Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This Is Not A Complicated Issue

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  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    There have been numerous MPs past and present who did not have English as a first language ...in Maori, the phrase is "he reo wai-u' (a language that comes with breast-milk). Of course, as you pertinently mentioned, kids pick up other languages very easily, and many many ANZ adults (aue! not a majority of ANZ-born adults) are fluent in other tongues (hands/whistles etc.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    It still amazes me how the temporarily-able-bodied considered that disabled are out to inconvenience them

    To be fair, it can be worse than that.

    The Cameron government's horrible decision to use people on disability benefits as a wedge issue wound up with this deeply alarming story earlier this month:

    The government's focus on alleged fraud and overclaiming to justify cuts in disability benefits has caused an increase in resentment and abuse directed at disabled people, as they find themselves being labelled as scroungers, six of the country's biggest disability groups have warned.

    Some of the charities say they are now regularly contacted by people who have been taunted on the street about supposedly faking their disability and are concerned the climate of suspicion could spill over into violence or other hate crimes.

    While the charities speaking out – Scope, Mencap, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the National Autistic Society, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), and Disability Alliance – say inflammatory media coverage has played a role in this, they primarily blame ministers and civil servants for repeatedly highlighting the supposed mass abuse of the disability benefits system, much of which is unfounded.

    At the same time, they say, the focus on "fairness for taxpayers" has fostered the notion that disabled people are a separate group who don't contribute.

    Ugh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to BenWilson,

    On a deeper reading of what you’re saying here, I sense an unfair equivocation. It would be an unfortunate line of attack if Lockwood Smith were disabled, and I was mocking him on account of some aspect of that.

    Not quite, Ben. When my Father and foster-Mother died, I really could have done without being upbraided for not “grieving properly” because I got through two extremely tough funerals dry-eyed.

    You might want to have a little think about whether your idea of what constitutes “appropriate” or “normal” body language is as sound as basis for making vehement character judgements as you seem to think.

    Here’s a little thought experiment.

    You’re a high school teacher. One of your students persistently avoids making direct and sustained eye contact when you’re talking.

    That’s solid proof the student is being evasive and dishonest, right? Don’t think about it – answer immediately, show your working and avoid using unhelpfully loaded pejoratives like "emotionally retarded".

    (BTW, it’s kind of a trick question because there’s a couple of fairly significant pieces of context I’ve left out.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    You’re a high school teacher. One of your students persistently avoids making direct and sustained eye contact when you’re talking.

    Actually, I'd immediately think they might be autistic, rather than dishonest. Not everyone has your worldview, Craig.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    You’re a high school teacher. One of your students persistently avoids making direct and sustained eye contact when you’re talking.

    Actually, I’d immediately think they might be autistic, rather than dishonest. Not everyone has your worldview, Craig.

    I think you’ve royally missed Craig’s point there …

    Edit: Or possibly not. You're saying people/teachers are better than that?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Pacific Island student?

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Islander,

    he reo wai-u

    Love that term! I loathe terms like "native language" and "native speaker" (though I do use them out of pragmatism) because 'native' implies 'birth' and no one (except, perhaps, Laozi, if you believe some of the wilder legends about him) is born speaking. All languages are learnt, and as 'he reo wai-u' and 'mother tongue' imply, mothers are often (usually? certainly not always) the first language teachers.

    Of course, there are families like mine in which we're doing our best to ensure our wee one acquires both a mother tongue and a father tongue.

    There have been numerous MPs past and present who did not have English as a first language

    Oh, of course! And I'm sure many more than most of us realise. I hope I didn't give anybody the impression I thought Raymond Huo was the first - he's just the first to spring to my sino-centric mind (and even then, he's by no means the first MP of Chinese origin).

    aue! not a majority of ANZ-born adults

    And this must change. There's a role for government here (though I hold out no hope for this current government) in first promoting our two non-English official languages and then encouraging the study of foreign languages. But there are also some pretty shocking attitudes towards language prevalent in our society. The number of people who told me studying French was a waste of time..... And the number of people who say, "Oh, I wish I could...." when all they need to do is go out and avail themselves of the opportunities that are there (or at least were until this current pack of clowns started wildly swinging their blunt, rusty axe around)....

    Beijing • Since Jan 2007 • 2169 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think you’ve royally missed Craig’s point there …

    Edit: Or possibly not. You’re saying people/teachers are better than that?

    Possibly I have. I took him to mean that most teachers would think the child dishonest, but he specifically said "You're a schoolteacher..." so I can only apply what I would think/do in that situation, given that it's my thought experiment.

    I'd like to think people/teachers are better than that, but I do know that's not the case. I've just withdrawn from the geekzone thread because I can't cope with their bullshit any more.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Islander,

    That's another thought. Cultural incorrectness.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to nzlemming,

    I’d like to think people/teachers are better than that, but I do know that’s not the case. I’ve just withdrawn from the geekzone thread because I can’t cope with their bullshit any more.

    That's really, really disappointing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Islander,

    Pacific Island student?

    Good point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    mothers are often (usually? certainly not always) the first language teachers.

    My 2 midwife sisters would insist that, by the time the foetus (they wouldnt say that!*) developes a functioning brain, it is picking up louder sounds (including songs,
    loud religious chants, as well as explosions et al…)

    *pepe/baby/bub/little one tend to be midwives’ terms of choice-

    Just incidentally, when I went to Aranui High School in Christchurch in 1960, I was told the *French* was a world language, and my desire to learn Maori (of which I already had the rudiments) was *stupid* and *useless* and besides – there was no-one who could teach it…that latter bit, aside from extremely numerous (at that time) willing kaumatua outside, aue, of the school system, was entirely true.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That’s really, really disappointing.

    It so is.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to nzlemming,

    Actually, I’d immediately think they might be autistic, rather than dishonest. Not everyone has your worldview, Craig.

    Not my worldview, acutally, and that was exactly my point. Islander won the chocolate fish, because that was something a very good friend of mine had to get a handle on very quickly when she went to work in a school with a majority-Pasifika roll. Many things that might seem disrespectful (or just weird) in a palagi context are exactly the opposite in many others.

    And, yes, you’re also right. I’ve had a fair bit of contact with Russell’s eldest, Jimmy who is a great guy. Took a bit of getting used to initially, but it was my responsibility not his to educate myself on how he responds to social cues.

    You don’t have to be disabled to be on the receiving end of offensive and unjust assumptions based on norms that aren’t universal constants. It's great living in an increasingly pluralistic and diverse society, but it only really works if everyone remembers that you don't have to go very far before you're the freak.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12052 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Craig's described scenario is a fairly well known example of a cultural difference leading to miscommunication if not identified, see e.g. discussion of how Samoan cultural norms are interpreted in NZ schools, in
    Joan Metge & Patricia J. Kinloch (1978/1984) Talking past each other: problems of cross-cultural communication. Wellington: Victoria University Press.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 928 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And, yes, you’re also right. I’ve had a fair bit of contact with Russell’s eldest, Jimmy who is a great guy. Took a bit of getting used to initially, but it was my responsibility not his to educate myself on how he responds to social cues.

    Cuts both ways, really. Jim's work on socialising himself is quite inspiring.

    Taking his younger brother to Kiwi Foo was a bit of a reality check: he didn't cope with the clamor on day one and I took him back to the hotel. (MASSIVE thanks to Hadyn Green for the loan of the pre-release PSP Vita for the night.) But it got better as it went on and was a real positive in the end.

    Having people who "got it" -- Ben Wilson, Helen Baxter and Bridget McKendry, take a bow -- was a big part of that. Props again to Hadyn for getting up the video games discussion session on the Saturday.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That’s really, really disappointing.

    And now the moderator has spoken!

    I've just hidden a whole lot of posts.

    If you don't like where this thread is going, feel free to throw your two cents in - that's why it's called a discussion board.

    Posting that you're leaving the discussion adds nothing constructive.

    sigh. It's not like we flounced.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    You might want to have a little think about whether your idea of what constitutes “appropriate” or “normal” body language is as sound as basis for making vehement character judgements as you seem to think.

    Cheers. I'll give that the 25 seconds I think it's worth...

    Done. Hmmm, no I'm still going with my own judgment, because it's the one I've got. But thanks for the thought.

    With a school pupil, as a teacher, I can actually interact with them, there's no real need to rely on first judgments. But teachers are indeed highly sensitive to the body language of students, or they are hopeless teachers. So it's not the best example, really. It's actually a core competency of teachers, to be able to rapidly judge the emotional state of people, and to deny that they both have it and need it is wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8675 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    the Speaker was not a Minister of the Crown

    Correct. The speaker is elected by parliament.

    The means of that, however, is a difference between the UK and NZ systems.

    The UK Speaker is elected by an exhaustive secret ballot and expected to command some cross-party support (being secret, the MPs cannot be whipped or mustered). Speaker's are also elected asynchronously with Parliaments.

    The NZ Speaker is elected by the house majority - I don't know if supporting the governing parties choice is part of confidence and supply, but we've never had a Speaker from the opposition ranks AFAIK.

    I feel we should adopt the UK system, it's once of the few things they do right.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4484 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    but we’ve never had a Speaker from the opposition ranks AFAIK.

    Actually, we have. Peter Tapsell was the last in the 1990's, and there have been a couple of others,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaker_of_the_New_Zealand_House_of_Representatives#Holders_of_the_office

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Heather Gaye,

    Thank you

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Darel Hall,

    Parliamentary Services recorded an extra $2m of expenses in the Operations, Information and Advisory Services area of its last Supplementary Expenses declaration of $7.5m. So how hard is it really for Lockwood to authorize an extra $30k for Mojo?

    Christchurch • Since May 2007 • 17 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    You’re a high school teacher. One of your students persistently avoids making direct and sustained eye contact when you’re talking.

    That’s solid proof the student is being evasive and dishonest, right?

    Got the "socially immature" in primary school, despite the genius IQ score and held back a year.

    Had the "reassure me of your good intent" and when I tried to explain, "don't bother me with your issues" fairly recently from a colleague at a university I won't name. That person does not have my personal or professional respect.

    I guess that I shouldn't be surprised that university lecturers should be as prone to bigotry and wilful ignorance as any talkback caller.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 980 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Would Smith have made such a knob of himself if the PSC had been aware of the note-taker issue, taking soundings and advised Mr Speaker there was no opposition to them being funded out of the Clerk's Office appropriation?

    I understand that Mojo and colleagues negotiated with PSC and the Clerk's office from the get-go and they've been helpful despite some key staff being away over Christmans/New Year.

    Equipment will be purchased but not people to drive it - that seems like pretty typical petty bureacracy about traditional funding rules, but fair enough if it requires rules to be updated. Waiting for that, though? - ridiculous.

    As I said upthread, the Speaker seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding that it's Mojo being supported personally, rather than the whole of Parliament. The loudspeaker system, seats and lightbulbs support the whole organisation's functioning, even though some disabled MPs wouldn't need to use all of them. Hoiwever, each MP was not billed for upgrading the loudspeakers, or replacing chairs or bulbs.

    It's not an uncommon assumption so Lockwood may be fairly reflecting the attitudes of ignorant New Zealanders - but thankfully not of many others who reckon he's being a knob.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16838 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    the Speaker seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding that it's Mojo being supported personally, rather than the whole of Parliament.

    Nicely clarified, many thanks.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3597 posts Report Reply

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