Letter writer relies on reliable source of information

Tahir Ali reads The Fiji Times with his wife during their visit to newspaper’s head office in Suva. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

HIS name is synonymous when it comes to The Fiji Times Letters to the Editor section.

Sharing his comments and opinions on matters that concern him about the country, is what retired teacher Tahir Ali said he loved doing.

In fact, Mr Ali has to read The Fiji Times first thing every morning before he has a cup of coffee and before he does anything else. “I am addicted to The Fiji Times, every day I must do this, and if I don’t read it I feel restless.

The Fiji Times is the most reliable source of information I can rely on and I have been doing this since 1960. Now a New Zealand resident, Mr Ali was born and raised in Raralevu just outside of Nausori.

The second eldest of 11 siblings Mr Ali said they lived a simple and quality life.

“In those colonial days, my dad had a small sugarcane farm and drove taxi part-time, and when the sugarcane farms closed we turned to rice farming, we used to produce rice for home consumption and my parents worked very hard.

“It was a good quality life in the sense everybody worked and contributed to the wellbeing of the family. From school, the small ones stayed at home, the older ones went to the farm, did the laundry, milked the cows, fed the chickens, cooked, so everyone had their own responsibility and chores.”

His love for reading the newspaper began at primary school in the 1960s; but how did it all begin.

Well it started with his desire to always ride the headteacher’s bicycle. “I have been reading The Fiji Times way back in the 1960s when I was in Class Seven.

I still recall my headteacher would be coming to school on his bicycle and would always tell me to go and get The Fiji Times from town, and because

I was very keen to ride a bicycle because we could not afford one, I would take the bicycle to Nausori Town and then return to school with The Fiji Times.

That was what inspired me also my father was driving taxi in Suva, and when he returned he would come back with The Fiji Times.

“When I started teaching in Baulevu, we could not get a copy of The Fiji Times every day, so I made arrangements with the bus driver,” said Mr Ali.

Educated at the Krishna Vedic School, Vuci Methodist School, Dilkusha Boys School and DAV Boys College, he furthered his studies at the then Nasinu Teachers College. Mr Ali was a teacher for 40 years, 27 of which he was headteacher at Waidra Primary School.

“In 2014 we moved to New Zealand, the main reason for moving was I had retired and after retiring, I have only two daughters and they have moved to New Zealand, so our grandchildren always ring every day telling us to come. So that is why we moved to New Zealand, if they were here we would not have gone.

“The reunion felt so great, here would have been a relaxed life but my daughters always come first and my grandchildren we love them so much, because to me family is important.”

Despite being in NZ, he still makes the effort to always be up to date with what is happening at home.

“It was sort of an addiction, every morning I must read The Fiji Times before breakfast. When I moved to New Zealand I still have the same habit I can’t go without it, but I am not computer literate so with the help of my grandchildren, they have taught me how to use the computer so I read The Fiji Times online, but still I feel it is not complete, because I have to hold the newspaper in my hand.

So when someone from Fiji comes to visit us in New Zealand I always ask them, if they can bring some issues of The Fiji Times, I just want to feel it and to get a chance to hold it in my hand and it feels so good. “Reading The Fiji Times is home away from home for me.”

Mr Ali, who was in the country last week, returned to the Land of the Long White Cloud together with his wife Shaire Ali.

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