Letters to the Editor – Saturday, January 15, 2022

Sam Brown is all smiles after his name was picked as one of the 40 lucky winners for The Fiji Times 152nd anniversary December promotion in Suva on Thursday, January 13, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The smile says it all

SAM Brown, 75, was all smiles after his name was picked as one of the 40 lucky winners OF The Fiji Times 152nd anniversary December draw.

He was elated as the extra cash will enable him to put a new coat of paint on his house.

Brown, who is retired and gets $100 in social welfare payment, shared the financial challenges that restricted him from investing in buying paint.

Hence, the $152 came at an opportune time as he plans to buy paint for his house.

For ordinary Fijians like Sam Brown, winning $152 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has eased financial burdens.

No wonder the big, bula smile!

Good on you, the people’s newspaper — thank you for being the reason for the winners delight!

I’m sure Fijians are keeping their fingers crossed for the major prize!

Wonder who will have the biggest smile!

RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Nadawa, Nasinu

Missing persons

LATE last year we had a high rate of missing person reported especially our younger generation.

Since there is no official notification of our government leaders’ whereabouts such as our prime minister and the attorney-general, maybe they should be treated as missing persons.

Fijians deserve to know their whereabouts and health status since they are accountable to us, the taxpayers of our beloved Fiji.

What is so secret if our leaders are sick?

Isn’t it that we mortals get sick during our lifetime?

Law of nature, people born, get sick and die.

If they are really sick, maybe we can think of them in our daily prayers because that’s what humans do, we are compassionate, loving and caring towards our fellow humans.

JIOJI MASIVESI, Tadra-Votualevu, Nadi

COVID threat

THERE is something sinister about twelve to four

COVID cannot be what the curfew is for

In those four hours can there be mindless war

Or do mermaids and Aquaman swim to our shore

Are there aliens waiting for us behind that door

Or will thousands of lions come together to roar

I hope they have not discovered an ancient dinosaur

Or a volcano from where the golden lava will pour

All I want is the freedom to go to the corner store

And buy ice-cream while I watch boys score

KIRAN KHATRI, Samabula, Suva

Let’s not forget to read

THANK you Fred Wesley for your Op Ed (FT13/1) “Let’s not forget to read”.

You have highlighted the issue constantly raised by Prof Paul Geraghty.

The inability to read is indeed a tragedy for Fiji — because a young person’s inability to read is due entirely to adults: parents, family and teachers.

The ability to read follows upon the desire to read, which can only be achieved if reading is fun.

Once reading is a chore, no child will be interested, and an uninterested child will be bored and daydream.

Children should read every day, from an early age, preferably from books that are amusing and of personal interest to the child. (Please, no books about ghosts and spooks — that is child abuse).

The parent or family member should read frequently from a favourite book with large type and pictures, and engage the child in a chat about the story.

Gradually, the reader can follow the words with a finger, and a little later on with the child’s finger — and it is amazing how quickly the child will learn those words: and reading will begin to be fun.

Children just love to go through the same favourite story over and over again!

The child who has a basic knowledge of the alphabet sounds and some words prior to attending kindy, or preschool, has an enormous advantage.

And this is where Prof Geraghty comes in — this reading should be in the vernacular — the primary language spoken at home.

Once a basic proficiency in the vernacular is achieved, the child will become a reader, and soon another language, for many of them, will become an interesting challenge.

Once a child becomes a reader, they will have a lifelong interest — never know boredom — and acquire incidental general knowledge.

SUE CAUTY, Pacific Harbour

Minister’s portfolio

HAS Faiyaz Koya officially taken over the ministerial duties of the Health Minister?

Where art thou Dr Waqainabete?

And did I hear correct that some 500 teachers have tested positive for COVID since the reopening of schools?

Apparently, our school’s ventilation system, which according to the Education Minister is far better compared with most schools globally, was no match for this merciless third wave.

Mrs Premila Kumar?

NISHANT SINGH, Lautoka

Problem-solving

THE SODELPA leader appears regularly in this column.

Perhaps, someday he would share with the nation as to how his party intends to solve the country’s immediate and long-term problems when it has not been able to solve it’s own problems for quite a long while.

MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF, Natabua, Lautoka

Coming or going

I FOLLOW the reports from the Ministry of Health.

Now we read (FT 14/1) a report from Dr Fong that Omicron had been in Fiji all this time.

Reports changing and I said to myself, are we coming or going.

ALLEN LOCKINGTON, Kava Place, Lautoka

Flood relief

WILL FNPF provide any form of financial assistance to its members who were critically affected by the recent floods?

NISHANT SINGH, Latutoka

School opening

WE are still confused about the opening of schools because of unfortunate incidents such as natural disasters and the third wave, leading to further delays.

Compromising on such issues with responsibilities, patience and care for safety of students and teachers remains paramount.

Education priority is always an asset for the development of any nation.

God bless us all.

TAHIR ALI, Hamilton, New Zealand

One less variant

CONGRATULATIONS to all those who have had Omicron (sorry you won’t even know which variant you had contracted) and are recovering or have already recovered.

You have one less variant to worry about.

KIRAN KHATRI, Samabula, Suva

Power supply

UNDERSTANDABLE the complaints raised against EFL by consumers.

There is no cyclone but power blackouts/brownouts, is at its worse.

Imagine when a cyclone does strike.

DAN URAI, Lautoka

Weather update

WHAT’S next after cyclone Cody.

The only word is “hope” that we don’t get destroyed by another tropical cyclone.

JAHEED BUKSH, Korolevu, Sigatoka

PM missing

“WHERE is the PM” (FT 14/1) in the country’s hour of need for leadership and action, the NFP president wants to know as do many others, including human rights activist Shamima Ali.

I recall a picture published of the PM on horseback going to meet the people in his early days in power.

I suppose now that he has entrenched himself in power for more than 15 years, there is no longer the need to project himself as the man of the people.

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, Australia

Local reality

WHEN I am in Fiji, I am constantly travelling by bus (and going to local markets) to keep me in touch with ground realities in my beloved home country.

The picture of the tamani size pothole at the Suva Bus Stand (FT 13/1) is one such ground reality.

Some people in high places only become aware of that reality when they see the “Eye Witness” picture in The Fiji Times!

RAJEND NAIDU, Sydney, Australia

Blowing his own trumpet

THE thing is Jan Nissar writes all he wants about Fiji from his wonderland which is not music to our ears obviously with valid reasons.

It’s OK, he is entitled to his opinion.

However, when he comes to Fiji, he writes a bit positive about Fiji.

He himself mentioned that his writings were not anti-Fiji but rather what he thought needed to be pointed out and the issues that needed to be fixed.

He returned to his adopted country and again started writing such letters.

I believe he has problems with almost everything in Fiji yet he gives very little solutions and only keeps complaining.

This is Fiji and certain things are just the way it is.

Changes can be done where it makes sense.

Certain things have to come from within.

Perhaps with a change in leadership, a lot will change itself.

Now who is blowing their own trumpet here?

But then again, who says there is no “freedom of speech and expression”.

KIRTI PATEL, Lautoka

Ironic and cruel

THAT is kind of ironic and cruel, if drinking water was used to clean the Kings Rd (FT 12/01).

That is so very uncool, when people are without water in their homes.

Me kua ga ni true!

EDWARD BLAKELOCK, Pacific Harbour

No looking back

Unaisi Ratubalavu never fails to impress readers with her pieces.

She ensures that she inspires readers with her articles and via yesterday’s The Fiji Times, Una shared the story of 24-year-old Fane Veiqaravi who started an earring business five years ago and today is an entrepreneur.

Fane did not have an ideal start like some but she ploughed her way through by working hard.

The Lauan lass learned to make earrings by watching videos on YouTube and after that there was no looking back.

She pushed herself to work hard at what she wanted to achieve.

Using social media, she attracted customers who were interested in her creations.

Hence, through her dedication and commitment towards her small business, she has been able to achieve success.

This success is set to inspire and motivate other women who are looking for ways to fend for their families.

All the best Fane and thank you Unaisi for the beautiful piece!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Vegetable prices

IT is common that after natural disasters such as cyclones and floods, there is an increase in prices of vegetables in the markets.

The reason is based on the supply and demand philosophy.

I’m confident that the Ministry of Agriculture will once again roll the program of “free seedlings” as soon as possible.

The sooner, the better.

Let’s wait and see what our future holds.

Rouhit Karan Singh, Lautoka

Water safety

It’s most unfortunate that 17 people drowned between 2017 and 2021 as highlighted by The Fiji Times editorial (FT 11/1/22) during natural disasters.

The Fiji Times repeatedly reminds and creates awareness on the risks when faced with flooded rivers and creeks.

It should be within our control as we should never underestimate fast flowing currents.

In times of disasters, we should be prepared to swim for life to save ourselves and save others.

Water safety is life safety.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Listen to Dr Fong

Lately, there has been a lot of hue and cry about the spread of COVID-19 and what actions relevant authorities need to take.

Many individuals and organisations tried to give their views on what needed to be done to stop the spread of the virus.

Their views are respected.

But my appeal to all is; please listen to the advice of Dr Fong.

He is a trained medical personal with a lot of experience.

He bases his advices on available medical literature and does not pluck it from thin air.

So let us not become Dr Fong, but listen to him.

Please God keep all Fijians away from harm’s way.

Vishnu Deo Sharma, Nakasi, Nausori

COVID in schools

If Dr Fong and the Education Ministry knew of the momentous risks associated with the opening of schools (FT 14/01), then why did they go ahead with the plan?

Their impulsive and poor decision making process to reopen schools has now put some 500 teachers lives in jeopardy — from frying pan to the fire!

Apparently, our school’s top notch ventilation system did not do much good either as expected.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Make use of your time

This letter is basically to all fellow students.

I would just like to state that even though all schools are shut, it can be an opportunity for some students who are behind in their school work.

Try to take advantage of this and catch up on school work.

So when schools open, and if some students are left behind, it will be a very challenging task for some teachers.

To avoid this issue, students need to study and revise during this time.

Kelepi Dakuiyaco, Waikalou, Serua

Restless youths at work

They always say: “The devil finds work for idle hands.”

Such works of graffiti are starting to show up on our Nadi streets, side roads and common drive-ways.

I plead with those concerned to please refrain from such activity.

It is filthy and unpleasant, to say the least.

Is there anything to gain?

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Living with COVID

Living under COVID, families have started to spend more time with each other, relationships are restored, hands are now super clean and ordinary people use more hand sanitisers than those in the medical profession.

Smile, COVID-19 has taught us to live simple lives, to truly appreciate who really matters, to go back to the basics and to live more cautiously.

All we can do now is to be united together, to remain positive, pray and believe for the better.

May God bless us all.

M S Kaleca, Nakasi, Nausori

Text messages

While I appreciate the swift messages by the NDMO via text on Saturday, January 8, 2022, Fijians are being reminded to “prepare you and your family from cyclones, make sure to have an emergency kit, contacts and stay updated with the latest weather advisories from authorities”.

Question I would like to ask, since many were without work and finance from April, 2020 until to date, who will buy or supply the many hundred thousand families here in the West with emergency kits?

Very easy for you to say it.

What is the purpose of that budget support from New Zealand and Australia during any crisis?

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra-Votualevu, Nadi

Preventative health measures

Time and again, people are reminded of preventative health measures to be taken after disaster strikes.

The recent flooding has caused lot of damage to essential infrastructure where the quality of food and water will not be up to standard.

Majority of the cities and towns faced the wrath of flooding in a very short time.

The practice of good hygiene measures is vital.

People are at high risk to water and food-borne illnesses.

People’s movement in contaminated environment can lead to communicable diseases.

All should be vigilant to take necessary preventative steps to avoid any outbreak of diseases.

Little good hygiene practices matters the most.

Rouhit Karan Singh, Lautoka

Thank you good Samaritans

I express my gratitude and appreciation to the good Samaritans who reached out to evacuation centres with food, water and other essential needs.

Your kindness during the recent flood is highly appreciated.

I also thank good Samaritans such as Allen “Unkol” Lockington and his right hand Navneet “Central Engineer” Ram for being on the move and assisting needy families and schoolchildren.

Allen and Navneet (TD as Allen calls him) you are champions.

Your assistance has made life easy for the families who were affected by the pandemic!

Allen and Navneet are not politicians, but ordinary humanitarians who have Fiji at heart.

Like the duo, Lautoka businessman Raymond Singh is also thanked for his support and charity work in Lautoka!

At least you guys are doing something positive to help Fijians.

These acts will be remembered by many!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingamm, Nadawa, Nasinu

We deserve better

It was like we were on a roller-coaster while experiencing the impacts of the cyclone since the power was fluctuating at every short interval.

It was not a good feeling obviously.

I believe this is a common practice most times when cyclones approach.

However, the impacts of power outages start way before the cyclone arrives.

The effects of power blackouts are more intense than the impacts of cyclones at times.

I believe this was not the case before as only when a cyclone made landfall, such actions were taken.

This is not funny nd people do get affected and frustrated.

I am sure EFL can do better.

We, the people of Fiji, deserve better.

KIRTI PATEL, Lautoka

The calmness on his face

Joseva Talacolo made an immediate impact on his outing in Dubai last year.

He was ruthless and was a key figure in our forward play.

The calmness on his face (FT 13/01) speaks a lot about the vigor and passion with which he donned the national jumper.

Jo played for Tabadamu and the Police Blue side.

He impressed selectors and former coach Gareth Baber and made the trip to Townsville for the Oceania 7s but missed the cut for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

I’m sure Jo will make the cut for the Malaga 7s in two weeks’ time.

He reminds me of the playing days of “The Beast” — always lethal with ball in hand, raring to hit the opposition and ready to pounce on the opposition with some heavy and massive hits.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Novak Djokovic

Love him or loathe him, world tennis No.1 Serbian Novak Djokovic must do the proper thing.

Follow medical sciences and take the COVID-19 jab or smarten up, follow the rules — no jab; no entry; no Australian Open 2022.

It is so simple.

Please stop giving Australian Federal Government and Australian Tennis all this needless hassle through your out-smarted arrogance and smart alec attitude.

Pack up and go home quietly, please.

And respectfully too.

Or face deportation.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

All Blacks fan

Frequent contributor to this column, Rajnesh Lingam, deems himself an ardent All Blacks fan (FT 14/02) but he is a Fiji 7s fan.

Hahaha.

Sorry buddy, I reckon only those of us who support the All Blacks 15s & 7s are the ardent fans.

O keitou qori.

Hahaha.

Anthony Sahai, Suva

Omicron variant

The permanent secretary for the Ministry of Health has revealed that the Omicron variant was already prevalent in Fiji prior to the opening of the international border.

This revelation triggers many questions such as: If this was the case, then why it was not disclosed at that instant?

What is the evidence of this claim?

When was the test done and result obtained?

When and how it entered our shores?

Why the act of secrecy to withhold information when other countries promptly disclose their cases?

Recently, even the Greek island of Cyprus instantly disclosed the new variant Deltacron discovered there.

Is this bombshell disclosure contrived to evade public scrutiny and wrath on political failures of ministers who were desperate to open the borders for economic rejuvenation while being unscrupulous with the proliferating status of the virus that’s creating havoc globally?

Furthermore, the laxity and nonchalance attitude of some of our people is bearing serious consequences for us all.

Contrary to the vigilance displayed by the police during the initial onslaught, they were barely seen enforcing law as expected of them.

Some gullible and naive people took advantage of the situation and now the whole nation is suffering.

I think that every man is for himself now; either you practise vigilance to protect yourself and your family or be a casualty.

Ravind Chandra Naidu, Tuatua, Labasa

Extreme weather

Is it strange that extreme weather conditions excite me?

I understand that Mother Nature has the potential to cause massive amounts of damage and she does not have mercy on those she smacks with a heavy hand but extreme weather conditions cause a jump of excitement and curiosity inside of me.

I’ve always been obsessed with the weather and hyper sensitive to shifts in the air pressure.

Maybe this is a sign of an underlying passion that I have yet to tap into?

Maybe I should pick up a few books, study weather history and patterns for a while and become one of those people who follow extreme weather for the sake of knowledge.

Not the same kind of excitement when I’m drinking good quality grog.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Ovalau roads

I may sound monotonous to many, especially those who do not reside on or haven’t visited Ovalau post-STC Winston.

Numerous letters have been written, of which I honestly have lost count of, regarding the state of the circular road on Ovalau.

I was on Ovalau during the festive season and simply, the state/condition of the road is “disgustingly pathetic”.

Imagine the conditions now, after the continuous heavy downpour over the past few days?

Do I need to write in another language in order to get the message across?

I believe numerous government ministers and other senior officials, including the PM and the A-G have visited Ovalau a few times but no one seems bothered.

Our honourable PM was quoted to have said in an article that was published in the FT 2/10/2020 (page 2), “I promise you that your government is listening to you and is keen to ensure that you have the standard of living that every Fijian deserves”.

Despite such a promise, that famous “nobody gives a damn” attitude continues to echo loud and clear.

The people of Ovalau deserve much better and no amount of fancy speeches and travelling on pre-graded and rolled roads in taxpayer-funded top of the range air-conditioned and tinted 4WDs prior to visitation will rectify such.

Ovalau is just a stone’s throw away from the mainland.

Anyone listening?

Anthony Sahai, Suva

Vehicle lights

Can the Land Transport Authority and traffic police clamp down on the numerous vehicles that have illegal lights installed on them.

Some of these vehicles look more like a Ferris wheel rather than a car.

They are a danger to oncoming vehicles because the lights they have on are too bright and blurs the oncoming driver’s visions.

This may and have been the cause of some accidents and if nothing is done about it, we can only brace ourselves for more.

We must not entertain double standards because the number of vehicles on the roads are ever increasing and the traffic jams, especially in the rush hours, are so pathetic.

Enough said!

M S Kaleca, Nakasi, Nausori

Vaccination and side effects

After receiving my second jab of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, I happen to suffer from mild to severe side effects.

The reactions varied like headaches, muscle pain and digestive issues.

All of them lasted for at least six weeks.

My GP said that “your immune system appears to have over-reacted”.

On the medic’s advice I changed my diet to appease the immune disorder and it worked.

A little vaccine illness if it is manageable and wanes gradually is paradoxically a good thing; was my take on the matter.

Now I am told “the more you vaccinate, the better it is”.

This is one overwhelming medical consideration that I wish to revisit later.

Sachida Nath, Nadi

Road conditions in Tunuloa

I Just recently returned from my traditional abode and we tread on muddy tracks unplayable even by pigs and horses.

There is no road that people can access.

Recent attempts by a company proved futile to develop the ailing road conditions.

Then I heard from my earthlings that there were few clan members who did not want to surrender part of a mega hill rock that sat adjacent to their houses which acted as a major buffer during huge waves or tsunamis.

The Wailevu River is another hindrance to this road project thus two villages and three huge settlements are denied the freedom of movement and equal opportunities as enjoyed by the rest of Fiji.

There is only 4.5km of road to link up with Napuka Secondary School.

But then again, we heard from FRA that rehabilitation work will begin soon on Viti Levu plus tarsealing of the road to Naitasiri, Nadarivatu and the Nadroga/Navosa stretches.

We have been looking forward for the past 70 years for a government to make us happy.

Jioji O Toronibau, Navetau

Vaccine wonderland

We got vaccinated, we got COVID and we transmitted it to those who herd immunity was supposed to protect.

For me, this means the vaccine is useless.

A learned medical doctor also states that hospitalisation can be reduced through early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Those pushing vaccine sales do not say this, nor those pushing for more aid money.

My family feels privileged and better protected to now have natural immunity thanks to Omicron.

I believe in vaccination but not pushing vaccines that has for me and many — been proven useless.

Rick Eyre, Labasa

Magic of money

I was so happy to read (FT 13/1) that 27,949 iTaukei minors were eligible for $29.3 million windfall in lease money and that six of them would get more than $100,000 each when they come of age.

I am sure they know who they are and are already dreaming about how to spend the money.

I am sure financial planners will be hounding them to show them how to compound their money, car dealers will entice them to buy fancy cars and real estate agents will try to sell them homes.

And premium retailers will present them with offers to buy super-duper sound systems with no money down and no payments until next year!

Banks will invite them to open accounts and offer them a free smartphone.

And they will get missed calls from long lost friends who would want to become their best buddies.

Such is the magic of money.

Those over 18 who are not eligible for this good fortune should not lose heart or feel any envy.

I believe they will also get a windfall right before the elections.

And the good news is that this will not be limited to just iTaukei citizens!

OMG, such generosity.

Make sure your voter registration cards are “current” whatever that means.

Not sure how I ended up with two voter registration cards.

They both look greenish blue.

My wife thinks they are bluish green.

My name on both cards are the same but not the same as my name on my birth certificate.

I went to change it once but the wait was so long I had to leave.

I am mulling over going to get it changed.

Will it be worth the wait?

I wish we know how much the payout will be.

This will make the decision to go or not to go much easier.

Maybe I can hire a stand-in for this torturous chore.

I wonder if the Government has a program like this for senior citizens.

You know how cranky and grumpy we get when we have to wait for a long time.

As if that was not enough, we have to deal with our wives when we go home.

I think the movie Double Jeopardy was made based on a similar gruelling experience.

Suddenly, I’m envious of the 27,949 iTaukei minors.

But as Shakespeare said, “I will sit like patience on a monument. And hope the wait is worth the reward”.

My wife already has plans how to spend it.

ARVIND MANI, Nadi

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