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Viewing entries tagged with 'change'

The age of anxiety?

Posted by Philip on 29 February 2016, 11:40 am in , , , , , , , , , , ,

I'm working with some folk on a project around anxiety and depression, sharing the story of the two years I spent living with hostile neighbours. It's made me wonder if we are living in an age of anxiety, because I meet a lot of people who struggle with it, as well as depression, to varying degrees.

Anxious nerdy guy

Since doing this work, I've come to realise I've actually struggled with both for most of my life. Anxiety as a kid about being different, or Mum being late to pick up me up, thinking she'd died in a car crash (no "Running late" texts in those days). Depression as a teenager about, well, everything. Anxiety in my early 20s about living independently and getting my support needs met. More depression in my mid to late 20s about feeling isolated and not fitting in.

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Real-ising diversity – why polarity no longer works

Posted by Philip on 5 January 2016, 9:58 am in , , , , , , , , , ,

Update 6 January 2016

According to the NZ Herald, "the woman who says she had her teeth knocked out for speaking Te Reo outside an Auckland karaoke bar has been charged with assault alongside her alleged attacker." A police statement said, "The version of events given by the 46-year-old female is not substantiated by this footage."

A woman was punched in the face and lost five teeth on New Year's Eve, because she spoke Te Reo. She said, "Ka kite ano (see you later)," to friends, then was sworn and shouted at by a man for being "palagi" and speaking Māori. When she challenged him back, he attacked her.

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Happy New Year! Change is afoot…

Posted by Philip on 1 January 2016, 6:34 pm in , , , ,

Happy New Year. I hope your celebrations were safe and fun.

I've started 2016 by creating a brand, spanking new website for Diversity New Zealand — you can see it here! (I know, I'm a geek!)

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Grappling with the alone (all-one)

Posted by Philip on 22 December 2015, 12:43 pm in , , , , , , , , ,

This time of year is difficult for me. To say I dread it is an over-statement, but I do steel myself for it and it's an exercise in endurance getting through it.

I struggle with being alone. I'm not lonely though, don't get me wrong. And I don't want to surround myself with people.

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Disabled people: Toughen up, gently

Posted by Philip on 2 October 2015, 7:32 pm in , , ,

I've been busy the last few weeks so I haven't had time to blog for a while. This is a quickie to keep Google happy and it's a bit of a gripe.

I want disabled people, people with disabilities, impairments, invisible or otherwise, to harden up.

Not in a "don't express your feelings" way but in a "if we're ever going to be accommodated in the world, we've got to stop portraying ourselves publicly as traumatically wounded, emotionally over-dramaticirritatingly inspirational and sensationally triumphant" way.

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Flags, refugees and the bigger question of borders

Posted by Philip on 12 September 2015, 11:14 am in , , , , , ,

It's been frustrating watching both the flag and Hungarian refugee debates play out simultaneously in the media over the past couple of weeks. Separately they are issues that create division over varying opinions but, together, both issues raise a far more complex and, in my opinion, important question:

Why, in a hyper-globalised and -connected world, do we continue to put so much emphasis on the notions of nations and borders?

I really couldn't give a toss about NZ's flag — I don't particularly like the current one but then, I don't like flags in general. I think they are ridiculous symbols of patriarchy and patriotism, created in military or naval contexts, and their use was extended beyond these contexts in the 18th century due to a rise in nationalism.

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NASC from a client’s perspective

Posted by Philip on 3 September 2015, 6:06 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This week the Needs Assessment and Service Co-ordination Association (NASCA) held its national forum. According to its website, "NASCA provides leadership, assistance and peer support to NASC agencies throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. NASC services are contracted by the Ministry of Health or District Health Boards to serve people with disabilities, people with mental health issues and older people needing age-related support."

I was invited to present the keynote plenary session on the first morning, providing a client's perspective. This, I explained in my introduction, was interesting given my well-known disdain for the NASC process. I assumed therefore, that I hadn't been invited to give a pep talk  — instead, I offered some critical analysis, drawing on the following model:

  • curiosity  — an eagerness to gather information and be open-minded
  • skepticism  — the comitment to question the information gathered
  • humility  — the willingness to change one's view

I asked my audience to embrace this mindset, as well as promising to do the same.

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The employment paradox

Posted by Philip on 7 August 2015, 4:37 pm in , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I attended a workshop on accessible employment recently and was reminded, as I've written about before, what a fraught topic employment is these days — for anyone, let alone those with access needs.

As welfare states come crashing down around the (western) world, the demand for employment and requirement to be employed increase. New Zealand's welfare lexicon has changed from "beneficiary" to the default "jobseeker".

Meanwhile industry and technology improves, meaning more machines, computers and robots do more and more jobs for us. I mean, that has been the whole idea of industrial and technological revolutions, hasn't it? To decrease the need for humans to do stuff.

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When too many rights make a wrong

Posted by Philip on 29 July 2015, 10:01 am in , , , , , , , ,

'Right' is an interesting word. It can refer to the state of being correct, a (legal) entitlement, a conservative political stance, the opposite direction to left, among other things.

But the belief that one is right about, or has a right to, a certain thing, with no willingness to change stance, can lead to a varying number of undesirable outcomes. It also ignores the diversity and complexity involved in a lot of decision-making processes.

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To be or not to be included — looking beyond the paradox

Posted by Philip on 11 July 2015, 12:20 pm in , , , , ,

Leeds_VisualParadoxReflecting this week on Helen Razer's recent article State sanctioned gay marriage is defeat by assimilationas well as being part of a civic process, about which if I told you I'd have to kill you, I've been pondering again the issue of the inclusion and representation of minority or marginalised groups in mainstream institutions and civic life.

Razer quotes US academic Yasmin Nair, asserting that the “'complicated and caring networks of friendship that exceeded the limitations of biological family or commonly understood relationships' we see developing in urban queer histories are now at risk of being forgotten and quashed."

I think this could be said of more than just queer histories. It would seem that indigenous, ethnic, disabled and other "othered" histories are at risk of decimation as the demand to be "part of mainstream life" — which really means "if you let me become part of your normal club I promise I'll play by your normal rules" — becomes the yardstick for success of every non-mainstream group.

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