A Fijian Life

The Absurdities of My Island Home

I had promised myself that I wouldn’t write anything on Fiji for a little while. I was afraid that my past posts were making me appear somewhat of a national pessimistic, an ungrateful citizen. I am not. (Granted; I’m the queen of contradictions but then it’s a Gemini entitlement!) But it’s just been such an exasperating last few days. Plans made are not working out, running out of  stuff at the worst possible times and clumsiness. I’ve been…just so klutzy, saying the wrong things, ticking the wrong box, spitting chewed gum on other people’s leather couches (story for another day). It’s the mercury retrograde I’m telling you.

Have you noticed that it is when you are intensely irritated that you pick up the absurd things around you. Things that you normally don’t mind, things that you accept the status quo of and work around? So much so that perhaps a rant post is warranted after all.

1.   THE COCONUTS

I was hanging around the kitchen pretending that I wasn’t waiting on the Sunday lunch when my mother asked to get some cans of coconut milk from the pantry. Fetching the cans, I saw that they were Asian made. Failing to judge that my mother was also ‘simmering’ having spent some good hours in the kitchen, I rather un-tactfully told her to buy Fiji produced lolo. Bang went the poor Malaysian cans on the kitchen counter! “Next time tum jana shopping, acha!” Yaoww.

the coconuts

source: google

It happens that my mother prefers cooking with the imported coconut milk because they are of better quality. A 360 degree glance around and one would be hard-pressed not to find a coconut tree in sight. As an island nation we are surrounded by coconut trees and coconut milk being such an integral part of our diet, don’t you think it’s absurd that we are importing coconut milk? And that the Malays are squeezing out better quality lolo than us?

2.   THE BRA AND PANTY ISSUE

Worst thing about not doing laundry on time? Running out of clean underwear. And when one has limited ‘good’ underwear, she can’t afford not to do laundry. ‘Good’ underwear = underwear without any holes, rips or runs. And I’m desperately holding out till someone from my household goes over the seas so they can bring me back some new panties. I know I’m not the only one. Most of my fellow women have a “bra and panty” list that they entrust upon another member of the sisterhood other going to Australia or New Zealand. I’m certain that at least 15% of the weight carried back by our national carrier Fiji Airways in a year, is underwear.

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Getty Images 89134225

And just before you get can kinky ideas, let me assure that the ‘bra & panty’ list only compromises of basic cotton briefs, spanks at times and basic t-shirt bras (nothing too fancy. That darned dollar value, you see). Why? Simply because we don’t have underwear shops in Fiji. And certainly none in our jet-set town of Nadi. Well not counting Meenoos and those Chinese shops where extra small (XS) is labelled as large (L).

The past few weeks the local print and social media have been spewing on and on about the Fiji Fashion Week (FJFW). Emerging and established designers are being talked about. The elite have been shot wearing high-end, tailored clothes. Pages and pages of ink are being spent on discussing the ‘inspirations’ and the ‘flow’ of a’collection’. New models are being launched, the plus-size population of the nation left gulping as they strut their bony hips on the catwalk.

source: google

source: google

For a country who can’t even produce undergarments to cover our own arses properly – we’re running and applauding fashion shows. Sheer absurdity.

For a country who can’t even produce undergarments to cover our own arses properly – we’re running and applauding fashion shows. Sheer absurdity.

3.   OUR PACIFIC BOTTOMS

Get a bunch of a girls together and we’ll eventually end up at our favorite island girls topic, Size. No, not that size. The size of clothings available.

We Fijian women actually take pride in our roundness. We revel in our full, luscious curves and have long ago made peace with ourselves. But rather than help us celebrate our island beauty, time and again we are reminded by the retailers and department stores that how we don’t ‘fit’ in. The largest jeans available for women in this country is size 16. Most can’t make that above their thighs.

As a result we have ill-dressed women, trying to fit in clothes not really made for us. Ridiculous when you think about the prosperous garment industry of this country.

4.   MEMO FROM THE DEPT ON HOW TO FILL A POTHOLE 

  1. Ignore the pothole for as long as the department can.
  2. Only after as many as 200 complaints are made about the same hole, the department can prepare to patch to it.
  3. Patching must be done on a Friday only.
  4. Load the truck with necessary equipment and minimal material.
  5. Clock out at the depot at 9.00am for field patching work.
  6. Drive out at leisure and find a nice shady spot preferably near a sports ground.
  7. Lounge around and make a good day of it.
  8. At approximately 4.30pm, rev up the truck and arrive at the said pothole.
  9. Take some good 40 minutes to set-up.
  10. As the Friday afternoon traffic builds up, start patching works smack bang in the middle of it – backing up traffic as far as 2 kilometers.
  11. Shortly after 6.15pm, pack up and leisurely head back to the depot.
  12. Offload the truck and wash up. Don’t forget to oil your hair.
  13. Clock off at 7.00pm and don’t forget to remind the accounts girl of your overtime hours on Monday.
  14. TGIF! Have an awesome weekend.
Source: The Fiji Times

Source: The Fiji Times

5.   CHEVY-ING THE NATIONAL SPEED LIMIT

And while stuck in the traffic last Friday afternoon because the council baboons just had to patch up the pothole at 5 p.m, I spotted my first Chevrolet car on the Fijian roads. I was later clued in that a local company had started bringing in Chevys. Joining the ever growing list of fancy cars – Jeeps, Dodges and Lexus etc.

Bit absurd don’t you think considering our national speed limit is only 80km/hr?

Look I can’t wait for this retrograde thing to finish. I am beginning to even irritate my own ears. The thing is if you’ve got the money and want to spend it on a leather padded Land Cruiser by all means go for it. And I really don’t have a thing against fashion designers, it’s a free country (well…you know) do whatever your creative heart desires.

All I’m saying is that a girl needs some new undies and it’s high time that Fiji has a proper chaddi & bayan ki dukan!

***

Has anything been rubbing you the wrong you? Any other national absurdities that you don’t know whether to laugh or cry about it? Share your irritations in the comments box below!

whereisshyamni@gmail.com

 

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6 thoughts on “The Absurdities of My Island Home

  1. *cough* if one were to look around, one would see many-a dry coconuts lying under said coconut trees that one can husk, cut open, scrape and extract coconut milk from. 😛 I’m certain your mother would prefer that over the imported brands. 😀

    Like

  2. Sunny says:

    Cracking up at ‘Council Baboons’ and absolutely loving the memo hahaha… Classic! Equally as frustrated with the council’s inability to maintain our roads. Sometimes it just seems like they make the road conditions worse after they’re done with the patching works *sigh!

    Like

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