Mauritius: the good, the bad and why you’re probably better off here than anywhere else

Too often on this tiny piece of paradise, it is tempting to look upwards to the brightly lit north for inspiration on ways to improve. This article is not in any way questioning the importance of the constant quest for self-improvement, it is a mere reminder that, whilst on that quest, one must also take the time to look in the mirror and be thankful for what they see. For a country is a fragile ecosystem, with a delicate balance of power in all shapes and sizes and, whilst it is often tempting to aim for ‘perfection’, what may seem like an imperfection at first glance is often one of the many forces in the ecosystem that causes it to be balanced. So, as much fun as we have indulging in the soothing release of lamenting the hopelessness of our surroundings, if we take the time instead to look at them from a different angle, we may find there is nowhere else in the world we would be better off — and God knows that’s an unsettling change from our default ‘grass is greener’ position.
Mauritius is ‘gossipy’ and ‘ti l’esprit’
Whilst this idiosyncrasy, if you wish, has bothered many a person over the years, including this author, I propose that it is firstly, a double-edged sword and, secondly, the result of an often forgotten Mauritian blessing. It has its advantages in the sense that being a medium-sized fish in a small pond makes life easier in many ways, and I will not dwell on this point.
More importantly, I think it is the result of the fact that in Mauritius, due to its uniqueness in all aspects, be it geography, cultural composition or economic framework, we lack obvious competitors or predators, on both a micro and macro level. Whilst when living in the west you constantly feel the threat of imminent takeover by your rival neighbours or your entire class being shot dead by a misunderstood classmate, in Mauritius such worries are far from our realm of contemplation, and the most you have to worry about is that your neighbour’s daughter got a better grade in school than yours. So a general election or a Liverpool v/s Manchester football game becomes a colourful festival of endless squabbling, because what else are we to do, darling?
Mauritius is small so there is little to do and few people to meet
Relating size to ability to do things directly ignores the fact that in order to do things, you need the time and means. Whilst there might be eight million people in London and nine million bicycles in Beijing, there is only a finite number of people you can meet and a finite number of bikes you can ride and, with the hectic lifestyle that one leads in those countries, one may find oneself meeting far more people in Mauritius and spending more time with them than abroad.
Besides, is it worth being surrounded by thousands of people on the tube every day if the only interaction you have with them is an awkward ‘sorry’ after having stepped on their foot? In Mauritius, our small size and the fact that ‘sakene conne so sakene’ (everyone knows everyone else) also means you build strong, lasting relationships with people. And even when you meet someone new, there is already an unspoken familiarity to the relationship because we are all connected somehow, another blessing which is unique to our wonderful ecosystem.
The list is endless and I’ve found that for most common complaints, if you think about them long enough they fit perfectly into the delicate balance that has settled over the years. Of course our ecosystem isn’t perfect; no ecosystem is. But very much like your typical ‘laboutik sinoi’, it may be small but you’ll find everything you need there, including ‘sa ti zepis an plis’ that you couldn’t find at the supermarket. And that, in my opinion, makes us the best deal on the market.


Commentaires

Mauritians are addicted to money and education. They will not hesitate to reduce the island to a bare rock sticking out of the indian ocean to satisfy this addiction. The current onslaught on the environment is criminal. After making so-called paradise more and more a suffocating place to live in, now most want to leave. Is it a surprise that most laureats do not come back? Self inflicted Darkness has descended upon us. Light is overseas preferably in the West. The most putrid flower that independence has produced is the person who is in the news almost daily. I wonder how many young mauritians aspired to follow in his footsteps before he fell from his pedestal.

very nice article about feeling independent in a country which is mainly dominated by a few 'big' companies (families). I've often heard that 'ti bli bon nou ti pou en bas ban anglais, nou ti pou ena british passport'
I feel that let alone travelling, am not sure you would have aspired to post like ceo, senior managers, owner of a sole proprietorship.......etc. should we have been dependent. how many people will understand freedom? and when?

looking into the mirror is the hardest thing!!...yes its not so bad here despite all the annoying features..
remember, majority of the population have been fed and raised on cheaply available exutoires and loisirs:

beaches, (where many just left their garbage, rather than take it home or use a poubelle 10 yards away...)

foooty, (local where we could vent our frustrations, or international where we can again do same without ever having been to either Liverpool or Manchester...)

gossip, (oh such poor taste if you don't know, share or express interest for the latest grapevine hotnews...)

politics, (ah who among us hasn't the Truth, the ability to analyse and expectorate on secret strategies?..coupled with the familiarity with regular Operations lev pake, chasse O sorcieres, vendettas, while the same four guys-lears convince us that beyond them there's neither life nor future?...)

ah yes, the innate tendency to gloat, with the noblest sounding of intentions!!...

and now, with free air-waves n social networks, the instant expertise on any subject under the sun, moon and stars...we will never let ignorance of any subject be it legal, technical, constitutional or medical prevent us from learned fatwas...

honestly, its a great place when we develop the ability to face the mirror of our own foibles!..so true Ms Prayag!

One cannot but agree fully with the sentiments expressed by Bijou Prayag about Paradise.

Indeed what Mauritius needs to do away with is the rat-race and for this to happen ,our education system needs a complete overhaul.

Mauritius could perhaps adopt the German education system where every citizen counts.

A college leaver is tailor-made for the world of work the moment he or she terminates their secondary education .

Hence parents will no longer need to check what the neighbour's daughter is up to.

The worry that ' pa kone si mo piti pou gagne n bon job ou non' will be reduced to a minimum, secure in the mind that his/her child has been educated, formed and trained for the job market, while still at secondary school.

A situation that will make the population prosper and find time to take greater pleasure of living life on this island.

A situation that will allow the individual Mauritian to take employment abroad if they so wish without having to emigrate and abandon his/her beautiful birthplace for good.

If only every single Mauritian citizen could spend just a spend few minutes and reflect that she/has been born nMauritius.