Tuesday, January 19, 2010

There's a world to explore, tales to tell back on shore (Split Enz)

The Gulf Times is a fine little paper. It has entered our lives on a semi daily basis and certainly aces pretty much every NZ paper I can think of. Yeah okay - make that ALL OF THEM! The sport pages (5 in colour every edition) contain daily columns on all main winter American sports (NFL, basketball and ice hockey), a page on world football and the premier league, with the other three on miscellaneous sports of interest to ex-pats - tennis, golf and cricket dominate at the moment. It's a joy to read every day.

The front pages are always divided into Qatar news, the Arab world, Americas, Britain, Indian subcontinent, Europe, east Asia, and a page headed 'World'. I really, really like this format. Imagine for a sec if the NZ Herald tried this approach! It would never happen, of course, because NZers are far too insular to accept the idea but just imagine getting a reasonably complete view of world events every day. What a revolutionary concept for a newspaper!!

Being an ex-pat Kiwi in another part of the world is always a treat - we get to see what the world thinks of us (if indeed they ever do). Recently the office Kiwis have had stories like the topless NZ teacher to put up with. Tonight's Gulf Times is a case in point. It will give plenty of ammo to the office ockers or should that be (kn)ockers (ho ho ho).

Here we go - item on page 16: William leaves New Zealanders star-stuck mentions that William received 'a haka, or challenge, from a group of bare-chested warriors in grass skirts'. Triffic. And that was the high point of the article.

It got better - two items on page 19: Britain still main source of NZ migrants was a dreary but mercifully short space filler showing that NZ is still a refuge for poms escaping blighty.

The second article - Claws out over Air NZ's 'cougar' advertisement http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=337884&version=1&template_id=39&parent_id=21 was the real hoot. Dene will have a field day and rightly so cos the response to a bit of a funny ad campaign (an ad aimed at middle aged women who prefer younger men) shows NZers to be, not only small minded, but a mirthless, miserable lot as well. Yeah - that's a good impression to give the world.

What's next? Probably a story about a sheep that's been lost for years and has a huge fleece (what's that? They've done that already? Oh goody).

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