Thursday, October 30, 2008

2008. Labour vs National, Political Siren Calls, Christchurch, NZ

2008. New PM John Key, NZ National Party Poster, Wairakei Road, Christchurch

On my drive up Papanui Road from town to buy Luke's Frescarini ricotta and roasted vegetable pasta for Luke's dinner, I got caught in a traffic jam. After crawling up Papanui Road. I parked at Northlands mall and saw four dark suited men - each with a curly-white-wire -hanging-from- his-ear and slipped beneath his collar - security clones with hard bodies, hard faces and shifty eyes, standing around two silver Holdens parked before Subway, where no one else was ever allowed to park, so I thought, "Uh oh! A politician's here. That's what caused the traffic jam!"

Inside Northlands mall, I spotted Labour PM Helen Clark wearing a dark suit and red blouse near McDonald's, surrounded by a crowd of locals, camera men, a couple more dark suited, hard bodied, hard faced, shifty eyed security clones with curly-white-wires-hanging-from-their-ears, and a smiley cop in front and some anxious mall security gents and ladies blocking my way to Pak 'n Save. I zipped around them, and while paying for Luke's pasta I told the smiley Pak 'n Save cashier, "PM Helen Clark's causing a traffic jam."

When I left Pak 'n Save with my Pak 'n Save yellow plastic bag with Luke's pasta inside, a security clone gave my Pak 'n Save yellow plastic bag a squint as if to ask, "Ya gunna make my day mate?" I zipped past PM Helen Clark and her entourage back to my car.

At Greers Road / Harewood Road traffic lights, I heard a siren call. My hearing aid enabled me to hear a siren call but not a siren's direction, so I obediently braked my car and waited with other traffic for an unmarked maroon cop car, lights flashing, siren calling, to rush the red lights in front of me, round the corner towards Bishopdale New World. Was the siren calling to allow PM Helen Clark and her two silver Holden entourage to zoom up Harewood Road to Christchurch Airport?

Over the past few weeks I'd seen on TV, PM Helen Clark and her wannabe nemesis National John Key pressing the flesh, kissing babies, chatting to geriatrics, and PM Helen Clark stumbling on TV, and opposition John Key paying a youth after the youth did a back flip for TV cameras. And tonight's TV news siren called: "9 days to go. 08 Election."

The last time I zipped past PM Helen Clark was during her last election canvassing, when I shopped at Riccarton mall Pak 'n Save. PM Helen Clark wore a red suit then and blocked the mall then too.

During the last couple of weeks, 08 election posters siren called from fences and gardens all over Christchurch, with alluring calls from National, Labour, Green, ACT, Progressive, Maori, NZ First, United Future parties. The other night on TV I watched an election debate, where smaller party leaders debated weighty matters, none of which I heard or saw as TV1 captions were crap, as usual. I smiled at the men, small men, nattily suited, either bald or greying, one even sporting a grey hairstyle teased at the back to make him look taller. Last election, he had a 60s boyish coif for the same effect. Small political parties were listening for bigger National party or bigger Labour party siren calls, to become coalition partners in the next Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) representative government. Some favoured the National siren call, some the Labour siren call, some expediently both siren calls.

Thirteen years ago we arrived in NZ, siren called by the National government. Since then Labour siren called with coalition partners. In 08, John Key's National party was trying to oust PM Helen Clark's Labour party. John Key didn't look as tough as PM Helen Clark's dark suited, hard bodied, hard faced, shifty eyed, curly-white-wire-hanging-from-ears security clones. I haven't seen John Key in person yet. After all, NZ is a small country with a total population about the same as Durban-Thekwini's. I thought I'd vote for PM Helen Clark's Labour party, as I saw her working hard for my vote.

An example of siren calls, political correctness and bureaucracy gone mad: Like all voters in NZ, Leah and I both received a letter in English from the Chief Electoral Officer, Ministry of Justice, Wellington, containing the following:

1. A note in English headed "General Election - Saturday, 8 November 2008. Information for voters in..." There followed a list of our "Electorate candidates for Ilam," then "Polling Places - Open Election Day 8 November 2008, 9am - 7pm," with a list of all Christchurch Polling Places and another list for "Advance Voting Places NOT OPEN ON ELECTION DAY."

2. A note in English advised how to vote for "Your party..." and "Your electorate..." a two vote system. Information was provided about "This proportion of party votes" equals "The same proportion of seats in parliament," with a pie diagram and a diagram of parliament seats. Further info was provided in 19 different languages, without any European languages mentioned.

3. A four page note in English provided "Party lists for the 2008 General Election," with names of 19 registered parties participating in the election and many names of all the NZ candidates.

4. A cardboard note in English with an attached "Easy Vote Card" with my name, address and other info on the card. The cardboard note had further advice from the Chief Electoral Officer with more advice in English: "Show your 'Easy Vote' card when you vote. Vote at a polling place listed in your electorate." Like point 2 above, that advice was repeated 19 times in Maori, Cook Island Maori, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Chinese traditional, Chinese simplified, Tokelau, Niuean, Somali, Farsi, Arabic, Vietnamese, Thai, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Punjabi, which was at odds with NZ Immigration Service expecting immigrants to know English. Again European languages weren't mentioned, although there were many European immigrants in NZ like French, German, Polish, Russians, Greeks, Macedonians, Croats, Italians, Swiss, Belgians, Dutch, and more. Presumably their European "English" was considered adequate for NZ 08 Election.

In addition to the above notes, on TV commercial breaks, we endured an orange pencil creature morphing around, siren calling us to vote.

01.11.08. In Sandton SA, Shilowa siren called a new political party, which would be formed in the Free State on December 16, to win the next election. (IOL) The new party would be named Congress of the People (COPE).

06.11.08. Americans must've been completely mad, siren called by pro Marxist Obama as new USA president. When that madness happened in 1994 SA, with pro Marxist ANC voted into power, SA degenerated within a decade to a mad state with increased crime, corruption, black economic empowerment, black affirmative action (after apartheid white affirmative action), reverse racism against whites, genocide of white farmers, massive murder, rape, Aids rates, pathetically degraded infrastructure and huge emigration, replaced by hated refugees from Africa. It will be interesting to see how soon USA becomes like disunited, degraded, impoverished, tribal SA, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and many other African nations.

08.11.08. NZ 08 Election: John Key's National party won with 45.5% Electorate Vote. Labour Party lost with 33.8% Electorate Vote, and PM Helen Clark stepped down as Labour leader, replaced two days later by Phil Goff. Green party got 6.4% Electorate Vote. NZ First got 4.2% Electorate Vote, but Winston Peters lost the Tauranga constituency again and retired from politics. On the fringes, hoping for a siren call from National for ministerial seats, (if the fringe party got minimum 5% Party Vote) Act, Maori and Progressive parties got 3.7%, 2.2%, 0.9% Electorate Votes respectively. (Statistics: NZTV). I reckoned if Helen Clark had given Winston Peters the boot earlier than voters did, her Labour party would've prevailed. New PM Key formed a coalition government with the Maori Party.

2008. NZ Green Party Poster, Greers Road, Christchurch

Content & Pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Eddie Cross's Website and Siren Calls of Zimbabwe

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2008. Fishing, Tokoloshe to Taniwha, SA to NZ

At a sports shop on Riccarton Road, Christchurch the shopkeeper said, "These wiggly jigs will catch salmon." We bought jigs and spinners and spare tackle amongst huge stuffed wall fish and hunting gear.

While driving to Omarama I remembered, as a Chelsea Drive boykie, when John the Zulu house painter dossed in our Durban North khaya. Mom said, "John keeps skebenges away." Outside John's khaya I watched John scaling shad he'd caught at Rocket Hut beach.

During weekends John got drunk. On work days John cycled Durban North with ladders tied to his bike, looking for paint jobs. In his khaya John placed bricks beneath his bed legs. "Bricks keep Tokoloshe away," said John.

One day a khaki uniformed cop with squeaky shoes peaked cap and gun knocked on our back door. "I'm arresting John. He hasn't gotta pass madam," the cop said. "You're..."

"Suck eggs!" said mom. "Go away!"

Near Omarama, Luke and I saw monster hydro-electric dams - Benmore, Aviemore, Waitaki. At Ruataniwha, Luke and I watched scullers training on the lake, and dogs rabbiting in the pine forest, then we looked at the salmon farm near Ruataniwha Dam and Ohau Power Station.

At Twizel, Luke clambered over a giant bowl-scraper and a behemoth bulldozer and a juggernaut haulage truck, commemorating former canal diggers.

We watched turquoise waters surge below lake Pukaki High Dam into Pukaki-Ohau Canal. We tested our Jarvis-Walker rods on the east bank of the canal - so wide, we couldn't cast into monster-swirling waters. Luke caught a rainbow trout in a nearby pond. I lost my jigs casting into overhanging trees. Luke was a better fisherman than me, more patient, and his knots were better.

I drove past tourist buses at Aoraki Mount Cook lookout. At the salmon farm on Tekapo-Pukaki canal, we bought fish-food pellets. We fished from both canal banks, chucking pellets into sungold glistening waters, casting jigs and spinners till our backs and shoulders ached, our fingers numbed and we became wind-burnt.

No bites.

Other fishermen in camouflage gear, sporting 4x4 vehicles, also failed. Tourists and Taniwha made salmon very clever. At the pond above two penstocks sluicing Tekapo waters into Tekapo B Power Station, we saw a rotting monster salmon someone had dumped on the bank.

A salmon jumped in the middle of the pond. A trout cruised amongst rocks, ignoring our lures. Luke caught a salmon, briefly, before it vanished with Luke's tackle. "Taniwha's not giving us salmon," said Luke.

I drove back to Christchurch, where we found Taniwha had given us squitters.

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

See Meridian Energy and NZ Hydroelectric Power Stations

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track and Taylors Mistake Track, Christchurch

2008. Choco Blitz, Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

Late October, one Friday the Port Hills tracks were calling, devoid of humanity. At Sumner, I parked my car under a shady Norfolk pine near Choco Blitz shop at the end of Nayland Street.

2008. Ice Plant, Carpobrotis acinaciformis & Bone Seed, Chrysanthemoides monilifera, Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Purple Vygies, Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner Esplanade Clock Tower & Lifeboat Slipway, Christchurch

Edwin Mouldey Track was short and steep, with thick ropes of SA green ice plants, Carpobrotus acinaciformis, curtaining a vocanic cliff up Scarborough hill. In NZ, purple flowers splotching C. acinaciformis ice plants could hybridize with pale yellow flowers of SA Carpobrotus edulis, the latter also known to hybridise with NZ native ice plants. I thought that ex Foreign Minister Winston Peters could look at invasive migrants improving the gene pool of native weaklings before moaning about immigrants. Namaqualand daisies and red geraniums festooned the track as well.

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Geraniums, Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Edwin Mouldey Track, Sumner, Christchurch

2008. Purple Vygies & Aloes, Scarborough Road, Scarborough, Christchurch

As I didn't know my way to Scarborough Track, my Scarborough Road trek up to Nicholson Park at the top of Scarborough hill was a hot midday sweat, aggravated by exhaust fumes from passing cars. Scarborough Road was too narrow for pavements, but steep roadside slopes grew SA aloes, succulents, daisies and inevitable pines around houses clinging to Scarborough hill.

2008. Red Hot Pokers, Start of Taylors Mistake track, near Nicholson Park, Scarborough, Christchurch

Heart pounding in Nicholson Park, while drinking Sprite lemonade, I chatted to a black cat, which rolled in the dust of a warm pathway. I had the park to myself again.

2008. Pride of Madeira, Taylors Mistake Track, Godley Head Backdrop, Christchurch

On the far side of Scarborough hill, Taylors Mistake Track was almost empty, only one black-haired jogger and his black dog zapped past. While zig-zagging along the steep clifftop track, I admired Godley Head far across the sea. Behind Whitewash Head, I watched gulls gliding over cliff nests. I passed bone seeds, legumes, Pride of Madeira shrubs and a dead cabbage tree. Migrants seemed tougher than locals. In a steep backyard two pet donkeys stopped grazing, and warily watched me while I walked by.

2008. Donkey on Taylors Mistake Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Giants Nose from Taylors Mistake Track, Christchurch

I passed a fence advertising parapenting and its safety procedures. From the clifftop, I saw purple Namaqualand daisies across the sea splashing the Giants Nose, forming Taylors Mistake bay.

2008. Purple Vygies on Giants Nose, Taylors Mistake, Godley Head Backdrop, Christchurch

As I'd already slogged up Scarborough hill, I didn't want to walk all the way down to Taylors Mistake beach, then back to my car on the other side of the hill, so I stopped to photograph purple daisies far below in Taylors Mistake, then joined Taylors Mistake Road at a walkway entrance. Along the road, I walked back to Nicholson Park past new houses in streets with fey names like Smugglers Cove.

2008. Yellow Broom & Purple Vygies, Taylors Mistake, Christchurch

I zig-zagged down Flowers Track to Scarborough Track, dazzling as Edwin Mouldey Track, back to my car, which was cool. The balloon and string walk took me about two hours with rest breaks on benches included. Benches had plaques with donors' names and birth-death dates. I was chuffed to see I'd outlived several donors.

2008. Scarborough Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

On Labour Weekend Monday, Leah and I walked the tracks again. Like bumble bees, butterflies and Topp Twins the flowers were gorgeous, but the crowds weren't. As the tracks had heated up with half naked Kiwis, and overdressed tourists, it was time to shave my winter beard and remove the frost covers from our citrus trees.

Coda: Sumner was damaged by the 2010-2011 quakes. After the 13.06.11 quake, Edwin Mouldey Track was closed for several months. Nayland St & Heberden Ave intersection was cordoned by shipping containers against rockfall hazard.

During the 13.06.11 quake, as a big chunk of cliff fell into the Pacific at the end of Scarborough, tracks near the end of Scarborough were fence cordon closed for months.

Content & pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008. Flowers Track and Whitewash Head Track at Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Centaurus Road, Christchurch: red hot pokers & yellow bone seed on the Port Hills, Hillsborough

Wife Leah bought a bunch of SA proteas and leucodendrons from a Taitapu farm stall, which reminded me that SA flowers were migrants too, long before us, enhancing Kiwi lives.

2008. Namaqualand daisies on Opawa Road, Christchurch

One late October Friday, I drove from Burnside to Scarborough to see spring flowers. I drove along Cashmere Road, and stopped on Centaurus Road hill to see SA red hot pokers and Namaqualand daisies in Christchurch "Garden City."

2008. Daisies on Opawa Road, Christchurch

Ahead on the Port Hills was SA bright yellow bone seed "weed," Chrysanthemoides monilifera, mixed with other foreign "weeds" yellow broom and yellow gorse, hated by plant purists, conservationists and farmers. After early Maori had burnt hill vegetation to hunt moa; and later colonial farmers destroyed more native plants while sheep farming; and Herry Ell's Summit Road and Walkway; and Christchurch City Council's Gondola Restaurant on top, purists ignored the binding strength of migrants, like bone seed dune-binder from SA, without which their beloved Port Hills topsoil would pollute the Pacific.

2008. Near McCormack's Bay, Christchurch: Man up a gum tree & young pohutukawa "Christmas" trees in foreground

On Opawa Road, I admired roadside Namaqualand daisies which cheered up the busy trucker road from Lyttelton. When I told the daisy man that gousblomme moved me, that my eldest son was born in Namaqualand, one of the finest floral kingdoms on earth, and that his daisies made a good show, he kindly offered me daisies.

2008. Leucodendron in Beachville Reserve, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch & Shag Rock backdrop. Shag Rock collapsed to approx half size during 2010-2011 quakes

Beyond McCormack's Bay causeway, I watched a man up a gum tree, sawing branches. Around the corner on Avon-Heathcote estuary, I watched the spring tide sucking out. In Beachville Reserve a SA leucodendron overlooked Shag Rock.

2008. Hottentots Fig ice plant, Carpobrotus edulis, Sumner Esplanade, Christchurch & Scarborough Hill backdrop

2008. Leucodendron & Geranium, Sumner Esplanade, Christchurch

At pleasant midday Sumner, without school kids and weekend hordes, along the Esplanade I happy-snapped SA aloes, daisies, geraniums, Hottentots figs (ice plants, dune-binder) cotyledons and vygies.

2008. Namaqualand Daisies, Sumner Esplanade, & Bone Seed on Port Hills, Christchurch

2008. Aloes, Sumner Esplanade, & Bone Seed on Port Hills, Christchurch

From Scarborough Park, I walked to the lifeboat slipway and watched Kiwis instructing tourist kayakers how to paddle calm Sumner sea.

2008. Bottom of Whitewash Head Road: start of circular Whitewash Head Track & Flowers Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

On Scarborough Road corner, at the beginning of Whitewash Head Road Track and Flowers Track, I stared at the concrete monstrosity replacing "The Rocks" house, which reminded me of a North Korean mausoleum. Flowers Track up Scarborough hill was weedy with creepy periwinkles, ivy, dark native shrubs with small pale flowers, overgrowth, and "Remove Your Dog Doo" and "No Entry" signs on backyard gates.

2008. Dappled, flowerless Flowers Track & prohibition signs, Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Purple Namaqualand Vygies, Scarborough Track, Scarborough, Christchurch

Near Flowers Track top, I greeted a girl on a bench below a pine tree. Her leashed pitbull barked at me, so I gave it the back of my hand to sniff. Confused, the dog didn't know whether to snarl, bark or tailwag. As the girl looked anxious, I left her and found a Sophora national tree in golden bloom in the kids' playground in Nicholson Park. I had the park to myself, and enjoyed the view of Sumner Esplanade, Cave Rock, Shag Rock, estuary, Christchurch and distant snowy Alps. In front of the loo, SA arum lilies and proteas were nice too.

2008. Sumner & Port Hills from Flowers Track, Scarborough, Christchurch, with dominant Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans

2008. Proteas & Arum Lilies, Nicholson Park, overlooking Sumner Cave Rock, Shag Rock, Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Christchurch

2008. Namaqualand Vygies, top of Whitewash Head Track, with best view of Pegasus Bay, Christchurch

Since I'd last walked the tracks, some new houses had sprouted along cul de sacs. A two metre high fence blocked my way to Whitewash Head Track - only idiots fenced off views over Pegasus Bay. After clambering over the fence, I stood on new decking and looked down the abyss to Whitewash Head, with gulls whirling over the waves.

2008. Bone Seeds, Daisies, Echiums & Vygies, near top of Whitewash Head Road, Scarborough, Christchurch

2008. Geraniums, Echiums, Bone Seeds, Macrocarpa & Gulls, Whitewash Head Road Clifftop, Scarborough, Christchurch

Walking down Whitewash Head Road made the one hour circular trek worthwhile, as the clifftop was covered in flowers: SA geraniums, bone seeds, vygies, daisies, cotyledons, other sun-loving migrants too like Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans. Knees wobbling on my way down, I met unsmiling codgers slogging upwards. In the distance below, backdropped by Sumner, the kayakers were paddling waves.

2008. Whitewash Head Road, Scarborough, with dominant Pride of Madeira, Echium candicans. Sumner & Port Hills backdrop, Christchurch

Photo-film finished, I walked along the spring tide line to my car, and drove back to Burnside.

2008. Bone Seed, Whitewash Head Road, Scarborough, & Kayakers on Sumner Beach, Christchurch

On Sunday, Leah and I both walked the tracks. Sumner was busy with beach-lovers. Parking was crowded. Nicholson Park was full of picnickers and kids in the playground. Parapenters soared cliff winds, like gulls off Whitewash Head. Girls jogged Sumner beach alone, middle-aged women walked the tracks alone, female buddies sat on benches, chatting and enjoying views over Pegasus Bay.

Coda: The 2010-2011 Christchurch earthquakes badly damaged Sumner, huge rockfalls. During the 13.06.11 quake, a big chunk of Whitewash Head at the end of Scarborough fell into the Pacific, thus changing Whitewash Head Track.

Content & Pics Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2008. Post Apartheid: Bedlam Fees, Fraser Esslemont

All was white noise and confusion regarding brother Fraser Esslemont's Bedlam fees. Pietermaritzburg Mental Health Society had read a lot into my July 2008 letter which had queried increased fees. Pmb Mental Health Soc's August 2008 reply:

"In response to your letter please take note of the following:

1. Your dissatisfaction is noted.
2. Fees are increased every year for all residents of the Society. [Residents!]
3. The fees that are charged are the same for all residents who receive a disability grant and are state subsidized.
4. Residents who have private income are paying fees of R3000.00 per month.
5. In your brother's case he was charged the same fee as those residents who receive a disability grant because we were able to secure a state subsidy for him, due to his limited means.
6. Your brother's trust account at Mental Health Society is audited every year by external auditors and this Society prides itself in the care and protection of hundreds of our clients' trust accounts entrusted to this Society. [Vague!]
7. The accommodation and what is provided to your brother is the same for all residents. No one gets special or different treatment.
8. The ambulance policy is non refundable and compulsory. It covers all residents and all residents get the same for toiletries and pocket money. [Vague!]
9. Your brother's curator always pays late and thus Fraser's account is always showing to be in arrears, despite our attempts to negotiate with them. They have never indicated to the Society that Fraser's investment is unable to cover fees, nor have they tried to negotiate the fees or the increases.

Your suggestion that this Society may be exploiting your vulnerable brother is offensive, and implies we do not provide a protective service to any of our residents. [Avoiding my questions, and reading 'suggestion,' 'offensive' and 'implies' into my July letter!]

We believe that this Society offers value for money in our services to disabled (and sometimes indigent) residents; we are charging the lowest fees in the province. [Vague!] It would be nice if you could come out and see for yourself what services are provided for your brother. Perhaps you would find better satisfaction at another organization. We would be happy to give details of alternative accommodation that may better suit you and your brother's needs."

My October 2008 reply to Pmb Mental Health Soc.:

"Regarding my July 2008 letter concerning my brother Fraser Esslemont's fees, thank you for your August 2008 letter, postmarked September 2008, received October 2008. The delay between your writing and posting is noted.

I am not querying the fees or care of indigents and other disabled people in Pmb MH Soc's care. I am only querying my brother Fraser Esslemont's fees and care, so your comparing his care / fees to others' is irrelevant.

I don't know who 'we' refers to in your August 2008 letter. Please specify names, as I can't respond to a vague 'we.' Your taking offense to my querying Fraser's fees is your perception only.

Your complaint about my brother Fraser's fees always being in arrears by his curator / administrator: Pmb Mental Health Soc's accountants have had 10 years to sort out account payment problems with the curator. The complaint is a perceived problem of Pmb MH Soc's own making.

Please cease suggesting that I travel from NZ to SA (at my obvious inconvenience and great expense) to view Pmb MH Soc's facilities, (or for any other reason), when you can efficiently answer my questions by mail. If / when I decide to travel to SA (unlikely for years), it will be my decision alone, and not Pmb MH Soc's decision. (In the past I had Addington Hospital and Town Hill Hospital making those sort of money wasting requests / impositions as well). I'm sure you would find it ridiculous, outrageous and naive if I asked you to travel to NZ at your inconvenience and expense to answer my questions in person.

Please also cease suggesting I find (or maybe asking Fraser's curator to find) alternative accommodation for Fraser, as over the years Addington Hospital / Town Hill Hospital made those sort of suggestions / impositions when I queried Fraser's welfare under their care.

Regarding my July 2008 letter, as you have failed to answer my questions properly, please refer to my July 2008 letter and specifically answer the following by return of post:

1. How many hostel men share a hostel room and ablutions with Fraser?
2. Is Fraser handed his pocket money, or does he have to ask for it?
2.2 What does Fraser's monthly R... Toiletries fee buy: Toilet paper? Deodorant? Shavers? Soap?
2.3 i Why does Sunnyside not have its own emergency transport?
ii How does the monthly R... ambulance fee actually benefit Fraser?
Please also answer:
2.4 What is the frequency of Fraser's ambulance use: Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Yearly?

As I have travelled a long journey of over 50 years with Fraser (longer than you ever will) I have no wish to cause offence, but I do need transparency. Telling me Fraser's trust account is annually audited by others is not good enough. Fraser's small estate is derived from an inheritance from our mother, who worked hard and for many years to achieve financial independence. I do not need my mother's memory, or my intelligence, or Fraser's insulted by vague responses to my fee queries.

Please provide answers to my questions by return of post."

No reply to my letter by Xmas 2008.

Pmb MH Soc was playing an ugly power game I'd also experienced at Addington Hospital and Town Hill Hospital, while ignoring Fraser's stability and my questions. After Addington and Town Hill carers started talking of moving Fraser, his stability degraded, and carers blamed brain-damaged Fraser for infractions of their own making.

The author of the Pmb MH Soc letter was offended that I queried annual increases in Fraser's fees. What really was offensive was the author didn't want to be held accountable to Fraser's family for fee increases, yet used Fraser's fees to offend Fraser in her care, by suggesting Fraser should stay elsewhere, after Pmb MH Soc had obtained and used state subsidies for Fraser, and used Fraser's money without complaint to me for ten years, despite my friendly correspondence with the author over the previous five years.

Coda: Just before Christmas 2008, I emailed a Pmb Mental Health Soc director about my unanswered questions. She emailed a report which answered some of my questions.

Over the next 10 years, Fraser continued living at Sunnyside Farm, Bulwer. His letters soon petered out. Pmb MH Soc didn't encourage Fraser to write to me. They sent me general info about Fraser in a quarterly, email newsletter (petered out after a couple of years) or emails, with occasional pics of Fraser, from senior staff. The Durban curator emailed Fraser's annual financial reports for my info.

2017. Thirty years after Fraser's, brain damaging, motor vehicle accident at Verulam & years of so-called convalescence at Addington Hospital & Town Hill Hospital & Sunnyside Farm, Pmb Mental Health Soc sold Sunnyside Farm & moved Fraser to The Palms, Pmb, another care establishment run by Pmb Mental Health Soc.

Hopefully Fraser would remain stable after his move back to Pmb. Survivor Fraser may outlive us all.

Oh Maritzburg, Happy Land, Happy Land,
I'm going back to Maritzburg if I can.
Oh Hallelujah, Oh Hallelujah.
Daar's plek op die Donkie Wa...

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008. Apartheid SA - NZ: Keas, Coons an' Boons

1996. Jake Esslemont at a Cuboree, Hagley Park, Christchurch

In September 2008, as a birthday treat, I drove wife Leah up Porters Pass to Porter Heights ski resort, where our sons had learnt to ski. At the cafe we watched keas, alpine parrots hopping about in the snow, begging for food scraps. At the carpark we read "Don't Feed Keas" signs, warning about begging keas not feeding naturally, and wrecking parked cars by pecking mirrors, window-linings and tyres.

In the 1960s, I'd been a Trafalgar Sea Cub at Durban North Primary and a Trafalgar Sea Scout at St. Martins Anglican Church, Chelsea Drive. In the 1990s, son Jake had been a cub in East London SA. After emigrating, Jake joined Kea cubs in Halswell, Christchurch, NZ. Jake went on a Cuboree in Hagley Park Christchurch, where he camped with hundreds of Keas. Luke also was a Kea.

After Durban Christmas 1973, I drove mom through the karoo to Cape Town where we stayed at a posh whitey hotel off Adderley Street. On New Years Eve, thousands of drunk coloureds descended on the CBD, celebrating New Year by polishing Kapies' and whiteys' faces with shoe polish. Even whitey cops' faces were daubed with boot polish. I saw a Kapie stick his arm through a SAP cop van window, snatch a cop cap and dart into the cheering mob. Outside a whitey restaurant, I saw a terrified white girl sobbing on the pavement after laughing Kapies had daubed her face with black boot polish. (I too became an honourary Kapie). Her swearing whitey boyfriend was helpless against sniggering Kapies.

On New Years Day, I watched teams of coloured "Coons" dressed up in carnival costumes, capering along Cape Town streets to a stadium to compete in the Coon Carnival. They sang songs like "January, February, March..." and "Daar kom die
Alibama..." As drunk "Coons" weren't allowed in the stadium, I watched a big, fat coloured cop
donner a drunk "Coon" by the gate.

1974. Coon Carnival, Cape Town

In the afternoon I drove mom along Chapmans Peak Drive, where we watched baboons begging for food scraps from motorists. We read "Don't Feed Baboons" signs, as baboons became aggressive beggars reliant on whiteys for food...

1974. Coon Carnival, Cape town

During my apartheid life, words like rooinek, soutie, soutpiel, Engelsman, umlungu, rockspider, hairyback, japie, plaasjapie, Boer, Dutchman, Afrikaner-vrot-banana, Engelse-Dutchman, hotnot, hottie, gamat, coolie, charra, chillipip, coon, kaffir, bonehead, munt, zot, pekkie, monkey, baboon were racist pejoratives, and were still used in SA long after apartheid, with variations like cane-cutter, shitskin, slopehead, boon, k4 and more...

Thankfully our sons grew up in Christchurch NZ without those hateful words.

14-15/10/08 Donkey riding: Faction fighting continued in the ANC, with Mbeki fans Terror Mosioua Lekota and Mluleki George (former defence and deputy defence ministers) suspended from the ANC, while over 50 people were murdered per day, and over 50 babies and children were raped per day in SA. Lekota and George wished to form a new political party opposed to Zuma and his demons. "Suffer the children..." while Lekota and George waved palm branches, singing "Hallelujah" to the new messiah. (IOL and I Luv SA blog).

2006. Vervet Monkeys, SA (Vincent)

Copyright Mark JS Esslemont.