Letters to the Editor – Thursday, October 21, 2021

Donald Campbell at his work place in Suva. Picture: RAMA

Source of information

For Donald Campbell, who was part of the 10 winners of the September draw, The Fiji Times has been his source of information. Donald described his relationship with the newspaper which enabled him to know what was happening around the country. He said he was aware of what was happening around the country because of The Fiji Times, and like Donald, many readers are aware of what’s happening in Fiji in terms of social, political and economic affairs. The Fiji Times has everything covered, and the Kaila! newspaper continues its outreach to parts of Fiji, bringing some hard-hit stories of our schoolchildren and youths. The piece on the Fiji Day hike to Mt Korobaba was exceptional. From a neutral perspective, The Fiji Times delivers. We have also been reading some heart-touching stories related to Pinktober. The people’s newspaper has a sound and proven track record which has set the platform for its success! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Waiting for the Times

In 1975 I was invited by my USP mates, the Archary brothers, to spend university break with their family in Naqara, Taveuni. A daily ritual was to wait with great anticipation for the arrival of The Fiji Times. It would arrive in the first flight into Matei Airport and then get transported to Krishna Brothers shop in Naqara. It would often get in close to midday. Sometimes we’d make two or three trips to check if it had got in. Once The Fiji Times came home it was split up so that several of us could read straightaway and exchange pages. That was how much The Fiji Times meant to folks in remote rural places in the country in keeping them connected to the rest of Fiji and the world. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Fishing vessel Tiro II

Please forgive me, but I write again to enquire about the investigation of the fishing vessel Tiro II. You recall this vessel? It sank five months ago in Fiji waters. Five men lost their lives on or about the early morning of May 17 while luckily three men survived. During all of the time since, my thoughts have gone to the dead men’s families, here and Indonesia: when will they receive closure? And when will our nation be informed of what really happened, so that any possibility of a future comparable event can be contained? Hoping that the clear thinking and motivation of investigators will very shortly bring a firm conclusion to this tragedy. P Kailola Suva

Road safety

A wake-up alert reminder (editorial FT 19/10) on the importance of safety on our roads should be taken seriously. The rules and regulations should never be neglected as it costs a lot of innocent lives. Accidents do happen but they can be avoided with everyone’s concern. The authorities concerned, police, teachers, road safety council and Land Transport Authority always aware, educate and emphasise on road safety rules and behaviour on the roads. The Fiji Times always highlights such issues occasionally. A policeman once stopped a speeding car to book the driver. The driver challenged him to book the other three who were also racing with him. The policeman told him that when you go fishing, only one fish gets caught at one time. He got the message. Leave sooner, drive slower and live longer. Tahir Ali Hamilton, New Zealand

Colin Powell

Yes Rajend Naidu of Sydney, Australia (FT 20/10), Mr Powell, the former US Secretary of State, did die of COVID-19 complications. The full story was in yesterday’s The Fiji Times (20/10) also, page 24. It seems Mr Powell “had also been treated over the past few years, for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that impairs the body’s ability to fight infection. Studies have shown that these cancer patients don’t get as much protection from COVID-19 vaccines as healthier people”. May he rest in peace. Vijay P. Madhavan Borron Rd, Suva

Sugar industry

The ailing Fiji sugar industry is truly blessed to enjoy the services of Professor Santiago Mahimairaja — Sugar Research Institute of Fiji CEO. It is discerningly evident our very own Ministry of Agriculture Extension Services should have easily picked up; highlighted and provided solutions for our low sugarcane yield of around 47 tonnes per hectare. Better yields of 80 to 90 tonnes per hectare are ideal. It must be noted with registered keen interest, for comparison sake, countries like India have yields on an average of 110 to 120 tonnes per hectare. Fiji sugarcane production is definitely lagging far behind. It is also reported more than 80 per cent of soil in our sugar cane belt areas have very very low pH levels ranging from three to five, meaning soils are of an acidic nature. It is said the optimum range for good soil type is six to eight pH to yield preferred good sugarcane production. Lessons must now be learnt to lift up our fledgling sugarcane industry. On a separate note, having grown up in Sabeto, Nadi in the 1950s to very early in 1972, I see a huge change now. Acres and acres of sugar cane land along the Queen’s Rd are now left bare. Sabeto Village has grown exponentially in land area too. I remember walking through the tramline and sugarcane fields to catch a bus to go to primary school at Mt Saint Mary’s School and later at Namaka Public School. The old coal-fired sugarcane trains used to scare the life out of me during my very first years in primary school. “E sa lia na kwa na lemutou vasu i Sabe ena gauna ko gile. E sa tubu va levu du na lequ koro makawa o Sabeto. Make tam labati na lequ tuqwaqwa ena Sigavakarauwai, Janueri 22, 1972, qi niumia o yau se na no vali i Sabeto. Isa lei, na lequ koro makawa.” RONNIE CHANG Martintar, Nadi

Return home

I HAVE a few burning questions about foreign travellers found to have entered Fiji unvaccinated and who are sent to a designated quarantine facility. So far we have one. I understand they must remain at the facility until they are fully vaccinated. Do they wait the necessary period of time between shots with the minimum being 28 days for the Moderna vaccination? Do they leave as soon as they receive the second dose or wait until the second shot is effective, after 15 days? Adding all this up, we would be looking at around a minimum of 45 days in total in quarantine, based on administering the Moderna vaccination. Incidentally, this vaccination has been reserved for children, pregnant women and those over 60 years of age. If it is the AstraZeneca vaccination, however, then the space between shots can be eight weeks. My final question is who pays for the vaccination and their stay in quarantine? When my dog travelled from Lao PDR to Fiji, I was sick to the stomach until Biosecurity Authority of Fiji approved of his entry into the country at Nadi airport as both he and I knew that if something, anything was out of order with his papers then there were two options for him: to be sent back to the place of destination or to be put down. I’m not suggesting the latter option for such aforementioned human travellers but feel the first one is reasonable, and, of course, at the passenger’s expense. JULIE SUTHERLAND Tamavua, Suva

What’s in a name?

I do not want the Supervisor of Elections to deprive me of my privilege of voting in the 2022 election so I dug up my birth certificate to see who I really was. I was dismayed to discover that I was living under a false identity all these years. When I was born, my mother who was a teacher (so I assume she knew how to spell) registered my name which was Arvind Mani. The clerk at the Registry of Births wrote it as Arvindamani. Not only did he put my first and last names together but he decided to add an “a” at the end of my first name. But for all intents and purposes I was (and still am) Arvind Mani. But this posed a problem when I was migrating to the US. The American Embassy thought I was not yet famous enough like Beyonce or Madonna to just have one name, so my name was split in two and I became Arvinda Mani. I suppose I had an opportunity to change my name when I became a US citizen but I kept it as Arvinda as in the US a first name ending with an “a” was assumed to be a female name e.g. Linda and I started to get free subscription to Victoria’s Secret. When my wife and I decided to move back to Fiji in 2010, I had to use Arvinda as my first name on all official documents. But for everything else, I am known by my real name Arvind Mani. As my wife and I live on retirement income only, we have a frugal lifestyle and I occasionally buy a Lotto ticket so I can buy my wife a nice sari every once in a while. As luck would have it, I went to the Nadi Post Office last week to check my mail and was pleasantly surprised to get three checks from the Lotto guys for a total of $75! Coincidentally, my wife saw a lovely sari at Jack’s for $74. I was happy as I would come out ahead by a $1! So, I excitedly went to my bank but the eagle-eyed teller noticed that the name on the checks was spelt as Arvind Mani and she could not deposit the checks and gave me a story about the check being non-negotiable whatever that meant. She said I had to go to a notary public and get a letter that stated that I am also known as Arvind Mani. In the meantime, someone else bought the sari which made my wife livid. And to compound my agony, when I went to check my mail the other day, I received three notifications from LTA for driving over 60 kmph in a 60 kmph zone. On the citations, my name is spelled as Arvinda Mani. I am wondering if I could contest that it is not me as my name on the birth certificate is spelled as Arvindamani. But my priority right now is to go to a notary public and get him to sign a document that I am also called Arvind Mani so I can deposit the Lotto checks. This way I can pay my tickets. For my wife’s sari for Diwali, my granddaughters suggested I start a gofundme. So what’s in a name? More than I care to think about. Perhaps that’s why the jesting Pilate asked the question and would not pause for a reply. I feel for you, Mr Nawaikula. Arvind Mani Nadi

Front pages

In recent weeks, we have seen statements by Opposition political leaders quite regularly find their way to The Fiji Times front page headlines accompanied by big pictures. Do these statements on everything and anything always deserve a front page prominence? Bharat Morris Rifle Range, Vatuwaqa, Suva

Flag issue

I do realise that we are living “down under” but don’t think that is a good enough reason for the flags of the world published each week in Kaila! almost always being printed upside down! Michael Scott Morris St, Lautoka (Your point is noted and we will take appropriate action moving forward — Editor)

Growing trees

Why aren’t authorities taking serious action regarding trees growing near the roadside? Instead of waiting for damage which earlier occurred at Holland St, Suva, they could have trimmed it off. It’s always a late start that when an incident occurs than people turn up to clean it. Who will take responsibility if a worst-case scenario would have occurred? Jaheed Buksh Korolevu, Sigatoka

Mangoes galore

Mangoes are in abundant supply at the moment. Though it is a local nutritious fruit which can be enjoyed in many ways, I think this natural resource remains underutilised in Fiji. It’s a pity many mangoes end up rotting on the ground every season. In my view, this can be a flourishing industry on it’s own. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Gone too soon

Rest in peace Sean Wainui. A promising young man in New Zealand rugby dies in a tragic accident. Gone too soon. So, so sad. May you rest in the peace of the Lord. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Documentary

The other day I saw a documentary where a white man is dropped off in a Venezuelan jungle to live off the land for 10 days. Virtually everything the man did — making shelter, making fire, making fish trap, gathering food, including maggots — to sustain himself was appropriated from indigenous people. But the documentary was presented as if it was something original the white man was doing. It struck me as a modern day colonial appropriation of indigenous cultural heritage. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

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