New Fiji: Our Communal Farm

There I was on my balcony, settled in comfortably on an old couch, surveying my neighbourhood while savouring my first “bilo” (bowl) of “kava” for the day.

In the midst of the normal Western heat, I felt that at a cost of $5 for 25gms, I had to enjoy every drop of the highlypriced “national brew” as it trickled down my parched throat. To do otherwise would be like pouring a now highly prized bottle of Fiji Gold beer down the kitchen sink.

 I consoled myself with a comforting, but somewhat venomous, rationalisation that as equal citizens, all Fijians had to pay abnormally high prices to beef up the coffers our managing directors regularly dip into to keep our beloved communal farm, “New Fiji”, economically afloat.

Then it hit me, like an overwhelming stench of cow dung from the western barnyards.

One of our esteemed farm directors was warning the state’s beloved citizens on the national airwaves not to spread rumours or misinformation on social media about a health matter of global concern – the corona virus.

To do so would make one an enemy of the State, he declared!

Mother Nature cloaked me in a sheet of goose pimples as I shuddered at the thought that a fellow equal citizen could be paraded around our beloved communal farm carrying a cow bell labelled “Enemy of the State”.

I didn’t dare to contemplate what a fitting penalty would be  for such a treasonous and mutinous act against our equal citizenry.

To add to my discomfort, an envoy of a benevolent and much larger farm, some fair nautical miles upstream from our beloved “New Fiji”, took to our airwaves to also discourage rumours and misinformation about the extent of the breakout of the corona virus in their patch of the woods. 

Then it dawned on me, by equating rumour mongering and misinformation to treason and mutiny, our managing directors were working in the interests of our beloved “New Fiji” by ensuring our benefactor didn’t cut off the much sought-after manure for our communal farm.

I began to accept that that was why the chosen managing directors of our communal farm could pass judgement and declare our otherwise much loved citizens enemies of the State.

But my “old guard” brain would not let me rest. It coaxed me into wondering whether in the greener pastures of our communal farm, there would be questions about whether our farm directors were working in the interests of the larger and highly benevolent farm across the seas.

And whether such a motive would in fact make our farm directors enemies of our equal citizenry State.

Then, in a groggy state of mind, I remembered someone called George Orwell warning us about how some citizens will consider themselves more equal than others.

As a patriot, I mentally pushed Orwell’s warning to the back of my mind. I had no intention of carrying an enemy of the State tag. I succumbed instead to the numbing effect of the $5 worth of 25grm kava and simply settled for the explanation of the farm’s Deputy General Manager that we were all living in an intellectually barren space.

I did another visual survey of our communal farm. Everything was normal.