Man hurries into the Auckland airport’s domestic terminal and stops. It’s just not the place he once knew so well. Not many airport officers around to ask for directions but he does spot a tall Polynesian officer standing nearby. Man thinks he should know and so he stops and asks:
What will be the most enduring legacy of PM, Jacinda Ardern? Will it be the fact that she and her party won in a landslide in this year’s election? Well yes, that’s now history. The fact that she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? Close – it indicates the regard held for her internationally.
But none of this goes to the core of what she stands for. And a large part of the answer to that lies in two little words she uttered when we first entered our first lockdown: ‘Be kind’ she said.
Elections are hard on old lefties like me. Even the glorious Labour Party win left me subdued when it became evident the National Party voters who lent their vote to Labour had a condition attached: Hands off our taxes. And as a National TV panellist noted with much satisfaction after the win, “We have a centrist government.”
On the complex subject of a dog’s hearing, it is safe to say that dogs can hear with approximately ten times more efficiency than a human.
By one estimate dogs can locate the source of a sound in 0.6 seconds of a second. Their ears have many sensory nerves – which is a good reason not to blow playfully into them. Gentle as the blowing may be, and even though you can scarcely hear it, the level of amplification inside the ear is enough to cause distress in a dog. A dog has whiskers on its muzzle, under its jaw and over its eyes. Known as vibrissae, they are sensitive to changes in ‘air dynamics’.
The Me generation is usually identified as the one born after us. But there is no Me generation, only Me people and, as each elections cycle shows, the Me people always have a winning vote.
Yet the media focusses on political parties, their policies and their representatives, and, of course, speculation about who is going to win, as if the outcome is unpredictable. Yet we know beyond doubt who is going to win.
Auditioning acts for Television had a success rate of about 300 to 1. Not every session could produce a Shona Laing or Bulldogs All Star Goodtime Band, and although my musical director and I treated everyone with courtesy, our patience was pretty stretched by day’s or week’s end!
However, occasionally an act walked through the door, and though unsuccessful as television talent, was never forgotten.
Thinking again of the delightful Alan Bennett’s wonderful play, ‘An Englishman Abroad’ brings much to mind if one is an Englishman abroad. Bennett wrote of the Soviets, that while the comrades were very good they could not do this that or the other.
An Englishman living in New Zealand often has similar thoughts. The Kiwis have an abundance of strengths. Most notable is the ability to use cows to turn grass into a very profitable endeavour and of course, the ability to play rugby union. How and what then are my Kiwi friends lacking?
‘The coronavirus pandemic marks the end of our romance with market society and hyper-individualism. We could turn toward authoritarianism. Imagine President Donald Trump trying to suspend the November election. Consider the prospect of a military crackdown. The dystopian scenario is real. But I believe we will go in the other direction.