Gear Change Up

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Never fear...

I am still alive.


Seriously, I do apologise for leaving a bunch of people slightly curious regarding my dead vs. alive status. I have been backpacking and traveling around with my family, and we have been spending serious time not-quite-on-the-beaten-path.

So I have much to update on, and after I send these 177 emails, I will be right with you all. It's not going to be easy. See, I signed on to this computer in an internet cafe in Queenstown, and all of a sudden my bud Hollis started talking at me through the computer. After initially being confused as to why Hollis was inside a computer in New Zealand, and then the initial panic that Hollis was actually trapped in the computer, I decided it was the greatest 5 bucks I'd ever spent.

Between google talk and this fabulous, fabulous blog, I don't know, man. It's ok that I'm not working, as I do not have a job. But I don't know how the rest of you are getting anything done.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Waitangi Day

If it's Monday, it must be a holiday in New Zealand. I'm beginning to like the way these people think.

Today is Waitangi Day, the day that commemorates the coming together of British settlers and Maori Natives.

The creation of one people, one nation.

The Declaration of Dependence.

It's still a little controversial. I guess that when the British came up with the treaty, it was never correctly translated into Maori, so what exactly was signed is still up for debate. Tay tells me it's kind of the equivalent of when we signed the Louisiana Purchase, but the French version said the French could still control the territory on Christmas and during the summer. That would be different.

So again, no parade. I'm told not to hold my breath on fireworks either. In fact I'm told to try not to say anything too offensive about anything in general today because I could invariably make someone angry. Maori and settler issues are still a big deal here. And no offense, but as a member of a country that has already successfully practiced domination and colonization, I find the issue a little, well, trite.

I don't know why that is. I wonder if its an ingrained racism to think that, "Yo, the white people are obviously not going to leave now, and you all speak english, so can we cut the land squabbles and stop the translations?" Maybe white americans are racist in that way. We never think about native american issues. We widely celebrate Columbus Day, unless it's an area where there are a lot of Native Americans present.

(A special note on Columbus Day: There is new evidence that points to the Chinese as the people that made the discovery of north america. I would put some serious credit into that theory. All I know is they manage to have DVDs of movies before they even come out on the big screen, so by the time Columbus hit Cuba, they were probably already in California trying to sell hairties, deadbolt locks, and meat-on-a-stick)

But yeah, we never think about native american issues. Native Americans are one of the poorest and most marginalized members of society. And their numbers are dwindling fast. But you never hear about it. If New Mexico mattered in elections, you would hear about it. But since they're not white, and they're not politically powerful, nada. So maybe we are racist. Just for the record, so we acknowledge it, it'll help us understand how we view the world.

Like with Australians. You know they're racist. But at least we know where they stand.

It's hard to tell if New Zealanders are racist. It's cool the way the New Zealanders are trying to own up to past mistakes. But then there are complaints about publically trying to preserve the language, pronunciation of towns, etc. Seems like a lot of effort and a lot of money that could be going toward, you know, actually helping people.

They have a point. It does go ridiculously overboard.

But it's a catch 22. Nothing is really going to make up for what happened, so no matter what you try and do, to the Maori it will never seem like enough. Take the U.S. If we really gave every black person 40 acres and a mule, would our race problems be solved?

Seems like everyone is a living breathing expert on the past, but no one has a feasible plan for taking that past and moving it into the future.

So. I suppose this is my next task once I eliminate poverty in China.

And you all thought I was just riding around. :)