Monthly Archives: July 2013

Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Lies

Why do people lie? Why would they even bother? Is lying ever beneficial? Can it ever truly be justified, or is it just a waste of breath..? Interesting. You might find it surprising to learn that it is not just ‘bad’ or ‘unwholesome’ people who fabricate truth either…

It is everybody.

Promoters of the untruth are everywhere. From a mature and indeed, veracious standpoint lying appears such a puerile, ignorant practice and yet it is a deed undertaken by the young, the old and yes, even the intelligent among us.

Telling lies is something which is done, sometimes unthinkingly, by typical folk who imagine that to confess to the reality of a situation will result in them, or another, facing a less than desirable outcome. Here’s the folly with that: the majority of people, in the majority of scenarios, when it comes to it, will favour truth over the alternative.

I used to lie. I used to lie a lot. In my younger days it always seemed the easiest way to avoid life’s more difficult situations; to surmount those tricky obstacles. Then I woke up. Then I realized the truth. Where I thought that I was cleverly circumventing any issues dealt to me by carefully laying down a firm line of crap, I was really only compounding matters – sometimes for me; maybe for the next poor sucker to become entangled in my string of excrement.

My lies would always come back to bite me.

That is the true reality. Lying, no matter how trivial it may appear at first glance, will usually end up hurting someone in the long run. Fibbing, fabricating, sensationalising, bullshitting, telling a porky, being careless with; manipulating the truth – it’s all lying and it is all deplorable. Take this for example: two young women preparing for a night on the town. Of course each wants to look as alluring as they can. The first slides on a light summer dress hoping that the natural fall of the fabric will disguise her paunch; stands before a mirror and looks herself over, pleased with the result. She turns to her friend, a naturally slim girl who looks good in practically anything she wears and asks, “So, how do I look?”

The friend casually glances over her contemporary’s voluptuous figure, avoiding focusing on the noticeable protrusion, the result of too much wine coupled with not enough exercise, then with a air of forced agreeability to her voice replies, “Oh, honey, damn, you look fiiii-ine.”

This is an example of what is frequently referred to as a ‘white lie’. That is, a lie containing little substance and where nobody gets hurt. This is seldom the case though, is it? Substance or not, somebody usually winds up with their share of scarring.

Whether the slim girl is acting out of spite, wanting to look the better of the two, or whether she’s simply hoping to preserve her friend’s feelings by omitting the truth that is staring her in the face, when it comes to their night out, given that the girl with the paunch is largely unaware of her unwelcome protrusion, she might be more than a little put out by boorish men patting her belly and asking when she’s due.

Staying with that theme, here is an example of what I like to consider, a blame alleviator: a father comes home from work to find his wife along with his two boys frantically trying to clean up a pot plant that has been knocked from the windowsill and has smashed onto the carpet below. “What the hell happened here?!” is the father’s immediate reaction.

Two guilty young faces peer back at him while the mother continues cleaning.

“Well?!” the father demands again. “Is somebody going to explain this or do I have to assume it was Santa Claus, staggering drunk through the house a few months early?”

The eldest of the brothers, in fact the same one who had earlier knocked down the pot while demonstrating to his younger sibling his ability to perform unassisted headstands, stammers, “Ah, I dunno Dad, we just came home from school and found it like that…”

“Yeah Dad,” the younger sibling adds his reinforcement, “must’ve been the wind, must’ve blown the curtain, must’ve knocked it down or somethin…”

Unsatisfied but not willing to disbelieve his two fine boys, so willing to let the issue rest for now, the irascible man storms away.

Some weeks later the boys discover that the reason for their father’s bringing of divorce proceedings against their mother, is because he considered her leaving open the window which ultimately resulted in the permanent blemish on their new carpet, as the hammer which shattered the glass of their already tenuous relationship.

Few lies go totally unpunished.

There really is no reason in this life to ever lie. It might be a hackneyed old cliché but it’s damn well true: ‘The Truth Will Set You Free’. For most people, parents especially: ‘The Worst Truth is Better Than The Best Lie’.

The fallout from your lies might not directly affect you but regardless of size, irrespective of magnitude, rest assured, your lies are hurting someone.

That is the truth.



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Izzy Freele

Foreword by R U Shore

Photography by Noah S Bullocks

Cover by Ura Fuller-Shyte


‘The Worst Truth…’ quote, courtesy of Debbie Kell


Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Dieting

We live in an age where most girls dream of being ‘skinny’. Most boys appear relatively content with their appearance and if they’re anything like me, they find the notion of skinny girls quite repulsive. Exposed ribs, protruding shoulder blades, scrawny arms and shapeless legs – so surely what these girls really mean is ‘slim’…

Or is it? Have you seen the state of the current batch of supermodels?

Supermodels. Ha. Modelling clothes that hang from their skeletons and which wouldn’t even fit a regular, healthy physique. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of these women’s rights advocates who believes that a girl is unhealthy unless she’s flaunting a generous size 16; who when faced with a picture of a gorgeous, slender woman says something generic and uninspired like: “Oh, that’s just an unrealistic expectation…” and who attributes every attractive figure they see to airbrushing – quite the opposite. I am a big supporter of the slim woman. For most females under the age of 40, there is no excuse for being fat: you have the metabolism, you just do not have the discipline.

For the record, ‘baby weight’ can be easily shed. You just have to want to do it. Also, earning yourself a ‘treat’ each time you do something favourable in this regard, is not ‘wanting to do it’. You are not a dog.

On the topic of harbouring excess flab, don’t worry ladies, men are equally as pathetic; given that the terms ‘male’ and ‘baby weight’ are utterly contradictory, they have no excuse. So why is it that over half of New Zealand’s male population under the age of 30 are packing a paunch, or worse? Once again, lacking disciplined eating habits, lacking self respect, lacking self control – but there’s something else. An inherent aspect. Possibly the most intrinsic aspect of human body condition. An aspect which the majority of us see as an onus to be avoided, claiming time constraints or some other fabricated excuse, but which if done correctly enables us to eat whatever we choose in practically whatever quantity, and still look good…

In a word, exercise.

The more exercise to which we commit ourselves, the more calories our bodies require… calories?! Yes. You see, calories are not engineered by the Devil solely as a Hellish ploy to ruin the figures of the weaker among us. Calories are energy. Plain and simple. Energy. Same can be said for carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are essentially calories in solid form, that is, starch before it enters the body and begins metabolising. Calories, carbohydrates are vital for adequate bodily function. Some believe that a lifestyle devoid of physical activity, providing they abstain from carbohydrates and often food in general, is still conducive to an optimal shape. In some cases this might be true. Here’s the problem with essentially starving oneself: one will find themselves constantly broken down, devoid of energy, bereft of vigour; with no motivation, no drive, limited brain power and ultimately, living a life shrouded with apathy. (The risk of spontaneous collapse is also heightened.)

The worst thing that you can do in an attempt to drop a size or two, is to undergo a ‘starvation diet’. While this might prove an effective means of achieving your goal in the short term by slowly, painfully slowly burning every modicum of fat (also muscle tone) in your body leaving you flabby-skinned and cellulite-ridden – as well as monumentally unhealthy – for how long do you expect to keep it up? The next time that food enters your stomach you will absorb everything – all the energy, all the sugar, every skerrick of fat that your malnourished body can squeeze from that particular binge. What’s more, your digestive system will have naturally ensured that it has taken much more (carbs, calories; fat) than it needs, in preparation for next time this happens, thereby rendering you even more of a fatty than before.

Fat: good. Carbohydrates: good. One just needs to burn them at around the same ratio at which they ingest them. Sugars: great; even better if they’re the natural kind. Food is good. It is one of life’s necessities. Everything in moderation. Exercise. For God’s sake, don’t skip breakfast because you think it’s giving you a head start on burning that unsightly excess. If anything it’ll act as a handicap. Fact. Starting the day on an empty stomach means that your metabolism is still effectively asleep. Water: yes. Keep up fluids all day. No time to eat – genuinely this time? Fill your stomach with fluids to act as a food substitute, tricking the metabolism into at least partial function.

Honestly though, if somebody is that distressed about the state of their physique, surely there are worse things than a few minutes of exercise a day..? Come on, it will do wonders for your health, your self esteem, your confidence and will engender in you an all round feeling of well-being. Admittedly when it comes to the thought of exercise, most people become entangled on that psychological barrier but once you’ve surmounted that, exercise is a drug. Literally, it is. Dopamine, adrenalin, endorphins, they’re all part of the pathway to a healthy body.

Dieting is shit. Who wants to have to be cautious about calorie intake; to have to watch what they eat? Personally, prefer to eat with my eyes closed. Don’t avoid the best things in life, don’t avoid carbohydrates; don’t avoid fat. Besides, fat is not what makes you fat; sitting on that fat arse all day is what makes you fat.



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Hugh Jarse

Foreword by U. Lardo

Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Pollution

It clogs our air, it contaminates our waterways; it shortens life expectancy and in some places, it makes life downright unpleasant. Let’s be honest. New Zealand is too small to ever have a pollution problem, yet we like to act as though our contribution to lowering the World’s toxicity is vital to further existence.

            It is Beijing, China, that leads the world in pollution standings. If we like to go back a few years to the Beijing Olympics, we might recall the massive clean-up undertaken in an attempt to lower visible pollution levels. In the weeks leading up to the Games the highest polluting factories were shut down, literally tonnes of pond scum was lifted from waterways; further hordes of labourers took to Beijing streets simply to pick up litter.

Beijing has a population of approximately 20 million people. That’s one massive number for one mass producing city. Unsurprising, one could easily assert, that their level of pollution is so high; in fact that Olympic effort managed to improve air quality by 30%. Of course it took only a few weeks of regular activity for it to return to normal, but the potential was there.

Oddly enough the point around which I tread is not regarding Beijing – not specifically anyway. It’s the fact that although this problem has reached the point where one country’s airborne pollution is contaminating another, rectification of the aforementioned issue is not a challenge in which little old NZ (4.5 million) can realistically partake. Don’t get me wrong, we love to try, but until the population of one of our cities – until our entire country – reaches double digits, I truly don’t think that we qualify to run with the big boys.

Have you seen the size of Singapore? It’s a speck, a dead set speck on the globe. Yeah, well even they have over 5 million people. What about India? It’s a fairly big chunk of land, sure, but they’re pushing 1.3 billion. China in total is somewhere near 1.4 billion, again, over a huge land mass; out of interest, in the last year China added over twice NZs population to their own in child births alone. Then within China you have the city of Beijing.

20 million heads each vying for their portion of clean air.

These statistics illustrate that it’s primarily the concentration of people that causes problems. People live, people work, people develop; people pollute. The more people being active, the more space each requires. Singapore has a slightly higher population than NZ. Yet its land mass is less than Stewart Island of NZ. Japan is a better comparison. It’s around the same land mass – it’s even a similar shape.

Japan’s population is approximately 128 000 000.

Fortunately Japanese are renowned for being a clean people. Even so, 128 million is 128 million. Japan’s capital, Tokyo, contains around 13 of those million making it the most densely populated city in the world. Clean living or not it is simply implausible that this kind of activity (over 6000 persons per square kilometre) is not significantly raising pollution levels.

Finally, down to the Southern Hemisphere. Australia’s doing alright on 23 million and as far as I know, they don’t give a toss about the environment. Why should they? They have a massive country affording each all the space they could want, mineral rich soil along with a surplus of fresh air. That seems to be the theme. Vast land mass, relatively low numbers, carefree prosperity. Look at Argentina with almost double Australia’s population, but also with an expansive portion of land under them. They don’t make a big deal out of pollution, and nor should they.

So why do we?

Why do we make such a fuss about our ‘clean burning fires’, our ‘low emission vehicles’, prohibiting our ‘contaminated water run-off’ or ensuring ‘prudent waste disposal’ – the bloody ‘fart tax’ was a crock, the ‘carbon tax’ was no better; similarly ‘carbon credits’ managed to confuse and little more – so why the hell does NZ persevere?

Seems to me we don’t have enough going on in our sheltered little worlds to keep our fragile minds occupied, so worrying about trivialities is a pastime at which we have become adept. Other countries have wars; we have the Rugby World Cup. Other countries have real issues; we have P.T.A. meetings. Other countries have famine; we have no Marmite for our toast.

Honestly, we could not affect the state of the planet if the entire nation shit in a bucket and threw it in the ocean.


Article By Mit Reklaw

Edited By R. Swipe

Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Turning Thirty

Why would you do it? Why would anyone do it? Given the choice I sure as hell wouldn’t do it. It’s not a choice though, is it? It’s just what happens a year or two after you turn 29.

Here I am, 364 days past the last of the twenties. Do I feel older than I felt last birthday? No, I don’t. Perhaps I will at 7am tomorrow. I doubt it. Do I feel as though I have lived 29 complete years, thereby qualifying me to officially turn thirty? Certainly not. I still feel like a kid. I have never felt like a grown-up – nor have I ever acted like one.

Just ask anyone who knows me.

Sure, I do all the mature stuff that a guy my age should do, but that’s only because I thought it was what people expected of me. In fact there’s a quip that I like to deliver to people who question my age or level of maturity – I tell them: “Reckon I was more mature as a 14-year-old than I am now.”

There’s a great deal of truth in that. When I was 14, under the guidance of a throng of educated educators, I was a compulsive planner. I therefore made a lot of goals regarding future life and such. For example:

When I was 14, I set a goal to come home from my 21st birthday party to my own home.

I bought my first house when I was 20.

When I was 14, I set a goal to become a mechanic.

Fortunately I didn’t specify what kind of mechanic, so wasn’t disenchanted at becoming a diesel mechanic.

When I was 14, I set a goal to come home from my 21st birthday party having completed the apprenticeship on my impending mechanic position.

Shit man, I didn’t even have a bloody 21st birthday party – I was too deep in rehabilitation after sustaining massive head trauma in a bloody car crash.

The point though, I was a pretty damn clued up 14-year-old. Despite my excess of premature diligence however, I never afforded much regard to the field of relationships; given my accruing age, it would not an unreasonable expectation that I should be married with children right now.

Shit. Really? I don’t even think I have a girlfriend.

So I messed up there. Planned the shit out of the rest of my life, left out arguably the most important facet. Love. I don’t care what you cold-hearted, ignorant pricks say, love is important. 30 years old tomorrow, having never been loved by a woman. It does matter.

As I said earlier, don’t do it.


Article by Mit Reklaw

Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Txt Language

As communication via keyboard becomes a keystone in peoples’ modern lives, so too, does this peculiar written dialect.

Acronyms and abbreviations have for a long while been a part of life: SCUBA, NASA; Attn, etc… etc. So it’s fair to say that there’s nothing wrong with today’s youth inventing an entirely new vernacular based around acronyms and abbreviations, right?

Don’t know if I’d agree.

The human desire for convenience and simplicity is a powerful thing. We want, we need life to be simple. We don’t want to have to do more than is required of us, that would be a waste of energy. Is it that we believe that because we put in the hard yards as kids, being picked on at school, going through puberty, having our hearts broken by the girl/boy of our dreams along with myriad other shitty situations, now, as adults, we are entitled to ease of life..? Really? Entitle yourself to this. Worse still, as our current generation of youth grow into over-sized soft-cocks, it is clear that they no longer want to have to work for anything; they actually expect everything to be handed to them and what’s more, they expect it now.

So when it comes to written communication, obviously, with 26 letters in the alphabet, 5 of which are vowels and 1 which likes to masquerade as such, we are not short on selection. It was established, presumably by a group of prepubescent girls some years ago, that vowels in written vernacular are a largely extraneous inclusion. Given that every word has at least one of these – if you include the travesty – you’ve just shortened every wrd in the English language. Good work. Then, perhaps these same girls, realised that a lot of the remaining consonants were also a waste of time. Do we really need two consecutive Ls in the word silly? There’s only one G in ragamuffin, so why would you need two Ls in rapscallion? Thus we have sntnces wit wrds tht look as tho they’ve bin mutilatd by n eraser-wielding, literary psychopath.

Possibly the most troubling aspect of this phenomenon though, is the list of abbreviations that some genius compiled in order to shorten some of the more commonly uttered phrases. Put that together with your jumble of vowel-less, shortened words and what do you have? An incongruous, largely incomprehensible statement, where the effort saved by the author is put directly onto the recipient as effort expended in deciphering the garbled piece of crap.

Example given: hay bro wot up jst gaan fir crus wnna cum lol cors u do ud hv 2 gt pimssn frm ol ldy 1st lol iv jst bin slipn tho lol so gime 10 lol no $ atm etha…

WTF? Who really Laughs Out Loud that much, and at themselves? That was just confusing. Even more asinine is the pillocks who think they’re being clever by changing the configuration of a word to make it look more how it sounds, but end up making the word longer than the genuine spelling. In a delightful combination of written abbreviation mixing with articulation: “Oh and, B-T-W…”

By The Way has three syllables. B-T-W has five. You’re going against everything you believe in and making work for yourself. IDK…

BTW, IMAO there has to be worse things to have happened to the English language in the past 100 years than a bunch of nonsensical abbreviations being thrown around a page or screen; so when I locate them, I’ll be sure to document them in full.

Nice one.


Article by Mit Reklaw

Photography by O. Raiter

Edited by B. A. Wuurd-Smith

Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Brain Trauma

Whether you are close to someone affected with the aforementioned affliction or perhaps had only the briefest of encounters, your treatment of them ought to have been the same.

            So why was it not?

            Why is it that these so called ‘brain damaged souls’ are largely pitied, or even ostrasised by the majority, most commonly on the charge of being ‘weird’ or ‘not normal’? Why do regular folk perceive those with brain injury as people to be avoided? Is it our innate fear of the unknown coming forth? Or is it just that most people are ignorant bigots? The thing is, head injury patients are really no different from you or… well, to be fair, I am the result of a severe head injury.

            Around six months after my release, my honourable discharge from Burwood Brain Unit in Christchurch, I still wore the façade of a brain-dead zombie – the façade. While on the surface I might have appeared vacuous, while the words I used to project myself were laboured and slurred; while it might have looked as though my rubbery exterior assimilated and felt nothing, this was an erroneous assessment.

At that time, amid an evening at the local pub, glazed, glassy as my eyes might still have been, unreceptive as people assumed that I was, I witnessed the covert glances of wonderment, pity, or even guilt at not possessing the gumption to actually approach and speak to me. (This for the same guy who you used to admire and respect but now that shit’s happened, he’s changed; he’s different.) Worse still, I heard the people whispering questions, inane inquiries to my nearby siblings – as if it had not occurred to them to come and ask me, as if the response of zombie would not prove credible among a jury of drunkards.

There is nothing more demeaning as a 17-year-old, recently head injured lad, than to see a girl you’ve fancied for a long while, knowing that she also has been holding a candle for you, catching her eye, seeing her make her way over, feeling the elation, the anticipation rising within you, then only to have what you had initially detected as a sultry smirk, drift downwards into a face torn by compassion, lined with concern; punctuated by a stinking, putrid heap of pity. (Men often joke about the perils of falling into the ‘friend rut’, given that the chances of later extricating oneself from therein are slim. So guys, how much chance do you reckon there is of pulling oneself from the ‘pity rut’?) This beautiful girl who for many years had been the centre of my affections, from then on, could only ever see me as a charity case to be pitied.

As the night wore on, as drunkenness became diffuse and inhibitions became scarce, the most frequently asked question that would come from beneath a furrowed brow of compassion/confusion: “Ah, hi … do you remember who I am..?”

Chalk that one up to television. The one recognisable deficit resulting from brain injury. Memory loss. The thing that those shows always neglect to cover is the rest of it. The brain is everything, not just the head. Sure, speech and basic motor function are commonly affected facets, but what about the other stuff? What about the less glamorous side of it, the rudimentary tasks? What about cutting your toenails; what about squeezing your pimples; what about wiping your arse?

Also, no one wakes up from a nine day coma, rolls over, yawns, then with a look of profound dissatisfaction, coherently mumbles a charming statement referring to something he had been doing just prior to the onset of his coma. It doesn’t work like that. Granted, all head injuries manifest different symptoms but after a nine day coma, one would be lucky to recall anything of a day or two before the injury and chances are, the slate’s going to be wiped clean for at least the next couple of weeks. When somebody awakens from a coma they don’t immediately start registering everything around them thus memory, in the beginning, does not exist. It takes time.

Good old TV. According to its writers brain trauma only lasts a handful of episodes, or at most, two omnibuses; then following that, reintegration comes as second nature to these stricken people.

Probably the most infuriating thing experienced by head injury sufferers is the lack of knowledge, or awareness, on the topic. It’s not a sufficiently common problem to be widely accepted but nor is it noticeable enough to be easily observed. This can leave those afflicted feeling trapped in their own head, with the knowledge that in the outside world, with the rest of the population, simply, they do not measure up. Whether or not this is true makes little difference. A damaged brain thinks what it wants to think.

Any mental shortcoming, disability, issue or illness – no matter the nature – should be managed by those around it with care, grace and reverence. Personally, detest pity. Presumably, so do most other brain damaged souls. Be normal to us, and we’ll be normal back. (Normal of course, being an entirely subjective term.)


Article by Mit Reklaw

Photography by Indie Head

Edited by S Crew-Luce

Mit Reklaw’s Truth on Annie Sullivan

Given instruction to consider history’s notable women, most minds would likely swing to famous female athletes or actresses of days gone by. Curious. The World’s most notable and indeed, the most remarkable woman ever to live, in my opinion, went by the name Anne.

Born in Massachusetts on April 14, 1866, Johanna Mansfield Sullivan immediately became known as, Anne. As one of four siblings of impecunious Irish immigrants, Anne was only a child when in 1874, her mother passed away. Thereafter Anne and brother James were sent to an almshouse, where she remained for almost seven years. In 1880 Anne lost her vision as a result of an untreated trachoma and was subsequently sent to Perkins School for the Blind. While there she underwent eye surgery, successfully restoring partial vision and went on to graduate in 1886, aged 20, as valedictorian.

It was in 1887 that Anne’s life took a most dramatic turn.

She was approached by the head of her former school, Michael Anagnos, and asked to become a tutor for 6-year-old deaf-blind sufferer, Helen Keller. This proposition would begin a 49 year relationship between two dedicated people, inspiring a bond of unprecedented trust and companionship.

Anne first taught Helen to communicate by placing an object in one of her student’s hands while spelling its name into the palm of her other, beginning with d-o-l-l for the doll that she had brought as a gift. Unsurprisingly, with limited comprehension of practically everything that comprised her world, Helen initially showed frustration at not understanding the theme of the game – that all of life’s objects come with a unique title.

The breakthrough came around one month later. Anne ran cool water over one of Helen’s hands while tracing the name ‘water’ on the palm of the other, until the child realized the symbolic significance of the letters being drawn. She could now relate the patterns she felt on her hand, with the sensation of water.

From then on Anne’s onus became much more tiresome, with the innately curious Helen wanting to know what palm motions went with almost every other familiar object in life.

In 1888, Anne went to work convincing Helen’s parents to allow her to attend Perkins School for the Blind, where she could have proper tutelage. On approval they moved to Boston where Helen received the schooling she required and Anne continued to build upon those abilities. Helen soon became revered for her remarkable progress. When she graduated some years later, Anne followed her to New York where they frequented Wright-Humason School for the Blind. It was at this institution that they endeavoured to gain further skills in the fields of lip-reading and oral speech.

In 1905 Anne married Harvard University instructor and literary critic, John Albert Macy who moved in with Helen and she. Alas, a few years on, Anne and John’s union began to fall apart. Although the pair never officially divorced, he gradually faded from her life.

Johanna Mansfield Sullivan never remarried.


Article by Mit Reklaw

Photography by I.C. Ocean

Edited by I.C. Ocean II

Foreword by P.N. Ocean

Graphics by C.U.P. Higher By Design