It is ironic for an academia such as Mahendra Reddy to be cynical & accuses the Fijian Chiefly system as the problem of Fiji's lack of Economic Growth. Fijian Chiefly system is the essence of our Fijian society & likewise for our fellow Melanesians as well as Polynesians in the Pacific. Chiefly systems compliments what Law & order dictates in a Court of Law. In fact on many occasions disputes are resolved at the village level where the Chief resides with any Government representations eg Land disputes or family disputes.
To blatantly blame the traditional Chiefly system of contributing to poor governance is a weak argument to say the least. It is obvious that this is another attempt by Reddy, using his academic proweress & flexing his muscle to try and sell his idea. We say to you, there are now many educated Indigenous Fijians who still stand by their allegiance to their home village, their familes and their Chiefs. Perhaps those that do not fit this category would be those that are either experiencing a tug of war within their own Chifely family system because someone who has more clout within the current bureaucracy has stepped in and stole the Chiefly title by hook or by crook.
Nevertheless, whilst the Indigenous Fijian Race are surviving, no amount of 'academic' bullying as such nor some sort of ideology that Reddy has been teaching his students will shrivel this old age tradition. We want to reaffirm to Reddy & others like him, this is one of the fabrics of our Indigenous society to which we hold dear and close to our hearts.
If we may comment, first theres the attack on the Indigenous land or 'attemtpting to do a 'land grab' from the natives & now this. (The same ole, same ole story we have heard so many times before.) It is obvious this is the 'push & hidden agenda and/or intentions' of those like Reddy who are propping up the current regime and are fighting 'tooth & nail' to 'DE-CONSTRUCT' the very 'Spirit of being an Indigenous Fijian'.
Reddy, arrogantly states in his comment, quote, "The traditional chiefly system prevalent in Melanesian societies threatens issues of governance..." unquote. Where are the facts & figures to prove your argument Reddy? Has Reddy forgotten that Tradittional Chiefly system be it in Fiji, neighboring Melanesians or Polynesians are there to stay and no matter what type of 'Iron cage Bureacracy' being dreamt about can alter this. Such is the make up of the Indigenous Fijians as well as other fellow Melanesians & Polynesians in the Pacific. On a gentler note, why has Reddy conveniently left the Polynesians out of this equation? Is he scared of the backlash from the powerful Manu Samoas & the King of Tonga 7 other neighboring Pacific Chiefs etc?
Would he accept if we were to run a parallel criticism as to why there are so many 'slum dog shanty houses' both in India & in Fiji that is creating a desperate climate of poverty & we challenge him as to what would he make of this? If we may cite a recent comment by Fiji Human Rights spokesperson, Shamima, who claims that teenage daughters were being sold to bring income to the families. Does this sound familiar to him? Of course, it is, however, he would rather do a 'much loved mud-slinging execise' with the Indigenous Fijians & their Chiefly system who has kindly shared Fiji with him . This of course has its historical slant by virtue of Colonial Masters bringing the Indian forefathers via Indentured Labour system.
Reddy has opted to ignore the perils of some who are now reportedly selling their daughters to get income into the house. This is unheard of in the Pacific Culture, as it is 'taboo' and is very un- Fijian & Un Pacific - so where did this idea of buying & selling came from? Reddy et al should focus their energies more to this type of problems that brings Fiji's economy to disrepute rather that accusing the Indigenous people's Chiefly system & the value this has on ttheir society.
Last but not the least, Reddy, there is nothing that you nor your concept of ideology can do about changing or reconstructing the 'essense of an Indigenous or First people in Fiji', including fellow Melanesian neighbors & the wider community in Fiji as well as in the Pacific.
To prove your point incorrect, one of the lady academia from the Solomons who holds a Doctorate recently presented a micro finance scheme that she was instrumental in setting up for the women in the Solomons & says its thriving well. This has allowed these Indigenous women to hold bank accounts & watch their money grow as a result of the leadership from within the system at the village levels. In turn these women have helped their children & families enjoy a much better existence and livelihood than they did previously.
Instrumental to these developments are the Chiefly leaders, whether they are men or women and they are very supportive to these type of economic assistance which helps stimulate economic growth at the village level. These must be promoted to all those overseas countries that are willing to siphon their Aid money to raise the bar & create Micro businesses at the grassroot level. This at the very least will raise the standards of living as well as shift the World Poverty Index Fiji currently holds thus closing the poor/poverty gap that is so often talked about by the Richer Nations.
Chiefly system a threat
Read further for Reddy's comment on Fiji Times Online.
Read further for Reddy's comment on Fiji Times Online.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
THE strong traditional chiefly system prevalent in Melanesian societies threaten issues of governance, says Dr Mahendra Reddy, the dean of the FIT's Faculty of Commerce, Hospitality and Tourism Studies. http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=118213