Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Some more news that shows that the litter and garbage problem is being thought about and talked about...even if nothing is actually done. Having lived in pretty litterific places in the US as well, I wish I knew the secret to making communities litter-free. I am more than happy to relinquish my "right" to throw garbage everywhere if it means I get to live in a cleaner environment. I guess for a lot of people, if it's already trashed, it doesn't make sense to take the extra effort to throw something in the garbage. But there are places where litter is not a problem. What's different there? How do we get to the tipping point where it becomes worth it to keep a place clean?

Council should clean up beach

Monday, February 27, 2006

A FORMER Suva Mayor says the city council has to be responsible for cleaning a major picnic spot in the capital...

Permit system for plastic bottles

Monday, February 27, 2006

A PERMIT system which targets PET (Poly Ethylene Terephthalate) bottles will be in operation in September this year...

Monday, February 27, 2006

My "beach"

This is the beach by my house. It is really littered and disgusting and it's everybody's fault and nobody's responsibility.

Debris on picnic spot not council's responsibility

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Beach no more ... Ishika Kumar, 2, and Reshika Kumar, 3, play on debris at Suva Point yesterday

THE Suva City Council is not responsible for cleaning the most popular beach in the capital city, Lord Mayor Ratu Peni Volavola said last night.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

More about the missing babies...

Baby mystery at hospital morgue

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Paula Tuilau and wife Mereseini Rosi in mourning in their home at Matavolivoli in Nadi after the body of their still-born baby went missing from the mortuary.

THE body of a second stillborn baby is missing from a hospital mortuary....

Different usage...

English is the official language of Fiji, but it varies from American English in small usages. I'm not sure how much of this is British English, Australian English or uniquely Fijian English. In any case I've assembled a list of these small variants. None of them seem like much, but it adds up to a bit of disoriented.

As I learned from posting to this vary blog "choking" means to "financially solicit", not to throttle somebody with your hands until they cant breath.

Others include...

In Fiji a "parking lot" is called a "carpark"
Food is for "take away" not "to go"
You go on a "bushwalk" not a "hike"
Things are in "heaps" not "piles" (the hole's only known natural enemy)
Said heap is usually of "rubbish", not "garbage" or "trash"
You buy your ticket as a "return" not "round trip"
You use a "brush cutter" not a "weed whacker"
Your car has a "boot" and a "bonnet" not a "trunk" and "hood"
Your house has a "veranda" not a "porch"
You would wear a "vest" on a summer day, not a "tank top"
You put your groceries in a "trolley" not a "shopping cart"
A store has "trading hours" not "opening hours"
You find out when you're on the desk by looking at the "roster" not the "schedule"
You get "time-in-lieu" instead of "comp-time"
And you buy your liquor by the "nip" not the "shot"
"Cheap" in Fiji seems to imply only "inexpensive" and not "inexpensive and therefore of poor quality" as it does in the US.

Now I'm not saying that either usage is better, or correct. And I realize that there are shades of meanings, garbage and trash aren't really the same things. And I'm not even saying that these other uses are ubiquitous in Fiji. They're all just things I've noticed.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bureaucratic Incompetence at it's Heatbreaking Worst

Mum to bury empty coffin

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grieving mum 23-year-old Livini Taburagia weeps over the empty casket at home in Waiyavi Stage Five, Lautoka, yesterday, while hospital authorities called in police to look for her baby’s body missing from the mortuary.

THE distraught family of a seven-month-old stillborn baby today plan to bury an empty coffin because health officials have lost his body...

The FijiOne news reports that there are two missing babies!

Leisure time update...

Paleni has posted about the candlelight dinner available at McDonalds here in Suva. I'm linking as his photo is better than the ones I took and it's got some interesting commentary. R and I went here for Valentine's day and it was quite charming. The place was decorated, there were tablecloths and candles and they took your order at your table. As our waitress said, "We don't have menus, but you know what we have!" As weird as it was to be in the double-armed embrace of corporate imperialism (Hallmark and McDonald's) it was also definitely a cross-cultural experience. Mostly I could see how this was a lot of fun for the staff. They were wearing matching "street clothes" (red shirts, white skirts) rather than their uniform, had decorated the place and were having a lot of fun taking orders at the tables. Having worked at McDonald's way back when, I can see how it would be a welcome diversion. I'm just glad they had burgers. For the past week or so the McDonald's here has not had any beef products and is "sorry for the inconvenience". Yep, that's right, a McDonald's without beef, indefinitely, for no stated reason. That's Fiji.

Last weekend, R and I took advantage of a special local rate for the swanky resort The Pearl. It was really quite nice, even thought the food while expensive was merely edible. We also saw the Firewalking and Meke show at the Arts Village, which was quite entertaining even if it was more 'warm rocks', than 'fire'.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Another Book

I finished reading Owen Scott's Deep Beyond the Reef : A True Story of Madness and Murder in the South Pacific. It is a well written true crime story about the brutal double murder of Fiji Red Cross director John Scott and his partner Greg Schrivener. It's not a coincidence that there are two Scotts in the last two senescence, the author is the deceased brother. This is an incredibly personal perspective for homicide non-fiction to be written from, and yet remains objective enough that the book is more than a personal memoir of grief. That the whole story takes place in Suva made it very visceral reading for me. Highly recommended if you can get a hold of it. We have it in our library, and you could order it from our bookstore, or AmazonUK, and Powell's will get it for you if you order online. AmazonUS and your local library won't have it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Book log

I've finished reading Islands of the Frigate Bird : a novel by Daryl Tarte from the USP. It was an interesting read, but I have some mixed feelings about it. I could try to explain them myself, or I could link to this much better explination and book review.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Litter bugs watch out

Litter bugs watch out
Wednesday, February 08, 2006

THE Suva City Council has warned that it would enforce a spot fine of $40 for anyone littering within city limits.

Sadly, I doubt this will have any real effect.

[update] To be fair, Suva is not the only place struggling with what to do about the litter problem:

Litter tax proposed for fast-food places near city's schools

Christopher Heredia, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fed up with kids dropping burger wrappers, beverage cups and french fry cartons on the streets and sidewalks surrounding the city's schools, the Oakland City Council is poised to take the unprecedented step of taxing fast-food joints and convenience stores to help clean up the mess.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Last weekend

We didn't leave town this weekend. We did go and see the movie Big Mamma's House 2. The movie was just the sort of guilty pleasure, stupid but funny movie you'd expect from Martin Lawrence, but watching it in Fiji was an experience. The audience responded with huge amounts of laughter at every gag, and the sassy back-talking kid got a huge reaction. It reminded me of the movie Reel Paradise where an annoying New York film geek goes to Fiji to show movies. It has some great scenes of the Fijian audience going crazy over physical comedy like the Three Stooges.

Later that evening we were lucky enough to see the only two minutes of the International Rubgy League Wellington 7's that really mattered. The sudden-death overtime where Fiji beat South Africa to win the tournament.

On Sunday we were invited to a BBQ at the house of a professor at USP. It was nice to have some socializing and meet some new people. But mostly we watched hours and hours of the new Battlestar Galactica on DVD, along with a little bit of the old one for good measure.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Signs, Signs Everywhere Signs....

These are pictures of some curious signs I've seen so far...

In the sign below, I think what they mean is "mouth watering". I certainly don't want a sandwich that melts my tongue! It also reminds me of an annoying catchy jingle for a brand of flour here. "made with Australian wheat, it's iron-enriched and ready to eat!" Really? Ready to eat flour?! Every time I hear it, I imagine my mouth full of flour, all powdery around the lips and gummy inside, filled with the delicious taste of raw flour, mmmmm!

This is where I do all my shopping...(not really but I do look there on occasion)

These are the entry requirements to a club. Standard fare for the most part, no flip-flops. But look closely at the second photo. "No Chocking Others" WTF?!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

We didn't do much this weekend. After taking forever to finish Zola's His Excellency, I read The Mosquito Coast in a weekend. I think one of the reason that His Excellency went so slowly was that it was all about political intrigue and I was much more interested in trying to figure out Fiji's current situation than in fictional, French politics from over a hundred years ago. The Mosquito Coast was a much easier read and riveting. We also went to see Underworld : Evolution, a not so good, modern vampire, sequel. We've also totally gotten into watching 24 on dvd. TV shows on dvd are so addicting, sometimes I can't imagine watching them as aired and having to wait a full week between episodes!