Still caring at 76

HE is definitely different in this age of instant communication. Where others would opt for typing a letter and send it via electronic mail, Frank Shaw pens his thoughts and then delivers it by hand.

“You know, I am an old-timer and cannot type very well. My grandson does it for me if I want to send one by email,” he said. “But I don’t want to bother him.”

Frank said he started writing in the late 1960s.

“That was when we were approaching independence. I thought I might give some ideas to the parliamentarians especially about working and housing conditions.”

He is very happy there is now a minimum wage rate. Having seen a lot of changes, Frank said, there was still a lot that could be done to better the lot of Fijians. And he has some very definite ideas on how this should be done.

“Government should take over, nationalise banks for profits to remain in the country,” said the soft-spoken Lami resident.

With the profits made by commercial banks, Frank said, those should be shared by Government to the people as governments should be people-centred as opposed to businesses which were focused on making a profit.

He said the lessons learnt from when the National Bank of Fiji went bust should be applied together with rigorous monitoring processes to ensure that mistake was not repeated.

Housing is another area which Frank thinks can do with a lot of help.

“If you go along the Kings Rd, even the Queens Rd, you will see some houses that are like those you see in shanty towns in some very poor countries. That should not be the case.

“The roads are very good but the houses are pathetic.

“There are some things being done like Koroipita in Lautoka. But that is in a peri-urban area. As you move out, things get worse.”

Apart from Government, the long-time correspondent said change began with the individual.

“We can learn from Singapore. It is only the size of Taveuni and do not have any natural resources but the country is very rich.

“How did they do it? They did it by using this,” he said as he pointed to his head. “We can be like that but first, we have to convince ourselves that we can do it.”

Apart from living and working conditions, Frank says, people should also look after their health. He said drinking too much yaqona and eating the wrong type of food led to their being lazy and having poor health.

Every so often he would state softly, almost to himself it seemed: “My time is almost over and I have seen a lot of changes, good changes. But there still remains a lot to be done.”

If only we could be more like Frank Shaw in sharing our thoughts for a better Fiji.

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