While it may be a little late to write about New Year’s resolutions, given that at least some of us may have already attempted and given up whatever ways we imagined we would be bettering ourselves in 2019.
However, since this is the first editorial of the year, The Indian Weekender will not hold itself back from what it strongly believes is its rightful duty, of suggesting some resolutions that the Kiwi-Indian community should mull and act upon this year.
Anyway, New Year resolutions for a broader community needs more time, than mere individuals, to first conceptualise and then in resolute pursuance, to be dissipated in the first fortnight of the year.
From a broader community’s perspective, we are still in the season of making New Year resolutions, setting the goals and making the intentions to resolutely pursue those goals throughout the year – even when individually some of us may be guilty of having already given up their New Year resolutions.
The intention of this exercise is to ensure the overall well-being of our ethnic migrant Kiwi-Indian community in the country – a cherished goal of many, including this publication, which is in its tenth year and still holds the envious position of being the only English language weekly newspaper of the Indian community.
Work on road and water safety
The first resolution that the Kiwi-Indian community needs to make this year, and possibly for many more years to come, is to ensure to take adequate steps in the direction of making our community road-safe and water-safe.
Like for everyone else in New Zealand, the Christmas and New Year holiday period, along with broader summer season becomes extra tempting to Kiwi-Indian community to hit on roads and immerse in water-bodies to enjoy the pristine beauty that this country offers.
25-year-old Harpreet Singh died in a crash with a bus in Queenstown in October 2018 (Image: NZ Herald)
Yes – hitting on roads and beaches on weekend getaways or holidays is a luxury not available in many countries around the world, and therefore needs some respect and conditioning. Coming from mainly a (sub)continental landmass, Indians are well-known for not being proficient swimmers and water-friendly. Similarly, NZ roads are notorious for being extra winding to pose a serious challenge to driving skills of many who hit upon roads without much training and conditioning.
Maraetotara falls where 20-year-old Aman Kumar drowned in December 2018 (Image: NZ Herald)
There is a need for being more respectful and mindful during this tempting holiday period while hitting upon roads for long drives and beaches to relieve from the scorching heat. This year already there have been at least four deaths (two in the road accident and two in drowning) within the community to suggest the need for collectively taking up a resolution of making ourselves water and road-safe.
Work on physical and mental health issues
Sadly, though unsurprisingly, the prevalence and patterns of health issues within Kiwi-Indian community has become highly predictable among the health practitioners, social workers, researchers, analysts and marketers and advertisers. It is quite frequent to expect social-health and lifestyle programs campaigning against diabetes and heart attacks to target upon Kiwi-Indian community specifically – for they are quite well known to either inherit these health issues or follow a reasonably sedentary lifestyle to risk these ailments.
While nothing against those agencies who come out to offer a helping hand to lift people out of these ailments, but as a community, we need to take up a resolution to look after our physical health and inspire others around us to live a more active healthy life.
Similarly, our community’s performance on mental health indices is surprising – as we are almost absent from all significant reporting platforms to suggest that we are entirely free from mental health issues. This is when lately there has been much public noise around mental health issues in NZ.
A recently released report last late year confirmed that New Zealand is currently facing a mental health crisis. However, there is rarely much reporting, forget about dialogue, about how mental health issues affect individual lives in our community. Regardless of the crisis going around us, our community continue to live in a farce blissful stage - like an ostrich burying its sand in a hope to avoid predators – believing that mental health crisis that NZ is currently facing, does not affect our lives at all.
Probably, our community needs a bit of vision, a bit of self-help and loads of courage to change this in 2019.
Work on supporting your favourite charity
For uninitiated, there are many charitable organisations, social workers, community leaders who work relentlessly to reach out to Kiwi-Indians in distress. If not for their individual and collective efforts, in timely and active interventions, there would be many distress stories out in public.
The Indian Weekender through its sustained dialogue and engagement with these organisations is aware of the fact that they surely need good support from the fellow Kiwi-Indian community.
Surprisingly, in most cases what these charitable organisations strive for is not just money and tangible material resources, but also individual compassionate human attention.
In this regard, this year we invite you to rise above from your own day to day life-struggles and think of supporting one cause, or one charity that you may be passionate about.
As an ethnic migrant community, we always need to be reminded of the fact that our individual journeys of migration from our home countries will not be complete without creating a close-knit community and support system that can support each other during our times of distress.
Work towards the goal of being a responsible, active citizenry
Last, but not the least, and probably most important resolutions that the Kiwi-Indian community can take this year is to shed its image of being a distracted citizenry – especially from the political process.
By the way, political activism is not just having an opinion and posting on social media, and then launching a social media war on those who do not subscribe to views that you support.
In New Zealand, being an active citizen requires regular and sustained engagement with policymakers at all level of decision making from local council to national government.
Think it this way, changes in immigration policies or law and order matters most to the community. However how many people in our community would have actively made submissions or given feedback when such opportunities present itself after every major policy announcement.
Those are the opportunities that we as a community can aspire to avail – for it will not only be beneficial to the community but also a service to New Zealand nation.
Indeed, NZ is will be incomplete without the colour, vibrancy, valuable skills and contributions that the Kiwi-Indian community makes as one of the largest ethnic migrant group in the country.
On that note, we wish our readers and everyone in the community Happy New Year.