The Village Explainer

By Dan McGarry

The Village Explainer is a semi-regular newsletter containing analysis and insight focusing on under-reported aspects of Pacific societies, politics and economics.

The Village Explainer is a semi-regular newsletter containing analysis and insight focusing on under-reported aspects of Pacific societies, politics and economics.

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A New Day in the Pacific?

With the Australian general election largely done and dusted, and with a clear (if still-to-be-quantified) mandate, Anthony Albanese faces greater and more immediate international challenges than any Australian Prime Minister since the Cold War began. Between…


Lost in Translation

Labor today made some hefty promises, intended to reduce the distance between the government of Australia and its Pacific island counterparts, and to (re)build bonds with the peoples of the region. The measures are designed to promote "Australian identity, va…


A Pacific Stuff Up?

If the coming election goes to Australia's Labor party, Penny Wong is very likely to become Foreign Minister. So when she speaks, people across the region prick up their ears.Without the least disrespect to her recent forebears, she could be one of the most a…


The failson also rises

A boss of mine once told me, 'You can make any mistake. Once.'I'm a firm believer in this principle, but based on what I've seen about people's ability to repeat mistakes, I guess a lot of us aren't.We build cultures of incompetence and corruption—the two are…


Your right to be an idiot is sacred

Okay, so you don't want to get the stick. That's your right. You don't owe anyone an explanation.In fact, we'd all prefer you didn't explain.You may have religious reasons. You may have done your own research. You may be convinced that there is a global cabal…


This time it's personal

There are some things bigger than humanity. It might be hard to believe that, though, depending on how you get your news.There's an increasing tendency in the human narrative to view all experience as, er, human narrative.It wasn't always like that. Classical…


It's how, not who

One of the key characteristics of Melanesian politics is its ability to remain formless and chaotic right up until the point where, after a strange and often obscure catalysing moment, it abruptly transforms itself.More than a few people will attribute Solomo…


Vanuatu Vaccination Update

As with so many things in Vanuatu, our vaccination status could be much better, and it could be far, far worse.


Loss and Damage

There's little consolation to be taken from fact that the Pacific proposal to address loss and damage claims due to climate change was relegated to the Too Hard basket even before COP26 finally ground to a halt. There's less comfort still in the knowledge tha…


Angel's Confirmation

Angel got her hair done Saturday. And she got a nice white dress. She was up at dawn to put it on, so she could wear it for her confirmation. When she got back from church, she got cake.I struggle to find a way to say this. But for this girl, it was the first…


Vaccination Status Update

As Vanuatu's vaccination campaign continues to roll out nationwide, the news is good, but perhaps not as good as it could be.The absolute shambles in official communication relating to an unauthorised flight from Noumea that introduced what may be the first c…


A balance of mischief

Vanuatu's latest political ruction has come to an end. Prime Minister Bob Loughman and the his front bench will retain their seats in Parliament, following the dismissal of an appeal by former Speaker Gracia Shadrack.The appeal follows a ruling by Supreme Cou…


With vuvale like this, who needs enemies?

Who you gonna believe? This guy, who doesn't accept the premise of your question....


Everyone thinks they're special

COVID-19 is coming to Vanuatu. It may be here already.Viruses are the ultimate democrats. They take everyone as they come. They don't defer to rank or privilege. They don't care what you eat, who you pray to, or who you love. They attack everyone with equal v…


Facebook vs the internet

So Facebook and Insta disappeared for a while there. How? Surprisingly easily. Here's an explanation from someone who knows more about these things than either of us:


A Crushing Experience

When he crushed Jack Ma's Ant Group under the heel of the Party, Xi Jinping make a clear statement about the primacy of the CCP's self-interest. Only a couple of years ago, Alibaba was positioned to become the dominant online marketplace in Asia and Africa. T…


The best warship is... friendship

Nuclear subs are cool. Of that there is no doubt. Tactically and strategically, they're better than diesel. And a sub in the hand is better than two on the drawing board. However much France may want to fart in Australia's general direction right now (a dire …


Less tortoise, more hare

Many have faulted Fiji's government for its handling of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus. The argue that the refusal to lock the nation down hard allowed it to get a foothold. They highlight what they now see as the Fiji First government's hubris at cl…


WTF is still happening in Vanuatu?

Bob Loughman's first year in government was relatively peaceful, by Vanuatu standards, with not a single no-confidence motion making it to a vote. That may be run of the mill in other countries, but for us it's an achievement.Beginning in June this year, thou…


You break it, you buy it

When you take away all the window dressing, misinformation and disinformation are all about who gets the last word.Mis/disinformation in its essence is the three year-old in all of us that wants to pout and stomp and yell, 'Shut up all of you and listen to me…