A Charmed Life


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are you woke?

When I die I want my epitaph to read ‘She cared.’ And when I look back on my life in my old age, if I am blessed to live that long, I want to be able to remember the moments in which I actively demonstrated that caring. This is in part why I could no longer sit on the periphery being depressed and stressed as we humans continue down this current socio-political path we are on. I felt called upon to be part of the solution.

In the last few years I have considered myself an activist, but on reflection it is not actually a new facet of me, I always was one. Activism is inbuilt in me. It was a part of my upbringing through both my immigrant grandfathers, and my immigrant parents raised me to be politically and community minded so I always had this sense of being part of a larger world outside of my inner circle and I have always felt a responsibility to do my bit for others regardless of race and religion. And I always have.

I think the difference between then and now is choice. It was my choice to do my bit then and as such not something I felt needed galvanising. After all life is pretty much a Rorschach test in that each of us sees what we see and finds outcomes that are coherent with what we already believe and what we can accept. Now though, I do not feel there is choice it feels like a summons, and not just for me.

Because there is just one me. And this moment we are in. Its big. Its challenging. Its new. There is no historical reference we can learn from, we have never seen anything like this before. There is no ready solution. There is no one solution. We are navigating through uncharted territory. Scary sure. Confusing yes. But also something else – exciting. I know what you are thinking. What! Or perhaps WTF! This kiwi girl thinks it is exciting that more and more people are suffering through injustice and intolerance. And no, I never could, but what excites me about these times is the ‘we.’ The we who ask ourselves everyday what can I do to bring about substantive change.

The we humans who are connecting with each other to show our caring. The we who form the resistance. When I first heard this term ‘the resistance’ it conjured up memories of V the tele miniseries/show, does anyone else remember it? I quite fancy myself in a red spacey jumpsuit uniform weapon in hand ready to zap the bad guys; and in fact the resistance of today is not dissimilar to the resistance to the alien invasion in that series, it is just in this instance the aliens are actually humans not aliens who look like humans. Although on second thought it could be argued that there are several world leaders whose actions may better be explained by a possible alien body abduction.

The resistance of today is gathering momentum, people are coming together, and we are seeing evidence of this everywhere; with the Women’s March (Global), in the response to US withdrawal from the Paris Accord (Global), with Jeremy Corbyn/Labour in the recent election (UK), the response to Grenfell (UK), in the failure of the Senate to pass new healthcare legislation thus far (US), in the no confidence vote that comes next month to decide Zuma’s future (SA).

To use the word the kids are using these days – people are woke. People are woke to the fact that not only is this a difficult moment, it is a life threatening one for marginalised people in our communities and we will not stay silent and watch lives be destroyed. It is an exciting time to be alive, to be woke and on the right side of history; for despite the outcome when I do look back on my life I will never regret that I showed how much I cared.

Sat Nam

 


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we’re all in this together

These words are directed at the predator-in-chief who sits in the Oval Office.

“A reader on this blog once challenged me to say five nice things about you. I tried. I promise I really tried but there is nothing. There ought to be something. Everyone has a saving grace don’t they? Even the other deplorables I find as morally reprehensible as you – your fellow reality show alumni – that family that starts with a k, even they have their hustle, no other way to explain their journey from sex tape to world domination. But you do not even have that. You have never hustled for anything in your life. You wouldn’t know a hard day’s graft if it hit you on the head. You were born into privilege and you have been coasting ever since. Damn the consequences.

That is what has made these words spill out today – consequences. You see I spend far too much of my precious time thinking about you; about what motivates you to get out of bed every day, about how someone like you can be reasoned with. Often I fine myself constructing these missives to you in my head. Today’s missive needed to come out my head, you see you make me so angry. So angry that expletives leave my mouth, c*#t and motherf*@ker seem like they were created for you. But anger is not a good look on me. And I certainly do not like thinking about you. And yet there you are, always there stirring the pot, bullying, stoking fires, and oh how you love taking credit for everything. Today I found myself waiting for that tweet of you taking credit for New Zealand’s progress in the America’s Cup.

And now you have made the ultimate dumb arse move, in a long line of dumb arse moves since January 20th – pulling your country out of the Paris Climate Accord. I believe you have done this because the first word is Paris not Pittsburgh. I believe this because you might believe climate change is real, but your action demonstrates you have no understanding what climate change is. I have got to admit I took a while to get there too. I was rubbish at science at school, every year it was a miracle I managed to pass for I never learnt Newton’s Laws, I lacked patience to grow watercress, I skipped class anytime something was being dissected and I still do not know what is means to split an atom. No science never held my interest, that gene went to my brother who practically from the cradle had this innate grasp of how everything in the universe is interconnected and how vital it was to protect the lives of all creatures.

For me it was the green revolution, that picked up momentum during my last years at college, that got me thinking about my place on this planet of ours. It is now some twenty years hence and there is no escaping climate change is happening and we do not have the luxury of time to fix the consequences of stupid decisions. We all know the only person you care about is you, so as you think your vapid thoughts sitting in the Oval Office do you ever look out into the rose garden or up at the clear blue sky or how about when you are at Mar-a-Lago playing golf as you putt do you ever appreciate the verdant landscape. No of course you don’t. If you did you would understand that the rose garden, the clear blue sky, the green grass are not givens.

How about your children! Got to say I am not a fan. They just seem like five versions of you and anyway I will never be able to erase the image of your boys holding the dead cheetah they killed from my memory nor will I forgive it. You are a fan of your children yes? Do you want them to be healthy and live well? Rising temperatures due to climate change (known as global warming) will bring more disease which will affect, if not you, your progeny. Count on it. This is Fact. A Real Fact. So you see, you have made a stupid mistake by pulling America out of the Paris Climate Accord – We’re All In This Together; Parisians, Pittsburghers, me, your family and the only person who matters to you  –  you.

I am not delusional I know you will not read this. But I also know this – as I vibrate love peace compassion respect everything you are not, you will feel my energy and the energy of the tsunami of stakeholders who have since stepped up. You see amazing things can happen when people come together, this is how rEVOLutions begin. One Planet. One People. Be careful donnie: When you stand for nothing. You get nothing.”

 Sat Nam

And... one human I am absolutely grateful exists in my orbit is David Lynch for he is the man who gave me Twin Peaks and Transcendental Meditation. April 1991 is when this brilliant man came into my life when his Twin Peaks aired on newbie channel tv3 in New Zealand. I am dreamer with an expansive imagination and before Twin Peaks the only other dreamer I could relate to was David Bowie so Twin Peaks was a moment for me. It was weird, freaky and brilliant And there had been nothing like it ever. Can you think of another show where a lady talks to a log and thinks it talks back! David Lynch manages to capture our dreams the way they actually happen in our minds. Dreams are weird. And David Lynch gets that. That mind of his – much like that of Bowie come to think of it – is a fertile marvel; so much so that looking for literal answers to anything he does defeats the point of his output entirely. I mean have you ever tried to describe something he has created, you can’t, his work requires you to be present. It is about the experience. So I am thick into the Twin Peaks experience once again after 25 years. It has been the longest wait of my life and its so damn fine to be back.Watching these new episodes, catching up with the old characters, getting my head around the newer ones, trying to make sense of where the plot is going – its all a completely damn fine mindfuck and I wouldn’t have it any other way ♥ So Thursday is the election and neither leader of the two main parties enthuses much confidence; Theresa May is one cold fish and Jeremy Corbyn has never felt like a leader to me. Oh well what will be will be I suppose. One thing is certain I do not envy them one bit, a rocky road lies ahead #RockYourVote  And finally it has been a shocking few weeks, so much senseless loss. There is no making sense to be done. As the one year anniversary of Orlando approaches this kiwi girl sends love to all those affected by that tragedy and by the recent atrocities that have occurred in Manchester, Portland, Kabul and London. May our tears deliver us to wisdom #OneLove #PeaceLove


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this kiwi girl muses about… Easter

I went to Christian schools so I had it drummed into me from a young age that Easter was about Jesus sacrificing his life for my sins and then rising again from the dead on the third day so I would have eternal life. I remember being very confused about someone I never knew dying for me. It is a heady concept for a child to understand and I have to say as an adult it never felt much clearer; but then religion is all about the interpretation and interpretation is why I do not do religion.

Still I may not do religion but that has not stopped my brain working overtime all bank holiday contemplating on the meaning of Easter. It would have been more comfortable to muse over Easter eggs but I am not a chocolate eater so it holds no interest, or to talk about the Easter bunny but I am not American so have never taken part in any bunny activities; no instead my thinking has been all about Jesus and about these events that may or may not have occurred and this is kind of a big deal for me, for although I am happily content with my spiritual path, I remain vehemently anti religion. This means I choose not to veer towards religious dogma. I am the first to say ‘for one day would it not be nice to not have to read about some religious crap in the news.’ Before I come across all blasphemous, apathy aside, each to their own I just do not see why I have to know about it.

Anyway about Easter. In adulthood Easter has always been a welcome respite from hectic work life no further thought heeded, yet here I am fresh from this Easter break thinking what is the lesson of Easter.
And my takeaway is this – and I have to say I think it was a case of when the student is ready, the teacher will appear because I am surprised how easily it came to me, it may be a little simplistic but here goes – you do not need to be Christian or religious to deduce that Easter is about love. I believe that the idea of someone giving their life for me is an act of kindness and the idea of that someone rising from the dead fills me with joy and gives me hope for redemption for all of us. And I am rather happy to bask in that feeling for as long as I can.

 Sat Nam

And…  Issues, Movements. I am feeling an exuberance for justice I have never felt in my lifetime, a wave of change upon us. Whether it is Mental Health Awareness or the fight for Equality or Black Lives Matter, whatever the issue it will not be ignored. And nor should it. Pepsi managed to balls this current feeling up royally, first by hiring Kendall Jenner, the idea that anyone from that family gives a damn about anyone other than themselves is an obvious fallacy. Then the ad itself is a WTF! There is a bit in the beginning of the ad of Kendall blithely handing a blond wig to a bemused African-American woman – that says it all #I’mNotInThePepsiGeneration BUT for incite and context look no further than I’m Not Your Negro, a documentary film, based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript. James Baldwin was one of the most important voices to document the civil rights movement and to hear the words of this man who knew Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr is a thrill for anyone interested in history but why I believe this documentary is required viewing is because it speaks to the present moment with greater clarity and force. I watched it thinking ‘when will we ever learn!’  I am somewhat confused who is whom in the Syrian conflict. There’s Assad. There’s IS. There’s Iran. There’s Russia. There’s Saudi Arabia. There’s the US and somewhere there in the mix are Britain, France, Turkey and Qatar. I don’t understand what motivates Assad anymore; his country is in ruins, it has been six bloody intractable years. Assad has to go and so do IS but I have concerns about other countries being involved, you don’t just fire missile strikes on another country but more importantly you don’t just fire missile strikes on another country without a game plan. The strikes just feel like that thing at the White House thought to do on a whim and because he could. It doesn’t demonstrate a move to resolve the conflict and it certainly was not out of concern for the Syrian people. And speaking of airstrikes on what possible realm does it make sense to threaten North Korea, launch a MOAB on Afghanistan, and then go off for a golfing holiday. Every day it is like watching a James Bond movie but from the psycho villian’s point of view. You never know what is going to happen next but you know it will not make sense and you know it will not be any good. 


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rage, rage against the dying of the light

believeThroughout this past year I have had the unpleasant experience of being trolled on Twitter. The first time it happened I went all Norma Rae telling all and sundry I was not going to stand for it: I complained to Twitter about the vicious and inappropriate nature of the comment and then I committed the cardinal sin – I replied back. I let the troll know in a few choice words that they had no business talking to me so rudely and that I was someone to be reckoned with and they would be sorry. I meant every word. More! Fool! Me! Alas, what ensued was a back and forth which only succeeded in fuelling the troll and upsetting me further (with Twitter doing bugger all). What did I do! What else could I do! I stopped engaging and blocked the troll (needless to say this was not my Lifetime movie moment). 

Here’s the thing though, trolls are like pimples on a 14 year old’s face. You can witch hazel them out but the fuckers just keep coming back – different troll, same degree of meanness. Still I learnt to not feed the beast and jog on, it helped that I have strong conviction about who I am and what I believe in. I have always believed power comes from speaking the clearest truth and I am happy to speak up for what I believe in, as Martin Luther King Jr said “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” So at times when I have felt blue about the sheer awfulness we human beings are capable of I kept my eyes on the prize and focused on that light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Well as we all know the prize was not won and that light has somewhat dimmed, in actual fact in the last few weeks I haven’t been able to see it at all. For a Sagittarian that is a hard place to be, I am by nature a glass half full person but I was shocked into silence. I remain in shock. It is impossible for me to fathom that after Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, F.D.R., Kennedy, Reagan, Clinton, Obama now comes this orange anus – I can’t even bring myself to say it’s name. I won’t. This was not just an election to me. I am not American, most of what will come into policy and be administered will not affect me. What frightens me the most is that we have witnessed the debasing of our values, ideals and dare I say of our very souls, hate has been given hope – the trolls are winning. This is a dangerous precedent to set for all of mankind.

Still what is done can’t be undone (or can it? Recount? Mental assessment on ability to govern? Jailable scandal?)
And even though we – the sane majority – lost this one, what I have seen in these last few weeks is that we are stronger together.
And together we have much work to do.
Now is the time we roll up our sleeves and dig even deeper to constantly lean towards positive change.
For that is the way of a warrior.
We never give up.
To quote Dylan Thomas we do not go gentle into that good night.

For one day our time will come.
I still believe this.
One day.

Sat Nam

And… Bookended by the death of my beloved David Bowie and the election of the most awful example of a human being as leader of the free world – 2016 the year of loss I only have one thing to say – fuck you 2016


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this pussy bites back

I am pissed.
I am royally pissed that Helen Clark was not elected the new UN Secretary-General.
A lifetime of exemplary service for her country and now as head of the UN Development Programme rendered her the perfect candidate plus the UN is meant to remain neutral at all times, how more neutral can you be than a New Zealander. And yes as I have said before here I am completely bias – she is my fellow country woman and a twitter friend (I even taught her what the word ‘slay’ means in today’s young peoples’ speak) – but it wasn’t all pie in the sky on my part, I was duped and that is the real reason I am pissed.

When this race began one of the criteria laid out was that a woman ‘should’ take charge for the first time. This then was hyped up by the media and thousands of supporters. The outgoing Ban Ki-moon himself said “my replacement should be a woman.” The mix of candidates themselves seemed fair in that it was an even five each. So you see why I can forgiven for believing that at least the gender was a foregone conclusion. Alas… it was all bollocks and it has been decided that we go into the New Year with yet another MALE UN Secretary-General, one António Guterres who as it turns out has the same credentials as Aunty Helen. Shame on the UN and the security council, a valuable opportunity missed.

And if that wasn’t enough of a blow for the sisterhood we have this tape to contend with. You know which one I mean, the one on which we can clearly hear the misogynist – the Republicans still claim as their nominee – referencing women saying “You can do anything … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” My fellow sisters, how do you like that! And ‘pussy’ isn’t even the most deplorable word in this statement; although in the social media savvy world we live in today it is almost neigh impossible to protect the younger generation from learning this language, but then this election campaign has been dirty to the nth degree. No restrain no respect. Abraham Lincoln must be turning in his grave at the joke his party has disintegrated into. I truly believe that much like German history with Hitler, historians will look back at this time and conclude this guy is the lowest ebb in American history.

History aside and as deplorable as the usage of ‘pussy’ might be, for me the most offensive word in this statement is ‘grab.’ And I don’t accept this as locker room banter, the guys I know who use locker rooms are usually too busy trying not to look at other penises to have time to engage in the promotion of sexual assault. Because that is what this is, a clear incitement of sexual assault. And NO you orange anus you are not automatically entitled to grab what you want no matter how rich or famous you may be.

We are not property.
We do not seek to be objectified.
We are not some kind of second class citizens.
We do not deserve to be held to a higher standard than our male contemporaries.
Nor do we consider ourselves the superior gender.
What we are is your equal.
What we want, well we want a lot of things but we will start with being treated equally
…and taking the top job at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sat Nam

PS: To my American sisters, let’s make sure pussy bites back come November 8 #RidetheHillaryTrain #ObamaOutHillaryIn #letsSmashthatGlassCeiling #WhoRuntheWorld #AChangeisGonnaCome #MadamePresident


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freaking out in this moonage daydream

blogI only have one rule when it comes to writing for this blog, I have to be able to feel my way through the words but this time for the first time ever my thoughts refuse to unscramble.

And it shouldn’t be this way. As a woman, as an activist and as a long time supporter I am supposed to wax lyrical about my girl Hillary making the biggest crack in that glass ceiling. Instead I find myself gravely concerned about that orange megalomaniac from the other camp. It is not a joke anymore, he is not the Manchurian candidate, this reality show just got real – the man who in the last week incited another country to commit a crime (yes hacking is actually a criminal offence you stupid oompa loompa) this man could very really be elected President of the United States come November 8. Can you imagine the nuclear codes in those tiny hands. To this point I am clear but from here I come undone.

Talking to his supporters is like talking to a religious person in my experience. I find religion freakish so put a religious person in front of me and I immediately start to question their religious commitment, can’t help myself. Apart from an early experience at my Catholic college – where I would frequently debate dogma with Sr. Marcellin  (she would explain to me why Mary was her home girl and I would declare her brainwashed, I even called her Sr. Brainwashed once, got me detention but she was and still is the coolest nun you could ever meet, those were great existential talks we had) – apart from Sr. Marcellin I have yet to find one person who has been able to explain their belief to me outside of a sound bite. And we know who else speaks in sound bites don’t we.

The main sound bite from that camp ‘he’ll bring back jobs’ great I like the sound of that. . . but just a thought considering that every one of his businesses employs people in other countries and that he has yet to lay out any of his policies; apart from employing people to build that wall where exactly do these jobs come from? Valid question I would think no? But try asking one of his supporters oh my.  .  . the venom that gets spouted back, it is just as well I have thick skin, even so I don’t understand how people can be so narrow-minded I really don’t.

I like Ivanka, she appears to be a liberal, well-mannered, well-informed savvy businesswoman and I think to myself he created her and they enjoy a great relationship so this shows a sliver of sane right? So can he really be this ignorant? this hateful? Is he really so up his own arse that he actually believes he is the only one who can fix America? A man who has failed business ventures, been declared bankrupt many times, who refuses to share his tax returns, whose stepford wife has been caught out for plagiarism and faking a degree; a man who throws tantrums when reporters don’t pander to him, who encourages violence (and now hacking), who couldn’t care less about the need for unisex toilets, a man who admires Saddam Hussein and is blatantly buddying up with Vladimir Putin, a man who would never let the truth get in the way of a good story and who has yet to share one single strategy but has voiced his opposition to the free market, open borders and liberalised trade. Is this the man to be trusted with nuclear codes? Really America? You do realise that we, we being the rest of the world apart from maybe oompa loompa’s new bestie Putin, you do realise we think you are completely bonkers to have let this troll come this far.

Like her or hate her you want Hillary as your next Commander in Chief. Come on America do the right thing, just think of those nuclear codes.   .  .

Sat Nam

Also…  After her appearance on Carpool Karaoke and that speech at the DNC I have the hugest crush on Michelle Obama but then who doesn’t, simply put Michelle and Barack are good people. Back in 2008 across the pond I stayed up all night and cried when Barack was elected, and on the day of his inauguration I celebrated with American embassy staff drinking a lot of champagne and while much is said about what he didn’t do he has achieved more; during his time he got America through the GFC, legalised same sex marriage and millions who would not have access otherwise now have healthcare – these are not small feats but what I consider his biggest achievement to be is that Barack today is the same Barack he was eight years when he accepted his party’s nomination – he is a man of integrity, trust, decency and kindness, as I think back to the Presidents in my time (and I go back all the way to Nixon) I can’t think of another who embodies all of these traits so thank you Barack and Michelle for the role models you are. And finally for the last time, happy birthday Mr President (for Thursday) #YesYouDid ♥ while I am on this who run the world path, I have a further dream for the end of this year once Hills is elected Madame President, come December I would hope to see another first for a female, that being Helen Clark as UN Secretary-General. Full disclosure her being an ex New Zealand Prime Minister and my twitter friend make me a tad bias but like Hills she has 20+ years in service incl. the last seven as Administrator of UNDP, she’s a goodie and she deserves this role. Helen Clark UN Secretary-General, sounds good to me even Australians think so ask Kevin Rudd #KiwiTopDog ♥ November is already my fav month as its my birth month but this year its fit to bursting; with the election of my girl Hills and now the icing on the cake, the Netflix gods have announced the Gilmore Girls revival is to drop November 25th – two days after my birthday – the universe REALLY does have my back. #TeamJess #BestBirthdayPresentEver #aLittleTeamLogan ♥ I am lucky to have experienced two Olympics in my lifetime – Sydney 2000 and London 2012, let me tell you if you haven’t had the opportunity, it is the time of your life. It is like the rest of the world doesn’t exist and for those two weeks all you care about is watching excellence, meeting people from around the world and soaking up the atmosphere – its a love in and in the world we live in today boy do we need this. Sending out a prayer to Rio for a happy and safe Olympics, may the spirit of the games inspire all participants to greatness, especially the teams that speak to my heart Team New Zealand, Team GB and Team Refugees.


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a love story

For those old enough – do you remember playing elastics at interval when you were at school? Do you remember the ditty that went along with it? ‘England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, inside, outside, puppy dogs tails.’ This is what went through my mind as I learned of the EU referendum result.

The possibility of this foursome splitting up saddens me.
The chaos that has ensued since the vote was counted saddens me.
Brexit saddens me.

I am a faux Brit. I am a kiwi but I am also a faux Brit, to know me is to know I love all things British. For tis the land where Charlotte Bronte wrote my favourite book, the land where two magnificent queens called Elizabeth have reigned, the land where buildings and bridges tell stories, the land where great plays were written, a land where history is made over and over and over again, the land where all the great Banks congregate to do big business, a land from whence came the likes of Shakespeare, Judi Dench, Malcolm McLaren, Captain James Cook, Alan Turing, David Attenborough, Christopher Hitchens, John Lennon, Margaret Thatcher and my beloved David Bowie, it is a land that likes to tea, it is the land where for a time I got to live in the same city as Madonna, a land of many accents none of which I can do faithfully and it is the land where I found the love of my life.

My sadness for the current discombobulation that has taken over my adopted country is about the themness of the Brits, this is what I fell in love with when I was a youngin in New Zealand singing ‘god save the Queen’ at school assembly or while watching Coronation Street with my grandma or when pouring over Mothercare catalogues my mother would have sent to her. That pulsating heartbeat that beats throughout the land. What I fear most with Brexit is the loss of this feeling – economies adapt, politicians come and go, Europe will survive – but this feeling once altered or lost can never be got back. The Brits must never lose the themness of them, take it from this faux Brit who knows she will never be able to capture it no matter how much she will keep on trying.

Sat Nam

Also… I don’t understand the brouhaha about the new Top Gear, I thought this was a show about cars, why then does it matter who is driving them! If you had the misfortune of interacting with Jeremy Clarkson like I did when we were stuck together receiving treatment by the same specialist you would find him an odious man who thinks a bit too much of himself, he is not a man to be admired #Joey TribbianiCanActuallyDrive ♥ 2016 the year of loss continues. Elie Wiesel has been described by President Obama as “the conscience of the world” which is apt as he helped to develop mine. I read his book Night when I was a teen, in all honestly it is an awful read, gut wrenching in the way a book about life in a concentration camp could only be but reading this seminal work planted the activist seed in me and it continues to burn bright. If you don’t know who Elie Wiesel is please take the time to give this Holocaust survivor the respect of reading his work or at least one of the many obituaries that have been written in recent days. This man mattered. Elie Wiesel you mattered to me. I will end with his words that seem very appropriate for this world we live in today ‘We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.’


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i’ve never seen a rainbow i didn’t love

blogcolour

This past weekend was bookended by the very best and the very worst of humanity. It feels like all I have done this year is mourn. From 10th January through to today there has been a steady flow of tears… as I type this I am listening to Anderson Cooper list the names of those beautiful SOULS who lost their lives at Pulse nightclub, as his voice falters my tears have blinded me… I can’t. I’m just so tired of my heart breaking over and over and over again.

The vicious senseless act that transpired in the early hours of Sunday morning in Orlando has fuelled me with anger, remorse and deep deep sorrow. I have been a champion of the LGBT community for over thirty years (part and parcel being a Madonna lover). I have many friends in this community so I have always known the bigotry actually lets just call it what it is – HATE – I have always known the hate that has been endured. There have been times in my life when I have struggled and it was this community that helped me find my way so I will love, honour and protect this community till the day I die.

The US has a gun problem. The rest of the world sees it. Most Americans see it. But there are others NRA hardliners and extreme right wingers who don’t seem to and yet they hold the lives of their entire nation in their hands. I thought for sure after Sandy Hook there would be real change. The correct reaction to children being massacred would surely be to ensure it never happened again but no it wasn’t to be and mass shootings have increased in the time since. As someone who comes from New Zealand and who has lived in Australia it is hard to understand why the US cannot adopt some kind of variation of these countries’ gun control legislation; legislation that both countries amended back in the nineties when they each experienced a similar type of senseless act. Some twenty years later both countries are proof that robust gun control legislation works.

And yet, yes the US has a gun problem.
But the planet has a HATE problem.
And where there is hate, violence can always find a way. Guns or no Guns.
And we can put this atrocity under the umbrella of religion, terrorism, radicalisation but there is only one actual reason it happened – Bad Parenting.

Too many people think their job as a parent is done if they feed, clothe and school their children; but giving them the confidence to be themselves, teaching and showing children generosity and kindness and how to communicate effectively, to love, respect and tolerate ALL life regardless of race, creed, gender, shape, who one chooses to love – inclusive of all creatures and mother earth – this is good parenting. I am a child of Indian descent, I know the specific homophobia that exists for people of the diaspora, it is a hostility that is deeply rooted in the culture. I have friends who still today cannot be honest about who they are to their families. This will not change until we attack the root cause.

Hatred of any kind is a choice.
A child is taught to love.
A child is taught to hate.
The seed is planted at a young age.

If one lacks the appropriate parenting and does not know their own mind, lacks confidence, is disillusioned they are open to being brainwashed by religion, terrorism, radicalisation whatever you want to call it, and as this seed gets watered regularly it grows and the reality is you reap what you sow. Hate crimes will not stop until we grow a different seed.

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, this weekend for me began with seeing the very best of humanity – Muhammad Ali’s interfaith memorial. This colossus of a man wished for his passing  – as he had his life – to be a teaching moment. If you saw the service you will understand how magnificently he achieved this, if you haven’t I beseech you to watch it, listen to the words and let the sentiment wash all over you for this is how you plant a different seed.

To my brothers and sisters of the LGBT community you forever have my heart; to steal words said so eloquently on Sunday by Lin-Manuel Miranda “Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love. Cannot be killed or swept aside.” And nor shall it be.

Sat Nam

Also… Muhammad Ali – what a gift of a man – the one person on this planet who transcended race, religion, gender to unite all in their love and respect for him. There is no one left who comes close to achieving this. On a personal note, I owe him gratitude for because of him and his wondrous life I achieved my highest mark in all my academia when in college I did a History paper on his civil rights contribution. It was a joy to research him. It was a joy to listen to him riff. It was a joy to watch him in and out of the ring. Muhammad Ali – a masterclass in what it means to be human and so pretty too. To have lived in your time, how lucky am I #IamAli #G.O.A.T. #AliBomaye ♥ And so the BREXIT campaign enters into the last week, it’s been a minefield figuring out the right way to vote – you only have to look at Greece and Portugal to see that austerity has not worked and that the EU has completely failed to deal with the refugee reception crisis yet being in the EU is like being a part of a cosmopolitan club with trade, employment and travel benefits #ShouldBritainStayOrShouldBritainGo ♥ And my girl Hills – Whop Whop the FIRST WOMAN to be a major party’s nominee for President of the United States. Proving there is no ceiling too high to break. Next stop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue #I’mWithHer #Hillary2016


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this kiwi girl muses about… life, death, resolutions among other things

This past week – oh vey! Yucky does not begin to describe it.

There really ought to be pause button on life when you are visited by loss… but then again I suppose we need the confronting nature of life in all her perplexities and idiosyncrasies to remind us to get out of bed and live.

The death of David Bowie has had a profound effect on me, more than I could have imagined – not that I ever imagined this possible for David appeared to exist in an aura of timelessness that seemed to transcend death only it didn’t and he is gone and it is a loss that will be felt for the rest of my life I know this to be true; but his was not the only passing that darkened my door in the last week – many – not one, not two, not even three – many beautiful souls lost their brave battles with that bloody cancer beast.

I know to a certain extent from my own experience how debilitating cancer can be; so to know how in health these souls were so completely present and vital then to have to imagine them in their sick state, reduced to living a lesser life feels wrong and hurts more than their passing does. To that end, in amongst the sorrow I find solace in the knowledge that these souls – finally emancipated from their diseased bodies – are free. To those who have transitioned thank you and to those of us left behind always the love. 

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The following words were written before death darkened my door, when I had that gusto the promise of a new year brings; I don’t feel like that today but there you have it ladies and gentlemen – life in all her ebbs and flows – funk to funky. So without further ado… this week’s post:

Firstly can I start by wishing you a very Happy New Year. May each and every day of yours be draped in happiness, warmth, peace and love.

So a new year hey! New resolutions! Have you made any? Have you already given up? It is said that 25% of resolutions are broken in the first week alone. Then within six months, over half of resolvers will have given up. Not for me though, once I get an idea in my head I find it quite seamless to follow through – the right mix of stubborn and discipline with a dash of guilt I suppose. To that end in the past I have been able to successfully complete:

  • no alcohol for a year – thrice,
  • learn to ride a horse,
  • no ice cream for a year – it’s harder than you think when you are a kiwi girl brought up on loving all things dairy,
  • read minimum two books a month for a year – that one very nearly failed when I decided to read War and Peace, have you read it? It is quite possibly the longest book ever written (okay its not but it felt like it at the time). Thankfully just as Natasha entered into the story a bad bout of flu kept me bedridden allowing me the time to finish it in a timely manner,
  • learn how to fence (the epee kind)

Some resolutions like the above list I have made just because I enjoy a challenge. Others are made for the greater good like when I introduced lemon water to my morning routine to boost my immune system, a habit I continue with today. Exercise is always a good one when it comes to resolutions – to gym or not to gym being the common question. I am not a gym junkie so I wouldn’t dare go there but I like to stay fit so through resolutions I have established a regular fitness routine sans the gym that keeps me ticking over.

And it was the greater good I was pondering, when one night last September feeling disgustingly gluttonous – after chomping my way through a humongous bowl okay it was a bucket, a bucket of sweet and salty popcorn for dinner – I decided to wage war on refined sugar. Only, as I savoured the last morsel of popcorn I had no clue what refined sugar was so what I actually said was ‘fuck you sugar, I’m not going to eat you anymore.’

Turns out I didn’t know jack, for in sugar I have met my Waterloo. It’s not enough to cut out sweets and cake, sugar exists in this whole other stealth world. To understand the mammoth battle ahead I have had to study the history of sugar, the science and its health implications and it has been no Tuesdays with Morrie let me tell you BUT the more I know the more resolute I am to not eat it – this coming from a girl who once stated bubble gum as her favourite food. Oh la – it’s an interesting time to be me.

Sat Nam

Also in the news: My girl Hills campaign to the White House is going gangbusters, I hope this really is the year of a female president #Hillary16 ♥ Sean Penn – he makes me smile. I love him and not just for who he was married to but for his intelligent movies, his unwavering commitment to rebuilding Haiti and his fuck you’s to authority and the media – never before have we needed more people like him, people who question governments, media, industry and disrupt the status quo so Sean if you want to interview the most notorious drug dealer in the world kudos to you #Madonna+SeanPenn4eva ♥ I consider myself an activist, it is a title I wear with pride because it is my privilege to help my fellow brothers and sisters in their hour of need where I can. I don’t know how but the refugee crisis has affected me like no other tragedy ever has. It has become nestled deep within my heart and I feel strongly I must be part of the solution so in this coming year I will use whatever means I have to continue to shine a light. As I keep repeating; this – the worst humanitarian crisis we have known – is not going to just go away, it’s on track to get keep getting worse. I pray in 2016 we see an universal melting of hearts that leads to getting the job done – because it is in all our best interests, as Katniss says “Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” #OneLove ♥ Another tragedy that has touched me is the plight of Saudi Arabian Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, I wrote of him a few months back. He is currently imprisoned awaiting execution for taking part in protests during the Arab Spring when he just 16 years old. Since I wrote I have been unable to obtain news on his status that is until New Year’s day when his uncle and 46 others were executed by beheading for so called terrorism. Mercifully al-Nimr was not on the list of the dead. I think of this young man everyday. He haunts me. Can you imagine being arrested for wanting democracy? How is this terrorism? Western and regional countries need to get their priorities sorted; Oil vs Human life – it’s really that simple #KarmasABitch ♥ If you haven’t already, listen/read Idris Elba’s keynote speech to Parliament on diversity and imagination – it’s really quite something. Bravo Luther! #let’sMASHtheBox ♥ And finally some lightish relief… over on Eastenders, I’ve waited ten years to say this, Grant Mitchell is coming back. Sadly it coincides with Peggy’s death but I just want the Mitchell brothers back together so I’ll take any storyline. Cue the doof doof.


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for Eve and for Adam

always.jpg

When I first started this blog, I knew one day I would write about Eve and Adam, two people who are no longer with us but who deserve to be remembered not least for the impact they made on my life.

Once upon a time in the 80s there was a little girl called Eve who had been born premature and one of the life-saving blood transfusions she was given at birth infected her with a then little known virus. Unfortunately she lived in an ignorant country where, because of the stigma attached to this virus, people would cross the road to avoid being in close contact with her and they made it difficult for her to do normal kiddie activities like going to kindergarten. This prejudice eventually led to Eve and her family moving countries to somewhere she would be embraced and know nothing but love.

The ignorant country was Australia, the welcoming country was New Zealand and the little known virus was HIV. Eve would live till she was eleven and half and in her short lifetime she would touch many hearts including that of Princess Diana and mine. I never got to meet Eve but I collected stories about her from magazines and would watch her television interviews because back then I guess you could say she became the unofficial face of HIV/AIDS in New Zealand.

It was because of Eve I gave a speech on AIDS to my form two class, it was 1986 I was twelve and I remember writing with a thick black marker pen ‘AIDS’ by my name as my speech topic. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to choose it except that I knew Eve had been treated badly and that there was a stigma attached to this illness which I didn’t understand – my logic then (and still) was someone was sick they needed to be helped and loved no matter what. As for the speech, I had to have most of what I ended up saying, first explained to me by my aunt who was a nurse; imagine being that young and trying to understand the workings of the immune system and male coupling (I didn’t even know about heterosexual sex and here I was learning about male on male action!) After this informative and somewhat shocking education, I had to recite my finished speech in front of my teacher and headmistress so they could deem it appropriate before I was allowed to give it in front of my class. To both their credit they didn’t censor me at all, in fact they were both really encouraging.

I have often wondered if, because of this encouragement and my aunt’s thorough explanation, that is why I never got caught up in the controversy of HIV/AIDS, because haters were all around me, remember this was in the 80s when there was very little known about it, no cure in sight, very little funding provided by governments around the world to find a cure yet millions of people dying – which combined created widespread ignorance. I remember this one DJ on the radio who without fail whenever he played a WHAM song would follow up with ‘and that was by We Help AIDS Multiply,’ wonder how his life turned out, karma’s a bitch.

To this day that speech I gave is the one I am most proud of and I have given a fair few in my time. In hindsight knowing how much intolerance there has been and still is with HIV/AIDS, I am proud that I stood up against the haters. Because of Eve I would continue to be an advocate for the AIDS cause, and I still am.

♥♥♥

Then there was my Adam. Still feels wrong to use the past tense in regards to him. To know him was to know a very present person, his being filled every room he walked into. Adam and I met in our teens and we bonded over our love for Madonna, Basquiat, Keith Haring and Mapplethorpe. We would talk for hours about taking a trip together to New York to see the works of our favourite artists and watch Madonna perform at Madison Square Garden and we spent many a Friday night dancing away at Wellington staple Alfie’s. Our friendship grew distant when he moved to London to do his OE but we kept in touch via the odd letter – well letters from me. I think in the whole time he was away I got maybe three postcards from him. Then after four years away, he slipped quietly back to New Zealand and settled down to suburban life with his boyfriend. I caught up with him a few times but I had moved on in my life so our catch ups got rarer and rarer until they stopped.

About a year after having had no contact I bumped into his mother and I asked after Adam. She looked at me with such sadness that I felt a pang in my heart. She went on to tell me he was unwell and that he would love to hear from me. I can’t remember why but I didn’t make contact with him for another three months. When I did, he invited me over to his house and I remembering thinking it odd because we had never been to each other’s homes before, but the reason for the home invite became plainly obvious the second I stepped into his bedroom.

My friend Adam was a beautiful boy, he had modelled briefly in Europe that’s how beautiful he was on the outside and on the inside his soul was equally beautiful, he had such natural charm and gentleness. I think I was always a little in love with him. This was the Adam in my mind as I walked through his house not the man I saw lying in bed, so altered by illness, so frail I thought he would break when I hugged him, I was so shocked my grief caused my body to convulse. After many tears I learnt he was dying of AIDS. It remains one of the most surreal moments of my life. That night I slept beside him holding his brittle hand. I remember I kept waking up through the night to check if he was still breathing. He died less than three weeks later.

♥♥♥

I was twelve years old when I first heard of Eve’s plight and illness, through her I learnt social responsibility. I was in my twenties when my Adam died of AIDS and he is missed every day (every time I go to New York, it isn’t the same without him). For Eve and for Adam and for the others who are no longer with us and for those who continue to live in different stages of this disease I continue to be a wearer of the red ribbon and an activist for an AIDS free generation. #WorldAIDSDay #GlobalCitizen #WeCanBeatThis

Sat Nam