Letters to the Editor | Sunday, November 12, 2023

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Suva lawyer Jon Apted in Suva, on Fri 10 Nov 2023. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Jon’s right

Suva lawyer Jon Apted is right in saying “not enough people are questioning and holding those in authority to account” (The Fiji Times 11/11).

Missing in action on this public outcry front are the vast majority of lawyers who seem to be preoccupied in other concerns.

With the benefit of their higher education and station in society one would expect them to be the vanguard when it comes to holding power to account and not be conspicuous by their absence.

Rajend Naidu, Suva

Speak out

Jon Apted, in Saturday’s Fiji Times is encouraging people, “to speak out” and to “Hold those in authority to Account”.

Thank you Mr Apted, and a very timely statement.

However, after 16 years of being discouraged from criticising or even questioning those in authority, it’s kind of difficult to get out of the habit of keeping your opinions to yourself and taking whatever cr#p that the all-knowing minister of everything handed out.

So yes, hopefully with the resurrection of local elections, ordinary citizens will have a voice in civic affairs and eventually relearning how to govern their townships.

Including being criticised, when they are not performing to expectation.

Donald Thomas Pickering, Matei, Taveuni

Balolo delicacy

This balolo levu season is when there is an iTaukei yearly delicacy that comes from the bottom of the sea in the month of November.

It has been eaten by my forefathers from generation to generation including myself and will also be eaten by our future generations.

It’s an interesting ritual to observe how it is caught by our fellow villagers in the Maritime islands.

Most iTaukei especially the younger generation that were born and bred in urban areas have not seen nor eaten a balolo.

Jioji Masivesi Cakacaka, Carreras – Votualevu, Nadi

Human cost of war

The world community should be so grateful to Israeli PM Netanyahu and his spokesman Mark Regev and others that Israel is doing its best to minimise Palestinian casualties and to protect Palestinian civilians as they continue their relentless bombardment of Gaza to eliminate Hamas.

That is so evident from the pictures we see daily on our television of the human cost of the Israeli military operation.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Social media

Social media is fast becoming a field of competition nowadays.

Whether searching for the best or worst case scenarios, one has to go through social media to get it.

Like a one-stop shop, it’s all in there.

You name it!

Pita Soroaqali, Rakiraki

Armistice Day

The Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany at Compiegne, France, at 11am on November 11, 1918, bringing the war now known as World War I to a close.

President Woodrow Wilson, 28th President of the United States (1913-1921) proclaimed the first Armistice Day the following year on November 11, 1919, with these words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” unquote.

May their souls rest in peace!

Originally, the celebration included parades and public meetings following a two-minute suspension of business at 11am.

I loved my history classes with master Voravora and master Sikivou, 35 years ago at RSMS!

Jioji M Cakacaka, Carreras-Votualevu, Nadi

Falepili Accord

Australia’s offer at the PIFLM52 to grant up to 280 residency visas to Tuvaluans is a milestone action to combat the climate crisis.

Studies reveal that much of Tuvalu’s land area will be under the waves by 2050 if climate change proceeds as expected.

“Falepili” is Tuvaluan for the traditional values of good neighbourliness, care and mutual respect, and the treaty acknowledges Australia as part of the Pacific family.

I don’t think this was tit for tat with Beijing assisting Honiara with the security details at the upcoming Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands later this month.

Samu Railoa, Nadi

Ministerial duty

Do they really need to be garlanded with specially prepared mats, seats, etc., in the act of performing their jobs?

Who are they representing on the stage in the first place?

This entire “celebrity” like scenario, I think, is an overemphasised, unnecessary and uneconomical act that needs to be eradicated.

Starting with only one example, after all these years, it becomes a precedent and no one person with a sensible mindset, ever thought of reviewing it.

It has become a labelled “tradition” that needs to be accorded honourably.

Who is serving who?

What a shame!

Samu Silatolu, Nakasi

Take a walk with me

The first bus of the day, Kadar Buksh, zooms past my window, stirring me from the depths of sleep.

The birds are chirping, and I can hear the soft rustle of mum, who has just woken up.

She tiptoes to the sitting room, her movements a quiet symphony as she turns on the radio.

The familiar voice begins, Dukh ke saath suchit kiya jata hai…I groan, not wanting to start the day with the news of loss.

Thankfully, the mournful announcements fade away, and Satya Nand begins to play “Jis dware pe ghar ki bahu rangoli sajati hai…”

My groggy eyes twitch, and suddenly, I jump from my bed, a surge of realisation hitting me —it’s the day before Diwali.

I have to get ready quickly.

As I walk to brush and take a shower, Angeline’s voice fills the air.

SN and NG banter, complimenting each other’s outfits.

I yell at mum, declaring that I will only eat peda and gulab jamun, reminding her to skip the ladoo in my lunch container.

I hastily gather my things and head to Tilak.

The teachers, adorned in their Indian best attire, elicit compliments from all of us, eager to be in their good graces.

The day lingers until the afternoon bell rings for the Diwali function in the hall.

A tiresome 20-minute speech by an unknown chief guest precedes the dance performances.

Yet, my attention is fixated on a bird perched on the ceiling, anticipating the moment it might decide to leave its mark on our festivities.

As the day winds down, I head home.

Sonu complains about the lack of firecrackers, prompting a dash to Rups Big Bear for more fireworks and rope lights.

Lautoka City comes alive—a spectacle of colourful sari, Diwali songs echoing from every shop, and a severe shortage of parking spaces.

After our shopping spree, we hurry home, putting the final touches on our decorations.

My brother sets up the lights, dad checks on the fire marshals and 3 pegged crepe-paper candle divider, and I focus on decorating the fence with the shiny side of DVD/VCD tapes.

It’s almost 8pm.

I sit in front of the house, looking up at the moon-less sky.

The stars glisten brightly when a firecracker bursts into colours, creating a symphony in the dark night.

Life feels perfect.

Tomorrow is Diwali.

Mum yells: “Dinner is ready.”

Even now, I can vividly see the entire day—the hustle, the laughter, the anticipation.

These memories are etched in my mind—yaadein hai, yaadein rahe gayi. As the radio softly sings, “… ek woh bhi Diwali thi, ek yeh bhi Diwali hai…” my heart swells with a mix of nostalgia and longing for those perfect moments that time cannot erase.

Ashneel Jaynesh Prasad, Auckland, New Zealand