Friday, November 21, 2014

China and Fiji

from w and from ABC

Chinese president Xi Jinping visits Fiji as part of China's Pacific engagement to strengthen ties

China's president Xi Jinping is in Fiji on a whirlwind visit aimed at strengthening economic and strategic ties with Pacific island nations.
Mr Xi's visit came after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi stopped over in Fiji also to court regional leaders, who form one of the largest voting blocs at the United Nations.
Both leaders targeted the Pacific as a vital stop on their way home from the recent G20 summit in Australia.
Mr Xi is holding bilateral talks today with Fiji's prime minister Frank Bainimarama and seven other Pacific heads of state, including Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill.
During a traditional welcoming ceremony in the tourist town of Nadi last night, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji wanted China to be fully engaged in the Pacific.
In a thinly veiled swipe at Australia and New Zealand, he said China had been "a true friend of Fiji" and had never interfered in Fiji's internal politics.
And also:






Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Brij Lal, academic from Labasa awarded

from w
It's good to see Brij Lal, who was once  a young lad in babasiga land, who studied hard and became a recognised international academic, has been given a special award..

Award for academic

Verenaisi Raicola
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Fijian historian and academic Professor Brij Lal, who was involved in drafting the now scrapped Fijian 1997 Constitution, was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award of the International Association for the Study of Migration and Indenture at a conference in Mauritius last week.
This award recognises a lifetime's path breaking research on the history of Indian migration and settlement in different parts of the world, and is a testimony to Dr Lal's global standing in the field.
"This award comes as I move closer to retirement next year," Dr Lal said.
"I feel deeply humbled by it, knowing the long and difficult journey that has led to it.
"The recognition of my international peers means a lot to me," he said.
Dr Lal, who was in Mauritius to receive the award, said: "It was in recognition of my lifetime's work on the history and culture of the Indian indentured diaspora, which began in 1979 with a study of the girmit experience in Fiji.
"I have since visited all the major Indian indentured labour colonies in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Africa and Southeast Asia, providing an overarching interpretation of indentured migration and settlement," he said.
Mr Lal's first book, Girmitiyas: The origins of the Fiji Indians, is now recognised globally as the foundational text in the field.
Two other scholars were also honoured: Marina Carter from Britain and Brinsley Samaroo from Trinidad.

PMs of China and India visiting Fiji

from w
There won't be any 'shirt-fronting' and bad manners when two leading Prime Ministers visit Fiji later this week. They will surely be welcomed with correct protocol.

PM Modi to head to Fiji after Australia visit, climate change talks on agenda

AFP | November 18, 2014, 12.11 pm IST
The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi will both hold mini summits during their Fiji stopovers, meeting with up to 12 regional leaders as they bid for the support of one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations. (Photo: PTI/File)
The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi will both hold mini summits during their Fiji stopovers, meeting with up to 12 regional leaders as they bid for the support of one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations. (Photo: PTI/File)
Suva, Fiji:  Rival suitors India and China step up their courtship of Pacific island nations this week when Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping head to Fiji following the Group of 20 summit in Australia.

The Indian Prime Minister and Chinese President Xi will both hold mini summits during their Fiji stopovers, meeting with up to 12 regional leaders as they bid for the support of one of the largest voting blocs in the United Nations.

A likely central issue of the talks will be climate change, where low-lying Pacific islands would welcome assistance.

"China and India, they are not just global political and economic powers, but they are contributors to the problem of climate change and the Pacific Island countries are at the receiving end of climate change but do not necessarily contribute to it," said Sandra Tarte, director of the politics and international affairs program at the University of the South Pacific in Suva.

"In the past there has been this deadlock between developed countries and these so-called developing countries on how to approach the issue and whether or not countries like China and India need to make concessions.

PM Modi arrives in Fiji on Wednesday for a three-day visit with Xi landing on Saturday.

The countries expected to be represented at the talks along with Fiji include Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, Niue, Nauru, Vanuatu and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Although Fiji has a substantial Indian population, Modi will be the first leader from New Delhi to visit since Indira Gandhi in 1981 and the first to have broad interaction with a wide range of island leaders.

But Tarte did not see India expanding its presence in the South Pacific to the same extent as China.

"India doesn't have the same reach as China does, diplomatic reach. It's economic ties are not that expansive or as developed," she said.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Fiji Geelong Friendship Club

from w
This evening several families from Geelong and also Melbourne gathered at Joe and Ninetta's home for kava, talanoa and a lovely dinner and some later adjourned to our household to drink kava and have a good social time. Here are a few photos of some of our family and friends in the Fiji network here.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pacific canoe sails into Sydney

from w

Pacific Island canoe flotilla sails into Sydney Harbour for IUCN World Parks Congress

New South Wales' Environment Minister Rob Stokes has welcomed Pacific Island leaders into Sydney Harbour, as the World Parks Congress begins with more than 5,000 delegates gathering in the city to participate in this once-in-a-decade event.
A flotilla of canoes from the Pacific Islands has reached Darling Harbour marking the end of a voyage to highlight the need for more action to tackle climate change, with their final destination being the International Union for Conservation of Nature Sixth World Parks Congress (IUCN).
The Vaka canoes of the Mua Voyage sailed across the harbour this morning with Pacific Island leaders from Kiribati, Cook Islands and Palau on board.
They sailed under the Sydney Harbour Bridge before arriving at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the official welcoming ceremony.
It is the first time a fleet of traditional voyaging canoes has sailed to Australia, with crews embarking on a 6,000 nautical mile journey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A bright costume for a Fiji chick

from w

Kula bird inspires national costume November 13, 2014 12:14:37 PMA+ A-||| 0 inShare   Follow @ Twitter Miss World Fiji's national costume to the 64th Miss World finals in London has been inspired by the Kula bird- one of Fiji's unique parrot species. The costume which has been designed by Andrew Powell and Aisea Konrote gets its style and colour from the Kula bird which is endemic to the islands of Kadavu and Ono in the Kadavu group while the head piece draws inspiration from the 'lakalaka dance' by the Lauan people. Miss World Fiji National Director Andhy Blake said the Kula bird is significant to i-Taukei culture as the feathers were used in fans as well as in dance costumes and the Kula bird is also on our five dollar currency. "The national costume inspiration will showcase one of our endemic species and what better way to showcase the beauty of the Kula bird than in a costume to be worn on the Miss World stage." "National Costumes in pageantry should reflect the uniqueness of the country it represents and must never be confused as a Traditional Costume which is costumes that reflects our indigenous values and materials." Miss World Fiji Charlene Tafuna'i leaves our shores next Wednesday and will fly to London after spending some time in Los Angeles.

Read more at:
Copyright 2014 ©
And  an earlier design for a beauty pageant for the Fiji entrant was of a peculiar looking owl. Below are some more appropriate Fiji designs that I think look better.   Here's a video of the bird dance when dressed as an owl. Rather comical, good fun, but was it appropriate?

The bird costume does nothing to flatter the young woman.  Colours should compliment and complement her skin colour, enhance her beauty, keep her looking feminine.  Perhaps using the colours of the sea and reef would still be symbolic of Fiji - pearls, iuminous tiny shells in the bodice, various layers of blue, aqua, green in chiffon for the skirt. I have yet to see a design like I imagine would be better.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Plug it in to a coconut tree

from w
Typical of some gifts.  Flour to bake bread but where's the oven, where's the electricity. Do they plug a vine into the coconut tree?  I wonder too about gifts of laptops to remote villages, so how do they get wi-fi ? Well, I suppose the youth in the village can cook plenty of topoi to eat!

Here's a letter in the Fiji Times.

Bakery project
THE Ministry of Youth and Sports has funded a bakery project in my village of Dromuninuku, Naweni, Cakaudrove, with the mata ni tikina, the adviser to the youth group.
Eleven bags of 50 kg flour and baking ingredients have been received by the youth group, however, the youths are yet to receive the electrical oven to enable them to bake.
None of the youths are able to bake bread and the village has no electricity to generate the electric oven.
EREMASI DAME, Cakaudrove

Friday, November 07, 2014

Seasonal workers from Fiji to Australia

from w
Someone yesterday told us that the number of workers in the Seasonal workers program in Australia would be capped at 500 from Fiji but that is ridiculously small as Australia needs thousands of labourers for the fruit harvest alone. The figures below refer to only Fiji or to all Pacific Islanders in the scheme?  then I looked up an Australian government website    and read this:

What will seasonal workers get paid?
Seasonal workers are provided with the same working conditions and arrangements as other employees in their workplace. Seasonal workers are usually employed under the Horticulture Award 2010.

Is the Seasonal Worker Program capped?
Yes the number of seasonal workers that can be recruited each year is capped. 3250 places are available to Australian Approved Employers in 2014-15. 4250 places are available to Australian Approved Employers in 2015-16

How long can seasonal workers stay in Australia for?
Seasonal workers can be invited to undertake work in Australia for a single approved Australian employer for a period of between 14 weeks and six months. Australian approved employers need to guarantee a minimum average of 30 hours of work per week for the duration of seasonal workers’employment.

What sectors can seasonal workers be employed in?
Seasonal workers can be employed to undertake work in the horticulture, ccommodation, aquaculture, cane and cotton sectors