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About The Rotten State

"One man's quest to provide regular commentary about the rotten state of affairs in Fiji via this blog."

Westernisation is worrying out Assistant Minister for Culture.

The article below appeared on the fijitimes.com on Friday, February 11, 2005.

I hope our minister doesn't start losing sleep over it, for it may become tragedy.

"Mini-skirts, mini-shorts, tight jeans, tight t-shirts"... hmmm. I can't see it as such a bad thing. I wear "tight t-shirts". It is comfortable. I don't have much of body, but what I wear is what makes me comfortable. How dare someone tell me that is not my culture to dress as such? What is my culture and tradition? One which looks back more often then progress at a decent pace. Cultures and traditions change over time, so do people. The minister needs to realise that there are more important cultural issues then how people dress. We as taxpayers can't seriously be paying someone to standup and tell us how our fashion styles are an issue? What next, ban "Mini-skirts, mini-shorts, tight jeans, tight t-shirts"?

When it comes to language, I hope our minister realises that our primary language in this country is English? It is a language something that has been acceptable by both major ethnic groups in Fiji for eons, and suddenly it is an issue? What's the point of using a language (both Fijian and Fiji-Hindi) is under-developed? Our education system is based on the English language, yet a large number of school leavers level of English at best is poor. This affects in their ability to further their knowledge on anything since all written materials worth any literature value are available only in English. There isn't a problem if our youngsters aren't using Fijian or Fiji-Hindi. The languages have quite simply no real attraction. Perhaps in a few generations it will die a natural death. Survival of the fittest is reality, Minister!

Not to mention some of the the other issues that our minister could have focused on. Such issues as:

  1. Content of Fiji TV (a monopoly in Fiji) and how it affects our beloved culture and tradition
  2. Content of Print and Radio mediums
  3. Creation of state institutes which have a genuine and practical interest in Indig-Fijian and Indo-Fijian
Anyway here goes the article...

CULTURE and tradition has been affected by westernisation and something must be done about it, says Assistant Culture and Heritage Minster Nanise Kasami Nagusuca.

In her maiden speech yesterday, she said there had been a change in dressing and hair style by young Indigenous youths. Instead of wearing a sulu-i-ra, they opt for tight jeans and t-shirts which was introduced by westernisation.

She said for Indian female youths, wearing sarees have become something of the past because they want to wear mini-skirts and tight mini-shorts. She added the Fijian and Indian language was hardly spoken by the young people and this had to be seriously looked into.

Mrs Nagusuca urged the members of parliament to speak in their own language and Fijians in their dialect while presenting in Parliament.

She said the members were role models and should lead by example and if they do likewise it would be a step ahead on enriching our culture and language.

She added multiracialism and diversity could be achieved if both races worked together and help preserve their culture and heritage.

Mrs Nagusuca said she was privileged to be associated and work with a group of matured, forthright and never say die politicians.

"This dedicated group of men and women are charged with daunting task of governing this country through the most difficult period in our history," he said.

She saluted the Opposition members for accepting the duty to challenge the government constructively for the betterment of the nation.

She hoped the opposition members would conduct their task with honourable intention since they were honourable members of the House.

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  • Blogger Kaline says so:
    8:11 am  

    OUTRAGEOUSLY HORRENDOUS!! Whose the advisor?? Who in the world instructed the poor woman to take this approach???

    Dictatorship, yet again ... Disguising the need for 'cultural preservation' by whitewashing the essence of their objective.

    Choosing to spotlight attire via demonising the youth as her platform for cultural heritage??? Urgh ... PLEASE - It's heinous!! Such an infantile interpretation of culture and heritage.

    Cultural heritage. The likes of her should really champion and encourage other areas to being 'an ideal Fijian' and 'an ideal Indian.' There are insummountable areas accessible to them for further development. They simply can not violate one's civil rights ... We have the right to wear what we wish.

    Westernisation is not destructive. It is the misunderstanding and the misinterpretation of the Western Culture and that of our very own. If anything, the Fijian youth who aren't wearing much, are closer to their original dress code, then the foreign influence attire, that being, the sulu jaba, the ungainly, unflattering, masculinising, clowny muumuus. The Indian girls on the other hand, are also being very authentic - the choli.

    They should really bother to study History and the effects of the intial foreign influences through Human Cultural development. The sulu jaba, the long muu muu and the cutting of the hair were introduced by the Westerners (the missionaries) to our people. If anything, the youth are being authentic and understand where they come from. They are merely subsidising leaves and tapa with fabric, which belongs to 'the men of the West' and 'the men of Asia.'

    If they wish to have us return to our authentic wear, then they should start via example, by refraining to wear attires which aren't authentically their own (ie fabric, shoes, jewelry, hair dye, tooth paste, vehicle, lingerie, et al) and start having their weavers and plaitters prepare their national dress. For certain, the Western World would only be too happy to view them through the National Geographic akin to the Winabe Tribes of Africa, the Long Necks of Burma and the Yanomami Tribes of the Amazon Rainforest.

    Which planet are the likes of such a mentality from??? Even our great-grandparents were appropriately fashionably and stylishly attired, tolerant of foreign influences with respect and understanding ... Suits and top hats of yesterday ... Today, it's art-deco and bohemian. top

  • Blogger laminar_flow says so:
    2:56 am  

    Rotten State.

    Good job in confronting the issues.
    I agree with Kaline's view that the Fiji Government's view of culture is an archaic one which likes to be viewed as absolute.

    I also echo the sentiments that illustrate the media in Fiji does not have programs that encourage the Taukei or Indian cultures 'per se'.

    It is due to the erroneous framework of the current radio/ T.V market segment that the colonial masters established.

    Which defines the country as just one big market instead of smaller sub-markets with differing agenda's, cultural, religous, political points of view. Those factors have not been raised earlier, since the public is just content of having a service.

    But it also appears that Grass is greener on the other side of the fence. The public know they're being short changed. It's just the way business is done in Fiji. Another culture thing.

    Why can't the same standards used overseas by applied in Fiji, since it is the same industry, the service is the same.

    The media as a coporate entity has no legal obligations to promote abstract dramatizations that reflect the issues at hand.

    Not to be hosted like a flag-waving event, but a forum where creative individuals can interpret their culture in the modern artistic way or shown through the lens of western arts.

    E.g. song and dance, writing, sculpture, filmmaking etc.

    I have to take this opportunity to provide a link to website(s) that does that expression in a unique way, as an expression of collaborating evidence.

    People from Fiji, both local and expatriate; just need to stop relying on the Government and further our own efforts. Create your own trail of excellence.

    http://www.indofiji.com

    http://www.aucklandfiji.org.nz

    http://www.cafepress.com/clubem

    It's just that the perpetual conflicts(land, politics) in Fiji is hampering the ability of performance arts to flourish. Sports also takes a big chunk of the spotlight including state funding etc. top