Thursday, October 12, 2006

What do you think of drinking yaqona (kava)?

From Peceli
An ongoing problem in Fiji today is the excessive drinking of yaqona in both villages and towns. Why? The Prime Minister spoke about this to the Lau Provincial Council, his own people.

As drinking is a part of our ritual or habit, whether it is tea, water, coffee, kava or beer. So what about kava? Yaqona has been part of Fiji culture for ceremonial purposes and set aside for the traditional priest and the chief such as at the installation of the high chief to become the mana power and ruler of the people and the land.

But then yaqona drinking became informal, for anyone, for women as well as men, for every wedding, funeral, family function, even Sunday afternoons or socially in the evenings. Some villages however have made a ruling to be moderate in ceremonies and even put a tabu on yaqona drinking. For Fiji people overseas, there is also the love of getting together, drinking yaqona socially.

The two pictures I have posted are showing an old tradition of virgin girls mixing the kava, and the other is preparing kava in a ceremony today.
So what do you think about it?
Excessive yaqona to blame: Qarase

Thursday, October 12, 2006
PRIME Minister Laisenia Qarase has again pointed to the excessive concumption of yaqona as the cause of a lot of problems for Fijians.

And he has urged church leaders to start preaching from the pulpits about the effects of excessive kava drinking on youths, church members and government officers. He told the Lau Provincial Council meeting at the Fijian Teachers Association Hall in Suva that the abuse and excessive kava drinking was the cause of a lot of problems in the lives of Fijians.

He said while travelling extensively around the country in the past few years, he saw that kava drinking was abused by villagers, especially young people who were supposed to be the leaders and fathers of tomorrow.

Mr Qarase said there was a trend for youths in villages to drink kava excessively, sometimes not finishing the sessions until the next morning. He said they then slept in the community halls or anywhere where they would not to be disturbed for the rest of the day….

"It slows the mind, makes people lazy, the physical appearance of a person changes and the young people hardly wake up in the morning to go to the plantation while some do not have a dalo or cassava plantation at all and it is really sad," he said.
He said these were some of the "bad habits" brought about by excessive kava drinking.
Mr Qarase said it was sad to see older men instead of the younger ones waking up in the morning and going to the plantation to plant food for the family…


Pandabonium said...

I guess anything to extreme isn't healthy or wise. People around the world use chemicals that affect the brain, as you point out. Tea is one. Coffee another. In the USA and Japan, alcohol is a major "drug" of choice.

Nothing wrong with any of it per se, the challenge is in moderating it.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Ratu Sukuna used to drink whisky. Someone in a village said to him 'Is it good to drink vavalagi drink like beer or whisky?' Ratu Sukuna, said, 'Na wai oqo na medra wai navuku kei na vaqa vokavoka.' That means - Those who have a brain can drink in moderation.
I doubt that many people follow his advice though. They don't use their brain when they drink.

Anonymous said...

Yaqona was only used for certain functions in the Fijian traditional way of life. For example after the building of a Fijian bure, the building of a war canoe (drua), presentations to the war lord after battles, installation of chiefs, etc. etc. During these occasions only the entitled few have a bowl or two and even the servers do not drink a single bowl. Now people use yaqona as a past time drink where everyone present tries to get their high from, before calling it quits. The result is what our country is experiencing today, lazy young folks who instead of dreaming about opportunities beyond the rainbow are instead being intoxicated and incapacitated to the stage of simply not being able to think straight of their responsibities and purpose in this universe they live in.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

It is very saddening to see the waste of opportunities when so many young people just sit around and drink kava these days. Maybe it's okay for some of the seniors to sit and tell stories, but they should be stories of inspiration and motivation, not nostalgia when young guys sit with them.
Why is there this lack of motivation? There is so much land to cultivate. Even in Suva some guys have planted mounds of yams!

I read a letter to an editor passed on by one of the bloggers - that it's not the yaqona that is at fault. People do have a choice in what they do. It's a personal decision on how to spend time and money.

Jachin said...

There's a rather animated discussion on excessive yaqona consuption in the Your Say column on Fiji Times Online

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I'll say it's animated. Every Tomu, Dike, Ari has an opinion on the subject. Thanks jachin. It's certainly a good list of how people feel about the matter of drinking kava.