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19 May 2018

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BBC reported yesterday that the first bomber from China landed on a man-made island, possibly Woody Island.

In April ABC reported HMAS Anzac, HMAS Toowoomba and HMAS Success were challenged by the PLA Navy as they were transiting towards Vietnam through the disputed Spratley Islands area in the South China Sea.

The BBC map of the ocean claimed by China ends up thousand miles south including oceans off Philippines and even alongside Malaysian Borneo.

I understand Vietnam was pressurised by 'big daddy' neighbour to end its oil project in the so-called Red Emperor oil field it began exploring in 2009.

Interestingly Repsol was the company developing the project and said they would lose $200 million as a result of the cancellation. Repsol are in PNG at the Stanley LNG project in Western Province.

Hey Michael, maybe there should be a TV fantasy show called 'Know your neighbour'?

Each week a new nation within our Pacific family could feature with the relevant PM down to the bloke or woman in the street being asked questions about their perception of their neighbours.

The next week's program intro would then show in the first half what it was really like in the neighbouring country as opposed to what the perception was in the last week's show.

There could be cash prizes for those who got it right and a consolation (booby prize) for the greatest fallacy.

Olsem wanem a?

The Pacific Solution on Manus and Nauru: using your neighbours (in fact your colonial children!) never goes down well socially, even if there's money and economics involved.

After over a century Australia still has to learn how to live with its Pacific 'family'.

Politics is not always about benefit to society. The State is a selfish entity when it needs to be.

The Chinese are also invading Australia, so we are no different than our Pacific neighbours in this regard.

Geopolitical issues aside, what is also a worry is the potential Chinese influence has to change the essential character of Australian and Pacific character.

One of the reasons why Australians (if not their politicians) get on well with people in the Pacific is that they share their easy-going approach to life. In Australia I put that down to the large component of people with Irish heritage in the population.

Not so with the Chinese, they are pushy and aggressive, especially when it comes to business. I'm not sure I'd want to live in an Australia like that and I'm sure many Pacific islanders would share the same sentiment.

We tend to gauge the impact of outside influence in terms of economic or military advantage but it would be wise to also consider its social impact.

We have a great model to compare with in the American experience. Their influence on us has been particularly insidious, most of the garish and trivial crap we engage in on a daily basis can be traced back to America.

Remaining Australian, or Papua New Guinean or Tongan or anything else is going to be difficult in the coming years. Let's home we can hang on to our unique outlook.

Put succinctly, the old adage of ‘What’s in it for us’ will always hold true. The issue is how this self-evident truth or axiom translates to each level of awareness in each Pacific nation involved?

The age of Information has morphed into the age of over information. Hand held electronic devices have now taken over from the mass media and the possibility of fake news becoming fact has influenced many people who have no way of checking whether it actually happened except consulting others on social media who may also be misinformed.

Australian media clamour for advertising space and public attention by traditionally providing any dramatic and shocking images available wherever they occur in the world.

Devastation from a cyclone in the Pacific will always get top priority in the evening news and sometimes even supersede the football results and personal trivia of the various football codes and their modern day gladiators for public attention and adoration.
When it comes to everyday life and the daily struggle for survival in the Pacific, the average Australian easily gets diverted. In this they are no different than most other people who take much of their information from mass media and their political leaders who conveniently reduce their filtered messages into the time honoured three second grabs.

As Chris Overland suggests, the concept of Globalisation apparently encompasses the wonderfully camouflaged Orwellian equation that the few appear to have become far more equal than others.

Our education systems have become so manipulated and leaning towards politically correctness that the benefits of an education in history have been erased in favour of what the progressive designers are now schooling the next generation in what they should believe in.

Again, as Chris suggests, this situation has occurred many times before and invariably leads to a shock of some kind when reality kicks in in some form. The four horsemen of human population control are ever circling awaiting an opportunity for one or more to come into play.

Our Pacific friends are no less affected than most other nations and the real issues are hard to sort out as the proverbial wheat from the chaff. History has given many lessons to those who wish to learn. One historical lesson is that when Australia was a governing power in the Pacific it didn’t try to hold onto its position of power. How it now seeks to continue its influence will be up to today’s political leaders. The average ocker, if there is such a person, is far too interested in the cost of living and the weekend’s footy scores.

The time is fast approaching however when our politicians will have to drop their planned next election strategies and actually take an interest in neighbouring nations in our region.

Bals’ timely advice seems to strongly resonate with me at least.

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