Letters to the Editor – Saturday, June 29, 2019

Rubbish left behind by festival goers after the Fiji Airways Farmers Carnival at Lautoka's Churchill Park. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

Carnival rubbish

I DO not agree with the view that the public has an obligation to clean the rubbish left behind by others.

Doing so, I believe, will only perpetuate the dependence culture in our people.

It’s time they took responsibility for their own rubbish.

Otherwise, they will expect us to clean their toilets too.

This attitude must change for it will only lead to lowering of our standards.

They must face the full brunt of the law for them to learn it the hard way.

Despite so much awareness, rubbish is still dumped on our beaches, roadsides, parks, playgrounds and vacant premises.

If we show leniency then we will continue to fight a losing battle in protecting our environment.

Selwa Nandan, Lautoka

Mysterious deaths

MY early assumption that the mysterious deaths of American couple David and Michelle Paul to be an episode from the hit supernatural TV series The X-Files, was by a long way, a fluke shot in the dark.

But as the days are going by, it has all the hallmarks of suspense.

No one seems to have any clues.

Questions are tossed around.

Questions are answered with questions.

Those who potentially have leads cannot be questioned.

While grieving family members are struggling to cope, this file I believe was headed for the cupboard of unsolved cases.

But without the FBI, there is no X-Files.

Understandably, they are interested.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Martintar-based taxis

HERE’S a timely message to the owners and operators of two Martintar-based taxi companies.

Some of your taxis’ interiors are filthy.

I believe not washed for a long time.

Stale air inside taxis are at times unpleasant.

Land Transport Authority (LTA) officers must be adequately seen on our roads.

They must vigilantly enforce PSV driver’s dress codes.

Some taxis clearly have cigarette stench.

Some taxis show poor maintenance and rattle.

Most drivers lack general care and courtesy.

Opening and closing passenger doors are no longer practised.

Loading/unloading passenger bags/shopping is not part of their care and concern.

Why should passengers pay full fare for dirty, unclean, smelly taxis?

Besides, body odour can be nauseating.

Use personal deodorants please.

It is plain and simple personal, common sense hygiene. (Such basic health hygiene must be promptly addressed).

No round neck T-shirts.

No flip flops.

No shorts please.

Dress smartly.

LTA must have refresher courses and timely reminders as an absolute prerequisite at every annual licence renewal.

Driver slackness breeds contempt.

Improvement in these regards are absolutely necessary.

Taxi drivers and all other drivers, who needlessly toot their horns at every pickup do not realise or don’t want to accept such annoying nuisance is a gross disturbance of neighbourhood peace and quiet.

Have some manners please.

Be considerate.

Ronnie Chang, Nadi

Nausori bus terminal

I HAVE noticed very appalling services at the Nausori bus terminal, especially the terminal for the Suva route.

The buses don’t park at the actual spot, they seem to have moved further along the terminal.

On this particular day the actual Suva route spot was occupied by another bus company.

The other day during the Island Buses time, there were hardly any buses but a lot of passengers waiting.

I got on to one bus but there weren’t any other bus around until the moment we left to make a turn from the town end and there was the next bus parked at the town end.

The terminal marshals who dominated the area during its opening are no longer to be seen.

The Nausori bus terminal is so dirty with dust and rubbish everywhere.

The juice area is so dirty that you wouldn’t even want to drink the juice.

Hopefully, the Nausori Town Council can check these areas and get regular cleaners to do their job.

Tomasi Boginiso, Nasinu

Bringing back the past

WHAT will bringing back the past do to improve the lives of Fijians.

Is it to remind the people that a few in the Opposition did wrong?

C’mon man.

Let it go, just get on with governing the country.

You are the majority, remember that.

To the Opposition, come up with ideas that will make the government your friend.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Thank you

IT is normal for people, especially road users, to complain about potholes and long queues.

I just want to take this time to thank all the hardworking people at Higgins, Fulton Hogan, China Railway, Dayals and other contractors braving the sun on a daily basis fixing up our roads and making beautiful footpaths.

Vinaka vakalevu and keep up the good work.

M S Kaleca, Nakasi, Nausori

Role of women

IS there anything women can’t do?

Not if the women’s World Cup soccer is anything to go by.

The skills display is simply superb.

The traditional gender role demarcation is clearly obsolete and needs to be recognised as such.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

FSC loss

MANY have commented on Government’s revitalisation of the sugar industry as flogging a dead horse.

Now with more than $150million loss, I don’t know how you go beyond a dead horse.

The horse probably took the $150m and is running in the afterlife.

Sailosi Naewe, Nausori

CCTV cameras

IT is very good to hear that the Northern Crime Prevention Carnival will use the proceeds from the carnival to install CCTV cameras in Labasa Town.

I am suggesting if a similar initiative can be undertaken in other districts as well.

Municipal councils in collaboration with the business houses can also raise funds for such a cause.

It would be useful if CCTV cameras are placed at strategic locations around town.

This will act as a deterrent to criminal activities as well.

Rahul R Sharma, Varadoli, Ba

Police arrests

THE increasing incidences of police arrests and raids on illegal drugs is not just a worrying sign but there is a bigger question which deserves much consideration.

The increasing presence of illegal drug trade indicates an increase in the number of users.

Does this mean that we have sufficient counselling centres and rehabilitation opportunities in Fiji?

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Tragic incident

THE incident in which a migrant dad and his baby daughter tragically died while trying to cross a river in search of a new land is not expressible in words.

I am unable to write any further.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

All the best

I WOULD like to wish all our participants good luck for the forthcoming Samoa 2019 Pacific Games.

May God bless you all and keep flying our flag high.

Nardeo Mishra, Suva

Changing the world

“MANY of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A Edison

It’s easy to be right about something when other people don’t see what you see.

It’s easy to be bold once.

It’s not actually that difficult to have a pretty good idea.

It’s a lot harder to do all those things a thousand times.

Two thousand.

Three.

If you’re looking to change the world — or heck, even just change yourself — being right isn’t enough.

Having a great idea isn’t enough.

Being bold isn’t enough.

You have to do all those things over and over.

And over.

When Alex Mashinsky, CEO of the Celsius Network, talked on IT Visionaries, he gave a glimpse into this idea.

He was working on technology that would eventually replace traditional phone lines, and many people scoffed at the thought of that industry giant ever taking a tumble: They’d say: “You can’t bring down the phone companies, they’re the strongest, most powerful companies on the planet.”

And those companies used to charge us three dollars a minute to call our friends and family.

And now we are having this phone call with you free.

So tenacity, and doing the right thing, does pay off.

It’s not just being smart, and it’s not just having a good idea.

It’s sticking to it.

We must go into today with that knowledge.

With that grit.

We have the power to change things.

Even if they seem impossible at the time, they might not be impossible always.

Our A-G has launched a 30 Under 30 group of young men and women with good ideas who are progressive and innovative in their thinking.

I look forward to them contributing to make Fiji better.

As Margaret Mead, the American anthropologist said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Arvind Mani, Nadi

Drug breathalyser

TO answer Allen’s question if there is a charge for being high on drugs, I believe the answer is no, as authorities are not capable, nor have the technology to verify and prove that a person is high on drugs at a given time.

It would be advisable for police to invest in breathalysers for drugs.

There are devices that can detect up to 12 different controlled substances, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, morphine and marijuana.

In the past blood and urine samples were necessary to charge offenders, but this new drug exhaled breathalyser is as easy as alcohol breath testing and presents a new and better way of fighting drugs.

These new devices can detect drug use as accurate as blood and urine tests and will even detect drugs taken 48 hours beforehand.

An investment of a thousand devices or more to be distributed and used around the country will certainly bring caution to thousands of drug users.

It may just ease our traffic problems and keep people from doing unnecessary things off our streets and urban centres.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Public urination

I DON’T know whether urinating in public is illegal in our beloved Fiji.

I am not sure whether our country has a law that specifically criminalises this disgusting act.

Unless there is a prohibition order, nothing much you can do.

I know there is a prohibition order restricting liquor drinking in public places.

But I believe people still drink liquor in the open without any fear.

This is bad because the law is not applied fairly across the board.

Now the Koroivolu Park in Nadi Town for that matter is a common everyday place for liquor drinkers.

It’s been like this for many years now.

At times police do come and politely chase away the culprits.

Many ladies also come to park every day with their children to eat and relax.

This is also a place where many passengers used to wait for the arrival of their next bus.

If drunkards want to pee, they just stand and shoot in any direction and with no regard to the women and children who are present in the park.

For your information, many countries have made public urination a crime.

Because the act borders on criminality, the offenders are charged and prosecuted in accordance with the law that they have.

Under their law, law enforcement agents can charge the culprits with littering, public nuisance, indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

I feel that the time has come for our country to also address this filth as soon as possible.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

India’s fine form

CRICKETER Virat Kohli is leading India’s onslaught to capture lost glory in England.

On the other hand, Australia is the most successful country having won five titles and Australia is the only country to have completed a treble (1999, 2003 and 2007).

India last won in 2011 after defeating Sri Lanka.

Ironically, India had co-hosted the WC Cricket alongside Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Furthermore, after thrashing West Indies by 125 runs at Old Trafford, India now trails Australia by one point having played one game less.

The Black Caps are also on 11 points, followed by England (eight points) and Bangladesh and Pakistan (seven points).

In this imperial form, India is set to make the semis and final.

My best wishes to Virat, Rohit, Dhoni, Dhawan, Jadhav, Rahul, Karthik, Pandya, Jadeja, Shami, Yadav, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Chahal and Shankar!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Quality approach

INTERNATIONAL Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (IDADAIT) and Early Childhood Education (ECE) week celebrations concluded in many schools yesterday.

Students were exposed to great awareness on the importance of eating healthy food, using social media wisely, looking after their health and respecting their bodies, the dangers of HIV/AIDS and sharing their problems to avoid suicide.

Students made charts, banners and posters, composed songs, wrote poems, stories and essays, took part in skits, character parade and role plays, and the list continues.

Colours were also allocated for each day and photos uploaded via social media and The Fiji Times showed their creativity, which should be targeted and nurtured to bring out the best in our children in schools.

The rise in drug and violence-related cases are a worrying trend but a quality approach is needed by all stakeholders to better the lives of our young ones who are prone to social media, drugs and the ills of our society.

During his address to the students of Meigunyah Muslim Primary, John Powell (welfare officer) urged the staff members to prepare children for life by giving them the best upbringing and quality early childhood education, which recognised the connections between children, families and communities and the importance of mutual relationships and partnerships for learning.

Tevita Wara from the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation’s shared similar sentiments in Labasa and stated that ECE was the cornerstone to the success of the Fijian education system and that a child’s early years provided the foundation for the rest of their lives.

Therefore, it is important to invest in the welfare of our children at an early age by nurturing them well and providing quality care, development and education.

As I conclude, I thank the teachers and students for the beautiful programs organised in their schools and thank you The Fiji Times for the extensive coverage.

My niece Jignasha Pushp had a lifetime experience at Rishikul Kindergarten thanks to the headteacher and kindergarten staff members and she was overwhelmed with the activities that she took part in.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Mill soot

THE Lautoka sugar mill has been around for a very long time.

Now it’s crushing season.

Some years the soot is not an issue and some it’s horrible.

This year the soot is everywhere.

Why?

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Smart TV and people

THESE days, Smart TV is the fashionable thing to have.

I have one too.

My question is this, Is Smart TV making us smarter?

The biggest problem with the TV (and trust me it has many issues) is that it doesn’t require much of our brains.

Unlike reading (or even listening) our minds don’t need to imagine anything.

Sight and sounds are done for us.

Our grey matter needs to only go into “download mode”.

This is a rather scary thought – that we automatically download into our subconscious whatever is put before us on the TV – when you consider what gets broadcasted.

There seems to be no sense of corporate social responsibility on the part of the powers that be to offer quality programming that will enhance our lives.

Now to be clear, I’m not judging TV nor people who watch TV.

I have a few of my own favorite shows.

However, in his historic “television is a vast wasteland” speech, Newton N Minow said: “Television is a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endless commercials — many screaming, cajoling and offending.

“And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few”.

Minow said that back in 1961.

Has TV changed much in the past five decades?

On the flipside, though, the “effortless downloading” that happens when watching television (or DVDs or YouTube) I believe can be beneficial if what you are watching is in tune with your values and your goals in life.

If it supports you in living an amazing life.

If you’re choosing to watch conscious media that programs your brain for success and happiness.

But how many such programs are there?

“Very very few”, as Newton Minow said in 1961.

I would much rather sit down with a good book unless, of course, a good soccer match or The Godfather is on.

Arvind Mani, Nadi

Stray dog epidemic

THE Wolbachia mosquito program is being introduced in Fiji.

According to the Wolbachia mosquito program, mosquitoes carrying Wolbachia have a reduced ability to transmit viruses to people, decreasing the risk of Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever outbreaks.

What if a similar program could be introduced to dogs.

I’m sure scientists can find bacteria (not harmful to humans) that can be put on bait which will be eaten by the dogs and render them sterile.

We have gone to the moon, a mission is on its way to Mars, humans have had sex change operations – why not a bacteria to render the dogs sterile.

I believe it’s a more humane way to control the stray dog epidemic.

Allen Lockington, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Battle away from home

THE sea of blue looked smart, sharp and focused as our athletes presented their itatau to His Excellency Jioji Konrote at the State House.

While accepting the itatau, the President reminded the team to work together in unity.

The journey to the Pacific Games is not easy and I’m happy that the President did not mince his words when he addressed the delegation and advised them to work together, watch over each other and work with their respective team management.

It was a delight to learn that our youngest athlete is 13-year-old Jai Chauhan who will bid for a gold medal in table tennis.

During the 2015 Pacific Games held in Port Moresby, Fiji finished fourth with 33 gold, 45 silver and 37 bronze medals while PNG finished first with 88 gold, 69 silver and 60 bronze medals.

New Caledonia and French Polynesia finished second and third, respectively, with 60 gold, 50 silver, and 56 bronze medals and 39 gold, 34 silver and 41 bronze medals.

Fiji will face tough opposition from PNG, Samoa, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

Taking a young squad should not be an excuse for not winning gold and I’m pleading with our athletes to be great ambassadors and to pay attention to his excellency’s message.

The Fiji Times has taken the lead in promoting the profile of our athletes and I’m thankful to the hardworking sports crew.

Hence, my best wishes to our team!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

The education sector

I BELIEVE there was a time when education was treated with respect by the government, the ministers and the ministries.

Decisions were made wisely after extensive consultations and the results were effective and I believe left everlasting impact on the learners.

Now what we see I believe is a reactive and ad hoc system mostly in the education sector.

Not so many years back one minister introduced the internal assessment system to gauge the performance of the students, and the results?

I believe it was a complete flop idea.

So they shelved it.

So many workshops and professional developments went to waste, not to mention the waste of taxpayers’ money.

Then came the exams again.

Another minister made it mandatory to complete the coverage within the first two terms.

Detailed solutions for past year’s papers were to be supplied to the students just to focus on the passing rate of the students.

One minister even changed the way translations were to be done in Hindi exams.

Instead of using standard Hindi, he imposed Fiji Hindi.

I believe it was a flop idea again.

Perhaps someone forgot that translation is a very specialised genre.

Then came the directive that everyone should go up to form six level regardless of passing or failing.

Hence encouraging students to take a most lethargic approach towards their studies.

There was no fear of failure.

There were free wi-fi hotspots provided in selected locations so that there were more internet users.

And I believe this led to more abuse of social media by the so-called 21st generation students.

I believe it was made mandatory that students would not be given punishments to do hard labour for their misbehaviour.

I believe no punishments were meted out to students to cut grass, to do weeding because under children’s right there cannot be any forced labour imposed on the child and under OHS policy there was the liability for injuries too.

God forbid if a child gets hurt while doing this forced activity while using knives and forks, who will take the blame?

I believe it is no secret that the ever-suffering teachers would be the ones copping the flack.

Ayrine Lata, Vatulaulau, Ba

Public notices

THERE are many public notices (in three languages) which inform us that it is illegal to dump rubbish in that area.

Litterbugs are so silly that they do the complete opposite.

Piles of rubbish lie around these notices. Some notices have stains from rubbish thrown at it.

For litterbugs, the public notices read something like the following paragraph: If you notice this notice very noticingly, you will notice that it is not worth noticing.

This notification is not to be noted.

I think the public notices to deter littering should be accompanied by all major religious symbols (Fiji context).

These notices should be visible in as many areas as possible, even festivals.

Maybe this will have an impact.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Lautoka Hospital

AMAZINGLY, come October 10, 2020, 50 short years (in God’s eyes) would have flown past and silently passed us by.

The Lautoka Hospital, as it stands today, was a gift from the then British government, and the people of Great Britain on the occasion of our independence.

Fiji, then ceased to be a British crown colony.

In 50 short years, Lautoka Hospital has seen better days.

We are truly thankful to the management team members of Aspen Medical for coming to our shores at this timely juncture, to ressurrect and improve hospital health services.

Sincere thanks must also go to Fiji hospital project CEO Paul Dyer for his professional leadership and vision for improved health services in the ever-growing and fast developing Western Division.

I will be failing badly if I did not pay tribute, thanks and sincere appreciation to all who worked dedicatedly with immense love, care and concern over these past 49 years.

Heartfelt thanks and praise to you all.

Thank you to all staff members who continue to serve us thanklessly.

You are our living saints and testimony of God’s love to mankind.

My sincere and heartfelt thanks to the three Lautoka Hospital gynaecologists and support staff members plus Nadi Hospital DMO and staff members, who faithfully cared for my ageing mum in recent years until she freely chose to relocate to Suva after medical assessment and treatment by overseas specialist urogynaecologist at the CWMH in October, 2018.

It is now time to turn a brand new page in the annals of the Western Division’s history of medical health services.

A brand new dawn beckons.

Change is inevitable.

It is human to resist change.

Growth, development and improvements, all demand change.

Let us all, with much dignity, foresight, pride and respect embrace this change.

Vina du va biri.

Ronnie Chang, Nadi

Free at last

YES, at last, the march towards freedom, or at least substantial relief from the bondage of traffic congestion.

I say kudos to the Land Transport Authority.

The three steps of urban clearways, networked traffic lights and reversible direction lanes all synchronised according to time-of-day, seasonal or both will be the answer to prayers of the thousands affected for so many years. Good one LTA.

Go you good thing.

Mareko Vuli, Nasinu

Car dealership offers free shotgun

JUST when I thought Americans could not get any stupider, here is proof that they can and will.

It isn’t unusual for a car dealership to throw in a couple of floor mats to sweeten the deal when purchasing a new or used car, but one dealership in Alabama is taking it a step further in honor of Independence Day which is on July 4.

Chatom Ford in Alabama took to their Facebook page to announce a promo that will be running from now to July 31.

They promise that anyone who purchases a new or used vehicle at their dealership will receive a Bible, an American flag, and a 12-gauge shotgun.

“God, guns, and freedom,” the dealership wrote on Facebook in a June 19 post.

“This is a small gift to our valued customers and an opportunity for us to celebrate our independence.”

According to Chatom Ford’s Facebook page, one couple has already taken them up on their offer.

“Thank you Mr and Mrs Flowers for being the first to take advantage of our July 4 celebration by purchasing this beautiful Jeep and to receive a Bible, 12-gauge, and an American flag!” the Facebook post read.

“You could be next.”

While Chatom Ford is waiting for more customers, it seems their Facebook post is getting the word out to plenty of supporters.

“Hot darn! If only I were in the market for a vehicle,” one commenter wrote, while another added that the offer was “one-stop shopping”.

“Just like a true Southern American! God bless you!” another chimed in.

A “true Southern American”?

What is a true Southern American supposed to be like?

Now you know this is Trump country.

Such an atrocious giveaway would have been unthinkable under any other American president.

Sadly, such stupidity I believe is only a preview of coming attractions.

Arvind Mani, Nadi

Termite infestation

I HAD written a letter earlier sometimes last year regarding how termites had damaged some cassava plants from my cassava patch here in Saru Back Rd.

Well, now it seems that it has spread to the entire patch because all the cassava plants that I’ve uprooted in the past two weeks have not been spared by these pests.

I’m just wondering how much more time will it take for the relevant authority to visit farms, survey the infestation and come up with solutions for this is not a minor issue.

It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that in the future this will have a devastating impact on our food production.

Just imagine if these termites spread to other farms, we would have a crisis on our hands.

Apparently, this issue should have been nipped in the bud but now the bud has blossomed and is spreading its seeds annihilating greater areas.

Swift action is needed now or else the cassava industry in Fiji could be crippled in a few years time!

Azeem Ud Dean, Saru, Lautoka

More Stories