Sunday, 29 January 2012

the chinese question

i haven't linked to stuff i've been putting up at the hand mirror lately, so let me rectify that. today i've posted an interview with a female comedian, and raised some issues around that. yesterday i posted about school uniforms and my complete dislike of roman sandals. it turns out that said style of sandals have some adoring fans. who knew? my daughters wishes to let the world know that she absolutely hates them (she doesn't get that from me, honest!). and finally, a post a couple of weeks ago about underlying racism in the criticism of brian tamaki.

i've been meaning to post the last couple of days about the sale of crafar farms to a chinese consortirum. there are a lot of accusations of racism in the reaction to the deals, and denials that the reaction is racist. having read quite a lot from either side, i'm unfortunately not at all clear where i stand.

my initial position is that i don't want nz land to be sold to non-residents. i don't particularly want our key infrastructure companies to be sold off either. i think strategically certain assets should stay in nz ownership. i may not have written about it before, but i would feel particularly annoyed at news stories i'd seen a few years back with shania twain on her nz farm. as part of the whole foreshore and seabed debate, it annoyed me immensely that non-residents could own beachfront properties thereby restricting access to the beaches, but there was such opposition to maori holding such title, particularly when they had historic use of that place.

on the other hand, there is a clash between this position and the hatred i have of nationalism. and so much of the opposition to non-resident ownership is couched in the language of patriotism, about who belongs and who is foreign to this country. is it possible to hate foreign ownership of our strategic assets without hating foreigners? many people say it is, and i'm sure it's possible. but the way the debates happen, the way the arguments are framed don't always make this distinction clear. hence the bad aftertaste, as it were, from reading the various views.

if we are to be citizens of earth before we are citizens of a particular country, then surely it doesn't matter who owns the land? why should we be prosperous at the expense of other countries, and because we participate in international structures and rules that perpetuate inequality?

the answer to these questions is that the people who would be buying our strategic assets will be those who already have a lot of money, and their ownership is highly unlikely to reduce inequality on a global scale or to have any impact on poverty in their own country. the same argument could be made about nz owners though: having the crafar's own that land didn't help inequality in nz or reduce poverty. it likely harmed the country because of their poor standards of animal welfare and their disdain of any kind of responsibility to the environment. so if nz ownership is not benefitting nz'ers, surely it should make no difference if the property is owned foreigners.

there is a difference though, if that land is run ethically and profitably (can we count on the new owners to do that?) but the profits leave nz. it means that wealth is leaving this country that would have been put back into the economy and should improve the economic well-being of the country. again, to me the key question is: where will those profits be going? if for example, they were going to poor chinese people and uplifting the living standards of a large number of people, then i don't see why we should object. especially if those profits aren't achieving the same results in nz. however, in this case, we have no knowledge or guarantee that the profits will be used in such a way, so it's a moot argument.

there's certainly no merit to the argument that the bid from the group including michael fay will be more beneficial to nz. there is nothing in that man's history that could support such a notion, and it's not like he's living here and paying taxes here in order to return some of the wealth he siphoned off from this country.

there does remain the issue that there has been a much larger public outcry regarding the chinese bid, simply because they are chinese. i think it's silly to deny that race is a factor for plenty of people who object to the sale. as i've said above, it's clearly seen in the way the arguments against the sale are presented by many of those who object.

the same level of publicity has not been given to other sales of land to non-residents. but there's an argument to be made that this is as much an issue about what the media choose to report and focus on, than something the public being the initial source of the angst. one of the joys (/sarcsasm) of having mr peters back in parliament is that he will quite happily use this kind of scenario for publicity, and the media generally tend to report it.

on the other hand, the greens have been very vocal in their opposition to china on many fronts - the food labelling issue, the tibet issue and certainly on this one as well. they tend to be pretty vocal on a lot of foreign policy issues though, and have been equally critical of western countries as well. they don't, however, have one of their leaders deliberating sitting on the steps of parliament with a flag and creating a huge media ruckus when it comes to any other country.

in a way, that rankles. though i'm really wary of the argument "if you're going to complain about [x], why aren't you also complaining about [y]" or "[x] is nowhere near as important as [y], why don't you focus on [y]". feminists get that all the time: why are you complaining about being harassed in an elevator when women are getting raped and beaten elsewhere in the world. just because the latter is occurring doesn't mean we should pay no attention whatsoever on the former. and people have limited time and energy to focus on issues. they have a right to choose what's important to them.

having acknowledged that, it still rankles that china is singled out for this kind of protest by the greens. i'm having a hard time unpicking the reasons for it in my own head. i think it's because of context: we're living in a country where people are racist towards chinese and intolerant of asian immigrants. these kinds of actions strengthen the position of the racists. on the other hand, it's not fair to exempt another country from criticism just because there is racism in this country. i'm pretty unhappy with china because of their treatment of the uighurs, but acknowledge that there are a lot of other issues as well.

so, after all of these words, i'm still no clearer on my own position regarding the sale. i'm clear that i'm against contempt of chinese people as individuals, though not against criticism of their government. i'm against arguments that have a strong whiff of western superiority and often a hint of white supremacy. i'd still prefer to see nz ownership of key nz assets, but i want to see all nz'ers benefit from that ownership, not just a select few.

Friday, 27 January 2012

a bit of aussie humour

sort of following on from my last post which had a little bit about australia, there is this clip (via facebook) which i thought was pretty funny:

this is one of the guys from fear of a brown planet. i linked to an interview with them last year.

in case you don't know who andrew bolt is, here's a news story with a handy audio clip of the nasty stuff he said.

oh, and just in case you think i'm picking on australians in a mean way, just remember that aamer rahman is also an australian & i think he's great.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

26 january

26th january is an important day for two large countries. for indians, it's republic day and for australians it's australia day. because of a status update on facebook, i had reason to think about these two very different events at the same time. and it struck me that the reason why they are different is that the former is a celebration about liberation from colonisation while the latter is a celebration of colonisation.

i've written before about indian republic day, and how i'm not a huge fan of the way it's currently celebrated. that mostly centres around the nationalism and patriotism that can be pretty destructive in three ways. first, it means people don't see themselves as part of a global village but rather as a nation competing with other nations. hence they are less likely to be in favour of measures that may not be directly of benefit to their particular country (and in fact may be detrimental) but would be beneficial either to the planet as a whole or to the more marginalised parts of the planet that really need some assistance.

second, it causes people to see those who are born in or looking like the majority in the nation state as outsiders. which means, of course, an othering of migrants even if those migrants happen to no longer be migrants but are in fact second and third generation offspring of migrants. it causes a huge division between those who are seen to belong, and those who don't belong.

third, it stifles criticism. any criticism of the culture, government, traditions, business practices or whatever can be written off as unpatriotic, and the person making the criticism can then be socially punished (kind of like what happened to the dixie chicks when they opposed the invasion of iraq).

it is the nature of a national day that it will be full of national pride and so these negative consequences are pretty much impossible to avoid. on the other hand, for a country that was colonised and has since achieved independence, this is a thing to celebrate. freedom, autonomy, self-determination. these are all worthwhile things to celebrate.

the cost of obtaining these things - the lives lost, the bitterness and division caused in the creation of a nation state should also be remembered. but they don't tend to be remembered quite so well. yes, we remember the freedom fighters who stood up to the colonisers. we remember those who fought the enemy. but we tend to forget the infighting, and those who died and suffered because we were, for whatever reason, divided.

to me, australia day has the worst aspects of a national day without any of the redeeming features. the nationalism is solely a celebration of the colonisers who took over the country, without any type of soul searching regarding the costs to the indigenous people. of course that's an opinion from an outsider looking in. i know there are protests held by the aboriginal people in canberra, and maybe there are official celebrations that take into account the history of the indigenous people and acknowledge the dispossession and damage they have suffered. if there are, i guess we don't tend to hear about them so much. i found this page on an australia day site, and the apologism is breathtaking (oh, but times were different then and everyone was doing it and ... just ugh).

to have those old ships coming into port, without feeling an incredible sense of sadness? i don't know how people do that. how they allow themselves to ignore or be intentionally unaware of how such an act could be hurtful. add to this the stories i've heard of young white men, draped in flags, and terrorising people of colour and it doesn't really sound like much of a celebration. and yes, i'm sure the latter behaviour is only carried out by a small number of people, but it's impossible for me to ignore. and i suspect that there are plenty of people of colour in australia who feel the same.

if we must have a national day in nz, i'm really glad that it's waitangi day. it's very, very far from perfect. but at least it's an attempt to recognise a partnership between two people. at least our indigenous population tend to be centred on that day (even though the media coverage is largely negative). at least we're not running around waving flags and feeling full of ourselves, as if there were no skeletons in our closet so to speak.

happy 26 january everyone.

Monday, 23 January 2012

how did that happen?

oh no, can it be that i agree with winston peters? it appears that i do:

Rt Hon Winston Peters says it is hard to understand how Dotcom passed the “good character” requirements for New Zealand residency.

“It has been reported that Dotcom is known in Germany as a notorious computer hacker and has been convicted of insider trading yet immigration authorities let him settle here under the so-called investor-plus category.

“The prime minister should order an immediate inquiry by a qualified person to see who was involved in this immigration scandal and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

well i agree with the bit above anyway. then he goes back to form about the slack immigration service, saddam's henchmen, blahblahblah. not only predictably boring, but annoying because it detracts from a couple of really valid points.

i can't say i know much about the actual case at hand re megaupload. behind not very clever with the technology stuff, i don't really download anything, not even legal stuff, except maybe some bits and pieces from youtube and a couple of free songs from yusuf islam. i am so uncool that i don't own anything by way of MP3 player, e-reader, tablet or smartphone (i barely know what some of these mean).

so really, no big deal for me when these guys got busted. as to whether they are found guilty of anything, i'm quite happy to leave that to the courts. there are arguments to be made about profiteering by the music industry and the big movie companies, and i don't see why any particular person is absolutely entitled to tens of millions of dollars in profits for a particular creative effort. which is why i have a lot of time for j k rowling, who is at least trying to give back to her fans via the pottermore site (which i've never visited so don't really know what that's about either).

but really, the copyright issues aren't so important to me in this particular case (SOPA & PIPA are quite something else, but again i'm not informed enough to comment). it does bother me that someone can pay $10 million to buy residency in this country. i don't see why we should be accepting people just because we want to attract investment.

and while it's good to have cashflow into the country, it annoys me that we think people with money have more to contribute than people without money. the way we value people and their contributions is seriously flawed. to me, the women who come here to work in our resthomes or who end up working as cleaners make an extremely valuable contribution to society. the people who end up running dairies and other small businesses, those who come to work as nurses: just because they don't bring in millions doesn't mean they aren't enriching our country with their presence and their efforts.

i actually object to the notion that people with money get an easier path to immigration. there's no reason for it, and if they want to be investing significant sums here, they can clearly do that without being residents (crafar farms for example).

for that reason, i'm in agreement with mr peters that there should be an inquiry into this particular case. i'd go further and say that there needs to be an independent body outside of immigration, similar to the health & disability commissioner, the prisons inspectorate or the independent police complaints authority, to which complaints can be made. immigration nz needs to know that they will be held accountable by a body that is outside of their influence.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

soft hands

on monday i received a gift voucher for a place that does manicures and pedicures, as well as other beauty treatments. this is not something i spend my own money on - i don't think i've been in anything called a beauty parlour in my life. never had a facial or any of the other treatments. i can see why other women would do this though, as a means of relaxation or whatever. i just choose not to because i would much rather be spending my money on other things - books, a movie, dinner out, or, just other things.

so when i got the voucher, and having had a trying day on monday, i decided to use it pretty much immediately, as an exercise in stress-relief. i chose a manicure, and it was nice. i got talking to the young woman who was working on my hands - or more accurately, she started talking to me as i think they are expected to do. she was asian, here on a study visa and no doubt working to support herself.

i remarked that her hands must be pretty soft from using all this cream on clients. she misheard me and thought i'd said her hands must be sore. and it turns out that they do get quite sore. mostly from the pedicures, which include a 10-minute foot massage. it reminded once again how lucky i am to work in a job that doesn't actually cause physical pain.

but this woman shouldn't have to endure physical pain in her work either. there's something wrong with the work procedures or the way work is scheduled if it results in employees having really sore hands at the end of the day. here we have an instance of a vulnerable worker - one who most likely doesn't have permanent residence if she's an international student, one who no doubt desperately needs the money, and one who probably isn't fully aware of her rights according to nz law. it seemed to me that the place was full of similar young women.

i doubt that she'd dare complain for fear of losing her job. i imagine the owner of the place, who is likely to be sefl-employed, also works with aching hands. and this is what some people have to live with to earn a living in nz. it's not right in the case of the employer, any more than it is for the employees.

so i'm wondering if i really want to go back for this kind of service. on the one hand both the employer and employee depend on customers in order to earn an income. on the other hand, i don't want to know that someone is feeling pain but hiding it, while she works on my hands and provides the best service she can.

Monday, 16 January 2012

not quite rested

today was my first day back at work after the summer break. you would think that i would have arrived back well-rested, after three weeks off but it didn't work out that way.

on friday afternoon, we welcomed back to hamilton a group of young muslim women who had been on a 4-day canoeing trip on the waikato river. they had rowed some 18 kms, as well as organise activities including abseiling, rock-climbing, flying fox and a marae visit. the young women had an integral part in organising the event, as well as running it. there were two women instructors who ran all the physical events and the my good friend aliya danziesen is the adult who is responsible for organising and motivating the youth group.

so they got back into hamilton and we had a lovely welcome for them, with members of the community as well as the mayor of hamilton and labour MP sue moroney, and two representatives from the american embassy who previously provided funding for the group. there were presentations and short speeches, and the all-important sharing of food. having watched these young women as they have progressed over the last 3 years, it was incredibly inspiring to see how far they have come, and to hear their commitment towards giving back to the community who have supported them.

on saturday and sunday i was in christchurch and dunedin respectively, co-presenting workshops to muslim women about nz laws that affect them (made possible by funding accessed via the american embassy). my fellow presenter was noeleen van de lisdonk from the fatimah foundation, which organisation provides a range of social support services in auckland. there were 4 parts to the workshop - we talked about the stresses related to migration, laws around violence in the home, issues around parenting and the importance of self-care.

while both of us shared on all topics, i was primarily responsible for the first and the third. the workshop was interactive, so the women shared their experiences of moving to nz. some had positive experiences, other found it more difficult. those who have come recently have had the benefits of a more diverse community in nz, and support services such as migrant resource centres. even so, it is no easy job to leave family and friends to go to a new place, to re-establish and try to connect with a new group of people. even harder when language is an issue, transport is a problem and paid employment is hard to find.

the most important part for me was the section on parenting. being a person who grew up in nz with parents who had grown up in another country, there were some tips i could share. the thing is, when you grow up in a country where you are part of the majority, where you look like everyone else, where everyone does things the way you do them, then often you don't appreciate how hard it is for kids growing up in a place where they are the odd one out. of course the parents are also the odd one out, but as adults they are often much better placed to deal with that. they are much better able to answer back from a position of strength, often being much more secure in their identity.

kids have a much more difficult time. very often these children will be made to feel bad or embarassed about who they are and how they dress, eat, talk, and any number of other things. many of them don't have extended family members who they can turn to for help. between the parents and the children, there is not only the generation gap but a cultural gap, together creating much greater levels of tension.

sometimes when i think about the pressures of migration, i wonder how people are able to uproot and leave. but of course they do it for so many reasons, primarily for safety and for a better future for their children. they don't often realise how much additional pressure they are placing on their children. so it was great to have that conversation in the south and to explore ways we can provide better support for these young people as a community. and also how we can support each other as adults. community is so incredibly important for the well-being of people, and a especially that sense of belonging, of feeling valued and connected.

we had a lot of positive feedback and i hope it results in some concrete action. but if nothing else, we were able to raise awareness of some crucial issues. so it was definitely worth feeling a bit groggy at work this morning!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

what i've been reading online in the last week

since i'm still on holiday this week, i've had time to read various bits and pieces around the internet, and i'm going to share the links. because i've read so much stuff and forgotten who referred me to it, i'm going to leave out the attributions - apologies for that.

- there's this piece in the new york times in which a former inmate of guantanamo bay writes about his experiences, or at least some of them. his actual experiences of how he was treated while incarcerated aren't included.

- i liked this list of human rights issues related to business and commerce. that first one is just so relevant to what's happening with ports of auckland just now, but also relevant to many low-payinbg jobs such as cleaners and bus drivers.

- speaking of the ports of auckland dispute, here is the fact sheet prepared by the unions (pdf) and a couple of really good posts at the standard.

- i found this a useful primer on new detention laws passed in america. one point of view i struggle with in the comments is that such laws are ok to apply to foreigners but an outrage when applied to american citizens. seems to be a real disconnect in that way of thinking and perhaps those people need to have a read of the first post i've linked to.

- excellent post by keith ng about astroturfing by the tobacco industry. if you have a few spare dollars, i strongly recommend you send a little of it his way. this is the kind of reporting that is crucially important and that we're not seeing enough of in mainstream media.

- i came across this post a couple of days after i'd watched the original video of things white girls say to black girls at womanist musings. the video itself i didn't find particularly wonderful though i truly understand the frustration behind it - especially because i could easily do one of my own with "aren't you hot wearing all those clothes", "did you have an arranged marriage", "i thought your husband forced you to wear that scarf" and many, many more. but the actual post i've linked made some really good points around institutional racism, power and privilege.

- i found this a rather sad story about a native american woman being cast out of her tribe for not having the correct lineage. there are issues around who has the power and the inability to challenge that power, issues of self-determination, a need for the tribe to protect it's resources by not allowing "outsiders" to be taking shares, and also very sad for me that the wealth of the tribe is coming from operation of casinos which are in themselves exploitative. no easy answers here.

- i remember writing a brief paragraph about stieg larsson's "girl with a dragon tattoo" after i'd read it, because it just didn't seem to me to be quite the feminist novel it's portrayed as being. this post really nails the issues i had with it - having previously read one dean koontz and one richard north patterson (i know the linked post mentions james patterson) novel some years before i read larsson's book, my mind had immediately connected the similarity in styles and the misgivings i'd had with those earlier authors. i've never felt the desire to read anything by them again.

- i'm not going to watch the tintin movie because of my desire to never contribute further to the financial success of peter jackson. this post gives another reason for not watching it.

- there's this post about african musicians responding to mr geldof's question of whether they know it's christmas time. i thought the question posed by mr geldof wasn't about their actual level of knowledge about christmas, but more around the fact that many of the severely impoverished didn't have the money for a special meal or presents. even so, i thought it was a bit insensitive because of the fact that many africans aren't even christian so are unlikely to celebrate it. though the song was about capturing attention in western nations, it would have been wise to try to capture the essence of the people you're singing about.

and finally, i've written a couple of posts at the hand mirror aside from the one cross-posted yesterday. there's one today about domestic violence in relation to immigration status, and another a few days ago regarding the loss of another free-to-air channel in nz.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

i have given you my soul; leave me my name!

i've been inspired by annanonymous' post on naming to reflect on my own choices of names as a parent. she makes the point that:

The names which top the 2011 lists are indeed fairly middle class, and the trends in their popularity suggest that 'generic' is what parents are after: they're choosing names that don't stand out too much. There's actually a lot of comfort in conformity.

while this may be true of the western world, the opposite seems to be the case in the indian subcontinent (and particularly india & pakistan). of course i don't have research to back this up, only my own personal experience. but that experience strongly suggests that having a unique name is the over-riding factor for this group of parents. they will try to find a name that no-one has heard of.

i wonder if this is because families are generally so much larger there, so the likelihood of a name being used by cousins, nephews, neices, uncles, aunties, brothers and sisters for their own children are pretty high. since they don't want to have double-ups with relatively close relations, they try to find something unusual.

since there's such a variety of names anyway, based on the many languages and historical influences, no-one actually cares if a name is easy to spell. also, many naming traditions in the region don't include a "family" name - there isn't a common name that everyone in the same family has. so there isn't that sense of conformity that you might find in a western tradition.

which is not to say that there aren't rules. giving names is a very serious matter for muslims. there are quite a body of writing and thought around giving names to children. the name should be one that has historical significance - ie one that was held by a person of good quality who led an exemplary life. hence why the most popular boys name in the world is mohammad (in many spelling variations), though very few of them are actually called by that name. it just forms a part of their full name. as a side note, i've often wondered why christians in the english-speaking world don't use "jesus" as a name much more often. it seems to be used in the latino culture a lot more.

names should also have a good meaning and not be an embarassment to the child. in fact, it's seen as the right of a child that the parents should choose a decent and sensible name. so, even if names are chosen because they are unique or unusual, parents in the indian subcontinent do make an effort to ensure that it won't be a cause of ridicule. not that i believe anyone should be ridiculed because of their name, but i guess it's a protection of the diginity of the child.

a name is the most important part of a person's identity, but one that they initially don't get to choose. and while many do choose to change it in later life, most commonly married women in the west, that initial name does seem to form a part of who you are or how you are defined. there isn't really any other way to do it - children aren't able to make a decision about it until they are at least a few years old, and at that age are likely to make a decision they'll regret later in life. so one of the most important things about you is beyond your control, at least for quite a few years. and even then, changing a given name is likely to cause some hurt to the parents who took the time to choose it for you.

names are such a contentious issue - any post about changing names on marriage will often be attract the most comments on feminist websites. it's something that many of us intrinsically place a lot of value on. it's something about us that we want other people to get right. i think my name is pretty simple, being only 5 letters, but i keep a list of all the ways people manage to get my name wrong when i say it to them over the phone. it includes angie, angela, eugene, as well as some not so nice ones. and i make an effort to say it very slowly and carefully, because i know that as soon as people hear the first syllable, they stop listening and assume the rest. the fact that i have a very kiwi accent and they can't see i'm a woman of colour helps in their assumption that i have a traditional european name.

the pronunciation of such a simple name is also an issue. the average nz'er wants to say the first syllable with the same pronunciation as the word "an" as in "an apple", though the correct pronunciation is "un" as in "unforgettable". the second syllable comes out as "jim" even though it's quite clearly spelt "jum" and i take the trouble to say it that way. i certainly don't mind people who make a first attempt without having heard me say it getting it wrong. but it does bother me when i've said it for them, slowly and clearly, and they insist on saying it wrong. grrr.

as for my own children, i bucked the trend of unusual names to go for very traditional and common ones for my own children. in fact, i decided on the name for my first child when i was 15 years old, having read about the most famous historical figure to hold the name, and admiring her greatly.

it is apparently traditional in some cultures for the paternal grandparents to choose the name, or for the father to do it. i find this really difficult - my own position was that i was the one who had gone through all the pain and hardship of bearing and giving birth to this child, which should surely result in my having the right to choose the name. pretty one-sided i guess, but at the time, i felt really strongly about it and couldn't have borne the thought of someone else choosing a name for my babies.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

at least i have clean teeth

i went to the dentist today. i'm very bad at going to the dentist ie i generally don't. even though i've paid the price by having to go through a couple of root canals. i know it's silly and i should just take better care of my teeth by visiting the dentist regularly. but today reminded what an unpleasant experience it is.

it was just a regular check-up with a clean and polish. no fillings required, no injections and drills. but even so, even with the numbing gel on my gums, i found the cleaning to be painful. i wouldn't have taken more than 20 minutes (the cleaning part), but it was really unpleasant and i was thinking the whole time "i've really got to make sure this doesn't put me off coming back for my next check up".

i don't deal well with pain. maybe i'm overly sensitive, but physical pain is a real issue for me. i try to be tough, i mentally prepare myself to endure but when the time comes, i find i can't endure very much at all. don't even ask me how i went through labour pains, twice. i was a pretty hopeless case with that as well, a real screamer and basically opting for every drug available. i had an epidural the first time around, and made do with a tens machine & a pethidine injection the second time around. but i certainly didn't face the whole experience with stoicism and dignity. it just doesn't seem to be in my repertoire.

i have the same problem with cervical smears. for some reason, i find them extremely painful and the last one i had left me bleeding as well as crying out loud with the pain. this was despite the fact that the nurse who did the smears was very experienced and very well aware that smears are painful for me. i'd avoided smears for many years just for this reason, and i know that having cancer is actually much worse, but i just can't seem to get over this very strong tendency to avoid anything that involves physical pain.

possibly it's more a mental thing - the tensing up which causes me to experience more pain than i should. but i really tried physically relaxing all my muscles today, unclenching my fists, relaxing my shoulders, breathing slowly. it doesn't seem to help. and the dentist telling me that i may need to have at least one crown in the reasonably near future is really not good.

aside from the cost ($1,300? how on earth do people with no jobs or on low wages afford this stuff? i suppose they opt to have teeth pulled out as it's cheaper?), the whole procedure looks beyond my ability to endure. the last root canal i had involved going to a specialist and getting some heavy duty pain killers, and cost over $3,000. this was after the regular dentist gave me five injections and i still couldn't bear the pain.

i know how very much i sound like a pampered princess here, in the sense that many people endure far more physical pain for much longer periods of time and with much more courage. even knowing that doesn't help. i have extreme admiration for their endurance and pretty much contempt for my inability to do the same. but that's just who i am.

in the meantime, the one reason i miss jim anderton as a politician is because he was about the only one actively campaigning on making dentistry affordable. i think it's really important - i know i have the ability to pay, but those who don't should be able to access an equal level of care as someone like me.