About this website
The objectives of this website
This site brings together most of my “people-friendly” writings on the perennial development issues facing our people- economic, political and social. Many of these, such as as the critical importance of economic growth, poverty, protectionism, rural development, food security, just wages all continue to be critically important. Also continuing to be relevant are social issues such as education, health, violence against women and children, suicides, mental illness, leadership, culture and development.
While Fiji’s crises events, such as the coups of 1987, 2000, 2006 and 2009- have never been fully clarified to the public. The articles in the political stream indicate not only the need for a Truth and National Reconciliation Commission, but the failures of political leadership, which led to the coups.
Some of these articles on weaknesses in Fiji’s constitution, the electoral system, role of the Great Council of Chiefs and our political leaders, may clarify our people’s thinking during this difficult period. Acknowledgement by political leaders of mistakes made in the past, would be greatly helpful for national reconciliation, but there is little indication of that happening today (April 2012).
These writings are simply written for ordinary people
Newspaper articles must be written simply and in a style that grabs the reader’s interest. Academics have no training in this demanding skill, as my old friend Vimal Madhavan (a sub-editor for The Fiji Times) explained to me in quite colourful language when he read my first draft on the Wage Freeze imposed by the Alliance Government in 1984.
It is unfortunate that university managements give newspaper articles very little credibility as “legitimate academic outputs” deserving of reward, even if the topics are complex, require as rigorous a data analysis as is required by published academic papers, and most importantly, even if such articles are about the only output of academics that are read by the people whose taxes pay for the university and the academics’ and administrators’ salaries. Not surprisingly, few university academics write in the daily press of their countries, denying their people valuable insights into their development problems.
The converse of this is that journalism, despite its great contribution to community education, is a greatly undervalued profession, both by the employers who pay inferior salaries, and the young school leavers who are looking for jobs. A good journalist in the Pacific, has to see it as a “vocation in life”, not likely to lead to riches. It is my sincere hope that journalists and journalism students throughout the Pacific will find ideas in the many articles in this website.
Some of the post 2008 articles have been censored from the Fiji media
Many of my recent articles (especially since the purported abrogation of the 1997 Constitution in 2009) have been censored in the Fiji media. They eventually appeared on international websites, (always under my name).