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Tuesday 31st January, 2017

#36 The World is coming here.
I think sometimes we forget that the world just keeps getting smaller, and smaller. As isolated as we like to think we are in the middle of the world’s largest ocean that just isn’t the truth. Case in point; Loghman Sawari.
So a 21-year-old Ahwazi Arab has gone from Iran and via a tortured circuitous route has ended up here in Fiji. On a slight tangent, allow me to make an observation. In any discussion on the issue of refugees someone will inevitably say something along the lines of "why can't country X take them". Apparently using another countries lack of action to excuse your own lack of compassion is awesome. Getting back on track, I think the issue of us taking refugees is one of the things that drives home my earlier point of how the world is coming here in ways different from the usual tourists showing up for sun, sea and sand. We need to have a discussion on this. Do we have a moral obligation to take in those fleeing war and/or persecution? Do we have the resources? How do we handle the inevitable cultural clashes? How do we handle our local religious fundies coming face to face with people fleeing religious discrimination. But you know we can’t have this conversation if one side of the debate is screaming out “kill the Muslim” while the other is screaming out “Bigot!” to anyone who disagrees with them, even when those concerns are genuine. By the way, just so we’re clear, we’ve already got refugees here. 4 applied for and received asylum status in 2015, whilst there were already 20 in the country at that time applying for the same. So it’s not like there isn’t a precedent. In Sawari’s case we also need to address the elephant in the room: How is he able to land here using a false identity? Also, why is he allowed free movement? Not saying he should be locked up but at this point in time we still don’t know enough about him to let him roam around freely. IF, and it’s a big if, he does get permission to stay here after proper vetting procedures I’d like to think that anyone who has the brains, guts and tenacity to get from Iran to Fiji after being detained and possibly being in life threatening situations could very well be the kind of citizen we need.
Gotta love that double standard
Lot of kerfuffle at this point about the “Muslim Ban” Donald Trump has enacted. Former US president Barack Obama had this to say:
“It’s good to see people exercising their right to protest against the so called Muslim Ban”
Isa kemuni...didn't you have the same policy in place? With the same 7 countries listed? Meanwhile apparently it's different because Obama went through the proper channels and got advice from people in the know. Because discrimination that follows the proper rules is apparently ok. Sometimes I just cannot deal with anyone when it comes to politics. There’s so much noise being made it’s well nigh impossible to see what’s true. Also, while everyone is up in arms over something that seems more incompetence than anything else very few are paying attention to the disturbing prospect of Trump having his chief advisor Bannon come in on their National Security Council while removing the director of national intelligence and the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff from NSC principals meetings seems a bit iffy. I mean, you’d want someone from the intelligence community and the military in you know, discussions on national security.
The 7s...wooooo!
Right, the Wellington 7s has come and gone. With all due respect to someone who has served Fijian rugby, what does Nemani Nagusa actually bring to the team? When he does play he’s ok but we’ve got players who are brilliant. And it’s not like we got to see him in action this weekend since you know he was smacked with a 6 match ban for eye gouging. So we know he isn’t there because he’s disciplined. In fact our discipline does seem a bit poor. I do like though how Baber talks to them and it’s heartening that he’s started off with a 2nd spot finish. Winning would have been of course more preferable but a new coach finishing where they did, not bad. Also, one more mention of Joel Falls From Heaven heavenly run outside of Senatla. Sydney this weekend and once again, we get to lose our collective minds...GO FIJI GO!
And speaking of Seabelo...
I heard that Senatla is going to the 15s code soon, playing either in the No.6 or 7 jersey. We can call him Flank Senatla! He‘ll change that position because… he did it his way. He’ll be joining the Bokke soon, in fact he's leaving today! And I’m done!

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  1. Friday 27th January, 2017

    1. Wellington 7s. Not even going to be coy about it. I'd really, really, really like us to win this. And win it convincingly. Time to lay some ghosts to rest. One thing I've noticed. The Kiwis. Does anyone play mind games better than them when it comes to rugby? I've noticed in the lead up to any Wellington 7s they heap praise on the Fiji team. Like, if praises had mass, our team would be crushed under the weight of the praise. Does anyone else think this is a deliberate ploy to get us overconfident? Yes I realise how paranoid that sounds. NZ media reporting that this year the organisers of the Wellington 7s are planning a special tribute to the Fiji 7s team in recognition of their win in the Olympics. Hmmmmm...they're out to get us man.
      That lack of empathy
      Story about that suspect who says the police rubbed chillies on his private parts and put a stick up his backside. And of course the typical comments range from "maleka" to "they should have done more". You know the usual tough talk we like to engage in. Chaaaayyyyy. Meanwhile he hasn't even been convicted of anything yet. And even if he were found guilty, that kinda thing is still wrong. I have to say this straight up: we're a country of poorly thought out, violent, petty people. ,We too often lack empathy for the most disadvantaged among us. We’re not nice people. And of course it’s possible that he made up the allegations. It still doesn’t take away from the comments aimed at someone who is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.
      (For those who will inevitably pick up on the use of the word “we”; that’s used for effect. So calm down.)
      Trump this, Trump that
      You know what I’m tired of? Having to explain that if I say something that could be vaguely construed as support for Donald Trump it somehow makes me a Trumpista. Which then somehow makes me a racist, homophobic, xenophobic bigot. This lack of ability to see nuance is exactly what’s wrong with political discourse everywhere at the moment. I think that Trumps position on climate change is reprehensible and damaging especially to us in vulnerable areas like, you know, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. On the other hand, I’m thrilled that he’s removed America from the Trans Pacific Partnership, effectively killing it. I hate that hate groups like the KKK support him (although he has disavowed them publicly). I know he won because he did what Clinton didn’t do because she couldn’t see it; that the American working class are fed up of Establishment politics. My point is, people who still define politics in terms of Left and Right solely are stuck in 20th Century paradigms. There is no more Left, no more Right, no more liberals and conservatives. We’re stuck on terms the French coined hundreds of years ago. It doesn’t fit anymore. It’s kind of like insisting that a book written thousands of years ago should somehow be the end all and be all of morality in the Information Age. ***winks***
      Also, on a slight tangent, how about when Obama got the Nobel Peace Prize for being elected. Then went on to drone the heck out of the world. Good times, good times. No such honour for Trump I see.
      At least with Trump he’s open about being a sometimes terrible person. Obama was droning people but being all eloquent about it. Woo hoo.
      Enough with American politics
      Who else is already at least giving a bare minimum of thought to our elections next year? It’s going to be fascinating to see what transpires. The scandals, the screaming, the politicking, the pulling of votes. Elections are basically soap operas. Too bad the results actually affect us in real life unlike who your favourite character on Shortland Street is sleeping with. Along with the parties already in existence there are another 6 proposed ones in the pipeline. Like Stilgar said to Usul (obligatory nerd reference): “It’s going to be a great granddaddy of a battle”. That it will Stilgar, that it will.

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  1. Monday 24th January, 2017

    1. You know I had to write about this, and you know that just had to be the headline. Listen Fiji, in a country with so many actual problems we really are wasting our collective breath on something that really isn’t that big a deal. Was the jingle the nurses singing in bad taste? Possibly; probably. The way I see it though, is if anyone is allowed a bit of dark humour, it’s people in our medical industry whose very job means they see human beings at their very worse. If you need a laugh to blow a little steam every now and again, why not? My biggest issue with what they did was that the jungle isn’t even original. They got it off the Internet. At least make your parodies local reh; buy Fiji made. Once again, it looks like we’ve done the very Fiji thing of jumping on an issue because it’s nice and simple and we know who the bad gang are supposed to be.
      No one cares Meryl...
      Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes with her impassioned speech against Donald Trump. Guess what Meryl? No one cares. These gang talega like they never learn. One thing their presidential elections should have made clear: Celebrities are no great help and may actually be a hindrance to a politician. Clinton had the biggest names in Hollywood in her corner. And millions of Americans seemed to throw them the middle finger. As someone who’s always disliked our worship of people who get paid to pretend to be other people, I can’t say I’m disappointed. Much as I dislike Trump I’m also tired of famous people thinking their fame somehow gives them an elevated view of how people should think. I watched in horrified fascination, a video where celebrities spoke passionately about the American gun culture. This from people who have acted in films; who are part of an industry that glorifies American gun culture. And it would have been nice if Streep had been just as passionate about Obama’s policies.
      “To be fair, defining U.S. “military involvement” is tricky, partly because there are many levels of engagement between no military involvement and full-scale invasion, and partly because so much of the U.S.’s military activity is done from the shadows. That’s why, in consultation with Anthony Cordesman at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Chris Harmer at the Institute for the Study of War, I’ve limited the definition of military involvement to countries that the United States is consistently bombing (overtly or covertly); where regular U.S. troops are engaged in combat; or where regular U.S. troops are providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance in support of another military force that is engaged in combat. By that definition, the U.S. is currently fighting in roughly eight countries. (For sanity’s sake, my definition excludes special-operations forces; Ken McGraw, a spokesman for U.S. Special Operations Command, or SOCOM, told me in early February that special-operations personnel were deployed in 82 countries that week alone.
      These eight theaters encompass the continuing conflict in Afghanistan; drone wars in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen; the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria; and two advise-and-assist missions—one against Boko Haram, which is at least nominally affiliated with ISIS, in Cameroon, and another against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and nearby countries. That’s more than double the countries that fit my definition of U.S. military involvement in January 2009, when it encompassed ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and an incipient drone war in Pakistan."
      Basically the president who won the Nobel Peace prize before actually doing anything has turned out to be as much of hawk as his Republican counterparts. It’s just laughable.
      Why grog is a real relationship
      1. You spend way too much time on it.
      2. You spend way too much money on it.
      3. You miss it when it's not around.
      4. You spend a lot of time thinking about how you can make it better.
      5. There are NO secrets between you, it and your grog squad.
      6. Just like love, it leaves you with scars.
      The lies we tell...
      Fijians: I love my country. OMG this is the best country in the world...ermahgaaaaad.
      Also Fijians: drops enough litter around the country we "love" so it looks like a cows backside after a particularly bad bout of diarrhea...
      We're either really stupid or really lazy.
      Why English is an illegitimate child...
      Just like the people it’s named after, English went around the world and stole every word that wasn’t nailed down. This is why the plural of goose is geese but the plural of moose is mooses. Because until they got to the New World, the English hadn’t seen moose. This is why you can desert your dessert in the desert. My favourite one at the moment is how chilli and chilly mean pretty much the exact opposite. Email your favourite indictments of the language we speak thanks to our colonial masters. Jokes you guys; thanks for the language. Don't forget email, psq679@gmail.com

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  1. Thursday 29th December, 2016

    1. So the festive season, Christmas especially, is when a lot of Fijians do a lot of celebrating i.e. eating and drinking like there's no tomorrow. Now, all questions of health aside, why do we always inevitably have the Moral Police coming out of the wood work? Let me give an example.
      On social media
      Person A: Man we're going to have so much food on Christmas Day, so much grog, so much beer.
      Person B: Isa, you realise that plenty Fijians are still living in tents, and some people are mourning.
      Ok...but why does it make someone a bad person if they're in a place where they can enjoy the festive season. I understand being empathic towards those who are less fortunate. But why do we get people getting so precious? And I've noticed person B typically tends to be the type that will talk about the suffering of others but do little to nothing to alleviate said suffering. Mainly because the gang who do help aren't on social media because they're you know actually out there in the real world helping.
      Speaking of social media...
      Here's a dose of brutal honesty. Every single person on social media is there as a voyeur or an exhibitionist. We all want to look or be looked at. And I say that as someone who's a heavy user of social media. Get a bit tired of people going on about using social media to change the world. Sure, that may be a factor but ultimately, people use social media to fulfill a very human urge; to be validated by the other people around. Which is why I laugh at people who will boldly proclaim that they don't care what others think of them. It's easy to say that when the way you think (or rather the thoughts you allow to escape on to social media) are the same as everyone else's. Then there are those who completely lose any sense of perspective online and end up posting something like this:

      So much empathy for people going through some truly difficult times.
      Closing the year...closing the year!
      Here we are again at the end of another revolution around our star. Isa. Just how brutal was 2016 for celebrities? In the last few days, 2016 struck again with George Michael on Christmas Day; guess it really was his “Last Christmas”…sorry poor joke. And then Carrie Fisher aka Princess Leia, looks like the Force wasn’t with it. Damnit…stop it with the lame jokes! Anyway, on a serious note, 2016 has been one heck of a year. Celebrities dying is one thing but there have been bigger things on the world stage; Brexit, Syria, Yemen and of course Donald Trump. Truth be told I’m hoping 2017 will be a bland, mediocre, but knowing the species tendency to muck things up that doesn’t seem likely. Once again, all these things happening around the world put our own problems in perspective. We live in a country that has time to argue over things like why we can’t win a 7s tournament while in other countries their arguments tend towards the more…bloody, involving guns and RPG’s. On a random note, for me this picture pretty much encapsulates a lot of what makes us who we are...

      So there it is. Shout out to all of us stumbling in to 2017 a bit more scarred but still able to laugh at both the sublime and the absurd. Put your burden down a moment and rest awhile. Take a breather from punching at shadows. A pause to the incessant need to keep moving, guard up, never letting gang see the fear in your eyes.
      "Whist Whist a wi' be well an' all manner of things wi' be well."
      Seen?

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  1. Thursday 22nd December, 2016

    1. Listen, I’m just as happy as the next person to put the boot in when it comes to some of the questionable decisions made by the Minister of Education. However, I am also just as willing to praise him when he does something right. So, let’s talk about the results of the Year 12 exams, the FSLC. Some of the local SJW’s mocking the minister for pointing out that the pass rate has improved from last year by 1%, from 60 to 61%. Ok, understandable. But why oh why do these people not point out that just four years ago, the pass rate for this exam was 29%. In just four years, Reddy and Co have managed to improve the pass rate significantly. See the SJW’s don’t point it out because it doesn’t suit the narrative they’ve got. They have no issues with believing the statistics when it says pass rates are declining but when the same statistics show an improvement suddenly all we’ve got is a sheepish silence and refusal to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, they may be doing something at least a little bit right at the Year 12 level. When you’re forced to start cherry picking numbers to make your argument legitimate then you have lost the argument as far as I’m concerned. The issue too is this, a lot of people dislike the minister for whatever reason so they can’t see past their own bias. So they’ve personalized this whole issue. Don’t try and tell me that you want to have a frank and open discussion on how to improve our education sector if you’re too blinded by dislike of a particular person. Grow up, just because you dislike a person doesn’t make them wrong or you right. Any issue is way more nuanced than that.
      You still don’t get it...
      I’m going to assume that the American media aren’t stupid people. How then have they still not got it? How have they still not figured out how to handle Donald Trump? Here’s what happens. President Elect Trump tweets something inflammatory. These eejits then jump on it faster than a Fijian getting some free grog and make it a huge deal. Because they seem to come from the position that such things will lessen his support . They still don’t seem to realise that a lot of Americans, over 62 million of them last time I checked love this. All they’re doing is passing his message on to them through no money or effort on his part. I’m not a fan of Donald Trump but ye gods I love it when these gang fall over themselves to scream about how bad he is. They’re still stuck in 20th Century political paradigms. Another example; there’s a call for a concert to be held on the same day as his inauguration to take the attention away from Trump. People like Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, etc. to perform. See, this is part of why the guy won in the first place. If I were an average American and some A list celebrity were telling me how to think, the middle finger would go up so fast it would shatter the sound barrier. Finally on a side note, people can scream all they want about his Secretary of State but when your name is Rex Tillerson, you need to be in a position where the rest of us mere mortals get to utter your name. Reeeeeeex Tillllersoooon. That is a good name.
      Don’t kill the magic...
      Someone asked the question the other day: Why do we make our kids believe in Santa Claus? Fair enough question. The cynic in me wants to think that it’s a fantastic means of control, as in if you’re not good, Santa won’t bring you any pressies. But someone else gave a better answer: Because it’s magic. I like that. As grossly over commercialised the Christmas season is, you can still see the magic in a childs’ eyes when they realise how close it is. That excitement. Our lives seem to be a process of believing less and less in magic as we get older. To be as jaded as possible. Maybe it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there is still magic in the world. One of which is the belief that over 2000 years ago, in a stable, a child was born who would save us all. Christian or otherwise, belief in a thing is powerful. If your belief in a little Jewish kid from millennia ago makes you want to be a better person then that’s magic. Only a few days to go until Christmas, here’s hoping it’s filled with the things YOU love...whether that’s drinking way too much grog or going to church, here’s hoping you spend it surrounded by the gang you love…Merry Christmas from the Paint Spattered Quark. May all your particles be charm! (Gotta have a nerdy reference somewhere)...May your version of God be good to you. May the lovo not be too dry...Peace!

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  1. Thursday 08th December, 2016

    1. Fijian Facebook is a fascinating thing to watch. For the most part it’s a collection of vacuously vapid posts of people displaying their exhibitionist tendencies while others voyeuristically enjoy the show. But every now and again, along will come some completely trivial issue that gets blown out of proportion. And there’s always an issue. Just like it was that Rosi Kei Viti, an obviously unwell 16 year old kid that was painted as nothing less than several anti-Christs by some. This week, some model appears almost naked in some fashion show and Rosi Kei Viti is consigned to the rubbish bin. Listen, I’ve seen the picture and it shows said model strutting down the catwalk with little more than some kind of fancy sapo with a flower over his you know what (I’m actually going to describe it because I don’t want to spoil your chow Person Reading This)…so the picture isn’t my cup of tea but I saw it and I MOVED ON WITH MY DAMN LIFE. I did have a feeling though that there would be a reaction. And dear Odin, has there been a reaction. Check out the screenshot below for a small sample, and that’s some of the milder reactions. What does fascinate me is just how many gang here seem obsessed with what gay people get up to. So many supposedly straight gang getting butthurt (haha) over this. Meanwhile it wasn’t that long ago our forefathers and foremothers had no nudity taboo. We love the outrage train because it gives us the chance to pick a clearly defined side and label the other side villains or worse. The truth is, an almost naked male model is not the problem here. I don't give a rats a-double snakes about some model appearing mostly naked at a fashion show. Because I understand the context in which it happened. That's what rational people do. They contextualise things and look for nuances. This hate filled spewfest is sad to see because it's indicative of how we discuss bigger issues in this country. This constant moralising is tiresome. We need to start every discussion of important issues with the mantra: Just because this person disagrees with me doesn’t make them evil. It just means they have a different worldview.

      On a random side note...
      Why do we clap? Does anyone else find the idea of hitting our hands rapidly together making a loud sound to indicate approval weird? Ok back in to the fray...
      Silly season back...
      The Dubai 7s. When in a mere 14 minutes you’re on an emotional rollercoaster. When the ref is one minute more evil than Hitler and in the next you’re ready to hug the guy and give him a Nobel Prize. When the opposing team all don’t know who their fathers were and even their mamas don’t love them. Silly season is here again. Also can I just point out , and I realise how precious this makes me sound but, have you noticed that when a NZ player collides with an opposing player in mid air, the commentators work themselves in to a frenzy about how it was obviously accidental and everyone should move on with the game. Fiji player does the same? Oh he's very lucky not to get a yellow card. Poor discipline...blah blah blah...just stop it OK Mr Commentator Man.
      Back on my favourite topic...
      Yes...computers, technology and so on. Just bear with me because these things are fascinating. Given our rate of increase in computing power, if we don't go extinct then we WILL one day have enough computing power to run simulations that are indistinguishable from reality. Maybe an ancestral simulation for our descendants to see how we lived so they can gather data. We could be living in one right now...how could we know? There's a theoretical physicist Dr. James Gate Jr. who says he's apparently discovered a type of computing code embedded "within, or resulting from, the equations of super symmetry that describe fundamental particles." Think about that for a moment. He's saying that at the most fundamental level he's claiming that computer code is present. This could just mean that it was the simplest manner in which the Universe could be constructed OR it could suggest we're living in an actual Matrix. Far fetched? Definitely. Beyond the realms of possibility? Some scarily smart people certainly don't seem to think so. In fact, Gate has spent 15 years chasing these equations looking for ways they could be wrong. The other thing is, if we are living in an ancestral simulation that means you are the ancestor of at least one of the people running said simulation. One of the creators. Congratulations you are the maker of your own creator!

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  1. Thursday 29th November, 2016

    1. Five days after it opened, Disney’s Moana has already raked in a little over $81 million dollars. US dollars. Which is just a few canoes full of money for Disney. Here’s the thing, how much of that money do you think is coming to you reading this? Assuming you’re someone who’s from the Pacific. See, what I don’t get is, Moana is a fantastic Disney movie with all that that means. Stunning cinematography, brilliant soundtrack, engaging characters and loads of humour. And that’s all it is. This thinking from way too many Fijians that Moana is some sort of socially significant historical landmark in how the world sees the Pacific is just deluded and more than a little sad. Truth is, Disney made the movie for one reason and one reason alone: to make money. Expecting it to be an actual accurate description of how Pacific peoples lived is really pushing it. Once again, let me be clear, I watched and enjoyed the movie. But I don’t see the need to treat it as anything more. If you want to learn about your history then get off your butt and make an effort to learn. Start with our National Archives, visit our museums. Feeling proud of a movie that took our distinct cultures and smashed them all together is just weird.
      The future is here...
      And apparently it’s Fijian. I’m talking about the launch of mobile app here recently that apparently allows you to store power. Funny that, I thought we’d already invented that. It’s called a battery. Anyway, if this thing is genuine, we’re basically saying that we can take energy, convert it into binary i.e. ones and zeroes and store it…somewhere on the phone. The science fiction nerd in me really, really, really wants this to be true. The skeptic is far from convinced. Google searches reveal next to nothing about this technology. So...
      But on that note...
      I’ve written about the technological singularity before in this column (read the archives to find it, there’s some cool stuff there, if I do say so myself). Now this thing could happen in as little as 10 years but barring a sudden jump from Weak AI (Artificial Intelligence) which we already have to Strong AI which is when the Singularity happens what will most likely happen is that more and more jobs will become automated which raises a question which is already worrying social planners: what exactly do you do with a populace displaced by robots and/or AI systems? And don’t think that just because you’re in a non-manufacturing industry you cannot/will not be affected by this. A US law firm recently hired ROSS an AI system that is already handling some of the many bankruptcy cases the firm specializes in.
      Fascinating side trip: The US Department of Labor did a study that suggests that 65% of school kids today will grow up to work in jobs that don’t even exist yet.
      But anyway, I think there’s a simple solution to all those affected by job losses due to automation. A Universal Basic Income. Think about it, the jobs will still be there, we just won’t be the ones doing it. So put a tax on the corporations that allows the State to give every citizen a basic wage just for being. It does sound far-fetched but the idea has been around for a long time and it’s really only now our technology takes this from science fiction to almost science fact. More on how automation is changing the world and the idea of a UBI here:
      And just a reminder if you can’t follow the links. A lot of this is being pushed not by crackpots on the fringe but by people like Stephen Hawking, entrepreneur Elon Musk, anthropologist David Graeber and so on.
      Here we go again...
      How in heavens name did I think I could be blasé about 7s? After the gold I thought tournaments like Dubai and the others on the series would be something I could casually consider. Turns out, I really want us to win this weekend. Is that so much to ask? I want shock and awe on the field. Also, there’s a documentary HSBC will be releasing called Sevens From Heaven which follows the team on their road to Rio. Maybe, just maybe it will show World Rugby that we’re good for more than being constantly talent raped and then waiting like good lads for them to drop some crumbs our way. I mean, I don’t want to sound like a bitter brother here but when are we even going to get an actual vote. Far as I know now, we’re basically like the black slaves back when the Yanks formed their united states thingamabob…one fifth of a person. Meanwhile, other countries like Georgia, Japan, Romania and the US have one each actual vote. Does anyone else see the disparity in that? Because I do and it’s giving me a rage headache. Time for a lay down.

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  1. Thursday 24th November, 2016

    1. I see our children have gone on their holidays. Yay! The joys of having what feels like several million children stomping around the house for those with kids in school is real eh? It’s also THAT time of the year again. No, not Christmas, its circumcision season. Ahhhhh yes, the sight of little boys walking gingerly in to the nearest body of salt water holding their sulu va toga trying to be brave and all. Also, Fijians from overseas bringing their sons home to get it done here because quite a few overseas countries have labeled the practice “barbaric”. Because snipping off a piece of skin is apparently as bad as some of the war crimes committed in the name of “Western liberal democracy”. I have no idea how I ended up once again decrying the evils of neo-liberal capitalism. Let’s move on shall we?
      Logic...can we handle it?
      Still on children and their holidays. I notice that from 2017 we’ll have 3 terms of 14 weeks each. Now I don’t know about you but doesn’t that just seem a little too long. hat I’ve noticed is that by the 12th week or so many kids just stop coming because there’s nothing else left to learn. Why not just have a bit of logic behind how we structure our school year. How about 4 terms of 10 weeks each, with a weeks holiday separating the terms? Doesn’t that just seem more eminently sensible and logical? Maybe that’s the problem, Fijians be like “logic? Away with it”. Also, while we’re at it, how about starting school an hour later. T hat way we can do away with the dangerous congestion of our Public Service Vehicles you witness every morning. Kids can stop getting to school late because their school buses are usually the ones who take people to work THEN go pick them up. Not to mention, most research done seems to suggest that kids just don’t learn that well so early in the morning but something as little as an hours later start does make a difference.
      Wait..what?
      Check out the pic below. Apparently taken from a well-known, popular swimming spot. Let’s ignore the obvious typos there because well, there are even worse things happening in that notice. Thing is, the owners of the swimming spot have every right to decide who they want to let in to the place they own. But one would think that alienating any part of a population that could/would spend money using your product would be just a really, really bad idea. I’m not sure whether they were trying to say that it was all booked out or if the notice is a prank but if it’s genuine it’s not a good look. Also, unless they’re charging tourists more (which is a distinct possibility) then does it really matter who’s spending money on what you have to offer?

      Viva Fidel!
      So Fidel Castro, monster, revolutionary, Communist, dictator has finally shuffled off of this mortal coil. A hugely complicated character who I think was much more than the one-dimensional cartoonish dictator he was painted as by his enemies i.e. the US and half of Miami and neither was he a saint as painted by his allies i.e. pretty much every wannabe Left leaning person on the planet. Interestingly enough, when he started off his revolution in Cuba the guy wasn’t a Communist. Circumstances plus Batista’s friendship with the US pushed him along that path. Also, whether you hate or love the guy, what he and those in charge of Cuba did in terms of literacy and health care is amazing. Follow the link to read more about that here: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/aug/05/cuban-development-model
      Tall tales Fijian style!
      Friend of mine swearing black and blue a few days ago that on a clear day one can see New Zealand from the highest point in Kadavu. Oh really? Meanwhile the distance between Fiji and NZ is something like 1,608 miles. Assuming that’s from Viti Levu, it’s only 3 hours by boat from Viti Levu to Kadavu so it’s really not that far away. All I can say is, if the gang in Kadavu can see that far someone needs to let Professor X from X-Men know we got ourselves some mutants down South!

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  1. Monday 28th November, 2016

    1. Here’s a common complaint you may have heard or maybe you’ve made it yourself. It goes like this: "Why did we learn trigonometry (or calculus or algebra, etc, etc) in school when we use none of that in our daily lives?" Let me try and answer. Fijivillage.com news reveal that the pass rate for Mathematics in the year 6 external exam is 29%. Think about that for a moment. Obviously it’s a complex issue but it does suggest that we’re raising a generation of Fijians that won’t be able to understand the complexities that come along with life in the 21st Century. Because, that’s why we learn those things. Sure, trigonometry might not feature in your daily life, but learning such concepts allows one to think of and picture multifaceted ideas. And that’s what makes it essential. We live in a country that seems to be uncomfortable at best, actively hateful at worst, of clear thinking. We’re scared to follow a thought to its logical conclusion a lot of times here because it might just shake up our worldview. And we can’t have that now can we? So now we have the older generation i.e. us, trying to pass on these notions to young people but we’re already victims to the perception that only things that are useful and practical have any place in our lives. Meanwhile we’re thinking this way in a time when the power of ideas get demonstrated time and time again. We run the risk of stagnation. That is, if we haven’t stagnated already. Which leads us nicely to...
      Social Inertia
      Take daylight savings. There is absolutely no reason for it in a 21st Century society that is industrialised enough that people don’t really need to hog sunlight to get things done. But we still do it anyway because “we’ve always done it this way”. I can’t help but think that that is going to be the epitaph of the species.
      Here Lies Humanity, gone extinct because they refused to change and adapt because “we’ve always done it this way”
      Are we going about this the wrong way?
      Another horrible rape case before our Courts. Ok I understand that what I’m about to say is probably going to piss someone off but just take a moment and engage some of that rational thinking I mentioned earlier. Why is it whenever one of these horrible cases happen (and they happen way too often) people go in to a rage about the alleged rapist but not many show empathy and compassion for the alleged victim? I understand that anger is easy. It’s even easier when you’ve got a clear target for said anger such as an alleged rapist. But how about for once, we sit down and spare a moment for the alleged victim living though her (or his) version of hell on Earth. Why, why must we always be the ranting, vengeful anger monster about these things?
      Ice, ice baby...
      Police this week saying they suspect the existence of another ice lab in Fiji. I have no idea about the drug culture in this country but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we definitely have at least one other large scale methamphetamine lab here. For the simple reason that there’s too much money to be made in the drug trade to not have at least one person and/or group trying to cash in. At this point I think the authorities need to rethink strategies on the so called War On Drugs because human beings are addicted (haha pun definitely intended) to altering the chemical state of their mind. It’s economics yeah, if there’s a demand, there will be a supply.
      Nerd Rage
      Sci fi films and their inability to imagine people in the future wearing fashions completely alien to us. Just ruins my suspension of disbelief. Case in point, the TV series Dark Matter. You've got spaceships that can travel Faster Than Light but no wearable technology? And the female crew are still wearing bras? Seriously? Damnit.
      Right then I'm back...
      So it’s here again. The HSBC 7s series begins next week in Dubai. Not much to say besides wishing the team all the best defending the title. Also; I had thought that after the Olympics, winning or losing at Dubai wouldn’t be something I really cared about but now that it’s here...I demand we start the series with a win. Make it so ye wizards of 7s!

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  1. Tuesday 08th November, 2016

    1. We’ll know who the next President of the United States is going to be. Now I realise that many in Fiji don’t quite understand this columnists apparent obsession with the elections of a country thousands of miles away and there’s a simple reason for it. It’s hands down, pants up, the best entertainment on the planet bar none. It makes Shortland St look like a kindergarten concert. I’ve been following this for the past 16 months since the candidates announced their candidacy. And now only 2 remain. The final countdown. The Big Loud Orange versus The Shriveled Prunes. And let’s be honest here, besides the entertainment, America is arguably one of the most important nations on the planet. Culturally, we’re all Americans these days. So, let’s all prepare ourselves to bow down to our new POTUS.
      In a country...
      That likes to pride itself on being kind to others why oh why do so many Fijians mistreat animals? I think it has been mentioned before but why do so many of us act like well… animals when it comes to other animals. I’m not a big fan of pets and whatnot but the casual cruelty way too many Fijians engage in is just really, really sad to see. You see kids taunting dogs, people throwing fireworks at cats, throwing stones at family pets not seeming to understand that for many people, these aren’t pets, they’re family members. In the picture below, someone evidently found it funny to string up the body of a dead dog. I’m struggling to think what kind of person finds amusement in something like this. The girl in the pic is the person who finally went to cut the dog down.

      Hello Baker...Barber...Beiber
      So we finally know who our next 7s coach will be. And when the news was announced on fijivllage.com around the country a collective gasp of surprise and befuddlement was raised by Fijians going “Who mada is Gareth Baber? A few weeks past the announcement and still not that much is known about him. In fact, there’s an expat in the country by the name of Gareth Baker who’s apparently received something like 300 friend requests on Facebook since the announcement was made. Ah Fiji, can you make sure you’ve got the right white guy please.
      The day the world changed...
      I don’t think many of us quite realise just how close we are to the world changing. There’s a term physicist use called “the singularity”. It refers to a region of so much pressure that gravity and light itself begins to break down leading to a black hole, so no one can see beyond it. That term has been adopted by the computer industry to refer to the day we create the world’s first computer that will think like a human. Beyond that point, no one knows what will happen besides the world going through the biggest paradigm shift ever. The most pessimistic estimates of it happening place it 100 years from now. The most optimistic place it as little as 10 years. What is known is that it will happen. The only argument now is the time frame and the exact changes. And this isn’t some sort of crackpot conspiracy theory talk. NASA and Google have established the Singularity University to reap the benefits of the new technology expected. Google is also installing kill switches in any potential AI systems in case it all goes wrong. I think the reason so little is being said about this topic is that it’s very inevitably makes it seem not worth discussing. Some links below for those who would like to read more.
      Do the right thing, put your litter in a bin...
      Remember that catchy slogan. In fact, one can still see it on bins all over the place. Unfortunately it seems to be one of those things that we just don’t seem to get. Someone sent me this picture. It’s like the ability to keep our surroundings clean is an insult or something. So many Fijians saying they love their country. So many of the same people throwing litter willy nilly even where there’s a sign clearly stating it’s illegal.

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  1. Thursday 06th October, 2016

    1. It’s that time of the year when we see a lot of charities out on our streets trying to raise money for their various causes. One of the ones I notice are the guys trying to raise money for Fijian veterans via their Poppy Campaign. By the way for those who may have wondered, however briefly about the significance of the poppy this may help:
      The remembrance poppy is an artificial flower, which has been used since 1921 to commemorate military personnel who have died in war, and represents a common or field poppy, Papaver rhoeas. Inspired by the World War I poem "In Flanders Fields", small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing leading up to Remembrance Day/Armistice Day (11 November).[2] Poppy wreaths are also often laid at war memorials.
      Now I’m not too sure about everyone else but the sight of these people trying to raise money for our veterans is frankly, for me, quite sad. I mean, we send these men (and it’s almost always men and our youngest ones at that) to fight in wars the State has deemed it necessary to be a part of and when they get back, more often than not, there’s really no place for them. To be fair to Fiji, we’re not as bad as in other parts of the world. In America, who, by the way have soldiers involved in military conflicts pretty much worldwide the treatment of their veterans borders on the obscene. You’ve got the usual lack of care and attention for people who have returned from a tour of trying to kill other human beings while trying desperately to stay alive themselves. You have to think their mental state isn’t very good. But they get ignored for the most part or actively vilified in other instances. Then there’s the US state of California. Back in 2066 when both Iraq and Afghanistan was kicking off and soldiers were desperately needed. they actively recruited people to join up even giving them enlistment bonuses of up to $15,000. The powers that be in that place are now getting these soldiers to pay those bonuses back. With interest. More on that story here:
      But back in Fiji. Like I said, we aren’t as bad as other places but the fact that these gang still need to fundraise for money indicates we could be doing more. So when you see them, give what you can. Never mind the politics and the reasons why they went to fight. They did go. And that deserves respect.

      Do you not watch CSI bruh?
      You ever come across a news item that makes you want to just put your head down and weep for the future of the species? Here’s one from fijivillage.com that made me feel like doing that:
      “The Acting Sergeant of the Fiji Police Force Apisai Dredreyara who is the prime state witness in the murder trial of Usaia Kilaiverata has revealed in the Suva High Court that he forgot to write notes while reconstructing the murder scene. However, it was highlighted by Dredreyara that this piece of evidence in not recorded in the caution interview.High Court Judge Justice Priyantha Fernando then asked Dredreyara why this information was not recorded.Dredreyara said he forgot to do it.”
      Now, listen. I’m not a police officer. I can’t know what incredible stresses the men and women of our police force go through in the pursuance of their duties. But, if you’re the officer in charge of trying to reconstruct a murder scene, wouldn’t you aim to do the best job you can? Out of professional pride if nothing else. How does a trained law enforcement officer show up to scene where a killed human being is present and not realise how important his job is? Maybe I’m being unfair but from what’s coming out is that he messed up. Big time.
      Speaking of weeping for the species...
      So big news this week on the climate change front. We’ve finally gone past 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Which according to scientists is the tipping point. From here on out, we’re going to work to remove CO2 from our atmosphere. Well, if we want to continue to have a planet inhabitable by our form of life anyway. Listen, whether or you not you believe that human beings are changing the planets climate doesn’t even matter anymore. Whether its us or Gaia realigning the system the numbers are stark and they’re very clear. COP 21, COP 22 and all the COPs in the world can’t change anything anymore.
      What’s that you say FM96?
      So FM96 has a very, very entertaining program called QI. Basically, the host asks a question and gets listeners to answer. Few weeks back and I can’t remember the exact context but according to a study, the majority of men keep their underwear for up to 10 years. For the love of Odins loincloth, who in Asgards name are these freakish men keeping their sapos for up to 10 years? You all need some help. It truly disturbs me it does. Well, at least it keeps me from losing my mind over WHO WILL BE OUR NEW 7S COACH? And I’m done...for now.

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  1. Thursday 06th October, 2016

    1. Another video showing apparent brutal treatment of people in custody by our police. Listen, I think we all know that the police have got a horribly difficult job. They literally need to get as close as possible to the most violent people in our society. For that they deserve respect. But, and this is the bit that I think gets lost in the noise some times. That respect needs to be a two way street. At this point, how many Fijians actually trust our police? Do you? And that is something that the force needs to work on. From what little I’ve heard of him, Commissioner Qiliho seems to be aware of this and is making an effort to change public perception of the Fiji police. But videos like these do not help in any way. If the change will happen it will have to start with this fundamental truth about the role of the police: they are citizens in uniform first and foremost. It’s not a case of us and them. There is no “thin blue line”. Community policing needs to be more than a vague statement.
      Catch ‘em kill ‘em
      Still on the subject of videos but this time from the other side. fijivillage.com stories about 2 people caught thanks to them being caught first in the act of committing a crime because of CCTV cameras in the places they were stealing from. I find people’s reactions to these videos interesting. Most seem to have the opinion that the perpetrators should be bashed up by police, killed by police or raped by either the police or other prisoners when they get incarcerated. Heck, some are even calling for a combination of all three. At some point, we need to sit down and have a collective think about just how violent Fijian society is. We are a people in love with the idea of using violence as a solution. We act like we’re all about being friendly and welcoming. Please. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. Walk through the streets of any urban area in this country on a Saturday night and see it live and direct. Maybe there’s a reason why two thirds of women here have reported some form of domestic abuse eh.
      Mate, why are you bothering mate?
      Before I continue, the Wallabies are my favourite second team behind Fiji. But I genuinely don’t know why they would bother playing the All Blacks this weekend. In Eden damn Park no less. I think the last time they beat the ABs there was in 1986. I was 6 years old. The Soviet Union was still a thing ie the threat of nuclear war was still a thing. Michael Jackson was at the height of his musical prowess. A website like you’re reading this on right now was science fiction. Listen, I know the Wallabies have to play the ABs. What I don’t understand is the cautious sense of optimism I’ve seen in some of my Wallabies supporters brethren. Guys, did you see what those evil men in black did to the South Africans? Ah well, good luck anyway. We’re going to need it.
      Use your mona not your s...
      Seems like every single day on social media there’s a hoax being spread by gullible folk. From the end of the world to Facebook taking away your privacy. Brief side track, Facebook took our privacy the moment we signed up. Anyway like I was saying, all these hoaxes. This is what gets me about the big number of people who fall for these things. There’s an estimated 305.5 billion pages of just text on the Internet. When you add videos and other things, that number grows even more. It’s the largest collection of data in human history. Why then can’t you people take 10 seconds to find the truth or otherwise of these things that get sent to you? Why? We live in the Information Age people. Start acting like it.

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  1. Thursday 06th October, 2016

    1. Well well to Dawasamu we go. I’m trying to think of just how many people have been there to partake of the apparent miracles taking place pretty much every day according to well, people who have gone there searching for a miracle. Listen, far be it for me to try and take away any hope people may have especially if you’re at point in your illness where all other avenues have been exhausted, but could those who believe that the waters at Dawasamu have healing properties not get so offended when others call for the properties of the water to be examined? I mean, if you’ve just seen a miracle all well and good for you. Getting angry because others are more skeptical is just childish. There’s also this from a friend who’s a doctor.
      “So it's time for my opinion on the Dawasamu miracle water. If you notice, the majority of doctors have been silent on this issue. To quote the late Ratu Jone Madriwiwi 'Don't take our silence as consent/acceptance'.”
      We are silent for a few reasons:
      1. No one wants to take away hope from people. Hope is POWERFUL. The power of the mind and psyche has been demonstrated in many clinical experiments. Never underestimate the power of positivity.
      2. The placebo effect probably explains 1 the best and this also has been clinically proven.
      3. Many positive stories and lessons can be drawn from the indirect effects of the healing water and one would be really thick to not acknowledge these.
      4. There are still many things that science cannot even begin to explain.
      But this is the point of my rant:
      Please do not take this water as the silver bullet for complete healing for ALL ailments and diseases.
      Please do not stop taking your pills or attending your clinics.
      Please continue to make positive changes to your lifestyle and diet.
      So by all means travel to Dawasamu, fellowship with the people, drink and bath of the waters but more importantly live with a purpose and take control of your life. Don't go with the flow (pun intended)
      Which I thought really does cover most of the bases. Fiji seems to have a penchant for looking for quick cures and not just with health issues. Sadly, life is always more complex than a “silver bullet” can fix. And to finish off about Dawasamu, it’s interesting to note that the very people who raise noise about the misuse of taxpayer money have been so quiet about taxpayer money being used by Water Authority of Fiji and Fiji Roads Authority to upgrade the facilities in the village and the road leading to the “miracle water”.
      The Pastor Blaster
      Let’s talk about so called men of god who use their positions of power to abuse members of their congregations. These guys are greedy maaaan. Not only do they want our money, they want our women too. The latest, who thankfully got jailed, was just the cream of the crop, or rather, the scum at the bottom of the tanoa. Now I’m not going to repeat the things he said but I will say, seeing him in the media, is it just me or does that guy have crazy eyes? Completely subjective on my part but he just seemed like evil with a small e. The evil that small men do because they’re well, small. This story of a messianic preacher who can convince members of his (and it’s almost always he for some reason) congregation to do anything has been repeated so often that at this point it’s like a mass shooting in America. Just another one on top of a pile that keeps rising and rising. Also, one big kerekere to my fellow Fijians, please, if someone says they have all the answers to lifes’ complex questions, your immediate, instinctual reaction should be to run away from him not to him. For the love of God please take note.
      Have a bit of class this Pinktober
      So it is that time of the year again when corporate bodies pledge their support in raising awareness about breast cancer. A time when media organisations speak to survivors to share their harrowing yet courageous stories. Look, I’m no expert on the media but can I ask this. If you’re going to talk to any person who’s survived cancer, have the empathy, decency and respect to prepare yourself well for the interview. At the very least, write your questions down. Earlier this week I watched a TV host interview a cancer survivor who by the sounds of it has been through hell. Both breasts removed, husband leaves her in the midst of her fight against cancer, leaving her with their kids including a 3 month old daughter. She's fighting cancer and figuring out how to look after her kids. And after all that, the host asks her if her kids "can expect a new daddy"...What in heavens name is wrong with you? You took this kickass womans battle and made it about a man? Luckily the survivor handled it with class. This is what happens to media organisations who do things because it ties in to their “image” and their notions of “corporate social responsibility” rather than doing it out of actual passion.

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  1. Tuesday 27th September, 2016

    1. Let’s talk about bias for a moment. Let me start by saying this; every single human being has some sort of bias. It’s inbuilt, an evolutionary trait to help us identify members of our tribe. And back in our hunter gatherer days it helped us differentiate friend or foe. These days our biases have gotten more complex. So human bias is a given. Which is why I’m always amused by our local SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) who will happily run countries like Indonesia down for its behaviour in West Papua but be strangely silent about countries like Australia and their shocking treatment of their indigenous people. I mean, not a single one of them has said anything about the death of a young Aboriginal woman named MS Dhu who was imprisoned for not paying fines for crying out loud and died in police custody. Follow the link for more details on the case: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-21/ms-dhu-inquest-no-compassion-for-dying-aboriginal-woman-custody/7265066
      “A police officer has admitted her actions towards a dying Aboriginal woman in police custody showed no compassion or professionalism, and were inhumane.”
      Ms Dhu died during that third visit in as many days to the Hedland Health Campus from staphylococcal septicaemia and pneumonia, following an infection in her fractured ribs that spread to her lungs.
      So how about we stop giving European, “liberal democratic” countries a pass just because you SJW’s seem to think they’re paragons of virtue. It’s frankly quite racist. Like throwing a tantrum over Japanese whaling practices but staying silent on the Norwegians hunting whales.
      The Furious Six
      Gotta admit, I like the label hung around the necks of those players returning…the furious 6. Sounds like a Western. Pew pew pew. It would be nice though to get a coach to go along with the players. I mean it’s not like we don’t have to defend our tournament/series title in December or anything. No pressure FRU. I have complete faith in you. So. Much. Faith. On a slight side note, I see our former gold medal winning coach is still inputting his views on the direction of the 7s game in our country. That’s nice.
      Speaking of Ben Ryan
      Within the last two weeks I’ve seen stories from websites that look like credible news sites that Ben Ryan was killed in a car accident, Kitione Taliga has been offered the largest endorsement deal from Nike in sporting history and that our president was named as the best president in the world by the UN General Assembly. I don’t know if I can stress this enough. DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET. It’s a den of iniquity and lies. Come on you guys…the internet is the place where a little bit of cynicism can save you a lot of stress. No, none of those things happened. No, Facebook, or some Nigerian prince does not want to give you money.
      I suggest we put in...
      To pay for counseling sessions for the member s of the Macuata rugby team who got reamed six ways from Sunday in their Farebrother Challenge. The word “Challenge” being a misnomer in this case when the final score was 92-18. Basically, Nadroga went Genghis Khan and co. sweeping through China like the various Chinese armies ranged against them were nothing more that straw puppets falling like flies. They went all “the finest thing in life is to take everything from my enemy and hear the lamentations of his women”. I mean, come on you gang, can anyone stop Nadroga? It would be good to see what exactly is the secret behind their continual success. I don’t have much local rugby knowledge but I would suggest that just like the All blacks, there’s a sense that the players don’t own the jersey, they’re just wearing it for the moment in the full knowledge that there’s history behind it and they have to perform at their best. Once you have that passion one would assume that the players are more than happy to put in the actual hard work to get to the levels required to win game after game.
      And speaking of putting in...
      New slang for Fiji. Vladimir for when it’s time to Putin. “Hey guys, we need some more grog. Give me your Vladimir”. Let’s make this happen Fiji. I believe in you. We’re still at the beginning of the week so let’s hope we get some Vladimir from FRU this week as to who will be our next Fiji coach.
      Let me finish off with this...
      People who reach the front of the line at the ATM or in the supermarket THEN decide to look for their cards/cash, please, just don’t do that anymore.

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  1. Tuesday 05th April, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where people still get surprised at the news that there's a cyclone headed our way. During cyclone season.
      The worst kind of (fermented) culture...
      Talking about the tragic news of those two young men who lost their lives in a recent car accident. By all accounts, the driver of the vehicle and his passengers were drunk. And again, the lesson that we just cannot seem to learn gets driven home: drunk driving can kill you. Ultimately, what killed those two young men was something that you see all the time in; we have a bad drinking culture. Alcohol on its own is like any other drug, it can only change your actions. So what happens when the particular action encouraged especially of young men is that you have to be as full of machismo as possible? That if you're a young male, the only way you can show that you're having fun is to engage in as much violent behaviour and take as many risks as possible. Look at any urban area in the weekend and count how many young men are drunk off their faces, walking around just ready to start as much trouble as possible with anyone who even looks at them the wrong way. If you're a guy reading this, think back to your own behaviour, whether it was many years ago or just last week. We have an issue with our drinking culture. Because I would wager that countries like Germany, for example, where alcohol has always been a part of their everyday living has lower rates of alcohol related violence than does Fiji per population size. Now I'm no sociologist (would this kind of thing be something a sociologist would study?) but I would think that a lot of the problems in our drinking culture are driven by the non-drinking portion of it. The wider society. The fact that young males have always been the most troublesome, violence seeking demographic of any population. And then look at the way we consume alcohol in Fiji. We binge drink like alcohol is about to be banned. Start with grog, then drink and drink and drink. And all the while, there's a need to prove how much of a man you are. That entails making sure you keep up with everyone else because God forbid a person should be able to just sip on a beer and just be mellow. This is apparently tabu. Then of course there's this need to engage in as many death defying acts as possible while all around gang say trite little things like "boys will be boys". At the rate our boys are just being boys they will all be dead before their brains actually develop enough to bring them to their senses.
      We're setting some records here guys!
      But not the good kind. Last year was the hottest year ever worldwide since records started being kept in the late 1800s. Then January and February were the hottest for those two respectively. Then new data shows that March 2016 is hands down the hottest month EVER recorded. Last month global ocean temperatures rose by 2 degrees, something that was not supposed to happen until the year 2100. How is this our fault? Well 97% of climate scientists agree that these temperature rises are more probable than not driven by Anthropogenic Global Warming which is basically a fancy way of saying that our activities are driving these temperature increases. Now, I'm very far from a tree hugger. I think that the human species is at the apex of life on the planet because we are the species that managed to successfully adapt and thus dominate other species. But by the same token, doesn't this kind of necessitate that the human species should also be more responsible than other species? Or do we just continue short-sightedly grubbing for bugs in the dirt? Also, at some point, is it possible for Pacific Island countries to do what a group of Dutch citizens have done? These guys sued their government for inaction over climate change. Considering we're among the smallest emitters in the world, the burden of climate change seems way too skewed towards us.
      And now to close the circle...
      In Parliament recently, a motion was moved to reinstate the GCC. Far be it from me to question the timing of the motion but is the GCC actually banned or has the government of the day decided that it will not support an unelected (in the Western sense, which is the model this government is run on) institution? If it's not actually banned, why don't the stakeholders form it again. I mean, all you need is money right? On a slight tangent, watching parliament yesterday and one of the parliamentarians is dressed in an all white suit. Listen, I can't recall his name at this point because quite honestly I was too busy gawking over his Baron Samedhi pimp daddy vibe. You go get 'em tiger.

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  1. Tuesday 05th April, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where the success of ANY social gathering is gauged on the answer to the question: “How was the food?”
      No no they’re not “real” Muslims!
      Reading about the various attacks carried out in recent days in Belgium and Lahore to name just two. Shocking, horrible stuff. There’s been a lot written about it so there’s something else I’ve picked up on. Whenever these attacks occur, you will hear the attackers yelling out “Allahu akbar”. And these same cowards will then state explicitly that these attacks are carried in the name of Islam. What happens then is the mind-boggling bit. More often than not, the discussion will begin about how “no no they’re not real Muslims”. Which in my very humble opinion is not just incorrect but actually, actively dangerous. There is nothing wrong that there is a virulent strain of extremist Islam around these days. And that should be acknowledged. It doesn’t make every Muslim a terrorist or Islam a violent religion. It would be like judging all Christians by what the Lords Liberation Army is up to in Uganda. Instead you get liberal (always eh) commentators trying their best to make it the fault of the West. And the white man. And imperialsim and colonialism, blah blah blah. Which are all factors but at the end of the day if a group stands up and specifically mentions why they’d like to kill you and everyone around then I’m sorry but these gang should be taken at face value. Let’s leave the nuances of what they’re doing to history. Here’s the thing also, when you refuse to acknowledge that these cowardly acts are being carried out in the name of a radically dangerous version ie Wahhabism then you can’t then take the next logical step and see where the Wahhabi’s came from and what country has provided the most funding, billions and billions of dollars to spread Wahhabist teachings worldwide. That country being of course, Saudi Arabia. But that’s another story. Speaking of “white guilt”.
      Class Warfare versus Identity Politics
      FROM AN AMERICAN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE.
      Something I've been thinking about for a long time. When exactly did the Left become more obsessed with identity politics than class warfare? I see Left leaning academics bending backwards to make EVERYTHING the fault of white males whilst at the same time giving People Of Colour a free pass. It's weird. You'll see left wing "liberals" decrying the poverty and lack of education of poor inner city blacks whilst laughing at the "stupidity" of poor rural white "rednecks". Aren't these people just as much a victim of poor education and lack of access to said education? Left wingers will decry the misogyny directed against Hillary Clinton and rightfully so but these same people will then happily make fun of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Criticise Obama's appearance in any way and you're racist. Talk about Trumps small fingers and weird hair and you're the darling of the so-called liberal, progressive Left. It's crazy. It's like these white Left wingers are so obsessed with the idea of blaming everything on the “white man" they will whip themselves into a frenzy to wipe out their "white guilt". I used to think I was politically to the Left. But I'm starting to realise that socialism, communism just don't cut it. Because they're still stuck on the idea of the State. Even Bernie Sanders, as much as I like him is still nothing more than the best of a bad lot. Because maybe, just maybe the reason why the Left is getting bogged down in identity politics is because they're also in love with the idea of the State. And the State automatically comes with a class system. And there's no way you can get away from that. So maybe consign that to the corner and concentrate and agitate about POC, trigger warnings, safe spaces, etc. The amount of groupthink is amazing, and God help the hapless soul who says anything different. Left, Right, in the end they're nothing more than reactions to various manifestations of the State. The State itself remains at the top with the rest of us grubbing around beneath it like insects.
      The People have no power...
      I mean that literally. Several power cuts recently and the FEA obviously doing their best to manage a very difficult situation. It’s amazing though how Fijians will find some way to laugh at the constant power cuts. I’m not saying we’re more resilient that people in other parts of the world. I’m just saying we handle these things because we have something to do when the powers out and all the gadgets are useless. Yes, I managed to take a national problem and make it about grog. Drink grog, pass the time, talk to your friends. It’s fantastic.
      Hordes of daywalkers
      How about this cika eh? Hordes of people walking around in the day and night wearing sunglasses. Like a group of Blades. Daywallllkers! By the way, could we please just agree that the last thing you want to be doing in terms of treating your eyes, you know those two wonderful soft balls of delicate tissue that you use to see the world, could we please stop using anything that could damage those? Like salt water or even worse, someone mentioned using lemon juice. In your eyes. No. Just no. Then there’s using breast milk. Ok, I don’t know if that will help, it may well could considering how beneficial breast milk is on the whole. But do you really want to be the person asking a nursing a child, probably tired and cranky for her breast milk? Do you not like your life? Let’s just keep the hands clean and gently wash our eyes with cold water. Sorted.
      And now to close the circle...
      The weather is horrible at the moment. Places getting flooded. There are currently two tropical disturbances hanging about the place. In times like this, you need to keep dry, keep warm and keep informed. Because there’s a fair amount of misinformation around and the last thing we need is panic caused by rumours. For example there’s a link online which purportedly shows that “Cyclone Selina” is on its way. DO NOT BELIEVE THAT. Get things verified on a CFL radio. I mean there are 5 so you’re never far away from us. Stay safe!

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  1. Wednesday 16th March, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where you’re probably reading this alone because everyone else is queuing at the nearest FNPF office to apply for “cyclone assistance”.
      Be careful on that high horse of yours...
      All these gang moralizing about how people should act in the aftermath of Winston. Saw one post decrying people who were drunk and all. I really can't see why people would get precious about gang spending their own money? I mean maybe they're not spending it the way you want them to but that's their issue not yours. Kudos to everyone who's helping in some way with relief efforts but all this sanctimonious, self-righteousness is sounding more and more like the usual groupthink we love to engage in in this country. If you want to help, help. But don't think helping makes you more virtuous. Don't think it gives you the right to judge others. Do your bit and if others don't feel the need to help that's on them. Just get off the high horse, hop off the moral bandwagon, because falling from that height will hurt.
      A strange place to be...
      Ever found yourself in the weird position of being forced to care about something you honestly don't want to? Happened to me earlier this month when Kim Kardashian (yes I know but please, bear with me) released a series of naked selfies. Oh you should have seen the so-called feminists "slut shaming" a fellow woman. It was like Kardashian was literally the worst problem in the world. And to release the images on International Women's Day? How dare a woman express herself in a manner she's comfortable with and lets her make some money. It was hilarious. As far as I can tell, Kardashian has no actual talent so it does take a certain talent to make money out of that. Also, could someone please tell me how posting a nude selfie somehow makes her a bad parent? Genuine question. I mean I see people posting selfies of themselves drunk off their heads all the time and no one judges them or questions their parenting abilities. And as far as I can tell, alcohol is waaay more hazardous to one's health than a nude selfie. It seems to me that people just like to hate Kim Kardashian. This is just sad really ... ah well.
      Will no one think of the kids?
      If you took even a brief moment to think of the fairy tales we grew up hearing that we're now passing on to our own kids, you'll quickly realise that the stories are seriously twisted. Reading the Gingerbread Man to my kids some nights ago. That is a horrific story. Check it. It starts off with the old man and old woman whose only blemish in an otherwise perfect life is the fact they have no kids. So one day the old woman bakes a gingerbread man which for unknown reasons comes to life. Now if the story had been the couple deciding to love and treat a baked good as the child they'd never had it would have been weird but hey, a nice lesson on how love comes in different forms, fashions and in this case at least, flavours. But no, they decide to eat what they've created. Which is not only weird but horrific. And then the gingerbread man freshly made in the dawn of his creation shows his sentiency by doing what any sentient being would do, making every attempt to preserve his life. So he runs ... by the way how the hell was he able to move so damn fast anyway? He runs from the couple and then a cow, a horse and a pig. All of whom see this being as food only. And all the while he's running he's thinking of all the fun he's gonna have ... the motherf just wants to live, maybe meet a nice gingerbread woman and have some cute little gingerbread kids. We'll never know because he meets a fox that takes advantage of his innocence to eat the poor little bugger. So the lessons here seem to be, know your place or the world will remind you harshly what it is. They should rename that story The Gingerbread Genocide man. I need a lie down. On further thought, you know how when a woman is pregnant we say she's got a bun in the oven. What if the gingerbread man was the actual child of the couple but came out with some sort of deformation which caused his parents to want to kill(eat) him. Shit just got darker man. (I'm spending waaay too much time on this.)
      Only in Fiji
      I'm just going to leave this picture here and let you ponder on just how insanely awesome some of things we do in this country are.

      And now to close the circle...
      On this FNPF assistance. As of this column, FNPF has already distributed over $30 million. Now, we know that a lot, maybe even most of those who applied didn't really need to right? So, seeing as every single one of those people had to sign a statutory declaration saying that "No sir, we're not lying, this is really about Winston", congratulations guys, you're part of the biggest criminal gang in Fijian history. Then again, a few people stole over $200 million from our national bank back in the day and no one really got done for that.

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  1. Wednesday 16th March, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where every Ref who makes a bad decision against our team is officially the worst human ever, a hybrid between Stalin, Hitler and Mao. On speed.
      Spelling guys, it matters...
      We've been through the worst disaster this country has ever faced. And all over social media people have been trying to help in whatever way they possibly can. And that's magnificent. However, if yo'’re going to use hashtags to show your compassion, you may want to be sure you're spelling things correctly. Because #StrongerThanWinston is how Fijians proclaim their resilience while #StrongerThanWilson simply tells me you're stronger than the volleyball Tom Hanks kept talking to in Castaway? I think, I don't know.

      Pacifist? Well, I'm trying.
      Still on the aftermath of TC Winston. We've got all sorts of aircraft (and ships for that matter) in the country at the moment helping out with relief efforts. Can I just say that as a card carrying tree hugging liberal I like to see myself as a pacifist. But man, watching one of those military helicopters zooming overhead makes me want to go in "hot in the LZ blasting Charlie". If there aren't any atheists in foxholes, there's certainly no pacifists in Fiji.
      Speaking of liberals
      Ever heard of something called "trigger warnings"? It's when someone will warn the audience that their work, be it a movie or novel or whatever contains scenes that may "trigger" certain members of the audience. It's used a lot in so-called institutions of learning overseas. I'm using "so-called" because I've always thought learning without confronting things that might be uncomfortable to you isn't really learning. It's thinking life is going to be handed to you on a platter. But no, apparently these days everything has to be bloodless and painless. It's also tasteless. Like I said earlier, I consider myself a liberal but man this constant need to wrap everything in a cocoon makes me want to hit something.
      You keep sciencing science!
      The World Health Organisation a few years ago expressed its concern about something called MRSA (or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureaus for my people who see every acronym as a personal challenge) which "is a major cause of hospital-acquired infections, and the second biggest cause of death by drug-resistant bacteria in the US. These bacteria are resistant to the most widely used class of antibiotics, called beta-lactams, which include penicillin, methicillin and carbapenems.” So a superbug that's resistant to antibioitcs. Which, considering how essential antibiotics are to modern medicine and you know, longer lifespans had the WHO worried. I like to think that somewhere in a lab, some scientist put on his or her lab coat and said "Bring it MRSA" and with lab coat billowing behind started sciencing the heck out of it. Whatever "sciencing" entails, I'm kind of hazy on the exact details. Anyway, earlier this week, the news came out that these scientists had found a way to break the superbugs resistance to antibiotics. Boom ... down goes another species threatening issue. From "Superbug" to regular old bug. You keep doing you Science. All joking aside though, it was a major issue that had organisations like the WHO and CDC deeply worried. Basically, with superbugs resistant to antibiotics, medicine would have taken a colossal leap backwards. Which leads to...
      A nice little segue into this
      The President of the Fiji College of General Practitioners and a renowned GP spoke this week earlier on the misuse and abuse of antibiotics. Obviously I can't speak as an actual medical practitioner, but as a patient? Have you noticed that too many of us go to the doctor and sometimes no medicine is needed but when the doctor doesn't prescribe actual medicine, too many of us seem to think we're being somehow shortchanged? It's crazy. We'll go with a slight cold and get irritated when the doctor, you know the person with an intimate working knowledge of what our body needs, says bed rest and lots of fluids. Now I'm not saying that some of doctors aren't to blame for the overuse of antibiotics but maybe we, as patients have to be a little more open to the idea that we're simply not at a level of sickness that requires antibiotics.
      My continuing love affair with the American political process
      Why is it supporters of Hillary Clinton keep reassuring me that her femaleness has nothing to do with why Americans should vote for her. That in no way should it be an issue or pointed. Then these same gang turn around make EVERY SINGLE CRITICISM leveled her somehow sexist. You can’t criticize Clinton without someone screaming out misogynist! Then there's Trump and Sanders. Is anyone else tripping out on the fact that the most radical, anti-establishment candidates in the US elections cycle are old white men ie. the traditionally most conservative Establishment types in the past. Regardless of how you feel about either of them, Trump and Sanders have changed the political landscape of the US.
      And now to close the circle...
      Shocking news this week about Seru Rabeni's passing away. Obviously, death is always sad, but there's a certain element of added loss when you consider the guy was only 37 years old. It makes one wonder about ones own mortality. Watching highlights of his career made me realise something, Rabeni had an amazing career. And he was at his best at the 2007 RWC. Seriously, when you can, look for Youtube videos of the guy in that tournament. Just an absolute beast. RIP to a great servant of Fijian rugby and my condolences to his family.

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  1. Monday 29th February, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where everything washes away with ball in hand. Even the horror of living through the worst cyclone this country has ever seen.

      All about Winston...
      What can one write that adequately describes the horror of waiting for what would turn out to be the second strongest weather system ever to make landfall bearing down on your country? When you’re worried sick about looking after your kids, hoping that it doesn’t head directly towards you and the people you love. That little frisson of guilt mixed with relief when you hear on the radio that it’s not headed towards you. The horror those who got hit must have felt at the height of the cyclone. In the aftermath of Winston, we start to hear stories of unbelievable tragedy and extraordinary humanity. If Winston proved anything, it’s that we Fijians have this almost superhuman ability to stand up, dust ourselves off and then spoil someone else off while seriously considering a mix. Because that’s another thing that’s becoming increasingly clearer judging from online activity leading up to Winston, the vast majority of us spent the wait drinking grog. I’m sure there’s some sort of lesson there but at this point I’m still recovering from last night’s session to figure out what it is.
      Playing politics at a time like this? Not cool!
      Australia and NZ pledge millions of dollars in assistance and the first thing some gang can do is make it about politics. Just stop it kerekere. Despite everything else, Australia and NZ have always been there for us when bad things happen. And they always will be. This help they're giving isn't about politics, it's about being a good neighbour. As for Russia and China...does anyone else really think they won't be helping out when and where they can? And if they don't, so what? Let's get political about other things...not about people trying to help Fiji out in these trying times. In fact, considering the offers of help coming from governments all around the world, one could make the argument that the current government has played their cards well in forging new relationships while trying to make old ones more balanced. So there’s that.
      The Conspiracy Theorists have arrived...
      In the aftermath of Winston, I was waiting for the conspiracy nutbars to emerge after Winston started being so erratic, sure enough, quite a few Fijians online have been posting about this YouTube video. Ii’ll give you some time to watch the video, then a bit more time to hit your head repeatedly against a hard surface to forget the video. That doesn’t work by the way.

      Right, now that you’re back. I'm going to try my best to present a rational argument but I know that many of you reading this will disregard what I say. And that’s fine, the conspiracy theory that TC Winston is man-made comes from that deep human need to impose a pattern on a randomised universe. Also, I'm not a meteorologist so I'm just as ignorant as Mr. Conspiracy Man narrating this. So a few things.
      1. Who is this guy? At no point does he identify himself or give his level of expertise. That right there should set alarm bells off.
      2. At one point he refers to some islands in Fiji as the Pentecost Islands, if he has no idea on the geography of a place he's talking about, how can you trust anything he says.
      3. He keeps talking about chemtrails when referring to the normal cyclical motion of a cyclone.
      4. Also, chemtrails are a conspiracy theory that first surfaced in the 90s and has to do with high altitude airplanes seeding the atmosphere. It's been debunked so often it's a joke.
      5. He claims that Winston will hit Australia next. Last I checked, this isn't happening.
      6. He gives no actual evidence. Just wild, wild speculation. I'm no meteorologist but neither is this guy judging by his narration.
      7. He says Winston will dissipate once it leaves us, then goes on to say it will hit Australia.
      8. What the hell was he saying about lasers? So apparently if we can generate vortex shaped lasers this also gives us the ability to generate and sustain cyclones?
      9. Occams Razor. We had a cyclone during our cyclone season. Weird that eh? Sure it was erratic but I'm going to put that down more to the fact that climate change is playing havoc with established weather patterns than some unknowing faceless group have the means and need to create a cyclone to destroy our country.
      So yeah...that's what I think. Like I said, no doubt many of you will disagree but right now...I'm kind of more worried about how I can do my bit to help people on a real level and can't really worry about conspiracy theories. Okayts set.
      And now to close the circle...
      Listen I’m all about a bit of humour to help bad times pass faster. I love me some dark humour. However it does irritate me when gang make a joke without understanding what they’re actually joking about.

      This is the pic that has everyone laughing at the gang from Ra. Maybe if someone had taken the time to ask those gang why they were hanging clothes on a downed power line they would have been told that it's to let vehicles and pedestrians know at night that the clothes are there to show where downed power lines are since you know...it's dark and everything. But no we all jumped on the "lets laugh at those dumbasses". You know, the ones who've just lost everything and now get mocked on social media. And even IF they were doing it to dry their clothes, it's still sad as hell because if you're reduced to risking your life to get your clothes dry you're in a bad place. So a bit of effort on the jokes yeah? That about does it, email me your Winston stories on psq679@gmail.com and let’s make a real effort to watch the Super Rugby this weekend as a final middle finger salute to Winston to show we’re back and screaming for our teams. Except the Hurricanes. Tsk tsk Hurricanes!

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  1. Thursday 18th February, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where our bean cart sellers get busted for marijuana possession. Your one stop for drugs. And the food to feed your munchies.
      Bright, glittering...and empty
      Ever noticed how we will bitch about the cost of data and the networks that are always playing up but none of us actually just say "No more" and leave the interwebz. I think it’s about time we admit this: We're all addicts. We're all little fish swimming in the datastream. See, it’s understandable, real life is messy with little bits of you scattered everywhere, our online lives are nice and sanitised where you get to control what bits of your life others get to see. Where your Instagram feeds your Facebook and your Twitter and Snapchat provides little snapshots of the online you. We're all voyeurs in each others lives. The George Orwell novel 1984 has come true in ways I’m sure the author couldn’t foresee. We all worry about Big Brother watching us then happily let everyone else in. Deadly eh? I love it though. Every cyberpunk novel I read is coming true in weird, wonderful ways. Ah the future is bright and glittering. And empty. Welcome to our brave new world!
      The Pointlessness of Anger...
      I understand the anger directed towards the guy who allegedly raped his 7 month old daughter. But maybe, instead of calling for his death and whatnot, we collectively took a deep breath and asked ourselves a few questions. Because if we want to get a handle on cases of child sexual abuse we need to understand those who perpetrate it. So...why has there never been an effort to study the men that commit these crimes? Is there a commonality amongst them all? If their sexual preference is to children, can it be treated? Should it be treated? Or do we euthanise them? Every time a case like this comes up the inevitable cries of "kill him/hang him/castrate him/etc" also come up, but what exactly does that achieve. It's nothing more empty vessels making a loud noise. At some point we need to realise that punishing these gang AFTER they've committed their crime is all well and good for retribution but wouldn't it be a bigger achievement if these men could be identified BEFORE they commit the crime? These men aren't some sort of boogeyman. They're "normal" looking individuals who for some reason have committed the horrible obscenity of hurting children sexually. Gang ask "what kind of man would do something so horrible?" And the answer is, a man that looks like you and I. So let's stop getting angry and start thinking about this stuff. Because your anger doesn't do jack for the little baby girl who's been violated. Time to grow up guys.
      And on that note...
      Story of that 19 year old who attempted suicide after his girlfriend didn't answer his calls. Regardless of why he did it, It's disheartening how many people wish he was successful just because. Some nice empathy there. Such generosity of spirit. Good stuff Fiji.
      Shortland Street…with more guns and less women
      The Middle East fascinates me. Which is a weird fascination considering my location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean thousands of miles away. So this week, the big news is that Saudi Arabia is apparently massing troops, around 350,000 of them apparently on the Syrian border. Meanwhile they can’t even control the Houthi tribesmen in Yemen who are giving them a hiding. And Iran is like “Really guys. Really?”. Then Turkey states bombing the Kurds in Aleppo. To which the Americans are saying “Guys could you just stop. We just gave them some shiny new weapons to fight ISIS and you’re really messing our mojo up man”. At this point there are something like 1,200 different groups fighting in the Syrian Civil War. And every single one of those groups is convinced it’s doing Gods work. There’s Sunnis, Shi’a, Alawites, Maronites, Druzes, Kurds and Turkic involved. Like I said, Shortland St, because alliances and relationships pretty much change every single day. I’ve reached the point where I’ve picked my side (Long Live A Free Kurdistan) and stick with them through thick and thin. Kind of how everyone has their favourite soap opera character.
      So Beyonce’s black again?
      Listen, I like Beyonce. Some of her songs are nothing short of amazing. But one big kerekere mada Queen Bey. Could you please stick to singing songs about love found and love lost? Because when you start getting political it frankly leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Using Black Panther imagery at an event pretty much run and controlled by white people isn’t something I think people like the founder of the Black Panthers Huey P Newton would have been too happy about. And considering all the accusations of skin lightening in pictures of you in various magazines it just seems like you’re finding it convenient (this week anyway) to be black and sassy.
      And now to close the circle...
      Seeing as we’re still in the so-called month of love, remember the love letters written when you were in school. I mean, those things had enough corn to make a Nebraskan farmer weep in joy.
      Time: 9.43pm
      Mood: Missing you
      Dearest Adorable You, as I sit here thinking about this life visions of your beautiful face come unbidden to my mind. Your sophisticated smile. Your eyes like two black stones (I’ve actually seen someone write that, needless to say, the girl who got the letter never, ever got back to him). I miss you my rose and this distance between us only makes the hurt worse.
      And the clichés just kept coming like some sort of army of well used phrases flung at the object of your affections till they just caved in out of sheer exhaustion. Good times man! The best of times. I wonder if it still happens these days? Let me know by emailing me psq679@gmail.com. On that note, big vinaka vakalevu to Anthony Peters in the US for your email. Your feedback is appreciated.

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  1. Thursday 11th February, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where we’ll talk about the dangers of NCD’s. While having a marathon grog session.
      Crazy times we live in
      Anyone else catch that story about that guy in the UK who spent a year in court fighting a charge of sexual assault? It’s a weird one. Guy is walking through a crowded train station and bumps into a woman. Doesn’t think anything of it, continues on his way. Next thing he knows he’s being charged and then gets his name dragged through the mud. She claims that he somehow penetrated her in that brief moment they were in contact. This, despite the fact that he had both his hands full; which shows clearer than day on the CCTV image from the train station.

      Then when this thing is in court, his name is made public while she retains her anonymity. Then the police try to show slowed down footage claiming that the video was being played at normal speed. Crazy stuff. So, after a year of fighting this thing, it goes to court where a jury spends about 90 minutes and throws the whole thing out. This story is just messed up on so many levels. The obvious being that an innocent man has had his time wasted and reputation smeared over something so obviously ridiculous that the mind boggles at the resources wasted chasing this. Then add to that the fact that Men’s Rights Activists, some of whom tend to be as batdoodoo insane as some extreme feminists, are having a field day over this and it just becomes even crazier. Then, false accusations like this just take away from genuine cases and make people less inclined to believe women who are sexually assaulted and/or raped. The so-called victim in this case couldn’t even identify the accused in a police line-up. And then of course, it turns out that the accuser is an actress who is set to appear in the new season of Game of Thrones, a TV show that pretty much comprises women being violated. We live in crazy times.
      That time of the year again...
      Listen O ye cynical and jaded souls. When it comes to thinking that Valentines Day is nothing more than another over-commercialised occasion concocted by companies to get things sold, I’m right there with you. But, one big kerekere. How about we let the gang who will actually be doing something with their special someone enjoy the occasion without us going on social media and denigrating and criticizing people who are just trying to bring a little joy and pizazz into their lives? Sure, they may spend a lot of money on things that aren’t really worth it but if it’s not your money they’re spending why are you bothered getting worked up over Valentines Day? So let’s just dial down on the negativity this year. Let’s be happy at least some people are in love and living in a world where everything is erm...roses.
      Speaking of love...
      How about a bit of love for Savenaca Rawaca of the Vodafone Fiji 7s team? Listen, like I mentioned in my last column, everything should be open to criticism. Even, maybe especially, our 7s team. But when the criticism goes from “Rawaca needs to tone the aggression down” to “Rawaca, you ulukau, no school blockhead” that’s crossing a line. Especially when you’re making these comments on social media. Safely behind your keyboard. Maybe we should implement a rule about criticizing another person. You should be allowed to say anything you want about them…as long as you say it to their face. Because I would think, many of the keyboard warriors would wet themselves if they had to say what they’re saying online to Savenaca “I Want To Fight Everything” Rawaca.
      Lent me your ears!
      Lent started this week and I see a fair amount of people talking about what they’re giving up for Lent. Which is all well and good. Nothing like a bit of self-sacrifice to help you appreciate the things you love. But it seems to me, and I’m hardly an expert or a good Christian (whatever that actually means) but I’ve always thought that Lent should be less a season of giving up and more a time of giving back to people that may have less than. A time to be a little less judgmental, a little bit kinder and maybe some charity to our fellow humans who just like us, are trying to make sense of it all. That’s what I’ve always thought should be the over-riding theme of the Lenten season. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a column on the internet. (Now email me on psq679@gmail.com and show me some love and kindness. )
      And now to close the circle...
      Came across this on Facebook and thought it was hilarious. And of course, it also applies to grog.
      "Good point though. You have one beer and that one beer gets lonely. So you have another. Then those 2 beers fall in love. But then they fight so you bring in a third beer to calm things down. Then the third beer remembers that they know another beer who they reckon would bring a little bit of X factor to the group. Then a fifth beer shows up out nowhere (because there's always that one beer who can smell a party). So by this stage, you're feeling generous so you invite another 4 beers along with their cousins, cousins tavales, their tau vu's, their tau vu's mataqail and brother...this joint is rocking now. So yes, a beer on its own is a beer with its life dreams unfulfilled. Don't be that guy bro...let your beer live its dreams. I see a day, a bright (if blurry from all the beer) future when beers everywhere won't be left alone. Lonely and crying in the wilderness. Indeed...indeed. #BeerTheChange2k16"

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  1. Tuesday 02nd February, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where we literally survived everything thrown at us in childhood. From sasa brooms to jars. Usually thrown at us by our parents.
      (A short lesson on how to use the word “literally” correctly.)
      Love is...
      Came across a story from the US about a woman named Heather Clark who lost her son Lukas. A parent losing her child is never an easy thing. What makes Lukas' death more horrific is that he died as a result of child abuse. So obviously, this woman has lived through hell. When her son died she made the decision to donate his organs. And last week Heather Clark got to her son's heart beating inside 4 year old Jordan Gonzalez.

      This story got me thinking. When bad things happen to good people and they do, you have two choices. You can sink into your grief and pain and get consumed by it. And that's completely understandable. Or you could be like Heather Clark and find some joy in knowing that you lost your child but his life, short as it was and his death, as horribly tragic as it may have been, wasn't lived in vain. There's a power in that. There's sadness and horror. But I like to think, there's a touch of joy in knowing that. And there's love. As always.
      The World's Biggest Show ...
      ...is in November this year. I am of course talking about the US Elections. A few things about it. First off, you hear people saying things like "You're not even American, why do you even bother?" Well the reason for that is very simple. Adults like to discuss matters that might impact their lives. And seeing as America is the world's sole remaining superpower and everything there affects the rest of us in some way, I would think that an interest in American politics is important. Besides, no one puts on a show like the US. Here's another thing about the presidential race. It would be nice if so-called liberals would stop comparing Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. If you're reduced to comparing an American politician to one of our species most evil individuals then you either need to improve your argument or go find a store selling some class. And I say that as someone who vehemently disagrees with Trump's politics. And finally, the US candidate I support (not that it matters since I can't actually vote) is Vermont senator Bernie Sanders who's up against Hillary Clinton in trying to grab the Democratic candidacy. Apparently, my support of Sanders over Clinton makes me sexist. This comment once again coming from liberals. It's like liberals are all for freedom of expression, right up to the point you express an opinion contrary to the Party line. Gotta all march in lockstep eh comrades.
      Cat Got Your Tongue?
      Reading the news on www.fijivillage.com about that case where a woman is in court after allegedly biting off the tongue of a man who was in the same drinking party. The way I see it, there's two possibilities why she did what she did. She's either a physically abusive individual who should rightfully be locked up if found guilty. Or he was trying to assault her in some form and she defended herself the only way she could. Either possibility is pretty disturbing to be honest. So why oh why do we think this is something that's funny? People laughing about this incident like literally biting off another person's body part is humorous. She severed through one of the toughest muscles in the human body and we think it's funny? Says more about us really.
      Go Fiji Go!
      Straight after we got slaughtered 31-0 by South Africa in the semifinals of the Wellington 7s, I received a text message from a friend:
      "What's the difference between a triangle and the Fiji 7s team? At least a triangle has 3 points."
      Which pretty much drove me over the edge of madness. Which wasn't difficult considering the grog had already been mixed and daylight grog is brutal. So what went wrong in Wellington? It's something that Ryan, the team along with every die hard, mad fan will be talking about. So there's really little point in discussing that. What does interest me is this ... at what point are the fans allowed to criticize the team they support. It seems like too many of us think that our team cannot be criticized and can't do anything wrong. Which is blatantly untrue. I mean 31-0 says there's a long way to go before we even get to thinking we're the best TEAM on the circuit. And I'm not saying to bring the cane knives out and start chopping them up. But when someone points out that they felt Vatemo Ravouvou disrespected Japan by taking his time to place the ball over the tryline and people start swearing at the person who expressed their opinion then we may have a problem. Having said all that, this weekend I will once again be cheering for them in Sydney.
      And now to close the circle...
      Still on the rugby. It's always good to get a little bit of perspective on things. Sometimes what you think is the most known piece of information around may be going straight over someone elses head. Witness a friend of mine who asked me innocently today who exactly SBW is. Which is strange enough considering Sonny Bill Williams is arguably rugby's biggest name and seeing as we live in a country where rugby is the most popular sport she would have known that. It gets worse though. When I told her who SBW is, she looks at me and says "I thought it was the new name for WAF ie the Water Authority of Fiji." How in heaven's name she got that in a discussion about a New Zealand rugby player is so far beyond me it may as well be in another universe altogether. And that was the point I realised I needed new friends. Have a great week, feel free to send me your comments on psq679@gmail.com and be my friend. Like I said, I need some new ones.

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  1. Monday 25th January, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where you call your neighbor aunty and uncle even if you aren’t related.
      That casual cruelty
      Let me be honest. I’m not a pet type of person. I don’t gush over cute little puppies and I’m convinced that every single cat is laughing at us whilst plotting the downfall of the human species. Having said all that, I cannot understand people in Fiji who mistreat animals. Sadly, it sometimes seems like there are too many people like that. From kids who take a perverse pleasure in tormenting dogs locked securely in their compounds to people who will kick a kitten that happens to be in their way. It truly befuddles me. What exactly do these people get out of such pointless cruelty? I mean, if you’re the type of person who gets a kick out of hurting animals you really need to take a good, hard long look at yourself.
      Trump Derangement Syndrome
      We’ve had a run of celebrity deaths from David Bowie to Glenn Frey. I’ve noticed a few memes on social media talking about how it’s unfair that these people died and Donald Trump is still alive and well. Now I understand that these are supposed to be tongue in cheek and I’m possibly being quite precious here but how is it alright to wish death on another human being? Who, at the end of the day is relatively harmless (at this point anyway). And I’m saying this as someone whose political stances are pretty much the direct opposite of Donald Trump. It’s sad watching liberals, those proponents of equality for all acting like petulant little children hoping someone they don’t like dies. A bit of class would go a long way guys.
      Simply The Breast!
      Once again, people talking about the issue (or is it issues, since there’s you know two) of women breastfeeding their babies in public. There have been all sorts of articles and videos floating around about people being either for or against it. Personally, it makes me laugh. Well, laugh then want to cry. Think about it. Breasts can be used to sell everything in public spaces from cars to food but use it in public for the purpose women evolved them for and people lose their damn minds. Ah humanity, sometimes you really make me wonder.
      No I Don’t Want To Watch it!
      Just a bit of a backstory. Late last year there was a drowning in a swimming spot in Kalabu. Eventually, the body was brought to the surface by the “bete” in the area. A process that was videoed and then placed on social media. Where, unsurprisingly it went viral, with everybody and their father watching it. Well, everyone but me it seems. Because quite frankly I’m getting tired of being asked if I’ve watched the video of that drowning in Waikalou. We live in an age where you can watch a video that tries to explain the origins of our universe or a video of Sister Rosetta Tharpe pretty much creating rock n roll and you want to know if I’ve watched a video of a drowned kids body being retrieved? Why? What purpose does it serve other than to confirm you as some sort of morbid voyeuristic sicko who gets off on other people’s grief. And it’s the same for all the other videos showing people dying horribly ... why would I want to watch that? Once again, sometimes I truly wonder about us. Oh and here’s that link to that Sister Rosetta Tharpe video I mentioned earlier. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR2gR6SZC2M
      It’s Chugging Along Properly Down Here Boss ...
      Here’s an article that got me thinking.
      The world’s 62 richest billionaires have as much wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population, according to a new report from Oxfam International. The wealthiest have seen their net worth soar over the five years ending in 2015. Back in 2010, it took 388 mega-rich people to own as much as half the world.
      FULL STORY HERE: http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/17/news/economy/oxfam-wealth/index.html?sr=fbCNN011816oxfam-wealth0133AMVODtopLink&linkId=20438292
      Capitalism folks. It works. Maybe not for you and me but for the ones on top ... it’s sweet! The system isn’t broken, it’s chugging along just fine, well lubricated with the blood, sweat and tears of fools likes us. Yay! Stop thinking liberal, conservative, Republican, Democrat, democracy, autocracy, monarchy, blah, blah, blah. It comes down to the haves and have nots. Guess where pretty much everyone reading this falls? Class warfare is a thing. It keeps our rulers securely on top. We popping and locking to their tune. The top got the middle hating and fearing the bottom. All the while they’ve managed to turn the information revolution to their advantage by swamping us with an almost infinite stream of bits and bytes. The data stream turned to a raging river threatening to sweep us away. Bread and circuses ... bread and circuses. 62 people have more wealth than 3.5 billion. Let that percolate for a moment. Consider the obscenity of a system that allows, nay encourages it. Are you angry yet? Or do we crawl back into apathy again? Also, before I get accused of being some sort of bleeding heart socialist (which I think I may just well be at this point) I’m not saying capitalism per se is bad. Capitalism encourages individual innovation and that’s essential to our survival as a species. However, the version of capitalism prevalent today, unfettered and unchecked can’t be the best we can come up with.
      And now to close the circle...
      I’ve always thought of myself as nothing more than a casual grog drinker. A social kava consumer if you will. However, I recently received a visit from the local grog shop owner in my neighbourhood who visited me to inform me that she had received some fantastic grog from Taveuni and I was welcome to try a sample and also get the grog on credit. I may have a problem with yaqona. Hmmm. I may need a mix to consider this. Have a great week! Let’s be kind to each other what say?

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  1. Wednesday 13th January, 2016

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where people will still be wishing you a Happy New Year at the end of February.
      Speaking of Which...
      Let’s talk about New Years resolutions for a moment. It’s a well-known fact that New Years resolutions are like babies. They’re fun to make but sticking to them is hard, hard work. Thing is, most of us will at least last days, maybe weeks with our New Years resolutions. Whether it’s to lose weight (an increasingly popular one) or to save money (one I make every single year) most of us make a serious effort to stick to our resolutions. Then there’s my neighbour. Saw him moving around his yard at 12.37am New Years day. Obviously I had to find out what he was up to. Turns out he had resolved to give up smoking in 2016. At 12am, caught up in the madness that is New Years he had thrown his cigarettes. It took him 37 minutes to break his resolution. I’m pretty sure that’s some kind of world record. Here’s hoping the rest of us have a little bit more resolve.
      Money, rivers of money
      I’ve been following the Powerball Lotto that’s happening in America. And the reason for that is very simple. The jackpot, the prize money stands at $1.2 billion US. And it’s expected to go up to $1.3 billion US. Think about that for a moment. The obvious question is, how does one spend that amount of money? I mean in Fiji dollars that’s double. $2.6 billion Fijian. I’m pretty sure that’s about how much our entire economy is worth. How does a person even begin to spend that amount of money? After taxes and whatnot the winning amount comes to something like $800 million US. Imagine the amount of grog you could buy.
      The Goblin King
      Like many of us in Fiji, I was a pretty casual fan of David Bowie. Still, the news that he had died after an 18 month battle with cancer was quite a shock. Because Bowie was this larger than life character who you thought would never die. All he’d do is re-invent himself over and over again. His new album Blackstar had been released not long before his death. The reviews had been overwhelmingly positive. I’d really hate to be the person who has to write his eulogy. Long live the Goblin King.

      Marriage Equality? Ain’t nobody got time for that
      Bit of a kerfuffle last week over the Prime Minister’s comments regarding gay marriage. Now, personally, I have no stance either way on the issue for the simple reason that gay people tying the knot does not affect me in any way whatsoever. However, from a political perspective, you have to chalk up Bainimarama’s comments, as blunt as they were as a victory for him. Because I forget sometimes just how conservative Fiji is. The amount of people on social media who agreed with his statement was interesting to see. This included people who have disagreed with Fiji First in the past. Heck, we even had gay people and organisations like Haus of Khameleon saying that marriage equality was way down their list of priorities as gay and transgendered people. It was interesting though to see how some tried to push and push to make it a bigger issue only for that effort to fail when it became clear that many gay people couldn’t give two hoots about getting married. And considering, the ever increasing number of heterosexual marriages falling apart, you can’t really blame them.
      Fijian Logic...nothing quite like it anywhere else
      Got an email from someone who mentioned that he and his workmate had decided to go on a one month tabu of both grog and alcohol. One month and a bet on who could make it. This guy mentioned that his workmate was drinking grog on Sunday into Monday. In fact, they finished the grog at 5am on Monday morning. The bet was supposed to start on Monday. Now, this guy assumed he’d won because his workmate had broken it. Not so fast. According to his workmate the tabu hasn’t technically been broken because the grog session had started on Sunday evening and because of this, irrespective of the time they finished, it’s counted as a Sunday grog session. According to him, grog bought on Sunday is Sunday grog no matter what time they actually finish. The person who sent the email feels like they’ve won but is so confused at the logical jumps that they’ve decided to just stick to the wager. Ah Fijian logic, it’s more unique than our Bula smiles!
      And now to close the circle...
      One last David Bowie story. And once again, another email. Dan mentioned that when he heard the news of Bowie’s death he mentioned it to a workmate. Who looked at him quizzically and asked “ ??Is that David Bowie from Levuka?”. And that’s why some people need their ears cleaned. Have a great week. Remember, any feedback you have is massively appreciated and can be sent to psq679@gmail.com

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  1. Thursday 31st December, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where the police warning people not to throw water on passing vehicles during New Years is an actual thing.
      You had one job!
      Before I go any further, let me just say that the LTA are an essential part of keeping our roads safe and this is in no way meant to mock the fantastic work that they do. However, in true Fiji fashion this is a story that has to be told. Just before Christmas, someone posted a story about an Australian expatriate working in Fiji who was booked by the LTA. Which, of course is their role. Now, this expat is using his Australian license which has additional medical information on it like whether or not he’s an organ donor along with his blood type.. Imagine this person’s surprise when he looked at the ticket and found that for reasons we will probably never really know, the officer who had booked him had made the ticket out to (and this is true) Organ Donor. I can see you still don’t believe me. Which hurts by the way. I mean, we’ve been through so much together. Well, look at the picture below and marvel at how we do things in Fiji.

      But...but I don’t want to go
      I’ve only been overseas once, to Australia. One thing I noticed about Fijians overseas is that they spend an inordinate amount of time talking about Fiji. Which is weird right? I mean, I’m not going to try and second guess someone when they want to emigrate. That’s your life and your decision. However, I’m also perfectly happy not leaving Fiji. And this post by Sachiko Soro, founder of local dance group Vou (who, by the way will be on stage tonight at the Annual Fiji Street Party***end plug. Haha) pretty much articulates how I feel when people say I should leave Fiji for good.
      “So sick of these stupid questions. “Why are you here?” “What are you doing here? You could be anywhere” “There is no opportunity, no future in Fiji”. The mentality that the grass is greener is so ingrained in the Fijian psyche that we cannot believe otherwise. Newsflash THE GRASS IS NOT GREENER!!!! Trust me.
      Why? Why am I not overseas? Why? Maybe I don’t want to waste my life in a traffic jam, live in a small nuclear family swamped with housework. Maybe I don’t want to have to decide between having a career and being a mum and have to hand my baby over to some stranger at day care.
      Yes Fiji has a lot of problems, show me somewhere that doesn’t.
      Why do you want to move overseas? Is it money? Is life money to you? Is that want you want for your life? Just money? That’s it? Cause that is a stupid and dumb reason. There is more to life, what about creating a dream, being happy, living fulfilled, having an AMAZING lifestyle.
      It has been proven time and time again as standard of living goes up the quality of life goes down, why do you think the Western world are drowning themselves in anti-depressants.
      Is it opportunities? Well life is what you make it, you create your own opportunities where ever you are. Your life is a culmination of all your past thoughts so what ever your situation is, you have gotten your self there. You make your own life opportunities where ever you are, weather you live in Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, India, Somalia or down town New York.
      If you believe that you will never be happy in Fiji and you have to move overseas to make a life – then that will indeed be true – for you. But don’t judge anyone else’s decisions. And when you reach the holy land of “overseas” don’t expect rose coloured easy street. Because you create your reality and you take yourself with you.
      Fiji is the land of opportunity, there are so many wonderful things we can build for our nation. And this is true the world over as well.
      So before you ask stupid idiotic questions, maybe consider that I/we have a higher calling a dream, vision and purpose that we want to build right here.
      So you can take your traffic, money, amazing “opportunities” and kiss my ass.”
      And now to close the circle...
      Well well...about to start another journey around the sun on Spaceship Earth. What a year eh? We fought our demons and found our angels the entire year (as is the case every year)...in the weirdest of places, at the most surprising times. So yeah man...Happy New Year to all the gang I love and to the gang who made 2015 interesting. Here’s hoping 2016 will be just interesting enough to keep things exciting. But not the kind of exciting that involves the end of the world. Because that would just be hugely disappointing. Here’s wishing you and your loved ones the best 2016 possible. Seeing as us gang in Fiji will be the first to celebrate the arrival of 2016, let’s show the rest of the world how to do it in style. Grog doped style it may be, but style nonetheless. Taki!

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  1. Wednesday 23rd December, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where every family has the LOVO EXPERT whose main job is to declare when the lovo should be buried and when it should be unburied. In this Xmas season, these modern day shamans are in high demand at every single family function. In these lovologists own mind at least, without them, there is no Xmas.
      Christmas Tips Fiji Stlye
      1. If you still haven’t finished your Christmas shopping yet, can I just say that you’re really taking “Fiji Time” a bit too far. Whatever you do, the worst thing you could do is take a child with you to do Christmas shopping. This is because every single retailer has suddenly made the decision to put toys on lower shelves. Shelves that coincidentally, happen to be on the same eye level as your little treasure. The same little treasure that will whine incessantly like a jet engine when you tell them for what feels like the millionth time that “Santa will bring it ok?”. Let me put this another way, anything that has you feeling like adoption should be a viable option really isn’t getting into the spirit of the season.
      2. Watch your lovo squad. There will always be one person in the group who will suggest that maybe a mix or a few bottles would be a good idea whilst they wait for the lovo to be done. Next thing you know the lovo boys are either doped as a hippy or even worse, have all left the lovo to go and get “another 6”.
      3. Prepare for strays. At some point, it’s highly likely that one of the younger members of the family will show up with one of their friends in tow. This is because, in Fiji, we can’t bear the thought of someone spending Christmas alone. It hurts our “Fijianess”. And while it may be irritating having a stranger show up, at least you know you raised your kid well enough for them to show some empathy to another person.
      4. There will be copious amounts of grog consumed. Alcohol is an option, grog is an essential. You can complain all you want. It does not matter. To not have at least one bowl would be unpatriotic. Are you unpatriotic? Do you hate our beautiful country? So be prepared. Which leads me to my next point.
      5. Try as much as possible to have everyone eat at the same time. Otherwise you will have that one relative who mixes grog when you’re stuffed full of good food. And that’s an affront to the food and the grog.
      6. There WILL be children. And lots of them. I mean, it will feel like a horde of pint sized Mongols have appeared out of nowhere to pillage and destroy. A DVD player and enough DVDs to last them hours should keep them quiet long enough for your shattered spirit to rebuild itself.
      7. In any family gathering in Fiji there will be little tensions between various relatives. Normally this isn’t a problem since the ones who don’t like each other very much will avoid each other. However, Christmas brings the warring factions together. The only way to ensure no one gets into a squabble? Get them doped and get them doped quickly. And if they want to break out the booze later on, let them go to their own houses. Sorted.
      There you have it. Seven tips that should ensure your Christmas flows as smoothly as the fine wine you’ll be chugging secretly in a bid to keep your sanity intact.
      And now to close the circle...
      When you read or watch the news it’s sometime easy to feel like the world is full of nothing but pain and sadness and destruction. And yet, with a little effort you’ll often find that the mainstream media has a vested interest in bringing you the worst news possible. So you’ll hear about Islamic terrorism but you won’t hear about Muslims in Somalia saving their Christian compatriots who were on the same bus when it got stopped by al-Shabab. Or Christians in Egypt forming a human chain around mosques to protect Muslims who were there for prayers. Or the Muslims who returned the favour to Christians who attended Christmas services in Egypt. You’ll hear about the sex slavery forced upon women in ISIL controlled areas. But not about the Kurdish female militia, the YPJ. who fight ISIL with the express purpose of freeing and keeping as many of these women safe. Closer to home, you’ll hear about all the issues we have here. About crime and poverty and corruption. Now, don’t get me wrong. These are important issues that should be highlighted in the media. Of course, we should not turn a blind eye to these things. They exist. But, how about this? For once, just for once in the year, how about we look for the good stories. The stories that restore your faith in a species that’s a little grubby, a little tarnished with the grime that comes from everyday living. Because I guarantee you, if you look a little harder you will see some ordinary human beings performing acts of decency. Like the minivan driver who asked his passengers if he could take them on a little detour so he could drop an elderly lady in the van ladled with shopping at her doorstep. And the two guys who helped her carry it inside. Or the taxi driver who dropped a phone off at a passengers place after she dropped it in his taxi. Or the little groups that try to get out every weekend to feed the homeless on our streets. And it goes on and on. It’s so easy to be cynical about Christmas and the gross commercialization that goes with it. But, does all that really matter? There are people who celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ. And there are those who celebrate it as an opportunity to be with those they love. There are people who just relish the chance to get some time off of work. There are some people who look forward to getting drunk or grog doped over the Xmas weekend. And all of these reasons are as valid as any other. Christmas should be that one time of the year we allow ourselves to believe a little more in magic. Sure, we’ll get back to the grind but over the Christmas weekend? Just be happy. Merry Christmas from The Paint Spattered Quark!

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  1. Friday 18th December, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where a picture showing the new packaging for Lami Kava gets close to 500 comments, mostly along the lines of how beautiful it looks and over a hundred shares.
      Rentism (I claim this word in the name of The Paint Spattered Quark)...
      I love this country. I think we live in one of the best places in the world (I am a little biased though). However, like any country we have our fair share of problems. Our fair share of people who, well, sometimes make me want to up stakes and move to outer Mongolia. You ever notice just how casual we can be with racist stereotypes? Take the most educated, liberal Fijian and at some point you’ll find that they’ve subscribed to some racist stereotype. One of the more infuriating examples of this is people advertising places to rent. If I see one more person saying that they prefer a certain ethnicity, I swear I’m going to scream. Most landlords prefer **Indian tenants because they’re apparently better tenants. Then you have the minority group of landlords who prefer any ethnicity BUT not **Indians because **Indians are too Bollywood. We’re like a bunch of machines when it comes to ethnic stereotypes. Everything a person does is determined by their race. It’s sad. We’ve got our little boxes and god help the person who tries to rock the boat. By the way the double asterisk near the word Indian is because as far as I’m aware we don’t have too many actual Indians in Fiji. We have a lot of Fijians who have Indian ancestry. It’s just another example of our casual racism.
      Bring out the selekava!
      After the high of Dubai, expectations were higher than a Rastaman for our prospects in South Africa. Unfortunately, sports being the fickle mistress that it is we were bundled out in the quarter finals by France. And after we prayed for Paris too. Tsk tsk France. Anyway, it was interesting to see the reaction of the vast majority of Fijian rugby fans was that it was better we stumble now than in Rio next year. Most of us are of the opinion that Ben Ryan was right in making the call that the team needed to respect their opposition more. There’s still a fair amount of optimism that we can get gold. So that’s the vast majority of us. Still cautiously optimistic. But as with any large group of people there will be those who become more cynical than a room full of war veterans. I noticed two keyboard warriors in particular on Facebook who decided that Ben Ryan is apparently nothing less than the anti-Christ. One of these people is a disbarred lawyer who now lives in another country. This is what he had to say:

      Where do I even begin? I love how he brings Ryan’s skin colour into the picture. Don’t we Fijians here at Home, or those that Fijians who ran away from Fiji, just love to stereotype. Fortunately, a disbarred lawyer yapping from overseas has as much influence on events in our country as Inuit’s in Alaska. So there’s that. Then I came across this on Twitter:

      Once again, I don’t even know where to begin. Now, I don’t mind having a pop at the British and their colonial legacy as much as anyone who grew up and lives in a former British colony (as I sit here criticizing them in their language). I mean, down with the colonialist imperialist oppressor…yay! But to turn our rugby teams loss into some sort of question of British arrogance is so ridiculous I’m hoping against hope that he’s making a joke. That person also lives overseas. Man what is it about Fijian chickenrunners who leave these shores and then bad mouth us from their new countries. I mean, if you’re going to leave then go for it. It’s your choice. But why leave Fiji and then obsess about Fiji? I can understand you missing our beautiful Homeland but these two gentlemen (loosely using the word here) just seem really, really angry. I’ve also never seen them post anything positive about Fiji. The moment the Fiji 7’s Team loses they came out, plastic guns swinging. What? Do you think I’d give people who display such vitriol over a game, real guns, even in a metaphor?
      And now to close the circle...
      So the COP 21 conference in France has ended with the planets first ever agreement on climate change. Yay. I found the whole process surreal to be frank. The agreement basically consists of everyone trying to stop warming to 1.5 degrees. And it comes into effect in 2020. That’s the surreal bit for me. So...in the five years leading up to 2020, reality will put climate change on hold? I am confused. Maybe a thick mix will resolve these issues.

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  1. Friday 11th December, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where there’s always that one person who’s always missing the joke at any grog session.
      The hate you give, the love you receive...
      NOTE: This is nothing more than my personal feeling and it's not intended in any form or fashion to be a criticism or judgment of anyone. I'm also using the word love here as love of your fellow human being, no matter how wretched they may be. It's also used as a synonym for forgiveness. Finally I’m not a theologian so I apologise for any theological boo boos I may have made.
      I see people talking about how they'd like to hurt the guy who's been accused of raping his step daughter and all I see are people giving in to the legitimate fear that haunts any person with an ounce of empathy: What if this were my child? And I understand. The truth is, as a parent I can sympathise with that feeling. I think about what that little girl has been through and it breaks my heart. It truly does. So feeling empathy for this child is easy. The challenge is this, can you empathise with her alleged rapist? Not sympathise, not make excuses for his alleged crime. But could you actually allow yourself to feel pity and compassion for another human being who is so lost in the darkness that he commits a crime like this? Well, allegedly anyway at this point. It's something I've been thinking about since this case became public. And this is going to sound very strange coming from a column that has stayed away from any religiosity thus far but I keep thinking about Jesus Christ talking about how "love is the greatest of them all" or words to that effect. It's easy to love the people who are close to you. That comes naturally. But can you love the ones you hate? There's the real test. Can you show love and mercy to someone who is accused of committing a heinous crime like raping his step daughter? See, that's the thing that Jesus Christ seemed to know intuitively. Love is the greatest of them all...but love is also the hardest. Hate is easy, hate is just letting the animal part of our brain take over. Hate is giving in to fear. And that's so easy. Love you need to work at. And the more reason to hate someone for what they've said or done to you, the more the need for love. Hate corrodes, hate is the natural result of the increasing entropy in the universe. The old saying is that "to err is human, to forgive is divine". So could you do that? People proudly proclaim their Christianity but being a Christian doesn't just mean saying you BELIEVE in the Christ. It means as much as possible, trying to EMULATE the Christ. To forgive the unforgivable. To have mercy on those who do not deserve it. With all our human frailties and fears, can you conquer that with the hope that by emulating the Shepherd you become a better human being? And it's hard, like I said, love is supposed to be hard. Because loving the hated, in this case, a step dad who raped his step child goes against every natural human impulse to protect the weak and vulnerable. And listen, I’m far, far from perfect as a person and a person who is only culturally Christian these days so I can't tell you how to improve your Christian life. I'm still undecided on the divinity of Jesus BUT I do know that the message of Jesus the person, the human being resonates with me. It always has, it always will. I'm not trying to judge you for hating the alleged rapist, I understand that feeling. But when the man from Nazareth asked us to "turn the other cheek" he was laying down a direct challenge to the darkness that lies in the hearts of all men and women. It's a challenge that was relevant then back when that part of the world was in turmoil and it's even more relevant today in a world where everything feels slightly off-kilter. The question every person needs to ask themself is: Can I accept that challenge? And as we head closer to the birth of the man who changed the world, and regardless of our religious affiliation or lack thereof, can we do any less? Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."
      And now to close the circle...
      How about the Dubai 7s? How about Pio Tuwai? That guy. That deadly guy. Also, Jerry Tuwai playing despite suffering from food poisoning. Food poisoning he got from eating someone else’s chow which is such a Fijian thing; you just know the food looked fancy so he just had to have some. You also have to admire Ben Ryan who mentioned in a video posted by World Rugby that he felt the boys showed a lack of respect at times. For once we have a coach who seems to genuinely care about his personnel both as players and as people. We’ve got the Cape Town 7s this weekend. Here’s hoping we can win that too. However if don’t, let’s just keep the cane knives sheathed ok guys? GO FIJI GO!

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  1. Thursday 3rd December, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where we’ve turned jaywalking into a sport. And not dying is your prize.
      Teddygate
      This is amazing. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Some model walks the catwalk dressed in nothing but boots and a teddy bear, and people lose their minds. Since this storm in a teacup erupted I've seen people go on about nudity, the insult to the indigenous people, the sexuality of the creator, and now we're finally at the place where the actual prop used in the display is under fire. If we spent an iota of time worrying about the real issues we have in this country as far as sexual violence goes, we could maybe make some headway there. This is a nothing issue that has been blown out of proportion because people here are so repressed and conformist that anything that even looks like it's going to break the norm gets everyone hysterical and up in arms. You see it all the time, people publicly declaiming the moral decay of everything around them in public. And then everyone laughs when Google trends reveal that Fijians search a lot (and I do mean a lot; number 4 in the world baby) of pornography online. If we had the courage to build a society that was open about sex, sexuality and whatnot maybe we'd have fewer men raping little girls. The problem isn't sex or sexuality or displays that could be construed as sexual. The problem is acting like Puritans about sex and refusing to embrace it for what it is: just another natural function. And another thing. I’ve seen people online (where else would you find a keyboard warrior right?) saying that it just wasn’t very creative. Maybe. Maybe not. Art is about creation. But art should also be provocative in the sense that it should be able to elicit an emotional response from those who view it, watch it or read it for that matter. And, judging by the amount of bleating it has certainly moved a lot of Fijians. Righto. I'm done. Think I'd rather talk about stuff like climate change or the cases of sexual violence prevalent in this country than an irrelevant non-issue.
      Heart of Darkness
      Listening to LegendFM News the other day. The shocking story of a 6 year old girl allegedly raped by a close family member. You know what gets me about that story? Who’s going to protect the kids when it seems the ones who are supposed to be protecting them…are the very ones preying on them. I keep thinking I’m over-reacting but these stories just keep coming up. I’m starting to think that there’s a darkness in the hearts of men. I honestly don’t know what the solution is. If there even is a solution. When stories like this are made public, you hear people start screaming for harsher penalties or castration or the death penalty. And all that does is stop one and allow the rest of us to feel some sort of petty moral vindication. It doesn’t actually address the root of the problem. That the men who commit these obscene crimes are not mythical monsters hiding under a bed. They are not bogeymen in the closet. They look like normal human beings. My point is this, crimes like this do not happen in isolation. What makes a man decide to rape a child? How can a human being stray so far from the path of normal behavior that he goes so far as to break the biological hardwiring to protect the young? Until we start addressing these things rationally, crimes like this will keep happening.
      COP (out) 21
      Our Prime Minister was the head of a team that was in Paris this week for the COP 21 talks. These, of course being the talks that address the issue of climate change. Now, in no way am I denigrating the efforts of the PM along with those who went with him but does anyone truly think that COP 21 will change a single thing? Obama is also there. He’ll make a flowery speech and we’ll all clap and then the industrialized countries will go right back to business as usual. See, this is what infuriates me about Climate Change. We’re amongst the smallest contributors in the world yet we’re the ones who will face the full brunt of climate change. I mean, there’s so much feet dragging going on that some of the delegates are negotiating on how the negotiations are supposed to go. Then we’ve got the usual puff pieces in the papers about how some of the Fijian delegates are struggling with the cold in Paris. Awww look at the South Sea Islanders.
      The Drug War
      I’m not talking about what you think I am. Came across an interesting article about the amount of drugs used in WWII. And when I say used, I mean as in officially handed out to soldiers. The Nazis were the ones who really got the ball rolling with a drug called Pervitin. A drug which was pretty much the German version of Speed. Then in 1941, the Allies especially the British jumped on the methamphetamine train. They called them wake- up pills and were mainly used initially by submarine spotters and RAF pilots. Drug use then became more widespread. In fact the article mentioned this: “British troops used 72 million amphetamine tablets in the Second World War and the RAF got through so many that “Methedrine won the Battle of Britain” according to one report." Some links here if you’d like to read more: https://www.quora.com/Were-allied-soldiers-in-World-War-2-given-illicit-drugs-to-get-through-the-hell-of-war http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/crystal-meth-origins-link-back-to-nazi-germany-and-world-war-ii-a-901755.html http://hubpages.com/education/How-Drugs-Were-Used-During-World-War-2
      And now to close the circle...
      As a Fijian the only way I can end this week is by wishing our Fiji 7s team all the best in Dubai. And just to whet your appetite, check this out. Solid numbers from World Rugby on how Fiji won the 2014-2015 season of the circuit: http://www.worldrugby.org/news/125556 Wolei tutu…here we go again. GO FIJI GO!

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  1. Thursday 24th November, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where rugby, especially 7s rugby, turns us into ranting raving maniacs. And winning feels like we’re on top of the world. And losing is like being dipped in acid!
      Just very quickly...
      Before we get into it. I walked past the poster for the new Hunger Games movie which came out recently. Now I haven’t watched any of the movies but I do know that the films are set in a dystopian future. A wasteland where people are starving to death. I mean, it is called the Hunger Games for crying out loud. How then does the main character Katniss Everdeen (aka Jennifer Lawrence aka Urolevu) manage to look so…healthy? I realise it’s a movie and it isn’t real. I know all that. It still irritates me and makes me feel like a qase man chasing kids off my yard. Alrighty then, rant done.
      Spot the Jonah...
      Remember when Jonah Lomu was at his absolute best? And suddenly we all collectively decided that the Jonah haircut and shaving 11 into our eyebrows was the height of fashion. A fad that lasted right up until that moment your parents gave you a hiding and made you cut it off. It’s amazing just how much of an impact Lomu had on the rugby world. Arguably, he changed the role of the winger. After I heard of his passing, I watched some videos of his games. It’s easy to remember Lomu’s power but the videos also reminded me of just how much speed the guy had. And some of those tackles. There’s a tackle he made on a Brumbies player during a Super Rugby game. I’m convinced that Brumbies lad retired from rugby shortly after, moved to Tibet and currently lives as a hermit in a remote mountain pass hoping never to hear the name Jonah Lomu. Ever. RIP to a man who was a giant on the field and a gentleman off it.
      Schrodingers Immigrant
      There’s been a lot of talk recently about refugees and the pros and cons of allowing them into various societies. One of the things that amuses me about the discussion about said refugees is that the anti-immigrant rhetoric gets quite garbled and contradictory. So you’ll hear about how refugees want to steal your jobs but at the same time you’ll also hear that these lazy good for nothing people are coming here to sponge off the system. Then there’s the obvious irony of Americans talking about refusing refugees entry into the US. This, at the time of the year when Americans commemorate a Middle Eastern family desperately seeking refuge. That’s an irony bomb merrily ticking away. And finally on the whole refugee/Muslim thing. Whatever your position is on the matter, the fact remains that a lot of these people are fleeing war torn countries and are Muslims. Add to that, the heightened levels of paranoia after the Paris attacks, it’s no wonder that there’s a lot of discussion about the situation at the moment. US presidential candidate Donald Trump has suggested that all Muslims in the US carry a card proclaiming their religion and also be entered in a national database. Now, personally, I’m not to sure about that idea. I don’t know about anyone else but it feels like a certain Adolf Hitler along with National Socialist party insisting Jews in Germany walk around with a yellow star. So there’s that.
      And now to close the circle...
      Seeing as we’re about a month out from Christmas I»ve started noticing Fijians engaging in one of our favourite activities. Planning Christmas lunch. Ah yes, Christmas lunch in Fiji. Have you noticed that gang overseas when they talk about Xmas lunch they tend to have one main meat dish then all the different sides and salads to go with it. So a typical Xmas lunch oversea might be "lamb, tossed salad, bread rolls and some sort of dessert". Meanwhile in our tropical paradise, "pork, chicken, curry prawns, curry beef, fish, chow mein, and hidden in the corner, one lonely salad trying not to feel depressed".

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  1. Thursday 19th November, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where we offer others our food...but because we’re also Fijian and in love with food...we’re hoping they refuse.
      My dead got less attention than your dead...
      In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, I did a little bet with myself. How long would it take before SJWs (Social Justice Warriors) would start comparing the horrible tragedy in France with horrible tragedies in other places. By my calculation, it took just less than a day after the attacks happened before some were going on about Kenya and the attacks there earlier that week. Then Beirut and those killed there came up. And we were off to the races. Suddenly, Fijians on Facebook were bravely decrying the one sided focus on Paris. There were calls for this “racist’ coverage to end and for the media to be more balanced. And you know what? In a way, there does seem to be more focus when attacks like these happen in Western countries. Is it because black lives matter less? Well, for the most part, no. It’s just that because these countries tend to be more technologically advanced and also where many media organisations are based. Straight off the bat, this means the coverage will be better. The other factor is that, attacks like the one in Paris leave a bigger “terror footprint” because these countries are supposed to be stable, peaceful places. Finally, all those going on about “Oh the poor black people” need to realise this much. The media did cover Beirut. It was even in our local papers buried in the foreign news section. It was on news websites everywhere. Because it was big news. Daesh vs Hezbollah? The biggest Sunni militia against arguably the best Shia militia on the planet fighting this nasty little Saudi Arabia Iran proxy war? Of course the media took notice. It's not their problem everyone scratched their heads and decided they'd rather keep up with the Kardashians.
      I can finally talk about it...
      The Rugby World 2015 Final. Sob. In the end, the Blackness were just too good. I still have nightmares about how much bigger the score margin would have been if Ben Smith had not been Yellow Carded. So, congratulations again All Blacks, you sickeningly talented yet surprisingly modest champions. After the final, the spoils got pretty brutal. I mean, at one point , there was a chat group full of Wallabies supporters offering each other moral support. Because we certainly could not offer each other anything else. It even reached the stage where an All Black fan on Facebook was calling on others to just relax. Here’s the thing though. Human nature being what it is. If the Wallabies HAD won, you can be sure Wallabies fans would have been putting the boot in. In fact, it probably would have been worse because it would have been the underdog pulling off an unlikely win. Sports really does bring out the tribal in us. Objectively, the idea of caring too much about whether your team of 15 (or 7) men can get a ball over a white line more than those 15 (or &7) horrible, mutant scum of the Earth, their own mothers couldn’t love them on the other side is completely ridiculous. Subjectively, rugby fans be screaming “THIS IS IMPOOOORTAAANT!”. Gotta love it.
      And now to close the circle...
      The highest lawmaking body in the land i.e. our parliament just spent a fair amount of time fighting over whether pork or mutton was served at our former presidents farewell. One MP has asked that the Governments free milk initiative be curtailed because it might cause our children to chase after cows. Another one has stated that the only way to combat climate change is to pray to God. Strange days people. Twilight Zone stuff right here. Other countries are like "Awww how sweet" while they wrestle with you know...real issues.

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  1. Tuesday 27th October, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where your parents made you pick the stick they were going to give you a hiding with. Then asked you why you were crying!
      The Rugby World Cup is killing me...
      Has anyone else reached the stage where they just want this to be over? I don’t know how much more of this rollercoaster ride I can take. First we had Fiji and our 3 opening games at the RWC. Each game where we could have, should have, would have won if only...insert your game changing moment here. And then the knockout stages with all the drama and refereeing controversies that came with that stage of the tournament and now here we are. We’ve somehow almost made it to the end of the road. The final. And good golly Miss Molly what a final it promises to be! Check it out. This is the 8th RWC. Of those 8 tournaments, only one (2007 was played between England and South Africa) has not featured either the All Blacks or the Wallabies in the final. BUT...this is the FIRST TIME EVER the 2 teams will play each other. It’s a game that has all the elements needed for great drama. The good guys aka the Rebel Alliance (in gold of course) versus the Evil Empire (the men in black, the most dominant rugby force in the known universe). You’ve got arguably the one of the greatest rugby players of all time (Dan Carter) retiring from international rugby after the final. You’ve got Richie McCaw (aka the Greatest Of All Time) saying that Sunday will be his last game. You gang will never realise how much it hurt to type that as a Wallabies fan. Two teams that are 1-1 as far as games played this year. Two teams with vastly different cultures and playing styles. Oh man I’m about to pass out from the excitement. I can’t wait and that brings me back to my first sentence. The pressure is immense. It’s mad! It’s amazing, and a little bit scary just how sport can bring out the tribalism in a person. I’ve got a friend who’s currently losing her mind on social media over the game. And she’s not the only one. The level of excitement over the prospect of 30 grown men chasing a ball is a bit ridiculous objectively speaking. But hey, who cares about objectivity. GO THE WALLABIES! But also, good luck to the worlds’ number one team and all round good blokes the ALL BLACKS! (That’s how you cheer for your team but cover yourself in case they get a hiding. Basically, how a politician would watch sport).
      Speaking of politics and rugby...
      In a rugby mad country like Fiji it’s no surprise that pretty much everyone who follows rugby will be supporting either NZ or Australia in the final on Sunday. Two countries that couldn’t care two hoots about us at a political level. We’re basically their opportunity to get on their moral high horse without too much cost whenever we go through some sort of political upheaval. We’re their chance for Key and whoever is Australian PM at that point to appear all statesmanlike and a defender of democracy and the will of the people. And I’m not saying that that’s wrong on their part. They have to protect their respective countries interests. Churr bro. G’day mate. I’m not even saying that cheering for either team is silly on our part. I just love the irony of the whole thing. Because if the Australian and NZ governemt were truly concerned about democracy and the will of the people they would be at the forefront of criticism of the Indonesian government and its alleged activities in West Papua. But the silence is so deafening it’s causing a vacuum that absorbs every single voice raised in solidarity with the West Papuan people like a black hole of suckiness. Which leads me to...
      BDS What?
      Ever heard of a BDS campaign? It stands for Boycott Divest and Sanction and is a non-violent form of protest where certain products and companies from the country being protested against are named and shamed in the hopes that consumers and companies will stop using those products. So recently, I was added to a group that aims to do the same with Indonesian products to show support for the West Papuan people. And you know what? Personally I think the West Papuans like any other group of people have a right to self-determination. The problem with running a BDS campaign in Fiji is that, unlike overseas we either don’t have alternatives or the alternative is so expensive it might as well exist in another dimension. For example, boycott a certain brand of noodles made in Indonesia. Really? Not when the Indonesian noodles are cheaper than the other brands. A BDS campaign in Fiji unfortunately is a pipe dream supported for the most part by people with cushy jobs who can afford the good stuff. It’s tree hugger stuff. And this is coming from someone who is a self-confessed tree hugger.
      And now to close the circle...
      Back at the rugby. Again. I mentioned that I was looking forward to the rugby coming to an end and I stand by that. Here’s the thing though, after the Rugby World Cup final we (thankfully) get about a month to recharge our batteries and then the Sevens Series begins. And with it, the road to Rio enters its final stages. And we get to lose our minds. Again. The ups and downs. The love hate affair with referees and players. The fans who will put a positive spin on things and the pessimists who are convinced the sky is falling. Prayers to various deities to help the team and look after Ben Ryan will heard the length and breadth of the land. It will be gloriously mad and hugely depressing, and that’s just within one game. Our silly season starts in Dubai. And ends with our team on the gold medal podium in Rio. I hope.

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  1. Thursday 22nd October, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where it’s possible to hear a Bob Marley song mashed up with an ABBA song over a dubstep beat.
      Synergistic Examination of an Asymmetrical Hypothesis (Or Why Big Fancy Words Are Useless)
      One of our newspapers has a regular column contributor who is a lecturer in Language and Communication at a local tertiary institute. Let that stew for a while. Ok set? So this person’s professional role is to teach students how to effectively communicate. Why then does this person feel the need to use big words that most of us neither understand nor use in an article dedicated into using the English language to communicate your ideas effectively? At times it feels like the guy tried to think of as many fancy words as possible and just threw them anywhere in the hope that it would somehow be ok. This is the only reason I can see for sentences like “In sociolinguistics milieu, the more a person is going to read repertoire of texts, the better he will become“ or “English speakers commonly revert to clichés (as spelled by the article writer himself) and slang”. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Grammar Nazi but is it really too much to expect an article about fluency in English to be well fluent.
      On The Arms Of A Spiral Galaxy...
      We found a planet almost 4000 light years away that’s made entirely of diamond. There’s a huge cloud a few millions times the mass of our sun floating around near the center of our galaxy. This cloud is basically a giant river of raspberry flavoured rum. I’m serious guys. I wouldn’t lie about booze. The biggest collection of water in the universe is 10 billion light years away. It has 140 trillion times more water than our oceans. We stand on a planet that spins on its axis at a thousand miles per hour while orbiting a G2 star at 1.5 miles a second. All this while our entire solar system hurtles towards the star Lambda Herculis at 45,000 miles per hour. The Universe moves like the love child of Usain Bolt and a leopard. We live in a time when our science is giving us the ability to witness the magic in our universe. There are nebula shaped like unicorns, there’s a Mickey Mouse looking logo on the surface of Mercury. There are cold stars with a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. Consider this, if the Universe is infinite then every single point in the Universe is also the center of the Universe because every single point is surrounded by an infinite number of other points. We are the center and the end and the beginning, the alpha and the omega. We build instruments that allow us to gaze into the farthest abysses of space. We’re about to launch a project that will scan 1 million stars over a span of 10 years in an effort to detect signs of alien civilisations.
      Every star in the night sky is a look back in time. We bathe in light that is sometimes older than us. Light that's traveled an almost incomprehensible distance to fall on a little planet, third from its own parent star on the arms of a spiral galaxy. Think about it for a moment. The closest star besides the sun is Alpha Centauri and light from there takes a little over 4 years to reach us. Your 3 year old child is younger than that light. There are stars in the night sky whose light hits your eyes after travelling hundreds, even thousands of years. Our brains struggle to comprehend the vastness of the universe around us. So we blinker ourselves. We make up little nursery rhymes like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to shield ourselves from the heart stopping largeness of it all and our smallness in it. Twinkle Twinkle talks about a flaming ball of matter powered by nuclear fusion over a course of billions of years and there you are singing it to your child. We create our gods and we make them figures that can protect us. Because the universe is scary. The universe is dark. And in the cold light that falls through our atmosphere to hit your eyes we can see that the universe doesn't care. But we have to have something to believe anyway because that helps keep the darkness away. But that terror is also laced with strands of wonder at the correctness of it all. On both the micro and macro level we keep wondering why it all works so well. We wonder... on our pale blue dot.
      And now to close the circle...
      Fiji taxi drivers. I think every single one of us has a taxi driver story. There’s the taxi driver who once told me that the best cure for asthma is to drink the water that a lizard has been boiled in. Then there’s the driver in Savusavu who confidently told a tourist after being asked why Savusavu is so famous replied “I dunno, but one thing clear, we world-famous in Fiji". Or the taxi driver who asked his passenger if he could find him a girlfriend but “Tell them not to call me yarr. My wife gonna kill me”. Or that awkward moment when your change is only 10c and both you and the driver are waiting to see who will give up first. Got a taxi driver story you want to share? Drop me an email on psq679@gmail.com or feel free to comment on this column or the ones before this. In the meantime, let me call my driver to see if he’s got the parcel of tin fish curry and roti he promised his wife would make for me.
      (In case you missed it, and my OCD demands I do this again...my email address is psq679@gmail.com...yeah...that feels better).

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  1. Wednesday 14th October, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where you know exactly who Ateca and MG are.
      The Offence Police...
      I spend a lot of time online. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that I spend maybe too much time. When you’re online as much as I am you start to notice trends developing in online communities. One of these trends is the rise of the Social Justice Warrior. This is the person who spends 99.9% of their time online getting offended on behalf of others. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of being an SJW but at some point I had to admit that I just do not have the time, patience or energy required to live my life (the online portion of it anyway) apoplectic with impotent rage at the stuff that’s happening around me. So these days I choose my battles. Anyway back to the hardcore SJW’s. The Offence Police I like to call them . Some SJW on Facebook not too long ago was up in arms over the fact that in a picture taken with Prince William, one of our Fiji rugby players had the nerve to place his hand on the Prince’s shoulder. And when I say up in arms this person was ranting and raving like a talatala strung out on meth. I’m reading his posts and I’m thinking “Bro that is some grade A, uncut keyboard warrioring right there”. Then there’s another Facebook page which seems to be devoted exclusively to “re-claiming yoga from the European culture that has appropriated it”. I am not making this up. I really wish I were. It fascinates me. It really does. Then there are the ones who called for open borders in Europe AFTER the heartbreaking image of that little Syrian boy started circulating. Meanwhile, the refugees have been fleeing since the war began in Syria. How do these people find so much to be offended by? I get offended by the apathy over climate change because that has a high chance of affecting me and more importantly, my children. Our willingness in Fiji to praise mediocrity offends me because it affects the growth of this country. You get what I’m saying? So choose your battles wisely young Social Justice Warrior. Otherwise you end up sounding like a crazy person on social media fighting the world like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.
      You heard the latest?
      Remember how I wrote about conspiracy theories in my first column? You should because that was just last Friday. Anyway the latest conspiracy theory I heard online (where else eh?) is that our president elect, a man that has always struck me as a disciplined, God-fearing man, is the Rotuman face for a Muslim Communist plot to infiltrate and take over the country. Ok, let’s break it down. I’m not too sure where the people saying this are getting their information from since I assume this kind of operation would be covert and top secret and on the down low and all that. But my big question is this. How in heavens name would a Muslim Communist alliance work? We’d have one side praising their god while their allies would be like “Religion is the opiate of the masses”.
      A brief shout out to the incoming and the outgoing...
      The post above just reminded me. Big congratulations to our incoming president Major General Jioji Knorote. You will be the first Fijian president who is not a chief or even iTaukei. Some are saying that this flies in the face of all tradition but considering the post was only created 28 years ago that’s a pretty weak argument. Anyway, for what it’s worth, this Fijian citizen is wishing you all the best. As for our outgoing president. Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is by all accounts a well-loved, well-respected man of the people. We were fortunate enough to have a man of his mana who then used said mana to bring attention to social issues specifically the fight against HIV/AIDS. Vinaka vakalevu sir.
      And another shout out this time to the weirdos
      In every facet of life in the 21st century the interwebz is destroying traditional power structures. The ones with the power are trying to build their monoculture from the top down not noticing that the downpressed are dismantling it one brick at a time from the bottom. We're living in interesting times. "THEY" want a completely cohesive society where we all look, believe and think the same. Meanwhile the anarchistic wonderland that is the net is like "Yeah nah, all your bases are belong to us. Lulz!". I love it. So a toast to the weirdos and the ones with jagged edges who don't quite fit anywhere. Don't worry about it...the Last Great Alliance of the Dispossessed is coming soon to a node near you.
      And now to close the circle...
      Have you ever noticed that there are grog archetypes? What I’m trying to say (albeit in a fancy way because hey, how often does one get to drop the word archetype into a conversation? ) is that every grog session will have certain characters. There are the usual ones, the alphas who dominate the conversation, the wannabe alphas, the ones with no put in, kavuru or chaser ie the namu’s. The hotseppers, etc. Here’s two of the lesser known/noticed character at your grog session. There will most likely be one person who ALWAYS doesn’t get the joke. Every other person at the session will be laughing their nuts off while this person sits there with a constipated look at their face wondering what’s going on. Then there’s the person who will not let a joke go. This is a person who will spend the entire session referencing a joke that was made 4 hours and several tanoas ago. By the end of the grog session all you want to do is throttle the one who won’t let the joke go and say a prayer for the one who is STILL sitting there trying to figure out why everyone laughed.

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  1. Monday 12th October, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where we always tell ourselves “Just one baby mix”. And end up finishing waaaay too late.
      Being an All Blacks fan is hard work...(Or where I get my excuses in early for the Wallabies losing)
      So once again, here we are at the knockout stage of a Rugby World Cup. Every time this stage of the competition rolls around I feel for All Blacks fans. And I say that as someone who supports the Wallabies (after Fiji of course, my blood runs blue, blah blah). The reason I feel for Abs fans is very simple. Australia has got Scotland in their quarter finals. Are they favourites for the game? Sure, but knowing Australia they have the ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So if they lose, I’ll be disappointed but since it’s not completely unexpected, not too disappointed. For All Blacks fans on the other hand. When you’re supporting the best team in world rugby (that sentence was actually physically painful to type), nothing less than complete victory replete with the corpses of their foes littered behind them will do for the fans. The weight of expectation and all that. So all of a sudden, my friends who support the All Blacks are downplaying their teams chances as much as possible. Do me a favour guys...gerara maaan!
      And from 15s to 7s...
      Just like that, the moment we played our last game at the 15s Rugby World Cup, the speculation about the makeup of our team to Rio 2016. Personally, I cannot wait for the Dubai 7s to start in December. You know, just so I get to watch some rugby we could actually win. I have no doubts whatsoever that Ben Ryan has got a plan and a team in mind to help us win gold in Rio next year. I think I’m not alone in wanting Leone Nakarawa aka THE WORLDS BEST RUGBY PLAYER (according to me anyway) in the team. The guy had more turnovers than Pocock and more offloads than Sonny Bill Williams. And that’s in the full game. Imagine him in the less cluttered field that is sevens rugby. It would be like the leanest, meanest wolf feasting on unsuspecting sheep. Man, I need a lie down. Also, big kerekere to Glaswegians. Do not break him ye shifty Scots!
      How about a little empathy?
      Let’s talk about consent for a moment. There was a rape case recently where the victim was engaged in sexual activity with a group of young boys. Along come another two guys who join the “convoy” despite her repeated calls for them to stop. So they’ve been sentenced. Cue the outrage on social media from the keyboard warriors calling her everything from kalavo to slut to “a female dog”. Alrighty then. We desperately need to get educated on what consent means as far as sex is concerned. The sad part is that it’s very simple. If she says no, then it’s no. she could be having sex with 3 other guys and you wander along. If she says no to you then you walk away. Now you can call her whatever name you want but if you do have sex with her then our legal system will be calling you rapist and slamming you in prison. Then there are the Fijians who get on a moral horse so high the Trojan Horse gets feelings of inadequacy looking at them. These are the ones you see victim blaming and victim shaming. As if the experience of being violated wasn’t bad enough we have too many people who think that they’re eminently qualified to pass judgment on rape victims. Heads up to those people: You aren’t. You really, really aren’t. So shut it unless you’re going to show some empathy. In fact, if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, we live in a country where it gets to easy to cast stones at others. Too many discussions on social issues in this country especially when it comes to women seem to start off from a point where it’s the womans fault. Take harassment for example. It’s difficult, verging on impossible, to explain to someone that harassment is based on how the person on the receiving end feels. A friend of mine could not get how a woman might be insulted that he told her she’s pretty. Cue a very roundabout, frustrating conversation about it. I think what it comes down to in the end is respect. Respect for other peoples worldviews. Drop the assumption that because it’s something you’re comfortable with that means someone else will be. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on YOU!) people don’t all walk around thinking the same way.
      And now to close the circle...
      The best part about grog sessions is that it really allows you to get to know another person. Alcohol gets you more emotional but you also forget half the things people say. With a good grog session you find out things about your friends, family and yourself. Quick example, happily married couple. They’ve been married for well over 20 years. Their oldest son is 26 I think. The story goes that all those many years ago when the wife told her husband that she was pregnant, his reaction to that earth shattering, life changing news was: “That’s nice”. That’s. Nice. After we laughed though I realised that someone really needs to teach us Fijian men how to 1.say the right things in different social settings (For example, my method of telling people that they shouldn’t worry because “hey “we’ll all be dead in 50 years anyway” doesn’t quite cut it) and 2. How to accept a compliment. Ever noticed how a Fijian male just doesn’t handle compliments well. Normal folk say thank you when complimented. Fijian men be like either scratching their head or making a joke out of it. This is why guys. We need secret lessons or some such. Think I’m joking? Imagine how much grog we get to drink if these meetings were an actual thing. The possibilities are endless.

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  1. Thursday 8th October, 2015

    1. This is Fiji...
      Where your bubu doesn’t kiss you, she sniffs you. Probably to see what sins she can catch...
      And this is also Fiji...
      Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. It’s human nature. It’s how we try and find patterns in a chaotic universe. Notwithstanding the fact that the Universe has no order and entropy increases. Right, where was this going? Ah yes, conspiracy theories and the Fijian connection. I’m convinced that per capita, us Fijians have the most number of conspiracy theories. I’ve heard conspiracy theories on every single thing from blood sacrifices in our hospitals to Islamic militants landing an invasion flotilla on our beaches. I’ve heard about mysterious ships disappearing into thin air and how soursop can cure cancer but “they” are suppressing the information. And I think I have figured out why we love and have so many conspiracy theories in this country. The answer in one word? Grog. Yaqona. Nagona. Kaever as someone from overseas might say. Think about it. Unlike alcohol, grog does not affect your mental faculties and you’re sitting there for hours. Just talking. And talking and talking. At some point, your mind will go down some dark paths if only to escape the taste. That’s where you suddenly find yourself convinced that not only are aliens real, they’re the ones you saw one night after a heavy session. It’s a type of glorious madness Fijians happily buy into. Ooh whee...wouldn’t mind a mix right about now. Because I have got one story for you! You’ll find it hard to believe but it’s all true...
      Adam’s Curse (or a poor attempt to make you feel better about your job)...
      Next time you’re having a whine about your job spare a thought for Julio Camara. Job description? Sewer diver. The guy has notched up 1,400 dives in 30 years - each one lasting up to six hours in 7,500 miles of tunnels. I know it’s an obvious joke but it has to be done…that’s a pretty s****y job. Or if you think what you do to earn a living is boring...meet Helen Southall. She’s literally paid to watch grass grow. It’s a job so boring even the gang watching paint dry can’t hack it.
      And on the subject of working hard...
      Has anyone ever noticed the mixed messages we get from kids movies? Ok take Karate Kid, Harry Potter and the Road Runner as random examples of the wider point I’d like to make. In each case, we have the antagonist aka the “bad fulla” on one side and “main boy” on the other. In each case, the so-called bad guy works his butt off to perfect his craft. Spends years training. Expends huge amounts of energy and resources coming up with complicated plans to win. And along comes Danny, Harry or some snarky bird who somehow manages to do better what you’ve been planning for years. It’s enough to make a villain cry I tell you. It’s like the message is “Work hard as much as you want you poor sod, some innately, insanely talented person will come along and beat you”. So enjoy those life lessons kids!
      The upstart ape
      First off, this is in no way an attack on environmentalists or conservationists. So let's get that out of the way before people start losing their minds. Alright...when people say that we're "destroying the Earth" what they're really saying is that we're cluttering our surroundings with things that look bad and makes life harder for our species and others. The thought that a bunch of upstart apes could significantly impact a planet that took a hit from a massive asteroid and shrugged it after (the geologically short period of) 65 million years is laughable. It really is. Whatever we do today, in a million years, the Earth won't even remember. It's like when you read that Chernobyl will be unsafe for human habitation for the next 20,000 years...a massive amount of time....in human terms. For the Earth, that's less than a heartbeat. It's insane that we think that we matter. As a species all we've done is adapt faster to our environment. And we can thank our thumbs for that. I'm not saying that the work done by environmentalists is useless. Far from that...they're, for the most part, passionate campaigners in a cause that for too long has not been taken seriously. What I am saying is that, in terms of the planet itself...everything we do doesn't matter. Our environmental depredations, our noble efforts in the other other direction to preserve the environment. It doesn't matter. So let's be a bit more honest with ourselves...we're not saving the Earth, we're trying to keep it pleasantly habitable for human beings. And there's nothing wrong with that.
      "Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.
      The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises.
      The wind blows to the south and turns to the north;
      round and round it goes, ever returning on its course."
      ECCLESIASTES
      And now to close the circle...
      So guys, we’ve got Diwali coming up next month. Bit unimpressed that the pataka’s have not started yet. Come on my fellow Fijians, is this the legacy you want to leave behind? Will no one think of the kids? We’re only shooting off these mini bombs because it’s cultural eh. Nothing to do with the fact that we just love a good BOOM! The louder the better. You know what I really love about Diwali? Besides the food of course. I love the look on the faces of people (who am I fooling, it’s mostly the men) from overseas when they realise that unlike their own countries where the use of fireworks is highly regulated, Fiji is a complete free for all where pretty much everyone thinks they’re a demolitions expert. Then the look of wonder is slowly replaced by exasperation, open anger and then resignation as they realise that the fireworks just go on and on and on until they’re suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Ah Fiji...

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