Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Entitlement Culture & Militarism Ushered in by Bainimarama

Image result for cadet training in fiji

"If someone has a sense of entitlement, that means the person believes he deserves certain privileges — and he's arrogant about it."

The term "culture of entitlement" suggests that some people have highly unreasonable expectations about what they are entitled to by virtue of their circumstance or power they have.

The ongoing conduct and behaviour of Fiji PM, Bainimarama, and his FijiFirst Party in government is a good example on how a culture of entitlement and arrogance now permeates government and sections of Fiji society. And it seem to just build on what started following the 2006 Coup.

Recent disclosures in Parliament of how State resources and processes were taken over and redirected at the whim of ministers in contravention of civil service rules and procedures are clear examples. The flagrant and fraudulent use of the PM's credit card for personal use without proper documentation is a mark of arrogance and extreme disregard for proper accountability. Bainimarama's decision to unilaterally change Fiji's common name to Fijians and suspend the Great Council of Chiefs all point to a sense he is entitled to do so and never mind any opposition.

Even more disturbing, is the ready refusal by civil servants under FijiFirst ministers to furnish documentation and seek proper authorisation for casual spending within departments. Such behaviour is merely rubbing off on those who work to and under poliitical masters and if the PSC is weak, arresting the trend will only get difficult over time. Numerous other examples exist before and after the 2006 Coup. This arrogant behaviour is of course flooding through the FijiFirst government.
Image result for cadet training in fiji
Speaker Jiko Luveni's incompetent leadership of the Fiji Parliament bears all the hallmark of naked arrogance flowing from the belief she has the ready power to apply it at will at the opponents of government. Now the decision to further reduce the sitting days of parliament so the Speaker can take more overseas trips or open schools etc.. point to a sorry state of affairs for a key institution of State. Might as well change the title of Speaker to "Speaker of other Things" and not "Parliament" as it will only be sitting for 4 weeks of the 52 from next year!!

In a similar manner, Khaiyum's unilateral decision to grant or withdraw licenses or board membership reflects a sense of entitlement and arrogance in going about the conduct of government.

Human psychology being what it is, the aping of the culture of entitlement, can be expected to spread outwards into Fiji society and in someway it has already. The arrogant and brutish behaviour of some military personnel immediately following the 2006 Coup can be seen in how they relate to others in their own villages and wider society, let alone the tortures and murders they were part of. Given this flow on effect, the widespread adoption of Cadet Training in schools could well have a detrimental effect on young people if it serve to propagate the culture of entitlement and arrogance now rampant in the Fiji military.

The more dangerous impact is when such culture and behaviour are identified as necessary ingredients to acquire opportunities and secure benefits, especially from the State. This is the infectious nature of bad and corrupt behaviour when it is tolerated and sanctioned by those at the apex of power in Fiji. Unless something drastic is done, there is a real danger, this culture will get more pronounced and accepted as normal and even desirable!

Curbing the culture of entitlement points to drastically cutting back on its acceptance. This will require de-emphasising the military as a worthwhile career and devaluing its attraction as a course of education or training compared to a formal pathway towards tertiary education. Qualifying with a university degree or diploma must be valued and worth more than looking good in military uniforms with shining buttons and multiple array medals! But all this will probably be non starters as long as there is a military led government as there is currently in Fiji. That is why the people of Fiji must think very hard at the government they want come the next election. Otherwise we might as well start getting military-type uniforms sewn to join the rest of the platoon!

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