Fiji Time: 7:05 PM on Saturday 25 October

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Your Fiji Your Say

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Letters to the Editor: letters@fijitimes.com.fj

Scourge of pollution

SO much has been said about climate change and yet not much action taken as we continue to create and contribute to this serious problem we face daily.

A few points for the relevant authorities to address.

* Continuation of toxic pollution from vehicles on our roads.

* Dumping of all rubbish in our drains which are washed into rivers and end up in the ocean on which we depend.

* Continued removal of coral from our reefs and their sale along our highways.

* Discharge of waste from industrial zones into our rivers and shoreline.

I certainly agree that we are all citizens of our beloved country and need to implement ways of preventing this than just talking about it.

I, therefore, ask the relevant authorities to dish out harsh penalties to contributors of such a serious problem.

JOE SAILEKA, Nasinu

Bauxite mining

AS reported on Fiji One TV, our Government wants to change the rules for export of bauxite to countries such as Japan and China, by not exporting the soil containing bauxite anymore but just the bauxite.

As of now we are exporting the soil containing bauxite and as such we are basically exporting our land to overseas countries.

Somebody in the Mineral Resources Department or higher up has given approval to do that, probably under pressure from landowners, on whose soil bauxite was found and who had dollar notes flashing in their eyes as promised by overseas buyers.

Now they seem to realise that their soil and land gets taken away in a rapid pace, and they already stand on roots of their land with their flip flops.

So our Government wants from now on extract the bauxite from the soil here in Fiji and only export the bauxite.

That will cost millions of dollars again, my suggestion is, spend even a few more millions and set up an aluminium processing and manufacturing plant in Fiji.

Then all the soil and all the bauxite stays here and we in Fiji all win and make big money.

ERWIN KARL SKIBA, Suva

'Tis the season

WITH Christmas just around the corner, and, people are busy preparing and buying gifts for friends and family, let's not forget the "others" who are also busy, those who cut holes in fences in the dead of the night and pinch whatever valuables they can off others.

For some reason around this time - October through December - the number of home invasions increases (also the number of heart attacks, not related though, just an observation).

We must all be vigilant, not only for our properties but, those too of our neighbours'.

Report any suspicious behaviour to police and do not leave items of value outside, which may entice unsavoury characters.

I know because I just learnt the hard way

DENISE GIBSON, Lautoka

Mill breakdown

IT'S really annoying to read about the continuous stoppages of the Rarawai mill since crushing started.

This is nothing new to poor farmers who are transporting their cane to the mill as it has been happening in the past as well.

At times I ponder on what the engineers are doing during the non-crushing season.

The cutters barely get carts every day and on top of that, the mill breaks down every now and then.

The poor farmers are always at the losing end as they are paid less and made to incur extra costs transporting cane to the Lautoka mill.

I think it would be worthwhile to close the Rarawai Mill completely and farmers in Ba to use the Lautoka mill.

It's no use having a mill that gives up every second or third day of the week.

The Sugar Ministry should intervene and review the already dying industry and revive it as soon as possible.

I really feel for the farmers and the cutters who are relying on this industry but it seems like the once backbone of the Fijian economy is losing momentum and might give up completely in the near future.

AVITESH KUMAR, Ba

Audit report

A LOT has been said by the Auditor-General regarding the misuse of the funds, overpayment and the list goes on.

I urge our honourable PM to look into this and forward all files to FICAC as there will be fingerpointing amid the blame game that'll follow shortly.

Our leaders should do this ASAP to prove that the people voted for good governance.

The previous PMs and their supporters will raise that they were convicted, why not those implicated and found guilty on the improper use of funds this time.

I look forward to a clean and corrupt-free Fiji.

AZIM DEAN, Nasinu

Last resort

NOW that the Auditor-General's reports are released, myself and others in Levuka expect a full public accounting for the past year's incomes and expenditures for Levuka Town and Ovalau.

That includes income or aid from overseas.

If this request cannot be met by Government or replied to by the ministries concerned, I present an option - put Levuka Town up for sale on e-Bay.

MIKE REID, Ovalau

Players' association

CAN former district and national reps form a "Players Association" to hold Fiji FA accountable for the damage, it's long-serving administrators have done to the sport?

Referring to Rashneel Kumar's article titled New amendments (FT 24/10).

The fans and prominent soccer personalities in Fiji need to take bold action to shake some sense into the Fiji FA administrators.

Making money should not be the only objective of Fiji FA.

Grassroots development, improving the local standards, and moving up the ranks internationally should be among the key priorities.

I doubt any of what these would make any sense to the brains at Football House.

KELVIN ANTHONY, Suva

True Diwali

I WAS blessed to meet a simple man with a big heart this Diwali.

It was even an amazing encounter because he was in the middle of his daily morning chores.

I was a taking a morning walk downtown when I was attracted to an angelic sound of voice singing at Sukuna Park.

It was this man and his enthusiastic church youth group who were busy serving hot tea to the street dwellers of Suva.

I was captured by his passion when he started to pour his heart out sharing his church vision which focuses on ministering to street people.

To engage his church into venturing into this worthy cause every day is indeed tiring and challenging.

To reach out to early morning market vendors who usually arrive in the city as early as 2am, serving night ladies and also the homeless is commendable.

Vinaka vakalevu talatala Ratu Amena Tuisawau and your humble GCCC church.

You did not only make their day but you also made my Diwali a memorable one.

God bless you.

WAISALE MOCE, Nadarivatu

Audit reports

THE A-G's report seems to be a hot topic of discussion around the tanoa these days. Riddled with financial irregularities, I guess someone from the chambers of Parliament has a lot of explaining to do.

NISHANT SINGH, Lautoka

Pay him more

LOOKING at the amount of work and the importance of the work done by the Auditor-General, shouldn't he be paid more than the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister? It is a pity his job description does not allow him or her to recover the misused funds.

SUKHA SINGH, Labasa

Award on merit

MAY I suggest that the civil service awards night wait for the Auditor-General's report? If it is positive, then sure go ahead and award the employees for their hard work. But if it is riddled with anomalies, abuse of power, competencies, or sheer slackness, then shelve the awards because it makes a mockery of it.

ALLEN LOCKINGTON, Nadi

Why the fuss

UNDER the 2013 Constitution, all members of the former military regime have full immunity so none of them can be prosecuted other than being shamed. The Constitution fully protects them so I wonder why there is so much excitement after the release of Auditor-General's reports.

SHIU GOUNDAR, Christchurch, NZ

Casino update

WHATEVER happened to the Denarau One Hundred Sands Casino and Sayed-Khaiyum? Has our now Honourable Finance Minister forgotten about it? Can he please update us, the public of Fiji, on the latest status of the project and tell us if Larry Claunch is still paying his monthly fines? And where do his fines go?

ERWIN KARL SKIBA, Suva

Punishment

GABRIELl Simpson (FT 21/10) asks the Ministry of Education to reinstate corporal punishment, seemingly unaware it never went away. Dickens' Wackford Squeers (and Mr Thomas Gadgrind) are alive and well. CP takes two forms: the coldly executed and hotly spontaneous. With complicit blindness both have been tolerated too long.

CHRISTOPHER GRIFFIN, Rakiraki

Four symbols

COVER the four symbols - sugar cane, coconut palm, dove and banana - on Saint George's cross. We are British subjects!

AREKI DAWAI, Suva

Seasonal jobs

MR Vakaliwaliwa has raised a pertinent point (FT 20/10), that the MOU between Australia and NZ has not been signed. In Lautoka a recruitment company is already taking $20 from citizens in their quest for a seasonal job in Australia. Can the authorities determine this before more gullible citizens are swindled?

DAN URAI, Lautoka

Keep it, it's good for me

I SIMPLY don't understand why people are so much against daylight saving.

I only have one advice to give these people, and that is they can never migrate overseas

I personally am really happy with the decision of daylight saving.

Why don't people get how productive that extra hour can be, and I personally feel that considering the high crime rate in Lautoka during the festive season, Ms Kirti Patel should be happy for an extra hour of daylight.

As for me, as a student, I feel I am at an advantage, considering the days are getting hotter and the exams really close, at least halfway through the paper I won't have to fan myself. It will be cool in the mornings.

I really pray that daylight saving won't be abolished.

AVNEEL ABHISHAY, Nadi

No proper survey

I TOTALLY agree with Kirti Patel (FT 23/10) on daylight saving.

Could this be the beginning of the many things that was opposed by many Fijians and yet being imposed by the elected Government without a proper survey?

Really starting to wonder if I had elected the right party since daylight saving has been a big issue over the past years.

SULI TOKALAU, Lautoka

Common decency

REFERENCE is made to a letter, titled "Daylight saving" (FT 23/10) by Kirti Patel.

I write to strongly endorse the sentiments expressed.

Daylight saving was an imposition and it continues to be so under a democratic Government. Common decency demands that the voices of the people be heard and acted upon.

And for someone to assume that this is a permanent feature of Fiji life is sheer arrogance.

Nothing is written in stone that cannot be changed.

The biggest sufferers are our toddlers in day care centres, kindergartens and lower primary schools.

They are forced to get up one hour earlier thus losing out on their vital sleep.

Ask the parents and the guardians about the trauma of the toddlers in the morning. Many fall off to sleep in their classes. There has been much hoopla about caring for our children. These children cannot protest and make their voices heard.

Those responsible for this decision must rethink of the long-term impact on our mothers and toddlers.

I sincerely hope good sense prevails

DEWAN CHAND, Suva

In God's time

DAYLIGHT saving time (DST) is scheduled to begin on 2/11/2014 lasting for eleven weeks.

Most people believe DST was designed to benefit farmers, workers and schoolchildren. However, no official survey has ever been carried out in Fiji to prove whether these theories are actually true.

In fact, most people have opposed DST. Schoolchildren and their supporters have always opposed daylight saving because by moving the clocks forward we get less morning sunlight and they are out on dark streets particularly in our rural communities where they have to walk many miles to schools.

Farmers and workers from all sectors of employment have in place their own plans and schedules throughout the year.

So if the greater Fijian population is not benefiting by DST then who are we trying to please? We have often heard DST is good for sports and recreational activities while business houses make profits from sales.

So could the sports bodies and business communities be responsible for creating the myths about farmers and schoolchildren to make sure DST stays as a permanent feature every year at the expense of the greater population who oppose it?

It certainly seems like this is the mechanised way of somehow taking over God's world.

We must be mindful that God created time, and He will someday end it - "He swore an oath by the One who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the Earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it: "There will no longer be an interval of time?," - Revelation10:6.

If we truly revere God, then it would be wise for us to leave His divine provision for us in His hands instead of playing around with it to suit our living styles.

LAWRENCE H RAM, Suva

Our flag

I WISH to thank Rakesh Maharaj for his detailed response regarding our flag, and his outline of some of the advantages of our colonial heritage.

It is this that warrants the place of the Union Flag in the hoist of our flag.

I do not see it as "a hangover of a colonial experience that should be replaced".

For me, it signifies our unique relationship to Britain, having been voluntarily ceded in the first place and having moved peacefully to independence, as Mr Maharaj pointed out.

In designing our flag, a symbol of our identity as a nation was sought, and after much careful consideration the shield from the country's coat of arms was chosen and placed in the fly.

This shield has an enduring quality in the agricultural produce depicted, that is sugar, coconut, banana, cocoa.

Throughout the years these have been basic for our livelihood and will continue so into the future. And if the cocoa pod is mistaken for a rugby ball, well and good since rugby has become such a unifying sport for us.

This combination of our heritage and our on-going relationship with the land on the pale blue background of the Pacific Ocean is surprisingly unique, as I discovered when watching the closing ceremony of the most recent Olympic Games.

In the midst of the multitude of coloured flags our Fiji flag was easily recognisable with its unique combination of colours.

TESSA MACKENZIE, Suva

Property fires

TIME and again, the number of property fires that occurred this year in Fiji is alarming.

According to the National Fire Authority of Fiji, there have been more than 120 property fires recorded this year. This figure itself shows that many people are not taking fire safety seriously.

The National Fire Authority of Fiji has raised awareness with the general public so often.

It is each and everyone's responsibility to take all precautionary measures and ensure that their properties are well secured and safe from fires.

Fires destroy properties as well as lives. Properties can be rebuilt but lives lost in fires cannot be brought back to life.

Just imagine how painful it becomes for a victim of fire when their property goes down in ashes and a loved one's life is lost.

About a week ago, there was a fire to a property in Raiwaqa, Suva.

Claim has been made by the victim of fire that quite a number of onlookers and bystanders, instead of giving a helping hand, were engaged in taking video photography and pictures.

If this is a true story, those who all were doing so should understand that this sort of news does not read good as most people around the globe read news via The Fiji Times online.

Properties cost money. Without money, no one can build up a property. To build a property one will need to have a large sum of money.

To collect a large sum of money, one will have to do so many days of hard work. It's not an easy task.

It's my request with the general public of Fiji that they are to treat fire safety seriously.

I believe nobody in the world would like to see their property burn down to ashes nor would one bear to see their loved everyone's lost in fire.

Fire is a good servant but a bad master. It's ones duty to control this master.

Prevention is better than cure.

INDAR JIT, Sydney, Australia

School tours

REFERRING to a letter on school tour overseas being expensive, I agree because my daughter was in a similar situation a few years back.

During my daughter's tour, a lot of students, teachers and parents on it were either spouses or children of airline staff.

A lot of children pulled out because of the high costs.

In some cases, the prices seemed to be increasing as departing dates approached.

Government, as a major shareholder with the airline, could provide some reasonable fares for the school children of Fiji, knowing that the tour is eye-opening for them and that the children will never forget the airline and use it in their future travels.

Schools themselves should look for sponsors to assist in the tour financially or in other forms such as uniform, baggage or banners.

Children, while overseas, will be the best promoters of sponsors and the airline itself.

When the children came back, you could see it in them as if they just come back from the moon.

What they saw, ate, drank and places they visited was just something else. They will not stop talking about it.

If only the Government and, maybe sponsors, could help those unfortunate children who were dying to be part of the tour but could not afford it.

TOMASI BOGINISO, Nasinu

Mobile laws

I AGREE with Ronal Madhwan's letter (FT 23/10) on this subject and have tried various times to raise the issue in this column but to no avail.

I also learnt what mala fide means and agree fully.

Basically, all consumers should know that there is nothing free in this world, everything has its price.

This luring of free money or free data is misleading because first of all one has paid for it, with the price of the recharge, only to find out it's not free but restricted in the way to use it and for how long.

Not only this, the usage of the SIM card itself has an expiry date, despite having paid for it in full and being registered as an owner.

The only way to change this scrupulous business tactics is a consumer-friendly law which simply states no mobile phone service provider should impose expiry dates on purchased data, units or SIM cards. If a SIM card has not been used for an "x" time, the owner must be contacted. After all he has registered with an address, and advised on possible cancellation and any credit has to be refunded.

This might result in higher basic recharge fees, as has happened in countries who took on this subject already.

In the end, it is the consumer's right to decide how to use the purchased items without any dictate by the seller.

HANS B BOERNKE, Savusavu

Same old story

SEEING and listening on TV to most of our Opposition parliamentarians' speeches, I remember the same racist remarks from Parliament before 2006.

It's the same old story.

The sad thing is that these people get paid big money by taxpayers of Fiji to tell the same old racist stories.

Our Prime Minister is against all that.

Now he has to sit there and face the Opposition and listen to all these same old stories, when he wants to bring our country forward on a new road map without racism.

I wonder how long he will take it.

ERWIN KARL SKIBA, Suva

Proper address

ALLOW me to register my personal disappointment against one popular radio and TV station, who incorrectly addressed His Grace, The Most Reverend Archbishop Peter Loy Chong as Father Peter Loy Chong.

Such incorrect references by reporters and presenters must be corrected with every respect.

Reference is made to His Grace, Archbishop Peter's celebration of the Diwali mass at the Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday, 23 October, 2014.

When I attended primary school in the late 1950s and early 1960s, among other things we were taught the proper terminologies used in addressing dignitaries.

I guess the curriculum these days have changed somewhat. So much for development.

RONNIE CHANG, Nadi

Prevent further costly blunders

AN October 10 article raises the issue of needed energy reforms and mentions working with the FEA to address them.

Let us hope that the FEA has been heavily reformed or else working with it may cause costly blunders.

In 1995, the FEA moved its headquarters from Lautoka to Suva at great expense with no clear reason, then constructed a building in Suva which it later put on sale for a price considerably lower than the building cost.

The FEA installed streetlights on the highway between Lautoka and Nadi. It would have made sense if only hazardous areas were illuminated, but the lights were evenly spaced.

Breakaway poles were not used to minimise damage and injuries when vehicles ran into them. Later, the lights were all turned off to save power, so the investment was a total waste.

The FEA built a wind farm near Sigatoka using tilt-up wind generators that could be lowered to prevent damage by high winds. Tilt-up wind generators are much smaller and more costly for the power produced than large wind generators, so they could not be justified economically. It was a boondoggle.

I believe any further costly investments proposed by the FEA should be thoroughly investigated by competent cost accountants to prevent more costly blunders.

FRANK R EGGERS, Albuquerque, USA

Noise thuggery

TYPICALLY, here in the US, inner city thugs, or gang bangers illegal 9mm guns are their badge of honour.

These thugs demand respect, and act tough.

I draw the same comparison with public buses, taxis, and any noisy public outlet in Fiji.

One is guns and the other is blaring music, it's their badge of honour.

Two weeks ago, after a hiatus of three years, I cut my holiday short in Fiji and returned nine days earlier to the US, paying extra air fare.

I just couldn't stomach noise and few other problems. I cannot understand how uncivilised drivers are when they go by, even at 2am, with blaring music.

I see just about every day in this column writers complaining and pleading with authorities to stop these nuisance, the noise.

I boarded about four buses that had huge speakers under and covering the whole back bench seat, besides overhead ones.

How can I get a hold of the Transport Minister's phone number?

SUSEN SAKAL, Hayward, US

Fertiliser effects

THERE had been views printed last week regarding the Government's promise to supply fertilisers to farmers and its effect on the environment.

Another stated that more fertilisers be supplied so that the land could yield more to feed the millions.

With all due respect, is it too much to ask or maybe it is inappropriate to suggest for farmers and tillers of the land to return to the Creator's instruction to Israel as recorded in the Bible?

The land was to be cultivated for six years and have a sabbatical for a year to rejuvenate and organically produce food without raping the land with man-made fertilisers.

Do farmers and tillers of the land have faith enough to obey divine instruction or the thought of resting the land for one year is just a waste and unproductive?

We will reap what we sow.

SAVENACA VAKALIWALIWA, Nasinu

Sugar industry

THE sugar industry is dying slowly and there is no need to argue about that.

Larger plantation-type farming is impossible and mechanical harvesters will not work on a commercial scale because most land are hilly and harvesters are not designed to work on hilly land.

Another issue that the mechanical harvesters have is they must be thoroughly cleaned on a continuous basis or else there is danger of it catching fire, this happened to most machines brought earlier in Fiji.

Existing canefarmers need to diversify and start alternative cropping before it is too late.

A simple illustration of a normal canefarmer income, note that this money is received on four or five installments.

Majority of canefarmers' crop is under 200 tonnes

Income (200 tonne of cane at $60 per tonnes). $12,000

Less costs, harvesting (200 tonnes at $25 per tonne) $5000

Fertiliser cost (80 bags at $35 per bag). $2800

Land lease (TLTB or Crown or other). $850

Profit before other sundry cost $3350

Other cost includes, planting, cultivating, causal labourers, road repairs, drainage, SCGC Levy, tractor hire, and so many others.

Readers, I now leave here for you to judge what and how much a typical canegrower earns in a year.

Still they are showing their teeth and smiling and our politicians take them on a ride.

Now I read with interest that on minimum an elected member of Parliament in Fiji will earn $50,000.

God bless Fiji.

JONE TUISAWAU, Ba

Who you are

WHEN you know deep in your heart who you are, nothing can take that away.

In a school, I joined two teachers along with their students to watch a Bollywood animated movie.

In my inquisitive mind, I asked the teachers if they understood the words spoken by the actors on screen.

I should not have asked the question but with the response "areh, what do you think? We are born here but we are from India".

As much as I'm confident of our common name, fellow Fijians are also proud of who they truly are.

AREKI DAWAI, Suva Point

Road to success

THE preparation of a Charter for Change to re-organise the iTaukei social structure to become more efficient, productive, financially independent and one which guarantees prosperity for iTaukei is long overdue and also has never been so imminent.

The iTaukei today is a desperate race, falling from grace and forever in dire need for recognition and, of course, a chartered direction for prosperity.

It's review time and the need to go back to the blackboard on what went wrong. A post-mortem is needed and expertise advice is necessary.

Congratulations to those of us who have commenced in some way, to name some: The Vakabula Vanua team, Viti Corporation and Indigenous Tribunal here in California. There are also some existing in small pockets in Fiji. It is certainly a big tree to bark and the awakening of the whole iTaukei population continues to be the challenge.

Perhaps it is also time iTaukei need to move away from and realise the fallacy that their success is mandated in its maintaining of political control in Fiji.

To the contrary, successful family ventures such as Punjas, RB Patel, Rups Big Bear, Rajendra Prasad etc have achieved financial prosperity, even without political dominance. These are only family businesses.

A race adopting the same ideology will be a jackpot with vast resources to utilise. It's going to be great and devastatingly prosperous.

It will be the biggest break the iTaukei have been waiting for outside political control. Did someone say solesolevaki? Perhaps it is a concept to consider now.

The much-needed resolve to trigger iTaukei approach economic prosperity independent from the State is a challenge,. It must be looked at positively.

The approaches are recommended to be executed by instructions under a well prepared Charter for Change. It's already there for the taking and people have started working on it.

What we need today is the need to bring them under one big umbrella. Further, is the decision. Who will make this decision for iTaukei going forward?

It's time to rebuild the iTaukei with honour and dignity. The battle is not over yet. Like they always say: We win some and we lose some.

Changes will come and what we see today will be very distinct in the next 10-20 years.

To start up now on a iTaukei charter for the next 10 years will be a good starting point.

We can extend it to the next 50 years and beyond by our younger generation.

ISIRELI VESIKULA, California, USA

Save our bay

PACIFIC Building Solutions and Pacific Marine and Civil Solutions have openly stated that they need to secure waterfront property on Draunibota Bay for their fleet of tugs and barges (FT 16/7).

The decision for rezoning from residential to heavy industry in Draunibota is still under consideration but gaining momentum.

Our community is now in its third year in the fight to save Draunibota Bay for significant and far-reaching environmental, economic, humanitarian and egalitarian reasons.

We humbly request Pacific Building Solutions and Pacific Marine and Civil Solutions to utilise zoned industrial areas and leave Draunibota Bay, our home, alone.

We ask you to do this for our children and also yours.

LATILETA BOLEKISOLOMONE, Lami

Local products

THERE have been many products introduced in the market at different weights and measures.

After they find a market and the demand grows, the quantity is reduced but the price remains the same.

A very good example are the soap products, introduced at a around 100 grams and later reduced to 90 grams but the price remained the same.

I was surprised to buy a local fruit juice which came into market in three-litre bottles (also in other small quantity), which cost $9.99. Today the bottle shape has changed, the quantity is reduced to 2.4ltr, but the price that we pay is still $9.99. Can the authorities do something?

If you carry out a survey, you will find that there are a lot of products that fall into this category.

IMBAD ALI, Nausori

Education standards

THE education standards and the quality of graduates coming out of our primary, secondary and tertiary institutes seem to be going down daily.

We need competent people who can make a difference in the workforce and as such the Education Ministry needs to review some of its policies.

The commencement of the FIE and FJC exams is a good idea to enhance the quality of graduates we would have. Certain high school curriculums should also be changed as they are of less use in the practical world. I, for one, believes that in order to boost the quality of university graduates, university entrance should be made competitive. As it is now, any layman can enter the university if he/ she can afford the fees.

However, it will be worthwhile to set up benchmarks for an entry into university thus those who are able to reach will be holistically developed to survive in the workforce.

I know of one local university where many students are congested in classrooms and lack basic knowledge. Some don't even have a fair idea of what's happening around them.

It's time major reforms in the education sector took place to produce assiduous graduates in the future.

AVITESH KUMAR, Ba

Looming exams

EXAMS for Forms 7 and 6 students start soon. Students are stressed right now.

For most this is their last year at high school. I pray that parents be very supportive and understanding from now until the exam results come out.

As it is there is a lot of peer pressure that is not healthy.

Students can't all be rocket scientists. It is better to be safe than sorry.

I wish all these students the very best in their exams.

KORINA WAIBUTA, Suva

Church hierarchy

I REFER to Tukai Lagonilakeba's letter (FT 19/10) on new churches and its hierarchy.

I believe he has some valid concerns and I agree with some of the issues he has raised, however, there is one very important issue that needs clarification from the biblical perspective.

I belong to a large denominational church which runs a prominent Bible College in Fiji. This Bible College for many years has been helping and continues to offer Christians theological courses free of charge so that those who aspire to teach others are themselves well grounded in the teachings of the Bible.

Mr Lagonilakeba claims, "it is compulsory for a person to be qualified to be a talatala (pastor) or a reverend with Masters in Divinity and Theology from a recognised Christian institution in order to serve." This is not biblical if we were to follow the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.

None of Jesus' disciples were ever taught in a Christian institution nor did any of them acquire the title of reverend. In fact Jesus was against such titles - Matthew 23:5-11.

The use of religious titles, such as "Reverend," began when the great apostasy set in at the close of the first century.

Church ministers put themselves "in the place of" Christ (the meaning of vicar), taking upon themselves the attributes and titles of divinity but God's true ministers have never done so.

The word "reverend" appears only once in the entire Bible, in Psalm 111:9, referring to God and it belongs solely to Him, it would be a sin for anyone to usurp this position from God. We Christians are on equal standing in the eyes of God and should consider ourselves to be His humble servants if we are passionate to serve Him.

LAWRENCE H NARAYAN, Suva

True church

THE Bible is the book of the law of God.

The book of the law states that the General Assembly and church of the first born are registered in heaven.

Jesus Christ is the first born from the dead as He is the initiator of the resurrection and His church is registered in heaven. Any church registered on Earth is contrary to the book of the law.

It is an unlawful and an lawless act. This is portrayed by the woman sitting on the beast in Revelation 17.

The woman has left its husband as Jesus Christ and has committed adultery with the beast, Satan.

All members of churches registered on Earth should now take heed of the voice from heaven in Rev 18:4. "Come out of her my people".

MALAKAI NADUVA, Labasa

Diwali celebrations

HATS off to Avneel Kumar on his ideas on celebrating Diwali realistically and not spending too much impulsively. Yes, yesteryear's pots will do!

In Canada, people import mango leaves,etc. for pooja. Ganga jal and Ab-e-zam zam - any kind of holy water - are now business propositions rather than spiritual matters.

The spiritual in every culture has become commercialised. Corporations earn better than 30 per cent of their annual revenues during the "star" festivals in their respective communities.

Businesses in multi-cultural societies have it made! The greatest rallying cry is: "Sell, sell, sell!", And that, too, by the square feet of retail space.

It is great to pray, celebrate, and hope for a better life. But going broke to do so does not make sense. Now, get ready to pay for that goat, ram, or other animal at Christmas.

To businesses and ordinary people, Lakshmi pooja means two distinctly different things.

Happy celebrations to all!

NANDA SOLOGAR, Red Deer, Canada

Empowered women

I TOTALLY agree with Pat Vuli's letter on "Empowering women" (FT 18/10) but my humble plea is for those empowered women not to be like men who abuse their position of power.

It is heart breaking to hear a young family break up with the empowered woman filing for divorce and their family house put up for sale. The family is the backbone of our existence and when we choose to start a family of our own, we make a solemn oath not to the church or pastor or family members or friends or to the marriage celebrant but to God, who instituted marriage, that whatever happens in the struggles of life, until death do you part.

Many marriages break up because when the man of the house is empowered and climbs up the corporate ladder, he loses his core values and forgets those who stood by him and struggled and prayed with him for a better lease in life.

I am 100 per cent in favour of women being empowered in all facets of life, as long as they do not become like men in forgetting their spouse and children to settle with a different partner.

SAVENACA VAKALIWALIWA, Nasinu

Play house

UNDER the heading "Girl beaten to death" (FT21/10) is a story about how a 20-year-old man in the US beats a three-year-old child to death because she had soiled her diaper.

In this day and age, we have our young adults trying to play house, which I mean being a mother and a father but little do they realise is that this comes with a lot of responsibilities, and some are not prepared for this, as shown by this so-called man who beat a helpless child to her death.

It's a wonder that we have a lot of young mothers out there because the "man" could not step up, I know we are into the digital age now but that old tradition of abstinence would be the best option now, as the world is full of distractions, what with our mobile phones, internet and the usual gimmicks.

Let's be smart and teach our children to think and act smart as well. I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless all our single Mums out there and their children.

LAWRENCE WARA, Suva

Airfare disparity

THE decision by Air NZ to increase capacity between NZ and Fiji will be welcomed by everyone involved in the Fiji tourism industry.

I do not have the current visitor arrival numbers from NZ to Fiji. However, let's do some comparison of airfares from NZ to Fiji and tourist destinations for Kiwis to Australia, in particular Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

I have made two recent trips from Auckland to Nadi and the cheapest return airfare in September was $NZ800 ($F1000) and in October it climbed to $1035.

Compare this with airfares of about $NZ400 ($F610), available most of the year to all the Aussie destinations mentioned above. This huge difference in airfares no doubt plays a significant role in Kiwis' choice of holiday destinations and Fiji is at a great disadvantage.

I know this has been a contentious issue for a very long time, but none of the carriers serving this route, including our national airline have shown any initiative to introduce a fare which is anywhere near the fares existing between New Zealand/Australia, considering the fact that the travel time to these destinations are nearly the same.

The public of Fiji and New Zealand have the right to know the reason for this disparity from the airlines, in particular Fiji Airways and Air NZ.

MOHAMMED AZIZ, Auckland, New Zealand

Elderly drivers

IN regards to the concerns raised by Pat Vuli on elderly drivers, especially public service vehicle drivers, I would like to clarify few issues.

Yes, we public service drivers (taxi) irrespective of our age either being 21 or 70 years old are medically examined by approved doctors which is valid for three years.

Now which doctor can guarantee stating on the medical certificate in black and white that this driver will experience a heart attack, stroke, head ache or will cough in the days ahead? I guess none.

It's agreeable that accidents do happen all the time, but on the contrary if one goes through accident records that are kept at relevant authorities, I very well reckon it can be clearly noted what age groups are topping the lists. Why only elderly public service vehicle drivers need to carry a certificate of medical fitness?

Let's make this for all drivers irrespective of their licence class and age group as accidents are inevitable.

SHAMAL CHAND, Nausori

Hayne's loss

I AM disappointed to know that I won't be able to watch my hero again in the Paramatta jumper after taking up his new sporting life challenge to travel to this big city of Los Angeles to join his new mates at the NFL Detroit Lions.

I never missed his game in the NRL as I always looked forward to watch him play, especially the Para's back three of Hayne, Radradra, Sio and Hopoate who are always deadly in attack and cause havoc around the park.

Although they didn't qualify for the top round of this year's NRL playoff, it's because of his heritage with Semi that made me a strong supporter of this club.

It's indeed emotional to watch him being farewelled at Sydney airport by fellow Fijians and couldn't hold my tears to see him singing his Fiji Bati anthem Oqo noqu masu and humbly standing beside his mum, Jodie Hayne.

All the best Hayne on this new adventure and should hardship cross your path, keep in mind the word of this famous Bula FM radio personality, Mr Lopo "E da cala kece".

Keep striving for higher things because the sky is always the limit.

Go Hayne, the Plane!

SAKIUSA TURAGALEVU, Nausori

FANCA soccer

IT was a refreshing change to see quality entertaining soccer at the recent FANCA soccer in Rewa.

There was better possession and momentum which made it exciting. Some of the contributing factors are as follows:

* Proper basic techniques that stem from youth coaching

* Disciplined soccer

* Quality foreign players elevating standards

* Cohesion and shape.

The pitfalls were lack of standard referring for such high level soccer (that led to multiple injuries) and lack game time because of a 60 rather than standard 90-minute game.

It would also be pleasing if the hosts identify a theme for the tournament that mobilises over 500 former Fiji residents.

The participants need more food for thought than just departing with memories of the soccer game.

Lastly, Imran Shah of New Zealand, the MVP of the games, is a class act and should be considered for the Fiji men's national team if available .

ARIF KHAN, Hayward, USA

Football standards

LET me make this clear that the views expressed here are my personal and has no bearing on any other individual or organisation.

When the Fiji soccer body was formed back in 1938, it was known as FIFA (Fiji Indian Football Association) and the only tournament they had was IDC.

The main aim for the soccer body was to make some money for the running of the association and its affiliates and also to get their members to come together as a family and enjoy the game of soccer.

As time passed FIFA became FFA and two more tournaments were introduced namely, BOG and Fiji Fact. The aim of these two tournaments were the same as IDC.

These tournaments were played at only one venue and that brought about a lot of activities in that town. These tournaments brought about a lot of benefit to the local people and was like a big festival where people of all walks of life got together to enjoy the games.

Locals as well as overseas soccer-crazy people booked into hotels and rental cars in advance or arranged with their family or friends for accommodation and even bought goats, ducks or junglee murga for the weekend.

Every day the crowd used to be between 4000 and 8000 and on the final day rise to 10,000 or 12,000 people. You will see bands of people with their district colours, playing musical instruments, singing and dancing on the ground.

All these are gone just because of playing 90-minute soccer instead of 60 minutes.

You will say that because we want to improve our soccer standard by playing 90-minute soccer.

When we play 14 national league matches which are 90 minutes, we can't improve our standard, how can we improve the standard by playing 90-minute soccer continuously for three, four or five days.

You are not only killing the players but the game of soccer too. Is this the way to improve the standard of soccer?

Just look at the recent IDC in Suva.

What was the crowd like daily and it was shocking on the final day.

We have better crowds in national league matches. Do the sponsors really get the mileage they want?

Fiji FA is not only the loser but the districts and affiliated associations too. Before when they used to receive a couple of thousand dollars as their shares will now get a couple of hundred.

To bring back the glory days of the past and to create more interest in soccer, we must re-look at where we are heading now.

Shall we continue with 90-minute soccer or go back to 60-minute for all the tournaments?

Shall we continue with eight teams in the super premier division or increase to 10?

Do we really look after the welfare of our players or force them to play up to five 90-minute matches continuously?

Look at what has happened to teams such as Tavua, Navua, Nasinu or Savusavu who were giant-killers in super premier division but now can't even win the premier title.

Are we really promoting soccer or killing it?

NARDEO MISHRA, Suva

Soccer nightmare

MEAGRE crowds became the highlight of the final two days of the IDC.

The trophy at stake was plus-sized. The two finalists had played 90-minute footy for three consecutive days prior to the final.

That was very irresponsible decision-making by the head honcho(s) of the FFA. A minimum of 48 hours of rest is mandatory between matches.

We are creating the conditions for long-term sports injury to happen. In the stands and in the boxes, very few seemed satisfied with what was displayed on the field.

The Fiji Sports Council has invested significantly in upgrading the stadium and must be able to recover cash rather quickly. I feel sorry for the FSC. The FFA is not creating the right mood amongst fans to fill the stadium. If they could conjure up something good, it would result in more money for them and of course a better return for the FSC.

Thumbs up to the FSC for the facility.

But then, as someone sitting behind me, seemingly intoxicated, but honest, lamented that the FFA cares no more about gatetakings and development.

He said that the "fat" sponsorship package recently landed has gotten them all cosy and comfy with perks.

I didn't see the bloke's face but couldn't disagree, especially after witnessing the sporadic crowds. Of course, he was sprawled unconscious as the booze seemed to have outplayed soccer.

90-minute soccer is good, but only when it is well-managed.

Are we any better off than earlier times? Sadly, no.

DONALD SINGH, Suva

Search for funds

EVERY year and almost every month, a sporting organisation is looking for funds or even in kind to support a tournament, either a local or international event.

These sporting organisations truly struggle to ensure that their events are conducted in the best possible way even with minimum resources.

When it comes to international events, the costs even soar higher as the international hosting demands are far greater.

The Fiji Sports Commission tries its utmost to evenly share what little funds it had to cover the 39 sporting national federations that are affiliated to FASANOC.

Many of us wonder why rugby gets the largest slice of the pie but the reality is that rugby does bring in a substantial amount in foreign earnings to the country.

So why pick on rugby or the way that Fiji Sports Commission distributes funds?

How about the locally-owned business houses of Fiji who stand to make thousands with the influx of visitors to our country.

The Government has made it rewarding to donate by handing out large tax incentives and has even lowered the threshold to make it more attractive.

Still our local business houses sit tight fisted.

If only these people could visit an Olympic Youth Village and see what peace and harmony would be like among all races, they would appreciate just how important sport is in building peace and harmony in a country.

There is one thing that stood out at the Summer Youth Olympics in Nanjing China. Waking up in the games village was like what I'd imagine heaven to be like - flags of every nation draped on balconies whilst everyone walked about the village chatting and laughing.

Our eyes could not see their colour or their race, all we could see was another smiling face eager to greet you.

Language was not a barrier as hands took over. Please business houses, we could start establishing peace and harmony with our small nation but keeping our people engaged in sports and assisting them to venture onto the international sporting arena.

Give everyone the chance to witness what it's like to be able to eat and live among our fellow humans without war.

A small gift would go a long way to building a better Fiji.

It is important to note that not all businesses are tight fisted and we thank you enormously.

I am appealing to those that are out there that have never thought about this, maybe you can consider assisting our sporting bodies.

TAI SMITH, Nasinu

Eyes on Dubai

HEARTY congratulations and thumbs up to the national Vodafone 7s team, Vodafone and coach Ben Ryan for the scintillating victory at the Gold Coast.

While all eyes were on New Zealand and South Africa based on recent form, the Flying Fijians turned on the tables.

The power-packed forwards were superb when combined with the backline produced tries worth cherishing.

While the earlier performances looked shaky, the whacking Australia received in their back yard summed up the powers of the mighty Fijians.

This was long overdue.

Wales too, to some extent, tested us but England was completely shut down and blacked out with the crunching tackles and hard hitting defence.

The expression on coach Simon Amor's face summed up the well-deserved victory.

We took an early lead against Samoa but they almost turned the tables had it not been Jasa's try set up by the Player of the Tournament Osea Kolinisau.

We were strong on defence and support play was excellent.

Whenever a Fijian player scored a try, there was another Fijian to embrace him.

This was solidarity in its best course and truly speaks of team bonding.

A big vinaka vakalevu to Oscar, the ever green Sete, the lucky charms Domolailai and "Ice" Katonibau, Naqaliva, Jasa, Tuwai, Semi, Rawaca and Vatemo and the rest of the gladiators for the wonderful victory. Hearty thanks also to Nadroga Rugby Union for moulding Domolailai, Rawaca and Waqatabu.

I could not control my emotions when Osea dedicated the victory to the 44th Independence Day celebrations and Jashlini Nand, the 19-year-old who is seriously ill.

Our Fiji Day celebrations definitely turned out to be sweet on Sunday night thanks to the awesome performance of the team.

However, rightly said by Ben Ryan and Willie Lose (the commentator) that the series is getting tougher and that consistency is a must and players need not be carried with the victory and rest on their laurels.

Let's focus on Dubai and the African leg.

RAJINESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Nasinu





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