A Geography of Islands: Small Island Insularity

By Stephen A. Royle | Go to book overview

4

Islands in the past

It is the Millennium in Kiribati, too

The world is still some way from being a global village. Lifestyles, opportunities and access to the media and material goods continue to vary. Mali is not Canada; most citizens of Mali do not have the same chances for obtaining wealth and the trappings of development as most citizens of Canada. The same is true of the island world. Take access to the media as an example. On islands in the developed world many people would read both morning and evening newspapers and their Sunday paper requires the sacrifice of a small, hopefully sustainably managed, forest. On their televisions, connected to cable or satellite dishes, there might well be in excess of 100 stations, including several 24-hour news channels. There is the Internet with all its facilities for news, comment and information; there is teletext. Their radios access dozens of stations. In short, there is far more information available to such islanders about the goings on of the world than they can possibly handle.

By contrast, take Kiribati. There is one radio station only, Radio Kiribati. It transmits for just a few hours per day, in a mixture of English and I-Kiribati, mainly local music with occasionally some very old western pop music. There are five-minute news summaries from Radio Australia and shorter local bulletins in English and I-Kiribati. The service closes at 9.30 p.m. and has breaks in transmission during the day. There is no television service. There is just one newspaper, Uekera, a weekly of 12 A4 pages. International newspapers, with the exception of the weekly Marshall Islands Journal, are not normally available. Visitors to Kiribati, and the I-Kiribati themselves have to wait for mere snippets of news of the world. The world is not a global village.

However, nor is Kiribati or any other developing world island nation stuck in some pre-modern time warp, forced to do things in the old ways. Modern technology and modern management systems exist here as anywhere else, it is just that some aspects of the western materialism are not as widely available. The Kiribati Broadcasting and Publications Agency is perfectly aware of what television is; it is just that there is not the money, either for the agency to start broadcasting or for many of the I-Kiribati to afford sets. There are videos and video rental shops so I-Kiribati are not cut off entirely from modern technology

-68-

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A Geography of Islands: Small Island Insularity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vi
  • Tables viii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • 1 - Islands 1
  • References 23
  • 2 - Islands 25
  • References 40
  • 3 - Insularity 42
  • 4 - Islands in the Past 68
  • 5 - Islands 87
  • 6 - Islands 110
  • 7 - Politics and Small Islands 134
  • 8 - Making a Living 166
  • References 186
  • 9 - Islands of Dreams 188
  • References 208
  • 10 - Conclusion 210
  • Index 227
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