Letters to the Editor: email@example.com
IT was interesting to know that a women who lived a quiet life with her family in Fiji has been recognised as one of the world's bravest spies.
We had a spy among us in Fiji and we didn't know about it and it only makes me wonder whether there could be many others.
I just pray and hope we don't have any one from the underworld, the mafia and those having links with terrorist groups.
FT letter writer, Nishant Singh raises interesting images and memories in his "foreign invasion" warning in your November 23 issue! I left Fiji during the iTaukei nationalist movements of the 1960s and 70s. Indians and Chinese in Fiji were seen and defined as "foreigners -in-perpetuity" as I understood our status.
Today, all citizens of Fiji are Fijians. I wish to thank Prime Minister Bainimarama for that progress.
Fiji's Indians were abused and, in a manner, held hostage to a land-holding system that created different degrees of citizenship. Born Fiji Indians were neither British, nor Indian and we lived in limbo although we held Fiji passports! We were abused as Indians (Kai India) nevertheless.
The British Government and its entrepreneurs who brought our ancestors to clear land to create the primary economy, the sugar industry, in Fiji, just awarded our ancestors +/- 5 acres on leasehold - only to be booted during the nationalist agitation leading to the coups led by Mr Rabuka.
Yes, history is important and it is taught in all universities. The same British Government in Australia, NZ, and Canada awarded land clearers full freehold ownership under deeds. The natives got reserves and treaties. The first immigrants to Fiji, namely the iTaukei 3500 years ago, have been very fortunate. Good for them!
The Fijian case is a little different, though, because Fiji is very small and only 3 per cent of it is supposedly freehold land (reportedly only 6inches deep), and the (first settlers' and owners') land rightly could not be alienated from the iTaukei.
However, the aboriginals in Australia, NZ, and Canada had lost most land to the "foreign invasion" ushered in by the French and the British colonisers.
When Fiji's Indians, Chinese arrived in foreign lands after Fiji's coups, many locals (descendants of erstwhile foreigners) in Australia, NZ, Canada, and US, etc. felt invaded. Yet, we are always "natives" of some place on Earth and "foreigners" in some other places!
Just looking in on our perceptions of who belongs and who does not is an interesting exercise - at least academically.
The Old Empire invaders didn't care whose land they invaded! Having landed, they renamed it all and claimed it for themselves.
Nishant Singh can perhaps reconsider his discomfort at possible new Indian and Chinese "invasions" of his Fiji and relax.
They are most likely to bring money, business, employment, and more knowledge for the locals! Best wishes!
WE refer to the letter by Pita Soroaqali entitled "Available Land" which appeared in The Fiji Times of Saturday, November 22, 2014 where he claimed the land allocated to the Indian High Commission is part of Thurston Gardens. I would like to clarify as follows:
* The land allocated to the Government of India for a construction of their Chancery and Cultural centre is not in Thurston Gardens or any part thereof;
* The subject land is just over 6000sq metres in size and is totally separate from Thurston Gardens;
* In allocating the said land, the Fiji Government has given due consideration and made adequate provisions for future expansion of the museum and ancillary facilities and also provided for ample car parking for members of public patronising both the museum and Thurston Gardens; and
* The subject land has been allocated in consideration of reciprocal exchange of a similar piece of land in the heart of diplomatic enclave in Chankapuri, New Delhi given the long standing, growing and deepening bilateral relations between our two countries.
Mr Soroaqali is welcome to visit the Department of Lands in Suva to view or seek a copy of the preliminary survey plan for the subject area.
Tevita G Boseiwaqa
Ministry of Lands & Mineral Resources
School holidays are finally here and students throughout the country will be having a much needed break from their studies.
While it is good to enjoy and relax, students should not neglect their studies, be taken care of and be under close supervision. many times we have had cases of drowning and accidents involving our schoolies at a time when the children were swayed by the excitement of the holidays.
Holidays don't mean just sitting back and enjoying while ignoring studies completely. It is a time when students, irrespective of their age, try out something new to develop their intellectual and spiritual skills. Joining yoga classes, taking swimming lessons or even private tuitions for next year's coverage will be really beneficial. I must commend the efforts of certain organisations that are providing avenues for our children in joining such groups.
I urge all students to enjoy responsibly and not to neglect their studies. Parents should also encourage their children to make the best use of the holidays. Happy holidays and enjoy responsibly.
Today starts seven long weeks of school holidays for children in Fiji. While it is a much anticipated break and relief for both teachers and students, parents now have to ensure to be vigilant and responsible for the welfare and safety of children.
Let us as parents play our roles accordingly and make certain our children enjoy this festive season without any major hurdles. Safety is paramount. I wish all the schoolies' a safe and a joyous vacation.
A blissful day
On January 16, 2013, FT published my letter suggesting that the Social Welfare Department bring down the pension age from 70 to 65.
This suggestion was the result of my research, which found the average life expectancy of a Fijian is 68. Last week Minister Akbar announced the pension age would be brought down to 68 and then to 66 in 2016.
Whether, as I like to think, this decision was based on my letter, or not, I want to thank the minister for reducing the pension age.
I still hope it will be brought right down to 65 in the near future.
I FEEL Erwin Skiba's (FT 28/11/14) feeble attempt at enlightening the public about the role of the Opposition in Parliament is disappointing and confusing.
From the outset the name is self-explanatory, thus the Opposition's main role to question the Government of the day and hold them accountable to the public.
The Opposition represents an alternative government, and is responsible for challenging the policies of the Government and producing different policies where appropriate. To constantly question the Government which should remain answerable to the public at all times.
It goes without saying that the Opposition is not just about opposing the Government. There are occasions when the Opposition agrees with Government, in particular, when the solution proposed by the Government has wide support, and is soundly based.
This is the reality of the Opposition's role in a parliamentary democracy and not the sweeping generalisation of constructive, proactive reality in the so called new Fiji.
OUR parliamentarians seem to find it hard to settle down in their new environment.
To them the election dusts haven't really settled resulting in political differences and wrangling popping up now and then.
Being elected to lead, they are expected to set an example for those who voted them in. And to get on with the job required of them.
In the past after elections, politicians knew exactly what their roles were and went about their "business as usual" routine without a fuss as is being witnessed lately.
New environment in more ways than one always affects us because one isn't used to it.
Did the introduction of a secular form of a governance have something to do with the uneasiness that seems to permeate the very air we breathe?
Sometimes as Allen Lockington recently remarked: "Politics does strange things to good people."
Professor Wadan Narsey, an academic with a good sound analytical mind seems to ask questions at the right time and place. In his opinion column entitled "iTaukei in Parliament" (FT 22/11) he stated "? the reality is that the Machiavellian organisers had pre-planned this?"
In the late 1500s and early 1600s, Niccolo Machiavelli, a famous Florentine politician, pushed aside Christian idealism in favour of realistic power politics.
Later English philosopher Thomas Hobbs generalised such an idea with the view that a person's entire life is a "ceaseless search for power" (Ref: world Book 2006 edition) thus secularism entered the mainstream of politics now making its presence felt in the 21st century.
Hopefully one will be wary of one's handling of power. Handled rightly constructiveness results whereas the dark side of it will bring about destructiveness. Lord Acton once said, "Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
A good reminder isn't it?
OSEA SIVO NAISAU
THOUSANDS of people will bless the bill introduced by government that is coming up in parliament for debate soon which will make it illegal for foreigners to buy crown and State lands.
In a way this will prevent real estate prices from skyrocketing and become unaffordable for local people.
Surely it will hit some people's finance and their wish to allow their property for investment by overseas investors.
Sure enough overseas people will look to native land for purchasing.
Anybody or group of people who feel that they would be better off by selling their property should think again.
Protection of iTaukei land is provided by Section 28 to 30 of the 2013 Constitution
It's easy to sell properties to meet current liabilities, but think of others who will be subjected to same market forces and the real threat of being landless.
GOOD to read that Thurston Gardens is going to be upgraded.
In Lautoka we have a botanical garden that is under used.
How about building that proposed hotel there instead of Shirley Park?
I SPENT a good part of yesterday sitting and talking to a friend under the ivi tree at Sukuna Park here in the Capital City, directly opposite Vanua House. What a place to unwind and observe people from all walks of life. But I made an unfortunate observation.
This historical ivi tree will just plummet down to the ground in the not too distant future. It is old and the insides have rotted.
My only wish is that when this happens, there would not be any catastrophic consequence to anyone. Please, heed this warning people and take precautionary measures!
The soothsayer is never wrong.
KELEPI Lesi (FT 22/11) would have by now read the Bible and understood about the Jewish priestly system and how God substituted the physical nation of Israel to a new people in spirit. God's people are not an ethnic group anymore but those who inwardly bear his Holy Spirit. Romans 2:28-29.
There is no Jewish temple today therefore there is no need for a temple priest. The Jews now stand and mourn at the "Wailing Wall" in Jerusalem at the remains of the Jewish temple just as prophesied by ancient prophets of God.
Furthermore, the appointment of priests in the Bible was restricted to men from the tribe of Levi from the descendents of Aaron and not any other Jewish tribe or even any other Levite clan.
Kelepi Lesi should know by now that the Jewish priestly system did not pass on to any Gentile nation, it ceased at the Crucifixion and Jesus is now the High Priest representing all who believe in Him as Saviour - Hebrews 4:14-16.
No human agent today can claim the position that is currently being occupied by the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who worship God, must worship Him in spirit and in truth. John4:24.
ABSOLUTELY no side track to your issue Lawrence, as claimed in The Fiji Times last Saturday, what actually happened here is I believe you are confusing readers with your historical memo against the liturgical note of the "priesthood" hence, confirms your arrogance to smear Catholics.
Similar issue last appeared on radar on the Ash Wednesday issue at St Anne's' School, today he's attacking the Catholic dogma and her magisterium?
For some strange reason, you were silent when our Lord Jesus Christ was falsely portrayed, accused and ridiculed in the Crucifixion, The Last Temptation, Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons, and now the Lost Gospel by Simcha Jacobovichi a notorious peddler of misleading theories,
Lastly, taking a swipe at the Catholic hierarchy and her traditions handed down from the apostles, hence I felt extremely offended.
Analysing thoughts, clearly here is an underhanded attack on the Catholic Church's three-fold unique title to be the citadel of grace. From the Catechism of Catholic Church, I quote; That through its hierarchy it alone maintains divine Revelation; intact and confers sacraments, configuring the faithful to Christ in His Passion; that through the real presence in the blessed Eucharist it alone maintains the presence of Christ Himself, author and dispenser of all grace; that through the sacraments, it alone pours forth sanctifying grace into souls, becoming the dwelling place and temple of the Holy Ghost, for "the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rm. 5:5).
It is, therefore, the entire supernatural life of the church, flowing forth from the sacrificial and hierarchical priesthood, which is practically (but not explicitly, of course) denied by this new concept of the people of God
Finally, Mr Narayan, the difference between criticism of the Catholic Church and rank prejudice, there is a difference between those who choose to disagree and dispute and those who prefer to disdain and disparage.
There is a difference between criticism and insult. And there is a difference between dialogue and diatribe. Our concern is with the latter responses only.
To be frank, it is not always easy to discern whether a line has been crossed. Context is surely important, as is tone. Patterns matter, too, for if we see that the same person or organisation repeatedly comes to our attention, it suggests that something other than criticism might be at work, without doubt, there is no substitute for sound judgment in making these assessments. In the end, the public will judge whether we have made the right calls or not
IT is pleasing to note that the Ministry of Education is focused on bringing about much needed changes to our education system.
The Minister for Education has talked about the re-introduction of examinations at various levels. This will be a debatable issue as some may well be against the examinations in Fiji schools.
The sudden drop in literacy standards and the performance of our children in class has left much to be desired. Those exposed to overseas systems may not fully understand the Fiji situation.
The geographic spread of our schools over three hundred islands and varying class sizes is one important factor.
The class sizes ranging from some six students in rural areas to 50 students in urban centres is another factor.
Coupled with too many administrative responsibilities for a classroom teacher is yet another factor.
Teachers are simply overwhelmed with paperwork and record keeping.
For those teachers with over 40 students it is a herculean task. It is a dreaded responsibility by most teachers who have to burn their midnight oil to keep abreast with paper battle.
It is pleasing to note that the new Minister for Education intends to face this situation head on by removing administrative responsibilities to head teachers and principals.
Here too some may not agree as heads of schools need to have direct contact with the student community as well.
The new policy of sending students to area schools may help the situation. But many parents still prefer to send their children to schools of their choice and this can complicate matters.
It also is a matter of the rights of the child and his parents to choose schools.
Given the thrust of government policies to beef-up education in the country, I have no doubt that this will go a long way in improving educational standards for our people from kindergartens to tertiary level.
Human resource development and upskilling our students can lead to a major skills export industry in this globalising world.
My best wishes to Dr Mahendra Reddy and his team.
Namadi Heights, Suva
WOW! Every morning the need has gone up from zero to 30 per cent this may be a concern to all males around our country.
A certain shaving gear was $8 five years ago and it jumped from $27 to $30, just imagine another 30 per cent in this budget. I guess this will be a concern to all pensioners, office workers, our police and military officers early morning shave.
A FEW days ago there was a statement by the Consumer Council of Fiji that traders soon after the announcement of the budget should not sell old stock with new prices as the duty for old stock were paid before the budget.
Obviously the traders should not do so but how many remain honest these days.
The majority of traders always look for higher profit. Whenever there is a rise in fuel prices, I believe service stations pump meters are updated overnight with the new prices. Many of the service stations have large quantity of old stock whenever the price rises.
In this case how a trader will do his business? Pump meters are adjusted with new prices.
Could the Consumer Council of Fiji make a statement on the subject matter.
Flag flying high
WOW! What can I say but express how moving it was to see a blockbuster movie here in China filmed in Fiji released and people rushing into cinemas to watch it.
This really made me smile and being proud to be a Fijian living in China.
Thank you to the Government and people of Fiji for making Fiji beautiful, opening doors for foreign investors and trade and for the people's hospitality.
This is what we are known for. Fiji has really made a name and is definitely on the Chinese people list to be the island to travel to next year because of this movie being filmed in Fiji and the visit of Mr Xi, the President of this great nation.
Let's continue to move forward hand in hand to boost the economy of Fiji.
May God bless Fiji.
IT is concerning to note that one of the criteria set out for being able to gain advantage of the housing grant to first time home buyers or first time home builders is to have an individual or joint income of less than $50,000 per application.
The issue is the need to increase the threshold up to $70,000, for more people to be able to take the advantage of this initiative.
I presume people earning up to $70,000 income also need some incentives, given we have a progressive tax system in place.
Gathering statistics on the number of people that have taken advantage of this initiative would be helpful to appropriate authorities to make a more robust decision as soon as possible.
WITH due respect to A-G, I would suggest the Trade Minister to take over this freehold restriction matter dialogue that has many gaps yet unexplained and I foresee huge negative investment impact looming.
The A-G has explained foreigners can only buy Freehold for tourism, industry and commerce.
What will happen to huge chunks of freehold at Navua and Dreketi bought by the Chinese for rice agriculture and they were assured in writing of enormous tax and other incentives. Are they disqualified now?
Few realtors in Suva have never sold any Denarau, Naisoso or Momi freehold and feel unaffected anyway.
The doomed Waila City covers 85 per cent freehold.
Pacific Harbour, Deuba
I WOULD like to ask a very simple straightforward question to our Ministry of Education.
Are our teachers human beings or are they machines?
In recent years they have been burdened with so much load that compelled me to write this letter.
Teachers make workbooks every day; check, mark and sign students' books. They are supposed to fill learning records for each student and numbers of students in each class is like 45, 46, 47 in urban schools.
Every morning, a form teacher takes attendance of 47 or so students and then he/she has to enter this information in the FEMIS system. Imagine entering each student's level information in the system, a student's basic information, what subjects he/she is taking, his/her daily attendance, his/her financial assistance details. On top of that, this big number of form teachers in a school are told to use two very slow computers and update the FEMIS system.
I am fully aware that the attendance functionality in FEMIS system was designed to reduce teachers load in the sense that they only mark who is absent. But are we able to achieve this? No. Why? Because some teachers are not given the resources; laptops, internet connections like in other countries such as New Zealand.
We are trying to move and be like developed countries but without resources. What an unrealistic initiative?
Some teachers are forking out money from their own pockets to use internet and staying awake at nights to complete this work and thus compromising their family time. This is not on.
Then comes the bus fare tickets. A form teacher has to distribute this on a regular basis and to make it worse, he/she has to constantly run around whoever is administering the bus tickets for replenishment.
Then the teacher has to enter this acquittal information in the FEMIS system.
Imagine, for each student for each day, that's 41 weeks x 5 days a week = 205 days minus about 10 public holidays, approximately 195 days x 47 students = 9165 entries in the system.
A teacher then has to prepare internal exam papers, run them through photocopiers (yes this is true, this should be clerical staff's work but teachers are told to do this), take printout and staple them.
Then after exams, mark these papers. Suppose, a teacher teaches five forms.
After exams, she has to mark about 45 x 5 = 225 exam scripts.
On an average, each script takes about 20-30 minutes to mark. This is about 112 hours.
The administrators in the school will say mark and give in one week. A teacher finishes in school at about 4pm, comes home, does his/her cooking, washing, and other house chores. About 8pm, he/she sits with these papers and marks them until 1am/2am. Not just one day but the whole week. How tiring is this? Where is their family time?
Then the teacher has to create master mark sheets, make analysis and then prepare report forms for each student. Why can't the schools allow 2-3 weeks for this work?
A form teacher then has to constantly attend to disciplinary problems of his/her form students.
Then sometimes some very rude and ungrateful parents come to schools and try to create drama. The form teacher has to run around for this as well.
As I mentioned earlier, the teacher-student ratio is so high. A teacher in an urban school teaches 47 students whereas a teacher in a rural school enjoys only teaching 18 students.
But these teachers in rural schools are given extra allowances. I know this is an incentive to attract teachers to rural schools but isn't it unfair that the administrators (assistant, vice, principals) are paid according to the school size, for e.g. 2A, 3A, etc but all the other teachers are just paid one amount across the board irrespective of the number of students they teach.
Everyone is talking about improving teacher effectiveness and outputs. How can we achieve this?
I believe we have loaded them with so much work and overburdened them? I believe entering attendance information in FEMIS is not teachers' work, it's clerical work.
I believe administering bus bare acquittals and entering this data in the system is again not teachers' work, it's clerical work.
The public has been promised that teachers' workload will be reduced heavily next year.
Well let's wait and see this getting implemented. I believe the teacher-student ratio needs to be heavily reduced.
Can the ministry seriously look into this? I believe photocopying and stapling internal exam papers is clerical staff's job. Can the ministry take strict actions against schools who ask teachers to do this?
In response to Samu Railoa's letter dated (FT 27/11), I would like say a few words about my ex-college principal/English teacher, Mahendra Singh.
Nostalgia runs deep when I think of all those beautiful moments gone by and your ability to charm pupils with your well thought quotes and quirky lines, not forgetting your refreshing jokes and stories which will forever be etched in our hearts.
I consider myself fortunate enough to have studied my senior secondary education under your watchful eyes and reaped the rewards in the process as well. A visionary leader who always pushed us for academic excellence and extracted the best out of his students. Sir, under your guidance, arguably the finest results were produced both at college level and as well as national level.
Truly a "Dabangg" hero of the prestigious institution namely Votualevu College
Art of masi making
I REFER to your article (FT 26/11) on the art of masi making.
The traditional designs and customary techniques that have been passed down the generations are neatly described in the individual masi that were displayed at the masi making workshop at the Fiji Museum in Suva sadly it's a dying art.
With westernisation and new concepts and electronic gadgets we will lose this art altogether and they will only be found in museums and or the homes of traditional masi makers.
I remember living in Veisari and had the opportunity to see masi being made.
Women from Vanua Levu, Kabara and Moce are part of the one-week workshop which looks into enhancing Fijians' and tourists' understanding of the importance of masi making and how it is slowly fading away.
But why only show the tourists, why not rekindle this art so that our children learn to make and treasure it.
Other arts that are fading away are mat and basket weaving.
I just hope with the introduction of the new vocational style education in the next year we can include these arts in the curriculum.
Let's do it or in the near future when you go to an iTaukei's home, or my home for that matter, we will be using the "pal" which is common with Fijians of Indian origin.
My concerns about the Lautoka Club are falling on deaf ears. I as a member of the club have no option but to resort to the media.
Firstly, one of the trustees assumed the role of president since December 2012. My understanding is a trustee is to resign and contest for the position of president if he so desires.
Amendment of the Lautoka Club's constitution on page 15 to be referred to. I would appreciate the intervention of the office of FICAC because I believe proper rules and regulations were not followed to manage the club.
As per clause 25(b) the trustees should call the special general meeting to re-elect office bearers. I believe this has not been followed since December, 2012.
My voice, over 10 years ago to diversify into a worthwhile capital project to earn extra income for the club went to deaf ears.
Now the club is facing financial hardship and difficulties because it is unable to sustain itself on the sale of liquor. Other clubs in our vicinity who had diversified some years ago are doing well now or are able to make ends meet.
The club's AGM will be held this Sunday, 30th November 2014.
As per club's article 40 of the constitution, the annual report shall be made available seven (7) days prior to the date of the AGM.
I can recall that when a club's Annual Financial Reports were not ready or made available its AGM was postponed until a later date.
Why can't this be done for Lautoka Club?
Korina Waibuta on 21/11/14 posed an important question "What does Australia know that the rest of the world doesn't?" in regards to the disappearance of Malaysian airline flight MH17. Australian PM Tony Abbott's office indicated that he was in possession of information that MH17 was destroyed by a missile from a launcher that had come out of Russia, was fired from inside eastern Ukraine and then returned to Russia. Russia has rejected the allegation and brushed aside Mr Abbott's demand to apologise and compensate the families of those in the tragedy and asked Mr Abbott to present any evidence suggesting that the flight was shot down by Russian-supplied missile.
The Ukraine president said that it wasn't a disaster or accident but an act of terrorism.
As investigations continue the question which now arises is: Why is Malaysia not in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the MH17 crash of July 17 2014?
With the onset of summer, resulting in unbearable heat and sleepless nights, it is causing a major catastrophe in the temperamental behaviour of the human being. In the daily news media we read incidents of violent acts, murder, suicide, drowning unprecedented in the cooler months.
My philosophy of the above unusual occurrence clearly suggests that human behaviour does change with adverse weather patterns. Hardly there is any mood to indulge in any social gatherings or prolong conversations.
The tendency for people to short circuit or become over-reactionary on trivial issues is becoming the order of the day. Hence, it would be prudent for most of us to exercise caution in order to avoid such pitfalls.
Another notable experience one endures is the lack of patience and frustration. In my own case this has further aggravated with the daylight savings where one is forced out of bed at 5am (biological time 4am) to get ready and parade at the bus stops and roadways on the way to work.
Half sleepy and drowsy we reach our destination with below par performance at work.
In the afternoon around 5pm, when the sun is at 45 degrees to the West at its peak we descend home like the working pair of bullocks as fast as we can to take shelter in the house or under the tree if there is any.
I wonder if there are any meaningful effects of the daylight savings in Fiji.
Unlike the temperate countries where during the winter, the days are much shorter due to early sunset and in summer the sun is still around as late as 9pm.
Hence this could be another contributing factor to our general imbalance in grasping the time factor thus becoming a part of the silly season.
Safer than home
Yes, we need more Pitas in our society for their staunch stance against execution style killings in some homes. (The Fiji Times article Safer than home by Pita S. 22/11/2014)
Thanks Pita for highlighting the seriousness of the issue.
A small country like Fiji is confronted by extreme levels of atrocities against women, children and elderly in their own homes.
Individuals like Pita and other human rights advocates in Fiji can empower those who need to be protected and can act as a catalyst in our community to bring about a change in people's mind-set regarding murder, manslaughter, rape, torture and other gender related violence against women and children in our society.
We shouldn't take our gaze away from the existing horrors in our own back yards and neighbourhoods.
When things boil over inside our homes some of us resort to murder, rape, torture and other violent methods to inflict pain and suffering on our own loved ones as an act of revenge, power or for money.
A better approach would be for us to seek counselling and help when we are consumed by crisis, anger or jealousy.
Deaths of innocent victims of domestic violence are having a severe impact on the emotional life of our local community.
Here in Victoria alone around 22,000 victims of domestic violence each night take sanctuary on the street and a majority of them are women and children sleeping in cold unsheltered places, sleeping in cars and living an extremely tough life. (Herald Sun 22/11/2014 and other Australian media).
Responsible governments and other relevant authorities need to ensure that they have various measures put in place such as short term or long term help and accommodation for those who need our help in times of crises.
WE the parents/guardians are the best teachers in the upbringing of children. In the programmed world of today, pre-school centres provide the alternative stepping stone of guiding a child for working parents. From a child's manner, basic tutoring, interaction, socialising, etc. pre-school teachers are parents' substitute in childhood care.
Unlike the complete streams for primary schoolchildren, kindy children are the hard time givers to the teachers with their exploration adventures throughout the year. Early childhood care, tutoring patience and motivating courtesy has our admiration and therefore I would like to acknowledge Edu-Care Centre and not forgetting other kindergarten centres around the nation for their committed contribution towards every child in their care.
The Government tuition assistance for kindergarten centres is much applauded and I hope the Government will also look into competent teachers of eligible kindergarten schools to be included in the civil servants payroll in the near future.
To be born blue and die blue is the ultimate price a serving officer has to pay.
In that same token, I on behalf of the many former officers who once served with the late IP Aminiasi Cula would like to pay tribute to the man himself.
Years of service and sacrifice will not and cannot be replaced and the force is indebted to you mate.
We stand united in this time of sorrow to reflect on those days when we carried out our duties in hail, rain or shine.
In a true comradeship spirit, you fought on despite losing some of your comrades along the way.
Now as you passed on, we came together from the four corners of the world to pay our respect and say "thank you" for a job well done.
March on officer for the Lord knows that He has no more work left for you.
RIP and moce mada IP Cula.
THE evolution of the autumn rugby series has been one of the more positive developments at international level over the past decade - second only to Argentina's addition to the Rugby Championship, in fact.
The simultaneous tours lend themselves to many points of intrigue, while the inclusion of second tier nations is at least a step in the right direction in terms of creating a more competitive global circuit and recognising the merits of teams such as the Pacific Islands.
I wonder if the spring tours could begin to follow suit by including so-called "second tier" teams and perhaps even "third tier".
The vastly greater distances between the major destinations would need to be taken into account, however.
So perhaps, as an example, England could tour southern Africa, playing Namibia in week one, South Africa in weeks two and three. Italy could tour simultaneously, meeting South Africa in week one, Namibia in week two and perhaps Zimbabwe or Kenya in week three.
Meanwhile, France could play Samoa in New Zealand followed by two Tests against the All Blacks, while Wales would play New Zealand in week one, Samoa in week two, and perhaps Tonga in Auckland in week three.
Ireland could stop off in Suva for a Test against Fiji enroute to Australia for a two-Test series, and Scotland would play a Test in Uruguay before taking on the Pumas in Argentina. If Japan were included, they might make a simultaneous tour of Australia or Argentina, playing the host in week one and either Fiji or Uruguay in week two.
I WOULD like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Morris Hedstrom team for providing a touching experience during my visit to Fiji.
Such a friendly service provider that I would recommend to all my family and friends visiting Fiji.
The warmth in welcome and the touch point is clearly evident.
This experience is so consistent from Nadi and Suva.
A true essence of human resources. Well chosen and trained staff.
It's a return on the value of money spent. Congratulations HR management.
Steve Marlyn Rao
HR Specialist, New Zealand
End of the year
SINCE the school calendar has officially ended, now it's a waiting game.
Employees will be waiting for the end of the year bonus, employers will be waiting for a mad end of the year sale, years 12 and 13 students will be waiting for their external exam results, little children will be waiting for Christmas presents, pessimistic people will be waiting for a cyclone to hit Fiji, optimistic people will be waiting for a betterment in the Fijian currency.
Rugby lovers will be waiting for Dubai and South Africa 7s.
Christians will be waiting to celebrate the birth of Christ.
School students will be waiting for a fun-filled holiday and no worry of school and homework.
In short, everyone will be waiting for something.
Auckland, New Zealand
PROVIDING a system and services for victims of sexual violence is necessary and extremely important which is vital in providing the best support possible to victims and survivors.
So I would like to acknowledge and thank Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls for her support and generous presence in our country.
Not only have they funded the newly-opened Medical Services Pacific's one-stop clinic, but an additional fund of $170,000 has also been promised which I assume will be to treat the effects of sexual abuse and prevent its recurrence, while respecting and maintaining the integrity of the individual as well as the family.
Victims and survivors can now use the clinic as a safe area to share stories, hope and courage.
Fiji Hindi courses
I WISH to applaud the efforts of USP in changing the attitude of Fiji Hindi speakers by introducing it as a topic of study in their Hindi and linguistics programs.
It is indeed a lucrative field of study as the students will get to learn and explore research findings by academics.
Courses of such calibre should be promoted and students should be encouraged to take pride in maintaining the linguistic and the cultural knowledge about their mother tongue.
We should act now to maintain our language be it Fiji Hindi or the iTaukei language as speakers are swayed into our lingua franca; English.
Once again I applaud the initiative taken by the Division of Language and Linguistics and Dr Paul Geraghty in maintaining our language.
Hopefully other educational institutions will follow suit as well.
THE other day while I was returning from the West in a cab, the driver was always busy with his mobile phone.
I warned him that it was not safe and how about if you get caught.
Do you know what the consequences are if you get caught talking on a mobile phone while driving?
He replied, "If I get stopped over, I will explain that you can't book me for talking on the mobile phone while driving, it's my wife, I was only listening."
THE Fiji Times has from time to time expressed concern about escalating sexual immorality and children born out of wedlock in our society.
Some religious institutions have expressed their outrage on the issue too.
Personally I believe we don't need to be believers to understand our social norms with regard to our sexual behaviour, morality and self discipline.
There are non believers in our community too and they are ethical human beings who embrace all good values and virtues of our society.
Sexual immorality is a result of deterioration of social values and self respect.
Respect ourselves and respect other women too!
OUR phone line and internet was not working from last week Wednesday and upon lodging a complaint at this particular telecommunication company's Namaka branch on Thursday (20th), I was advised that the line will be fixed by Friday (21st) or Monday (24th).
However, it was not repaired. Hence, I had a chat with a staff member via their online support on Tuesday morning (25th) and was advised that our complaint would be escalated to the technical team, so I assumed that it would be fixed by COB Tuesday.
However, it wasn't. On Wednesday, I tried to contact the company via online chat and upon waiting for some time, a staff member responded.
I advised about my complaint and to my surprise, the rep did not respond.
Later that day, I made a call to the company's Namaka office; I was again advised that they will contact the technician.
I requested the rep to call me once she contacts the technician but she responds, "I can't promise that I can call as I am busy serving customers".
Am I not a customer who needs to be served?
It is really frustrating to get this kind of customer service because we are not using anything free, we are paying for it.
Namrita Nitika Chand
CONGRATULATIONS to all the Assembly of God Church members as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of their Calvary Temple church in Suva this week.
From the eyes of a child, Calvary Temple was like the throne of God as you stand on the playground (where the Fiji National University now stands) with Derrick Technical Institute on your right and you see the steps leading up to the church.
This child was there at the opening of the newly built Calvary Church in Samabula 50 years ago and while I have forgotten everything that happened that day, one thing is still registered in my mind.
That day, the refreshment juice was mixed underground like a big lovo juice that was nice and cold.
I don't know how they did it but it has been an unforgettable sight and I have never seen it done anywhere else.
The Assembly of God Church has been one of the fastest growing churches in Fiji because it is mission-oriented and back then free buses would pick up church members and their visitors around the Suva and surrounding areas every Sunday.
For us Suva siders, we look forward to Sunday afternoons to hear Reverend Alipate Cakau preach at the Suva Market coupled with testimonies from church members and the beautiful gospel music by the Calvary Temple band.
People have moved on and times have changed but I pray that the humble and caring spirit that was associated with the church members of Calvary Temple would keep growing until our Lord returns.
Everything in moderation
WELL it is said this is the season to be jolly.
But it could be a season of worry, so whatever mood you may be in let's be wise and careful.
A few years back while looking for a coffin for a relative of mine in the month of January, we noticed how well stocked the coffin maker was, thus we inquired with him on his stock and he replied with a nonchalance retort, "This period from November to March is my peak period."
We laughed it off and joked about it, but when you do think about it, it does ring true doesn't it?
What with all the Christmas parties, soqo and what not we tend to overindulge ourselves in this period, and to top it off, the weather also plays its part.
So what should we do?
Well like a wise man once said, "Do everything in moderation."
Drink and eat in moderation, exercise regularly and drink a lot of fluids.
Let's hope that we will all be jolly come the new year and not sorry.
A special shout out to Ben and the boys, good hunting.
CONGRATULATIONS Prof Biman Prasad for being officially confirmed as the PAC's chairman.
I believe the Government members in the PAC were outsmarted by a well qualified and intelligent Opposition.
Now Prof Prasad and the team, go and do justice to the people of Fiji.
WHY do government members of the Public Accounts Committee object to Dr Biman's statements?
He is merely assisting in moulding a fair, transparent and accountable Government.
The committee must abhor those who misuse public funds. Don't protect them.
THANK you Shamal Chand for shedding the truth about the meaning of BMW. Allen has been lying to me all this time saying that it stands for "bring me waka".
HOW are you all doing or coping with daylight saving? Getting used to it? Are you enjoying the extra daylight or still sulking?
WITH a whopping increase in alcohol and cigarette duty, would suki, homebrew and that muddy substance be the next best thing come 2015?
I BELIEVE it was reported sometime earlier that FICAC was investigating certain allegations pertaining to a scam in pharmaceutical dealings. Can the authorities concerned inform the public of the outcome of the said investigation?
THE price of crude oil has been falling progressively for the past two months. It is now at $69.45 a barrel in the US. It is at the lowest price it has been for over four years. Why are we not seeing a reduction at the pumps?
AFTER mingling with the crowd at Albert Park, Mr Modi should have asked the BMW driver to take the bullet-proof car and park it at the Fiji Museum.