Vol. 5 No. 2
THE WAY FIJI SHOULD BE
By LOSANA McGOWAN
THE UNIVERSITY of the South Pacific is known to be one of the friendliest universities in the world where students from 12 regional countries around the Pacific gather for study.
USP students share not only academic views but also their culture and traditions.
Students would sit around regardless of different cultural backgrounds and share jokes and laughter over lunch or merely awaiting the next lecture or tutorial.
The friendliness, the jokes and the laughter all disappeared shortly after 11am on Friday, May 19, when the news of the coup reached the university.
If fear could be seen then it would have been an eyesore on the day.
Personally, I was so excited that the coup happened at a time when I am studying to become what I always wanted to be — a journalist.
Afterwards I felt guilty but I told them that my excitement was not based on the fact that another coup has occurred. It was because this would provide us with “on the spot reporting” that will help prepare us for the future.
The university decided to cancel classes for three days and when we returned on the fourth day we were told that our semester break has being moved forward due to the political crisis Fiji is facing.
It was hard for me to break the news of the semester break to Laufa, Sina and Sylveria, my Samoan friends, as I know that for three weeks or probably longer the only way I could see them is through the photos, which will only remind me of the good times we’ve spent at USP.
If not for this coup, laughter could still be heard everyday from Radio Pasifik, USP’s student radio station, where most of the announcers have bonded like brothers and sisters.
My relationship with my Indo-Fijian colleagues has not been affected by this coup and I would not let it do so.
This coup has brought about nothing but hatred between most of our indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijian societies and I do not see any reason why this is so.
After all George Speight and his fellow rebels wanted Mahendra Chaudhry to step down from his position as prime minister when they seized Parliament and not for the two races to hate each other.
But some people chose to be so uncivilised and not objective over the whole issue and decided to hate the Indo-Fijian race as a whole.
This was so obvious when two of my colleagues and I went to Parliament and most of the people reacted strangely due to the fact that Noora one of my fellow journalist could easily be mistaken for an Indo-Fijian.
Noora, who is from the Maldives, could feel the tension herself but I kept telling her that everything was fine.
A Fijian lady even told some boys that we should be bashed up because we were laughing. Just after that the same lady went and joined a group of women who were singing hymns.
I’m still asking myself the question: “Are these people from another planet?” Then maybe I should tell them that Christianity and hatred do not go together.
I understand that these people want an indigenous Fijian to be running the country but do they ever stop to think they would not achieve anything by burning shops, looting and destroying other people’s properties?
I guess not, because if they had stopped to think then I would just take a short walk to the shop next to my home to buy sugar and not take a 20-minute busride to Lami Town followed by a 45-minute queue to the supermarket to buy sugar.
Also my best friends Melissa and Sandy would not be calling me up to tell me how bored they are staying home because if not for this coup we would be sharing jokes at Radio Pasifik with our fellow announcers, Peter Va’a from Samoa, Evan from the Solomon’s, Vilisite, Sikeli, Peter, Reggie, Michelle, Kereni, Chris, and Mili all from Fiji and our Korean friend Josh.
Now that’s the way Fiji should be.
My greatest fear is that if this political crisis isn’t resolved soon, then the only thing that I’ll have are photographs from the good times.
File created: 3 June 2000
Copyright © 1999-2000 Journalism USP.
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