferated, and increasingly target  niche markets ranging from the raunchy to the reverend.
Most try to provide the market with mechanisms to give greater insights than just a photograph and core statistics as to age, location and employment.
Having engaged in the rituals of internet dating I have become quite cynical of the ability of the cyber world to appropriately convey anything other than the message that there are a massive number of people at any one time looking for some brand of association.

Undercover Boss

The TV reality programme Undercover Boss has been broadcast since 2009.
The same plot is repeated week in, week out -
- Gung ho senior executive dons new identity in order to work for a week alongside unsuspecting employees far away from headquarters.  Invariably they are surprised to find hard working and dedicated people putting their lives on hold for the company's success. Sure there are the odd exceptions and a rogue or two are exposed, but the overwhelming message is how poorly informed the executives are and how extravagantly they respond to alleviate their consciences for their past omissions.

Ministry of Royal Therapies

I doubt that anyone in New Zealand during the tour of Kate,William and George could ignore the huge uplift in spirits at the presence of Royalty on our shores. Thousands of people from North Cape to Stewart Island have taken precious time out of their lives and travelled considerable distances just to get a glimpse of this family.
Our media have delivered repeated shots of smiling, waving, hand shaking and even tears from an adoring public. Behaviour that a generally reserved populace saves for the return of its favourite sporting heroes.

For Whom is the disappearance of MH370 a Mystery?

I suspect that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 remains a mystery to the overwhelming majority of our global population.
After all in our modern society we have shrunk the world with our advances in communication technologies - right?
Ever since mankind entered space we've had the satellites to keep an eye on our every movement - right?
The outpouring of resources from Governments around the world to help find this plane would suggest that they believe they have the resources to remove this apparent mystery from the public's mind.

We Are Who We Are.

In 1958 my parents decided to leave Hong Kong and emigrate to New Zealand. It was a monumental decision given that my father's fledgling trading company of eight years was finally showing signs of prosperity after many years of hardship. The prompt for such a bold move apparently being a desire to keep our young family intact. As the eldest I was due to be sent to boarding school in Scotland and would not have had the opportunity to grow alongside my newly arrived twin brother and sister.
Within three months of deciding Dad had sold his company and we were packed on board a ship headed for the South Pacific.

The Reality Gap

The public have grown used to the "Gaps" in our lives - the Gender, Generation, Wealth, Educational and Opportunity - are well documented and continually referenced by the media. The issues underlying each are well understood and are played to by each of the political parties as they seek to persuade the voting public that they have found the silver bullet to narrow or eliminate the voids that have beset our lives for generations.
The revelations and the responses from the parties concerned in the recent mayoral elections in Auckland and Montreal however give lie to another gap that politicians conveniently wish to ignore and which I choose to refer as the "Reality Gap" - the distance between an elected officials private and public behaviour.

The Blame Game

Society continually rings its hands at events it would rather not have happened. People get shot, cars have accidents, people get abused and properties are invaded. The perpetrators invariably bear a consequence for their actions.
In their defence evidence is often provided that "circumstances" have arisen that contributed to the perpetrator acting "out of character". Drugs and alcohol are often cited as being the evil that has transformed the person next door into a monster.
The effect is to deflect the blame from one person and to share it with all those who have contributed to the outcome that society has sought to avoid.
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