Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Turn it Round

It's getting particularly frustrating when the languages I know are constantly being jumbled in my head.
Spanish and Māori are often trouble areas as words sound so similar, I'll start writing my Māori homework in Spanish. As well, I go to a Māori tutorial Monday nights where our tutor encourages us to learn Māori words through association with hand movements, or as she calls it, sign language. This proves problematic as well because I start to throw in my ASL hand movements with Māori words, which becomes even more bizarre.
It's entirely frustrating when I actually try to recall the Māori word for something and all that is ramming me inside of my head is the word in Spanish.

The other thing I noticed is American humor is entirely and utterly different from Kiwi humor. I find shows like Community and movies like Step Brothers as hilarious, but many others find it mundane and slapstick. I would never consider Community slapstick! Witty, clever, random- Yes. I recently remembered the beauty that is the Bud Light Real Men of Genius commercials and thought I'd share some with my Kiwi friends, but I thought against it because I figured it wasn't their type of humor. Tragic, I know, because the Real Men of Genius commercials are actually genius. There should be a commercial about Mr. Real Men of Genius Commercial Writer.

So, every week that I actually do my anthropology readings, I am constantly surprised. This week's reading discussed how Marriage Sex Manuals from the 1920s-1960s used cooking to maintain women's roles as household objects. One particular excerpt from a book called Technique of Marriage written by Mary Borden (1933) compares women leaving the kitchen to impending communistic doom. Should women leave their homes, it says, and work in "Quick-lunch counters," then home cooking will soon be lost forever and families will go to the local "communal dining hall" and be fed the same food all the time. Amazing. I love blatant, outrageous propaganda.

I'm currently in the process of making a short film about the meeting between a Mexican student and a Māori one. Each character regards the other as being of the same culture and awkwardness ensues when a hongi(touching of noses) is attempted. I'm not sure how successful it'll be (as I'm trying to avoid dialogue) and whether it'll even be interesting... But it's all I got for now so there it is.

Speaking of Māori culture, I recently went to Māori graduation, which was easily the best graduation I've ever been to. For each graduate that had family sitting in the audience, or even just a friend who cared enough, there was a song and/or haka done for their success. It was particularly exciting to hear the different hakas, waiatas (songs), and people coming together to express congratulations. Usually after the name was spoken, the family would begin singing or someone would start the haka and to some it may seem like this would take forever to get through a graduation, it made it 1002984029x more bearable. Instead of the typical name, name, name, name process, it was name, explosion, name, song, name, explosion, etc. Excitement the whole way through. I want to actually be Māori now to have a haka at my graduation, and to even have a graduation as light-hearted and involving as theirs was. I even did a haka with my fellow art students, which was exciting for me because I was actually doing what I'd been watching videos of for months before my arrival into this wonderful country. One thing I found exceptionally interesting was the fact that 10 years ago, Sir Mason Durie (a very influential and important Māori educator) claimed that by 2010 they were hoping to have 25 Māori doctorate graduates... and this year, they made it to 55. That made me really happy.

I can't think of anything else, but I'm sure that's a sufficient post for now.

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