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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stallions season

WELL the 2014 domestic season has officially come to an end and once again my tauvu from Nadroga have reigned supreme with both cups in their cabinet.

Maybe it would be an opportune time for all major unions to take note of how the Stallions operate, because they have proved themselves time and time again.

I believe they have the right formula to improve our domestic rugby scene, thus stemming the flow of the natural talent to overseas clubs and building up a strong player base locally. Rather then having our national team and coach falling victims to these same overseas clubs, who sometimes threaten their players with their contracts and what not, because I believe there will come a day when we can play on the same level as our "big brothers" with our local players only if we have Fiji rugby at heart.

Once we improve the domestic competition, sponsors will follow suit and thus improve the players' welfare and our national teams.

There will be no going back to the drawing board after the World Cup whether it be the senior team or the junior team, but if we are just using them to promote our local players to get overseas contracts, then our national rating will be compared with a yoyo, it will go up, then down.

That's just my opinion, congratulations to the Stallions for a good outing this year.

LAWRENCE WARA, Suva

Shame on bystanders

I feel sorry for Mrs Katakata and her grandchildren that bystanders did not help her and the small children when their house burnt.

Police should charge those bystanders for taking pictures instead of assisting a woman and her grandchildren who were in great danger and in need of urgent assistance.

I do hope that your house is insured Mrs Katakata and I also hope that people in Fiji will assist you in terms of clothes and what else is needed especially for the children.

I think the Red Cross and The Salvation Army can assist you too.

We Fijians should be taught to assist others when there is urgent help needed in all types of situations. I think this is not the first case where people just stood and watched when others needed help when there was a fire, drowning, robbery, etc.

Elimi Marawa, Golan

Rural education

I write to endorse the views of two of your correspondents in Saturday's Fiji Times (October 18) on the subject of rural education.

Timoci Gaunavinaka rightly criticises Ratu Tagivetaua for simplistically equating rural education with poor quality, and points to a number of successful people who came from a rural background. Very true.

If I remember correctly, the first indigenous Fijian to be awarded a gold medal at USP was Joji Tabudravu, who was raised in the colo of Wainunu, perhaps the most inaccessible part of Bua, and has gone on to enjoy a successful academic career.

Other academic successes that come to mind include Rusiate Nayacakalou, Asesela Ravuvu, Filipo Tokalau (tuga viro a 'uraga ni Bua), Brij Lal (ANU) and Subramani, all of whom came from poor rural backgrounds, and had very little exposure to spoken English before secondary school.

People often say that rural children are less mature than their urban counterparts, but I believe that they are interpreting the ability to use a mobile phone or talk in Fiji English as "maturity".

In my experience, quite the opposite is true: other things being equal, rural children are more mature than their urban counterparts, and they are, on the whole, better disciplined, more hardworking, better mannered, less cynical, and happier. I believe this is due, in part, at least to their being well grounded in their own language and culture, which urban children less often are.

They also have a greater range of practical skills and a far better understanding of the environment.

Unfortunately, the idea that children get a better education in towns is still widespread, and is one of the reasons our towns are overcrowded and experience many social problems. Rural children who fail their exams have the skills to survive and prosper in a rural environment; town children who fail do not have that option and, unless they are well connected, often end up with poorly-paid menial jobs or no job at all, the consequences of which I hardly need elaborate on.

Christopher Griffin writes on, inter alia, the importance of libraries in education, and the need for them to be upgraded.

This is also true. I have no doubt that simply improving libraries throughout Fiji, and encouraging students to use them, would have a massive positive impact on the quality of education. I would only add that we should not neglect vernacular literacy, and ensure that libraries are well stocked with books in not only English, but also at least our two major vernacular languages.

Paul Geraghty, USP, Suva

Getting older

I guess many citizens, there will be a few, can no longer enjoy the sound of exploding firecrackers.

Anyway, a few days away from the "Festival of Lights", many neighbours are showing their delight and lighting firecrackers that can rock you to the very foundations of your being.

The other night I had to put my two eyeballs back into their sockets when what I thought was the sound of a howitzer exploded near my bedroom window.

Whew, lucky for me the running stomach had finished two days ago. With eyes popped out and a bad stomach, the scene would be too disgusting to describe.

In what I will refer to as my younger years, I was a firecracker. The neighbours loved me.

Today the slightest sound of a pop and I can hit the ceiling like a frightened cat.

To all citizens who still love the sound of firecrackers, please understand us, please don't tell us to take a hike, we are part of the citizenry, we now prefer the slight pop of a champagne bottle or a cold Fiji Bitter, and a lit candle with no kids or grand kids around.

I prefer just me and my wife sitting in silence, staring at the stars and the murmur of our hearts speaking to each other.

Sigh.

Allen Lockington, Mulomulo

Rakiraki soccer

Congratulations to Rakiraki for winning the premier title.

Just a few things Fiji FA should be ashamed of.

Rakiraki only played the final in the main ground. The other opportunity was snatched to give super premier teams the best ground.

During the presentation, medals were not presented to individual players but given as a bundle to be distributed by Rakiraki officials later.

Shame on you if you are doing all this as a task. Hard yards by players need better treatment. Make room for others who can run the show better.

Premier districts this should be an eye-opener for you all as to who you vote for.

Fiji FA - wake up or walk out.

Amish Patel, Nadi

Fiji soccer

IT was exciting to read in The Fiji Times (7/10) that Fiji FA will table a motion at the ordinary congress in Suva today to deny any newcomer to contest for the president's post next year.

All thanks to the CEO, Bob Kumar for his strategic leadership and vision and for coming up with a flawless circular to stop any other Fijian who would consider standing for elections to hinder our consistent progress.

I request that those people participating at the congress to be obedient to Mr Kumar and do what he says to keep the sport moving forward.

Kelvin Anthony, Suva

Shirley Park

I know common sense will prevail and the Shirley Park development will be rejected by the Minister for Local Government. So I thank you in advance Mr Bala sir. You the man.

Now I will have to discourage Allen and Narayan Reddy from chaining themselves to a tree.

Wise Muavono, Lautoka

Daylight saving

Thanks to the respective ministry and department concerned.

Thanks for no daylight saving scheduled this year.

Suresh Prasad, Toko, Tavua

Rarawai mill

Can somebody tell me what exactly happened to Rarawai mill?

Rattan Sharma, Varadoli, Ba

A special team

It would be difficult if not impossible to argue the fact that the BLK Nadroga team is the undisputed king of rugby in Fiji.

There is something special about the team which separates it from other provincial sides. Even though some of the players are not originally from the province, they never fall short of giving their best on the rugby paddocks.

Floyd Robinson, Nasinu

Feeding billions

Organic fertilisers will not. The world will still rely on artificial fertilisers for consistent food production to feed the billions in the world today. Increasing fertiliser subsidy for all farmers therefore is strategic and noble.

It demonstrates Government's commitment to improving food security and sustain livelihoods of the common people for decades to come.

Samu Railoa, Nadi

Win-win situation

NOW that the Government has decided to increase the employer deduction to FNPF from 8 per cent to 10 per cent with effect from next month I would like to suggest if the employees could be offered the option to voluntarily increase their contribution to 10 per cent which will mean more revenue for FNPF and greater retirement savings for members.

I am sure there are many members who are willing to contribute more. So it will be a win-win situation for both parties.

Selwa Nandan, Suva

The inquisition

Can Amenatave Yaconisau (FT 20/10) tell us whether the evil that took place during the Spanish inquisition unfolded in the "absence of religion and God"? Or, in the name of God and religion?

Rajend Naidu, Sydney

Real school's back

Watching those two relaxing after school each day and showing no sign of pressure and competition, not sweating over exam-preparation, I have, more than often, been left bemused at what possibly would be happening in school to make children so lax.

Back in those days, school was dreaded; even the thought of fronting up to teachers like Master Sashi Kumar, Master Narayan, or Master Ram would have potential to soil the pants of some pupils.

Fierce disciplinarian teachers would settle for nothing other than excellence.

Then it all changed. External exams, the key ones, were removed to the delight of many.

However, there were those many who frowned down at the decision.

Then it has all started to change again.

Welcome back, external exams.

I want my children to dread you the way we dreaded you and had sleepless nights several years ago.

Donald Singh, Suva

Police budget

IT is so nice to watch our members of Parliament delivering their maiden speeches. Watching these live on television is beautiful and this could be easily compared with developed countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

I saw our Defence Minister Timoci Lesi Natuva delivering his contribution.

A beautiful speech with a lot of assurances given as far as people's security was concerned.

I very humbly request our minister to look for an increased police budget to improve police transport at all police stations in the country.

Whenever we hear talkback programs on radio or through other media outlets, we find transport problem as a major drawback for the police.

This is very frustrating.

"No transport" is a common answer.

A thorough investigation by the ministry will reveal the truth.

VIJAY MAHARAJ, Navua

Education system

The discussions and ideas on improving the current education system gives hope that the white light at the end of that tunnel will be the end and not an oncoming train.

Bringing back the external exams in Year 6 and 10 and necessary changes in expectations of school management and administration work by heads of schools and their vices are a good start.

However, passing the current school system with Form 7 and going on to obtain a degree at one of the tertiary education institutions does not create the "egg-laying-wool-pig" all industries like to employ only.

The argument that current uni-leavers are not really fit for this and that and below expectation is an old excuse used by all industries to keep expectation on entry salary low, if one finds a job in the first place.

Besides, they always have ways to bring the employees there where they want them.

After all, what do they expect when someone goes through a rough period passing all three education stages in theory and maybe a six-week practicum at the end except a well-trained person in theories only.

In short: "a good crammer" as some people put it.

That's what they have learned to do passing the primary and secondary school system. Well, with a few exemptions, sure.

Tertiary education should be divided in 50 per cent theory, which will cost a fee and 50 per cent praxis which will earn some money. "Study and work" it's called in other places.

The basic school education could look for other ways of teachings with a more pedagogical approach and self discovery by students.

Piaget, Montessori and Rudolf Steiner are just a few names worth looking up on.

Happy discussions and hopefully change for the better for all - soon.

Hans B. Boernke, Savusavu





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