Sunday, May 07, 2006

It is a Great Country..really, it is, honestly, truly....

I found myself in deep shtuk (is that how you spell it, is it even a word, I think it is) over the last post but one. Writing a piece with a title like that (it, like the headings on many of my posts is a lyric…from the once mighty No Tag) on the eve of three weeks in the home country was a foolish thing to do it seems. Whilst there was no abuse as such, last week in Ponsonby Road outside Santos, a person I don’t know from Adam made a point of crossing the road to sneer at me “if you don’t like it, stay away”, and I half expected Kim Hill to lash out at me on my interview. That she didn’t, on National Radio, was a source of much relief. I can deal with the questions about the punk-nazi thing (it was thirty years ago for gods sake and I think that we are still getting a bite out of it from Kim speaks for itself, it worked) and the righteously, almost na├»ve, questions about Indonesian timber which were put in a manner that could only have come from a warm comfy studio in Wellington, but having to defend my patriotism was not something I wanted to do. There were emails too…..nothing too nasty but somewhat bemused and flicked with a sense of betrayal.

I really can’t get my head around the idea that its somehow treachery to live elsewhere. When did this precious little concept gain popular currency? There was a thread full of it on Biggie recently which did my head in. Certainly as a lad New Zealanders were encouraged to leave and it was happily accepted that some returned and some didn’t. Both gave the nation a depth that it otherwise lacked. They still do. William Pickering and David Low are as much about what New Zealand was, is and will be as any All Black. Both were my heroes as a youngster, someone to look up to and aspire to be, as much, no more, than any muscle bound redneck running up and down a paddock with a ball was.

So let’s get things straight. I love my home country. OK? It’s my nest and my heritage; where my whanau and most of the people I hold most dear live. There is nothing more breathtaking than turning into the top of Hakanoa Street in autumn. I love it. I love the warm soft well fed look everywhere, the homeboys in Queen Street who are so wannabe staunch and have no idea how funny they are; I love hearing drum’n’bass, almost a forgotten genre elsewhere, coming out of cars and shops; I love George FM, an independent station that programmes people rather than music (which gives it an edge over bFm, which, incidentally, I also love); I love the fact that so many people try so hard to do something special and so many succeed and even those that don’t at least try and then try again without knowing the meaning of give-up. There is a strong, almost inbreed resistance amongst many to the mediocrity that the Canwests, the TVNZs, the NZ Heralds, the multinationals and their ilk try to foist on the populace as a norm, which gives the nation its spirit and its colour.

And I’ve done my bit so I’m allowed to look around….I don’t feel like a New Zealander within the fences that often implies and never have, so, without apology I’ll live where I wish. Oh..and don’t ever call me a bloody kiwi….

This last visit, for three weeks, I felt more alien than ever before though. Driving was odd, interaction was odd, systems I’ve known all my life I was clumsy with and almost scared of and I got rather sick of having to justify a life in Indonesia to those who were incredulous at me putting myself and my family at such risk…..ummm….fuck off….

One final note…what on earth is wrong with Auckland Airport. The staff (with the exception of the rather pleasant guys x-raying bags at immigration) would do well to hop on an aircraft and fly to Singapore and look. That odd thing on people’s faces is a smile. A special brickbat goes to the seven kilo hand baggage fascists …”that’s 7.2’ll have to check it in now”…..taking a book out and holding it under my arm satisfied them…that’s logic. Petty backward bureaucrats that make Auckland look silly….


Rowan said...

Hi Simon,

here's the URL to your National Radio Interview .... for those interested in hearing it.


Simon said...

ta Rowan..I was looking for that mp3 link myself

Bob Daktari said...

enjoyed the radio thing, really makes one see the power of archiving and the net :)

can't believe you got grief for living in Bali - must be the sun and pool green eyed monsters methinks

albie said...

enjoyed listening to the kim hill interview simon, but could not help thinking you were getting a bit bored toward the end.She obviously needs a real good seeing to!I also think she was fair in questioning the disco funk you play on george.
Disco funk?
Good Luck all the same.
from Albie