Archive for February, 2016

An Educational Day

Posted in Uncategorized on 21/02/2016 by molliemoogle

RSA

Life has a funny way of teaching you things. Most of the time, it’s through formalised education and training, and others, it’s through observation, discussion, or interaction. Saturday was an informal day of the latter and one that I won’t forget for a while.

Yesterday, the Te Puke RSA (Returned Services’ Association) closed its doors for trading to amalgamate with the Te Puke Citizen’s Club.

For those of you not familiar with chartered clubs and the Returned Services’ Association, here’s a bit of history:

The NZ RSA was formed after WWI by returning ANZACs to provide comfort and support to service men, women, and their families, and honour the memories of those who did not return.  It’s an advocate for vets and provides its own welfare service.  During the formative years of the RSA, the public supported building club rooms for the returned at the same time as war memorials for the dead.

The local RSAs are independent of each other, and governed by an executive committee, but are dedicated to the objects and resolutions of the National Council.

Chartered clubs started life as workingmen’s clubs, an import from England. A workingman’s club is social club that provided working class men (and later, their families) recreation and education. It’s primarily a place for a drink, snooker, pool, billiards, sports/betting, and socialising, though they hold fundraising activities, have music/bands, and occasionally, entertainers. The education aspect of the club has fallen by the wayside, though there are some clubs out there that have reading rooms.

Similar to the RSA, each club is independent of each other, governed by an executive committee, and dedicated to the objects and resolutions of their National Office.

It’s quite sad to see an RSA close down and as PlusOne drunkenly pointed out to me, it was an important day. The changing social environment meant that fewer and fewer people were heading into the RSA for socialising.  There are usually a core group who socialise there regularly; the rest of the members come in occasionally- mostly for a club draw (a lucky membership number each week is drawn and X-dollars in cash is given out), a worth-listening-to local band, a fundraising event (like Trivial Pursuit), or an entertainer (comedian, strip-show).

NZ also changed the existing drink-driving laws to lower the limit from 400mcg to 250mcg per litre of breath/50mg of alcohol per 100ml blood for those over 20 and zeromcg/0mg for those under 20.

I’ll say this now: lowering of the drink-drive limit is definitely a good thing. The numbers are arbitrary, given everyone’s different reaction to alcohol- my limit is about 1/2 a standard drink before I’m driving impaired. PlusOne’s limit is two. Since I don’t drink anyway, PlusOne can have all the booze he wants.

Getting back to it…

PlusOne and I attended the closure since the Navy Reserve wanted a presence there and PlusOne volunteered, since it was his day off. We get there (with some difficulty- a tree fell and blocked our route, so we had to go the long way around), and we socialise a little bit before the ceremony. The old boys (the vets) are happy to see a young’un in his whites and I think they were happy that the Navy sent a current serviceman there; judging from the amount of attention he got from the olds, his presence was very much appreciated (and extremely appreciated by a number of old ladies- rubbing a sailor’s collar apparently brings good luck. For more luck, rub longer). A number of them regaled him with their time in the services (army, navy, air force) or to just thank him for being there.

Especially the navy boys.

Get a bunch of navy boys together, and they all talk about the navy. I did learn a few interesting things about the navy: gunners drink the dregs, stokers worked in the boiler room, communicators are in a special class all their own, how some of them feel about their service time vs the modern service (they’re all sitting in air-conditioned rooms now), was serenaded by a few of them singing The Lobster Song (hi-diddly-oh, rip shit or bust, never let your bollocks dangle in the dust), and was (I think) made an honourary member of a naval frigate.

And then, there’s the rum. It’s all true what they say about the navy and rum. The Royal NZ Navy was the last navy that issued a rum ration; they abolished it in 1990. The extremely abridged history goes that when the Caribbean was colonised and sugarcane became a luxury item, the planters needed to defend their plantations from foreign navies and pirates. In order to compensate a sailor and keep his mind off the shit conditions of the vessel, the navy gave them a ration of beer (about a gallon a day). As beer was apt to spoil, they later changed to rum. A sailor would now get a pint, which dropped over time to about 70ml (or a tot) of rum, between 11am and noon, since rum was less likely to spoil. In the 1970s, the British navy decided that alcohol wasn’t the best thing for mental concentration and discontinued the daily ration. NZ didn’t catch up for another 20 years.

I lost count at 5 rums and 6 pints of beer. In fact, most of it came up later, once we got home.

There’s another lesson I learned: if it’s an important day to them and for them, just let them enjoy it.

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Observations from Waitangi Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 08/02/2016 by molliemoogle

That time of year has rolled around again: Waitangi Day (well, it was actually 2 days ago).  The national holiday of New Zealand when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed giving the British sovereignty over New Zealand.  There’s been a lot of debate over the treaty in recent years, mainly over who owns what, and the meanings of several words, as they mean totally different things in Maori and in English.

In the simplest terms (in my opinion anyway), it’s like calling a lion a “cat”; kind of, but not really.  There’s a huge difference between a cat and a lion.  “Property” in English is sort of like “taonga” in Maori, but there’s still a big difference in what actually encompasses “property” vs “taonga”.

I’d like to think that Queen Victoria was a bit progressive and, living in the age that she did (one of strict codes of conduct), wanted to do right by the Maori.  Unfortunately, the language barriers and literacy barriers (Maori is an oral language, not a written one) came together to produce a perfect storm of miscommunication (to put it mildly).

How do I feel about the holiday?  I’m in two minds.  Let me explain.

I’m an American by birth, so our national holiday, July 4, is filled to the brim with what can only be described as rabid patriotism.  Large red, white, and blue explosions happen all over the country; patriotic songs about America being the land of the free, the home of the brave, and the cradle of opportunity and dreams.  It’s the bestest ever place in the whole wide world.  Fireworks light up the skies.  Veterans and active service members are practically mobbed in the streets and treated like rock stars.  If the Earth is an oyster, America and her opportunities are the pearl.  BBQs, picnics, free concerts, people shouting “God Bless America!” at every opportunity.  It’s freaky in a good and a weird sense.

America also screwed over a number of Indigenous American tribes before, during, and after the divine mandate of Manifest Destiny.  Trail of Tears and the Indian Removal Act.  Diseases from Europe.  Policies of discrimination.  Removal of culture and land.  The Phips Proclamation in 1775.  American committed cultural genocide.

It’s kind of the same here, except without the rabid patriotism.  Let me say this: it’s awesome being a Kiwi.  We have amazing sports teams (the All Blacks for starters), we’re nuclear-free, there’s a beach within 120km of anywhere, Pineapple Lumps, Jelly-Tips, no crocs or poisonous anything, beautiful scenery, and a can-do No 8 wire mentality.  The Treaty established a British colony in New Zealand which allowed the Kiwi lifestyle to flourish, but at the same time, misinterpretation and miscommunication has caused a number of protests over the years saying that the British/the Crown has screwed over the Maori.

Here’s why I’m in two minds about celebrating any kind of national holiday:

1- I’m proud of my heritage as a Kiwi (I don’t self-identify as an American).

2- But, I can’t forget who and what that heritage is built on.

The Silence Between Words

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 06/02/2016 by molliemoogle

silence

This is new for me, so please, be gentle.

I started this blog about 2 years ago, but only recently realised I still had it and I remembered my password (which, in itself, is a bonus).

So… who am I and why am I doing this, and, more importantly, what in the hell am I going to blog about?

To start off with, I’m Mollie, a reformed “transformative fiction” writer- that is, I wrote fanfic.  Oh yes, it’s how we all get started.  Well, some of us anyway.  Now, I write within a few genres, romance being my favourite.  No, I haven’t published anything.  I’m working on it.  I love eating, cats, and baking– please note the use of the Oxford comma (I’m not a monster).  I’m married to +1, the absolute love of my life and my best mate, and I happen to live in the most beautiful place on Earth- New Zealand.

Question 2: Why do this?  Mostly to get my thoughts down, ones that aren’t sitting in the realms of fiction (or, as Kiwis say, “fuction”, because Is sounds like Us and Es sound like Is– the word ‘deck’ has a whole new meaning in New Zealand), but I think this is also a place where I can gather information and condense it into an enjoyable format.  I’d like to put up some of the short stories I write, maybe a few chapters of longer works, and share insights I find interesting.

And thirdly, what will I be blogging about?  Writing, for one.  As a newer and more serious writer than I have been, I want to blog abotu some of the trials and tribulations of writing, things I’ve learned, share what I’ve written, let you know where to find it (because I’m forever hopeful that someone will like what I’ve written), and basically stumble around the realm of fiction writing trying to find treasure.

I might also blog about various things that happen to me in my line of work (there’s plenty of that), post photos (I’m a very amateur [and immature] photographer), and plug authors and books that I happen to think need plugging.

Want to contact me?  I’m a bit shy about people emailing me.  But, comments are welcome.  Critiques are welcome.  Flames will be used to toast some marshmallows, or make homemade Nutella.

Oh good Lord… homemade Nutella is the duck’s nuts.