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Editorial Calls For Showing Of Fiji Documentary

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(Fiji) Sun editorial 8 November 2001

FIJI SUN EDITORIAL CALLS FOR SHOWING OF FIJI DOCUMENTARY

* See item PMW3470 on Fiji Television declining to broadcast In the Name of Growth.

THE STORY OF LEVUKA

Levuka is a lovely town.

So is its story.

It is very small in size, but rich in history.

Well, once upon a time.

Such a story can be heard when one views the award-nominated locally-produced documentary called In the Name of Growth.

Pity our monopolistic national television service is declining requests to air the video.

Television viewers are, in the process, being deprived of the lessons this country can learn from the story of Levuka.

Lessons like the:

Exploitation of Fijians at the hands of Fijians; and the Social implications of commercialisation in the traditional Fijian establishment.

Watch the video and hear of how women workers at the canning factory reminisce about the "good old days" when their Japanese managers were in town.

And their misplaced hopes of how local managers would improve their lot, given that the company has been turned into a local one.

Producers Dr 'Atu Emberson-Bain and Michael Preston portrayed the message succinctly when the camera moved from a worker lamenting their poor working conditions to a senior manager driving away in a new Pajero.

The story should be clear to all - that localisation may sound good to the ears but it must be accompanied by good, credible management.

That power can also corrupt was another lesson gleaned from the documentary.

There was this stand-in manager who felt that he was not only the boss, but a crusader too -- banning as a result adultery among the workers and getting pastors from his church to preach to workers during their lunch hour!

The social impact of commercialisation was well depicted.

This, in fact, is one of the most powerful stories of Levuka yet to be told -- the disruptions of mothers and women going to work caused to Fijian villages and other traditional establishments.

While working was a novel idea of bringing money to the families of Levuka, no thought was ever done on preparing men about the new role they have to face -- that they have to keep the house and manage the children.

There was this chief who complained about marshalling villagers to a general clean-up work, but hardly anybody turned up since all had gone to work.

And you have managers trained by Western concepts who are only too quick to deduct pay of workers who turn up a few minutes late or for absenteeism.

Never mind if the worker had walked to work since the truck did not pick her up that day, or that she couldn't come to work since she had to rush one of her children to the hospital.

Forget about calling to inform her supervisor of her absence since the village does not have a telephone.

It's been said that In the Name of Growth is for students of economics and development in the Pacific.

We say the documentary is for everyone in Fiji who cares about its people and their future.

+++niuswire

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