Chef Lance Seeto

In a recent international survey it was found that the native Fijians are amongst the happiest people in the world. Without the affluence of Western society, how is it that a native people who seem to live in poverty compared to the West, are actually more happy and content?

A deeper look at their close-knit sense of community and family, coupled with their deep roots in ancient traditions and their relationship with their land, holds some of the clues as to why the descendants of a native culture are somewhat better off than the rest of the modern world.

Isolation from the rest of the world and imperialist domination has protected the native Fijian’s respect and embracing of culture, traditions and beliefs. Early British intervention in land ownership prevented their ancestors from selling off the majority of their lands to unscrupulous foreigners who came to these shores with gifts and bribes of whiskey, gun powder and musket guns in return for parcels of freehold land.

Today, more than 85% of Fiji’s land and islands is still owned by the native people, allowing most to live without the burden of a home loan mortgage or indebtedness to a foreign lender. And with an abundance of organic foods in the sea, on the trees and in the farm – survival without money is the legacy for a native people who did not become westernized like so many of the other Pacific islands like Samoa, Vanuatu and Hawaii.

How lucky it must feel to wake up in the village each day and not worry about paying the banks to occupy their own land. Without a major debt to burden their lives and food only footsteps away, native Fijians need only think about what they’re going to do today.

Carpe Diem – seize the day.

Lance Seeto is the Australian Executive Chef at Castaway Island resort in the South Pacific islands of Fiji, and a respected Food and Travel writer for the country’s biggest selling newspaper, The Fiji Times. He is also one of the first foreigners to hold a high-ranking and prestigious role as a cultural ambassador to one of the ancient country’s Paramount Chieftains. Lance is currently working on his highly anticipated first book contrasting the organic lifestyle and diet of native Fijians with the processed, chemically-laced foods of Western civilisation. Due for release in the first half of 2012, “Food In My Belly, Sunshine In My Heart: A Chef’s Life-Changing Discovery Of The Way The World Really Should Be” goes beyond food to challenge and confront the Western lifestyle as he takes readers on a life-changing journey to show why a developing country is so much more happier living a non-Western life. His philosophical, lifestyle and pro-organic seminars attract a live global audience each week, and have been broadcast across the Asia Pacific on Radio Australia.

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