This article is sourced from an article written by Peter Kenilorea Jr. He wrote an edited summary of the speech addressed by himself at the Pacific Connect Forum at NSW Parliament House that took place on September 6, 2018.
TechInPacific – According to the article, Peter stated that before the emergence of digital technology in the Pacific Islands, Pacific Islanders had always been living their traditional lives throughout thousands of years. Traditional lives meaning that they were used to speak in their local languages and using tools like drums and conch shells on daily basis. As they were surrounded by vast ocean, they used water transportation like paddling canoes and catamarans when they traveled to different islands. However, in the current time, there are cars as well as telephones available to support connectivity distribution in the area.
While many cultures in the world seem to lose their traditional values influenced by the current digital era, Pacific Islanders can still hold their traditional pattern in communication. It is expected to stay strong in the Pacific Islands as well as they do not expect to forget their long-run communication tradition in order to embrace new technology in the area.
The nations in the Pacific are surrounded by vast ocean that seems to isolate and divide them from the other continent. In fact, it is the opposite. Instead, the geographic factor unites them. As they are maritime Islanders, they have navigation skills that further enable them to find new lands as well as opportunities. The growth of digital technology has now enabled people to be connected to each other and communicate with a high-speed connectivity.
Speaking of digital connectivity, by the end of 2019, Solomon Islanders will have access to internet connectivity that enables them to be connected to the world. They can combine traditional way of living with modern one to make their lives easier through the better internet connections. Digital technology comes as solutions for the Pacific Islanders to overcome the challenges of old infrastructure and unlock more future opportunities. However, with the current digital technology, Pacific Islanders should not forget who they are and keep their traditional connections as their identity.
Peter also highlighted that high-speed internet connection built in the area may bring new experiences to the people while on the other hand, it can also bring caution and trepidation. The digital change can endanger the traditional values which have been maintained over a thousand years. However, he then also pointed out that the fear will be dismissed if people can embrace the new technology and just move forward. He believed that Pacific Islanders can still embrace digital technology while holding on to their traditions.
Peter Kenilorea Jr
Peter Kenilorea Jr has previously held the position of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade in the Solomon Islands government and was International Civil Servant with the UN Secretariat in New York.