Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2007. Christchurch NZ 2003 - 2005: Heath Street Hallelujah

< 2004. Esslemonts' Heath Street Pondok, Burnside, Christchurch.

Since my first query over six years before, I again asked the Christchurch Occupational Safety and Health Service about jobs. OSH wrote:

"We do not have a list of employed people who have various disabilities. Regarding health and safety requirements, it is the employer's responsibility to account for needs of persons with a disability when allocating them work, ensuring they are trained and able to work, and to account for a disability in emergency procedures. You should not be put in a position whereby your hearing loss could potentially put you at risk or harm." (NZ Labour Department, Occupational Safety and Health letter, May 2003).

Bureaucratic indifference under Labour or National was the same, as Equal Employment Opportunities were negated by the Health and Safety in Employment Act. Some exploitative employers patronized the disabled, by paying disabled labourers less than other labourers, despite disabled labourers doing the same hazardous work.

Before immigration, Leah and I had to get our fingerprints freely taken by SAP for ID / passport purposes. That was freely repeated by Christchurch Central police station, when we renewed our passports - processed by SA Embassy, Canberra. When Jake was ready for a SA adult passport, costing $A30, we paid Christchurch Central police station $NZ40 for Jake's fingerprints. I wondered whether Kiwi criminals paid for their own fingerprints?

< 2004. Luke Esslemont & Al Mackintosh, Christchurch Cathedral.

July 2003. Alleman's dispatch: "After I moved to Kimberley, as a Kimberley Mine contractor, my flat was burgled. With the Rand strengthening from R13 to the US$ to R7.50 to the US$, most De Beers SA operations are running at a loss. Last December Jonas was retrenched from IR. Retrenchment will continue this December. SA economy doing well: inflation drops due to the strengthening Rand. Millions are unemployed. Job-creation is a problem.

Aids deaths: Big problem. Rampant crime: Cape Town ballet dancer paralysed, shot while carjacked. Malmesbury: Department of Education official shot dead, while pouring petrol at a garage. Burnt out Combi near Umtata: 3 burnt bodies, 19 empty 9mm cartridges lying around. SA prison population: 170 000, and increasing. Prisons can only accommodate 120 000. Government wants to build more prisons, a job creation exercise."

Alleman retired from De Beers, remarried and settled in Hermanus. At Birdling Flats, I found two sea-worn jade pebbles, drilled holes and polished them, posting two "Maori" jade pendants as wedding gifts for Alleman and his new wife.

Ten years, post apartheid, ANC again won the election with a two thirds majority.

Jake finished Hillmorton High, but I was dissatisfied with his year 13 teachers and their poor timetabling of Jake's courses, poor control of his absenteeism, and their non-accountability for bad controls of classwork and assessments. Playing Pig Dog, I bailed up the dean, principal and VP in a school office, and they all played DUMB. Unimpressed, I then complained to the BOT, ERO, NZTC and they all stonewalled, protecting bad teachers.

< 2002. Esslemonts, Oaklands, Christchurch.

After eight years at Oaklands, we moved to Burnside, rented a house at Heath Street, and enrolled Luke at decile 9 Burnside High School, as there was a positive correlation between high decile schools and high academic achievement. Every spring, around Leah's birthday, blooming apple trees along Heath Street sang, "Hallelujah," while nor-westers blew petal confetti.

While working as a low-paid, hotel kitchen-hand, Jake heard his boss ranting about SA male guests, so Jake said, "I was born in South Africa, and my dad's South African." Jake's boss apologised, but Jake realized we'd emigrated to avoid crude racism, and he soon left the hotel.

Christchurch Asian community held a "No to racism Yes to harmony" rally down Worcester Boulevard: attended by about 2000 people chanting slogans. I walked in front of cops, while snapping photos, and avoiding rednecks. In 2007, one of those rednecks tried to be elected as Christchurch's mayor.

Jake turned 18, and over the next few years went through girlfriends, grimy flats and grasping landlords. Jake got a state student-loan and student-allowance, did a computer graphics-design course, then found a Fox and Ferret gastro-pub job at Riccarton. Jake would take years to repay his student-loan, interest free, provided he stayed in NZ. The moment he left NZ, the student-loan interest time-bomb would begin ticking, as other students had bunked overseas, not repaying their loans.

During Xmas 2004, Leah's brother Al and his American family and Leah's mom visited us. Al was manager at Buffalo Airport, New York State. It was my mother-in-law's 4th NZ trek in 10 years. Since her last visit, her sister, brother, daughter and Gillie had died of cancer. She continued living at Pennington in her in-laws' fortified motel.

Ten years after decades of struggle for the new SA, young, enfranchised, black outcasts weren't voting, as they were disillusioned with false-promises made by the Rainbow Regime. (Jessica Williams, 50 Facts That Could Change The World, Icon Books, Cambridge, 2004). Blacks were emigrating from SA.

While old Mandela was wearing a Russian fur hat on TV, and begging money in London for poor Africa, Leah's 84 year old aunty Belle was tied up in her Durban home by a Zulu man, who cut aunty Belle's hands to torture her. He demanded her safe key, and tried to rape her, but she screamed. When elderly neighbours arrived, the outcast strolled away, knowing cops would do zilch. SA reality: blacks not voting; blacks and whites emigrating; white-grannies jet-setting to see families; black man demanding aunty Belle's safe key, and fucking integration.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Burnside High School.

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