Letters to the Editor – Saturday, March 4, 2023

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Letters to the Editor – Saturday, March 4, 2023

Painting holds power!

Solomone Kacirogoci, who is a Year 8 teacher at John Wesley Primary School, shared his success story with Pekai Kotoisuva.

His message to the public was, “We, through our gifts, are mirrors of society and this holds us accountable to our creator and fellow citizens, to provide a true reflection of our observations and conclusions.

“Therefore, we must not be afraid of rocking the boat or stepping on toes.”

Apt and thought-provoking.

Solomone shared that painting flowed through his veins and gave him confidence.

Although painting consumed much of his time, he did not give up and completed the task on hand.

As a teacher, Solomone is a role model and his story motivates teachers to fulfil their God-gifted talents.

Apart from being a teacher, Solomone is an artist, a singer and songwriter.

He has even had the pleasure of writing school textbooks.

Hats off to Solomone and I acknowledge our qasenivuli for his input as a jack-of-all-trades.

Many have been inspired by his story, thanks to Pekai and the trusted brand!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

A part of us

I applaud our Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka for revealing a reality about life, during a reception held for delegates of the 2023 Ocean Conference in Panama, when he said that the ocean is part of us and if we do not look after it, we will no longer be here.

The sentiments shared by the prime minister makes me recall the famous quotes of John Hollow Horn of Oglala Lakota, 1932, where he said and I quote: “Some day the Earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood.  You will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you will die too.”

My greatest hope is that Mr Rabuka will not only say things at international level and not walk his talk at home in Fiji, like Bainimarama used to do.

My plea is for the PM and his government to totally ban deep sea mining in Fiji and help to advocate that deep sea mining be banned in all islands in the Pacific.

After all the ocean, the moana is mother to us, so let us protect her, for if we don’t ‘we will not be there’ as PM said.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Lami eyesore

It seems that the local council management responsible for Lami are totally oblivious to the deteriorating environmental mess that is viewed by all travelling through.

Starting at the Kalekana junction end, the verges and culverts are strewn with plastic bottles, beer cans and rubbish.

Some of this is washed down the road and into drains when there is windy and wet weather.

The same private residence, police station and settlement still using the verge areas to place their rubbish daily which then gets spread out all over the ground.

This is subsequently cleaned up by council workers wasting ratepayers’ money rather than the illegal practices being stopped by the council.

Then we see what has been done to the row of trees opposite the Lami dump, what an unprofessional unsightly mess.

If the butchering of these trees was not enough, the debris was simply dumped on the roadside verge adjacent to the Lami dump.

Sadly, much was placed on top of recently dumped drain and culvert debris consisting of rubbish and hundreds of plastic bottles.

Who is allowing this deterioration of Lami and more importantly, why?

Grahame Stageman, Lami

Success story

According to Grace Road Group president Daniel Kim, they employ about 700 Fijians, are the biggest farmer in Fiji and have developed mostly swampy land which had remained idle for long.

While their initial years in Fiji to acquire and develop land would have been quite a challenge, it is only with their perseverance and dedication that catapulted them to the current success story.

Landowners whose land still remain idle (no shortages of land) should take a cue from this group.

In fact we should be in awe of Grace Road’s success.

We should remain impartial to the investigations presently going on this group while the authorities concerned go about their work.

Remember this was an unknown group who ventured into Fiji, creating jobs for locals and the success did not come overnight.

Vikel V Lal, Makoi, Nasinu

Cash fares

Bus drivers are still collecting cash from passengers.

Why?

Because our enforcement agency, Land Transport Authority (LTA) is very weak in this area.

There should be regular spot checks by LTA at all times to curb this.

This pilferage is a loss to Fiji’s fiscal revenue and the bus operators as well.

A special unit within LTA should be set up to enforce on this.

Fines for drivers caught collecting cash and passengers travelling without valid bus tickets for a particular trip should be increased to deter future offenders.

Vinesh Prasad, Vuci Rd, Nausori

Cut it down

I completely concur with my former teacher Sakaraia Vuki when he said to cut down on the yaqona drinking and take responsibility of your children (cut yaqona, focus on your children 1/3).

For couples still without kids, I’d say cut down on yaqona and focus on making children.

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

The word

Isn’t it bold when hearing the word witch hunt from the minister.

Jaheed Buksh, Korolevu, Nadroga

Final chance

Will Vancouver 7s be the final chance for Ben Gollings to keep his job?

We need the title, nothing more, nothing less.

Raynav Chand, Nakasi,

Nausori Soccer coach

The appointment of Marika Rodu as national soccer coach is timely and a blessing for Fiji soccer as a whole.

Mr Rodu is well known throughout the soccer fraternity.

A former district rep, national rep and district coach, he has climbed his way up through his dedication and hard work.

We know very well that discipline is his foundation for success.

This value will definitely contribute to a sound atmosphere for success that soccer lovers had been waiting for.

We fully support his appointment as national coach for the upcoming series.

Congratulations.

Arvind Kumar, Raviravi, Ba

Rugby action

I refer to the letter by Jan Nissar regarding 7s rugby action in Los Angeles (FT2/3).

Same old grog dopey assertions as the Mickey Mouse code.

To correct your statement that the stadium was completely empty is a complete lie to the rafters of the stadium.

Fijians from all walks of life made their vocal presence felt at the stadium for our gladiators.

7s rugby is not rubbish!

How about you say the same in my face.

7s rugby forever unites our proud nation and is fully supported by the producers of the sportsman’s beer which you have been consuming for donkeys years.

I once again invite you to Lautoka Golf Club to enjoy Fiji Gold or Fiji Bitter alongside the tasty lovo lunch.

If you are still not satisfied, you may switch to the Drua Bitter, to soothe your bitterness towards 7s rugby.

Finally, my latest early morning dream for free told me that you will soon have a drop kick from South Seas Club, Lautoka.

Do reply Jan Mohammed as freedom of expression is readily available to counter my letter.

Raymond Singh, Golf Links, Lautoka

Education is the power

Education is the nurturing of the mind, heart and hands

Education has the power to transform life

Into an enlightened human being

True education enables one to traverse the choppy seas of life

By using rationale, with a sprinkling of some emotions

Parents invest education on their children

Believing one day they would be assets to their families

Governments invest education on their citizens

Trusting one day they would be assets to the society and nation

When one gets holistic and values-based education

One would be driven by moral, ethical and spiritual inclinations

Education is such a powerful weapon

That transforms one to think rationally, humanely and independently

Education is not only knowledge driven

It is wisdom driven

When knowledge, wisdom and humanity blend in harmony

It carves a path to meaningful progress and success

Education has the power to sharpen one’s imagination, creativity

Free thinking and the sense of curiosity

Education is not only attaining certificates and degrees

It is how one relates to people, community, nation and the world

Education enables one to become a complete human being

Contributing to the creation and innovation of society and nation

Education transforms one from ignorance to knowledge

Education takes one from darkness to light

It’s a common belief that knowledge is power

Let’s pause and reflect-is it really true?

Or do we need something more, perhaps wisdom

To give one an additional insight

To tackle the choppy seas of life.

Bhagwanji Bhindi, Laucala Beach Estate, Nasinu

Inter-house athletics meets!

Schools are using their inter-house athletics meet to select their athletes for the respective zonal meets.

After the success of last year’s Coca-Cola Games and the rise of certain unknown schools on the medal chart, this year I’m expecting all schools to prepare well for the three-day meet.

The Lions and the Waimanu Kui took out the boys and girls titles.

While the girls from Waimanu had an easy path, the boys from Grammar had to dig deep to get the title back to Nasese.

On the other hand, RKS remembered their fallen coach, Moape Vu, on Thursday during their school’s inter-house competition.

According to RKS assistant principal, Masi Saqanivere, Vu believed in breeding own athletes and brought back the competitive competition within the athletics arena.

He added that the school would continue with his legacy in order to develop and breed its own athletes.

RKS, Marist and QVS are title contenders in the boys division, while Jasper, Suva Grammar and St Joseph Secondary will give ACS a tough competition.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Here we come

Vancouver, here we come.

As our national 7s rugby side participates in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, fans will have high expectations after narrowly losing out to Argentina in the semi-finals last week.

With due respect, I think the biggest test is on our fans.

Will they support our men and women regardless of the outcome in Vancouver?

We all love to celebrate when our teams succeed in the grand finals but this is not always the case.

Our players may let us down but let’s think of the bigger picture.

Combinations take time to develop and the difference between losing and winning is decided by simple mistakes or the interpretation of rules by referees.

Let’s support our players and hopefully, their performance in Vancouver takes them a step closer to securing a professional contract overseas.

Meanwhile, the Kaiviti Silktails also deserve attention.

Floyd Robinon, Nasese, Suva

Twist of fate

It is indeed truly an amazing twist of fate.

Former top military spokesperson and RFMF officer Filipo Tarakinikini, once reportedly called a “deserter” will be returning home soon with Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka.

Under the new and caring Coalition Government, and capable leadership of PM Rabuka, another son of Fiji is now allowed to return to the land of his birth.

Fiji’s new dawn continues to unite those once “expelled” from home.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Municipal elections

It is pleasing to note that municipal council elections are coming back after a long layoff.

Ratepayers will once again get the opportunity to participate and elect a set of councillors that they think will serve them with integrity and truthfulness and according to rules of engagement.

They will want to pick people with proven track records and who are approachable without the need of making any prior appointment.

They will want the elected councillors to be mindful of the needs and requirements of the town and its citizens.

Ratepayers will also want to see the affairs of the council to be run in a transparent and accountable manner.

Elected reps are not expected to be self centred or greedy as this will curtail the main objective of putting them in the council.

Let’s hope good candidates will come forward to take the challenge and move our councils in the right direction.

Let’s have the elections.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Journalism and freedom

It has been roughly over two months since the Government was sworn in.

During this period, a lot has been said about journalism and freedom.

I think the non-presence of investigative journalism in Fiji still says something about journalism being free.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Jacinda Ardern

As a small time writer living with disability in a remote farming community of Tadra, Savalau, Votualevu, Nadi, I never believed in a million years, that I would cross paths with Jacinda Ardern in person?

From the maximum of 3 to 5 minutes in our conversation, I find her to be a humble down-to-earth person, empathetic, attentive with very good listening skills.

To all haters, mostly men who send negative comments on various platforms on social media after her announcement that she resigned from politics, you cannot match her work rate and what she achieved during her leadership as Prime Minister of a great nation, New Zealand.

As if those negative critics are going to drag her down, she is a fighter and champion of democracy, human rights in the Trans-Tasman including the Pacific where she is a beacon of hope for our women and girls.

I hope that I might cross paths with her someday to continue with our conversation but I guess that’s maybe in another life time.

Best wishes in your new endeavor Ms Ardern!

It was an honour for me and my daughter Arieta Meilani Marama to meet you in person and thank you FWCC Shamima Ali and team for facilitating that meeting!

Happy International Women’s Day in advance to all our women & girls out there, where ever you are!

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

Kava drinking

It’s amazing to read in the Fiji Times that parents are involved in kava drinking sessions rather than spending more time with their children (FT 1/3).

As we expect parents and teachers in child development, let the father be the first as he is the boss in his home.

My father never told me how to live, he lived and let me live.

“Parents are the ultimate role model for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on the child than the parent”.- Bob Keeshan.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Reminiscing

The sky’s red, yellow and orange hues gradually fades to black from grey and blue.

As you stroll along the empty beach,

there’s time to think and reminisce,

of days that have gone quickly by,

spent in your family home,

where you laughed and also cried,

but now you’re all alone.

As the setting sun lowers from a noon high,

you realise oh so clearly,

how insignificant your cries and worries are really.

It’s so humbling and makes you think twice,

that we should always be helpful and treat people nice,

coz one day you will be gone,

but the unkind words said will not be forgotten.

So, always be kind and respectful in this life,

coz no one really live their lives twice!

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Pothole saga

While I was in Fiji for two weeks, I truly do not remember driving through or avoiding potholes.

In my experience of being showered with love, happiness, and freedom in addition to now being fearless, I was totally blinded that I truly do not remember any lovo pit sized potholes.

I believe no one in Fiji sees any lovo sized potholes any longer like they used to in the recent past, because I do not see any complaints any longer.

I do remember the pouring rains though.

What would impress me immensely is if, just like the love struck volunteers fixed all of the problems at CWM in one day, they can fix the potholes in Fiji.

OK, I will be generous, I do not expect it to be fixed in one day.

With the new found motivation for civic duty by so many love struck, freedom loving and now fearless people, the potholes should disappear well before I arrive back next.

The “Minister for Potholes” should take a leaf out of the book of the minister responsible for fixing CWMH.

Jan Nissar, NSW, Australia

Churchill Park’s $650k facelift!

I must thank the Lautoka City Council for the work done in giving Churchill Park a facelift.

The Sugar City will host the battle between the Crusaders and the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua.

The last time Churchill Park hosted a Super Rugby Pacific match was between the Drua and the Gallagher Chiefs and who can forget that dramatic and gallant fight-back from the hosts to lose by a single point (35-34).

Hence, one can expect a sold-out Churchill Park as our boys host the defending champions and the most successful team in Super Rugby’s history.

Last year’s runner up, the Blues, will also play at Churchill Park this year.

Therefore, the Sugar City will host two big games!

We need to paint a good image of our beloved Fiji during these Super Rugby Pacific games so we can continue hosting big matches.

I must compliment and commend the sports team led by Rodney Duthie and the likes of Waisale Koroiwasa, Zanzeer Singh and Meli Laddpeter for coverage on Super Rugby Pacific especially the beautiful stories and player profiles!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Congratulations Lautoka

Heartiest congratulations must go to Sugar City’s Lautoka City Council for their courageous and bold $650,000 facelift of Churchill Park in readiness for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season where you get to host three Fiji Drua matches.

Your blue bucket seats are truly awesome.

Your leap of faith is exemplary.

I wish our officials in Nadi Town Council will be able to take a page from your proud achievement.

Will Nadi try to source similar, green bucket seats from Saudi connections following the World Cup soccer?

In short and simple terms, Nadi’s inability and loss; is wholeheartedly Lautoka’s gain.

Procrastination is always a thief of time.

You snooze, and you lose, they say.

Time is of the essence.

Vina du va levu vo na koro turaga o Lautoka.

Sa yawa du.

Qu marau muni.

Ronnie Chang, Martintar, Nadi

Park’s facelift

I heartily congratulate the Lautoka City Council for giving the Churchill Park a 650 thousand dollar facelift prior to Swire Shipping Fijian Drua’s 2023 Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific first home game against the Crusaders.

It appears that the LCC executives and employees worked round-the-clock to complete the facelift.

This was much needed, vinaka team LCC.

I hope that these renovations are not limited to hosting international teams.

LCC and other municipalities should renovate and upgrade their facilities for our residents on a regular basis.

With the reintroduction of municipal elections, we will see councillors elected from various communities.

They will then make recommendations for the overall improvement of the town or city.

This initiative from the new Government deserves a standing ovation.

Changes are required.

It has more advantages for everyone.

DINESH KUMAR, Ba

Injecting new life

I hope they bring back that mana,

which we thought was lost forever.

The developments being proposed,

will help bring progress,

growth and inject new life,

to a place that now looks forlorn and tired.

It’s a move that has been a long time coming and in anticipation,

we are now waiting.

But hope they don’t change their minds,

that will be so unfair and really unkind.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Prefects induction

On behalf of the Nabua Secondary School family, I wish to acknowledge Sophie Ralulu for coming over to cover the school’s prefect induction ceremony/service that was held at the Nabua Methodist Church on Thursday afternoon.

The chief guest was honourable Aseri Radrodro, our Education Minister, and the Nabua family was excited and indebted to him for accepting the invitation to be the chief guest.

The church was packed with students and parents/guardians, and the program went smoothly.

Sophie made her presence felt and the prefects were extremely delighted to pose for the camera.

They were thankful that coverage was given to them by a dedicated member of the Kaila newspaper team.

There were some emotional moments for the prefects and their parents and the Nabua community.

Since the inception of the Kaila newspaper, coverage is given to schools regardless of their popularity.

Students look forward to the Kaila newspaper and seeing stories of their schools with colourful pictures boost their morale.

Thank you once again Sophie Ralulu and the Kaila! newspaper team for the great work!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Impact of ecotourism

I agree with Summer Kabakoro’s views on the impact of ecotourism on our island nation and the question she posed at the end, if development is what we really want like the developed countries?

Reading her letter, a country that comes to mind is Bhutan.

Bhutan is a country of south-central Asia and is located on the eastern ridges of the Himalayas and has an estimated population of just over over 763,000.

Whilst Bhutan recognises that tourism is an important means of achieving socioeconomic development, tourism is limited and closely controlled by government.

The tourism industry in Bhutan is founded on the principle of sustainability, meaning that tourism must be environmentally and ecologically friendly, socially and culturally acceptable and economically viable.

With this in mind, the royal government of Bhutan adheres strongly to a policy of “High Value, Low Volume” tourism which creates an image of exclusivity and high yield for Bhutan.

Given the account provided by Kabakoro on the impacts of tourism on the people and environment of Hawaii, Fiji should take a more cautious approach when it comes to tourism.

Tourism also comes with its baggage and we should tread carefully in trading that for economic gains.

Bhutan’s vision on tourism is, “To promote Bhutan as an exclusive travel destination based on Gross National Happiness (GNH) values.”

How unique is that?

With the future generation in mind I believe a tourism policy model like Bhutan is best suited for Fiji given the impact of climate change on our limited and delicate resources.

We don’t have to be like the developed nations, we can be uniquely Fijian, let’s learn from Bhutan.

Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Rd, Nausori

Pen pals meet at last

IN 1999, a movie was released named Message in a bottle.

In the movie, a girl discovered a bottle on a beach that contained the letter inside.

Later, she tracked down the letter’s author, and they fell in love.

Even if it was simply a movie, Pekai Kotoisuva’s recent article “Pen Pals Meet at Last” (FT 28/02) has proven the existence of such tales.

After 22 years of friendship, two men named Akuila Matai from Viwa Island near Bau and Jerry Leake from Canada finally met in Suva in 1983.

Jerry placed a letter in the bottle in 1959, and two years later, Akuila discovered the same bottle at Viwa Island near Bau, which is almost 7200 kilometres away.

In 1961, Akuila sent Jerry his first letter of friendship.

Despite disparities in skin colour and ethnicity, a meaningful friendship was formed through letters.

This story touched me.

I even told this story to my class about the value of friendship and how old-fashioned letters functioned.

I was questioned by my students, “sir, where are they now?”

“Are they still alive?” and “Did they meet again?”.

I am not sure, but The Fiji Times seems to have preserved their unfathomable friendship.

RODNEY CLARENCE RAJ, Naleba, Labasa

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