Letters to the Editor – May 27, 2020

Gold medallist Eileen Cikamatana with members of Team Fiji after winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games 90kg weight-lifting competition at the Carrara Indoor Sports complex in Gold Coast, Australia. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Gold medallist Eileen Cikamatana with members of Team Fiji after winning the 2018 Commonwealth Games 90kg weight-lifting competition at the Carrara Indoor Sports complex in Gold Coast, Australia. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU/FILE

Weightlifting loss

Weightlifting Fiji (WF) head to the poll this Sunday to elect new office bearers to take the sport forward (FT:26/05). WF stated that after its success in the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia, they are planning ahead to prepare well for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The only success I know of by WF at the 2018 Commonwealth Games was that of Eileen Cikamatana winning gold in the women’s -90kg event and Apolonia Vaivai winning a bronze in the women’s -69kg event. It would be deemed appropriate for WF to mention their success by acknowledging by name two of our best ever women’s weightlifters in Cikamatana and Vaivai. I believe the two were removed from representing Fiji after they had brought us recognition and glory. I believe the unfortunate saga between WF and Weightlifting Levuka has never been resolved which resulted in Eileen Cikamatana leaving our shores to now represent her newly found home in Australia. She is breaking records and targeting the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. If Eileen Cikamatana’s current performances are anything to go by, WF better be prepared to lick its wounds come Birmingham and Paris. A golden opportunity for our once golden girl to show WF what it’s all about. Eileen was cast down by adversity but she sure made the best out of it by looking beyond WF for conditions much more prosperous. Weightlifting Fiji’s loss is now Australian Weightlifting Federation’s gain! Simon Hazelman Rava Estate, Savusavu

Attacks on police

I think attacks on our police officers are becoming more daring and rampant these days. The culprits will no doubt face the full brunt of the law once they are caught but what can be done to prevent this happening again? People have even managed to enter and attack police officers inside stations and outside, they are also not safe as records show us. So I think the force itself needs to come up with a plan to counter and keep the attackers at bay. While dealing with rowdy and troublesome people, you cannot afford to leave your guards down. At all times, the officers must feel secured whether they be in or out of the station. It is advisable that police move in groups to increase their chances of toppling the trouble makers. I think they also need to be trained in martial arts for their own safety and protection. Police are supposed to be fit and healthy at all times. Suresh Chand Nadi

Seona’s word

It is heartening to read that Seona Smiles is now allowed to go for a walk with the dog. After weeks of almost total confinement to the house except for necessary medical checks, this must be a much appreciated break. Reading her recent articles makes one realise the reality of COVID-19 restrictions when taken seriously. Imagine not being able to go to the supermarket and pick up a pack of chocolate mint biscuits on impulse, but having to sneak it on the list for delivery. We have quickly returned to the old ways since our lockdowns were lifted. Our laxity about social distancing should be a concern for us all, including all those in positions of leadership. Our Minster for Health continually reminds us and his health advisories are echoed by the editor of this paper time and time again. We cannot afford to remain in isolation from the rest of the world. Opening up to the world of tourism and trade will require us to change our lifestyle if we are to cope with this modern plague that is not going to disappear like Seona’s packet of chocolate biccies. We should be training ourselves now in social distancing. No more handshakes and hugs will have to be the norm for a long time. TESSA MACKENZIE Suva

Political issue

If what is happening within SODELPA is true as reported with all the factionalism and two rival board meetings, then I believe we have a true political circus. I think this sort of bickering by grown up, god-fearing, highly educated, chiefly men and women is unprecedented in Fiji’s political history. I believe there is a more sinister and unwritten undercurrent in this whole saga. It is not just bringing forth the provincialism and tribalism of old, it is bringing forth the disunity which occurs when like minded people whose sole purpose is to defeat the opposition have disagreements. Question is, who is the opposition? Is it the government of the day or a certain section of the population? If lessons have not been learnt from history where past political parties suffered the same fate, then we are back to square one. The only way forward is a multi-cultural and representative party and get rid of all the old fossils from the past. Jan Nissar Carlton, NSW, Australia

Ravi’s times

I was saddened to learn of the passing away of Ravi Zacharias at age of 74 recently. He was, I think, arguably the best Christian apologist and philosopher of recent times. I followed Ravi for the past six years through his podcasts and on internet at open forums at universities worldwide. His segment on questions and answers at such forums was very enlightening. Ravi spoke with clarity and conviction at all times. At Q and A sessions, he not only gave intellectually satisfying answers but importantly touched the
heart of the enquirer. I also learnt that Ravi gave same level of dignity and directness in his manner
regardless of the stature of a person in society. He once said: “Morality is good for civil co-existence
but morality alone will not alone save a society unless we develop an accountability to our Creator …”
One day I will meet you Ravi certainly not at a Q and A session but as a brother in Christ at the
“marriage supper of the Lamb” — (Rev 19:7). So long, Ravi-ji. SACHIDA NATH, Nadi

Blood bank

The story on the Fiji blood bank and its history dating back to 1958. According to World Health Organization, the transfusion of blood and its products have saved millions of lives each year. It can help save patients from life-threatening diseases and we all should fight these and many causes with so much NCDs and now the COVID-19 pandemic. Lastly as aptly said, one donation can save three lives which brings us to the point of being human and keep fighting the cause until the end. Fiji hospitals needing 50 pints of blood for pregnant mothers daily is the stark reality of where we stand today. Start the talanoa and not the tanoa levu. Na veilomani needed here kerekere. Shalwyn Prasad Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Fiji Airways staff

My heart goes out to the 758 Fiji Airways staff members who have lost their jobs. Because of COVID-19, workers have had reduced hours and reduced wages while some have been laid off. Unemployment rate has gone high while ordinary Fijians are pleading for food and basic relief supplies. The termination of the 758 employees by Fiji Airways will add to the ever-growing woes of our economy. Reading the stories of the employees who were terminated made me feel sorry for their families, especially their children. I hope these employees will be helped through FNPF assistance. COVID-19 has torn so many Fijian hearts including the Fijian economy. I hope that we get out of this pandemic soon! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Heavenly creatures

When I talk to my two dogs about social distancing, they both come closer to try and understand. It occurred to me when I was finding a straight place to lay out in bed that it’s a strategic move on their part: the further I move away from them, the more they move towards me to be nearer. I end up in a contorted foetal position in order to rest. I can be pinned in with one each side if I get to lay straight but it’s far from relaxing for me; more like being in a straight jacket. It’s nothing mean on their part; closeness is all they’re seeking. At a time when we must observe social distancing of two metres, we are blessed with the warmth of a furry friend who must on the contrary either get on top of you or on your lap to be as close as physically and dogly possible. Our pets can help carry us through. Dogs are omnipresent (everywhere), omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful). Wait! What is “dog” spelt backwards? Julie Sutherland (Still in quarantine … three more sleeps) The prevalent COVID-19 is negatively impacting all the countries around the world and its effect is also being felt here and the other Pacific Island nations. The pandemic has created tension between the superpowers USA and China. Economists are predicting that this tension may impact future international trade and global relationship. While it will be easier for the developed nations to show which super power they are backing, it may not be the same for the developing nations given the support provided by both China and USA in terms of aid and other assistance. Pacific Island nations will not want to come to decisive stage as both USA and China are positively contributing to their economic development. If we do reach that stage, who will Fiji support; China or USA? Alex Lingam Caubati, Suva

Loyalty factor

Normally it is customer loyalty and employee loyalty. COVID-19 has brought employer loyalty to the forefront. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Growth issue

‘Tis the season of swimming pools and “pipelines”, potholes, COVID-19 and the unprecedented growth of borrowing. Pheeeeeew! Anthony Sahai Suva

Evil genius

In wars gone by, science was the evil genius. This war, the COVID is showing that science as an inept child. If we are going to yell on top of our collective voices that we are at war, then why not fight it collectively. Partisanship will not win this war. MANOJ LAL PATEL Drasa Avenue, Lautoka

Barter planes

With the financial problems faced by Fiji Airways, I was wondering if Fiji Airways can barter some of its planes for groceries, rent and other bills for the 700 or so workers who were terminated on Monday. John Brown Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka

Job losses

So many job losses in recent months and many more will lose jobs in coming months. Some people are already on reduced hours and some on reduced pay. I am wondering how many motor vehicles and houses will be going for mortgagee sales very soon. Narayan Reddy Lautoka

Simple solution

Instead of giving loan to Fiji Airways to keep it afloat, why don’t we just utilise the money for the unemployed and the recently terminated staff? Humanity at its best. Rikash Deo Sigatoka

Strong together

I guess “stronger together” means something else. Nigel FIU Owls Perch, Lautoka

New homes

Each time there is a cyclone or strong winds, we read about homes in the maritime zone getting blown down. A suggestion — convert 40 foot goods containers into homes. Or build homes like the ones at Koroipita. Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Leave option

Would it have been more sensible to put the Fiji Airways staff members on “leave without pay” instead of being terminated? Like what some much bigger overseas airlines have done. Termination was a bit overdramatic I’d say! Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

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