Bula vinaka my fellow countrymen and women. Just stumbled on your site while surfing and thought I should stop by for a little talanoa. My name is Rajesh Kumar and I come here with Jesus by my side, leading me on, just as he always has done ever since I was a little boy growing up in the '70s amidst the tin shacks and stony mud tracks of Samabula's shanty town near Suva. I have many good childhood memories but have been scarred by some bad ones as well. Please allow me to tell you some of my stories so that I can get to where Jesus is guiding me.
My family was dirt poor and my brothers and I often went hungry and we will be forever thankful to the local Catholic parishioners who helped us when times got too tough, such as when people stole from our little teitei along the slope beneath our house. To get us past each day, my dad packaged spicy peas and peanuts and walked around Samabula, Raiwaqa and Rawai selling the little packets. Etched deeply in my memory is the time when dad came home one day with a swollen eye, cut lip and smashed spectacles. When I asked him what had happened, he just patted me on the back and told me not to worry. Then we all huddled together around the family bible and prayed under the candle-light like we always did. My dad passed away in the early nineties while I was on an Australian Govt scholarship studying in Sydney. He will always be my hero and I just wish I could hold him now and hug away all the hurt of the past. I later learnt from my mother that the incident wasn't an isolated one and that he was bullied and constantly assaulted as he went around selling his little packets for 10 cents and 20 cents each.
"Bean peanut ….. bean peanut …. bean peanut."
"oi kai'dia ...moku na kai'dia, baku, boci, kulina, carawai ...”
My mother said dad had reported the matter to police once but since nothing changed, he just learned to live with the abuse and assaults, suffering so he could buy my school books and the kerosene to light the reading lamps at night in our tin hut. Mother used to say to me: “You must be strong. You must be ready to be hated and ridiculed and abused daily because of your race. We will always be outcasts here. It is just the way things are. But never forget what your dad told you: ….every time it happens, just say Jesus' name to yourself and you will find the strength to go on.” But the best part about this story, my Christian brothers and sisters, is that the only time, I ever saw my dad cry was when he pulled out a $10 note from his pocket after a long day walking around Raiwaqa and said, “I saw Jesus today.” One of the youths, who had assaulted him months before, had given him the money and apologised.
So, my question is, since these things were happening to my family under a democracy, and continue to be perpetrated against my race, albeit more clandestinely, under the current military-backed regime, should we all rather be instead fighting for a 'Jesusocracy' led by leaders of the different christian churches in Fiji? Na promised land ga e dai?
Naturally, there'll be people on this forum who will detest me for who I am and prefer that I was never here at all. Racism is global disease. But where else can I go? I own my own computer business in Sydney and live in a nice house that was really built by my dad's packets of peas and peanuts. Sydney will never really be where my heart and soul wants to be. I am Rajesh Kumar, born and bred beneath the breadfruit and mango and guava trees around that rusty tin hut in Samabula, Suva, Fiji; I ate home-grown tavioka and dalo and bele for dinner and drank yaqona with my neighbours as we listened to the interdistrict soccer and Fiji Sevens; and how can anyone leave behind those winding, stony, slippery, muddy tracks that I walked a million times to get to and from home each day. I have to go back there because thats where my soul lingers. Such an umbilical cord just cannot be severed. So, for those who would use racism for personal gratification, or for political purposes, or to create unrest as a means to preventing the imprisonment of coup plotters, I say the time has come to let Jesus lead. With Jesus at the helm, there will be forgiveness, there will be greater integration between the races, there will be hope, love and peace.
And I urge my Fiji-Indian brothers and sisters to throw away their false gods and march with us to that promised land glittering like diamonds, beckoning to us from that sun-burnt Pacific horizon. The Fijians are, as a whole, the most kind-hearted people on earth. To date, not a single one of us has lost our life as a direct result of Fijian political unrest. There is no other country in the whole wide world where an immigrant race has moved in and then dominated demographics and the movement of goods and services without a wide-scale bloody revolt by the local indigenous population; the aborigines and maoris revolted and slaughtered many whites 200 years ago but then were nearly wiped off the face of the earth; the American Indians killed thousands of immigrants ...then when the whites took over they imported the African slaves and then lynched and shot countless numbers of them over the years .... and a whole nation of a billion people lay down on the streets to protest the British plunder and exploitation of their resources last century ..... and the Jews, oh the Jews. Mary was a Jew, Joseph was a Jew and there's a baby called Jesus reaching out for us all, begging to be hugged.
Rajesh Kumar, Sydney.