tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

Which came first, the language or the culture?

You know how there's a belief that pounamu absorbs the wairua of its wearer? Apparently this belief isn't just limited to Maori in New Zealand. According to the book I am reading (fictional but written by a Chinese person) this belief is shared by the Chinese about jade. Traditionally they also have the belief that it has to like you for you to be able to wear it, and apparently it really does change colour over time. To which I go "Hmm.."

And in other things Chinese I started attempting to learn the radicals yesterday. There are a lot of them. I have learned the first five, what they mean and where you might find them in a Chinese character. While my native English-speaking brain is going OMGOMGOMG*POP* at the way in which this language works*, I keep telling myself I'm good at codes and patterns and this is just a bigger, more complex one with the potential to really upset people if I stuff it up. What could possibly go wrong, right?

* For example, the character for 'good' is a combination of the radical for 'woman' and the one for 'child'. Woman and child together = good. Now while I do understand the logic behind this, it's not a leap my brain would make on its own and I've seen enough literal translations Chinese --> English to know there's quite a lot of this metaphorical association stuff going on in there, and some of it may be even more unlikely-seeming to me.

Mostly because it was frustrating for me not to be able to communicate with people in Hong Kong. Also because if I'm serious about working there I should at least get myself to the "Me Wendy you is..?" stage before I go there. Because in my line of work reading is probably more important than speaking. Because Mandarin and Cantonese are the same when written and that saves me having to make a choice. And not in a small part, because Hong Kong is full of signs in both Chinese and English and I started to see some pattern in it, began to decode it in a very tiny way, and now I want to be able to do that more and develop understanding.

And, you know, I don't have enough to do already.

Yesterday I also memorised the steps in the Waitangi claims process. Here they are for your edification.

1. Group registers a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal. This is free.
2. The claim is checked to ensure it complies with the Treaty of Waitangi Act 1975 and if it is, it's then grouped with other claims relating to the same district or issue.
3. The Crown Forestry Rental Trust and professional researchers explore the background and issues associated with the claim, and creates casebooks about the claim.
4. A hearing date is set and conferences are held to ensure everyone involved knows what's happening and what the boundaries of their claim are, where they might overlap with other claims, what the points of similarity/difference are, etc.
5. At the hearing, the claimants speak first with evidence and submissions. Other interested parties speak next. Then the Crown speaks.
6. The Tribunal reports with findings and recommendations. This report is used in negotiations between claimants and the Crown, while the Tribunal steps back.

The Tribunal is investigative not adversorial, and has no legal jurisdiction to settle claims, merely to recommend. Also, did you know that in 2008 the government passed legislation preventing Maori from pursuing claims for occurrences prior to 1992? I didn't.

Yes, I'm using you all as my study board. Thanks!

I have been cooking. I blame this on the three weeks of eating out every night and the desire for more vegetables in my life. Also on my skintness. Anyway, my cooking show will be entitled "Fun things to make with an onion and half a courgette" and The Kid keeps looking at me sideways, perhaps wondering if his real Mum has been abducted by aliens. And so far nobody's died.

Gosh. If I develop a healthy habit every 6 months, by the time I retire I'll be Virtuous As Fuck and probably a bit smug. Clearly I need to pick up some more vices to balance it all out. *nods*
Tags: chinese, maori, vegies
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