Letters to the Editor (02) – June 9

Fiji Airways Fiji 7s' Semi Radradra breaks through the Ireland defense on day two of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in London on 3rd June, 2018. Picture: World Rugby

Last tango in Paris
So this weekend will see the final leg of the 2017/2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
With Fiji’s present form, I am sure the boys will deliver.
Paris is where the last tango will happen.
Or like the movie title — Last Tango in Paris.
I am prepared for some serious watching and cheering and tangoring with my basin of yaqona.
Bring on Paris.
Allen Lockington
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Congratulations in order
Congratulations to our winning 7s team come Monday morning. You will always be our champion!
What fantastic sporting weekends we’ve been going through.
Some of my mates did not turn up to work on Monday after watching the London 7s throughout the night.
Their excuse was “national duty leave”, meaning, watching rugby.
There have been words said which are not enough to describe their brand of rugby, but I remember what my friend from Droca in Bua told me once, “You know, my horse is improving in every race, from heaven to heaven”, even though they never won any.
During Ben Ryan’s interview with CNN after the Olympics gold win in 2016, he mentioned that while rugby stars are too nervous to take the field, our boys run to the field as though they were running out to lunch break with their mates.
Run and enjoy your rugby from heaven to heaven!
I am looking forward to celebrate in style, but definitely not with kosa from Sukha Singh in Labasa.
Usaia Tagi

A feather in the cap
I believe winning the 2017/2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and the Paris tournament this weekend will be just like adding a feather in the cap.
However, as we all are aware by no means the task will be an easy one.
With such a difficult pool, every game will be just like a final.
Teams are going to target us.
A lapse in concentration could cost us the game.
We may be the most consistent team in the series by winning five tournaments but all could be nullified should we not achieve the desired results.
I firmly believe that our whole series is on the line.
A win is also going to boost our chances of winning the Rugby World Cup Sevens which is just around the corner.
Let’s hope and pray that the best happens.
Go Fiji, go.
Pranil Ram
Votualeveu, Nadi

Baber critics
To all the critics of Gareth Baber, you have gone mute it seems.
It was not long ago when Barber entered as a newly-elected coach for Fiji and after losing some games some people just started jumping the gun.
Some started comparing him with Ben Ryan not realising that it was not the coach but the idea of winning was so infused in all at Ryan’s time that anything otherwise seemed to be a nightmare.
Everything takes time.
Today many people are praising the present coach.
While it is true results speak for themselves, self reliance, understanding and patience are vital in some circumstances.
To team Fiji and Baber, you have made us so proud.
We thank you for your hard work and dedication.
We appreciate your effort and we are right with you regardless of a win or loss.
Paris 7s here we come.
Toso Viti.
Kirti Patel

Here we come
Paris here we come with fire in our souls and all ready to go.
Seems we have a good pool with some tough customers and all, but we’re here to do business and whoever it is we meet it’s go Fiji, go.
Toso Viti, quite a tough go in the series and quite a long way to this last leg.
This is the showdown for who is the best.
Respect for all, fear none.
We’re with you all the way.
Our prayers and in every game.
Richard M Abel

The mileage
With the resumption of Paris 7s and the final tournament of the 2017/2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this weekend, our boys would be out there to deliver their best performance.
The inclusion of the “Beast” should prove deadly for the opponents.
The Viti boys must use all their weapons in their armoury to bring this prestigious cup to our shores.
The warriors must exert every ounce of energy to taste victory.
I am very optimistic that the holy grail of this series would be resting in our cabinets from next week.
While thousands of fans would be glued to their screens, we must also think of the mileage the team is carrying.
It is just superb, awesome and commendable.
I personally feel that the players must be given greater recognition and monetary gains so that we continue to dominate the sevens code.
Sevens is watched and loved by the majority of our population and our dominance must continue.
This is only possible if we maintain our consistency and player development.
Of course the coaching panel must be acknowledged for the splendid work.
It sets the platform that if we are to rise we need excellent teamwork, dedication and sheer hard work.
I hope power play, hard hitting tackles, discipline, good mentoring and sustaining of pressure would continue to flow.
Let victory be ours … toso Viti, toso.
Naveen Dutt

London was superb
London was superb, the team played magnificently.
Let’s hope and pray Paris is no different.
All the best.
Dan Urai

Great Pacific showdown
Those who take keen interest in Pacific rugby will be enticed with the fact that the battles between Fiji and Samoa have always been exciting, brutal, entertaining and lively, and not only bringing out the best from the field of play but also from patriotic Samoan and Fijian spectators.
When the match would be played in Samoa and I used to watch the game live on Fiji One, the atmosphere and “sea of blue” added flavour and extra gist to the entertainment on and off the field.
That golden 1990s period when Bryan Williams coached Samoa and the boys in blue were a force to be reckoned with.
The likes of Trevor Leota, Michael Mika, Paramore, Semo Sititi, Pat Lam, Steven So’oialo, Fa’atonu Fili, Stephen Bachop, Tanner Vili, Va’aiga ‘Inga the Winga’ Tuigamala, Terry Fanolua, Brian Lima and Earl Va’a were a delight to watch.
They were enterprising and made ‘tidal hits’ that shook opponents.
Back then Fiji found the tough going against Samoa but head coach Brad Johnstone would devise ways to beat Samoa.
The glorious days when the likes of Greg Smith, Bill Cavubati, Jo Veitayaki, ‘Skylab’ Katalau, current Aussie forwards coach Raiwalui, Ifereimi Tawake, the Rauluni brothers Jacob and Mo, my best flyhalf Nicky Little, Fero, Sotutu, Satala, Alfie Uluinayau, Bari, Naituivau, Isaia Rasila, Naevo, Mocelutu, Nakauta, former Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson, Lautoka’s Niko Qoro, current Naitasiri coach Sewabu, former Tailevu coach Inoke Male, powerhouse Sale Sorovaki and current Rewa coach Alifereti Doviverata graced the national jumper, come back to life.
I wish I could rewind time.
Unfortunately, that’s something beyond my control and I live with memories.
As our boys don the national jumper and come head to head with our traditional rivals, I urge the Flying Fijians to play with pride.
Please, put your bodies on the line and defend like men possessed with passion.
We have an explosive side in Ma’afu, Tuapati, Saulo, Api, the ‘King of offloads’, Waqa, Olympics gold medallist Mata, tireless servant of Fiji rugby- veteran Qera, Seniloli, Volavola, Goneva, Galala, Jale, Masi and Kini.
Samoa has bulk of overseas-based players and the likes of Fidow, Leiua, Sinoti, reliable kicker Pisi, Fa’asalele and Luamano will be threats.
They have the rugby brains in their most successful 7s coach Tafua under whose reign Samoa won the World Rugby Sevens Series title.
I wish Fiji all the best for our first Pacific Nations Cup battle and I look forward to the great Pacific showdown.
Toso Viti!
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam
Nadawa, Nasinu

Good old fishing days
World Oceans Day is celebrated each year on June 8 to raise awareness on the value of oceans and challenges experienced in protecting them.
Reflecting on this day brings back good old memories.
One can still recall fishing off the Labasa Bridge during salala seasons as the fish would come in thousands, if not millions, in the rivers and drawing the attention of many fishermen and women.
The police would get fed up at times having to control the fishers who would crowd the road, bridge and with some sitting on the tramlines during evenings.
With triple hooks and bait from flour and juice of canned fish, people of Labasa would catch so much salala, but nowadays the story is different.
Kelemusu River was a favourite fishing spot.
Still in the fond memories among former residents of the Fiji Sugar Corporation compound who have long migrated.
Fishing off Lautoka waters in the late 1980s and early 1990s, fishermen did not have to go beyond Vomo Island to fetch decent catches, but it is not the same now.
I can still recall fishing off Vomo Island in the early mornings, a favourite spot for the donu (coral trout) and batisai.
In the 1980s, we were fond of fishing for malea along the creeks of Waiyavi Stage 2 and Tomuka in Lautoka but for some reason people began to dump more rubbish and waste there.
Wherever the spot, fishing generally appears to have the same story with less fish, longer hours and having to travel further out to sea before fetching decent catches.
As we reflect on the urgent need to protect and conserve the oceans, let’s not forget the good old memories and take time to tell our young ones stories about the good old fishing days.

In the pipeline
I was reading (FT 07/06) that a $100,000 rice storehouse project was in the pipeline.
The report goes on to say that a budget of $100,000 has been allocated to build a storehouse for rice farmers in the North.
Please pardon me for my impishness, what amused me is that I’ve heard about pipelines before.
I can be really annoying, eh.
Allen Lockington
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Madam Tupou
Anyone know the whereabouts of Madam Tupou Draunidalo?
I strongly believe that she should rejoin NFP because her presence in the party and in Parliament was greatly appreciated by her supporters and party followers.
I also believe that she still has a lot to offer NFP and our beloved nation.
Her comeback would definitely add more firepower to the current list of proposed NFP candidates.
Gulsher Ali

Rubbish dumping
I had to laugh when I read a post on Facebook about the rubbish dumped in an island in the Yasawa by a shipping company and highlighted by a family.
The person said people on land throw their rubbish into waterways and it goes to sea. Now people who work on a boat sailing the Fiji waters bring their rubbish from the sea and dump it on land.
Anyway, what has happened to this case, has anyone been prosecuted?
Or have they been smacked on the wrist.
If I had been in charge I’d give them a good kodi — and that, translated into dollars would amount to a $20,000 fine.
Allen Lockington
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Stomach stapling
Sometimes I wonder why people are not able to control their eating habits and once obese, they spend thousands of dollars on stomach stapling?
Why do we have to reduce the stomach in size? Why not reduce on what we eat!
Arun Prasad
Dilkusha, Nausori

NCD battle
The very idea that our Government is obliged to spend in excess of $400 million per year on NCD-related treatments is astounding.
I tried to believe it was just a typo, but given the fact that 80 per cent of deaths in Fiji are from non-communicable diseases (FT 06/06) it is believable.
Fiji tops the world list of per capita cases of diabetes. This is a terrible statistic. While Fiji is a Pacific leader in many respects, we should be ashamed of this health figure.
Just imagine what could be done with that amount of money to benefit the country and the people, if it wasn’t being used to treat avoidable diseases? How many scholarships could be created for students to study in fields vitally important to the progress and development of the country?
Agriculture, forestry, medicine, the environment, human rights, just for a start? With a better educated population, we can generate more revenue to improve our roads, hospitals, schools, energy and water supplies. We could build access roads and bridges to remote villages so children could reach schools and clinics safely.
Over a 10-year period, we’re looking at $4 billion, a phenomenal sum of money that could be so much better spent if people took better care of their health and stopped costing the country money. Is this fair? Should those who do eat properly and get a little regular exercise, who teach their children to understand why this matters, be content to see their tax dollars spent on treatments for those who will not take proper care of their bodies?
Who teaches their children to adopt the very same eating habits and lifestyles that will cause them and us problems in the future? Wouldn’t we all prefer to see the money go into programs to help develop the country for the benefit of future generations?
Why have we failed to convince so many of our population to adopt smarter, healthier lifestyles? What can we do that we are not already doing? How do we convince people to break old habits and exchange them for new? Reducing sugar (check the ingredients in the food products you buy) and taking a walk seems a small thing to do, but the perceived benefits are often too distant and insufficient motivation.
Sugar is addictive, and very much part of the culture of the South Pacific. Eating is sociable and enjoyable, as well as necessary to life, but we need to find the balance between sufficiency and surfeit. You eat more food (energy) than you use, you store it in your body, get fat and unfit.
How often do we see very young children with a sugary drink in their hands or mouth (rotting their teeth)?
Do their parents realise that these same children are at greater risk of losing one of those cute little legs when they are older, just because as children they are given sweet treats by people who love them. If you love your child, please consider what you teach them to enjoy. Babies do not need sugar added to their milk. Lollies, sugary drinks (waste of money anyway — wai or bu are better) and take-away foods full of salt, sugar and fat can all be avoided, or enjoyed only occasionally.
You could save not only your child’s legs (or kidneys, heart, eyesight) later on, but help ensure their quality of life, and reduce the national health debt.
No one would suggest we should never enjoy a little treat, but we simply cannot afford to include such foods in our everyday lives. The price is too high, and for many, death comes bit by bit, as amputations take away your body one piece at a time.
Shocking? Hard to read or accept? Sure — but let’s not sugar-coat the facts. Until habits change and the nation becomes healthy, people we love will continue to suffer through the habits they were taught as children.
What did hearten me however, was the article describing the hospital ship, MLC Veivueti, that is to be provided by Government Shipping Services to islanders in the more remote parts of the country. This makes such enormous sense and is one of the best pieces of news I’ve heard for a long time. Taking health education, clinics, hospital and emergency services (even water to drought-stricken islands) to those who would otherwise be without is a magnificent step forward in our efforts to ensure all people receive medical care, both preventive and curative.
It can also begin to make inroads into the issue of lifestyle diseases, by providing the information needed to educate people and encourage them to improve the quality of their lives. Consider the cost of this vessel — said to be a mere $8 million — which will bring health services to some 10,000 people.
Think how many more of these vessels we could use to provide health care for tens of thousands of people, simply through reducing the cost of treatment for lifestyle diseases, which are diseases of choice. How much better it would be if we could spend less on treating lifestyle diseases, and more on preventing them with enough ships and travelling clinics to inland communities that everyone could enjoy good health and live to a healthy old age.
Perhaps we need to ask diabetics themselves what they would choose to do differently, if they’d known where their lifestyle habits would lead them? What advice do they have for others? Were they taught as children to enjoy sweet food and drinks? Did their families enjoy regular exercise? What do they teach their own children?
Vivien Counsell Mitchell

Cheating the system
Some hardware and homeware shops are smiling and laughing out loud all the way to the bank with the M-PAiSA HOMES-CARE and FarmS-care programs that are currently running.
What I mean by the above is the exorbitant mark-up that they have put on top of the already marked-up prices on their items. It is unbelievable that there is no control put in place to prevent this daylight robbery tactic that looks perfectly legal with the M-PAiSA deal.
What I would like to know is if the ministers and ministries under which this assistance was given are aware of this.
An automatic washing machine that normally was being sold for $600 is now a whopping $995 whereas a twin tub washer that was $599 is now selling at $945. Wall tiles that were 80 cents a piece are now selling at $1.36 a piece. Dinner plates that were selling at $1.26 are now selling for $2.26 each. Serving bowls that were $3.50 a piece are now being sold at $9.50 a piece.
These are just some items that I am talking about here and these items already had marked prices when they were being sold before the assistance programs began.
In light of the above, I just hope that those running the M-PAiSA programs are doing spot checks at the outlets that are authorised for M-PAiSA.
Reapi Nayacakalou

Lapping up ‘Adrift’

Making my way to the movie Adrift, I did not realise why there was a strong sense of excitement and buzz among the audience even well before the movie started.
The kaila and giggle began early as members of the audience recognised places such as the Yacht Club, Suva market and parts of town.
Watching the movie was like viewing Tahiti in Fiji.
It was nice to hear the Fijian accent when an officer enquired about the main actress’s purpose of visit to Tahiti.
One has to give credit to producers for creating near like Tahiti scenes in parts of Fiji.
People in the market and parts of Suva were dressed in Tahitian island attire and the dancing was like creating Tahiti in Fiji.
However, watching through the movie one may become bored as it focused on two main characters out at sea.
As the scenes went back and forth between the present and the past, it took a toll on some viewers who appeared adrift.
At times they were a little lost at times wondering whether it was a dream of the main character or reality.
Even before the movie started, there were comments about the main character dating one of our very own Flying Fijians, something lots of female viewers fancied as well as envied.
Let’s hope that the Flying Fijian remains focused in the all-important match against Samoa and is not adrift.
All in all this is a movie worth watching as it shows some beautiful scenes of Fiji with our own local actors but just be prepared.
The movie lives up to its title as sometimes viewers feel like they are adrift and left wondering.

Floyd Robinson
Toorak, Suva


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