I am really sorry about missing last month’s issue, but I was at a concrete conference in South Vietnam. You might say it was a bit of a revelation to me.
If any of you people haven’t been to Vietnam, it might be a good idea to pay the place a visit. Ninety million people living there, there is no social welfare, no old age pension, no free one year’s tertiary education, no paid parental leave, no minimum wage, no four weeks’ paid holiday a year – but it somehow all seems to work for them.
I spent three days down in the Mekong Delta and realised how the Americans had no chance of winning the war there. 20 million people living in a swamp, basically. Existing and trying to feed their families, somehow.
I came home and realised we don’t have a clue what poverty is, what substandard housing is, what traffic chaos is like and basically we have nothing to moan about here.
I spent most of my time in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, a city of 11 million people. In my time there I hardly saw a policeman, or a traffic incident. Somehow 11 lanes of traffic merge into two without any problems. Sure, it’s chaotic but it works, and I swear on my mother’s bible that I never will stop at one of those stupid on ramp traffic lights, ever again.
I remember vividly where I was when I got a text from one of my sons telling me that the NZ Winston party had entered into a coalition agreement with the Labour party. I’ve never seen so many fellow New Zealanders wanting to cut their throats at the same time. Now we have a Prime Minister who has never held a job in the real world, except working in a fish and chip shop. Goodness me, what a dreadful carry on when her cat died. I honestly thought we may have had a state funeral at one stage. It seems the media obsession with her is still alive and well.
It is unbelievable that a country whose economy has been the envy of the western world is now run by a Government whose only premise is to tax and spend. So watch this space. Let’s see what happens and in three years’ time we will go to the polls again. We really need to look at this MMP, because it certainly didn’t work on this occasion in September.
It is hard to believe that another year has gone by, and by the time you read this you will be looking at another Christmas, right down the barrel. A chance to reflect on how lucky you are not having to fix sandals in 38 degree heat in the vast metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City and a great time to reflect on having an unemployment benefit, and a pension scheme. Also a great time to reflect on being able to walk the beautiful river banks and sea shores without hundreds of tons of rubbish lying around and over them as I saw in Vietnam.
I say this every year, but it is a great time to get together with your friends and neighbours for a barbecue or a drink to celebrate both the season and the beautiful country we are lucky enough to live in.
I’m really annoyed with the Channel magazine. I’ve been their top columnist for six years or more now and I’ve only ever been awarded a couple of cheap plastic trophies and never been invited to one of their fancy receptions or functions where they sip champagne and eat canapes. So much for their Christmas goodwill. And, they have the audacity to send me a bill for hosting my website. I asked them to make a small sign for me once, but didn’t bother to get a quote, and they charged me a small fortune. No doubt they’ll be having an exclusive Christmas party with French champagne this year, that they’ll only invite their top-line bankers, commercial real estate agents, businesspeople, ultra high end car dealers, QCs and barristers and orthopaedic surgeons and health specialists too, but there’s no way a lowly concrete contractor would get an invite.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year. See you in 2018 – as long as I get the recognition I deserve from this two-bit magazine.