Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Fijian Men

Have had lots of emails and phone calls about Fijian men and how they relate to European women ( us). Its been a voyage of discovery for me, and things I thought were shared amongst all cultures are not. I have had many misunderstandings.
Meet a Fijian man and he will be friendly, open, generous and ask you out. He will even give you either his post box number or a phone number depending on his employability status. My partner lives on the Coral Coast where there are a large number of resorts which employ Fijians for a pittance, lay them off whenever there is no work, give them no superannuation, sick leave, and usually work hours are unspecified ( ie slavery). The average salary at a resort is $80 per week and how much is it that you said you were paying for your resort? Ah yes, between $250 - 550 per night. MMM who is making money out of that? International investors of course.
Step outside a resort and visitors are shocked by the poverty. What is poverty? In Western eyes its financial success and all the consumables attached. To a Fijian, if there is food, a roof over your head, working with your mates, and family support - your life is good.
There is a growing number of young guys who work in the resorts who have copied the Fijian Indian males, and are looking for a European mate, to give them a good life. What that actually is for them, is unclear, but it must be better than being in Fiji.
Fijian men are unsophisticated, happy, friendly,with great abs but not much idea of love making. Had a chat to a Fijian girl, who says that even she finds Fijian men boring, as its all over so quickly and where was the foreplay. If you want a Fijian male, you are going to have to take him by the hand and show him the ropes. If he has had many European partners, someone else might have done the job for you.
In public, Fijian men are not intimate. There will be little or no hand holding, no kissing and hugging in public. Chita saw me off at the airport (a year after we started seeing each other mind you) and shook my hand saying 'Goodbye Miss Amanda Sutton!' I was flabbergasted. He now hugs me, and I usually kiss him, and he feigns indifference.
If I am in the village, I have to cover my arms, and legs, not walk through the main village green, enter the house by the back door, do not sit opposite an open doorway with my legs crossed ( hussy behaviour) and sit with the women when there is a family meeting. Do not sit beside the head of the family, always sit below.
When Chita is in the shop and noone is around I can be affectionate but when a group of local boys walk past coming back from the farm - its separate instantly. Its weird, but that's the way it is.
Phone ettiquette is another issue. A friend of mine wanted her Fijian boyfriend to do what a lover back at home would do - and ring daily and text as many times as they could. A Fijian with a phone,has either pinched it, been given it or worked hard for it. They cannot afford to buy lots of credit- maybe $15- 25 if they are lucky. If you ring and a woman answers the phone - yes it could be his wife, but it could also be his sister,mother or family member who has heard it ringing.
Fijian men are not good letter writers.... so give up there. You will have to ring them and maintain the relationship.
Because of the Fijian share and care mentality - they will ask you for monetary help. They could potentially ask you for anything. Chita's cousin asked me to buy him a boat....Fijians usually don't expect things, but if they ask they think that they may be lucky and you might give it to them. In Fijian culture certain family members can ask other family members for things, and they must be given. I am really good at saying no. If you want to pay an electricity bill or a water bill, or buy groceries - you can but don't think that you have to keep doing it; other family members will pitch in. When Chita's mum's electricity was cut off, and there was no one to pay the reconnection - I did it so that we could have light. However, the boys in the family take turns to pay for power.
Fijian men are not used to forward, vocal demanding European women (us) fijian girls say 'yes' to a man and do whatever they ask. Chita told me he found Fijian girls boring as there were no surprises. What about me I ask? I never know how you are going to react.
Fijian macho male behaviour comes through occasionally and they don't like it when we stand up to them but that's the way its got to be. Chita used to disappear on me, sometimes for hours, when we had a fight and then come back and check my face, to see if it was safe to be in the same room as me (wimp).
I have been supporting my partner for three and a half years. He has applied for three visas- a short term business visa, a rugby team visa and a short term visitor
s visa - all have been rejected. It seems that since the sixties Pacific islanders have a bad reputation for visa overstaying - coming from a culture where time has no meaning I can understand why but it seems that all young Fijian males between 20-45 have great difficulty getting to Australia.
I did not mean to meet someone from an island, which cannot come to Australia. Its been tough. I spent September last year, crying and dribbling to Chita that I didn't think I could mentally cope with the waiting. The effort to collect documentation, submitting the visa and then waiting - who knows how long - for him to get a prospective spouse visa. Only two chances in five years so I have paid a whole heap of money to an immigration agent who has waited patiently for me to do all the work... I picked the wrong job.
I love Chita - coming to Australia will be a huge challenge without the village, without his boys club, but with freedom to choose. Will he go overboard? Will he choose the middle way as buddha would say? I do not know.
Life as a couple in Fiji - is living separate lives - which I cannot do. Life as a couple in Australia could be a voyage of discovery.... lots of adventures, lots of good loving with no villager to listen, and lots of intimacy I hope.
Drinking is an issue I will bring up in my next blog.... there are no limits is all I will say for now...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great to hear your news & know that your back there, I've been waiting and waiting to read about your next stories..

I can relate to you there with these kaiviti men, too funny but yeah were kinda lost without them too eh, there's just something about these fijian men!

Hope to hear more of these stories from you, vinakavakalevu! (islandercurls)

Anonymous said...

I've got so much out of reading your blog! I'm an aussie girl who just met a Fijian man whilst on holidays and is trying not to get swept away in the romance of it all... but it's so hard! I've already spent a small fortune on phone calls and have booked to go back and spend more time with him.

I know that they are looking for visas and who wouldn't when they work so hard (some) for so little. A part of me wants to be wary of this and keep things rational. BUT the other part of me just wants to enjoy the romance and let myself go. Never mind the consequences. Life is an adventure.

Right?

Anonymous said...

Of course chita will adapt to australia. its way better than his poverty stricken life as a male whore for white tourists in fiji.

Anonymous said...

Why would you have to live apart if you went to live in Fiji?