CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
Local Indian-Fijian, Raj Chand (34) hasn’t really had the chance to embrace his Pacific Islander heritage since the last the World Rugby Sevens tournament on the Gold Coast in 2013.
His growing detachment from the islands is something he laments.
Other than occasionally getting the chance to wear the national rugby jersey, Raj doesn’t often catch up with other Fijians or the Pacifika community in general.
But he’s not alone in this cultural phenomena. Australia is home to the largest Fijian population in the world outside Fiji itself – with a large portion of the population based in Queensland. The majority of Fijians in Australia are Indian-Fijians. With over 57% of Fijian-born Australians reporting either ‘Indian’ or ‘Fijian-Indian’ ancestry.
With a sizeable non-Fijian Indian community in Queensland as well, Raj often finds himself surrounded by diaspora that don’t appreciate or understand his connections to the pacific.
And like almost every other Indian-Fijian in Queensland except for the old blokes at the spice stores that sell plastic bags of kava under the counter, Raj has found steady employment in the white collar end of construction management.
“I’ve become a corporate Australian” he says.
“Back in the day they used to let me join in on polynite at school.”
“But now I’m wearing RM Williams boots and hanging out at Howard Smith Wharves with old white guys who have red noses from a lifetime of long lunching”
Raj is turning into a generic suit. He’s at risk of losing his Islander flair.
But that’s all about to change. Because 50 Cent is coming to the Brisbane Entertainment Centre next week, and Raj has floor tickets with the usos and tokos.
“It’s gonna be good to catch up with the vuvale” he says.
“I’ve been bumping Get Rich Or Die Tryin all week. I’m pulling into Culture Kings after work too”
“Look, homie, I done came up and I ain’t changed”