Letters to the Editor

Isaac Lee at his sandalwood farm at Laqere, Tabia. Picture: LUKE RAWALAI

500m sandalwood expectation
READING in FT 08/09 about the sandalwood boom in 20 to 30 years worth $500 million, one must admit that will be quite some achievement.

It also mentioned that there are plans to set up an extraction plant to produce that higher valued sandalwood oil in Fiji which will increase its value considerably.

However, it raises the question about what will happen with those trees during the time it grows and matures. These trees grow another highly valuable product; the seeds which can be turned into oil as well.

Only recently a method was found to make the extraction of sandalwood seed oil viable through green super critical carbon dioxide process.

Sandalwood seed oil is a rich source of a natural and highly stable, acetylenic fatty acid called Ximenynic acid, with well documented pharmacological results.

While the sandalwood oil is highly valuable for the fragrant industry – the sandalwood seed oil, however, is even more valuable because the pharma industry sees the health benefits of this product. I believe apparently 10ml goes for as much as $A50. Setting up the extraction equipment, however, has its price too.


Memories live on
THERE are several radio personalities that come and go but there are few who leave a mark and touch the souls of audiences of all cultural backgrounds from across the nation.

Irshad “Tukunaboy” Hussein of MixFM radio was a class of his own and will be sorely missed by audiences across the nation. He may have departed but he will leave a legacy. He just had that personality which made listening to MixFM a joy to tune into. He was well known for greetings in local dialects and Pacific Islands languages.

A big vinaka levu to the MixFM for having Irshad on board and the team members for supporting as well as working with him.

Appreciation to his family also for raising Irshad and allowing him to do what he was best at. So long Irshad and farewell.

He may have passed on, but his memories will live on.


A new star
TEAMS participating in the NRC would have targeted our go-to-man, initiator, orchestrator and engineer Alivereti Veitokani.

Veitokani is no stranger to rugby having been part of Gareth Baber’s 7s team.

Veitokani also played for the Stallions and Rewa, where he made a name for himself after guiding Ro Doviverata’s brigade to the top before moving to Namosi.

He has cemented his position as our fly-half and should provide Ben Volavola a challenge for the Flying Fijians number 10 jumper come the November tests and 2019 RWC 15s.

Last year Peceli Nacebe made headlines before being ruled out with a leg injury and now Veitokani has mesmerised fans with his sizzling runs, ability to create gaps and make vital decisions, and that he plays with so much confidence.

As our boys leave to play Sydney Rays and Queensland Country, Veitokani will have a lot on his shoulders. Fans will recall that last year the Drua beat Greater Sydney Rams 57-31 in their back yard but lost to the Sydney Rays at the national stadium 36-29.

The Drua lost twice to Queensland — first at Churchill Park 24-17 and then in the semis 57-21 so I believe it’s time for revenge.

Our boys will have to maintain the rhythm and not get distracted by the fact that they are playing away from home.

Queensland Country narrowly edged Melbourne Rising 29-28 while we whipped Melbourne Rising 40-17.

The Rays, on the other hand, went down 54-17 to last year’s finalists Canberra Vikings. Saturday’s test match will speak volumes of the character and fighting spirit of our Drua.

If we can survive the defending champion’s onslaught then we should be able to stamp a mark. Tovolea mada boys!


A tourist wonders
DURING these peak tourism months, with hotels and resorts running at capacity, a tourist is wondering what these big billboards mean: “Reject politicians who divide us”.

Is it a reminder of Fiji’s troubled past? Yes, they have had three or four coups, but isn’t parliamentary democracy the order of the day? Oh, yes, the general election is happening soon, but isn’t the incumbent a shooin? The taxidriver definitely thinks so, likewise the local newspaper we get; which carries accolades Donald Trump, Theresa May, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel would kill for.

Be that as it may, shouldn’t he consider the effect of such billboards on tourism? Visitors love these friendly smiling people, but are there serious problems lurking? Perhaps people should give Fiji a wide berth. Pity, as visitors are so important to this beautiful country.


Our friend
I PERSONALLY feel every sovereign Pacific Island country must be left alone to determine their own destiny in unchartered waters which is relevant to the Republic of China’s assistance in either aid, grants or loans that come in many forms.

Our nation has tremendously benefited from being a friend of this world superpower and the Nauru president should only voice his concern relevant to his country’s experience and not compare that with others.

Thank you to the People’s Republic of China for all that you have rendered our country in times of both good and bad from the past, present and into the future.

China is a true genuine friend indeed.


Paint road humps
KINDLY requesting the authorities concerned if they could re-paint the two road humps located towards hospital road (opposite Botanical gardens).

They are barely visible now and pose a grave risk to motorists, primarily those speeding ones who do not frequent this road.


Fiji’s roads
ONE only needs to spend time overseas for a year to realise how dangerous it is to be on Fiji’s roads.

I’ve lived my whole life in Fiji, worked in the media and despite covering stories of road deaths or being first-hand information receivers of road accidents before the news is disseminated to members of the public, I never thought our roads were dangerous.

One year away, came home for a visit in June, two months at home made me realise how dangerous our roads really are because of drivers that tend to drive and use the roads as a race track or because they feel they can do whatever they want on our roads because no one is watching.

I have seen government vehicle drivers that do not follow road rules, passing other vehicles on roads marked with double solid white lines, and this was the same for many other drivers on private vehicles and PSV vehicles.

Buses carrying school children who would pop their heads out of the bus windows just to watch the scenery they look at every day as they go along the same road.

I asked my husband to stop near the bus driver’s window as he was dropping off some students from a village in the Western Division, where I told him to ask the students in his bus to stop popping their heads out of the windows because I was worried someone might get into an accident, and his reply was, “They are like that every day, they are hooligans”.

I feared for my life and that of my children whenever I was in the car and a sigh of relief would come when I have reached my destination safe and sound.

If everyone plays it safe, then our roads would be safe, one safe driver cannot be safe on the road if another driver is not following the road rules.

If teaching begins from home, parents please teach your children to not do things to risk their lives, teach them to sit still in the bus and wait for their turn to get off instead of popping their heads out of the bus windows.

If teaching begins from home, wife/ mother remind your husband/sons every day of the lives in his hands, not only of his passengers but of those in other vehicles and other road users as he sits behind the wheel.

If teaching begins from home, please teach the importance of being safe not only for our own good but for other road users too, highlight a wrong when you see it.

If the police and the LTA officers cannot be on every road in the country, let’s learn to police ourselves, let’s not wait for accidents to happen to make us feel obliged to speak our mind then.

Do what is right, Fiji!

Let’s be safe!


Level of the Drua

What level is this Australian city team, are they probables and possibles to don the Australian Wallaby jersey? Now may I ask, when does the Drua team play in a similar competition in New Zealand? My fingers are crossed for that to happen.

I bet we will learn a few things, what say Anthony Sahai?

ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Samoa once more
SAMOA has done it again.
First they imposed a ban on plastic bags.

Then they initiated an investigation into vaccine safety after two babies died on Savaii.

Now they will table a Bill in Parliament to reinstate corporal punishment in high schools.

Their leaders are determined to do what is right even if it means rocking the global boat.

I wish our leaders had the same type of gumption.


No blinds
JUST like the taxi permit “hoohaa”, wouldn’t it be an idea to have a lottery to pick our next government? Just an idea! No blinds, but, no blinds!
MANOJ LAL PATEL Drasa Avenue, Lautoka
Savusavu police
I REFER to A Shariff Shah’s letter. (FT 10/9). Wow, are the police in Savusavu really on the beat 24/7 over there? If so you gang are lucky.

And now I refer to the police in Lautoka, please take your cue from the Savusavu police.

Anyway, I should have said — to all the police officers around Fiji.

ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Poverty issue
I CAN understand it that large parts of Bangladesh’s huge almost 167 million population live in poverty.

That must happen invariably.

Why should that also be the case in Fiji? With a population of less than one million and its own vast natural resources and wealth and the additional foreign aid it gets why should anyone in Fiji be living in poverty? Of course that’s not to say everyone should enjoy the lifestyle of the political class in Fiji but it’s not unreasonable to say everyone should be able to afford to live with human dignity, with a decent living wage and social protection, in Fiji.

RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Sandalwood trees
READING The Fiji Times on Saturday I was surprised to see such tall sandalwood (yasi) trees looking so green during this dry spell that we have in Fiji (FT 8/9).

What about the hybrid or Indian yasi trees grown in Fiji? They say that these mature in 12-15 years, which is half the time that the native yasi takes to mature.

Can the forest conservator please enlighten us all about the hybrid and Indian yasi trees?


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