Letters to the Editor – April 13, 2019

The victorious Fiji Airways Fiji sevens team. Picture: FT FILE/JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Watching the big three

The Hong Kong battle has been won, however, if there is any slight hope that we are safe in the top four then let’s think twice. The top three teams are separated by five and seven points and the fourth team lags behind 19 points. For sure we will have a new series winner if South Africa does not win in Singapore and continues the run in London and Paris. The race is now on with USA, Fiji, New Zealand, South Africa and England — safe to battle the top four Olympics qualifiers. Samoa on 74 points have a wild card chance to sneak through if South Africa and England continue to fall in the last three tournaments. Fiji, NZ and USA will need to make it to the semis to keep the hunt on the series while South Africa and England need to now make it to the finals of the remaining tournments. England and South Africa can spoil the party for the top three if they come firing in Singapore and Fiji’s campaign is tough as South Africa is in their pool this weekend so it’s all back to basics. Let’s focus on the three big tournaments from this weekend and any wins until now do not matter. What happens from now matters. Keep the ball rolling and talanoa and talanoa on the big three ahead. Joka na qito sevens, joka o Viti. Shalwyn Prasad Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

English mistakes

I have no problem seeing the funny side of someone writing “lamb” as “lamp” (FT 12/4), but it does raise some serious issues. First, given that it is a reflection of real pronunciation in Fiji English, I’ve never heard it myself, but I’m told that lemp is indeed an alternative pronunciation to the usual lem — should we be critical? This type of pronunciation “mistake” is based on “spelling pronunciation” and occurs even among native speakers of English (and other written languages with irregular spelling systems), so it is hardly surprising that we see a person who cannot speak described as dump or the largest “finger” called a thump, both of which I have read in The Fiji Times, and no doubt occur in other media. More generally, our approach to the teaching of English over the past 90 years or so, in particular enforcing English in schools and banning vernaculars, has inevitably led to a fall in the standard of English, reflected in the prevalence of Fiji English even among most teachers. My belief is that the standard of English will only improve once we start teaching it through the medium of the students’ own languages, as is done all over the world. As for the practice of punishing students for speaking their vernaculars, which I believe still persists in some schools, I hope that very soon educational authorities will realise that it has no positive effect on the students’ ability in either their vernacular or English. Paul Geraghty USP, Suva

ILO celebrates milestone

I must compliment The Fiji Times for covering the International Labour Organization’s centennial celebration at USP’s Japan-Pacific ICT centre. It was a delight seeing the tripartite reps — Felix Anthony (FTUC), Nesbitt Hazelman (FCEF CEO) and Parveen Kumar (Employment Minister) join ILO’s Pacific director Donglin Li to commemorate ILO’s 100 years of existence. Workers all over the world owe gratitude to ILO and trade unions for making their working conditions better and for continuously fighting to restore workers’ rights, representation and a decent wage. ILO has adopted 189 conventions and 205 recommendations to help establish principles whereby working conditions and labour rights can be improved. Furthermore, Fiji has ratified 38 ILO conventions since 1974 and I believe it’s high time a public holiday (Labour Day) be declared in appreciation of the sweat and tears and the contribution and commitment made by workers. Finally, I commend ILO for its vision and leadership in creating better employment relations and I hope that ILO will continue to protect workers and safeguard their interests in Fiji and the globe. After all, a labourer moulds an economy! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Bus companies

The concerns raised by bus companies are genuine. Once overcrowded with passengers, many buses are now going around almost empty. Some companies have resorted to having an employee in the bus with a portable e-ticketing machine. Apart from tapping e-ticketing cards on the machine, he or she stands near the entrance to call people standing on roadsides into the bus. It is not only increase in other public transportation means that has created this financial issue for bus companies. It is also because of the fact that Fiji is by far and still a cash based society. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Sleepers and swindlers

Our Fiji Immigration Department has warned us to keep a lookout for “sleepers”, who are foreigners who stay in communities blending in with locals while having illegal affiliations (FT 11/04). There is no doubt that up here in the North we not only have sleepers, but foreign swindlers as well. We certainly have many suspicious looking people amidst us. The best possible solution
for locals to help Immigration Department out is for it to publish the names and photos of those immigrants who have settled
in illegally. Time for them to wake up and get out! SIMON HAZELMAN, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Historic victory

After the historic victory in Hong Kong, a few Fiji fans with the Army 10’s team got together at the Kerry Hotel in Kowloon where all the international teams were accommodated for the Hong Kong leg. The Army team were also accommodated at the same hotel and decided to celebrate with the yaqona session. To our surprise were the presence of New Zealand 7s rep Jo Ravouvou and Akuila Rokosolia, Japan players Kameli Soejima and Lote Tuqiri. Our 7s players tucked in to bed early after a hectic weekend but only the team manager Jone Niurua was only around for a few bowls. The Army team had former Fiji sevens captain and 15s rugby Elia Rokowaloa . Most had their voices affected by the cheering earlier on as Fiji cruised to the fifth victory in a row and all promised to have a go again next year for the sixth one. Tomasi Boginiso Nasinu

Point to note

Like Arvind Mani (30/3), I sometimes wonder whether there’s any point in taking the time and trouble to write letters to the editor when no-one seems to take any notice of them. As a case in point, I wrote just a few weeks ago: “Many famous international athletes have run barefoot, notably England’s Bruce Tulloh and South Africa’s Zola Budd, and there is no scientific evidence that it is in any way detrimental to health or safety. Particularly in Fiji, where most students have run barefoot all their lives, it is taking a great risk to ask them to suddenly switch to wearing shoes.” I could have added, at the great expense of their parents. Nevertheless, your sports reporter resumed this mindless mantra in last Sunday’s paper (31/3), writing: “In this day and age special shoes are a must for athletes participating in competitions like the Coca-Cola Games.” May I ask why? “In this day and age” is not a reason, it is blind veimurimuri (following the crowd). Turaga Edita, this newspaper which we are so proud of could become an even more effective vehicle for positive change if your staff members read the letters to the editor and acted on them, following up with appropriate authorities where appropriate, then reporting on the response. Paul Geraghty USP, Suva

Hong Kong celebration

Does five consecutive victories in Hong Kong call for a national celebration? This is history and we have been playing against teams with millions of dollars in annual budgets but conquering for five years in a row. Does this call for increases to our players contracts or a bonus? Meanwhile, our national fifteens coaching panel may be smiling given that a star player in the Wallabies may be losing out on his contract. This may weaken the attacking ability of the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup and possibly is to our advantage. Floyd Robinson Toorak, Suva

Consent letter

How will the birth, death and marriage office verify that a signed consent letter to uplift a copy of birth certificate is signed by the person requesting a reprinted copy of it? Just curious! Pita Soroaqali Nadarivatu

Reason please

Why have the bus companies being victimised? There are 1400 reasons for this question. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Half fare

The bus is so full every morning and one has to stand in the bus going all the way to town paying full bus fare. Can the people who cannot find a seat but still travel standing in buses to get to town pay half fare only? LTA chief executive officer can you look into this? John Brown Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka

Choose original

Consumers have been asked to choose the original. We can’t. The original cannot be located on supermarket shelves. A copy of the original does not become the original. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Natabua

All assets

I believe the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) has withdrawn mandatory report of all assets for businessmen until further consultation with stakeholders. Will the same apply to politicians and for what purpose? Dan Urai Lautoka

Same costume

I would love to see Lynda Tabuya with the same The Fiji Times costume in Parliament. Sukha Singh Labasa


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