Letters to the Editor – May 5

Cold weather

IT’S the cold weather, you think grog sessions will stop? Not on your life. I went past a home in Waiyavi and all the groggers looked like Eskimos. All I heard was, “Io, mai dua na bilo.” Well, yes, you guessed it, I joined them and asked for a blanket. Hehe.
ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Great phenomena

SEREVI was a phenomena and Serevi won’t occur again. The Fiji 7s coach position has seen several incumbents over the years, some genuinely masterly and some pretenders. Ben Ryan came, and he concurred. Serevi remained a phenomenal figure in every player’s mind as they toiled for Ben Ryan, trying to achieve a standard that could be termed “Serevi standards” rather than “Ben Ryan standards”. Then came Baber, and after all our fierce criticism, emerged a mentor in Baber who, all this while, knew what he was doing. Serevi remained an inspirational figure, an icon that Baber’s men try to emulate. Baber, as I read, is on the brink of conquering all should we mine gold in London, Paris and San Francisco. After all is done and the trophy cabinet swells and spills over at that white wooden building, Serevi will remain the idol for the next generation of players, a great phenomena. Such a phenomena exists when we also exist.

Men-C vaccine

I THANK the Government for bringing in the vaccine for meningococcal disease. According to the Health Minister, those above 19 years of age will have to pay. Can the Health Ministry please clarify how much will one dosage cost for those over 19 years of age. Will one dose be enough or we need several dosage. Can the media do a survey on the price between the one Government brings in and the one that was brought in by private pharmacy. I hope the ones brought in by Government is of high quality.

Press freedom

NORTH Korea is again ranked last (180) in the World Press Freedom Index 2018. But I believe Tukai Lagonilakeba will tell you that’s more a reflection of political bias than the ground reality in his hero Kim Jong-Un’s regime. I believe the reality in that totalitarian regime is that citizens are routinely rounded up and dumped in concentration camps if they step out of line in what they read and say! The dictatorship imposes a state of ignorance upon its citizens. In the free world some prefer to live in ignorance! What an irony!

Listen, speak read and write

WITH poor standard of English by our younger generations today, I always wonder whether the above textbook is still used by our primary education? Whether it is spelling, grammar, noun or whatever, their standard of English is far worse than us, the hardcopy generations. Spoken or written is just the same. It has deteriorated from bad to baddest. Correction please!

Wait game

I REFER to Samantha Rina’s article (FT 28/4) on processes. While waiting is a hard game, most often in the end, good things more often than not comes to those who wait. While official bureaucracies are highly annoying and tests our patience, in the end, we can rest assured that all the proper legal channels have been followed to allow funds to reach the appropriate recipients (in the child maintenance support issue). It’s good to plan how to spend your money too because if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
JOAN MCGOON Martintar, Nadi

FNU graduation

I MUST say that it was an honour to be part of the Fiji National University graduation at the FMF Gymnasium on Wednesday. Parents and well-wishers flooded the gymnasium to be part of their loved ones success and achievement. A record number of students graduated from the various campuses and listening to the achievements of the university made me realise that FNU is heading for bigger things. The FNU chancellor Iqbal Jannif had a lot to say about the achievements of FNU in terms of developing lecture theatres, ICT and the proposed Labasa campus which would assist the students from the North to complete their studies from the comfort of their homes and not travel to Viti Levu to complete their studies. This would reduce financial burden on parents and guardians. The chief guest and Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu delivered a powerful but emotive opening address as he talked about the importance of education and the importance of having an appropriate qualification in the challenging and ever competitive job market. The esteemed chief guest spoke about his experiences as he rose through the ranks in the police department and how he worked hard to achieve his goals. He also reminded the graduates to set goals and work toward accomplishing those goals. He paid tribute to his mother and how she worked hard to ensure that her son reached his goal. The confidence with which Mr Tudravu spoke motivated the graduates. He also shared his joy about chairing the Tailevu Provincial Council meeting and the fact that all challenges in life must not be seen as a hurdle but must be embraced for future success. As I conclude, I acknowledge the FNU management and staff members for the hard work and I accord a big vinaka vakalevu to Mr Tudravu for his address. To the graduates, congratulations and all the best in your future endeavours. Just like the colourful salusalu and attire that you wore, please make your life and career colourful and let’s work hand in hand to lift the Fijian economy! Cheers and congrats!

Flooding problem in the Ba basin

YET another devastating flood in the Ba basin which is changing the geographical structure of the entire Ba district. With Western Viti Levu consisting of mountains, hills and valleys, waterways meandering their way downstream to flood suburban flatlands and the low-lying areas every year. More drastic scenarios are appearing now with 200-year-old Ivi trees uprooted with soil and pebbles falling into rivers and changing the landscape of Ba’s interior rural lands. Ba’s Vutuni river takes majority of the rainwater which falls on the Lautoka side of the hills and valleys. Consequently, Vutuni river finds its way towards the Namosau creek with uprooted trees, debris and silts deposited on the suburban flat land of Yalalevu. Many single storey houses get flooded up to the ceiling. Residents of Yalalevu should thank God that the floodwaters came at 7am in the morning and not in the dark of the night or early hours of the morning. There could have been dozens of deaths as was the case in Ba from the 1952 devastating flood. We, the concerned residents of Yalalevu, would like to ask the Minister for Waterways to revisit Ba’s flood prone areas and find solutions and methods to combat flooding through proper planning of the Ba waterways. Discussions with people affected by the flood will be appreciated.
S SHANKAR, Yalalevu, Ba

School AGM

I AM a parent at a school in Navua with pupils from Year 1 to Year 8. Last Saturday (28/05, I was informed by another parent that the AGM was supposed to take place, however, was postponed because the number of parents in attendance did not meet the quorum. From here I enquired why I was not informed since I am a parent and the fact revealed that the letter of invitation to the AGM was only distributed to parents of a particular ethnic group. To be realistic, about 50 per cent or may be more are parents of the school who do not belong to this particular ethnic group and yet we do not have the right to attend the most important meeting of the school which is the annual general meeting. Since Fiji is a multicultural society with its Constitution stating that we are all Fijians, is it possible that division is still very much happening in sectors such as schools where only certain parents who follow a particular tradition, whichever it might be, are invited to attend the AGM excluding all others? Can the Ministry of Education look into this matter and see if there are other schools out there in Fiji that may have similar practice of inviting parents of only one ethnicity? Can we be informed whether it is the right practice or not, and if it is so, then can we be provided with proper justification?

Japanese school system

I’VE stared at this column for years reading other people’s letters and for the first time I read a letter that I so totally and wholeheartedly agree with that it provokes my first letter to the editor. Paras Naidu’s letter in The Fiji Times on May 3, 2018 (Character building), about what the Japanese school system teaches Japanese children first — manners, proper use of toilet facility, proper disposal of rubbish, tidying up after oneself and the list of these good behavioural training goes on. It is the basis for the orderly society that was evident to the watching world after the March 11, 2011 events so poignant to see the way that even the emotions are held in check. Professors are the ones training the little ones, unlike here professors are found teaching only in tertiary institutions. My granddaughter is a product of Japanese pre-school training and I see daily the benefits of such a training. Even her local schoolteacher videotaped how she prepared a space to eat, ate her meal and tidied everything up in a bundle and packed everything away in her bag for disposal later. She was taping it more for the novelty of such unusual orderly behavior next to the unrestrained disorder displayed by the rest of her class in the simple task of eating lunch. Hence, I fully subscribe to the view that if this training is introduced in Fiji, that what Paras states at the end of his letter will be the result. I recall that another letter in this column months ago, maybe it was written by Kirti Patel, who said something along the lines of teaching our children to be good rather than smart. Nation building begins with pre-school. This aligns with certain posters released by the Ministry of Health that children are most mouldable at the period from while they’re still in the wombs of their mothers up to age five. My Bible tells me that teaching children when they’re young ensures they will not deviate from the discipline later in life. The Yellow Ribbon program, while a good initiative, is more like damage control. We are trying with the prisoner rehabilitation program to bend a fully grown hardened tree as opposed to training/guiding tender shoots, when we start much earlier in a person’s life to set the basics in place. If we get our priorities right in our education system, we will achieve a more orderly society like the Japanese have in recent history.
NIKO BUKARAU, Vunisinu, Rewa

Sumptuous victory

CONGRATULATIONS to coach Gareth Baber and his gallant boys for their sumptuous victory at the Singapore 7s. The Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team deserves accolades from all Fijians who watched the melodrama. I wish to savour the moment with lyrics of the American musician Lenny Kravitz, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “Here we are still together, We are one, So much time wasted, Playing games with love. So many tears I’ve cried, So much pain inside, But baby it ain’t over ’til it’s over …” So was the situation in the final. With one minute seven seconds remaining, John Porch scored a “superman” try for the Aussies to snatch the lead. The Australian bench got restless for the final whistle and their forward pack seemed to whisper in the Fijian forwards’ ears during the final scrum. “There is no way you guys can win now,” mesmerising Naduva was mumbling. “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Seconds later, he catapulted, leaving a trail of Aussies gasping for thin air. That try was like all other tries but perfect among the tries. And I said, “Now it’s over”. Toso Viti.
ARUN PRASAD Dilkusha, Nausori

Soccer and rugby

BOTH the two are played with interest, passion and pride. For rugby, it’s our national sport. Those boys who put on that white jumper have all the weight of the nation and its people on their shoulders. The interest, passion and pride rolls down in the form of tears whenever they stand before the national anthem. That shows the real country pride. It is crystal clear from the preparation right down to post matches. You go to any village at 5pm and you will see people playing rugby. This has set the trend and it directly feeds the district which in return feeds the national side. This was envisaged some 25 years ago and now it’s in the right path and is producing right results. The grassroots development is very important. This will lead to a strong competition and eventually lead to a very strong national side. As for soccer, it’s all opposite. I believe they are doing all their best to arrange and play internationals just to show their fans the improved ranking. No club games, just aim for district and national games. I believe the fact of the matter is never ever will we reach the 80s ranking. Never. Just play for health, not wealth. And enjoy. You will remain where you are.

Good strategy

IF you analyse the set-up of the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team, we have Jerry, Nasilasila, Nacuqu and now Teri Tamani all playmakers in the team. These players are sharing the halfback and the playmaker roles among them confusing the opposition whenever on the field. This is a good strategy by Gareth Baber to keep interchanging these two position’s roles among these players. Naduva and Sau provide that blistering speed in the wings and the injection of Keponi Paul at rover if done will complete a Army/Police backline force. Only the kick-offs need to be tidied and we are off the blocks. Kunavula needs to be injected more after the break and the “Eyes” fever needs to complete the puzzle. Joka kece kon Roki… SHALWYN PRASAD Nabua, Suva Fun sports I have heard of business house sports being high on the agenda. While this is really good news to hear of such an initiative, it is equally important that those participating in such fun and enjoyable activity have some level of fitness. This type of fun sports also supports the quest to fight NCDs which have notably been on the rise for many years. Having some level of fitness ensures lowering the risks of sustaining common injuries such as sprain of the ankle or knees and other musculoskeletal traumas. All in all, while most of us are eager to be part of this fun-filled activity, it reminds us again on the importance of being consistent in our morning or afternoon walks. All the best folks and safe weekend!

Thank you

VINAKA The Fiji Times for your report, sagacity and intelligence, selfless service to humanity, the poor, the under privileged and the less fortunate Fijian families who will never be able to afford a heart operation for their dear child who would most likely be in their graveyards today if not for the vision of Mahendra and Maya Tappoo, Rajendra Kumar and Kamlesh Tappoo with his group of trustees. The establishment of the first specialised heart care centre at Nasese, Suva with assistance from Government must be applauded by every Fijian. Welcome home Sri Sathya Sanjeevani Medical Centre. From Fijian babies to teenage children, all have been granted the extended gift of life through the repair of their respective sophisticated heart ailments from this very highly specialised Indian heart specialists. The services are free of charge and also includes children from the South Pacific but the success and smiles on the individual faces of these dear future Fijian leaders after the operation speaks volume and are the expressions of their profound appreciations. This is unheard of but the Government of India with our Fijian Government must be thanked, commended and congratulated for the facilitation of such establishments that will benefit a lot of children in the region. I personally believe and wish to ask the College of Honours through the Office of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Fiji Jioji Konrote to please bestow a medal each to those named above from the Order of Fiji Medal to recognise their sacrifice and humanitarian contribution to the future custodians of Fiji and other small Pacific island states. These are a group of good Samaritans who deserve the country’s recognition and all Fijians’ sincere appreciation for their contribution. May the great Lord abundantly bless their families, children, business and their good souls. These are the very issues Fijians will hold dear to them and will always cherish through their lifetime.

The real excitement

HATS off to Gareth Baber for turning our 7s side into game beaters! The performance at the weekend caught the eyes of many who saw what our players were capable of doing. Fiji performed beyond expectations and our boys snatched a dramatic victory in the dying moments. I am pleased that Baber stood by his players when the tide was against them and his faith was rewarded and our players have become household heroes and the only team to win four tournaments in the circuit. We lead the Blitzbokke, whose 7s academy was highly praised by commentators and rugby pundits. We lead big rugby nations such as USA, NZ, England and Australia who invest millions of dollars in player welfare and grassroots development. We were 5th at one stage but now lead the WRSS circuit. It’s all because of the hard yards put at training by Baber and our boys while we are enjoying in the comforts of our homes. I am pleased with Baber’s attitude, progress and achievements and the fact that we are seeing Fijian rugby at its very best. I read with delight Baber’s comments in yesterday’s The Fiji Times and I quote, “We are confident in the way we play. We don’t play like anybody else. The unorthodox or open style of rugby such as throwing the ball around or passing, scissors passing, impromptu double ups and off-loads are weapons Fiji teams unleash to our advantage” and I must acknowledge the vision that he has for a small Pacific island nation such as ours and the part the Welshman has played in Fiji 7s rugby’s success despite the barrage of criticism labelled against him. June is not far away and we are in a tough pool in London. Our boys face Commonwealth 7s gold medallists NZ and Scotland and Argentina, who love the underdogs tag. Barring any upset, our boys are likely to face South Sea Islanders Samoa and hosts England in the semis. A mouth-watering final against South Africa is on the line. I hope that our boys will be given a rest before they hit the training grounds to reclaim the WRSS title that we lost to the Boks. Vinaka vakalevu team Fiji! It’s not over yet and the real excitement begins now as our boys prepare to defend the lead on the points table.

Velovelo bridge

PEOPLE travelling between Nadi and Lautoka have to pass the Velovelo bridge every day and that has become a nightmare for them. Long queues in the morning and afternoon. That bridge is sinking centimetre by centimetre daily and the Fiji Roads Authority has built humps on both ends to save the bridge but they don’t realise that sooner or later that bridge will give up. Do they have any Plan B if that happens. It will completely cut off the traffic flow between Lautoka and Nadi and there is no other alternative route to supplement that. Knowing that the bridge will come down any day, why don’t they start to build a new bridge now before it is too late. It is a small creek and should not take much time to construct the new bridge. The cane crushing season will start soon, will the bridge be able to take that load? Wake up Fiji Roads Authority and get the construction work going now before something drastic happens.

Please fix it

YESTERDAY I drove across the Velovelo bridge. Yay, the potholes have been filled — with mud. I have a feeling some motorists travelling to and fro for work, school and business purposes are dropping soil and gravel into the potholes. Hey, thank you guys. Now, someone has to get rid of the two road humps. But, on behalf of the people who cross the bridge every day, please fix it. Or we will fix it.
ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

More Stories