DON’T MISS YOUR CHANCE, ‘CHOMBO LI’!
Wisdom tells us to get our priorities right and not waste time beating about the bush, a favourite hobby of most Mauritians. We do have many serious problems to face and tackle and yet we prefer to focus on some detail and look elsewhere.
• When world thinkers are warning us that the boundary of global warming and climate change has been crossed and we are now in the disastrous territory of GLOBAL BURNING & CLIMATE CRISIS, our political and economic leaders are still thinking in terms of economic GLOBALISATION and CLASSICAL BEACH TOURISM. The time has come to explore new venues such as LOCALISATION and GREEN & CULTURE TOURISM.
This means inter alia:
(1) that south-east Africa, Madagascar and the creole islands of the south-west Indian Ocean (The Seychelles, Reunion, Agalega, Mauritius and Rodrigues) would be well advised to strengthen their economic, political and cultural ties and learn to cooperate for the benefit of one and all;
(2) that we should join forces to build nonpolluting electric ships using photo-voltaic ‘sails’;
(3) besides their local/national languages, the citizens of this group should be made functionally literate in English which is already official in several countries of the group and is also the world lingua franca (universal);
(4) these countries must invest in IT literacy which will promote communication, understanding and sharing;
(5) green and culture tourism within the group will enhance friendship and solidarity;
(6) in Mauritius and other countries of the group, it is high time that we earnestly start to plant or replant mangrove forests along the coasts to ensure a good supply of seafood for ourselves and our neighbours.
Instead of paying lip service to the concept of food security, let us see what it should mean. It basically means TWO things:
(1) Grow what you eat and eat what you grow;
(2) Eat healthy.
We should not depend on imported basic staples such as rice and wheat flour. We should develop a new cuisine or food-culture based on breadfruit, potato, sweet potato, corn, cassava, arrow root, jackfruit etc. If our neighbours can sell us some rice or wheat flour, well and good. These are to be consumed on special occasions and not considered as a ‘sine qua non’ for daily consumption.
Over 40% of our population are overweight if not plainly obese; over 30% are diabetic or prone to diabetes. Why, you may ask? Simple answer: over consumption of sugar and fat and sedentary lifestyle. Nou mari kontan gonaz (we adore eating rubbish) ek plak nou deryer (and sit on our arse). Our food culture must change, so must our lifestyle. We have to move from petrol power to muscle power.
THE LANGUAGE ISSUE
Our refusal to address this issue out of an absurd form of loyalty to some supposed ancestral language has dramatic, not to say catastrophic, consequences. Less than 30% of the overall population are fully literate and numerate although primary, secondary and tertiary education are free and accessible. Why? The mother tongue (Mauritian) of 90% of the population and the second language of the remaining 10% is not used as medium for basic literacy and numeracy. Moreover, political leaders and educators don’t seem to know that because English is also a creole language with great syntactic similarities with Mauritian, the passage from Mauritian to English, if properly tackled, can lead to quick and smooth mastery of the republic’s official language and the world’s lingua franca. When the national language (Mauritian) and the official language (English) are well mastered, a third or fourth language can more easily be mastered.
WHO WILL BELL THE CAT?
The suggestions made in this opinion piece are not vote-catching and consequently we will have to wait for global catastrophe, poverty and famine for tenrecs (‘tang’ in Mauritian) to open their eyes. But it will be too late. In the meantime, the plundering of the planet will continue and at the same time some plunderers are hoping to find other celestial bodies to plunder.
The destruction of one planet is not enough. Our appetite for material wealth and pillage knows no end.
The SUPER RICH don’t care as long as they have a chance of becoming “The Richest”. There is no competition in this world to become “THE KINDEST”.
This may be day-dreaming. I am not practical in the mundane sense of the word. AND I DON’T CARE! The precious, beautiful, life-giving and life-sustaining Blue Planet, created by Brahma, must be saved and can be saved.
Let us not end up as dinosaurs wearing rupee spectacles!