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Wahmbulance - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 10th, 2011

09:24 am - Wahmbulance

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I read sf_drama. Call it a result of my evil mean side and my masochistic side getting together and ganging up on my better judgement. I used read it more often but lately I often just skim on past because it's full of the same stuff day after day and it gets tedious. However there was one this morning that caught my attention - it was about a person whose colleague had said something racist to another colleague, and what the etiquette would be around refusing to work with said person.

Apparently the comment was "Why don't you go back to where you came from?" Which is a really mean thing to say to an immigrant. It's tantamount to "You're not wanted here and it's not just me it's everyone who thinks so." And the person it was said to was described as 'brown'. So yep, racist.


Which is all fine. Scroll past a bunch of comments going "WTF" and "Racist piece of shit" and all that stuff. Further down someone points out that if 'Benny' were white then it'd be anti-immigrant bigotry and/or ethnic prejudice and xenophobia. But apparently Western European immigrants don't get treated that way.

Someone else points out that in Denmark, people say this to Polish immigrants. Cue discussion of what counts as Western European in which people draw lines across Europe that demarcate whether having this said to you is bigotry or racism, and ends with the comment that this almost never happens to Westerners, especially British immigrants.

I beg to differ.

tl;dr A rundown on what it was like to be a British expat kid in New Zealand. Contains 'pommy go home' and other slurs.

I'm perfectly aware that what I experienced was not racism. I'm also aware that the kind of racism experienced by Benny would make the 'go home' jibe hurt a great deal more. I suspect things are different for English expats when they come here as adults from how they were for me as a kid - and it's also possible that times have changed in the aeons since I lost my accent. Because I no longer have an accent, people don't know I'm a pom unless I tell them, and the people I know who immigrated here as adults could probably give a clearer picture of anti-English sentiment in this country, if it still exists. Anti-immigrant sentiment definitely exists here, and brown people definitely experience it in a more harmful way than white people do.

But it pisses me off when folks give each other arsepats for being so social justice aware while arbitrarily dividing up groups of people to decide how to label them, and completely erasing the experiences of some of those people purely based on where they are born.

But I'm not dumb enough to say anything about this over there, because the post is about a brown immigrant's experience of racism, and mine is a white immigrant's experience of bigotry, and these are two different things - it's not about me, essentially. But my blog is about me so nyah, I'm saying it here. And I really wish those "If you're white and from Poland it's racism but if you're white and from England it never happens" people would just pull their fucking heads in and shut up wanking on about stuff they have no idea about, thinking they are oh so enlightened.

Yes it did hurt to be told I wasn't wanted by an entire country as a kid. Yes I am somewhat bitter about that. Why do you ask?


In other news:

1. Turns out my eyes are suitable topography-wise for laser correction. They want to do a thing called blended vision in which they correct each eye slightly differently, which counteracts the effect of age-related longsightedness (which I don't yet suffer although it's hard to tell being short sighted and all), and makes it possible to age without needing reading glasses by using different eyes as dominant when focusing near or far. Yay! Next step: medical assessment on 6 July.

2. This weekend I'm going to look at an apartment that Dr Wheel found on the internet. It's a whole floor of a building, 160 square metres and in the middle of the city. Any thoughts on the purchasing of large apartments? Especially in terms of heating costs/sustainable renovations/things I don't know because I've never lived in an apartment?

Comments:

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From:thesecondcircle
Date:June 9th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Side-effect rates for laser correction are based almost entirely on the experience of the surgeon (based on number of procedures performed). You may have done this research already yourself (since we are cut from the same slightly-anal project management cloth), but I just know that it was what I discovered when I first got laser correction (which I have had twice) -- most recently five years ago.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 9th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
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*nod* The guy I'm seeing in July comes recommended, and he's had another year's experience since!

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From:thesecondcircle
Date:June 10th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
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I knew you would have checked! *grin*
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From:pythia
Date:June 9th, 2011 10:23 pm (UTC)
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Where were you from in England?
I find any "pommy-go-home" sentiment particularly ridiculous in New Zealand, given what a huge amount of people are probably only a few generations away from being pommy immigrants themselves.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 9th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)
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I was born in a village just outside of York. Here's a pic of the place I was born:



Lake Cottage is now a B&B with paid coarse fishing facility.

And, Kiwis are a special kind of pommy immigrant - the kind that is tough and doesn't whinge, unlike the new ones who are all soft and moan about everything. Or so I hear.
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From:pythia
Date:June 9th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
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Haha. I'll warn Lee that when he gets here he's just going to have to stop being such a namby pamby Brit and man up. Buy some gumboots and some No. 8 wire. Drink Tui. Play Rugby. Eat Mammoth yoghurt.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 9th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure gumboots and rugby came from England. As did beer. Less sure about yoghurt and wire.

Hehe and after finding that site about Elvington Lake I just pinged them an email to let them know my folks were running it as a fishery in the 1960s and offer them some history stuff that my Dad kept. Hee!
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From:pythia
Date:June 9th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
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What? Don't be silly, everyone knows the English just drink tea and play poncy games like soccer.
Man, I think most of our rugby fans would come out worse off after a run in with some serious soccer hooligans. =/

Hehe, history!
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From:bekitty
Date:June 9th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
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Beer (especially lager) comes from Germany.

I'd always thought that the British were the non-complaining, "making-do", tea-drinking-as-a-sole-medicinal-device kind of people. Was I wrong? My mother and grandparents certainly fit that stereotype.

(My mother, aunt and granparents came over from Britain when Mum was 5.)
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From:tatjna
Date:June 9th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
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Dunno. From what I understand from my family, other families and television, one thing the British excel at is enduring.

Yet when I came here I was informed that being English made me automatically a whinger and a wuss.

Baffling.
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From:t_c_da
Date:June 10th, 2011 01:16 am (UTC)
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Where I grew up (Adelaide, Sth Aust) there was a town (Elizabeth) which seemed to have been erected specifically to corral British Immigrants in their own particular hell hole away from the real locals (it even had a pub called The Rose and Crown).

The stereotypical Whinging Pom acquired that tag from constantly complaining that things "weren't like they were at home" for any given value of "things", including (but not limited to) Job opportunities, beer, roads, cars, public services, neighbours, houses, etc. etc.

On our trip by boat from Melbourne to Southampton in 1974, fully a third of the passengers were disgruntled Poms heading home, and still whinging...
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
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Good to know that 30% of people exhibiting a particular behaviour justifies labelling all of them whether you know them or not.
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From:vernacularity
Date:June 10th, 2011 12:38 am (UTC)
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apartments: ugh.

issues: body corporate maintenance obligations decisions, what level of control do you have over who else lives there and uses to which it is put, neighbours suck, no greenspace, shared plumbing/electrical infrastructure (?) (like, if one person flushes 5 tampons and a handful of used condoms and it blocks the sewer, do you all get affected?), etc etc. also: living in the middle of town. ugh.

that's me :-)



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From:vernacularity
Date:June 10th, 2011 12:39 am (UTC)
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also: way more volatile marketwise.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)
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Yeah, apartments definitely seem to be worth less than houses, and the lack of greenspace would be an issue for me (although I am a houseplant person so, you know).

The body corporate fees for this particular place are quite large too - like, nearly a flatmate rent's worth a month. Yikes.
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From:vernacularity
Date:June 10th, 2011 01:24 am (UTC)
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might be worth trying to look over past couple years' meeting minutes to see what it goes on.

also apartments are more subject to someone making a bunch more just up the road. Also though a good one is still worth premium market, due to things like sound proofing, earthquake strength, maintenance longevity etc.
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From:tyellas
Date:June 10th, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
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That's some strong anti-apartment mojo you've got going there! Apartment advantages: no garden maintenance = no garden expenses or time; greater ability to 'lock and leave'; the closer you are to Wellington's urban epicenter, the livelier your social life, and the easier it is to walk to many employers; building owners can exert control by being on the board; plumbing/electrical problems - surely some of that's in body corp costs?
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
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From what I understand of bodycorps, they cover the costs of maintenance to shared areas, security and insurance. I'm told they also sometimes make rules about what you can or can't do with your place, and around the type of people you might end up with as neighbours.

This place is currently what looks like a student flat so I'm not sure they're too stringent about that, and the building looks like the outside could do with a scrub-up.

On the upside, living centrally would reduce my transport costs - but they might be eaten by paying for parking for my car. I'd have access to more stuff more easily. I wouldn't have to worry about reroofing!

So I'm ambivalent - because I've never lived in an apartment I don't know the ins and outs of it, but I've helped enough people move into and out of them that I'm put off by the idea of lifts and stairs being needed to get in or out, along with the difficulty for my friends from out of the city to find parking when they visit.

I'm going to give it a look and see if I think I could live there, and take it from that.
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From:caycos
Date:June 10th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
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The body corp fees on our building are just over $500/month. Apprently having two lifts + remote opening garage doors and etc gets pricey.. Heritage building might lift it too I guess.

Things I would look for:

- check the body corporate minutes for weirdness, particularly lots of repairs
- what are the rules about who can live there - is it all owner-occupied only? (there are good and bad things about that)
- car parking? although do you need a car if in town? (my answer to that is yes so that I can get out of town)
- sound insulation - does it exist?
- heating insulation - ditto

Finally, we spoke to a mortgage broker about six months back, and at that time the banks were much much more wary about lending for apartments than for houses. Depending on the type of building (eg purpose built or a conversion) they want a much bigger deposit than they'd accept for a house...
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
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Good to know. Cheers!
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From:rivet
Date:June 10th, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
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I love living in an apartment.

However, wearing my economist hat I feel obliged to tell you that capital gains on apartments are much less reliable because you don't own any dirt--the scarcity of which drives capital gains. So the ratio of part that DOES depreciate (building and fixtures) to the part that DOESN'T (land) is not favourable.

OTOH, they tend to be a reliable source of investment income if you're not living in them.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 10th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
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Also useful to know. Thanks! ;-)
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From:rivet
Date:June 10th, 2011 03:45 am (UTC)
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I'm here to help. Apparently that means making sure people have the best information to make decisions. As well as feeding, clothing, and comforting.
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From:richdrich
Date:June 10th, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
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I'm not sure how the leasehold arrangements work here.

In the UK apartment buildings are typically owned by the apartment owners through the body corporate, and you have an indefinite lease, which equates to owning X% of the land the place is built on.

But it wasn't always the case - as more people started to live in leasehold apartments the system got reformed to give apartment owners a right to buy the freehold. Roughly.
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From:helianthas
Date:June 10th, 2011 04:08 am (UTC)
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I'm not a huge fan of apts mostly bc of the noise. If you have kids or musicians or clog-dancers or even just shoe-not-slipper wearers above you it could get maddening. The whole hearing neighbors have sex thing is annoying, too (ESP when one is not getting any herself, lol!)

There's def something to be said for being close to what's going on.

Also, sometimes the neighbors can be cool. That being said, I really personally prefer living in a house or a flat in a house rather than an apartment building -- it feels more tranquil and "my own", but that's just me.

In terms of money-- I live in a pricey place but everything is included-- parking, heat, water, garbage, cable, internet, laundry... When I started adding up those costs for places with cheaper rent, i was surprised to see that my awesome place w a yard isn't much more. So I wonder with the "maintenance" costs of the apartment, are you saving from what you'd be spending in a house? Or is it kinda like rent on top of a mortgage?

We have here also "tenancy in common" which is like when 4 people buy a big house with 2-4 flats. They couldn't afford the whole house on their own, so buy together. I like this idea better than buying an apt in a building with lots and lots of other folks, but I'm not buying a place. ;-). Do they have that sort of thing in NZ?

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From:bekitty
Date:June 10th, 2011 09:33 am (UTC)
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BTW, this might provide some late-night giggles.
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