Letters to the Editor – Saturday, August 24, 2019

Eileen Cikamatana takes during the Australian National Junior Weightlifting Championships at Sydney Olympic Park on Sunday. Picture: SAM RUTTYN/ Sunday Telegraph

Eileen’s superwoman success

After Eileen Cikamatana’s superwoman success in Australia, we Fijians became proud.

The permanent secretary for the Youth and Sports Ministry shared that taxpayers’ funds had been used to assist her rise.

The proud feeling skyrocketed.

The people of Fiji have contributed towards her success.

Fiji is a proud sporting nation.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Babysitters and complaints

Listening to conversations at the workplace and even among women at functions, I was rather surprised to hear a common complaint about their babysitters.

Several mothers noted how they have had to change their babysitters at least twice as unannounced visits home during working days have found them either lazing around and watching television when the poor infants were in need of assistance or crying for a meal.

Some women also vented their frustration about babysitters wanting pay in advance because of family commitments.

A few other women expressed their disappointment on how some babysitters would walk off with items (including food) from the house without seeking permission.

Some have said that the worst experience was getting family members as babysitters because they take advantage of their own families.

All in all, it is difficult nowadays to locate babysitters who are trustworthy and dedicated.

If you find a good babysitter, then by all means it’s better to keep them.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Academic issue

Some discussion has arisen on the necessity of academic qualifications to secure employment.

I have a degree and associateship in metallurgy, earned in the days when universities were the real deal.

At my first job in Tasmania I was greeted by a great “old school” manager who told me that a university degree was simply a certificate of attendance for three years, did not qualify me for any special privileges within the mine hierarchy, and I should go out and learn the job from the almost totally “unqualified” workforce.

At times they would be told to report back to him if I was worth keeping.

Fortunately, the guys sided with me and over time I progressed within the hierarchy.

Like many others, I have concerns about the recent scamming uncovered at the FNPF.

One hopes these issues are not “the tip of the iceberg” so to speak.

Many Fijians view their monies within the FNPF as theirs in the absolute sense.

So to their minds is “stealing” their own funds an offence?

Of course, it is and in the long term they will be the losers.

Allan Loosley, Tavua

Roaming dogs

Many people must have noticed the sudden increase in dogs roaming the streets and causing fear and noise.

Obviously their senses are picking up a “special season”.

But we are a civil society and as human beings we all have a way of living.

Without fear, peacefully in our house.

Now imagine that retired person who does his daily morning walk, how much doubt/fear he/she may have because of these dogs roaming around.

Imagine the parent’s fear of not sending the children out to play.

Questions need to be answered:

1) Who are the owners of these pets, should they be held accountable? If not, why?

2) What is the local government/council/animal welfare thinking? Have they made any progress on this issue, or shall we wait for another dog to carry out another incident such as the one in Nadi?

3) If there was a need for some of the new Bills in Parliament to be passed quickly and bring about changes in our society, then why is this law not being changed Our elected government needs to prioritise their task list.

4) The local government agencies can only enforce when they have the power, resources and leadership.

I believe authorities must have the authority to seize unregistered animals and also take irresponsible owners to task.

I believe we as citizens of Fiji must take ownership of this problem as owners, government and local authorities, do our part and place a constructive mechanism in place to ensure this problem is resolved.

If not, then our parents and children will always live in fear. Jayesh Lad, Varadoli, Ba

Bad move

I believe people found smuggling mobiles into prison in their backsides will get a very poor reception.

Christopher Griffin Perth, Australia Red Devils shine A 4-0 win against Chelsea and a 1-1 draw against Wolves have set the platform for the Red Devils in the English Premier League.

United hosts Crystal Palace tomorrow morning and a win will see them take a giant leap towards improving their performance in the EPL.

The young guns are doing well and I am banking on this consistency to take them through and bring back the glorious days of Sir Alex Ferguson, Giggs, Jaap Stam, Ole Gunner, Ferdinand, Gary and Phil Neville, Scholes, Cantona, Evra, Ronaldo, Evra, Nistelrooy, Carrick and Beckham — those days when United won cups and medals!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Local talent

If the Flying Fijians coach is able to name about five local-based players in our world cup team, then one wonders why a similar approach is not undertaken by our rugby league officials.

Come to think of it, hardworking local-based players ought to have a chance to participate in the world cup as it may mean their only chance to impress scouts, in their search for a professional contract.

After the world cup, players with existing professional contracts will go back to their respective clubs earning those lucrative contracts.

All in all, let’s continue to give our local talent a fair chance.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Meningococcal vaccine

For those of us who cannot afford the meningococcal vaccine, we need to eat and live healthy so we do not succumb.

By the way, what is the latest on the Malolo environmental saga.

Gabe Simpson, Rakiraki

Contraband issue

Fiji prisons are nowhere near the worst in the world with contraband problems.

However, I feel the problems could be reduced by keeping the public well away from courthouses when they are in session.

Watching TV I can see how easy it is to pass illegal items to prisoners, either directly or by some officers not paying attention.

As in most other countries a few prison guards can be persuaded or threatened to look the other way.

Allan Loosley, Tavua

Airline pullout

It is shocking to hear about Korean Air leaving our shores for good.

The airline has brought some happiness to some families in Fiji especially our boys in the British Army as this was the only airline that they used to go by.

When they introduced Fiji Airways to Hong Kong, Korean Air was still popular.

They have helped in so many ways, in visa applications and flights booking to name a few.

I believe the axing of the service is a double blow for Fiji.

It provided a handy access route for Fijians into Europe and the UK.

Secondly expect numbers of tourists from Europe will also decline because of the pull out.

We will also lose out on transit passengers who tend to stay one or two nights before moving on to their next destination.

I believe Korean Airlines is the only airline outside the South Pacific that flies into Fiji.

The bulk of passengers on the Korean Airlines Nadi flights used Seoul as a transit port, going to or coming from elsewhere.

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu

School holidays

I humbly request the Ministry of Education to consider practical dates for school holidays in future, namely the December to January holiday.

Very soon, we will be having schools opening straight after new year!

Further, dwindling gap between the festive season and school’s reopening date seems to be pushing parents into the tight corner when it comes to back-to-school shopping straight after the spending spree during Christmas and New Year.

It perhaps makes practical sense for schools to close early December and then reopen towards end of January.

Bimal Prasad, Newtown Rd, Wailoaloa, Nadi

Roy’s new journey

Soccer star Roy Krishna, who signed a contract worth $1.2m, left in high spirits to join Kolkata-based Indian soccer League franchise ATK.

Roy made headlines with Wellington Phoenix and captured the attention of the ATK and I’m sure his presence will help lift the standard of the Indian league.

I’m also hoping that Roy and FFA can work hand in hand to get more of our players overseas contracts as these players will return home and play for our national soccer team.

In his 27 appearances for the Phoenix last season, Roy scored 19 goals and I’m positive that it will not stop there.

Roy has been farewelled and I’m looking forward to following the Indian Soccer League franchise to follow up on Roy’s progress.

All the best “Babasiga Lion!”

Meanwhile, another round of soccer continues this weekend and it’s surprising to note that Labasa will have its celebration on Saturday and then play Lautoka at Ratu Ganilau Park, Savusavu on Sunday.

Couldn’t FFA give the Lions a weekend to celebrate their BOG win just as in the case of those other teams who have won local tournaments!

I pity the Labasa players who have not been able to enjoy the special win and I wonder when we will have fairness in local soccer and trust me, the day we have that, our teams will do wonders in the O-League competition and our national team will also do well in the region!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Purchasing Greenland

While it may sound absurd from a person of high calibre to throw in the idea of purchasing Greenland, the American public have their own perceptions.

They know after all, it is from their own President Donald Trump.

This has become customary.

The industrious American public have got their own hilarious theories.

They enjoy their democracy and freedom of speech (within the law).

One thinks that once the hoax global warming melts all the ice, the prime real state land will be used for casinos, military bases and golf courses.

All funded by Mexico, under doubt of a 500-year payment plan.

Another contributor questions the need to purchase the island as it does not have any McDonald’s outlet.

Perhaps the best is the option to refuse Trump’s offer and Denmark’s bid to buy America in entirety instead (excluding Donald Trump).

As it is, with the failure of the Greenland option, will it be the moon next?

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Lack of faith

The general-secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, the Rev Ili Vunisuwai, mentioned that unemployment and lack of faith in God are likely contributing factors to the rise in the illicit drug trade in Fiji (FT 17/08).

I believe that the sole reason people lack faith is mainly because of the failure of Christian churches in carrying out its one and true purpose which is to walk the talk, and by that I mean to live, walk and talk Jesus Christ.

I’m sorry to say but the fact of the matter is that the actions by some of our Christian churches contradicts the written word.

The Bible is pretty precise and straightforward with its laws.

If our church heads and their followers are basing their beliefs on the Bible, then some of their actions most certainly contradict their talk.

I believe the church needs to stop getting distracted and blaming other factors but to focus totally on its one and true purpose.

Sin is obvious and we fall way short as true Christian leaders and followers.

It’s been a lacklustre affair and it’s not getting any better.

Challenging times for the Christian faith!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Religious issue

I CAME across an article the other day which, to be fair, wasn’t a very becoming thing for a religious man to state.

Therefore, I wish to share a snippet of a writing made by Brian Houston, founder and senior pastor at Hillsong Church and it goes: “In 40 years of telling people about the good news of Jesus, I have seen that the ‘turn or burn’ approach to proclaiming the message of Christianity alienates people.

Scaring people doesn’t draw them into the love of Jesus.

The church is a group of diverse (and imperfect) people who have all been captivated and adopted into the same story — with Jesus at the centre.

The central storyline of our faith is a story of love and redemption, a story of forgiveness and acceptance, a story of undeserved grace and unreserved mercy.

I would never compromise the integrity of biblical teaching and I believe that the Bible is clear about the consequences of sin.

However, as Christians we are first called to love God and love other people, including those who believe differently to us.”

I believe it’s past time some of us put the latter to the test.

Talei Driso, Nailuva, Suva

Intense training

AFTER the All Blacks were humiliated in Perth, coach Steve Hansen invited Dan Carter for a session with his think-tanks — Richie Mo’unga and Beauden Barrett.

Immediately, the ABs shifted into top gear and Barrett and Mo’unga were influential in their win over the Wallabies at Eden Park (36-0).

Hence, our former fly halves in Nicky Little and Seremaia Bai and the likes of Norman Ligairi, Alfred Uluinayau and Mosese Rauluni must come out and help Josh Matavesi, Ben Volavola, Frank Lomani, Henry Seniloli, Alivereti Veitokani and Kini Murimurivalu fine-tune their performance as our back line players will need to be at their individual best to counter Australia and Wales who have a host of big names.

I’m also banking on McKee to take the boys through team bonding exercises and work on our setpieces as these will take the team through the crunch test.

I saw pictures of our boys soaking up the beauty of the Namosi highlands and I must thank the Tui Namosi, Ratu Suliano Matanitobua, who was a skilful soccer player and represented the Navua soccer team for looking after our boys well.

Before to the RWC, Fiji will face Tonga in Auckland.

Fans will remember that Tonga upset Fiji last year at Churchill Park (27-19)!

The RWC is around the corner and hopes are high for this team to do wonders.

The intense training and team bonding exercises will help Fiji achieve fame.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Eileen breaks 46 records

When I read that Eileen broke 46 records, I said, “That’s impossible”.

So I emailed the Australian Weightlifting Federation asking for more information on the issue.

Within two hours I got a reply from Ian Moir — chief executive officer Australian Weightlifting Federation.

Here is what I received.

Ian Moir

Dear Allen, Eileen Cikamatana gave a wonderful performance at the 2019 Australian Junior and Under-23 Championship in Sydney last weekend.

She broke six Australian senior records; six Australian junior records; six Australian Under-23 records; six Commonwealth senior records; six Commonwealth junior records; six Oceania senior records; and six Oceania junior records.

The weights Eileen lifted on two clean and jerk attempts exceeded the current world junior record, and her combined total equalled the current world junior record standard.

Although she can’t claim world records until her Australian citizenship is finalised and she competes internationally again, it’s fair to say that she broke those records by exceeding them in these Australian championships.

Kind regards, Ian.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Damaging article

IN November last year a certain newspaper team published a damaging article about a weightlifter who has represented our nation.

That newspaper ran the heading “Cikamatana biggest loser in weightlifting standoff”.

It was degrading that I believe they should have thought twice before it was published.

I hope they will be careful with their criticism next time they want to pass negative comments about someone!

Eileen Cikamatana’s dedication and sacrifice has carved her name in the history books breaking 46 weightlifting records including three world records, that is just phenomenal!

A gain for Australia and a big time loss for Weightlifting Fiji, beat that Mr Editor.

O Naova ke!

Areki Dawai, Suva

Criminal minds

The smuggling of contraband into correctional facilities continues to be a major worry for the Fiji Corrections Service.

While opening the $98,000-high-tech visiting room at the Natabua Corrections Centre, Corrections Commissioner Commander Francis Kean said that smuggling of contraband would become a thing of the past with the construction of a similar room at the Maximum Corrections Centre at Naboro soon (FT 23/08).

Mr Kean mentioned that the challenge they faced on a daily basis was the smuggling of contraband by prisoners and visitors alike.

Mr Kean said that they went to all extremes with reasons best known to them.

The question I have is who is to say that some prison officers are not the main culprits themselves?

I believe criminal minds are not only in prisoners but visitors and prison officers as well!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Talking about floods

So we lack the expertise to do assessment on the floods.

I read (FT 22/8) that a Disaster Risk Reduction team is in the country to help Fiji deal with flood issues in the Ba and Rakiraki catchments.

According to a press statement issued by the Department of Information, the team is here to harness resilience against floods and to help mitigate consequences of floods in the two areas.

Now we need to have this science included in our university curriculum.

Let’s train our people so that we don’t have to hire expensive expatriates.

Oh, but if the Dutch team is doing it free then it’s OK, but let’s start a program to teach our people about this issue.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Buying US

According to the Danish newspaper Politiken, the Premier of Greenland (Kim Kielsen) is considering buying the US (21/8/19).

With the potential natural resources at its disposal, Greenland would not have too much trouble in doing that without recourse to plunder as has been the case in colonial times.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Hospital rubbish

A relative posted pictures of rubbish from a hospital strewn on the roadside in Visari.

Goodness me, what’s it doing there?

Why would someone dump that kind of rubbish on the roadside.

We have enough household and commercial rubbish on the roads now this.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Climate change

If indeed the Pacific Islanders are to experience a mass migration because of climate change, what will be the world like in future?

In a heated world, will the Pacific Ocean become the largest and deepest swimming pool?

What will it be like without the friendliness from these parts?

What will the World Sevens Series be like?

To dissect it, are the higher pollution producing countries deliberately eliminating competition?

Competition beyond sports and beyond the attractive tourism market.

Will global warming lead to a destructive world war or humans will gradually evolve to become aquatic creatures?

Our ambitious developments are trying to put the small “e” in front of virtually everything.

We are naive.

We will put water in front of everything.

We will become water citizens in a waterworld!

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Children selling food

I refer to the report (FT 17/8) on children selling food at night to make ends meet.

Each time I read about children selling food or bu, I wonder what the parents are doing.

Are the parents also out and about selling food and bu also?

I could be overstepping the mark here but I will ask the question — who are the parents of these children?

Some time ago I was in town at around 11 pm at Lautoka’s corner shop.

This is a popular place for people to sell food.

One thing I noticed was they were mostly women and many usually have children sleeping on the hard sidewalk.

After talking to a woman I asked her where her husband was, she fell silent.

I wanted to respect her silence and move on but then she blurted out that he was at home drinking grog.

We talked some more and she said that it was OK, he worked all day and she was helping out with finances.

When I looked at the two kids sleeping beside her she just said that they were used to it.

Is life a real struggle now than ever before.

It would be good to know but backed with statistics.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Child abuse

The revelation by a senior officer from the Ministry of Education that child abuse cases are reported every week is indeed shocking (FT 11/08).

What is most concerning is that reports included sexual cases and that perpetrators were mostly close family members and in some cases teachers.

What has become of our society?

When our children are not safe at home and at school it’s a clear sign that we are falling apart as a nation.

The senior officer also highlighted that the ministry had forwarded a circular to all heads of school about the protection of children (FT 11/08).

Such cases should be reported to police for investigation and incarceration.

A circular is not good enough and doesn’t cut into solving the problem.

A circular literally is a merry-go-round without any real purpose!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Rebuttal of letter

My letter on church and kava abuse got a rebuttal on Facebook from a friend who said that “In the Holy Bible it says stay away from wine and strong drinks –– it doesn’t say grog or kava”.

The Bible does not mention marijuana or cigarettes or any hard drugs that is illegal in our nation and it would certainly be inappropriate for Christian leaders and laity to be using these harmful substances.

As a Christian, we all should allow Jesus the Christ or promised Messiah to not only be our Saviour but to be also Lord of our lives.

To be “In Christ” is to allow Jesus to be our Saviour and Lord and my Bible reveals that only those who are in Christ will have eternal life (1 Thes. 4:16,17).

When we only accept Christ as our Saviour then we deceive ourselves that we can abuse kava and enjoy life being our own boss with Jesus as your Saviour.

But it does not work that way, heaven sent Christ to be its Saviour and Lord “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord’.” (Luke 2:10, 11, NKJV).

When Jesus is Lord and Saviour of our lives, we will also stand with Paul who said that he has been crucified with Christ on the cross and the life he now lives daily is lived under the Lordship of Jesus. (Gal. 2:20)

This discussion has moved me to post on my FB page weekly Sunday school lessons for the next 13 weeks on the subject: In Christ –– Lordship Of Christ In Our Lives.

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Suva

Water issues

Sadly, the waterways that have drinkable water are running low.

Wells are drying up.

Now when the people who live in places where there is no piped water want water, they have to pay for the water and the cartage.

It’s not cheap.

I lament the lives of the people who are now affected and have to pay for water.

And why is it so much more expensive than piped water?

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Increasing theft

Having recently spent a few days in the Sugar City, I had the privilege of meeting some friends but rather surprised to hear of an increasing number of thefts and robberies.

Even in the city, around the market place, there was a case of a man grabbing and running off with a lady’s bag which contained her purse.

Two ladies came up to me at the market and advised me to watch my bag and wallet as pickpocketing was increasing.

Is this a sign of poverty or some individuals having no respect for others by trying to take the easy and dishonest way of obtaining money?

All in all, if in Lautoka do take extra care to watch your belongings.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Traffic headaches

May I be permitted to move from traffic jams and traffic congestion to traffic headaches?

There is an outbreak.

These traffic headaches have symptoms of frustration, time wastage, shouting, swearing and tooting of horns similar to wedding processions.

The only recommended medication is patience.

There are directions on usage from medical personnel.

However, preferably overdoses during the morning and afternoon peak periods will be ideal.

There is only one drawback, patience is getting scarce so keep manufacturing.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Inter-island shipping

Would the authorities please do a check on our inter-island shipping.

Please verify passenger fares, food, blanket, pillow and mattress prices.

And also check on the strength of the air-conditioning.

Most of the travellers are not used to the very cold air on the boats and check for the comfort of the traveller.

It will be awfully decent if you could do so and make a press release.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Academic issue

Some discussion has arisen on the necessity of academic qualifications to secure employment.

I have a degree and associateship in metallurgy, earned in the days when universities were the real deal.

At my first job in Tasmania I was greeted by a great “old school” manager who told me that a university degree was simply a certificate of attendance for three years, did not qualify me for any special privileges within the mine hierarchy, and I should go out and learn the job from the almost totally “unqualified” workforce.

At times they would be told to report back to him if I was worth keeping.

Fortunately the guys sided with me and over time I progressed within the hierarchy.

Like many others I have concerns about the recent scamming uncovered at the FNPF.

One hopes these issues are not “the tip of the iceberg” so to speak.

Many Fijians view their monies within the FNPF as theirs in the absolute sense.

So to their minds is “stealing” their own funds an offence?

Of course it is and in the long term they will be the losers.

Allan Loosley, Tavua

Travel issues

My relatives left Taveuni wharf at 3pm on Tuesday to travel to Suva on a local vessel.

About two hours later they heard an alarm sound and they knew that something was wrong.

Yes the ship’s engine stopped and they drifted for more than one hour.

As usual children, mothers, men, cargo were on board.

People were tired and wanted to get to their destination in the fastest possible time.

May I ask, do the inter-island ships often breakdown?

Why?

We have read so much about this in the press, why is it still happening.

We need answers.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

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