Shakey Ground

Last night I returned from work and as I dismounted from the bike, and started to push it into the lockup, one of my friendly policemen mates approached from the police post around the corner.  He must have headed over as soon as he heard my bike. 
 
His expression was grave and he said "We have a serious problem"…  My first thought was that he was going to tell me the Raiwanqa police have lost my camera, and it is probably better that I do not recount my subsequent thoughts. 
 
"What’s up?" I asked.
 
"We have no money and we need some refreshments".  He waited expectantly.  I pondered the meaning of "refreshments", and decided charitably that he meant they were hungry.  I was too. 
 
"Me too", said I.  "And I am broke".   I pointed at my tatty trousers and sandals.  "I can’t even afford to replace all my stolen clothes and shoes.  I barely have enough to pay the rent, and my last landlord has not paid back my bond".  I looked as destitute as I could and offered to show the non presence of money in my wallet, He politely accepted my word, dismissing the offer with a gesture. .  He got the message clearly enough, and after only a little more chat, left.  I began to wonder if I had done the right thing.  I really did not have any cash on me but I could have found some food maybe.  I wondered if I should have read more into it, and whether I had just committed a minor political blunder of the sort that might cause even further delays in the return of my property. I tend to take things at face value most of the time and only later consider hidden meanings that may or may not lay beneath the surface of the conversation. 
 
This incident says a lot about Fiji.  Say no more. 
 
The Grate Tater has just passed a law making it a crime to disrespect the law and the judiciary in Fiji.  My first thought was that it seemed odd that such a decree should be passed by someone who has used violence to gain control of a country, repeatedly sacked the judiciary, and ignored legal decisions that declared his regime illegal, or which in other respects did not accord with his whims, replacing the judges who made such judgements – presumably with those who will be more amenable.  
 
Last week a new decree was announced that any public servant making adverse comments about the government or any aspect of any Ministry or department will lose his pension, with no right of appeal.  In New Zealand we have a law protecting the right of public servants to have their own opinions, and another protecting those who wish to expose matters of a dubious nature.  There is also a code of ethics for public servants on how and where to express opinions. 
 
The GT is adamant that Fiji will have elections in 2014, but it appears to me that he is progressively and systematically making sure that there can be no campaigning by anyone who is not a complete lackey. 
 
Not that I have any understanding of politics, here or anywhere else.  It is all a bit of a mystery.  Though I understand the need for tact, diplomacy and discretion when dealing with others, I just don’t get politicians.
 
Robert Heinlein said an honest politician is one who stays bought.   I suspect that an honest politician is an oxymoron.
 
On the other hand, my Uncle in law is Job D Tausinga, and I tend to believe he is an honest man despite his guerilla beginnings in politics.     (Interesting – I was going to insert a hotlink there to an interesting article I once read relating to the early struggles of the Solomon Islanders of Western province against logging companies and I find it can no longer be Googled, though I believe it may be available in book form). Ah well. 
 
My neighbour across the road is Mr Mahendra Chaudry. Even before I moved here, and before I knew who he was, I used to to talk to him when I was walking by.  He has such a nice garden.   We chat over the fence as he tends his beautiful roses and his immaculate flower beds.  He is said to be one of the most disliked people in Fiji, other than he who must be obeyed, but all I see is a meticulous and polite gentleman. 
 
 
 
 
 
  
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About Alan

Alone in a sea of spinifex.
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