Letters to the Editor – August 20

2018 Vodafone Hibiscus Queen Jessica Fong with her mother Lelisa Fong at their home in Samabula, Suva yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Fong takes crown
The crowning of Jessica Fong marked a memorable and exciting 2018 Vodafone Fiji Hibiscus Festival despite some unforeseen circumstances. Representing the Fiji Society for the Blind and sponsored by Autocare, Jessica stood tall amid tough competition from Miss Sinopac Nikhat Khan and Miss Suva City Council Simran Nand. Miss Fong, who advocated against NCDs, was jubilant and acknowledged her parents, friends and sponsors Nasinu proved good hosts despite the traffic and people were blessed with good weather. My three-year-old daughter and four-year-old niece enjoyed the rides, popcorn and candy floss while nothing beats the hot and spicy kebab and barbecue. I acknowledge the efforts of the organising committee, Vodafone and the other corporate sponsors, the contestants and their families and all those volunteers who made the Hibiscus Festival a success. I also congratulate Mr Trendy Fashion Manasa Navara, Mr Image Fiji Akini Qauqau and Mr Lei Entertainers Mohammed Khan for scooping the awards in the kings category. Finally, my heartfelt appreciation to all the contestants and the stall owners for braving the heat and cold and delivering to their best!Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Sports headline
Your sports page headline on sevens contracts is timely and inevitably expected. After the debacle at the World Series, Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup and some young players showing great promise, overseas scouts will no doubt start poaching potential players. We have a lot of young blood in the team with Sau leading the way. The Fiji Rugby Union and stakeholders must step in and provide a future direction and commitment, otherwise there will be no stopping especially if it becomes a bread and butter issue. The momentum is slowly fading and we must shoulder the responsibility to retain the players and start focus on the 2020 defence of the Olympics. These young players need further nurturing and a switch from sevens to 15s will end their sevens careers as most find it hard to switch back. Go Fiji, we need the best to assemble now and not last minute catch up sevens. Let’s learn, innovate and change with speed. Go Fiji forever. Shalwyn Prasad Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Political forum
I sat in a forum as a Fijian citizen jointly held by six Fijian political parties on Thursday. It was held at a church hall and three former Fijian prime ministers were present. It was Hibiscus week so most people who filled the room weren’t representing the majority voter demographic, I felt. It appeared, at first, like all six political parties’ only objective was to try every avenue to defeat the ruling party in the 2018 election, whenever that happens. But then one former prime minister said this towards the end, when responding to a question from the audience: “We’re trying to free Fiji and that is more than just defeating a political party.” Noble words I said to myself. Then a rebel voice whispered in my head, “Forget the politics. Are we really free?” Maybe his words hold some weight. Maybe not! What would I know! Kelvin Anthony Namadi Heights, Suva

Not an option
I love the words spoken by SODELPA leader Sitiveni Rabuka, saying that “surrender is not an option” in working hard to make Fiji free. For Victorians who belong to Verata House, our motto is Never Say Die! Mr Rabuka is wise in his words in saying that “it is more about navigating themselves on what is right and what is to be done more than just defeating a party that opposed them”. It is true that for FijiFirst to lose the coming election, the other seven political parties would need to form a coalition. If this is the only game plan, then the masses who are currently enjoying the excellent service delivery of the current government will come out in full force on election day to see to it that their caring government remains in power. Mr Rabuka spoke of two words that need to be acted upon and that is: navigating themselves “on what is right” and “what is to be done”. Fijian voters will want to see, hear or read what the FijiFirst Government did wrong in their current four-year reign and what the coalition parties will do to correct the wrong. Also what the coalition proposes to do to build on the achievement of our current government. Give all the facts and figures and allow the FijiFirst Government to respond. This way, Fijian voters will cast their one vote knowing in their hearts the best government to move the nation forward for another four years. At ground level, I believe the masses have their thumbs up for our current government, but this can change if all the government shortfalls are exposed and proven! Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Suva

Victim card
I BELIEVE It is utterly appalling of the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, to unfairly accuse the Fiji National University (FNU) Students Association president Ketan Lal of representing a political party and a religious organisation that apparently holds “extreme views” according to media reports. May I remind the learned Attorney-General that if Fiji is a “true democracy” as he frequently professes, then why is Mr Lal’s freedom of expression being trampled upon? Secondly, the religious organisation that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum blatantly accuses of holding “extreme views” was apparently at the forefront of rehabilitation in the aftermath of TC Winston and subsequent natural disasters in the Western Division and provided effective relief to the needy Fijians irrespective of race, religion, gender or political thought. Furthermore, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum is never heard of condemning his own party supporters who vilify Fijians who do not harbour the same political ideology. Evidences of these are rife on social media.
I believe Fiji is fast descending into “either you are with us or against us” paranoia. The propaganda minister of Nazi Germany Joseph Geobbels once aptly remarked “accuse the other party of that which you are guilty”. Aman Nath, Nadi

Child welfare
Sikeli Qounadovu’s article on child welfare and safety (FT 01/08) is one of the best I’ve read on this subject. It should be essential reading for all parents and would-be parents, along with family members too. It puzzled me why we teach children just about everything else these days, but not how to be a good parent, or even what that means. That leaves us with our own parent(s) as our point of reference, since as far as I’m aware, there’s nothing in the school curriculum about what constitutes ‘good parenting’ at all. It’s a sensitive area, and no-one wants to judge who is or isn’t a good parent, but unless we define the basic qualities of good parenting, how are we to ensure children get the care they need? Something as fundamental as eye-contact with your baby while feeding is more important than many parents seem to know. It’s the forming of a lifelong bond, and ensures your child knows how much they matter to you. It’s more than love, it’s everything to your child. For the lucky ones, who do or did have good parents, they are likely to have many of the necessary skills when it comes to rearing their own children, but for the many whose parents lacked parenting skills (and are probably blissfully unaware of it), they are likely to follow the same haphazard path as the previous generation, in the absence of sound input from other sources. No doubt religious organisations feel they contribute, but if the sheer number of children who find themselves in danger is anything to go by, whatever the message may be, it’s not working. Becoming a parent should, in an ideal world, be by choice, not by casual happenstance. While accidents can happen, they shouldn’t happen twice — not when children are the result. Families need planning, and good parenting is at the very least about ensuring you have the time and resources to care for the children you have, or plan to have.
Having more children than you can care for is unfair to the children, and it is not okay for children to be tasked with caring for other children while they are children themselves. They are entitled to be loved and cared for to the best ability of their parents. Many parents work, but the fundamental purpose of working is to provide for the family. The only luxury children truly need, and it shouldn’t be a luxury, is time. Quality time with their parents, not merely time in the general company of, but one-on-one time to sit and read a book together, to talk and listen together, to learn about each other as children grow and parents’ lives evolve. Families need to grow together, while respecting personal space so children can learn about taking risks, but in a safe environment. Taking risks comes with consequences, which is why children must be allowed to fall as they learn to walk. Risk-taking is part of growing, of learning how far we can safely go, where our boundaries are and which can be safely expanded along with our skills and knowledge. Establishing those safe boundaries is the role of the good parent, as is being watchful when your child tests those boundaries. Safe risk-taking is vital to the child’s growing independence. Good parents must be able to say ‘no’, than be firm and consistent about the rules and the logic of their reasons. Rules must have reasons, otherwise children will not learn to respect them, or those who impose them. The process of socialising is complex, and begins within the home. It’s a micro-cosm of the society children will move into as they grow up. Love, support, active guidance and the quality time they need from their parents, are the best gifts any child can be given. It surely wouldn’t hurt, though, for the government to formulate a program for the education system, which addresses what ‘good parenting’ actually means, and some guidelines on how to achieve it, particularly for teens. We have to take driving lessons to get a driving licence — how come it’s so readily assumed something far more important than driving a car can be left to chance? It’s clear that sometimes love just ain’t enough. Vivien Counsell Mitchell, Waidroka, Serua

No proof

I FULLY agree with Allan Loosley that one should refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations about the credibility of the election without any hard evidence or factual basis (FT 19/8). Otherwise the complainant will be perceived as a sore loser. The last election was held four years ago and they had ample time to gather proof that it was rigged. There is also some merit in Allan’s suggestion that it is important for the international observers to be drawn from countries with impeccable election record. It will instil more voter confidence in the transparency of the election process. SELWA NANDAN, Lautoka

Mosquito bite
Does the wolbachia mosquito bite? Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Condolences
I write to express my deepest condolences to the family of Atal Bihari Bajpai, and the people of India. Atal Bihari was a towering and charismatic political character who became the prime minister of India three times. His political career stretched over a period of 60 years in which he struggled to emerge as a popular national leader. His poetry, oratory and excellent command of Hindi language enabled him to mesmerise crowds. Atal was the founder of the Bharatiya Janta Party and the political mentor of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi and many of his parliamentary colleagues. May his soul rest in peace. Dewan Chand, Namadi Heights, Suva

Doctor’s costs

I believe FNTC levy paying organisations, including trade unions, should be thanked for paying private doctor consultation costs for everyone from next year. Dan Urai, Lautoka

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