Monday, 26 April 2010

what i've been doing

no anzac day post this year, pretty much on purpose. having been to a few of the ceremonies, i find that i'm uncomfortable with them. while i'm happy to recognise the lives lost, i don't think that a full picture of history is being given at these events. i guess i'm with the white poppy brigade who want to recognise all the people who suffer because of war, not just the soldiers.

on saturday i went out to pirongia lodge with a couple of other muslim women, to help them with their working bee. i spent the morning washing windows & vacuuming the sleeping areas. there was a good crowd there, most of them working in the gardens and the grounds, and mostly from te awamutu.

we were happy to support the lodge because this is where we have been holding muslim girls camps over the last couple of years. the manager there has also been helpful in organising a caving trip and a horse riding expedition for young muslim women. it's been wonderful watching these teenage girls extend themselves, in activities that some of them had never tried before.

after work today, i had a monthly board meeting for community radio. while i was there, i did a pre-recorded interview about the whole burqa banning thing happening in europe, which i wrote about at the hand mirror today. the interview will be airing on community radio on wednesday, at some point between 1 and 2pm. if you're near a computer, you can get live streaming here. if you have a radio, we're on AM1206 or FM106.7.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

bringing compassion back

more posting at the hand mirror this week: one on mondayising public holidays, another on the pathetic coverage of the v8s in the waikato times, and this one on why i don't like unauthorised biographies.

last night i was at the AGM for the waikato interfaith council. it's been a quiet year for the wifco, as compared to the previous year when we had the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the united nations declaration of human rights. it's just a reflection of how busy everyone gets, and how much our time is taken up with various causes.

it was really nice to have our deputy mayor, cr pippa mahood, take part. it gave a message that the city council sees some value in the organisation and what it stands for. speaking of which, the charter for compassion was circulated during the meeting. it's a lovely statement, and a reminder that compassion is missing from so many of the daily interactions we undertake.

the messages are simple, but such a pertinent and important reminder to think of and care for others in big and little ways. if you haven't signed up, i'd recommend it. along with a regular reading of the charter as a reminder to keep compassion at the heart of lives.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

another weekend over...

yet more posting at the hand mirror, one on ads about women's products and another on useless arguments about the past.

and since it's sunday night and i'm feeling lazy after a hard day of vetting CVs (all as part of my volunteer work), i'm just going to link to a couple of posts other people have written:

- this excellent post from brian edwards, detailing some rather nasty behaviour by the aussie media. a clip of the relevant mediawatch report can be found here (hat tip to a commentor on brian's blog).

- this gem from shakesville, which is an answer to all the grammar police and people who like to vigourously defend the language or mock others use of it. in particular, i really love the last couple of paragraphs:

If, say, Nero had been able to successfully force everyone never to change language, all of us in the West would be speaking Latin. Not French, Italian, Spanish, or even a good chunk of English: just Latin.

Language changes; dialects exist. Neither of these things are inherently bad. The opprobrium they bear is only that with which our society chooses to freight them.

and i was going to put in more, but got waylaid by skype, which i only got into this year and am totally loving. especially when it gives me a chance to see my nephews and nieces. there's something about talking to kids that can't be captured on the phone - there's so much more body language and movement than adults have when they talk!

ETA: yet another excellent post on kiwipolitico abou the exploitation of workers in singapore, and the role of NIWA in perpetuating that.

Friday, 16 April 2010

women in leadership

i've been posting at the hand mirror over the last couple of days, with a post on the issue of whether or not girls and women are more violent than they used to be, and another post today on women in leadership positions.

this evening i attended the AGM of the waikato multi-cultural services trust. this is the organisation that runs the migrant resource centr on boundary road in hamilton, which houses a range of agencies. they are also involved in running a range of projects in the area of settlement support. it's great to see the organisation doing so well, and providing much needed support particularly during the recession.

the success in recent years has largely been due to the work of the outgoing manager, rebecca fraser, who has provided incredible leadership and organisational skills, along with a whole heap of empathy and advocacy. an excellent example of successful woman leader, and an inspiration to all of us who know her.

the new manager who has stepped into her role also looks to be dynamic and talented. here's hoping wonderful things for and from this organisation well into the future.

i have a bit of a headache today from the sound of cars racing around the v8 track. my workplace is a couple of blocks away from the tracks, and it's incredible the amount of noise these cars make. our office is fully air-conditioned so we have no open windows to let the noise in. but it was still incredibly loud. i'm wondering how people who spend the day watching the races manage.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

farewell bryce johns

a bit of a belated post to say farewell to bryce johns, ex-editor of the waikato times, who is moving on to greener pastures as editor of the herald on sunday.

while i can't say that i'm a fan of the times, i do have a certain respect for mr johns. i've found him to be personally approachable and rarely had problems getting opinion pieces published in the paper. he has also been willing to front up to any public forum where there is a discussion on the media, knowing that some of them are going to be rather hostile. he was kind enough to accept my invitation to speak and answer questions at the 4th national interfaith forum a few years ago, and he certainly got some tough questions that day!

that he has been a successful editor is not in doubt. he managed to increase circulation at a time when other major papers have been on a downward trend. the paper has won quite a few media awards under his term as editor, including the qantas media award for nz's best daily newspaper.

all in all, it's impossible to dispute that he has done his job extremely well, and that he will be missed in the waikato. i do wish him well in his next job, though i'll have to say that i won't be reading that paper any time soon. but i'm sure he'll do well there in spite of that!

Monday, 12 April 2010

race going nowhere

it's getting to the stage where i need a break from my weekends. again! which isn't to say i wasn't doing some interesting stuff. i had a media workshop in auckland, community radio open day back in hamilton, shama board meeting, and a couple of other of things on, all of which were very fruitful. but it's a worry when i don't get time to do the grocery shopping!

and i'm definitely over the v8s. well i was over them the first year they came to hamilton, mostly because i'm not into car racing at all, and the disruption the event causes to my route to work for at least 6 weeks is really quite annoying. but still, i could see that they might have some wider economic benefits to the city, which balanced that out a bit.

but, once the first race was over, it turned out that the economic benefits weren't particularly wide spread. a few businesses did well, but most didn't get any upturn in custom and ended up losing money because they had bought so much extra stock for customers who never turned up.

a couple of years on and the organisers have been basically begging people to buy tickets to avoid substantial losses. this is a worry, mostly because our city council entered into some kind of agreement to bring the v8s here. the details of said agreement were never disclosed - commercial sensitivity being the excuse. now i'm going to be really annoyed if the city council is losing money on our behalf because of this event, which we may be having to fund through our rates. but of course i'll never know. i wonder if i could do an OIA request to the council.

if there is no economic benefit arising from this event, then i frankly can't see the point of it. there are no other benefits that aren't vastly outweighed by the costs. and i'm sick of the waikato times running front page "stories" (free adverts, rather) for grid girls. i've yet to see any times stories (front page or otherwise) about women drivers or organisers/managers. nope, the only female participation worth mentioning is being eye-candy for the boys.

yup, definitely over the v8s.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

why i joined...

i had a lovely but busy easter holiday. it included a trip down to christchurch for the annual conference of the islamic women's council. these conferences have been happening since 1990, and are a wonderful opportunity for muslim women to get together and discuss topics of importance to us.

the theme of this year's conference was "raising children in western society". i may write up my speech notes at some point to put them up. needless to say, there were some very good presentations as well as a chance to catch up with women around the country.

last week i became a member of the facebook group "no israeli embassy in wellington". it's not a step taken lightly. israeli government policies are something i've opposed strongly for years, but this current government seems to be going further faster.

pablo on kiwipolitico has an interesting post about israel/palestine. it's certainly a good summary of the issues, and it brings back a memory. someone asked me (a few years ago now) whether or not i thought israel has a right to exist. my simple answer is no, i don't believe it has an inherent right to exist. i don't believe in any rights granted by biblical texts. i can understand the desire for a jewish homeland, but don't accept that an existing people should be alienated from their homes to provide one.

on the other hand, i am a realist. i also accept that there is no way for the current state of israel to be dismantled without causing a whole lot of bloodshed. even more than the blood that is currently being shed daily. but accepting the existence of the state of israel does not mean acceptance of the continuing and constant land grabs and the continuing and constant oppression of the occupation of palestine. which is why i don't support the re-opening of the israeli embassy in wellington. to do so will mean a symbolic acceptance of that oppression, and ethically wrong.