Watching Mary Poppins was instantly refreshing.
When you’ve had business, business, business and economics cramped into your already intense three weeks in a huge, busy economy like Australia, you begin to wonder if there were other things that mattered in people’s lives than the many faces of money.
An unexpected and rather pleasant surprise was in store for me as I reluctantly walked with our group down the road from our Sydney hotel to the Capitol Theatre on a cold early May evening.
Our chaperone Helen Musa kept reminding us of how lucky we were that “a rich entrepreneur” was kind enough to donate 10 tickets for us to go and watch Mary Poppins and how we were sure to enjoy the show.
“You’re very lucky,” she said. “These tickets cost about A$100 each.”
After a hectic program in Canberra during the first two days of the week going to the national budget reading, museums, parliament tour not to mention the jerky ride around the Parliamentary precincts looking at different embassy buildings, I was too exhausted to care.
Mary Poppins? On our very first day in Sydney? Come on!
Fiji has dropped one notch to 62nd place in the latest World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” ranking.
The estranged South Pacific nation – still in the grip of military dictatorship under army commander Voreqe Bainimarama and his military led government – scored a series of bad points in five out of nine critical areas of business regulations being examined by the ranking.
Dealing with property, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors and paying taxes were all more cumbersome in Fiji compared to last year.
Tech tip for Fiji Bloggers: Safer to use a typewriter
If you’re the political type and love to blog about the human weaknesses in those running democratically elected governments, Fiji is not the place for you.
Blogging there can be dangerous. Unless you go anonymous.
The country’s military regime is heavy on media censorship.
To say anything “negative” about those in power is to risk being taken to the military camp and interrogated.
“Negative” of course is loosely defined by the censors.
It can be anything from “what you think is harmless but is perceived by them as NEGATIVE” to “what you think is negative but write in such a way that they think its harmless.”
The mainstream media there have already been slapped with restrictive legislations designed to keep them in line.
Anti-government commentators have also been pushed underground following intimidation attacks by the army.
The crowd of online anti-government commentators has thinned over the years as a result.
I can go on but this is a class exercise that has a potential to land me in jail as soon as I go back to Fiji on May 21st!
Suffice to say that there is hope for bloggers in Fiji.
How would you rate the safety of blogging on politics in your country?