Monthly Archives: November 2013

Mit Reklaw’s Opinion

Why the hell is everybody so damned opinionated these days?

Furthermore, why is it that every idiot with an opinion, seems to think that their opinion, is a bloody brilliant opinion and in their opinion, it should be heeded without exception?

For anyone to claim that their opinion should be heard above other opinions, in my opinion, is the wrong opinion.

Opinion is a personal expression of the mind and everybody is entitled to their own. As individuals our opinions are what set us apart – without them we would be sheep. Our opinions polarise us and rightly so…

Some opinions are daft.

As people, we need only see a new face to form a basic opinion of the character behind it. Problem with this style of introduction, potentially, it’s fraught with inaccuracies.

I entered a supermarket foyer the other day and was accosted by a couple of elderly women seated behind a bench, selling raffle tickets. As I scanned the adjacent display of vegetable saplings one of the pair leaned forward and beseeched, “Sir, you must have two dollars for a raffle ticket..?”

In fact my wallet contained several two dollar coins but glancing at the prize – a miniature Christmas tree adorned with Instant Kiwi tickets – I began to politely decline the offer.

The woman persevered: “Come on Sir, give it a go, you look like a lucky man…”

I paused, chuckled inwardly and thought, ‘Lady, if you only knew…’

With a wry grin I removed my wallet, popped the dome and parted with two dollars. Both ladies smiled broadly, clearly surprised at how easily men can be cajoled.

In reality I’d seen it was an RSA fundraiser, leading to a surge of magnanimity.

Accepting the pen on offer I hunched over the bench, thrust down my right hand then to the ladies’ horror, appeared to try and crush it with my left. I raised my twitching head, met their eyes in succession, smiled grimly, then with a spasmodic right arm steadied by its forceful opposite, painstakingly drew my name; straightened, handed back the pen, wiped the few beads of sweat from my brow, smiled again and bid the women a good day…

“Oh, Sir,” came an unnerved voice from behind me, “Sir, you forgot to leave your phone number..?”

“No I didn’t,” I called back.

Point made.

As mentioned, people tend to form instantaneous opinions on other people. The subjects of these opinions sometimes feel they are being judged – these people should learn to distinguish ‘judgmental’ from ‘observational’. Those two old ladies certainly hadn’t been judgemental, they had merely seen what they had seen and based upon that, had formed an immediate opinion of me: debonair gentleman – lucky

Just a pity that initial opinion was so far from accurate.

…With limited control of his limbs – perhaps not so much.

That said, those who do bitch and moan about being judged by others, seem to be those same people who live less than wholesome, often reprehensible, sometimes even debauched lifestyles and to be fair, are probably already judging themselves anyway…

That’s my opinion.



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Judge Mantle

Photography by O Pinion

Mit Reklaw’s Issues

Everyone has issues. This is a fact of life.

Whether they’re personal quandaries or problems of a worldly nature, everybody has their own. The significance will differ from person to person but to the individual in question, of course, their issues are by far the most serious…

Take a wealthy family from an opulent Auckland suburb: the father’s biggest concern is ensuring the success of a business deal in the Japanese fish market while still having time for golf on Fridays; the son is despairing because he feels that he is invisible in the eyes of a girl he fancies at school.

To father and son, these issues are all consuming.

Conversely, take a family who are in a constant struggle for financial stability. The father works 16 hour days just to meet costs and is worried by talk of a company take-over, leading to inevitable job losses. Bereft of a steady income he will not be able to continue funding his daughter’s overseas schooling. The daughter, understanding the importance of education; also how hard her father is working to give her just that, is obliged to ignore any distractions, forego a social life and immerse herself in her schoolwork.

Father and daughter struggle under issues resulting from their hectic lifestyles.

So which pair has the most substantial issues? The company man stressed about pushing through a big corporate deal, and his besotted son; or the hard working labourer fearful that his job could be in jeopardy, and his devoted daughter..?

It comes down to perspective. The company man believes that his issues are of the utmost consequence because that’s what he knows – big business is all he knows. He understands what it is to lose a deal of this nature and to miss out on Friday afternoon golf would be a similar injustice. His son has always had everything his own way and is powerless to comprehend what it is to not have something he wants – to this boy missing out on an opportunity with a girl is tantamount to a month of bad hair days.

The labourer believes that his issues are of such magnitude because to him the future prosperity of his daughter is paramount; the daughter knows that her father feels this way so is beholden to reciprocate the effort.

The reason that everyone has issues is simple: as people, we tend to place our single greatest concern at the fore of our minds, thus forming an issue.

To a person with multiple worries everything else is supplanted by the big one, rendering their other concerns less terrible by comparison. To somebody with few or no worries, they find something to fill that foremost spot then regardless of substance, consider it their biggest concern.

We secretly love it. We need it. It stimulates that subconscious part of our brain which yearns for disharmony. It occupies our minds, gives us something to think – something to worry about.

When the company man receives word of the success of his deal he sets down his five-iron and promptly makes a call; as per the plan, he cuts by half the employment base of his new company and relaxes, satisfied that all his worries have finally come to a close.

When the labourer turns up at work only to be told there is no longer a job for him, he reluctantly makes a call pulling his daughter from her offshore schooling; conceding that although she won’t receive the private education he had desired for her, there’s nothing he can do about it so he might as well accept these new circumstances.

When the boy arrives at school the next day to discover that the object of his affections has returned to her home country he is first shocked, then devastated, then angry.

When the girl is informed that her father has organised her immediate passage back to Japan, initial disappointment at a premature end to the school year soon gives way to relief at having so much pressure relieved.

A week later the boy is still feeling indignant at the way things turned out with his Japanese sweetheart, and being the spoilt little problem child he was brought up to be, is ensuring that everybody feels the full force of his maelstrom.

A week later the girl is glad to be home with her oddly relaxed father, who is in talks with a local public school to allow her to finish the year’s curriculum in Japan.

A week later the company man is still weathering the tempest from a hostile little rapscallion who is doing everything he can to make life a living hell for everyone.

A week later the labourer is pleased to have his daughter home and has found a less oppressing, significantly lower paying job as a janitor at his daughter’s prospective new school.

Interesting how things work out.

The labourer is still impoverished as he always was, yet is rather more content than the company man with a seven digit salary. The daughter is just happy to be back with her father while the son, having never been taught the sanctity of sacrifice, is frustrated at the way life has treated him thus far and as the years pass, will assuredly become less satisfied.

Most regular folk would argue that really, the company man and his son didn’t have issues in the first place and now, well, they still don’t.

I think the well-to-do duo would disagree.

Those same good hearted people would no doubt take pity on the labourer and his daughter maintaining they didn’t deserve the issues they had in the beginning, and would have been glad when things improved for them…

Realistically, that little Japanese man thrived on his 16 hour days at the fish works; after all, he had nothing else. Truth be told, his issues, he was lovelorn. As for the daughter, she had frightfully low self esteem. She felt as though she was constantly underachieving. The company man and his narcissistic personality disorder was always an awkward fit in their household, given his son’s sense of entitlement and propensity for tantrums.

As earlier stated, everyone has issues. It doesn’t matter how trivial; doesn’t matter if everybody thinks they’re nothing – as the brain perceiving the issue, if that’s all the issue there is, that issue will be there at the fore. People need to have issues.

Issues keep us grounded. Issues keep us real. Our issues complete us.



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Percy Eve

Photography by Ash Hugh




Mit Reklaw’s Addiction

The word addiction is bandied about a great deal these days, but what does it really mean?

By definition, addiction is ‘the condition of being abnormally dependent on some habit, especially a compulsive dependency on narcotic substances’.

Less officially, it’s an urge to do certain stuff, repeatedly.

Whichever way one perceives it, this compulsive behaviour invariably comes with negative connotations. For you see without the inherent detriment, addiction would have to be downgraded to merely, passion.

I’ve always believed that addiction is not so much a mental issue as it is the simple act of loving something too much – which, yes, admittedly, does often result in my detriment.

The point remains: some people have an excessive love of eating; these people are considered food addicts. Others are besotted with the rush of gambling or/and the grandiose effect of alcohol; some have their love affair with cigarettes or/and other drugs.

Addiction is a filthy word. It carries a stigma rivalled only by peoples’ general feeling for politicians. Here’s the thing though, addiction is not always bad. There are good, honest folk out there addicted to good, honest pastimes. Sure, perhaps they do it so much that it isolates them from their wonderfully balanced contemporaries, but that’s not detrimental, that’s their choice.

Take a diligent man who is so passionate about his career that he makes his work his life. By definition, this man is now addicted to work. Some might prefer the hackneyed colloquialism, workaholic, but no. If you want to mix alcoholism with work, that’s your call.

Workaholic, chocoholic; fitness freak, health freak… In the 21st century the aforementioned categories are said to denote addictions of sorts, but do they really? Can an undying passion for chocolate really be considered an addiction? I think more just a weakness of spirit. What about fitness? Addiction – or desire to be the best you can be?

That’s the thing: distinguishing addiction in its truest sense from merely enjoying, or loving something too much.

I am blessed with an addictive personality. This means that if I do something once and like it, odds are I’ll do it again and again and again and again until someone forces me to stop. Then when they’re not looking I’ll likely do it another couple of times.

I stop short of referring to these part time passions as addictions – suffice to say I am easily consumed. Smoking, drinking; gambling and kleptomania are but a few of the demons that have reared their compelling heads in the past fifteen years. In fact, I find myself in a constant battle to avoid the intoxicating allure of life’s vices. Substitution is my cavalry.

Nefarious Addictions for Innocuous Distractions.

It’s not perceived as a weakness to be a fitness fanatic but it is to be a smoker; therefore I cancel out one with the other. Then coming as nothing short of oxymoronic, my passion for healthy living makes up for my love of Scotch whisky; my compulsion to be prudent with money negated by a love of betting on greyhounds. Kleptomania’s an odd one, but my overwhelming desire to scrawl page upon page of rhymes long ago took care of all my accumulated pens.

That’s a lot of addictions for one man to harbour.

Get this. Our addictions are in our heads. Primarily; purely. They can be beaten down by the same part of our brains that elevated them in the first place…

Alternatively we could choose to die with our so-called addictions.

Would that be so bad?



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Kim Pulson

Photography by Mia Dixon

Mit Reklaw’s Rate of Nitrate

Seems Ashburton folk aren’t into drinking poison.

The aforementioned toxin takes the form of nitrate and has been found in drinking water throughout Mid Canterbury.

Reportedly it’s only ‘trace amounts’, but here’s the thing, when it comes to the health of newborns and pregnant women, trace amounts can be damaging…

Wait a minute. Stop. While I am a staunch supporter of the whole ‘let’s not poison our kids philosophy’, I reckon someone must have their facts confused. I happen to know that Ashburton and practically the entire Mid Canterbury region, draw their water from wells. I understand furthermore that water drawn from the earth, on account of soil’s natural filtering process, is indubitably of pristine quality..?

What if it wasn’t though? What if the dairy industry in Mid Canterbury had become intensive to the point that chemicals applied to farms’ surfaces were leaching into the earth; eventually finding their way into the water supply?

Fact. Nitrate has been discovered in over twenty Ashburton wells.

Have to admit, that does sound bad – sounds like the perfect opportunity for Canterbury Health Officials to do some scaremongering while at the same time, besmirching the nation’s favourite scapegoats, dairy farmers.

Fact. Nitrate has been discovered only in private, comparatively shallow wells; therefore Ashburton locals who take their water from the deeper municipal supply, need not be concerned.

That said, it’s still not good. Whichever way you perceive it, Mid Canterbury drinking water contains detectable levels of pollution.

Fact. The New Zealand drinking water contamination threshold is twice as strict as that of most other countries – what we might consider toxic, these other countries call refreshing.

Even so, as earlier stated it only takes a small amount of nitrate to affect the well-being of infants – depriving of oxygen the muscular systems in both born and unborn babies.

So how do we amend the issue?

Well. Federated Farmers maintain the intensification of farming in the area is not necessarily the sole cause of water pollution. While the addition of nitrogen-based fertiliser coupled with increased ground saturation appears the logical offender, run-off from the Ashburton freezing works is a likely cause also…

This is not so much amending the issue as it is shifting blame.

True enough. Bear with me. I am uncertain why the sky is blue, but I’m pretty sure nitrogen is what makes the grass green. During summer Mid Canterbury didn’t used to be green. It was more of a brown hue. It lacked water. Also fertility.

Then one day both deficits were met.


Now irrigation draws added nitrogen into the soil. Now the sky is blue and the grass grows green. Nowadays not only is Mid Canterbury dairy farming possible, it has become intrinsic to the New Zealand economy.

The obvious way to rectify this water pollution problem would be to stop, or at least regulate intensive dairy farming. Given that I don’t see this happening, perhaps chlorination is the answer because simply, it can’t work both ways.

Mid Canterbury cannot have fields of lush grass for its cows and unadulterated water in its taps.



Article by Mit Reklaw

Edited by Dear Ray Former

Photography by Polly Utante