The Narsey and Field Story

This post consists of emails about an article written by USP Professor Wadan Narsey (photo) intended for publication in the Fiji Times that was censored  by government censors, and what was done with the article by Michael Field in an article published in Scoop and copied by several blogs. Hyperlinks are provided to both articles. I suggest readers look at the Field article before reading further, I will publish a longer, follow-up item on these articles over the coming weekend.

My email to Professor Wadan Narsey
 Hi Wadan,
I'm puzzled by the remarks attributed to you by Michael Field:
Dr Narsey said his demographics paper has been banned but has circulated outside the country. "The censors won't allow it," he said from Suva. "I hope I don't get taken in, they have rung me and threatened me."
Assuming he's referring to your paper "Fiji's Far Reaching Population Revolution," this is readily accessible from the USP website. 

Field also says:

The Indo-Fijian population is plunging, a fact that has been censored by the military regime.
But this information is readily available from the FBOS (Fiji Bureau of Statistics) website. It is only the detailed analysis that is missing.

Would you kindly clarify what you actually said to Field. I intend to use his article and your reply on my blog. Unless you say otherwise, I can only go on what Michael says you said. And I have found him on earlier occasions to be sometimes less than reliable.
Best wishes,

Wadan's reply to me
Whatever I want to say is said in my article.That article was banned by the censors at the Fiji Times. The threats are a separate matter.

Wadan's first email to Michael Field after he (Wadan) received my email
Dear Michael
Please could you correct your story on your website as people do read it and will continue to quote from it.

Wadan's second email to Michael
Dear Michael
You have got some of the facts mixed up in your reporting on the
conversation you had with me (by the way, you did not tell me that you were going to write on it).

The threats I received from the military was not over the population
article but much earlier over other information they had received.  My recent article on the media censorship clarifies that- perhaps you could put
a link to that on your web-site so that the public know the facts.

The military censors cut my population article from the Fiji Times- probably
because they saw my name there. Unfortunately, the other blog sites are using your reporting and continuing the misunderstanding.

My second email to Wadan
Thanks for copying this to me.  How you were used by Michael is no surprise.
His article did not appear on his blogsite (where the damage would have been minimal) but in, an influential and widely read Fairfax on-line paper staffed by seven full-time journalists.

Wadan to me
Dear Croz
I don't think that Michael deliberately misused what I had stated. Conversations over the phone are notoriously difficult to transcribe and the context can be easily lost- which is why I have put my media censorship article out- in my own words ....
Regards to both of you.

Unfortunately, Michael  cannot correct his errors on his blog. His article is now published in the national media. There are limited means of correction and by now the damage is done.

This is the prologue to "Twisted Tales of Two Cities," a longer posting, to be read at leisure at the weekend. I will publish it on Saturday or Sunday


Oh dear said…
Neither of these "gentlemen" is to be trusted judging from this exchange of correspondence. It seems to me that Wadan Narsey either exaggerated the situation to Michael Field, who reported it faithfully, or Field willfully took him out of context, which is the other extrapolation one can draw from Narsey's fumbled response. Either way, Narsey seems desperate to avoid taking sides in a firefight between Walsh and Field. The problem is that he emerges from the whole episode looking disingenuous and embarrassed. Funny how an academic of his supposed stature can be so precise when it comes to his conclusions about Fiji but so vague when the spotlight is turned on him. Keep up he pressure, Croz. These guys need to be held accountable for their consistently extravagant claims.
Labasa! said…
Why is Waden Narsey making excuses for Michael Field not being able to quote him properly over the telephone. Come on! This is absolute BS.

Field terms himself "Pacific Journalist", a pompous claim to be something of an authority on island affairs. Yet if Narsey is to be believed, he can't even get a simple conversation on the Coconut Radio right.

I think there's another explanation. These guys got caught with their pants down cooking up yet another unflattering story about Fiji. The rest of us deserve a better explanation, that's for sure.
TheMax said…
So what if more Indo-Fijians are leaving Fiji? People are free to make their own choice regarding where they want to live, isn't it?

Besides leaving for greener pastures and job opportunities, Fiji people will find it easier to emigrate overseas because they can still retain their Fiji citizens. So indo-Fijians may be leaving in droves but they still can vote from their new destinations if they still retain their Fiji citizenship.
Dual citizenship said…
TheMax, are you sure you can vote if you're a dual citizen? I think you'll find that you have the right of residency and right to work in Fiji if you're also a foreign national but don't have all the rights of a local including the right to vote. It also costs you F$3000 to regain your blue passport, which is hardly equal treatment.
Pacific propagandist said…
Whatever the truth about this bizarre exchange, Michael Field's story was wrong. Will he now correct it? Let's see. But if he doesn't, it's time to take him to task by reporting him to the same authority in NZ that castigated him once before for ignoring the facts. It's also time to alert Fairfax Media to the presence on its staff of a journalist who's in the business of peddling misinformation. The balls in your court, Mr Field.
Fields of Dreaver said…
Wadan Narsey has asked Michael Field to correct the story. Give him a chance to do so. And If he doesn't, report him. New Zealanders are lucky to have some recourse against the likes of Field and Barbara Dreaver. Get your facts right or get out of the media.
Anonymous said…
Both Wadan Narsey and Michael Field want the same thing - their 5 minutes of fame in the spotlight.

They both deserve a big bum steer.
Big mouthful said…
Now Warden Narsey knows what it's like to swim with sharks Good luck.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
A*** wipe said…
I see Michael Field's "Swimming with Sharks" is going to cost $40 when the paperback comes out in August. World's most expensive toilet paper.
What the? said…
Took the tip and had a look at Michael Field's website. Everything about Fiji is just so one sided.

He says Frank's response to the 2000 mutiny was to "run away". Hello?

Here was the commander under fire from rebel troops, unarmed himself, and with a security detachment that immediately rushed him to safety under gunfire. Was he meant to stand his ground and cop a bullet or mortar?

This is a blatant attempt to portray Frank as a lamu sona and smear him. No wonder this guy is banned from Fiji. As far as I'm concerned he'll die without seeing the country again.
Offensive ageism said…
Field seems to have a real gripe with you Croz about your academic qualifications and the fact that you're retired.

Do you know if he has a degree from anywhere himself? Can't find anything on the Net apart from what he's written himself. Typical.

His "grey power" gibe against you is incredibly ageist. Once people of a certain age were respected for their experience and wisdom. And that's still the case in places like the US.

It's all really disrespectful, not to mention this notion that you dance to the military's tune. When they put a foot wrong you say so.

As my kid says; "he ain't a wannabe, he's a nevergonnabe"
Fiji the Way Michael Field wants it said…
Croz, in his latest attack on you, Michael Field suggests you should be getting rid of any comment on your site that doesn't carry a real name. It's OK for him living in NZ but we can hardly speak our minds if we're in Fiji or have close relatives there. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this. Are we being cowards, as he says? He goes on about offensive, neo-colonialist and racist postings. Some of your content is lively but you've erased more extreme comments so where's the evidence of this?
MJ said…
I have just had a look at Wadan's original paper and I think it is flawed anyway. Yes in 2007 the Indian percentage dropped to 36%, from a point of about 44% in 1996. However, this sharp drop was triggered by the 2000 coup, and the Qarase years in between these two data points. There is no evidence that the drop will continue at the same rate in the future. However, Wadan has just extrapolated to 2017 and 2027 using the same slope from just two data points. With Franks changes to make things fairer for all, emigration due to fear would be expected to drop. There will still be economic emigration and the effect of birth rates, but I think there is a huge error in his forecast figures.
Croz Walsh said…
Anonymous, I'm deleting your comment because it is anonymous. See Comment Rules Tab and the statement below "Leave your Comment." But before I do so, do not judge too hastily. This post is the prologue to a longer posting on Saturday. There I made the point the article should have been published.
Nazi said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
shatz said…
Yes dears, you are at best being COWARDS if you don't pen your real names to your posts. Or what else would you describe junta supporters like yourselves trying to look neutral (we all know who you are), packed in here like sly hyenas.
Give the retiree a break! said…
Can't wait for croz' new book - 'swimming with tadpoles' - or is it with sewer rats???
Proud fijian said…
Hi there Anti IG bloggers - visit often and learn something.

If you want to comment please show your level of education with your posts.

And by the way by visting you increase Croz' traffic and google ranking.
Croz Walsh said…
@ Fiji the way Michael ...
No one, of any political persuasion, is a coward for using a pseudonym. You will note that those who say so use pseudonynms themselves.

@ Proud Fijian
I think we attract the less intelligent anti-government people. The more intelligent would present some sort of argument, not abuse.
All personal comments will be deleted.
Full of Shatz said…
Shatz, so you know who we are? Us "sly hyenas"? If you do, name us.

You say we're cowards for not using our real names. What about you, you tamani sized lamu sona? I don't recognise Shazt as a Fiji name. Be so kind as to tell us who you are?
shatzyyy said…
Oi Full of Shitz, you are a pack of sly hyenas, are you not? haha.

Seems that sly hyena Proud Fitji wants only the well-educated in here. I guess that's the kind with those impressive letters or are they alphabets behind their names?
So that's the lot riding high in here on the junta's cheering bandwagon!

But then you say you hyenas still can't put your real names next to your opinions like Field and Narsey??(especially Narsey since he's in Fiji and is anti-JUNTA).

haha! Yes, you're not just cowards, but sly hyenas at best!

Before I leave you highly educated sly hyenas, please always remember to address the regime by its proper name, JUNTA!
Croz Walsh said…
I've let this string of personal abuse continue for awhile to let readers see the sort of comment found on many anti-government blogs. No facts, no helpful ideas to take Fiji forward, no argument and debate, just hateful comment and personal abuse. And this, of course, attracts similar retaliatory comment.
laminar_flow said…
Croz, these anti-progress
Fiji bloggers really
sound like the tea-partied Republicans in the US.

Now some Democrat Congress members are getting hate mail, their offices vandalized just because of the Health care legislation-now law.
Anonymous said…

What do you mean there is no evidence that the trend of Indian immigration will not continue as is from the Qarase years?

Wadan's paper is based on data from Fiji's most recent census report - done by the BoS itself, conducted by and under the current regime, with the dictator's brother at the helm of it! Those figures indicate amongst other things, that the Indian emigration rate out of Fiji has not significantly abated!

So where is the huge error you are talking about?

Qanibulu said…
Oilei, and Wadan Narsey calls himself a professor of economics. What a crock of kaka. Even Tomasi the shoeshine boy who never went to high school can figure that an extrapolation of the trend based on what transpired in the last twenty years, the most turbulent in Fiji's political and social history, is too simplistic given the positive things that have happened under the IG in the last three years and the radical changes that will occur leading up to the elections in 2014 and beyond. The past is not always the best gauge for the future.

This so called academic has conveniently sidestepped the effect of external factors on Indo Fijian migration in the last twenty years. For example it is a known fact that the majority of these people who migrated in the seventies and eighties ended up in Australia, mainly due to the Australian government's abolition of the "white Australia policy" in 1973. They migrated mainly for economic reasons during this period more than anything else.

It is also a known fact that a lot of the people who did migrate back then, are now over 60 years and would like to return to their homeland to spend their final years once the political situation stabilises. The grass may be greener on the other side but it does not taste the same.

The introduction of dual citizenship will see a lot of ex-Fiji subject returning home with skills and money to start off news businesses. I have spoken to many who believe they can make a difference. Some would like to take up government positions. Again the biggest stumbling block is the present political impasse with our neighbours. Freedom of travel is the main consideration as many already have families settled in Australia and NZ.

We live in interesting times. I do not for one minute believe the downward spiral will continue.
Anonymous said…

Except for one thing - the data as it currently stands does not support your beliefs about the downward spiral!

The only way you can posit that is by ignoring the current data and speculating that there is another process going on that is not apparent in the data now, but that will become so at some future juncture for the reasons you have speculated.

Good luck with that, mate...

MJ said…

My understanding is that the data in his graph up to the 2007 point is real data from the BoS. However, the final two points were extrapolations (i.e. mathematical "guesses" bases on the previous data points) and were added by Wadan (I guess) not the BoS. I had a quick look on the BoS site and can only find actual data based on the census etc. All of their data is historical and based on actual reported numbers. The accuracy in trying to "guess" future numbers is dependent on many factors. If a historical trend has continued for many data points, and the factors influencing the data remains similar or can be accurately estimated and accounted for, forecasting can be very accurate. However, in this case the trend has changed over time, and the factors influencing migration have also changed. Therefore any future forecasting, is very inaccurate.
Qanibulu said…

If you look at the figures the drop in Indo Fijian population between 1996 and 2007 occurred mainly in the rural sector. This in fact has been the case since the 70s. There has been a shift by the Indo Fijian population from the farmlands into the urban areas, partially due to the land issues and the non-renewal of leases following the 87 coup.

With this shift, the average size of the Indo Fijian family has been reduced dramatically. Cane farming is labour intensive especially in the absence of mechanisation. Traditionally Indo Fijian families engaged in this industry tend to have large families where the workload can be shared among members. As people moved away from the farms and into the city the cost of living increases. The focus shifts to having smaller family units, giving the best opportunity for education and advancement to only a few of the members. You only need to look at what has happened in the Suva - Nausori corridor over the last 20 years to see the impact of urban drift, especially among the Indo Fijians.

Emigration overseas is not solely responsible for declining Indo Fijian numbers. Urbanisation and changing lifestyles have a lot to do with it. But then again we can blame the introduction of television for putting an end to bedroom romps.

It time it will find its own equilibrium, particularly with land reforms and greater confidence in government.
Anonymous said…

Not as inaccurate though, as positing that an empirically downward trending graph actually means that the graph is going to turn upward again in future based on speculative dynamics that cannot as yet be observed in the current data!

MJ said…
I agree with your latest comment. But I never said the graph would turn back up I just said that the downward trend from 1996 to 2007 (caused by the 2000 coup and the Qarase government) would be unlikely to continue at the same rate over the next 20 years as predicted by Wadan in his graph. Yes, I expect the Indian percent will still go down, but the rate would be much less.

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