An important day ahead

DIWALI holds a special place in the lives of many Fijians. It cuts through demarcation lines separating religious beliefs.

We live in a country that is truly multiracial. In the face of walls of ethnicity, gender and religion, we enjoy many things together.

We have celebrated various religious events in our own little ways.

There is a deep appreciation of the importance of such events.

In our own little ways, we acknowledge the important place these events have in our lives and the lives of our neighbours.

And that’s something that makes us unique. We are different because we value one another’s company. We appreciate one another even if we sometimes do not realise this, or understand it.

As a nation, we share in the pain and sorrow when our national rugby sevens team loses and we lap up the joy of victory.

We stood tall and proud when the national side won the gold medal at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio in August and we were overjoyed when they touched down at Nadi International Airport with their prizes.

We were overwhelmed by that victory and we did not hold back in celebration.

This weekend, we will celebrate Diwali. It is a very special day for Hindus around the country. It is a day, and night, to celebrate arguably the most important festival of the year.

Diwali, among other things, is about families celebrating and performing traditional activities together at home.

It is about light and darkness, with emphasis placed on the triumph of good over evil.

As Health and Medical Services Minister Rosy Akbar pointed out in our report on Page 5 today, Diwali is a time to come together, dissolve issues of the past and work towards a brighter future. She relayed this message to people who were part of Diwali celebrations at the senior citizens centre in Ba yesterday.

The main focus of Diwali, she said, was to put aside differences and celebrate the festival with everyone in the community.

She also encouraged members of the public to reflect on their lives and work on becoming better individuals.

Considering the expected heavy usage of lights on Diwali night and as we count down the days to this important date, perhaps we should take heed of some important advice from Hasmukh Patel, the chief executive officer of the Fiji Electricity Authority.

Accidents and sometimes fatalities can occur because people are unaware of safety hazards, he said in a statement yesterday.

He urged people to take precautions and “ensure electrical safety at all times and engage the services of registered electrical contractors where necessary”.

As we look forward to this very special day, let us be proactive and responsible.

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