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Does Size Matter?

May 13, 2010
tags: ,

13 miles x 13 miles

(Cautionary Notice: What follows is not a discussion of genitalia.)

One of the most irritating assumptions about Pacific islands is that they are small. Sure these islands pale in comparison to the vastness of the Pacific, but what doesn’t? Size is of course a matter of relativity. I think these islands shrink when one assumes they are isolated, but these islands are not isolated.  (However, they may be shrinking.) Whether by canoe or plane, Pacific Islanders have always traveled freely between islands.

And how small are these islands in comparison to your hometown or county?  And what if you think of an island not just as land or water?  If you think of the size of an island’s size in the context of the diaspora of it’s people, then these islands become much bigger.  For example, Mwokilloa Atoll, my ancestrial island, is 7,065 miles from Traverse City, MI, my birthplace. And I’m not alone.  I have met Samoans, Fijians, Chamorros, Hawaiians, and I am quite positive that there are many more.  Certainly, when you judge the size of the Pacific Islands from the context of diaspora, these islands become much larger.

But does size matter?
Size does not matter, but the assumption that these islands are small will always irritate me. For one, I have been to many of these islands and have experienced their vastness and diversity, so to say these islands are small is to say I am a liar, but I can get over that.  I’m being somewhat facetious here, but really.  They are not small.

But more importantly, implicit in calling these islands small is that somehow they are primitive places.  Somehow because the islands are “small” the people are less intelligent, less happy and live less fulfilling lives.  Of course, not all think this way and not all are conscious of this thought, but it exists.  I’ve seen it and it will always annoy me.

What do you think?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 2:02 am

    Cautionary Notice : ‘ What follows also has nothing to do with Genitalia ‘

    Size does matter…..unfortunately!

    Not necessarily in terms of happiness, pride, beauty, diversity or apparent vastness, but in terms of stature on a global scale! The size of your population, economy, army and landmass all are significant factors when it comes to shaping world policy and determining the worlds future.

    That’s why it’s so important that countries like the US, Russia, China, and India all realise that they are key players in establishing world peace and reducing our global CO2 emissions. Global warming could have a significant effect on the islands on which we live. I live in Norfolk, England and if global warming goes as predicted then my house could be underwater in a comparatively short period of time! I’d imagine you have the same concerns for some of the Pacific islands?

    I’d like to say this though, from what I know of your islands, (which is very little I’m afraid), you’re very lucky to live in, what I’d call, paradise! And its size and diversity offer far more appeal than where I live in the UK.

    As long as you’re happy with what you’ve got and understand that to have more may actually work against you, then I’d say you’ve got life licked!!

    Interesting blog sir – I’m gonna check out what you’ve got over here, when I have some time.

    Respect and Peace!


  2. May 19, 2010 9:33 am

    Hey Adam,

    Thanks for reading, man. You are correct, size does matter if you are concerned with stature on a global scale, however I would argue that most Pacific Island nations are not concerned with the size of their empire. What I am more concerned with, or bothered by, are the folks who think that islanders live a miserable life confined to the island. You could chalk it up to ignorance or clautrophobia, either way I’m annoyed.

    By the way, I don’t live on the islands currently. I’m in the States trying to stay connected. I think you mentioned you are from England…well don’t mind my harmless ribbing, but the Three Lions are in for a surprise on June 12. Just sayin…

  3. May 20, 2010 5:43 am

    Hi J,
    Regarding your post, of course you’re right, it’s ludicrous to assume islanders are unhappy; in fact many seek such seclusion from the rat race.
    The Pacific islands are beautiful and let’s hope they stay that way fella.
    With regards to the football,indeed you have a good team my friend, but we’re going deep in this tournament……see you in the final lol.
    Respect and Peace!

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