Friday, October 21, 2011

New Ideas coming soon on Diwali festival stay in tune !

Sunday, September 11, 2011


KIA ORA HAERE MAI Hello Welcome!

Culture in New Zealand

As a local I think I good thing would be to write about the culture in New Zealand.
If you don't already know, New Zealand has a mixture of European, Polynesian and Maori culture. Even our accent, is influenced by this cultural diversity. Our English is distinct although some may not be able to distinguish an Aussie from a New Zealander speaker.

Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch are becoming New Zealand's cosmopolitan cities. You can find all cultures here from all corners of the globe.
Somewhat during the 1300s the first Maori settlers arrived in New Zealand from Polynesia. They split into tribes and inhabited different parts of New Zealand. The haka dance you may know from the Rugby is a war dance which was used during maori wars with Europeans. It is a dance with challenges the opponent.

English language and culture, western views inhabited New Zealand lands during 1840s and this is when religion and mainstream culture intervened with Maori culture.

Today New Zealand keeps its ties with England but there are slight differences since we gained independence and right to self govern.

Anyway I will add more about New Zealand culture next time.
Feel free to come back!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cruising the Pacific

Hey Guys,

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Cruising the under construction

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Peoples attitudes on language

This is only a draft of one assignment about languages in New Zealand so I will come back at a later stage and correct it so it is more enjoyable to read. Thank you!

In a country like New Zealand there are many minority languages which face criticism and judgement, such as, the Maori language for example a feeling toward language is in fact some feeling towards the cultural group. Furthermore, the Maori language is just an example of a minority language in which its health is influenced by the social, economic and political factors in the community. These factors can have both disadvantages and advantages for the maintenance of the language. There is a major connection between language attitude and language maintenance because the attitudes of both the speaker themselves and those whom they speak with continue to judge the speaker according to the language they speak.

There are various cases where minority languages are not believed to be as prestigious as others which are dominant in society however; there are various methods that minority ethnic groups can undertake to help their language survive. Joris de Bres’s article which I have read shows the experience a migrant and what he faces in a country where there is another dominant language, such as English. Moreover, he looks over at his experience as a Dutch immigrant in New Zealand and how his identity influenced the English speakers in New Zealand. There is a strong relationship between attuides about language and maintenance them. They are influenced by the speaker, minority group and community and because of negative attitudes that increase the likelihood that the language will not survive for the next generation.

Researchers whose work I have looked, such as, Holmes (2008) give me a good explanation on peoples' language attitudes. They are feelings, values, thoughts, beliefs and judgements on the way a language is spoken both and this can be from the perspective of someone who speaks the language or someone who does not. Often, these evaluations are not noticed by the people to display such attitudes becuase they are unaware of them. These attitudes that they are unaware they are expressing are more about the speaker rather the language.

Language maintenance is easily understood from Holmes (2008) explanation that it is when the minority language continues to be used in some domains so that the speakers can use it on a daily basis. This concept is contrasted with language shift which is when the minority language is replaced by a more prestigious one such as English which is regarded with high economic status. Finally, the contrast of maintenance and language death which is when a language dies and it is not used in any domains by the minority.

One major connection between the two theories De Bres (1997) explains is the prestige of the language in comparison with others or the status of the language determines the maintenance of the language. . For instance, the first and second generations’ consider a use of the minority language important in the family and home domain important because it increases the likelihood those future generations will maintain the language. Holmes (2008) also comments on this feature, for instance, he comments on the use of Maori language amongst family members and in intimate domains such as amongst friends from the same ethnic group. The use of minority languages amongst families is also found in Punjab and Guajarati families in English dominated countries. These communities tended to stick together to keep the language prestigious.

This is in contrast to an individualistic culture such as, the Dutch whose cultures is closer to the English one therefore, the later generations generally bring the English language into homes which can increase language shift. Furthermore, the easy access to the language is other geographical regions improve the likelihood of its maintenance. To explain, Dutch is spoken in Holland therefore there is the opportunity for Dutch speakers to return home to retain their identity.

Often, the dominant language is more prestigious than others, such as; English is New Zealand because it is used in many formal and institutional domains. These include in schools, churches, and during market transactions. De Bres (1997) explains that English in New Zealand is considered more prestigious than other minority ones because it is considered opens economic opportunity, modern, logical, competent and enhance assimilation into a dominant cultural group. Therefore, their attitudes towards Dutch immigrants are based on the status of language.

Language attitudes are closely related to identity. In other words, the beliefs and feelings that one has for a language is actually an attitude about identity. According to De Bres (1997), as a Dutch speaker in New Zealand, he did not identify with the mainstream community nor did he with Dutch speakers in Holland because of the large geographical distance between the two countries. He identified himself as a New Zealander therefore felt it necessary to learn English. However, the historical context does have a large impact on attitudes; for instance, in the early 1940s attitudes towards Dutch minorities were hostile and stereotypical. In contemporary time, with globalization attitudes have changed and have become more positive towards minority groups.

Another factor that ensures that a minority language is maintained is its “demographic support” in other words, the number of speakers in an area. For example, gurujarti speakers in New Zealand tend to concentrate in the same area therefore; there is more of a chance that the language is used on a daily basis. A theory that supports this connection is “verbal repertoire” which refers to the range of linguistic resources available to the individual or community. These can include in family, market, and trading domains. Furthermore, the increasing migration of a particular ethnic group increases the density of speakers in areas where there are majority who speak a dominant language. Therefore, contact between the same groups is essential for maintenance.

Furthermore, the relationship between the dominant culture and minority cultures in a country is important for maintenance and can determine whether the language shifts or dies. For example, in Australia, there is not such a strong or equal relationship between European Australians and Aborigines because of colonialism therefore; more aboriginal children used the dominant language in most of their domains. Furthermore, in New Zealand the government used to scatter Maori communities around the country to increase language shift.

Another important relation between maintenance and attitudes is the institutional support available to the minority population. For instance, local newspapers, radio and television stations increase the use of language on a daily basis thus, promoting it amongst the younger generations. De Bres (1997) also comments on the large number of Chinese takeaways in New Zealand and reasons that these increase the acceptance for minority languages using their own dialects. Furthermore, there are examples where the language is religiously prestigious such as the classical Arabic used in the Koran. Hence, there are a wider community of speakers therefore, promotes maintenance.

On the other hand, negative attitudes on minority languages prevent or slow down maintenance. It is known that sometimes the minority group wishes to identify with the new country therefore; they make some effort to use the new language in most domains. Also, the increasing populations in urban centers leads to contact with other groups and mixed marriages causes shift because there is a need to adopt the dominant language to communicate with the rest of the rural community. Finally, the use of a dominant language in school socializes the children into the mainstream society thus may cause a language shift in the home domain. This can be by relexification which is when words in the dominant language replacing words in the minority language thus future generations will not use the same language as their ancestors.

Indeed, the attitudes expressed unconsciously by the speaker themselves and those whom they speak with influence language maintenance or on the other hand, can cause language shift or even language death. Often, these attitudes are positive or negative based on the individual’s evaluation of a language. It is true that media, newspapers and other institutional support increase the likelihood that the language will be transmitted along generations. In addition, the increasing awareness of minority culture amongst the dominant culture encourages acceptance of minority languages in mainstream society. Nowadays, there are large concentrated communities of minority groups such as Indian Tamil and Chinese in New Zealand therefore, there are more opportunities to use their native language in the home and family domain. In fact, research has discovered that attitudes are not just about the language rather it is about the speaker themselves; in other words, it is an evaluation of their identity. Those minority groups who are in competition with a dominant language often face difficulties with language shift and some indigenous groups have suffered language death where tiny number of speakers are present in society. This phenomenon is based on the prestige or status of the language. The institutions and large number of minority members in another country increase a language’s status. The theories are relevant to sociolinguistics because it gives some insight and encourages awareness of language shift and death. The implications of acknowledging there is a connection between language attitudes and maintenance gives opportunity for further research in institutions and cultural relations.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Latest News

I have recently heard back from the AIESEC organisation about my placement in India. If everything goes well I will be going to Jaipur, Rajasthan. I have been told that it is a city with alot of history and a great place to go for learning about indian history and culture.

For the first week of this internship I will attend lectures from experts from the field of issues related to sustainable development in India. These will include

Climate Change
Hertiage of India
Economic Status of Rural India
Child and Women Issues
Political Governance
Human Rights
Education System in India

I will have to make reports and documenation of the session which will be issued to renowed organizations of national and international organizations like UN and Ministry of Rural Developoment.

Then in the next two weeks I will go with these organizations working for extensive practical experience about the issues and the development practise taken.

The work and reports and ideas that I make will be submitted to the government so as to bring about positivie changes in the Indian society.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Travel information about Blenheim

I am going to post some information about tourism in my hometown Blenheim.

Blenheim is located in the northern region of the south island. If you take a look at a map of New Zealand you can see it is part of the Marlborough region. One of the major attractions in Blenheim are the 55 wineries. If you are a fan of wine tours or wine tasting then this is a great place for you.

If you want to visit Nelson or Christchurch it is for sure that you will pass Blenheim. It is a small town of around 30,000.

It is known for its awesome weather. Did you know that Blenheim was recorded as Nwe Zealand's sunniest region because it has been recorded to have the most sunny days in the country.

If you want to read more information about Blenheim please visit

This site gives you some good information about
-activities to do and things to see
-accomodation such as backpackers

If you have any questions or comments please post them under this posting thank you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Medical Systems Assignment

Today I am going to post a draft of my Medical Systems assignment which is about the similarities in the medical ideas in France and China. I hope that you enjoy reading my thoughts and feel free to post me a comment or some questions.

Why throughout history do the power relations between medical practitioners, classes and government interventions in medicine have some significance in the area medical anthropology? These relations have influenced the development of medicine in many countries such as what occurred in France and in China. In these countries revolutions occurred and these circumstances also changed the accessibility to medicine and the foundational concepts in the profession. In 1789, the middle class overthrew the French monarchy and it modified the political and social order in France. In 1947, the working class overthrew the Chinese government and replaced it with a Communist regime and the incorporation of Communist ideas in Chinese policies. The economy, social structure, and culture in France and China at the time of the change made Revolution possible. As these Revolutions occurred although they were in different times in history, place and culture, both generated parallels in their medical thought. Some of the parallel were: a change in the authority and power held by those in medicine, a move for government and medicine to cooperate so they could intervene and prevent epidemics apparent at the time, the commercialisation of medicine as a profession, and the increasing popularity for doctors to use scientific concepts in medicine.

After the French revolution in the 1780s, France had become a socialist republic which explains the many parallels between French and Chinese medical ideas. Judt (1975:55) explains the extreme left thinking was apparent in France, which is a characteristic of socialism and this way of thinking was more dominant in the countryside amongst the peasants. The support for socialism in the countryside was a reflection of the economic, demographic and social circumstances of the time. The shortage of food supply caused the overthrow of the French monarchy by the middle class peasants which altered the power relations in France. These class re-structuring explain how medical ideas, like in China, were publicised (Foucault, 1999).

The medicine in France gained its power and authority in society from the political circumstances that occurred. Starr (1982: 9 & 14), gives his definition of authority when applying it to medicine by stating that it possesses a status that creates trust and obedience amongst the public. He also provided a definition of “power” when relating it to medicine by explaining that the profession’s power is dependent on their “knowledge” and “competence”. In the past medicine, Jones(1996: 14) argues medicine did not have the status it has today because it was considered insignificant in comparison to other things with religious or political prestige. Furthermore, Foucault (1999:24-26) argues the increasing urban population in France and an increasing need for health care were factors that enabled medicine to acquire a higher status in society. Urbanisation also increased the spread of epidemics (illnesses that affect a large number of people and are easily contagious). These illnesses could cause death on a large scale and, in a society where a minority are the elite and the majority are poor, they could create a situation where the political regime in, for example France, would be overthrown. Medicine has increased its power and authority since the French revolution because of the epidemics and other political and economic circumstances that occurred in their wakes however there also need to for health policy that stresses public health.

According to Lucien Bianco & Muriel Bell (1971:4), in China, there was also a need to treat contagious diseases. Under the Communist party the government owned, funded and ran all hospitals around the country and this gave the public free access to their health care. According to Shi(1993:723) one advantage that occurred because of the government ownership of hospitals is with the family maintenance policy that developed under it. She explains that the national aim is to control the birth rate of children and to improve social and economic circumstances for families’ .Since the Communist revolution in China, the population has increased dramatically and because of the lack in health insurance and pensions the family planning policy developed. This example shows how government initiatives in medicine can influence social conditions, such as in China, with birth control however Shi (1993: 734) points out that the Chinese government will need to re-structure the system so that is compatible with economic policy and health policy in the country.

One major change in medicine after the French revolution was its commercialisation from being traditional and not so profitable to an influential and powerful institution in France. Scarr (1982) gives the definition of “commercialisation” and he says it means in medicine that the doctor is paid through private or social funding for their expertise and advice that they have given to their patient. One response to this was the increasing competition in the field. In France, doctors underwent training in clinics and in hospitals to determine their credibility and status within the field. Furthermore, the hospitals and clinics that developed after the French Revolution were generally “privatised” according to Foucault(1994), which he explains means, in relation to medicine, doctors determine their income that they receive from the level of expertise they have and from the authority they have to control their own economic development. The commercialisation of medicine implies that doctors have more power in determining their economic development however the system also needs to ensure that the needs of patients are prioritised over medical financial gain.

However, commercialisation is not always the case, in China, medical practitioners who specialise in Chinese herbal medicine are in competition with modern practitioners. Hence, commercial prices in medicine are lower in comparison to those in France. Furthermore, Yang (n.d: 1)points out that the Chinese Communist Party demand that doctors serve their patients without commercial gain because in China the policy was that medicine was to serve the people in health care unselfishly. However this was not always what happened because after the communist revolution in China nationalisation of medical practitioners promoted the social status of doctors and this would prevent public the aims to improve public health. China’s need to economically develop would encourage the commercialisation of health care and this implies that communist policies that may seem to improve the living conditions of the public through public ownership of health care did not achieve its purpose.

Foucault (1994) has noted how medical ideas socially are constructed through language. Notably, for example the concepts of disease, life and death have different meanings according to in France and in China. For example, disease, in France, is understood as a change in the equilibrium of the human body causing the display of symptoms that can be classified and categorised by the doctor. He gives some good insight by how doctors understand the medical concept of disease and how it could be profitable financially for them because there is a dependency of the patient on their doctor. Starr(1984:3) also acknowledges the importance that language has on the social meaning of an illness. These beliefs create implications for how the patient is valued and viewed in the society. Many illnesses that are diagnosed by doctors carry a stigma for the patient. Kleinman (1980: 119-120) further questions the social construction of the “hospital” and he explains it functions to separate ill patients as, socially, this was necessary to protect the rest of society. The meanings that the society places of medical ideas have large implications for the experiences of patients who carry the stigma of disease. Furthermore public awareness and tolerance of ill patients should increase public acceptance of the common stigmas that character disease.

Furthermore, while Communism in China did acknowledge the influence capitalism has on the economy it followed a similar ideology, like in France, for improving the standard living of the urban and rural population in China. According to Shi (1993:1), communism is the “public ownership of the means of production and resources” and to “serve” the wider public. In all respects, this ideology is that the labourers are the centre of production and therefore they should gain the benefit they deserve from their work. In response to this idea, the government in China developed policies to ensure that landowners in the rural areas do not exploit the workers and that no individual could earn more than others. Marx’s view on the way medicine would be run by a communist regime where it would subside health care and ensure medical educational training is easily available to both traditional and modern practitioners who have interest in health care.

The distribution of populations in France and China were another change after the revolutions where majority of rural dwellers moved to the urban areas to acquire better living conditions. Foucault(1994:28) and gives the definition of “industrialisation”. He says it means the movement of people into the urban areas from rural ones to increase their capita and to change their place in social structure. This is the case in France because no longer were individuals working with family members instead they were working with strangers in their professions and with a move from socialism could emerge. With capitalism, which in relation to medicine, is an individual’s attempt to regulate and control their profit by selling their expertise into the market, new medical ideas on disease, life and death in some regions of France it developed. It is important according to Shi (1993) to note that health care has traditionally focused its attention on urban areas instead of rural one therefore, a move to improve health care in rural areas she argues is necessary.

One important change in medicine that Foucault(1994:73) points out is the influence that scientific knowledge has on the doctor while he is “gazing” at his patient’s symptoms. First of all, he explains the concept of “gazing” in medicine which is understood to be some observation of the human body without acknowledge historical, social and emotional aspects of the body. In other words, a scientist would say it is the observation of a human body as if it was only an object to look at and learn from. Thus in relation to medicine, that is what doctors do in educating their students and practitioners in clinics and in hospitals. For instance, they open up dead bodies as if they were an object with no life or identity and analyse the parts for the development of the profession and for some understanding of the body and its systems. Then with this, Foucault points out that the system is at fault because they compare the living body with one that is dead, which he argues is the fault in modern medicine which with the doctor takes away the subjective nature of the human body for his own benefit of acquiring further education.

According to Starr (1982:16), science influences medicine and it ensures doctors can illustrate that their expertise are rational and truthful rather than spectacle. He gives some the definition of “objectivity” which is foundational in contemporary medicine. He explains that doctors view a patient through observation and through ensuring that extraneous variables(environmental influences) do not influence their accuracy in their “gaze”. Foucault(1994:124-125) delves deeper into this issue by looking at the ways medicine could gain authority and power. This was through the opening up of corpses however, previously these prohibited acts were rare and greatly disputed because of religious and political ethics. Medical practitioners have traditionally been under attack by religious and political groups for their objective ideologies. The regulation and maintenance of subjectivity(considering the historical, social and emotional aspects of health) in medicine is significant in treating patients holistically and in reconstructing the language that doctors use in their hospitals and clinics to rationalise their status.

In conclusion, the extent to which science has a direct influence on medical ideas in France and China is understood by looking at how doctors use objectivity to rationalise their work and also by the way he gazes at the human body as a system ready to be opened up without any ethical considerations of such act. Secondly, the movement of rural dwellers to urban areas for economic development occurred after the wave of French Revolution and Communist Revolution in China. It is important to note that health care needs to focus its attention on all regions of society not just on the urban ones as Shi has pointed out. Moreover, the increasing expectation of governments and health care practitioners to improve living conditions are a reflection of the communist and social ideologies apparent in the societies. Socially construction medical ideas through language have a lot of implications for the stigma that patients carry society when they are diagnosed with an illness. In addition, the commercialisation in medicine has been a major issue in national economics in China and France where there is a need for the government to intervene in the funding and costs of health care and to ensure that public health is easily accessible to the majority. It is helpful to acknowledge the historical context of French and Chinese medicine as Foucault and Upschuld have illustrated where they show that traditionally it did not have its authority and power that it has today. Indeed, looking at the French medical system has implication for research that looks at the influence western ideas have on eastern ones in China, and will have in the beyond years.


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