Letters to the Editor – June 01, 2020

Sis Ram received his share of seedlings and fertilizer at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Backyard Gardening Initiative 2020 in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Consider farmers’ option

I was advised by a few farmers that we visited to ask the Government not to give seeds to people to start backyard gardens.

One advice was to vet the people asking for seeds, to determine if they will really go and plant them.

So the better option is for Government to give seedlings because they have a higher success rate.

After TC Even and Winston we went around giving seedlings to individuals whose backyard gardens were destroyed and to the farmers we gave seeds.

The big farmer has a lot of land to germinate seeds and the know-how to go to the next step.

So, please Mr Minister for Agriculture do take note, this advice comes from the farmers themselves.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Useful app

The Minister for Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, recently informed the Parliament and the nation that Fiji will soon have the careFIJI app which will be based on Bluetooth technology for COVID-19 contact tracing purposes.

This will push the boundaries of contact tracing to a much higher level.

Thus ensuring that Fiji will not have resurgence of deadly coronavirus.

This modern technology will greatly assist the contact tracers , frontline fighters and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

This modern technology will certainly boost our ability to fight back coronavirus and enable our government to open borders for trade and commerce.

Lockdown has really been a debilitating factor in our daily lives.

I commend the government for its visionary approach in bringing back normality in our lives.

All Fijians should download this app as soon as it is available in the best interest of our country.

God Bless Fiji.

Dewan Chand, Namadi Heights, Suva

Act of God

Act of God or not, one thing is sure, and that is COVID-19 happened and it took many lives and caused economic disaster throughout the globe.

And however and whatever way you label it, it makes no difference to the fact of the matter.

Why is it that we can be so vile and gullible over something someone said?

No one is perfect and if that quote is considered a mistake, life still moves on and the coronavirus is still around.

It is said that the difference between greatness and mediocrity is how an individual views a weakness.

One thing is for sure and that is that our Attorney-General has profited from his remark.

Even the best of us are still learning!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Interesting scenarios

I, like many other Fijians, I am scratching my head, hands and legs.

Hands and legs because of the mosquito population which has recently grown exponentially.

Firstly, there was a state of natural disaster declaration to show the world how serious Fiji was with COVID-19.

Surely, Fiji has been receiving foreign aid packages.

Instead of using secondly, I am opting for lastly because defining COVID-19 as an act of God takes the cake, candles and cutlery.

Surely, this is an act of desperation.

Desperation which I assume is linked to the state of the Fijian economy.

I had a long thought.

Have we become so bad that God has decided to punish us in such a ruthless manner?

Have we wronged so much that God has decided to watch us suffer?

Have we been so sinful that God has decided to make millions sick and a couple of hundred thousands to lose their lives?

I am glad The Fiji Times (31/05) had “Divine intervention” on it’s front page.

These are the words of Rachel Sumuj from The Tree of Life Bookshop, “Though the odds were against us, God was not” and “We are nothing without God”. In life, at times I believe we all get misguided and lose track of reality.

We blame other people and even God when events don’t occur as we wish.

But, God can never be against us.

He sends help in many ways.

He sends help in many forms.

He sends help through many people.

If we fail to identify and accept them, it becomes our fault. I ponder what the rest of the world and World Health Organization has to say about COVID-19 being an act of God.

Someone needs to ask them.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

What if

With mankind’s insatiable greed to oppress and conquer planet Earth, what if the COVID-19 pandemic was truly an “act of God” to teach self-centred homo sapiens a sore lesson in humanity and nature conservation? Earth’s current health status is progressively on the mend now.

Please don’t angry mother nature again.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Qorvis issue

Allan Loosley makes the very valid observation that the media mob Qorvis was not needed in Fiji (FT 31/05).

Where is the need for a small developing Pacific island country with less than one million people to engage a big and no doubt costly American communication outfit?

The money saved from dispensing with Qorvis could be put to more productive purposes for the public good.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Bible shop

The Bible shop that was saved is indeed an act of God.

Psst, I believe COVID-19 isn’t.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Take heed

There is a saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”.

I believe certain unionists who were in hiding since the COVID-19 crisis, should take heed.

Jan Nissar, Carlton, NSW, Australia

Deafening boom

Too right Mr Anthony, Felix that is.

What is now emerging from the silence, sir; is the deafening “boom” of our beloved nation disintegrating.

MANOJ LAL PATEL, Drasa Ave, Lautoka

Spend wisely

After Fiji Airways’ termination I believe there is a big change in people’s spending.

This termination has created fear in people. So let’s keep this in mind, that this is just the beginning.

End is very far.

Spend wisely.

Amol Kumar, Lautoka

Our reality

Basic economics — plant, eat, sell, barter.

Colin Deoki, Australia

‘Hand of God’

The definition of COVID-19 as an act of God in the Employment Relations Amendment Bill (2020) has reminded me of a sporting incident which took place in 1986.

In the quarter-final match between Argentina and England during the 1986 soccer world cup, Diego Maradona, one of the greatest players to play the beautiful game, scored a goal using his left hand.

The infamous “Hand of God” goal was scored illegally but stood.

Almost four decades later, those types of tactics are still being tried in soccer.

The difference, nobody is buying them now.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

The reality

In his letter ‘Poverty reality’ (FT 30/05), Simon Hazelman perpetuates what is known in the literature as the myth of subsistence affluence* (a tropical paradise and all that).

I believe Simon has clearly not familiarised himself with the relevant literature to acquire a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of poverty in its manifold dimensions (like poverty and structural inequality, inter-generational poverty, the vicious cycle of poverty, the working poor *etc).

In the absence of that understanding, Simon takes a simplistic, reductionistic and bombastic view of poverty and the poor.

For him the poor are poor only because they are “lazy”.

Simon betrays his wilful ignorance and adds insult to injury to the poor.

Anecdotal stories highlighted by The Fiji Times in its recent coverage of HART home residents show just how hardworking the poor are simply to survive and make ends meet with no luxuries and refineries of life for them which the affluent take for granted.

Prof Biman Prasad (a former university economics professor) has a good grasp of the poverty reality confronting the country when he says half of the population are likely to fall into poverty through the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis.

Fiji is not unique in this regard. According to Oxfam’s May Newsletter, “Around the world, the impacts of COVID-19 are just beginning.

In addition to the health risks, COVID-19 threatens to push half a billion people into poverty, as families feel the economic toll from reduced work and increasing prices on everyday items…” (‘COVID-19 Threatens to Push Half A Billion into Poverty — Help Now’ Oxfam, May 28).

That is precisely the situation in Fiji as elsewhere. Simon is right in saying there is potential for a whole lot more to be done in the country.

With the right enabling environment a whole lot more can, and should, be done to help lift the poor out of poverty in Fiji.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

( Editor, I can’t elaborate on these concepts because it would take too much space in your letters column. Simon should do his own research)

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