Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Although he lives in Australia, John Sharif Khan, 51, has great memories of his life here in Fiji.
His father was a Christian and his mother a Muslim and they were the only Fiji-Indian family living in a bure in Raiwai when he was a small boy.
"The greatest memory that I have about my childhood days is that, once I got sick and some villages came and when they saw me, they went barefoot in the night to get herbal medicine for me," he said.
"The screams and tears of my mom brought the villagers to my home and they helped us," he said.
He went to Marist Brothers' Primary School and then to Cathedral Secondary School.
"As a primary school boy with no knowledge of the West, I used to march against nuclear testing in the Pacific," he said.
After his education, he stayed in Fiji for two years and then went to Australia to work.
"I have worked in the hotel industry in Australia and have been manager of drama shows," he said.
He is in Fiji to shoot movies.
He has lived in Australia for more than 30 years but has visited his motherland several times to shoot films.
"My grandfather came from India and lived in Fiji as a girmitiya (indentured labourer)," he said.
"I am more Australian than Fijian but I love Fiji," he said.
"All the things in Fiji are so beautiful."
He said people were more spiritual here, saying Australians were more materialistic.
He said despite having to live in a bure, he and brothers were given a solid education. "I have a lot of pride in Fiji," he said.
He does drama shows on the girmit era in Fiji and wants to shoot a movie here.
"The show will be multi-cultural," he said.
He has three brothers and two sisters who attended Suva Methodist primary and Dudley High schools.
"Before I was born in the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, there was a call for migration to England by an English doctor whom my father worked for.
"It was free migration with a house provided but my parents rejected the offer," he said.
"I am so thankful to my mom and dad for taking good care of and getting us educated although we were poor," he said.
"As a little boy my father was liked by all the villagers and the European settlers encouraged my father to send his son to learn cooking," he said.
"I tell the Australians about life in the village and my speech starts with I come from the island of love'," he said.
"We were a true family where dad worked as a cook and as a night watchman and my mom stayed at home," he said.
"Our house was a shack but it was a diamond in the dirt," he said.
He said he always wanted to see people happy.
"I am a motivational speaker and speak from my heart," he said.
In addition, he is a singer and a song writer.