Saturday, December 15, 2007

Help for the poor?

Today on a Chinese television broadcast they finished with a feel good Christmas story.
It was from Thailand. A hotel had built a Christmas tree of almost 20,000 golf balls for their foyer - which is fair enough. It got them on the news and was to help market Thailand as a golfing holiday destination.
The newsreader said after Christmas the golf balls will be given to poor children.
Then he wrapped up the news.
I was left hanging.
What would the poor children do with the golf balls? Could they sell them to make money? Did the reporter just make this up to round out the story? How pleased will the poor children be to receive golf balls partly covered in glue?
I am left unsure how to react emotionally.
Should I be laughing at the apparent absurdity of poor children being given golf balls when they really want food? Should I be touched and glad that this business has the kindness to give something to the poor children? Or should I be annoyed at the journalist for ending their story so oddly without further explanation?
Christmas is always a weird mix of emotions.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Driver paradox

I know this lady. She talks of the years she spent backpacking around the world. She knows the best farmers' markets to buy the weird stuff. She is a vegetarian. She is generous and if you need anything will gladly share what she has.
Her hair is free, flowing and a mixture of colours from the natural palette. Her clothes match her hair. Her smile is warm. Her age is hard to determine.
Yesterday I was at an intersection. The traffic needed to merge to one lane, once they had safely negotiated the traffic lights. Everyone was calmly travelling through, watching each other and giving each car space to fall into single file. Then a large station wagon came flying through from back up the hill. We all had to suddenly brake. The big V6 aggressively elbowed its way to the front of the line.
I was angry at the rudeness. At the selfish disregard for the other drivers on the road. I knew the kind of person who drove like that. As they pushed past me, I caught a glimpse of the driver.
It was her.
I was stunned. Can a metal box on wheels have that much effect on personality?
I wondered which was the true picture of what she felt inside or maybe even hippies have bad days.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.