Upon my return from Rapa Nui, which had long been on my bucket list, I began thinking about how few of my people ever thought to travel in the Pacific. To be sure, it isn’t very affordable. But a consequence of that, is the Malay and the Polynesian became distant, when we were related. And the Pacific peoples would learn about us, only through the people who could afford to go.
At the same time, I also became interested in the Pacific nations and what it’s like to be on the frontline of climate change. Are all the nations similarly at risk? Is the issue front and centre in all the islands? I wanted to be acquainted with them before the disruptions of the time to come. To see for myself, what the mainstream sentiments really were.
Since my Pacific obsession began in Easter Island, the point furthest east, I decided to pick up additional locations that gradually came westward. French Polynesia was unexpectedly deep and interesting, and gave me the ability to compare a French-influenced Polynesian people with a Spanish-influenced one. I chose Tonga next, an Anglophone Polynesian people, which gave me much to think about in terms of what we in Malaysia absorbed into our worldview as a result of our British colonial period.
And of course, I decided to terminate my odysseys at the Great Barrier Reef on the western side of the Pacific, which was another bucket list destination of mine. And Cairns turned out to be thought-provoking as well.