Janelle Jolley 0:10
Hello, and welcome to What's Left To Do. I'm your host Janelle. It is no coincidence that I felt compelled to release this guest's episode right after Valentine's Day, because I love this woman. If you had the pleasure of attending a canvas in San Francisco hosted at Doreen's house, you already know what it is. And by that, I mean, we were sipping champagne all day long during this marathon interview. Let's listen in on the life of the OG champagne socialist who fled her native Fiji. How do I introduce this week's esteemed guest?
Hey, I'm the Poly Queen. Polynesian Queen.
Janelle Jolley 1:01
That's right. You got to be careful saying that, girl! So y'all...some of you might be familiar with the dirtbag Left. Uh-uh, that's not what we're doing here. I'm here to tell you about the luxurious Left. The progenitor of the grand canvas.
Janelle Jolley 1:22
Would you like some crudite? Some freshed baked bread before you go out and spread the good word of Medicare for All? I got that.
Janelle Jolley 1:34
Would you like a glass of wine? Maybe some champagne when you come back? Want to kick your feet up?
Janelle Jolley 1:40
I have some salami, some cheese, a little bit of smoked salmon. I got that. This is the Queen Mother.
Janelle Jolley 1:48
My Fijian mother who has me here taking shots of brown liquor and drinking-
There's no other way to do it!
Janelle Jolley 2:02
Drinking champagne on a Saturday afternoon. None other than the grand-
Janelle Jolley 2:08
Janelle Jolley 2:10
She knows how to live.
Janelle Jolley 2:12
Doreen. Say something to the people, Doreen.
Woo-hoo! Give me some a, woop-woop!
Janelle Jolley 2:18
Oh my god,I miss you so much!
I know! We gotta do this more often. Don't have to record, right?
Janelle Jolley 2:26
That's right. No, no, there'll be no mics.
No excuses. Next time. Right.
Janelle Jolley 2:29
There were no mics the first four times.
I know, right? Oh, my god. Good times!
Janelle Jolley 2:35
That's right. That's right.
Yeah, that's- yeah.
Janelle Jolley 2:38
How are you?
Man, I think God is good. And you know what? I try to bless others too.
Janelle Jolley 2:45
You blessin' me right now with this Saint Germain and this champagne, miss madam!
I know, right? It's the ultimate, actually, with these- only strawberries were there. Next time.
Janelle Jolley 2:57
Okay. Listen, I will hold you to that. She's gonna have them, too. Listen. We about to be so reckless! But that's what we do.
Janelle Jolley 3:09
How has it been since we were last- I mean, but, as- to the extent that you care to share.
You know, to tell the truth, it was nailbiting because, you know, you had to trust. You had to go with the greater good, which is what I always believe in. The greater good, it's not about me having my way. It's the greater good, which was, you know, supporting Biden and Harris. And so...once I wrapped my mind around that-
Janelle Jolley 3:43
Oh! Cuz we were talking about that back in March, or, February!
Yeah, it was really hard to wrap your mind around that.
Janelle Jolley 3:50
Yes! Cuz it's why- if we're telling the truth- it's just me and you.
Janelle Jolley 3:54
You my homegirl on the hill.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 3:56
It's absurd to even consider.
Yeah, because it's like, what I stand for in my core-
Janelle Jolley 4:03
Was nothing close to what Biden stands for.
Janelle Jolley 4:11
Come on, tell the truth now!
And so, you know, I'm a Bernie girl all my life.
Janelle Jolley 4:16
And, you know, one thing I find about the United States, is they do not understand what socialism is. And I think that's the biggest downfall, is because they have made the word something to be scared of.
Janelle Jolley 4:36
And you remember what you said when we were canvassing?
Janelle Jolley 4:40
Oh, health care? You don't need it?
Janelle Jolley 4:44
College? You don't need it?
Janelle Jolley 4:48
Yeah. And so I think socialism has to be understood.
Janelle Jolley 4:57
You're gonna help us understand it, but we have to start with how you understand it, and we're gonna go back to the beginning.
Yeah. Because I remember exactly where I was when Obama was, you know, President. It was announced. And I was in a club, and this dude turned around-
Janelle Jolley 5:15
What you mean you was in a club, Doreen? Doreen, what are wee doing? Miss Ma'am!
Girl, what do you do in a club? You drink and you- I was at a club, back to the club. And this dude turns around and says, "You know, he'll turn this country into a socialist country!" And I go, "And what's wrong with that?"
Janelle Jolley 5:38
He just about fell on the floor.
Janelle Jolley 5:42
I bet he did!
And I said, "Do you even know what socialism is?" And I gave him a lesson on what socialism is.
Janelle Jolley 5:49
While you was twerkin'.
And so I told him about, you know, free education, free health care- the basic necessities.
Janelle Jolley 5:58
And that you help the people-
Janelle Jolley 6:00
That are unable to make it right now?
Janelle Jolley 6:05
Because after you lift them up, they will be able to contribute to society. And instead, you always look down at people that you want to help. I don't understand it.
Janelle Jolley 6:17
I don't understand why you don't want to help people.
Janelle Jolley 6:21
Because when you give them self esteem, they become somebody.
Janelle Jolley 6:25
And when they become somebody, then they reach out back to the other people-
Janelle Jolley 6:29
Because you know what? You know what it feels like.
Janelle Jolley 6:32
You know, what it feels like. I grew up in the islands, and our daily- 15 minutes before class starts was, "How can you give back to society?"
Janelle Jolley 6:43
That was a part of your lesson?
That was part. Every 15 minutes. You sing devotion and then you work on, "How are you going to give back to society?"
Janelle Jolley 6:53
Now tell them where you grew up.
I grew up in the Fiji Islands.
Janelle Jolley 6:56
When you think about it, that means your world is very small. So you grow up thinking, because your parents make you think big-
Janelle Jolley 7:06
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And so you grow up thinking you have to expand.
Janelle Jolley 7:11
You feel the need to expand because you're bigger than that island. And so when you're thinking about giving back, there is no limit on how you need to give back. So when you're thinking of giving back to society, you're not thinking just about your island, you're thinking about how as a person, as a human being, I'm gonna give back. So wherever you go to, that's the place you're going to give back to society.
Janelle Jolley 7:40
Ah! I see.
And that's why I do what I do, because I feel like- you know, when I open my backyard for the Bernie Sanders'- I wanted to be able to give back.
Janelle Jolley 7:52
Because what people don't understand, and I don't understand why they don't understand, we're fighting for you.
Janelle Jolley 8:00
Ha! Say it again! Because some people miss that.
You know, I am fighting for you. I'm not fighting for myself, because I earn enough.
Janelle Jolley 8:08
Yes, that's right.
I earn enough. I'm fighting for you.
Janelle Jolley 8:11
She got a popped collar, that's how you know she earned enough.
Janelle Jolley 8:13
Miss thang up here with an ascot on and a popped collar. "I earn enough. But I'm not just worried about me." Uh-huh. I want you-
Janelle Jolley 8:23
To be all right.
Yes! I want to stand up for you.
Janelle Jolley 8:25
And it's not because I want to show off. Or that I'm all that. It's not that at all.
Janelle Jolley 8:33
I mean, but she is all that, though. Let's be clear about that. Uh-huh.
But it's about, "No, I'm helping you stand up with you because I don't see you standing up."
Janelle Jolley 8:44
So I want to stand up with you but, bloody hell! If I'm going to stand up for you, don't you think you should fucking stand up with me?
Janelle Jolley 8:53
Ha! Listen- and not fight me!
Janelle Jolley 8:56
I'm not trying to harm you!
Absolutely! Healthcare. Every human being deserves it.
Janelle Jolley 9:02
Janelle Jolley 9:04
Every human being deserves it.
Janelle Jolley 9:06
That's it. That's it.
Education so that you can have your shelter.
Janelle Jolley 9:11
Yeah, that's right.
And your health care.
Janelle Jolley 9:13
That's right. Make it plain, sister Gordon.
Those are the only things that we're fighting for, to start with basic human needs.
Janelle Jolley 9:22
And so when I'm standing here and fucking fighting for you? Stand with me.
Janelle Jolley 9:27
And don't stand against me.
Janelle Jolley 9:29
Huh! That's it.
Even if you can't stand, don't stand against me.
Janelle Jolley 9:31
Yeah, that's right.
Just turn around and say thank you.
Janelle Jolley 9:34
That's right. That's right.
Janelle Jolley 9:36
Pissing me off. That will drive me to drink! Cheers!
Janelle Jolley 9:47
Cheers, yes! When we was up in the grand palace that is your home, like every weekend for, like, two months.
Hey, loved it.
Janelle Jolley 9:57
You were so- I think I- cuz I think when I...either when Alvin was letting me know that this was where I was assigned, or something, and I saw a picture of you, or something, you know, just so I knew who it was, I assumed you were Trinidadian, because you look like a lot of Trinidadian women that I grew up around. But you told me you're like, "No, no, I'm from Fiji." And then I was like, "Oh, okay." And then you went on to briefly say, and we didn't get a chance to talk about it because we busy trying to get everybody settled, but you said you were of Indian, Chinese, and something else, and something else ancestry.
Janelle Jolley 10:33
How did everybody end up in Fiji?
Fiji is a melting pot, a huge melting pot. And my grandmother, she was native Fijian and she married a Chinese baker. He went from China to Fiji.
Janelle Jolley 10:57
When and why?
Long time ago because China is, I think, oppressive.
Janelle Jolley 11:04
Even back then?
Janelle Jolley 11:06
Oh, okay, okay.
Even more so.
Janelle Jolley 11:08
Hmm! Hmm, hmm.
Now it's a pretty picture, but probably still a little...
Janelle Jolley 11:14
Probably still very oppressive. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Yeah, so...so I think to escape the oppression he ended up in Fiji. He was a baker, he and my grandmother married. And then my mother was Chinese-Fijian. Only child. She married- my mother married my dad, whose parents were from India.
Janelle Jolley 11:40
Ah! What part, do you know?
Janelle Jolley 11:43
Oh, okay. They had been in Fiji for a while?
They had come to Fiji as indentured slaves to work on the sugarcane.
Janelle Jolley 11:50
And fortunately, in Fiji, you could make money even though you were an indentured slave because you would be working and earning.
Janelle Jolley 11:59
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And so they were- my dad's parents were, I think, wealthy. I know they were wealthy. But they disowned my father because my father married my mother.
Janelle Jolley 12:15
And so, because they disowned him, he dropped his last name because he disowned them back.
Janelle Jolley 12:21
My parents, I tell you, when we look back, they were the most progressive people in my life.
Janelle Jolley 12:26
Why do you say that?
Because at a time when, people would have been afraid to be disowned and walk away from wealth?
Janelle Jolley 12:37
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 12:39
He chose my mother.
Janelle Jolley 12:41
Listen, that's love!
Janelle Jolley 12:43
That's- ooh! That's love. That's what I want.
And when I mean walked away from wealth, they owned bus companies, and theaters, and, you know. Like, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 12:52
When he said, "Okay. This is who I want to be with. And if you can't accept it-" Hmm.
And so as a result, we never met a lot of my father's side of the family?
Janelle Jolley 13:02
Huh. Still? Like, growing up?
Growing up, yeah. So maybe just two or three of his sisters?
Janelle Jolley 13:08
Wow. He was one of how many?
I don't know.
Janelle Jolley 13:11
Oh, cuz you just-
No, I just can't remember.
Janelle Jolley 13:14
I was too small. I was just, I was- I wasn't even born at the time, kind of thing.
Janelle Jolley 13:19
I'm the youngest of seven. So it was difficult, like any interracial marriage.
Janelle Jolley 13:27
You were considered half caste.
Janelle Jolley 13:32
Janelle Jolley 13:34
Because you were Brown?
No, because you were mixed race.
Janelle Jolley 13:38
Ah. Who got- who was- what was preferred? Was it just quote pure Fijian, or pure Chinese, or-
Janelle Jolley 13:47
Okay, I see. I see. No interracial.
No interracial. So this is how my parents raised me when there is discrimination, and there was discrimination.
Janelle Jolley 13:56
So you weren't Chinese. You weren't Chinese enought. You weren't Indian because you weren't Indian enough. And you weren't Fijian because you weren't Fijian enough.
Janelle Jolley 14:07
So we were kinda known as the Narayan and so wherever we went people recognized us. And so we had to live up to the name.
Janelle Jolley 14:18
So it's because- I think I understand what you're saying because it sounds- that's not... I always refer to you as my Fijian mother because you remind me so much of my mother, but I think what you mean by that is, people understood who your family was. Like, your family kind of had a name, so you had to conduct yourself accordingly out of a, like, "Don't go out embarrassing us."
Janelle Jolley 14:38
"You can't do that. You are a Narayan."
Broken legs. Your legs will be broken-
Janelle Jolley 14:44
Just before you step in the door.
Janelle Jolley 14:46
That's right. "So don't have somebody coming to me talking crazy about what you was doing in the street."
So you just know your legs will be broken. So you live your life knowing you don't want broken legs.
Janelle Jolley 15:00
That's right. That's right.
And we didn't let them down.
Janelle Jolley 15:04
No. You couldn't.
Janelle Jolley 15:05
Yeah, you could not. That's not an option.
Because I did once. I-
Janelle Jolley 15:09
Hey! Come on, she was reckless. She liked to twerk. That started in the islands. C'mon now, tell the truth. She like Rick Ross. My girl got a little bit of a hood rat spirit.
And that's why we had to live up to our name because we had swagger. We would have assembly sometimes in the afternoon.
Janelle Jolley 15:34
And it would be like a culture assembly. So you'd all gather and the Fijians would go and have their Meke, their dance practice. And the Indians would go and have their dance practice.
Janelle Jolley 15:50
They just- they separated, even in school children?
Yeah, because you have a choice.
Janelle Jolley 15:55
Ah, okay, okay.
You have a choice. Because you're gonna have to, like, a performance? So it's a culture, they have- it called, the class is called culture. So you would go and practice your dance.
Janelle Jolley 16:07
Whatever- with whatever culture you identify with, or you want to perform?
Yeah. And so when then base, whatever day it was, like a performance day, and parents would come. Then, you know, then you would perform whatever you learned in your culture.
Janelle Jolley 16:23
So it was easy for me to skip, because I didn't...sometimes I chose not to identify with a culture, although they had a Polynesian one. And I could have gone to that.
Janelle Jolley 16:36
And Polynesian means a blend of everything?
The islanders. Like, the route humans and the...we would have students from Nuie...
Janelle Jolley 16:49
Janelle Jolley 16:51
Oh, okay. Those are islands.
Nuie, Samoa. Nuie is an island, yeah. Samoa, Tonga. So you'd have students that would come to- because Fiji was the hub.
Janelle Jolley 17:00
Ah, ah, ah.
Like, the Pacific hub.
Janelle Jolley 17:03
It's the hub of the archipelago?
Janelle Jolley 17:04
It's the Pacific hub.
Janelle Jolley 17:07
So culture comes around one afternoon and I decide to leave the school yard. And me and a few- three other friends- decide to go to the movies. And that's, like, the worst thing you can do, right?
Janelle Jolley 17:26
Janelle Jolley 17:27
Go to the movie?
Janelle Jolley 17:29
Oh, okay. Okay.
In the islands.
Janelle Jolley 17:32
Okay, okay. Different place.
So we go to the movie and then- the worst thing about being multiracial is at the assembly, you are missed.
Janelle Jolley 17:45
Like, they know.
Yeah, Mm hmm.
Janelle Jolley 17:47
Li'l Indian-Chinese-Fijian Doreen ain't here.
And then with the name.
Janelle Jolley 17:53
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Cuz I'm the youngest of seven and all seven went there to school.
Janelle Jolley 17:58
The youngest Narayan not here!
Janelle Jolley 18:00
Somebody ring a bell!
That right. And then because my family had this reputation that nobody, you know, tainted. And here I was the youngest of the bunch. Here I was breaking the rule. And...so what's your final grade over here? Twelve? Year twelve?
Janelle Jolley 18:27
Yes, yes, yes.
Okay. So I was in year five when I was breaking this rule.
Janelle Jolley 18:31
So you were...like 10.
I was like 11.
Janelle Jolley 18:34
Ten or 12, or something?
Twelve- if 12 is after you graduate, and I was 11th grade.
Janelle Jolley 18:42
Okay, so you were just about to graduate. So you were probably, like, 17. Sixteen or 17.
Janelle Jolley 18:49
Sixteen, because I graduated 17. I was, you know, it was like a cusp of whatever . So I was- so I decided to skip and I got caught.
Janelle Jolley 19:03
Ooh! By who?
My principal, vice principal, they had a discussion.
Janelle Jolley 19:08
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
They had a discussion, I got called into the office and said I was- because they were worried, because they knew who I was.
Janelle Jolley 19:17
That I needed to bring my parents in.
Janelle Jolley 19:21
Janelle Jolley 19:23
Ah! That's right. That's what parents mean, broken legs for you!
Mm-hmm, broken legs. I was shivering-
Janelle Jolley 19:32
In my skin.
Janelle Jolley 19:33
She was shook!
My mother was in Sydney, visiting. And my dad was working, of course. He had a trucking business. I knew he was gonna break my legs.
Janelle Jolley 19:45
So for a week, I went and visited my cousin every day and stayed with her. I want to walk, girl. I want to twerk.
Janelle Jolley 19:55
I want to walk! I want to twerk! Woo! You so damn wild. Go ahead, mm-hmm.
So I visit my cousin, as if I was going to school, and then I'd go home after school and-
Janelle Jolley 20:10
Like nothing happened?
Yeah. And then after a week I had to tell somebody, so I told my brother, who I really kind of...I worship. I mean, I thought he was the coolest brother. I mean I have great brothers, but I wanted to follow the footsteps of my one particular brother Richard, my eldest brother. And so I had to ask him to represent mum or dad, because I knew he couldn't break my legs. So after a week, I had to tell him, I said, "Richie, I can't go back to school unless mommy or daddy goes and-"
Janelle Jolley 20:52
"And they can't go cuz I need to walk."
He knew, girl. I didn't even have to say it. He knew they were gonna break my legs, that he needed to show up and pretend that daddy couldn't. Daddy was too busy to go. And Mom was out of the country. So- he's such a beautiful brother, oh, my god. I'll tell you more- a little more about him-
Janelle Jolley 21:15
Yes, yes, yes!
And so he said- he was disappointed, I could see it in his eyes.
Janelle Jolley 21:24
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
He was so disappointed. And so, but he did go. And when he came back, after the conversation, we'd like- you know, the meeting with the principal and the vice principal. He said, "Dodo," because they called me Dodo. He says, "You know, our family." And I said, "Yes." He said, "You can't do this."
Janelle Jolley 21:53
"You can't do this, because it's not who we are."
Janelle Jolley 21:58
Mmm! We the Narayans.
Janelle Jolley 22:01
"You can't do this, because this is not who we are." And if they ever voted me head girl, which is like, you know...
Janelle Jolley 22:12
Like, SGA President or something?
Yeah. It's going to really look bad.
Janelle Jolley 22:16
"And so I just want you to know that this has got to stop."
Janelle Jolley 22:22
Yeah. "I'm gonna do this for you this one time."
Janelle Jolley 22:25
"But you can't be-"
"I can't stop you, but you just have to understand that."
Janelle Jolley 22:29
And the gravity of his words made me realize like, "Yeah, get your shit together, girl. You ain't all that."
Janelle Jolley 22:38
You can be all that but not on the family name.
Janelle Jolley 22:42
Yeah, that's right, that's right. Not yet.
Yeah, not yet. And so I straightened up and I became head girl.
Janelle Jolley 22:52
Janelle Jolley 22:54
You grew up in a family, youngest of seven. A lot of...a lot of social pressure.
So, I studied telecom engineering.
Janelle Jolley 23:02
Janelle Jolley 23:04
No, no- in uni?
Yeah. We had our telecom school.
Janelle Jolley 23:09
But is that before after you became an activist in Fiji?
I was always an activist.
Janelle Jolley 23:16
You need to talk about it, Miss Thing!
Okay. Let's do this.
Janelle Jolley 23:19
Let's do that.
So I studied telecom engineering, and the best part about it is they used to pick people- can you believe this? And this is the islands. And that's why I know we're better than the United States. Like, way ahead. Because we got equal pay as women.
Janelle Jolley 23:39
Huh! Back in the day?
Janelle Jolley 23:43
Wow. Like, exactly equal pay?
Exactly. You went to study this because that was on the list. And you studied that and you got equal pay.
Janelle Jolley 23:52
Because, you know why? You studied to get that job.
Janelle Jolley 23:56
That's right. And because you studied it, that means you are capable of this output-
Absolutely! There was never a question.
Janelle Jolley 24:03
Why would you- that's why, when I came- when I went back to school here in the United States and they told me...they discussed the pay for men and women, and I was like, "So do men get extra courses to get more pay?" And they said, "No." I couldn't go back into that field. That's what socialism is!
Janelle Jolley 24:25
You get equal pay for doing equal tasks.
Janelle Jolley 24:29
What makes you so special that you get more than me?
Janelle Jolley 24:32
I became a technician.
Janelle Jolley 24:36
Janelle Jolley 24:38
Janelle Jolley 24:40
And my brother was a radio technician and- the brother that didn't break my legs. So I- he was always like my hero.
Janelle Jolley 24:51
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I had applied to be an automotive electrician and I went through- in the islands, when you're in high school, you go through aptitude tests with real companies to prepare you for the job.
You really have to...
Janelle Jolley 25:11
So that you're prepared. You know what an aptitude test feels like, you know what an interview feels like. And you know what rejection feels like.
Janelle Jolley 25:19
So in the summer years, the school sets you up, like you truly apply for a job. And then when you hear back, then the school lets you know, then you get your rejection. And so, but it so happened, I was not rejected. So out of like, 6,000 applicants, it dropped down to 24 and I was selected.
Janelle Jolley 25:45
Wow. Because you a Narayan.
I don't know. But okay, maybe. But I was really good, just to let you know.
Janelle Jolley 25:56
Of course, of course.
Because my parents made me that way. So...I had to turn it down because my father said, "Yeah, you have to finish high school." And so I went and told them. They said, "You know, if you apply again, we won't even consider you next time." And I said, "Well, I have to help you understand that, if I take the job, I don't have a roof to live under."
Janelle Jolley 26:25
Yeah, that's right. That's right. That's right.
And so...so I applied again in my year 12. Didn't even get an aptitude test request.
Janelle Jolley 26:36
Janelle Jolley 26:37
But I went with Post and Telecom, and I got invited, aptitude test, interview. I was so freakin smartass.
Janelle Jolley 26:49
Yes, of course!
When I look back at my interview, I cringe! I was so bold and brave.
Janelle Jolley 26:58
And I didn't- because I didn't know the engineers that were interviewing me. And after I joined the company, I realized "Oh, damn!" They were, like, big engineers! Ignorance is bliss.
Janelle Jolley 27:12
That's right. It truly is.
In the islands they recognize your leadership skills? And then they pick you out for training. They select you out to go for training, leadership training. Isn't it amazing?
Janelle Jolley 27:26
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Then I got selected for leadership training, and I got to meet some real amazing people that were going to run against the current prime minister. And I was at a seminar when I met the people that were running the cabinet that was running against the current prime minister, and the current prime minister is from the island where my mother comes from. But I really liked this man, Dr. Bavadra. And I really liked his ideas because it was very socialist. Yeah, it was-
Why did that appeal to you?
Because, number one, he wanted all seniors to have free bus rides.
Janelle Jolley 28:16
Janelle Jolley 28:19
Universal, material benefit.
And that's why I adored him because I'm like, "Ah, they don't have a job."
Janelle Jolley 28:25
They sell produce that only earn so little.
Janelle Jolley 28:32
And isn't that great?
Janelle Jolley 28:35
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
So he had ideas like that. And I'm like, "Yeah, I support him." And so I ended up watching and observing him because he was one of the guest speakers at one of the conferences I attended. And I was so- I was on the observation, like, "Let me watch him."
Janelle Jolley 28:55
Let me see if he's credible. Let me see if I can endorse him. Let me see if I can, you know-
Janelle Jolley 29:02
And he was- was he running for, like, island wide or nationwide office?
Janelle Jolley 29:07
Ah. In the legislature?
Yeah, PM. Prime Minister. He was going-
Janelle Jolley 29:12
Oh, he was- he wanted to be like-
He was gonna go head to head with the prime minister.
Janelle Jolley 29:15
I see. I see, I see. Okay.
And I believed in labor. I was a labor union-
Janelle Jolley 29:20
Why did you believe in labor?
Because you need somebody to stand up for you, because you cannot stand alone. So if we bend-
Janelle Jolley 29:28
Why did you understand- I'm trying to get at, why did you have that understanding as a... teenager?
As a teenager.
Janelle Jolley 29:36
Why did you have that? How did you come to the understanding as a-
It's because I knew that when you stand alone, you are very insignificant.
Janelle Jolley 29:45
When you stand with a group-
Janelle Jolley 29:47
When you stand with a group, you are somebody.
Janelle Jolley 29:50
That one body represents a whole group.
Janelle Jolley 29:54
And that whole group makes the difference.
Janelle Jolley 29:56
Huh! But how did you come to that understanding? Because I'm sure not everybody your age at that time had that understanding. How did you come to that understanding?
Because I knew I was powerful.
Janelle Jolley 30:09
How and why? Tell me what you mean by that.
I believed that I could give back, but me being giving back alone would make little difference. If I gave back together as a group, we would be a force.
Janelle Jolley 30:22
And I didn't- I was not interested in myself.
Janelle Jolley 30:26
I was interested in the force.
Janelle Jolley 30:28
Huh! Hey, come on.
Yeah. Because it's never about me. So even as I stand today-
Janelle Jolley 30:36
It's never about me. It's about the force that I can bring to the table. An if I bring others with me, we have a bigger force.
Janelle Jolley 30:45
It's never about me.
Janelle Jolley 30:48
Ah! Come on, help us!
Ever, ever. Because it's never about the individual.
Janelle Jolley 30:54
Because we are insignificant-
Janelle Jolley 30:57
As individuals! Yeah, that's right.
We stand alone. And if we make it about us, we are nothing.
Janelle Jolley 31:03
Janelle Jolley 31:05
That's right. Hey!
When we stand together, we become a force. We become somebody.
Janelle Jolley 31:09
That's right. That's right. That's right.
My mother, her chief, her chief in her island was the prime minister.
Janelle Jolley 31:20
And I was speaking against her chief.
Janelle Jolley 31:24
It was really hard, because he was prime minister.
Janelle Jolley 31:27
Why were you speaking against him? And what prompted you to speak against him?
I'm glad you asked.
Janelle Jolley 31:34
Yes, of course.
And that's the reason why I couldn't go back to the island. Her mother was from Lau, the Lau group, L-A-U, Lau group. And our Prime Minister, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, he was the prime minister at the time for, like, 17 years. He was the first prime minister and he was prime minister for 17 years.
Janelle Jolley 31:59
Yeah. And he was the first prime minister and he was from the island group, group of islands where my mother came from, Vivili, and he was the chief. His family was the chief. And so you support your chief.
Janelle Jolley 32:16
Janelle Jolley 32:17
Because he's your chief!
Yeah, you're Native.
Janelle Jolley 32:19
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So I decided to go against him because...he enjoyed the good life. Like everybody who has been in power, you disregard what the ordinary people need.
Janelle Jolley 32:39
Huh! What does that sound like?
Janelle Jolley 32:43
Sound like a lot of what's going on right here in the U-S-of-A.
Girl, word. So I am now Lauan because my family's Waning Olo And so I couldn't speak against because he's my mother's chief.
Janelle Jolley 33:03
But I was raised in the city, so chief is like, "Eh."
Janelle Jolley 33:09
Like, "That's cute."
Janelle Jolley 33:10
It's nice. And because I had observed Dr. Bavadra, and I liked what he was doing because he was for the people, I decided to promote him. And because I was-
Janelle Jolley 33:26
Tell me who that was and tell me why you decided to promote him against the chief?
Dr. Bavadra was running against Ratu Mara. Dr. Bavadra was, I think he was more socialist than Raut Mara. But because Ratu Mara had lived 17 years in power, and he was good, but he was the first prime minister ever since we became independent from England.
Janelle Jolley 33:59
That's why you got that lovely accent.
Yeah. And, you know, it wasn't a bad life. It really wasn't. Because we had the best of both worlds. We had the Western world and we have our tradition, and it melted beautifully. There was nothing wrong. But when you start neglecting the people that are in need-
Janelle Jolley 34:19
Is when I have a problem.
Janelle Jolley 34:22
Hey, hey, hey hey!
Janelle Jolley 34:24
And he was very basic. He was going to give free bus rides, free health care. And it's like, okay, if education isn't, you know, isn't gonna cost much, I'm okay with that. But, equal pay, I have no problem with, you know?
Janelle Jolley 34:44
So it was very basic. Let's look after the people that can't-
Janelle Jolley 34:49
Yeah, that's right.
Take care of themselves.
Janelle Jolley 34:51
And that was my attraction.
Janelle Jolley 34:54
And so I, because I was a civil servant-
Janelle Jolley 34:59
As a technician for Post and Telecom.
Janelle Jolley 35:03
Even during uni?
Yeah, Post and Telecom was civil service. It was run by the government. And, yes, we could unionize.
Janelle Jolley 35:11
Ah! Okay, okay, okay.
And I'm a strong union member.
Janelle Jolley 35:16
And I would promote unionism. And so why I like that, why I like Dr. Bavadra is because he had a whole group of- he was a professor, I think, in the University of South Pacific. And we were a great hub for the islands. I mean, we are more advanced than somebody would think. And so the group that was going to be his cabinet was some... was a group of people that I really could, like, see it happening. Because they were all aligned with who I thought was going to be good for the country?
Janelle Jolley 35:56
And so I started...I started campaigning, not on a soapbox on the street side. I started campaigning, one-on-one at work.
Janelle Jolley 36:07
Ah, canvassing, maybe?
Yeah. It was like changing minds, changing hearts, yeah.
Janelle Jolley 36:13
Yeah, that's right. That's right. That's exactly what we did.
Yeah. And so I did that. My mother had a hard time. And I told her it was okay, you can vote for your chief, I really have no problem with you voting for your chief.
Janelle Jolley 36:26
That's right, I understand.
Yeah, because it's...you, who you have to- however, on the other hand, I'm going to do what I think is right. So I would just campaign one-on-one like, "Oh man, isn't it- did you get invited to the party last night?" And they were like, "What party?" "You know, the one they had the prime minister through?" They go, "No." I said, "I wondered, too. I wasn't invited."
Janelle Jolley 36:50
How all of a sudden we got money for that, right?
Janelle Jolley 36:53
All of a sudden!
Yeah. And now they can't give us a raise. Because we used to have annual increments.
Janelle Jolley 36:59
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
I said, "Yeah, they had party for them, money for the party, but they didn't have money for the raise." And they would look at me like...I said, "Yeah, no, really, your brother could have been hired. He just graduated from high school. But, no, there was no money, but they had money for the party and fixing the road."
Janelle Jolley 37:19
So you took- let me understand what you're saying. And you tell me if I'm understanding incorrectly. You saw what was happening and you use the...the... I'm drunk so the words that I'm using are not going to be correct. But you use the nonsensicalness of what was happening to try and organize with your co workers. Like, "Oh, they don't have- they don't- they told us they didn't have money for x but you saw how they they came up with it when the queen was coming."
Janelle Jolley 37:50
When the prince was coming, and how this connects to your life.
Janelle Jolley 37:54
Is that- was that what I'm understanding correct?
Absolutely. Because what would happen is, my family was, probably when I look back now, would be considered well off. I would literally have people, my coworkers borrow money from me.
Janelle Jolley 38:10
And they would pay me back on payday.
Janelle Jolley 38:16
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
And they would pay me back. I had no vices, I lived at home with my parents. I had no vices.
Janelle Jolley 38:23
You didn't no loans to pay back, you didn't have no bookie to pay back.
Janelle Jolley 38:26
You were good.
Absolutely. I gave my father $5 for his pocket money. Just to tell him, "Don't tell me I don't give you money."
Janelle Jolley 38:35
That's right, that's right.
And he used to look at me and smile, and he goes, "Yeah, I got it. You wouldn't be able to pay for your lipstick with that money". And I said, "Who cares what the amount is, I gave-"
Janelle Jolley 38:48
I gave it to you.
Oh man, my dad. He was the best. He really was hilarious.
Janelle Jolley 38:54
So you were out of the country when there was a big election.
Yeah, they had the election and my guy won. Dr. Bavadra was called the winner and I left. I flew out of the country to go on vacation on a Monday. Four years of service, you had a one month paid vacation. After eight years of service, you had two months, eight weeks, paid vacation. So I left...immediately. I actually left when they were calling the election going to Dr. Bavadra, and that meant Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, my mother's chief, had lost.
Janelle Jolley 39:53
I was already out of the country.
Janelle Jolley 39:56
In the United States?
In the United States on vacation, trying to find out my life way, where I wanted to go. And then while- then I got proposed to and told my suitor at the time, my husband, that I was going to come back when I was 28. Because I was 25 at the time, and I wanted to be married at 28. So that I told- so I told him, I was going to come back at 28-
Janelle Jolley 40:33
To the United States.
To the United States and marry him. And he did not believe me, because...I don't think he had ever met somebody with a mindset the way I was. But I had to refuse him after his proposal, because he had come three years too soon. So-
Janelle Jolley 40:59
Because in your mind, it was 28.
Janelle Jolley 41:01
You were 25.
I had to be married at 28, because I had so much to do between those years. And so... when I called to- so he proposed to me. I met him on a Saturday. He proposed to me on the Wednesday, which is like three days.
Janelle Jolley 41:19
Hell nah. Huh.
And then the next day, which is Thursday, I called to confirm my seat flying back to the United States, which it was on Continental. And they said, "We no longer fly to Fiji Island."
Janelle Jolley 41:38
And I'm like, "Excuse me, you brought me here."
Janelle Jolley 41:41
And they go, "Oh, okay. They had a coup. And we no longer fly there."
Janelle Jolley 41:46
Were you not following the coup?
No, was on vacation.
Janelle Jolley 41:51
Oh, you was really living your life.
Janelle Jolley 41:54
So I didn't think, you know, I thought, "Okay, power has shifted." I didn't think there was going to be a coup d'etat. And so I...so I was really shocked when they said they no longer flew. It was like, "How can that be when you brought me here?" And it's like, "Oh, we no longer fly because of the coup." "What coup? Okay." And then they said, "But if you fly with any other airlines that take you there, it will be good." So it was going to be Qantas. And then I decided to call my mother who lived in Sydney to say, "Hey, what's going on?" And she's like, "We were hoping you would call cuz don't go back to Fiji! Come to Australia." And I'm like, "Why?" And they go, "You are wanted in the islands." And I said, "For what?" And it's like for speaking against your employer, which was the Fijian government. Because I was a civil servant. But I thought I was safe because I did not stand on a soapbox at a street corner to campaign, I did a one-on-one. But this contract I had signed as a civil servant, that I will not speak out against my employer. And although it was not a soapbox, they still...so they were...they had put me on the wanted list. What I said back then made sense. Because it may not have shifted because of the Martingale, the chief system. It may not have shifted, but it definitely made a dent.
Janelle Jolley 43:56
I would claim that because for me to make it on the wanted list would mean that I was successful in what I had articulated. And all I did was literally speak the truth.
Janelle Jolley 44:11
My truth was, if they are not looking out for you, than they are looking out for- if they are looking out for themselves, you missed out.
Janelle Jolley 44:22
You got overlooked.
Janelle Jolley 44:26
I would probably say that's why I was a threat. Because what I spoke was real. Because the man had won- the man I endorsed had won.
Janelle Jolley 44:46
My girl was a problem. She had to dip. Also, is it just me or could you listen to Doreen's lovely British lilt all day? Anyway, part two is up tomorrow on life and politics in the USA, post-exile.