Letters to the Editor – October 13

Aporosa Tabulawaki leads the charge during training at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Have faith
Yes, we all hope that the Fiji Airways Drua team understand that they have not secured a home semi-final just yet, as explained by Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam (FT 10/10). We all hope and pray that they will give it their all to keep the force of the Western Force at bay. If the Drua loses, let us hope it is narrowly, so they can get a bonus point. On the other hand, we all keep our fingers crossed for the NSW Country Eagles to pip Queensland Country at home, as payback for their narrow 27-28 loss to Brisbane City last week. So, for the Fiji Drua to at least sit on second spot and secure a home semi-final against Queensland Country, the Drua should win or lose by a small margin for a bonus point. Also, the NSW Country Eagles should win over Queensland Country or if they lose, to keep it close for their one point. Whatever happens, let us believe and have faith in our Drua team, that they can be a force to be reckoned with on the Western Force turf, to secure first or second place and win a home semi-final games. Go Drua, go.
Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa Suva

Role of the media
As Fiji approaches the 2018 General Election on November 14, my humble plea to all media organisations is for a fair coverage to all political parties and candidates contesting this year’s election. Printing one-sided stories will not do any media organisation any good as voters prefer impartiality with political parties coverage and interpretation of their manifesto. After the “pressed for time” nationwide joke, I was impressed with the coverage on FBC on Sunday which featured the leader of SODELPA Sitiveni Rabuka. This time around the two journalists were quite professional in the way they interviewed the SODELPA party leader. I have time and again stressed the role our media plays in disseminating information to the public and the importance of following media ethics and principles. As a media organisation if we want respect from the public we need to ensure that we respect the views and opinions of all and this is why The Fiji Times continues to gain respect and admiration from the public.
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam
Nadawa, Nasinu

My wish list
I would go for a party that will give the nation job security and come away with contracts. A party that will slash the Prime Minister’s travelling allowance. A party that is young, well-educated and can write their own speeches in Parliament. Someone who can slash the price of our daily needs, especially food. A group of people who can help farmers to grow commercially with full resource backup practically and not theoretically. I will also be looking for someone who can reduce borrowing and come up with innovative ideas to promote productiveness in terms of export. The party that can eliminate the dinau TELS free education scheme and come up with a much better option. Last but not the least, I wish to see new beautiful faces running the next government.
Usaia Tagi Delainavesi

Rising cost
Have the shoppers noticed the increase in food prices? Why has the price risen? Cost has risen to that extent that most of the shoppers find it difficult to complete their budget list. Many shoppers have to make adjustments with their shopping needs to meet the high cost. The Government should seriously consider removing value added tax (VAT) from essential shopping items and by doing so the Government will further assist the many thousands living below the poverty scale. Government on one hand is assisting but VAT on essentials is like taking back what is given through introduced schemes. I believe the ruling party has failed to address this pressing issue. The 9 per cent VAT across is pressing the poor. Cost of living is increasing for a modern Fiji. Find the balance for survival.
Gulsher Ali

Water woes
Broken main water line at London Ave, Namaka and Votualevu Rd. So much for the Water Authority of Fiji advising the public to conserve water. How ironic!
Wise Muavono Balawa,

Payback time
I was talking to some students on my way home and I was surprised that all of them attending universities were supported by the Tertiary Education Loans Scheme (TELS). One of them told me that after completing his Bachelors, he would have to pay the Government around $40,000 to $45,000 after four years of studying. So I just gave them my cheap-line advice. No. 1, avoid marrying a former TELS student because your loan will increase up to around $80,000 even before buying a new umbrella for your wife. No. 2, You will start your new life in debt. No. 3, Forget about the green pastures abroad because you are going to stick around with the brown dry pastures. No. 4, try to pay half the fees yourself to lessen your burden in future. As I left these kids, I could see the opposite of their sweet dreams. A shattered future indeed!
Usaia Tagi,

Rate of poverty
AT the rate at which poverty is decreasing in Fiji (A-G: Poverty rate decreasing FT 12/10) it’s just a matter of time before poverty will become history in Fiji. And with the gap between the rich and poor also decreasing, people in Fiji are clearly becoming equal. What a good story!
Sydney, Australia

Good job
PASSING by Colo-i-Suva the other day, one was rather surprised to see an impressive welcome as the new structure at the entrance reflects creativity. Another passenger in the bus quietly whispered to me “ssh… I think they are coming here”. It took a while before I realised that she may be referring to the royal family visiting Fiji. All in all, a good job to those in charge of the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park.
Toorak, Suva

Baby Blues
I WOULD like to congratulate our Baby Blues for giving the wonderful outcome at the Courts IDC. Well done. Congratulations are in order. Kudos to all the hardworking players. Thanks for making us proud.

Disunity traces
MY friend once said how you can run a “company” or an “institution” when there are traces of disunity within the group itself. My colleague really “hit the nail on the head” with this issue, very well said bro. Cheers!

Taveuni option
OUR good Government is all geared up to transform Nabouwalu as the next town. Vinaka to A-G and PM. I wonder when you guys are shifting your focus to the Garden Island of Taveuni? Far more potential than Nabouwalu. Get the ball rolling guys

What’s in a name
FOR the first time in my life I feel like a Fijian because I am labelled as a Fijian. So if I change my name to “Human”, would that make me feel more human? This is exactly the type of thinking that needs to be left behind when change is coming. Imagine if I needed to be called “Lautoka” to feel like a lautokan.

National election
I JUST like to know who will be the richest contestant in this year’s national election? SUKHA SINGH Labasa Poverty level POLITICAL parties say it’s high, the A-G says no. Who do you believe?

Traditional house-building
WHILE I have no doubt at all that the members of the organisation “Communities for communities” and similar bodies such as Habitat for Humanity, not to mention successive governments, have the best of intentions in devoting their time and resources to providing houses in villages such as Tavuya (FT 09/10), I would like to offer a different perspective: that they are doing more harm than good. There is a well-known saying to the effect that if you give someone a fish you feed them for a day, but if you give them a net you feed them for life. This also applies to housing in Fijian villages. If you give a family a house, they have a house that will last for a while, but they will also lose the knowledge of traditional house-building using locally available materials, and become permanently dependent on charity or the hardware store. The justification in this case that the traditional valve was leaking is a red herring: we all know that any roof that is not maintained will leak, regardless of the material it is made from. So your heading “No more leaks” is misleading. Corrugated iron will eventually leak, just as thatch will. Traditional Fijian house-building is hard work but has its compensations. An obvious one is the sense of achievement in creating something which is both practical and aesthetically pleasing with your own hands, using largely materials from your own environment. Another is the pleasure and excitement (kamikamica) of communal work. Yet another is the communal bonding that results from working together on a project (na solesolevaki na ivakadei ni veiwekani). What I suggest is that such organisations determine which people still have the skills to build houses using traditional materials. There are some, including in Tavuya, despite decades of technocide and commission them to build houses and other buildings as needed. This will result not only in relief for those with inadequate housing, but also encouragement and revitalisation of traditional skills and their transfer to the next generation and to areas where the knowledge has been lost. If materials have become scarce, as is the case in some parts of Fiji where reed lands have been turned into cattle fields, such organisations can help by sourcing the needed materials and helping transport them. The choice is simple. Encourage traditional house-building, which is environmentally sound and gives the community pride in its work, or give a house of store-bought materials, kill traditional knowledge, and condemn the community to eternal dependence.
University of the South Pacific Suva

*More letters on Pages 26, 27, 28 and 29

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