Friday, March 25, 2016

Indifference, apathy and a healthy dose of so-whats

So the New Zealand flag will stay as it is.  I'm sorry to hear that - there was something rather nice about the idea of being part of history in the making (or the changing, as it may have been). I voted for change - but not because I wanted to see a different flag, or preferred one over the other.

Anzac Day is barely a holiday any more. And yet the media tells us 'more and more' people are turning up to Dawn Services to honour the fallen soldiers.

And now there's a big debacle about shopping on Good Friday. Should shops be open - we're not a Christian country any more after all....etc etc

Well actually, its been quite some time since my last confession, but here's my take:

The flag.  I voted for change because...well actually because I don't really care about the other one. I really don't.  This stuff about 'we fought under that flag' - I don't get that.  The freedom of NZ was not dependent on the picture on the flag. The flag symbolised NZ, true, but so does a silver fern, a kiwi, an All Black.  I don't care. I just don't care.  I wasn't one of those Kiwi travellers who stitched a flag on their backpack. I wore a silver fern for a while, a kiwi t-shirt from time to time, but the flag? Yeah nah.

Anzac Day...kind of the same.  Call me a cynic but I'd say there's a power of a lot of people who go to a Dawn Service because its an interesting thing to do, not because its a good thing to remember the soldiers who died fighting for NZ.  Or to remember those military who are still serving NZ.  Its entertainment.  A bit like, I'd dare to suggest, singing Christmas carols is for others.  ANZAC day a day off - yes I'm all for that because I don't think it's necessary for the shops to be open every day of the year.  But because it's ANZAC day? Nah, it's just another day to me.

And Easter. Ah Easter. Memories of Easter camp, special services at church, less so eggs and hot cross buns for me.  But most people - probably 90% - don't even see this as the context for Easter.  Should it be a public holiday? Refer previous comment about ANZAC.  But to honour the ''true meaning' of Easter - I don't care. I don't need a particular day to think about the Easter story. And I have a major discomfort that those same 90% who would most likely call the Easter story irrelevant at best, and a mad fairytale at worse, are still more than happy to take the stat day income and leave entitlements.  But actually I don't care.

The things that I am passionate about are not flags, holidays, religious observance, ritual.  

More is the pity that the energy that went into the flag debate - that of the close on 2 million people who voted - could not be put to better use.  What a different country we might live in then.  And issues like the pattern on a flag, the importance of a day in the year, whether the shops are open - those issues would not matter any more anyway.

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