A few years ago I decided I should become better informed about NZ politics, and so I started following a number of New Zealand blogs, both right wing and left wing. I think I managed about three days of reading Whale Oil before I couldn't stand it anymore. There was no information, no analysis, no insight: it read like playground bully hurling insults at all and sundry when the teacher was out of earshot. There were insults directed at people's names, looks, clothes, mannerisms but almost no mention of any policies or ideas. And the comment section was even worse. It looked very much like naked tribalism - much like some sports fans will demonize and even attack supporters of opposing teams for no other reason than the arbitrary choice of a team to cheer for.
I have never believed in any gods. The correct term for a lack of belief in gods is atheist, and I've been happy to apply that term to myself for the past two decades. In New Zealand, Australia and most of western Europe, identifying as an atheist is not particularly problematic. Religion is no longer a major force in society and most people are not religious. Religion is generally considered a private matter, and religion or lack of it is not necessarily associated with any set of political or social beliefs.
It was inevitable that Edward Snowden's leaked document would eventually reveal that New Zealand too is involved in mass spying on civilians. As more and more came to light about the extent of spying by the NSA and their UK counterpart GCHQ, it would have been very surprising if as one of the 'five eyes' nations, we hadn't also joined in.
My grandmother always said that voting was our duty as citizens. If we couldn't be bothered making the minimal effort to choose our representatives for the next three years, then we had no right to complain about anything the politicians did.
When I'm working on something that doesn't require 100% focus, I like to have a bit of distraction in the background. Without it, I find that my mind tends to wander and then I switch over to another task and end up wasting time. My favourite background distraction is watching cooking shows like MasterChef, Great British Bake Off and Top Chef.
I've been incredibly busy with work since I got back to India. Actually, it's really been like this since the start of this year. I'm working full time for Essential Resources, a New Zealand based company who publish awesome educational resources for teachers, as well as part time for the University, and for an Auckland-based startup. It's quite a blend of technologies and languages. (Sorry, but this post will mostly only make sense to geeks)
My crochet skills have now progressed beyond coasters and dishcloths. Here are some of the crochet projects I finished last year:
So it turns out it was back in February that I last posted an update about the furniture situation. At that point, we had a bed, a single plastic chair, washing machine, fridge, microwave and a single element induction cooktop. Things have improved since then, although, as with everything else in India, it wasn't easy :-)
A week or so ago, we got back from our first road trip in India. It was only a week long, but we managed to cover some 2500km and see quite a bit of south India:
A couple of weeks ago, we went to the wedding of the daughter of one of Gopal's friends. After a honeymoon trip to Ooty, they were ready to head back to their home in Guntur, some 300km from Hyderabad. Although both of them work for the railways, they were unable to get a railway ticket. Getting tickets can be hard (as we found when we wanted to go to Sikkim in April/May) but especially so at the moment as there are a lot of strikes in Andhra Pradesh at the moment.