Blog Archives

Verbal Sticks and Stones

Photo by Rich Johnson

Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can also harm you.

Be careful with words, the scars they cause may not be visible but they are real, words can cause real damage.

People may appear strong and able to cope, but what is going on beneath the surface may not be apparent, and you do not know what demons people are struggling with.

Being told to “get over it” or “harden up” are not helpful statements especially if you have been brave enough to reveal a problem. Yes, we need a reminder from time to time it doesn’t matter what others think about you (or me); but, if you are struggling, you need support and encouragement, at times even professional assistance.

We all can struggle with self-esteem or self-worth issues at some point in life, some people are more obvious with letting it be known, and others just hide it away. The trigger points are different for everyone and you may not understand what your own triggers are.

Words can have permanent consequences for people. You never know how close to the edge someone is, or what they are going through. so be very careful.

Let your words build up and not destroy.

Paul S Allen

I am not a stranger to being bullied, as a child, teenager and as an adult. It has been in the form of words and insults, intimidation, threats and physical attacks.  Coming to a new country as a child with a different accent, just not being the same as others, or being quiet and shy or for no apparent reason at all. What ever the reason given, there is no valid reason to bully anyone, ever.


New Zealand support services

Youthline: 0800 376 633

Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 – 24 hour service

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

For an emergency if you or someone else is at risk, call 111


Powerful photos illustrate real damage done verbal abuse

Petapixel.com

The image above is one of a few photos that are a great visual representation on the power that words can have.

Be aware some of the images, although staged, may cause a reaction in you and may not be suitable for sensitive people or children.

 


 Stand up together –  Stop Bullying – Pink Shirt Day this Friday – 23 May 2014 http://www.pinkshirtday.org.nz


Apparition in Chingford Park 2

When a competition becomes too much.

PaulusthebritI love social media especially Twitter. It is a great way to meet many good and interesting people, collaborate with projects, share experience, or just to chat. Over the last few months however my experience with social media has become somewhat frustrating to the point that I have felt bullied and have been insulted by other users because I have not supported a particular social media competition. This has reached a stage where I have resorted to restricting access to my twitter account and have started to block and report offending accounts.

Currently in New Zealand a competition is running that would give the winning town access to ultra fast internet access. Chorus New Zealand, the company that is running and promoting the Gigatown competition plays an important part in the infrastructure of telecommunication in NZ and the prize would be positive for the winning town. I have no issue with the company itself but the competition is highly worrying.

The competition works on twitter (should work like )by using a particular hashtag to raise the importance of high-speed internet and its benefits to the entire community.

Initially I looked at supporting the competition, however, some others who support the competition consistently request/reminded me to add the hashtag to all of my tweets. Most of the followers I have on twitter are not in New Zealand and the competition is irrelevant for them so I chose not to use the hashtag.

There are multiple twitter accounts being setup by individuals solely for the purpose of the competition, with tweet numbers that can only be described as spam. New  accounts with 48 followers, following 67 and have 3500+ tweets, most of which are retweets of other people’s hashtags.  Another account is worse.

Screen Shot 2014-05-03 at 8.47.14 pm

Many of the tweets being sent by the supporters of the competition read like this…

“@[________] : Anyone tried the Sundaes from ____________ in #Gigatown_______? Delicious!”

“@[_________]: At the ice hockey in #gigatown_______! What a game!”

“@[_________]: Great day to try out the new shoes! Feel pretty good and look awesome! #gigatown________ “

(tweets modified to protect the account owners)

Very few tweets actually discuss the benefits of fast broadband internet.

Some supporters are promoting that for every original tweet or reply they should be retweeting four other gigatown hashtag tweets. It might just fit with Twitter rules but in regards to good social media practice this can only be seen as spam. Some accounts are sending up to 1000 tweets a day.

The pressure put on myself (and others) by the supporters of the competition to use the hashtags and the sheer number of hashtags being used has caused much dissatisfaction and annoyance amongst seasoned and long-standing Twitter users like myself.

At no other time in the five plus years of using twitter have I encountered so much pressure that can only be described as stand over tactics against people who are not participants in the competition.

 

Intellectual Property – What’s yours isn’t.

The competition itself has terms and conditions that I strongly object to around the topic of Intellectual Property and submission of material.

the clause reads…

“You grant Chorus a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable (without consent or notification), irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to use anything you post on any platform for the purpose of this Competition, in part or in its entirety, for any purpose. For purposes of this clause, “use” includes (without limitation) promote, replicate, copy, modify, enhance, sublicense, distribute, transmit, exploit, sell, rebrand and market, whether as part of Chorus’s products and/or services or otherwise, without reference or attribution to you.” http://gigatown.co.nz/terms-and-conditions

One major concern as a person in the creative arts is about ownership, copyright and attribution of created works. I have some work which is creative commons (Attribution, No Derivative, Non-Commercial) licence and others that I have chosen to have full copyright by myself.

A concern is that if a third-party submits content of mine to the competition (with or without consent), the conveyor of the competition would then have the rights to it. I reject this entirely. I reserve all rights to my own created works and I will decide who, how and where they are used and what attribution is required.

The sooner this competition is finished the better.

Paul S Allen

I am still on twitter if you are not following you are most welcome to join me, just ask

 Brilliant satire  about gigatown from John McGlashan High School in Dunedin

Summer Sunset Dunedin

To love the unlovely

How the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged are treated is the measure of society.

If you go behind all our masks, behind the tattoos, the makeup, the hair, the gender, the orientation, the religion or non-religion, you will meet a human. Someone who breathes the air, has blood in their veins, eats, rests, and generally lives from one routine to another.

We are all human.

My eyes were opened one day when a feared gang member stopped outside a food shop to buy his lunch. What I saw that day was a person, who probably ordered and paid for his favourite sandwich, and looked forward to eating it.

A man with a hunger, a need, a desire for something, normal, satisfying.

I got to know this man in a small way over a few years, I knew him as a person who looked out for his friends, he was a caring man, he tried to protect youth when needed. He shared with me his concerns about children playing in a derelict building site. He had a desire to improve his circumstances and of those around him.

He was also a gang member, he wore a patch, I am sure he had earned it in a way I did not want to know about. He was an outcast from “normal” society.

What I mainly saw was the man, a human.

A desire to change from someone with a less than “normal” past, whether that be criminal or other anti-social background  (mental health especially has a stigma that people need to overcome) requires us to change our attitude, it requires us to get out of our comfort zone to reach out to the one wanting to change.

It means taking a risk.

Unless we are prepared to take a risk to reach out to others who are different from us how can we ever expect to improve our community.

To ostracize the unlovely, the broken and the disadvantaged is an indictment on the society we live in.

We need to be a community where forgiveness is a norm, where there is acceptance of the different, and where those wishing to and needing to change can find a place to do so and people who can help.

To love the unlovely is to love your fellow human. Something we are all called to do.

Paul S Allen

(aka paulusthebrit – twitter)
Caution

Who said it’s wrong or right?

There is so much debate about privacy and security especially in New Zealand with the highly controversial Government Communications Security Bureau getting the ability to spy on New Zealand citizens in our own country. It is absolutely right to be concerned about it. The “nothing to hide , nothing to fear” argument is flawed at best. Privacy is a right that needs to be protected.

An important questions is this…

Who determines what is right or wrong?

Yes there are bad people in the world, yes there are criminal elements that want to harm and destroy others for personal gain. There are misguided groups and ideologies that are also set on the destruction of others. Not many would disagree that these need to be stopped. We may not want outlawed gang members to be able to freely associate together, but what about far right (or left) extremists or religious fanatics?

  • How far should the rule of law go?
  • Who determines what level of “extremes” or “fanaticism” are?
  • What about those who just simply disagree with you?
  • Where is the boundary between that which acceptable and that which is not?
  • Who legislates that?
  • Who enforces it?
  • Who determines that an ideology or belief should be banned or promoted?
  • What are the values and agenda of the law makers?
  • Who is to say they are right in their judgement?
  • Who will hold them to account?
  • Freedom of association is important but to what level? Who determines that?

No answers here just questions.

Paul S Allen

Dunedin protest against the GCSB + TICS bills

Fear

Fear in itself is neither positive or negative. It is a result of the stimulus of a situation on an area of our psyche that produces a chemical reaction in our bodies. The fight or flight response.

The Long Dark Shadow

The Long Dark Shadow

Fear should not be eliminated altogether it serves an important purpose, that is to protect us from harm.

What is needed is, to be able to control and use it. We need to take note of it and understand it then make a decision how we are to act.

React or respond? For the most part the best result of the onset of fear is for us to respond, that is, to act in a considered way.

The main way fear becomes truly negative is when it cause us to become paralyzed and unable to make decisions. Fear can be tamed. When I went to Toastmasters I was taught that it was not about getting rid of the “butterflies in my stomach” it was about making them fly in formation.

Fear should highlight areas that need to be addressed and either fixed or avoided. What fear are you facing?

  • What are you being challenged by?
  • What are the things that you need to let go or move away from?
  • Why do you react the way you do to certain situations?

Fear should result in change, either to the situation or your response to it.

Fear comes in many guises, danger: things that could lead to physical harm or death; change: letting go of the past, moving out of comfort zones, moving from familiar to unfamiliar, risk of loss.

No forward progress can be made if you are tightly holding onto the past.

To get over fear you need to build strategy, develop the ability to control the adrenalin rush. Talk your situation over with trusted friends, mentors, coaches.

To have courage you need to be en-couraged. The great thing about this is when you have courage you can become the encourager.

The wisdom is in knowing which fear needs to be respected and which needs to be dealt with.

Paul S Allen

There are many irrational fears, phobias and anxieties, these need to be addressed with care and often with professional assistance. 

%d bloggers like this: