Letters to the Editor – October 19, 2020

Shiri Chand Mushroom, 69, leads the pack as he powers through the harsh terrain of the Namosi highlands during the Namosi Marathon. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

In Mushroom’s footsteps

STILL going strong at 69 (FT 18/10) brought back memories of the legendary long-distance runner Mushroom. When I was a third form boarder at Natabua High School in 1969, I often saw Mushroom come and do his laps around our soccer ground. One day I decided to skip soccer and follow behind him. He did 25 laps. After that day and right through my soccer-playing career, I never shied away from any strenuous physical training. I drew inspiration from Mushroom’s example. It’s amazing that he continues to be an inspirational role model at age 69. I wish him many more years of doing what he has always loved doing — running long distance, often with a sprint towards the end! RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Just a number

WHAT a joy and source of encouragement to see Shiri Chand Mushroom in action at the Namosi Marathon. After all, they say age is just a number. FLOYD ROBINSON, Toorak, Suva

Time to change

HOW right, our former prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry is: “our paradise has so much potential to live up to the hopes of 50 years ago, but at present essential aspects of our democracy have been, and continue to be, seriously eroded”. I am thankful to the honourable Mr Chaudhry for reassuring those of us who are deeply concerned about the reality behind the facade of public pronouncements, that there are international agencies also showing concern. The sad thing is that we have been subjected to so much control and led astray by so many confident smiling ministers that many of us have given up looking for improvement and just live for ourselves. The amount of public selfish behaviour that leaves no room for concern for the wellbeing of others is alarming. Just one example is the state of our hospitals, for which we ourselves are largely to blame because we do not respect the facilities that are provided. Essential items such as bed linens are stolen; toilet facilities are trashed and left filthy. Come on Fiji, it is high time we took ourselves in hand. We need to support those who are victims of the controls and the petty persecution of opposition. Only thus will we regain the self-esteem we have lost and the courage to work for change. TESSA MACKENZIE Suva

Drug hub

EVERY now and then we read or hear that drugs have been found on the island of Kadavu. It seems that Kadavu is the drug hub of our country. It is no use just catching the farmers. We must get to the bottom of this as to why in Kadavu. There must be a market for marijuana locally and overseas too, and the Navy must keep an eye for the boats coming and picking up the drugs from Kadavu. There is no smoke without fire. NARDEO MISHRA Suva

Unnecessary spending

MY five children came back home after school on Friday (16/10) jubilated, for they were all given a new $0.50 cents each, freely given (as a gift) by the Government and distributed through the school as part of celebrating 50 years of independence. According to a profile by the Ministry of Education, there are 11,340 children attending early childhood education (ECE), 147,027 at primary level, 68,347 at secondary and 2795 attending technical college. Altogether there are 229,506 pupils in the school system, not including tertiary institutes, and if they are all given $0.50 cents each. It will total up to $114, 753. While my children were happy with their gifts, what I do not understand is why is a government already burdened with debt just happens to give away thousands of dollars for no proper reason? At present, our government has incurred debts of more than $8 billion and the latest national debt forecast is that by the year 2021 our debt ratio would be over 80 per cent of our GDP, which leaves our beloved nation at a very critical point. My concern as a parent and citizen of this nation is this, who will pay all these debts? Is this why our children are freely given (as a gift) 50 cents so as to trap them as well in this cycle of debt? Someone said that it would take two to three generations to be able to pay all these debts that our government has incurred on our nation today. This is what I call social injustice, for who are we to burden our next generations with a tantamount task to clean up our mess? I would kindly request our government of the day to prioritise its spending and focus more on trying to minimise our national debts rather than spending unnecessarily for no reason such as the 50 cents gift distributions. KOSITATINO TIKOMAIBOLATAGANE Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Who can and who cannot

“THOSE who can, do; those who can’t, teach” is an old expression. But it’s not complete, because there are five levels of teaching competence: 1 — Teachers who can’t teach. No matter how much they know, if they can’t clearly explain and instruct, you should stay away from them and go elsewhere for lessons. 2 — Teachers who can’t do. I’m sure some of you will argue this point. But to me the worst choice of teacher is the one who can’t do the thing he/she teaches. Would you take piano lessons from someone who can’t play the piano or even read music? 3 — Teachers who can do, but never have. These teachers know their stuff but have never practised it in the real world. You can learn theory from them — but not practical application of that theory. 4 — Teachers who can do, and used to, but don’t any more. They have the knowledge and experience. But the problem with them is that, having left the profession, they are no longer aware of the latest trends, techniques, methods, and what’s working today. 5 — Teachers who can do — and are doing it. The active practitioner who can teach is often the most valuable instructor you can get. These teachers know the subject and skill and have done it professionally. But unlike #4, they continue to work in their field today. Not only are they constantly building their skills and knowledge but they stay contemporary and up-to-date — they know what’s working and will continue to be current for as long as they remain active practitioners and not just average teachers. I knew all these types of teachers. They were my colleagues. I am sure all of you know the great schools, the good schools, the mediocre schools and the poor schools. Have you ever wondered why there is such a disparity even though the curriculum is the same for the whole country? Do teachers realise what an important role they have? Does the Ministry of Education realise it? It often talks about students being the future of the country and tells them to dream big and yet turns a blind eye when students are insulted and demeaned by the staff to the extent that parents have to send them to other schools. This is why I had suggested to the previous permanent secretary for the Ministry of Education that I would offer to do a quarterly newsletter for teachers where I would compile the best practices of the great schools and pass them along to the other schools so that all students are exposed to superior teaching techniques and are not languishing in mediocrity. This way they are on a level playing field when going for further studies or better job opportunities. By the way, the offer still stands. Any takers? ARVIND MANI Nadi

Electoral breaches

IT appears the Registrar of Political Parties is also an investigative agency as good as any other in the country. We should not be surprised if in future it is given the powers to initiate its own prosecution for the breaches under the Electoral Act. BHARAT MORRIS Gold Coast, Australia

Stallion statue

I COULDN’T help but laugh at the giant statue of the stallion with a rugby ball at its hoof which the Prime Minister unveiled in Sigatoka (ST 18/10) on Saturday. I’ve driven through Sigatoka hundreds of times and not once seen a horse let alone a horse playing rugby. JULIE SUTHERLAND Tamavua

Managing money

JAN Nissar is entitled to his opinion to not have “any confidence” in the NFP leader “managing the finances of the country” ( FT 18/10 ). If the NFP leader’s personal asset portfolio is anything to go by, I would have a great deal of confidence in him. And what’s more important is that he has build his asset portfolio with integrity and honest means. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

The possible

DR Korina Waibuta’s letter (FT 17/10) has predominantly oiled the gun and I commend her for her indepth contribution. Come on vuniwai, I agree Tailevu ga sa rawata but we hope he’ll jilo your words. History recorded that some years ago the impossible was possible, but as the saying goes “to now”? Koya ga gi, keitou tawa sukulu we go getta taura rawa! AREKI DAWAI Bureta St, Samabula, Suva

Saneem’s job

IS Saneem doing his job perfectly or not? Why didn’t he verify NFP funds and the discrepancy if it occurred? He should verify before election then give the green light to a party. I believe FICAC should also question Saneem about his weakness as well. JAHEED BUKSH Korolevu Sigatoka

They are back

JUST when one thought they were fading away, Naitasiri proved they mean business by demolishing a highly fancied Suva side in the Skipper Cup competition. The highlanders are back and have their eyes on the cup. Aside from that match in the weekend, one welcomes back Northland and Rewa as they have gained promotion to the main rugby competition of 2021. One looks forward to the semi-finals. FLOYD ROBINSON Toorak

My respect

My respect to Mick Beddoes for not accepting the 50th anniversary independence medal. I do not normally agree with anything Mr Beddoes says or does and the reason he has given for not accepting the medal are all misguided and political. The real reason is he simply does not deserve it. There are many others who accepted the medal when they simply do not deserve it. Kudos to Mr Beddoes for not accepting it and basking in the false glory. JAN NISSAR Carlton NSW, Australia

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