Or worse, "We think we are Asians", or even worse than that, "We think we are less than those Asians". What a nightmare as a human race.
I am honestly disturbed by many Melanesian politicians turning to Asia and talking more about development, security and peace across Melanesia, these are problems that bother most to those Asians, not Melanesians. Our issue is not terrorism and security. Our issue is not economic development.
Our issue is our "self-identification" as Melanesian people, and based on that our own "self-confidence" in presenting ourselves to the regional and global arena. We are looking at others and thinking about others wrongly because we have a misconception on our own self-image .
"The Asian Way", that is the Way We Melanesians Are Thinking About Ourselves
By the phrase "Asian Way", I mean
- non-western way,
- against the western way,
- withdrawing or getting away from the western influence way.
If you choose white than you are getting away from black, if you want light then you need to get rid of darkness. Dualism it is called. Therefore, we Melanesians are not ONLY turning away from the western influence, but at the same time and on the other side of the action, we are automatically giving our face to Asia.
We are not mistakenly thinking that the way forward to get away from the western influence is to choose Asia.
The most famous argument, that I have heard so many times, from the mouths of many politicians across Melanesia, is that Asia is our closest neighbour. They further argue that Asia is our biggest market for doing business, compared to both Australia and New Zealand, or even compared to all Oceania, Asia is still very big.
Another argument is that Asia is our closest neighbour, therefore it is better to listen to them and follow their examples, and invite them to come and dk o business here in Melanesia.
Another classic argument is that we Melanesians do not know, and therefore cannot do the work that those Asians can do, therefore, we are better off cooperating with them, integrating into them to develop our peoples and countries.
In fact Really, We are not Really thinking about or saying anything against the west
What we are doing is really listening to Asia more than before. Dealing with Asia more than before. And engaging with Asia more than before. Nothing and nobody is leaving the west, at all.
Yes, dualism is here. Because many Melanesian leaders think as Asians, forgetting our own self-image, the western community who have been colonising Melanesia for centuries are now confused and asking,
- "Why Melanesians are turning to Asians?"
Or rather rudely,
- "Why Asians taking over our colonial peoples and territories?
Australia and New Zealand are being told with clearer and harder words, just like speaking to younger brother in Melanesian family,
"You have to take care of them properly! Do not let them taken away by Asia, particularly China!"
When Melanesian leaders are asked, these questions or another question, "Don't you know Asia is dangerous for you? Don't you remember we have been good allies?" then Melanesian leaders say,
"Yes, we are still friends, we are still allies. Nobody will limit or stop us in our relations. But that does not mean I should always be listening to you. By the way, I am not your slave anymore, right? Well. You told me that colonialism already ended. That is why you gave me my flag, composed my national anthem, called the name of my country, and allowed me to run my own business."
The most disturbing issue for me
It is not about whether or not we are thinking like Asians.
Neither is it because we are intentionally leaving Western influences
But precisely because two main things:
- First of all, because we are thinking that we can do a lot more and a lot better with the Asians, who come to Melanesia to make a living, not to give us anything at all;
- Second of all, we do not know and we do not recognise that we are practically leaving the west and aligning to the East. (Remember, we are in the South).
In addition, we are not only misled by a wrong ambition to become the same as Asia and ignorance of the impact of doing that, we are worse, already trapped into the agenda and issues that bother Asia most, not us Melanesians in the South Pacific.
Issues like economic development and security are both the problem created, home-grown and exported in and from Asia. Melanesians are in different planet altogether. But we are told we have their problems. And worse, we think we do inherit their problems.
That is why all Prime Ministers and Foreign Ministers in Melanesia and the South Pacific are busy with issues like
- Economic development for the peoples and the country, and
- Promoting security across the South Pacific, security from terrorism, money laundering and separatism.
We are consuming foods that are cooked with non-Melanesian spices and taste, and we think this is our food, cooked in our own kitchen.
We think by spending time on security and separatism issue we will develop Melanesia, and make Melanesia a safer place. We think bringing in more Asian influence will save Melanesia, totally denying the fact that Asians have so many and many problems to deal with inside their own countries and territories rather that us in Melanesia.
We think that by developing our countries economically, then we will be better off like those British and Australians, or even better than our own colonial powers.
We think that Melanesian way is wrong! Asian way is heavenly! We think that western way is colonial way, and Asian way is liberating way.
We just do not have a clue what we are doing! This is primarily because we do not have clue about our own self-image in this global politics.
Who are we? Asians? Afrians? Americans? Australians? Oceanians? Melanesians?