Thursday, February 16, 2012

Update 3: NZ Koha trademark

We have received a response from PTFS to our letter outlining the grounds on which we object to their trade mark application and inviting them to transfer their application to the Trust.

The response advised that they are considering organisations as possible candidates to hold the NZ trademark and we were welcome to submit a proposal which would be required to address a number of criteria set by PTFS.

Te Horowhenua Trust, trading as Horowhenua Library Trust, is the nonprofit body elected by the Koha global community to hold community assets in safe keeping. We have spent a number of years negotiating with PTFS and would prefer now to trust a transparent and defined process conducted through IPONZ as to the proper ownership of the mark in New Zealand.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: The Arrangers of Marriage

A short story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

For my second book in the African Reading Challenge I chose The Granta Book of African Short Story . I love short stories as a genre. They take a formidable level of skill to write and I love that ever scene, every literary device employed, every word has to contribute to the whole, embedding layers of meaning within a very taut framework.

Adiche's story is extraordinary. It is a brief work, a mere 17 pages, that resonated so strongly with me I read it twice and then shut the book.

'The Arrangers of Marriage' is the story of Chinaza, a young Igbo woman, and her 'new' New York based Doctor-husband, Dave, also a Nigerian.

Back in the day I enjoyed a brief marriage to a beautiful Igbo man. It didn't last; sadly cross-cultural marriages are incredibly challenging. The obligation to be a success, or at least perpetuate the myth of the 'Golden West' to those dependent on you back home, is a very heavy burden.

In the story we read of Chinaza's disappointment when she arrives at her meanly furnished flat, they can't afford good food or phone calls home, and her husband works incredibly long, poorly paid, hours as a resident in a public hospital system. Chinaza eventually discovers that Dave is still married - what? He had married an American to get the Green Card - Oh its quite common apparently, everyone does it. But the divorce hadn't quite been finalised when he travelled home to meet and marry Chinaza. And so they are stuck in a loveless arranged marriage, and not a legal one at that, thus no Green Card and no way to leave and support herself. Nor can she expect any help from home.

Dave is an oafish man - nothing endearing about him at all - but I don't dislike him. So much of the story is so real. The characterisation is so nuanced, or maybe its my history, but I just feel for both of them.  Adichie has captured beautifully the sadder side of the expat experience.

Its a beautifully written tale by a young woman who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie also wrote The Purple Hibiscus (finalist 2004 Orange Prize, nominee 2004 Man Booker Prize and winner of the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Update 2 on NZ Koha Trademark

Well things have been very quiet on this front while the lawyers work through the process.

We are being represented by Andrew Matangi from Buddle Findlay with input from Rochelle Furneaux and feel very confident that he has a good understanding of the Koha journey over the last decade or so and how we have got to where we are. He is also a specialist in this area so we have been quite relieved to have his hand on the tiller and plotting the course. These things take time and have to be done discretely of course, but a key date has passed and I think it is okay now to update everyone on progress.

A letter was sent to PTFS on the 19th January essentially outlining the grounds on which our objection to their NZ trademark application is based and asking them to assign their NZ trade mark application to the Trust. We also attached a Koha Trademark Usage Policy which the Library Trust recently adopted, following consultation with the Koha Subcommittee. We advised that unless a response was received by noon NZ time on the 1st of February we would file formal opposition.

Well that date has passed without word and so a formal Notice of Opposition is being prepared. The process from here is set out on the IPONZ website.

So there it is, due process being followed and no resolution in sight but we are still very confident that the right decision will be made.

Our Secret, Siri Aang

African Reading Challenge
I am taking a part in the African reading challenge and have just finished my first book this year by an African writer or about Africa.

The author, Cristina Kessler, is an American who has spent 19 years in Africa. Our Secret is a teen novel about a young Maasai girl called Namelok. She is on the edge of becoming 'A Woman' and all that entails including female circumcision, marriage to a man twice her age, restricted movements etc. It is also the story of 'change' touching on western education, poaching of African wildlife, the impact of tourism and 'reservations' on the traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Maasai.

Namelok 'can't breathe' in her family encampment and regularly wanders far collecting firewood when, one day, she comes across a rhino giving birth. She forms a bond with the rhino family, swearing to protect them but something dreadful happens and, bent on revenge, she tracks a limping man over the dangerous savannah.

The tale follows a lovely path and Namelok does become a woman but following a far different route than that prescribed to her. It is beautifully written and far more subtle and complex than I would have expected from a young adult book. Mind you; I don't read much Teen fiction and maybe I should.

4 stars and recommended.