Letters to the Editor- April 28

THE contents of the big billboards along our roads have now changed to these eye-catching and powerful words, “Embrace truth, Reject lies”.
Most of us would clearly remember the constant reminders from our parents on the importance of “not telling lies but to speak the truth at all times”.
After all what would we gain from spreading lies about someone?
Absolutely nothing!
Critics argue that social media such as Facebook is full of its long list of drama pertaining to fake news and rumors.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine the difference between the two in this day and age.
All in all, in this kind of situation it is a better and smarter approach not to get involved and be part of the circulation of uncertain “news” that pops up now and then on social media.
Like my neighbour used to say, “don’t waste your time because it’s not worth it and relax mada”.

Competent worker
I wish to highlight the professionalism of Renuka Devi, a nurse employed by Airports Fiji Ltd.
A member of my family who was scheduled to fly abroad was taken ill at the car park of the Nadi International Airport.
I rushed to the Fiji Airways counter and advised them of the sudden illness of my family member who had difficulty breathing.
AFL nurse Ms Devi rushed to the carpark and arranged a wheelchair and in 30 minutes treated my family member and made her comfortable.
The degree of professionalism shown by this nurse was beyond imagination as I was never aware that a person of such a high calibre was employed by AFL.
I would like to give credit where credit is due.
I must also congratulate Faiz Khan, the chairperson of AFL for employing such a competent worker and I believe it is a positive reflection for our country.
I also wish to congratulate Nadi airport for being ranked among the best airports internationally.
I believe this speaks volumes for the chairperson and management of AFL.
It is said, if you have a good leader, you will definitely prosper and in this case I congratulate Mr Khan for his competent and professional leadership.
As for Ms Devi, I say to her if she needs any legal advice, I am there always.

Ban Facebook
IT was initially known for connecting you with family and friends.
Apart from family, do you even know all the people you are friends with on Facebook?
I am sure you have accepted a friend request from someone you really didn’t know.
Imagine those users who have cyber-stalkers and perverts on their page because they just accepted the friend request.
I am positive there are more children who now have that problem than you could count.
There are too many cases where people are getting bullied on this site, people getting depressed and some even taking their lives.
It has caused marriage breakups, fights, arguments, racial hate speeches and posting of nude pictures.
I believe all Facebook is good for is for people to start drama with others.
I believe the people, who created Facebook don’t care what it does to people.
I believe all they care about is making dollars while millions suffer.
I say save the people and get rid of Facebook.

Sale adverts
REFERENCE is made to Allen Lockington’s letter titled “Sale Adverts” published in The Fiji Times on April 21, 2017.
Mr Lockington correctly pointed out that traders use every opportunity to put up sale adverts to market their products.
Even the floods are not spared to create sale adverts.
The Consumer Council of Fiji welcomes initiatives by traders to make a sale as long as the sale is not used as a gimmick to sell substandard products at high price or to get rid of dilapidated items not fit for purpose.
There are occasions where traders conduct sales on “as is where is” basis to get rid of flood- damaged electrical and food items which are not safe for consumers.
As for Mr Lockington’s suggestion, we look forward to his assistance to check on such sale to prevent gullible consumers from being duped into buying items which are not safe or of merchantable quality.
The council cannot be everywhere therefore it relies on consumers to bring such issues to our attention.
Consumers can take photos as evidence and send emails to complaints@consumersfiji.org or call our toll-free number 155 to lodge their complaints.
CEO, Consumer Council of Fiji

Safety precautions
THE recent weeks of bad weather has resulted in flooding around the country.
It is sad to hear the damage caused by flooding during the Easter weekend, as well as during Tropical Cyclone Keni.
It has also caused quite a stir around the country as schools and towns had to be closed, public transport being suspended and disruptions in electricity and water supply.
The work done by the relevant authorities before, during and after the disasters has to be commended.
I believe there was ample warnings given by the weather office before the disasters to allow people to prepare themselves.
However, it is really disappointing to hear that some chose to ignore these warnings and the safety advisories given by the authorities.
Pictures and videos of people walking or swimming in flooded areas have been a talking point on social media and news.
It is really sad people still continue to ignore the advice given out that has led to some lives lost during this period.
My advice to the people is to not take these warnings lightly and prepare yourself for disasters.
Losing a loved one is very painful, especially when it could have been avoided.

Horse lane
I WAS wondering if a lane for horses will also be made.
Well, I have a horse and it is dangerous to ride on the road.
Too many speeding and reckless drivers.
Whenever I ask my horse for a ride, he points to the hills and shakes his head when I point to the roads.
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Election process
WITH the upcoming general election this year, there is a lot of talk on the date on which the election will be conducted.
Potential candidates have all shown their interest in vying for a seat in Parliament and with much preparation, there is an expectancy of quality service from officials and processes alike.
From the various talanoa sessions, street talks and news articles circulating, I have noticed that this year’s election officials are going through necessary training and awareness programs to better their service delivery.
I must commend the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) for their commitment to their work and also the process via which we select our leaders.
I know it is not an easy task and despite the challenges, the FEO has risen to the task and delivered exceptionally well.
All we can ask for as citizens of this nation is for the election process to be transparent and quality driven and I am sure it will be.
The build-up to this year’s election is marked by the growing concern for good governance, development and the issue relating to climate change.
Our Prime Minister should be congratulated for his efforts and advocacy in addressing the climate change agenda in the international arena.
I for one will exercise my right to choose and vote in this election and I do hope that all Fijians will do the same as this is a privilege that we often take for granted.
Surely the saying rings true, “what we do today will affect our tomorrow”!

Plastic bag charges
A WELL-KNOWN bread shop located in urban areas around the country seems to be charging for plastic bags. I believe it should be free of charge.
What other alternative is there for the bread to be put in, potato sacks?
Wise Muavono
Hedstrom Pl, Balawa, Lautoka

Singapore battle
NOW that Baber has chosen our best to fly Fiji’s flag, all eyes will be on Fiji as our boys prepare to win their fourth title on the 7s circuit.
Fiji and South Africa will be top bets but one cannot count out the likes of NZ, Argentina, Samoa, Australia, USA, Canada and Kenya. Singapore has proved friendly to minnows as was evident when Kenya and Canada won their historic first WRSS tournament respectively in 2016 and 2017.
Fiji has maintained consistency after the epic win in Hamilton. Our boys have since then progressed beyond the quarters and went on to win the Canada and HK 7s although we had to settle for second place in the Commonwealth Games 7s.
I know our wounded boys are out to bury the disappointment of not winning in Gold Coast when they wear the white jumper and run onto the stadium.
Last year Fiji went in top guns after winning the HK 7s thrashing the Blitzbokke 22-0. After the HK 7s Fiji was in second spot with 122 points while South Africa led with 145 points.
England was third on 113 points and NZ fourth with 97 points.
Fiji, with the likes of Katonibau, Jasa, HK 2017 Player of the Final Nasoko, Kunavula, Bituniyata, Jerry, Kolinisau, Nacuqu, Nasilasila, Mocenacagi, Labalaba and Vici was top seeds in pool A and got to a flying start thrashing HK 40-0, Russia 38-7 and Canada 35-7.
Upsets marked last year’s Singapore 7s. In the cup quarters USA beat Fiji 24-19, Australia upset South Africa 19-17, Canada outclassed NZ 26-14 and England edged defending champions Kenya 13-12. Traditional giants Fiji, NZ and South Africa were drawn in the fifth place competition, what previously was the plate.
In the fifth place semis, Fiji faced off against the Blitzbokke and if there’s one player who would want to erase memories from that ugly clash, he would be “Eyes” Katonibau, who was shown the marching orders.
This year our evergreen forward gets a chance to redeem last year’s agony especially when Fiji and South Africa are poised to meet in the cup semis barring any upsets.
Canada, who got a hiding from Fiji 35-7, went on to beat USA in the final 26-19 to record a historic win.
Fiji needs to be ruthless starting from pool play when they take on Japan, Russia and Spain. Our boys could play Scotland or Australia in the cup quarters, South Africa in the semis and NZ in the cup final. A victory will take our boys to the top of the WRSS points table heading to Scotland and London. Thus, it is essential that every opportunity and luck be utilised. I pick Nasoko, Paula, Josua, Nasilasila, Jerry, Mocenacagi and Sau in the starting seven. My best wishes to our 7s team in their bid to capture the Singapore 7s title! Toso Viti!
Nadawa, Nasinu.

PM’s warning
WHEN Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama warns us Fijians not to be swayed by messages from politicians, I am sure he is referring to politicians from parties other than the FijiFirst party.

Climate change
THERE is so much talk about climate change that sometimes the topic can get repetitive if not boring at times.
The other day I met an elderly man selling food parcels on the street who had an interesting perspective. He claims that climate change has implications on sexual activity and fertility.
For a while I thought he was joking but thinking about it, I realised that he may have a point.
Doing a Google search, it indicates that climate change has impacts but this aspect of climate change deserves further research as the implications could be both positive and negative.
As I walked away from him, he stated “us people from the streets also people, also smart too”.
All in all, an interesting perspective which deserves further scientific attention.

Back to basics
THE Fiji Pearls’ performance and rankings seem to be on a downward spiral.
A friend suggests they start again from basics but using coconuts.
Hedstrom Pl, Balawa, Lautoka.

Long wait
WE will have to wait another four years for that Commonwealth Games 7s gold. If only this, if only that, I can see that the boys were so tired. Wait another four years.
Joe Matatolu,
Waila 3A, Nausori.

YES, Wise, that’s why in my old age I love it.
Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka.

CAN someone explain to me why the streetlights on Kermode Rd, Lautoka get switched off at 4.30am daily?
Kermode Rd, Lautoka.

Aid to farmers
WOULD somebody clarify if the same level of financial assistance given to canefarmers are also extended to other farmers who also suffered damage from recent natural disasters?
Kini St, Suva.

Here we come again
SINGAPORE, here we come again and this time our lads are out to do the job.
Let’s hope there isn’t any repeats of how the last finals went down and more of the fireworks our gladiators are known for.
It’s surely on the wall that our warriors are out to do what they do best and that is to show the world what 7s rugby is all about.
That said, our prayers are with you our heroes at the Singapore 7s.
Toso Viti, Toso.
Tubou St, Samabula, Suva.

7s news
I WAS told that the iTaukei talkback show the other day were dissecting the good news that the number one 7s players for Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa, who opted not to play in Hong Kong, have been suspended from the rest of the 2017/2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
While this news is great news for us Fiji sevens fans, problem is, both our dailies have not mentioned anything, putting a big question mark in my mind?
Could someone please inform us about the truth of this matter?
Go Fiji, go.

Beyond athletics
IN August last year, when RKS created history winning all grades in the Deans Secondary Schools Rugby competition, I penned a few lines titled post Deans.
This year, after the Coca-Cola Games, with some subtle editing, may I share similar thoughts and hopes for all the athletes who participated in the recently concluded national athletics meet.
Firstly, congratulations to Ratu Kadavulevu School and Adi Cakobau School for winning the most gold medals.
Further congratulations to all the athletes, coaches, teachers, FSSAA officials, support staff members, parents, guardians, former scholars, community leaders, sponsors and all the fans who played a part in the success of the competition.
There are certain questions that may be asked post Coke Games or Fiji Finals as it was called then.
What now after the Coke Games? What have all the athletes gained? What have the sports administrators learned? How about the coaches? How about the organizers? How about the parents, guardians and all the supporters? What does the future hold for our young athletes?
In this short piece, I share my views on my hopes as regards what all the athletes would have learned throughout the campaign.
I hope that the athletes learned the value of good time management; getting up early, doing the necessaries before the first training run and more.
I hope that they learned about the value of having good balanced meals, and that they carry on with the practice for the rest of their lives.
I hope that they learned the value of listening to their coaches, keeping up with the team training regime and keeping their bodies physically fit.
I hope that they learned to know the rules of the game and the need that the rules be obeyed. May this also translate to their learning to respect and abide by all the laws of the land.
I hope that they learned to respect the official’s decisions; including others in authority, their parents and their elders.
I hope that they also learned to respect fellow athletes and all individuals.
May they also learn that this does not mean being reticent.
May they forge lasting friendships, not only with team members but also with fellow competitors.
I hope that they learned the value of teamwork and how all are to play their part in achieving the teams goals. May they learn that even after representing Fiji at the Commonwealth Games, all are equal as fellow student athletes.
May they also learn that sometimes mistakes do happen.
Some may get disqualified. It’s all part of the learning process; both for the athletes and officials.
May they learn that together with sports, one can also learn the value of tilling the land and providing food security for oneself and the community one is part of.
May they develop into law abiding young adults where they can pursue their sporting dreams to higher levels. May they learn to apply their sporting prowess in their academic and other pursuits.
May they learn to rely on and believe in themselves and not be trapped in the dependency syndrome which is engulfing certain parts of our society.
May they emulate their own sports heroes and reach for the stars.
May they look beyond athletics and use all they’ve learned to meet the challenges that may come their way.
May they appreciate the value of our rich racial diversity and to remember that there are no racial lines in sports.
May all that they’ve learned, in their totality, make them noble, productive, successful, compassionate, strong, resilient and law abiding citizens of this great country of ours.
As I said last year, and I say it again here, I submit, with respect, that having learned all these and more, we are all champions!!

OFC League semi-final
I WISH Lautoka Football Club all the best in the 2018 OFC Champions League semi-final match against Marist FC in Honiara today.
So far their campaign looks good. I think the Sugar City boys played exceptionally well but were unlucky not to win at home last Sunday.
Despite the result, people of the western city should be happy the campaign is not over yet.
The Fijian side led by no-nonsense coach Kamal Swamy will, I know, leave no stone unturned to achieve a rare victory in the regional meet.
No doubt they will be up against not only the Solomon team but a vocal and cheery crowd too.
Come Saturday we will know the result but until then let’s rally our support behind the boys in blue. Please concentrate on the game plan outlined by your coach and avoid silly mistakes. We will be closely listening to the radio commentary expecting our local boys to win. Go Fiji, Go!

Win to fight for
THE Fiji 7s team has a win to fight for at the Singapore 7s to be in contention for a series win.
The focus should not be to overtake South Africa this week but to set the platform to reclaim the World Rugby Sevens Series lost to the Bitzbokke last year.
There are two tournaments remaining and anything can happen.
The management must analyse South Africa’s pool, who are they likely to meet in the quarters and semis and if we do cross path, then we must focus on a winning strategy at the quarters or semis and not just wait for the final.
Mind you the second string Bitzbokke took us to the wire at Hong Kong and we snatched a sensational extra -ime victory in the Commonwealth Games so SA is like a hungry beast on us.
But as they say we are our worst enemy and if we do not play our cards right, than Singapore will have another surprise winner just like the past two years.
Eyes to keep his cool and Jerry to marshal the troops well. Vinaka, talanoa boys.
Mukta Ben Place, Suva


Vodafone Premier League
AFTER almost a month’s break, the Vodafone Premier League begins this weekend.
Northerners Labasa and Dreketi will play two games against Rewa and Suva while Tavua will face the Men in Black.
This week’s games will have a huge impact on the points table and wins will see the Babasiga Lions take a huge lead on the VPL points table because the Blues will not be featuring this week.
I hope the Labasa side is aware of the mammoth task that lies ahead.
Rewa and Suva will be tough. Although Rewa lies at the bottom of the points table, the Delta Tigers are slowly finding their rhythm and have been preparing well for this match and also for this year’s Vodafone Fiji Fact.
Lautoka, meanwhile, after a disappointing draw against the Marist side at home last Sunday, will face a tough return match in enemy territory.
Lawson Tama Stadium will not be friendly to the Lautoka side which will need a lot of luck and patience to stand any chances of an upset.
I know elder bro from Savusavu Shariff Shah will be critical of my letter but I urge the former soccer rep to have some patience before we see a change in our rankings in world soccer.
My best wishes to the Labasa, Dreketi and Lautoka sides as they prepare to win for their ardent fans.
To the Labasa team, please play with pride and do not disappoint your fans who will be at Ratu Cakobau Park in numbers.
Children and
IN a New York subway ad, it shows teenagers happily playing volleyball with an inflated condom.
“You can play with them,” the ad reads.
“Don’t play around them.”
The campaign now is an approach that gives students no inducement to do any serious thinking about sexual activity and its risk.
I believe the impact of this campaign is to turn sex into something casual and a matter-of-fact. Educationists, parents and members of the public, as we read on social media and newspapers are worried that teens tend to treat sex as passionate, romantic and meaningful that they get swept away by their feelings. In trying to teach our young people to be responsible, we have adopted an irresponsible, playboy-style philosophy of sex.
I believe the only controls on sexual behaviour we promote are utilitarian: Don’t get pregnant, don’t get AIDS. Here, have a condom.
The truth is that we adults have abdicated our responsibility for moral training.
We’ve given up.
We can’t stop children from having sex, the argument goes, the only thing we can do is help make it safe.
Just 30 years ago parents could pretty much control their children’s access to unwholesome materials. Society co-operated by protecting children from explicit sex, violence and drugs.
But today society no longer co-operates.
Just the opposite.
Everywhere, movies to so-called problem literatures, children are fed a steady diet of rape, murder, suicide, abortion, incest, you name it. And with the rapid increase in divorce and two career families, there’s been a sharp drop in the amount of time parents spend supervising their children’s activities.
The result is that children are no longer protected from the corrupt and dangerous side of life.
In fact, some scholars say we are losing the very concept of childhood as special and protected place in the life cycle.
It may mean rethinking our priorities so we spend more time with our children. It’s time we gave our children back their childhood. The campaign is now.
What educators say is true: Children do need to be prepared for the real world. But that means being armed with the truth.
Edwin Markham said, “We have committed the golden rule to memory.
“Let us now commit it to life and life for our children.”

All the best
A FRIEND asked me if the security deposits we paid to FEA will be returned because now the company has changed its name and we are about to become shareholders.
Without even asking Hasmukh Patel, I told him it won’t be returned.
Then I told him when I started work at FEA Labasa, we used to have a generation supervisor and a lines (distribution) supervisor.
After a few years the generation supervisor became the generation superintendent and the line supervisor became the distribution superintendent.
When I left, the superintendents had become team leader generation and team leader distribution.
With all these changes were hefty pay rises and better conditions.
I hope with the new company name change, every worker will get a better pay and working condition.
Please note FEA had the best working conditions and pay. I wish the new company my best wishes because I know most of the FEA workers liked me.

Meningococcal pronunciation
MANY people pronounce the term meningococcal the way announcers in our radio stations announce it.
Some pronounce meninjo and some meningo.
But the one I heard that day tops them all.

Child support payments
I RECENTLY found out that child support payments (aka maintenance) have to go through several offices before the recipient actually gets it.
Once it leaves the pay office of the payee, if it’s from a government office, I believe it is sent to the Ministry of Finance, then to the Judicial Department, and then to the relevant family court which I assume would be where the application for maintenance was lodged and heard.
This takes time — I think weeks.
So when several payments are delayed and a recipient decides to follow up, expect to be making several calls to several offices, and yes, expect long hold-the-line moments, snappy receptionists who get fed up of your constant calls and naturally, expect that your calls will be cut off because the hold has been too long.
But I believe there is no guarantee you’ll get the answers you’re after because there is no sure way of knowing which office the payment is at.
Apparently, I believe no one monitors this process to ensure a timely delivery of payments.
When you finally receive that payment, consider that you may have already spent a portion of it even before you got it — on the numerous calls you made to get it.
I’m not even sure which office I should direct my query to, but, is there any way to improve this process?
Koronivia, Nausori

Foreign canecutters
HOW do we determine the need to employ foreign canecutters?
Why are locals not up to the job?
For leaders to admit this, I believe shows ignorance, lack of research and trust in the local market who have the skills and competency to improve the sugar industry.
Do foreign canecutters receive expatriate salary and incentives too?
Can we stop giving ridiculous excuses and get the sugar industry revived please?
Do these foreign canecutters have Fiji passports as well?
How about employing unemployed youths in these cane farms allocated for foreign canecutters?
Furthermore, will foreign labour be recruited to fix the damaged sugar mills from the latest cyclones too?
Nadi Airport

Fiji Pearls
SO very disappointing to see our Fiji Pearls going down to teams in the Commonwealth Games.
I know it’s not really easy to be playing at a big event such as the Commonwealth Games. So we all want you Pearls to do better and at least be on top of your game next time around.
Now that the Games is behind us, you can only learn from that outing and put a little more flair in the moves.
We are praying for you all the way.
Toso Viti, Toso.
Tubou St, Samabula, Suva

Bicycle Act
WE have a Bicycle Act that was passed in 1939 and referred to as Chapter 178 under the laws of Fiji and was partly reviewed in 1974.
I believe it is grossly outdated and does not reflect the current time as it is a copy of the colonial laws of yesteryear.
In order to compare and insert the date of our current Bicycle Act in a time line, this legislation was created three decades before mankind landed on the moon and can be probably classified as an ancient museum piece document.
It stated that all the bicycles must be registered under the Ministry of Tourism, Transport and Civil Aviation and must display a metal disc in the form of a number plate and the details of the frame which can be found under the seat portion of the bar is the serial number which must be entered in the register.
Any bicycle ridden during the night must be equipped with a light in the front. All the bicycles at all times must display a 12-inch white mark on the tail part of the rear mudguard and must have a reflector attached on the white surface.
All the bicycles must be equipped with a rear leg brake and have a bell attached on the handle bar as a warning device. The wheels of the bicycles must not be more than 16 inches in diameter. It is the requirement by law that the dealers must keep a register when selling the bicycles and must produce the record when required by a policeman.
The said Act is discriminatory as words such as he, his and him are widely used when referring to a person. It is very difficult to understand that the relevant ministry all this years did not initiate any change or attempt to rectify the laws so to speak.
I believe that all the bicycles in Fiji are now illegally ridden as this does not adhere to our current laws enacted by Parliament in 1939.
Because of the evolution the bicycle technology has gone through a rapid change and most of the equipment has been developed for extreme speed and the extra components such as the mudguards discarded as the extra weight will hinder the travel rate of the bicycles.
We have seen the changes taking place in our era but are too laid-back as the legislators reflect and revise on the current approach.
There were talks of having bicycle lanes built on our roads and that is placing the cart before the horse approach. Our dire need is to revise and make the current seventy-nine-year-old legislation first before becoming very adventurous in the wrong direction.

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