Letters to the Editor – Monday, January 13, 2020

Fire and Rescue personal fight the bushfire next to a major road and homes on the outskirts of the town of Bilpin in Sydney, Australia. (Photo: Health Grid Healthcare)

Human nature

THE worst of the bushfire ravages engulfing large parts of Australia have brought out the best of human nature — bravery, community solidarity, compassion, empathy, kindness, generosity, altruism, an affinity with nature and wildlife.

Wish that was all.

But alas it also brought out the dark side of human nature — selfishness, greed and disrespect.

That’s what the looters displayed by trying to cash in on the suffering and human misery of the victims of the bushfires.

We have to be thankful these low-life make up only a tiny fraction of the community.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Back to school

TODAY, January 13, 2020, schools (primary and secondary) will open for academic year 2020 and thousands of students will be drawn towards their respective institutions.

The roads will be full of traffic and there will be excitement all around.

Children eager to reach their schools, parents eager to send them to schools and teachers eager to receive the students in their school.

A sort of pandemonium will prevail the first day as teachers will rush about to lead students to their respective classes.

Parents will leave their loved ones behind.

Some not so willing class one students will cling to their mother’s apron string and shed tears.

But soon this will be over as children enter classrooms and meet their peer group and the atmosphere explodes into mirth and laughter.

A new journey has begun for teachers and students.

They will reach their destination in November/December when annual examinations will take place and finally the school holidays will have begun again.

During school holidays children would have visited their friends and relatives, some would have travelled abroad and some would have taken tutorials or simply hobby classes.

Parents must have been busy planning for the next year by buying uniforms, shoes, bags, books and other school needs.

Old shoes and uniforms were discarded as children could no longer fit into them.

So parents had no choice but to buy new ones.

This is the nature of things if you have children who go to schools.

Thanks to government policy on education as this has enabled thousands of them to seek higher level of education through free education policy, subsidised bus fares, scholarships or student loan scheme.

This has been very innovative and has had far-reaching effect on the morale of students, parents and the community.

We are certainly living in good times and the sky is the limit for those who want to excel in academic achievements.

Teachers have a vital responsibility to carve out a bright future for thousands of these children in their charge.

Teachers can make or break children’s future.

We are fortunate to have a well trained cadre of teachers to look after our children.

May I wish students, teachers, parents and school committees every success for 2020 school year.

God bless.

Dewan Chand, Donu Place, Namadi Heights, Suva

Seize the opportunity

THE sentiments echoed by our Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama urging students to make good use of the opportunity available for them and to study, learn and create their own future (FT 12/01) can never be stressed enough.

Students today are so fortunate to have the opportunity to further their academic studies into tertiary institutions through the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS).

Before TELS, if you were an average to low student and didn’t have the financial support from your family, you had to look for a job and find your own way through life.

Although there is an abundance of great educational materials and vast opportunities for online studies, students opt for fun, prioritising social media over studies, doing nothing productive other than playing games and socialising and hoping for an easy way through life and relying on their parents support.

At the end of the day, the fact remains, that there is no easy way through life and this is where the pathway of their choices come to a dead end.

My message to students in this time and age is that, “the reality of your slackness and indiscipline will definitely hit home as you get older when you will realise the time you have wasted and the opportunities you have lost, some never to return again”.

Life is tough and in order to survive and be successful, one must strive for an education and as our good PM stated, “make good use of the opportunity at hand”.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Bus smoke

NOW I know why some buses are emitting large amounts of smoke, because the bus companies are struggling.

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Single-use diapers

NOW that we are making progress on the plastic bag front, can we consider the banning of single-use diapers?

Gabe Simpson, Rakiraki

Farmers and food

FARMERS have put the price of kava from $40 per kg to $120.

A watermelon which you could buy for $2 is now selling at $10.

A bundle of dalo is about $40.

Ten chillies cost $2.

But most of the food I buy is from the “supermarkets”.

Sukhan Singh, Labasa

Spirit of change

IT’S about time the FijiFirst government worked with unions in the country to be able to achieve positive results both for workers and the economy for 2020.

There is much talk about the Singapore concepts, but negate employers and trade unions desire to set a tripartite forum that will bring about investor confidence resulting in positive growth.

It’s time to revamp the spirit of change and government must initiate this with honesty and good faith to rebuild the bridge of trust that was lacking.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

School starts

THOUSANDS of schoolchildren will write a new chapter in their diary beginning from today.

My best wishes to my daughter (Mahika), niece (Jignasha), our children and teachers for the academic year.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Balgovind Rd, Nadawa, Nasinu

Measles vaccination

VINA valevu Ministry of Health for the huge measles vaccination campaign.

Commendable!

I heard its extended, door to door.

I tip my hat in your direction.

Nigel Fiu, Owls Perch, Lautoka

Climate change

IT comes as no surprise to hear people claim that prominent scientists deny there is any climate change emergency (Andrew Roger letter FT 11/01 ).

We recall the same thing happened with smoking.

A decade after a landmark ruling in which “a federal judge ordered tobacco companies to stop lying” and to acknowledge the dangers “they continued to dispute the scientific consensus (Contesting the Science of Smoking: The Atlantic May 4, 2016 ).

Sounds familiar!

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Cruelty to animals

THE recent case involving the wilful actions of cruelty to a dog by its owner brings to the fore the relevance and effectiveness of the existing provisions in the relevant legislation in Fiji on cruelty to animal.

From what we have been hearing, the penalty provisions in this piece of legislation has not been updated since it came into force decades ago.

I am saying this because a fine of up to $100 or a maximum prison term of six months would be applicable, if a person is found guilty for ill-treatment of an animal.

In my humble opinion this penalty provision has not really kept pace with the changed socio-economic circumstances that exists today.

Neither is the quantum commensurate with the penalty provisions in our other legislation.

The current case, being of great public interest at the moment, may just create the necessary impetus to update this penalty provision, as well review the whole Act, so as to align it to the realities in today’s world.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

A season to reason

THIS is proving to be the season to reason.

Reason to resign.

Personal, other interests and mysterious.

Speaking of mysteries, there are some blockbuster mysteries which have hit the headlines.

The Nausori Highlands murder has seen progress.

The case of American holidaying couple, David and Michelle Paul, hangs in the balance.

It is just like the case of Russian couple Yuri Shipulin and Nataliya Gerasimova.

These sorts of events become hot news.

Actually, news items appear daily.

They vary in temperature and complexity.

Human nature is such that people talk about them.

Some less, some moderate.

Some just make unnecessary noise.

What about that group which is confined to the events at the workplace?

Some events and reasons send people into temporary coma.

The hotter ones last longer in our conversations and memories.

Currently, it is the Australian bushfires.

Not long ago, Amazon captured our attention.

I guess storytelling is part of us and so is reasoning.

It depends on the initial heat which fluctuates and cools off.

Whatever said and done, something doesn’t miss out.

Rising cost of living.

This melts our pockets.

Back to where I started.

Reasons.

Last week we learnt that rise in food prices is the fault of farmers and not the Government.

You see, these farmers are everyday people like us.

They did not arrive by unidentified flying objects.

They have similar physical features.

I am not lying about this.

They use electricity too.

Most recently, a rise in electricity tariff was approved.

Naturally, we will end up paying more.

Including farmers.

Believe me, they have children also who go to school.

Do we have trees where school items grow?

Same applies to other things like medicine and transportation.

Prices have been rising and rising.

Do farmers have any option?

Do they go to their employers and negotiate a rise in pay?

No, they can only increase produce price.

If people continue to sell salala at its old price, their pockets would transit from salala to basuka.

That $150 goat has become an overnight star.

Most searched Google item.

I hear wheelbarrows are out for a bargain.

One gentleman has practised a war dance (with full attire) to impress sellers.

The professor has proposed to buy 10 goats at any price for Dr Reddy with conditions.

That would not eventuate by a long shot.

Well, since we do not have reindeers, what about something for Santa Claus this Christmas?

These farmers who have made a career by feeding others are smart people.

Are they applying the formal taxation concept?

While we continue with storytelling and await the next big one (hopefully nothing about America and Iran), whatever tales there are, one will remain kalavata for all, rising cost of living.

As people are genuinely trying to move beyond daily struggles, this is no kalavata issue.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

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