Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

WEEKEND READINGS. • Allen Lockington column • Fiji Needs Democracy But Not with Democrats Like These by Thakur Ranjit Singh • Surfing Decree   • The Politics of Sabotage by Graham Davis
See also Friday's postings: • The Nation Needs Healing by Hassan Khan  • Bruce Hill's interview with UTW secretary and Qantas CEHO over Qantas and strike action.
NEW ZEALAND READERS. Listen to Radio New Zealand on Sunday.  See details below.

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.

Proud to be a Fijian

A lot of our citizens represent our country in many ways overseas. We have sports people, dignitaries, people working for private companies and we have our soldiers in the British Army serving in the Middle East, Afghanistan and other countries. And of course there are others serving in the military forces of other countries and government organisation. Some are on fact finding expeditions. One such person is my nephew Jason Murray.

Right now we are feeling the cold in Fiji and it’s around 23 degrees, and we call it cold. Well, he is somewhere which is much colder than that and I asked him to tell his story because he is an inspiration and I hope it will also be an inspiration to others, especially our children. Here is his story.

He was born in Lautoka, but he says he is just a boy from Tavewa Island in the Yasawa Group. He went to Saint Thomas Primary and Secondary School. He is a good hockey player like his dad and played for the Waiyavi and Lautoka Hockey Teams. He is proud to be part of a society which brings out the best in all of us. We live next door to his mom and dad in Waiyavi where he was brought up. He told me that he is proud to be from Fiji and part of a culture, which will always be a part of him wherever he goes.  

Tattooed on his right arm is a portrait of his dad,  the soul of his success, with armour around him signifying his mum, who is the secret to his success. He also has a tattoo of ‘Tavewa’ (His Island home) around it.  Tattooed on his left arm, is his family, his wife and his two children represented by Dolphins diving into his heart where they belong.  He has served in the Australian Defence Force in the Middle East and its tattooed under his left arm as a reminder and which he feels no one should experience but unfortunately it is a fact of life that we must fight for peace. Isn’t that unusual that we have to fight for peace? He says that many soldiers suffer from post traumatic stress disorder but they will still go on tours of duty without hesitation for the family to be safe at home, and to make the world a safer place. And he hopes we are getting there. The hard part is not the tours they go on but coming home and trying to fit back in to society and live a normal life, especially if the experience was one of gun fights and sitting terrified in fox holes or hearing gunshots in the distance and wondering if any of the bullets has his name on it. He still doesn’t understand a lot of what goes on in soldiers’ minds when they return from war torn areas, but hopefully he will understand one day.

He was bought up in the suburb of Waiyavi in Lautoka where the boys hope to grow up to become good young men and women. They are full of talent, thriving with culture and picking up what we call ‘being street smart’. Oh, this boy is street smart, combine that with a degree or two in engineering and what do you get – an adventurer. All our kids dream of becoming successful and making their parents proud, if only they were given the opportunity and resources they would. With lots of backing from family and friends, he said they will strive to do their best because this is the culture of the people in Fiji. And we have all this in our capable hands.

Anyway, after completing his apprenticeship with the Fiji Electricity Authority and graduating with a Diploma in Engineering (Electrical) from the Fiji Institute of Technology he wanted to pursue a Degree in Engineering. So he chose to move to Australia, where opportunities are far better. While he was doing his studies he thought to himself that he could do with some extra cash and adventure, so he applied and was fortunate to be accepted and enlisted in the Australian Defence Force. (ADF) I am pretty sure the ADF needed one more brilliant electrical engineer who also had hands on experience. He served on a number of tours in the Middle East as well as studying, pursuing a Double Degree in Engineering and Management (Electrical). With his tour to Iraq in 2003, his unit was honoured with a Meritorious Citation which he is proud of. He takes his hat off to all the soldiers around the world who serve and are proud of their country. They are all striving for the same thing - to make the world safe and a better place.

He later graduated with Honours completing a Double Degree in Engineering and Management (Electrical) and worked in underground mines in North Queensland. He is also a Justice of the Peace for the State of Queens land with registration number 107558. He refused to tell me any more so I asked his family and friends if they knew a little more about him. He said, “Uncle lets keep all this secret.” I said, “No Jason lets tell your story in the hope it will inspire others.” Then after reading an advertisement in the newspapers about an expedition to Antarctica, he applied and that is where he is now working through the winter. At Mawson Station, where he is stationed, it is minus 22 degrees and the winds are around 40 knots and he said it was just another day. Heck I’m felling cold as I write this.

He was always an adventurous little boy growing up and having parents who were his inspiration and he was always searching for something to conquer and this is definitely a challenge. With no contact from the outside world, often snowed in, he misses his family and friends but with the will and strength from his family, his tough but cultured upbringing, the Fijian culture and his friends, he will always stand tall and be proud of what and who we are. 

He says that we are a proud people of Fiji and we should take care of one another and especially the wellbeing of our children no matter what race, religion and culture. He says we must give our children all the backing in what ever way we can. Education is a must, let us not leave the education to only the teachers, but we as parents must take up the challenge to see them through. We have to strive so that they will grow up to become good young men and women who will eventually become future honest leaders of our country. No matter where the child grows up, opportunities are all around us. Who know that little Jason playing touch rugby on the road with his friends with an empty plastic bottle would someday be working at the bottom of the world, well below that land down under? Well he is Jason the adventurer, as I call him. He is one of the many young people who have made it in this world and representing Fiji and flying the Fiji flag where ever they go in whatever field, because they said to themselves that   they could do it.

I hope this story will inspire our young men and women because if Jason can, we all can. Ad guess what, we all have that adventurous spirit in us, opportunities and a little sacrifice will bring it all out.

He is with a group with the Australian Antarctic Division of the Commonwealth of Australia. And whenever someone asks him where he is from he just says, “I am proud to be from Fiji.”

And gives a big bula smile.

Ed. note. Allen send photos with this posting that I haven't published. Photos use a lot for space that text characters, and I'm limited by Blogspot the maximum for a page (from what you can by scrolling down until you reach "Older Posts").


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