Lingam attributes his success to his parents

Ram Lingam at his home in Nadawa. Picture: Ana Madigibuli

Seeing the hard yards that his parents put in to provide for him and his elder brother’s education back in a copra estate in Savusavu shaped Ram Lingam’s future and the future of his children.

Mr Lingam, who was born in a European-owned colonial copra estate in Savusavu, is attributes his success his late parents for pushing him to attend school and to get a good education even during tough times.

“My parents were cutting copra in the estate and the amount of money they received wasn’t enough as they earned eight shillings a day,” he said.

“During that time the schools weren’t close to home so we had to walk 15 kilometres to find the nearest school.

“The thing about my parents was they made sure we went to school no matter how far it was even if it meant we had to go on a bilibili or by boat. Even after crossing the river we would still walk another six kilometres to get to school.

“My father use to take us every morning, made us cross the river then return to work and would come back to pick us up after school. Back then it was just me and my elder brother so we made sure we attended classes as my dad puts in a lot of effort to getting us there.”

He said they didn’t lose hope growing up because of his parents’ commitment to get them educated.

“Those days were tough, but we survived on what little money my parents brought home.

“My parents were still around when I became a teacher in 1974 and I felt proud of that because I could show them what I achieved from the hard work they did.

“During that time when someone earned in a family you had to make sure to look after the extended family too and I did that for us when I got employed.

“Back then I earned about $1160 annually so that was about $60 a fortnight, but that was something big in the past because I could look after my family with it. Teaching was considered a noble profession then.

“Communities would consider a teacher a good leader and people respected us for the work we did.

“When I become a teacher my parents had stopped working in the copra estate and we had bought a small house. I was able to give back to them for the hard work they did for us during those days in the copra estate.”

Seeing how he and his other siblings had become successful, Mr Lingam often thinks back to when his parents worked in the copra fields.

“I become a teacher and one of my siblings becomes a professor at USP while the others are doing well on their own and raising their families. It’s all because of my parent’s commitment.”

A retired teacher with more than 30 years experience in the education sector, he now commits his time to religious activities and helps the less fortunate in any way he can.

“I did community work when I was a teacher and even did work with Fiji Rotary.

“These days I spend my time in religious events and provide assistance in any way I can to communities.”

He said his three sons were also successful in their own field of work.

“One of my sons is a school teacher, another one resides in Dunedin, New Zealand, and the third one is an accountant.

“I feel proud looking back at what we have achieved simply from my parents who worked hard in the copra fields of Savusavu.”

He said when his was not busy with his religious responsibilities he often drives his taxi or spends his time with his grandchildren at home.

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