Head versus heart by Susan Grimsdell

I came across a sentence today that really stuck in my mind:  “We are not rational beings”.  This worried me, because surely what we need above all else is to use our brains, not our emotions, to solve our many and varied problems. We all know that emotions are the things that get us into trouble, whether it’s falling in love with the wrong person or getting angry at the wrong time with, again, the wrong person, not to speak of making decisions based on what makes us feel good instead of… Read More

Leaders of the US of A by Susan Grimsdell

Next year the US will hold a presidential election and Trump is going to run, hoping for a second term. Discrimination I was thinking back to June 11, 1963 when another president was in office:  John F Kennedy.  He addressed the nation on that day about the issue of civil rights.  At the time, in many parts of the USA, black people had to send their kids to separate (and inferior) schools, they had to use toilets and drinking fountains marked “blacks”, they were not allowed to have lunch in cafes marked… Read More

School donations in New Zealand by Susan Grimsdell

Schools in New Zealand are rated from 1 to 10, depending on the socio-economic  zone in which they’re located.  Decile 10 applies to wealthy areas and Decile 1 to deprived areas.  The system was introduced in 1995 by the right-wing National Party. Donations required Primary and high school education are free here, but almost all schools ask for a donation from parents to fund facilities and amenities not normally supplied. In Decile 10 areas, parents donate heaps, as you can imagine.  In poor areas, donations are a problem for parents who simply… Read More

Young people on the streets by Susan Grimsdell

I’ve come across two crowds of young people in the past couple of weeks.  On 24 May hundreds and hundreds of students marched down Queen Street in Auckland blocking the entire street. They were angry at us – oldies – who have used and abused the planet: the damaged, degraded planet they will be obliged to cope with in the coming years.  They carried handmade placards with messages from the heart.  These were not mass-produced as is the case in some protests.  “I’d be in School if the Planet were Cool”, “I’ll… Read More

Gender definition by Susan Grimsdell

There could hardly be a more modern problem than the one facing Caster Semenya, the South African 800m Olympic champion. She is defined as an athlete with “Differences of Sex Development”. Her testosterone levels are apparently higher than the Olympic Committee accepts for a person to be categorised as female. If Caster wants to go on competing in the women’s races, she will have to take oral contraceptives to bring those pesky levels down. Gender dilemma Sports scientists estimate that if she does take the pill, it will cost her about 7… Read More