Keep in shape

Mervin Sue at his fitness gym. Picture: MATILDA SIMMONS

TUCKED away in the sleepy old town of Rakiraki, is a small fitness gym centre called Duadua Fitness.

It is one of the new business ventures that is making its mark in the town.

We met Mervin Sue, a Fijian of Chinese descent, who manages the gym on behalf of his friend, Sandip Goundar, a fitness trainer based in Australia.

Both gentlemen spent their early childhood in Rakiraki and came back to the town to continue their family business. Goundar returned to open a fitness gym centre and divides his time working in Australia, while Mervin looks after his family restaurant which has been in operation in Rakiraki for more than 30 years and at the same time helps out at the gym.

“I haven’t run a gym in my life, but it’s an experience for me,” he smiled.

“What we trying to do is promote health and fitness as part of everyone’s life, any age can take part, it doesn’t matter how old. Many say they’re too old for it, but exercise is a part of everyone’s life.”

Mervin is a “Rakiraki boy”.

His family operates one of the oldest restaurant businesses in the town called Sue’s restaurant.

“People know us and our family. We were one of three Chinese families who settled here in the 1980s.

“The other families sold up and moved overseas, but we stayed on. My father came to Fiji when he was in his early teens.

“He used to work in Ba, with the Fong Lee family. His uncle brought him here to work and save then he decided to move to Nadi after marrying my mother who came from China.

“They moved to Vatukoula to operate a shop there, then later on my father then decided to build a building in Rakiraki. He wanted to own something instead of renting.

“So we moved here. I was seven years old and I attended Penang Primary and then Penang High School.

“After completing my secondary education I went to USP then after started working and running a business in Suva.”

It was in 2014, that Mervin returned to Rakiraki after his 69-year-old mother convinced him to look after their family restaurant. Mervin said he did not regret the decision.

“Growing up in Rakiraki Town was fun and life was simple,” he said.

“Behind our building there was just bush and we would play and ride bikes through it; no mobiles, no laptops … play by the creek, and climb trees.

“Now times have changed, we can’t even let our children out. I think this is a good place.

“We know everyone and everyone knows us. “Suva is different, people don’t interact as much and life is fast paced.”

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