Letters to the Editor: July 18

Fiji Times Editor Fred Wesley (left) catching up with letter writer Tahir Ali and his wife Shaire Ali in Suva yesterday. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Eat and learn
The Fiji Times editorial’s inspiring and empowering message on self-sufficiency in food production (FT 15/07/18) should be valued and taken to heart for all individuals who care for their wellbeing. Because of the needs of putting quality food and healthy food on the table, there is an immediate need to grow our own food rather than assuming “there is plenty food in the jungle”. Eat and learn to live. Tahir Ali, New Zealand

Sugar mill breakdowns
I remember the day our Minister for Waterways and Environment opened the Lautoka sugar crushing season. The mill broke down 24 hours later and it is more than two weeks now they are unable to fix the problem. Can someone correct me here, the planting season for sugar cane takes six months before harvesting, which means there is also six months every year for the overall maintenance of all our sugar mills, where you have very experienced mill engineers both expatriate and locals who worked in there for the past 20-30 years and who are very highly paid. Every crushing season, there are so many mill breakdowns causing unproductive days for all the stakeholders involved. What were these engineers paid for during those six months to get the mills into gear and be super ready to start crushing? But only to break down as soon as the mill key is turned on. Tukai lagonilakeba, Namaka, Nadi

Noticeable similarities

I couldn’t help but notice the similarities of two pictures I saw this week. One was during the FIFA World Cup presentation when the heavens opened up and a picture during the presentation of the dignitaries standing in line to congratulate the players, which included the Russian, French and Croatian presidents. With the rain pouring the picture of the Russian president with an umbrella and the other two presidents soaked in the rain and without an umbrella was questioned by social media users, if there was only one umbrella in Russia while another stated that it was peak power play by the Russian leader. The other picture is closer to home. The picture on page 20 of The Fiji Times (17/07) shows the Minister for Environment and Waterways, hands on hip at a development site in Nausori with a helmet and a reflective coat and others around him without them. We can probably ask the question if there was only one helmet and a reflective jacket in Nausori. Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Rd, Nausori

Wanting an increase

The bus gang want an increase. So now the taxi gang are pushing for an increase in taxi fare. What else will go up? Whew! Give it to them and just hand out assistance to all of us. That will balance the scale. If people still cry and say life is hard, then something is wrong with them.
By the way, I could do with a bit of assistance to buy good grog from Kadavu. Call it M-PAiSA kava assistance for Kava Place. I don’t mind inflation just as long as I go up to Nirvana when I leave earth. Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Sau’s dropping
While I agree with Baber’s decision to drop Eroni Sau in favour of Tuisova and Naduva, I do not agree with the reason as stated in The Fiji Times (17/07). Baber stated that “Eroni Sau gave his best at training but didn’t fully meet the required standard expected of him”. Sau has been our first choice all along and for him to suddenly not be able to meet the expectation is baffling. Baber should have acknowledged the embarrassment of talent at his disposal and not belittle our superstars who have been dropped. The dropped Sau will very easily fit into any of the leading teams on the sevens circuit. Having said that, I totally agree with Baber to select Naduva and Tuisova. Naduva and Tuisova will provide two different options in attack. Tuisova will provide power in the first half while Naduva will complement our attack with pace in the second half. Having both of Sau and Tuisova would have basically limited our options and would have also made us predictable in attack. The 12 selected players definitely fit the bill and look set to deliver our third Rugby World Cup 7s title but judging from our past performance in the post Ben Ryan era, we cannot take anything for granted. South Africa, New Zealand and England will look to turn the tables on us just like they did at the Commonwealth Games and the World Rugby Sevens Series. Gareth Baber failed to bring home the Commonwealth Games gold and also failed to deliver the World Rugby Sevens Series title as we ended up second best on both the occasions. With the team at his disposal, the stage has been set for him to deliver and bring back the gold to Fiji. Go Fiji, go. Shad Alfaz Ali, Navua

Cane farming

I come from an old sugarcane farming family of indentured labourers from the days when cane was grown in Navua in 1889. However, even as early as the 1900s my grandfather saw that the industry was declining and decided to start a retail business instead which not only supported his family, but provided the necessary funds for educating his children overseas to become some of the first lawyers, doctors and teachers in the country.
Living in the 21st century makes me wonder how the dedicated and hardworking canefarmers have survived so long as prices continue to hit rock bottom. I admire their fortitude and resilience for not only staying the course but providing for so many generations of their families and carrying Fiji’s economy for decades on their backs. However, changing times dictate that an honest appraisal needs to be made for the viability of the industry with a program to help farmers and their families make the transition to either diversify or be assisted into other agricultural and/or commercial enterprises that produce a better return with a far better and higher earning capacity than the paltry pittance they’re being paid now.
Yes, it’ll be a disorienting and challenging transition as it’s the only thing many of them have known. However, better to bite their bullet now than risk the collapse and catastrophe of the rumblings in the wind. “The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change!”- Bill Clinton Colin Deoki, Australia

Sau ‘The sledgehammer’
It was really surprising to know that Eroni Sau, “The sledgehammer” has been dropped from the Fiji sevens team to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco. This is a very bold decision taken by Gareth Baber to let go of such a wonderful talent but it is what he has seen in other players who have been chosen to represent Fiji. This shows us how competitive it is to have a place in the national team where you have to be the best and the fittest to secure your place. Being named the World Rugby Rookie Of The Year and giving us some amazing performances last season, it surely would have been heartbreaking to be left out but then the coach’s decision is the final. Respecting the decisions is an important aspect of sportsmanship and I believe he will definitely come back stronger next time around. All the best to the sevens gladiators and may they bring back glory from the “Land of opportunities”! Raynav Chand, Nakasi.

Our first Melrose Cup
After the ’93 failure and the loss to the All Blacks in HK, our spiritual home, Serevi raised hopes and beliefs when he promised that Fiji was going to get the Melrose Cup. Under the guidance of the late Ravonu, Fiji conquered So Kon Po as Serevi returned to his happy hunting ground, which made him a gem and star! The team was loaded with power, skills and speed in Erenavula, Tuikabe, Qauqau, Duvuduvukula, the late Natuiyaga, Maraiwai, an unknown Vunibaka, the “Black Pearl” and Prisons specialist rover Lemeki Koroi. Unlike the ’93 RWC 7s the old order was restored as Fiji and NZ raised standards. NZ won three HK titles and had Lomu, Rush, Osborne and Cullen and looked invincible. Fiji hit top gear and crushed Portugal 59-0, HK 45-0, Namibia 66-0 and Wales 35-0, amassing 205 points. There was a special feeling that Fiji had the armoury to win. Korea felt the full brunt of the Fijians and were hammered 56-0 in the quarters. Samoa was the first team to cross our tryline but our Pacific Island rivals were brushed aside 38-14. The final was an emotional and unforgettable match. South Africa had won the Webb Ellis Cup defeating NZ 18-15 and wanted the Cup.
Venter, Snyman, Paulse, Rossouw, Skinstad, Olivier, Brink, the late Joost van der Westhuizen (C), Stevens and Bouwer donned the green jumper and disposed NZ in the most emphatic way. In an earlier interview after the win Serevi said he remembered seeing one of the supporters with a sign saying “Take it home Fiji” and told the boys to play as if the final was the last game of their lives, that they would never play rugby again and that it was an opportunity for them to get on the field and do something for Fiji. Despite South Africa racing away with two early tries to the fast, big and tremendous Venter for a commanding and dramatic 14-0 lead and looked to be sailing home with the Cup, once in gear, the traditional crowd favourites and the irrepressible, swift and magical Fijians crossed over the South African tryline four times (Vunibaka, Erenavula and Koroi) in a pulsating and stunning comeback as the crowd chanted “Fiji, Fiji, Fiji!” There was a riposte from South Africa but not enough and the 24-21 score meant that the Melrose Cup was coming home. Scenes of jubilation, tears of joy and swapping of jerseys marked Fiji’s sacred win.
Serevi and Vunibaka ended the tournament with 117 points and 12 tries respectively. The words spoken by Serevi to the late Joost van der Westhuizen “I know you won the RWC and you wanted to win this one too, but we have to take it home to Fiji”, touched Fijian hearts! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam,
Nadawa, Nasinu.

Plastic bag ban
One of the biggest culprit in the use of plastic bags are the many supermarkets we have in our country that encourage its use.
I would like to suggest our Minister for Environment and Waterways Dr Reddy to please convene a meeting with all these supermarket owners in Fiji and convince them to totally ban the use of plastic bags from their shops for a start. Patrons and shoppers will start to bring their own bags from home or otherwise the many empty paper carton boxes in these supermarkets can be used as an alternative. This is about patriotism and civic pride in keeping our country and its environment clean. Tukai Lagonilakeba, Namaka, Nadi.

Thumbs up Baber

It’s hard to digest that Sau, Josua and Nacuqu’s electrifying speed, strength and pulsating moves will be missed. Sau would have played his final tournament before moving to France. However, Baber, who is at the helm, explained that Sau’s form had dropped. Baber knows what’s best for our team and chose the 12 who suit his game plan. Thus, I’m pleading with armchair critics to have patience and let our offloads, high tempo, flair, power, dazzling footwork and ball-handling skills sizzle USA. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu.

Bridge crossing
In response to George Kutty (FT 17/07/18), of course a pedestrian crossing is needed at the end of Stinson Bridge. Not only does it serve the locals but also tourists disembarking from cruise ships. I remember years back there used to be an overhead foot bridge on the said location. That can be a solution. Pat Vuli, Suva.

Sevens expectation
As expected the overseas based players will make the core of the team and as Baber has pointed out, those who were under par in Utah would be dropped and the main surprise was Naduva ahead of Sau. Maybe Naduva will perform to his best. The skills of Ravouvou and Nasilasila remains the force for the team, captain Jerry will be at the helm again and the outbursts of Tuisova and the speed of Radradra will be exciting to watch.
With the long strides of Jasa, Sevuloni and offloads of Kunatani and Nakarawa, fans will be in for a treat. Fans in Fiji will be glued to their TV whatever time it may be. Gareth Baber has done his part It’s now the players’ turn to do their job. The whole of Fiji will only expect the win. Go Fiji, go. Tomasi Boginiso, Nepani, Nasinu

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