Letters to the Editor – May 30, 2020

Eels bust Broncos as footy returns with a bang. Picture: NRL

NRL restart

Great to get back some live sports with the return of the NRL round-3 match between the Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels last Thursday night.

A convincing win by the Eels thrashing the Broncos 34-6 in a six tries to one romp at Brisbane’s home Suncorp Stadium.

After 67 days sidelined because of COVID-19 the match was fast and frantic and thrilling to watch.

What I found even more fascinating was that even though the game was played without fans present in the stadium, the broadcast was played with virtual crowds cheering to create a game atmosphere.

While I understand why the producers want it, the fake crowd is to the NRL what Milli Vanilli is to music.

Virtual reality is becoming more and more a part of our life. Interesting!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Lautoka Hospital

I NOTE with disappointment that the planned upgrading of Lautoka Hospital in partnership with Aspen Medical now hangs in limbo.

The A-G has informed the Parliament that COVID-19 could change the arrangement with Aspen who was given the contract to upgrade and manage the hospital in 2018 (FT 29/5).

Therefore, this much anticipated project seems to be in doubt now.

I would have thought that the pandemic has brought to the fore the need for the improvement of our health services so as to be better equipped to tackle such viruses in future.


Some relief

Some relief at last for road users as our potholes were filled with tarseal.

This will give our vehicles some relief from the potholes.

Thank you Fiji Roads Authority for this relief and temporary measure.

However, I’m of the belief that bulk of roads servicing areas around Suva, Nasinu and Nausori need a thorough repair work once the COVID-19 pandemic ceases.

These roads are riddled with a lot of patchworks.

On the other hand, I’m grateful to Nasinu Town Council for finally collecting rubbish and waste materials that were left on the roadside since April.

These materials were scheduled to be collected at the end of April and it’s almost the end of May but the waste materials have finally been collected.

It’s also high time that the residents of Nasinu and the nearby areas take extreme care of our surrounding and join hands to avoid littering.

Nasinu is a densely populated residential area and is also heavily littered.

Hence, there is a need to join hands to keep Nasinu clean and tidy at all times.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

FNPF members

Your feature article (FT 23/5) states that 20,000 FNPF members have less than $1100) in their general account.

After we have been lectured of our ignorance in terms of understanding how FNPF operated, the Minister for Economy is quoted as stating that the members general account balance represents 30 per cent of their overall balance.

Assuming that the minister is correctly quoted, it does not take any complicated math formula to work out that the members will not have much left during retirement.

Yet despite this dire backdrop, the Government continues to encourage use of members FNPF funds for living expenses instead of direct and wholesome relief packages that cater for all citizens that are struggling.

This is what our neighbours have done.

COVID-19 has posed significant challenges on everyone and while historians will debate whether the response to the pandemic was heavy-handed or not, it is apparent that we have moved from the health issue to a social and economic one.

Many thanks to all of the individuals and organisations that have reached out to the vulnerable.

Despite having less, the spirit of generosity is well and alive.

James Mastapha, Evetts Place, Tamavua, Suva

Pay cut

A pay cut of all parliamentarians and civil servants ought to be the main issue up for discussion during this week’s sitting in Parliament.

The 20 per cent deduction currently in place needs to be increased to 50 per cent for all parliamentarians with civil servants taking a 20 per cent deduction for one year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

I believe our civil servants’ wage bill is approximately $4 million a day or $1.5 billion a year.

Deductions will save around $320 million which can be of great assistance to finance emergency response issues.

It’s time for parliamentarians and civil servants to make a sacrifice for the overall good of the nation.

It will definitely be a tremendous help in managing this crisis.

Lead the way!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Economy status

There has been a lot said regarding the status of our economy.

I believe the only way the public could clear their doubts is through an economic debate.

The debate should comprise representatives from all the political parties.

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

National pride

WHILE speaking in Parliament this week the Minister for Tourism Faiyaz Koya said that Fiji Airways is our national pride and it is a critical tool of our Fijian tourism and that needs to be tattooed on everybody’s forehead (FT 26/5).

Can that be also tattooed on the foreheads of the 758 employees who have been made redundant by the airline.

Which is more important for the country, saving our pride or feeding the hungry?


Donations issue

Can there be a record analysis of the total donations coming in our country and the total of distribution to needed areas.

Can it be tallied to see if right proportions are used in rightful ways and at right areas.

Kirti Patel, Lautoka

Blame game

Ardent followers of the blame game are well aware that there has been a dramatic twist in the plot.

Albeit temporarily, COVID-19 has replaced climate change.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Travel bubble

Why do they call it a travel bubble?

Bubbles do not last long.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Biman’s role

With the suspension of SODELPA, I wonder if Prof Biman is the acting Opposition Leader for two months?

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Bread, butter

Definitely dreams have been shattered and all future plans have been put on hold.

But the thing that matters the most now is the bread and butter issue, right?

Joeli Naleca, Natabua, Lautoka

Print a note

Mr Narube, you are the man of the moment.

I can see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

Go ahead “print the note and get the vote”.

Go Narube, go.

Toso Narube, toso.

Sharif Shah, Savusavu

Gladiator fight

The article “Mike Tyson’s $32m offer for bare knuckle fight” (Stuff Sports, FT 26/5) makes one wonder if human civilisation has consigned savage gladiator contests to its evolutionary past.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Similar fate

Wadan Narsey’s column in last two Saturday editions is thought-provoking, and he in fact raises a number of issues which deserve public attention.

The salient issue of powerful politicians abandoned overnight immediately upon losing grip on power, is not only a cancerous burden in the society’s approach to fraternising with political giants but the problem is in fact prevalent and widespread in every aspect of human society.

It is not uncommon for people to idolise those in upper echelons, as symbols of dignity and respectability, only to the benefit of their own personal interest.

But be it a flamboyant businessman, a wealthy old parent or grandparent, or a high ranked politician or public servant, they all have faced similar fate when power and wealth erodes.

When such subjects are of no use to family, friends and acquaintances, the society immediately takes to their heels!

All that warm reception, profuse obeisance and subservience is forthwith replaced with interactions akin to those exchanged with just another common person.

This is the sad reality of how humans value relationships nowadays.

Bimal Prasad, Newtown Rd, Wailoaloa, Nadi

Adopt a Fijian family

“Unity is important right now Fiji,” wrote the editor-in-chief of The Fiji Times (FT 25/5). In exactly four months (Fiji time), Fiji will turn 50 (don’t worry Fiji, 50 is the new 35, your coastlines are still looking sexy to me).

Our political divisions (Northern, Eastern, Western and Central) have been there from the very beginning and I believe there is no need to further divide the country with politics right now.

In this brave new world, we see new ideas popping up, Barter for a Better Fiji comes to mind.

After reading an article about an 80-something jack-of-all-trades fixing dislocated shoulders in Ra (FT 18/5), I was wondering if adopting Fijians could also become a way to improve our quality of life.

There is a lot of knowledge out there and it’s a huge waste if everyone remains in their own little bubble.

Some of us are good at farming, some can teach French, some can help with traditional medicine, some can do witchcraft (I hope this is a joke), some can entertain us with music, I know one guy who can even break big rocks!

I believe many villagers would appreciate the idea of adopting skilled urban dwellers, especially retirees as they can be a wealth of knowledge.

Did our politicians realise there are large and almost empty houses in many rural areas?

Proper farming can’t be done in a little backyard garden, so why not revitalise our villages instead of printing more money?

The latter is tantamount to destroying debt by creating a larger one, a story that ended terribly in many countries if one knows a bit of history.

If we can live together in a city, then why not in a village as well?

I can tell you the food is fresh and abundant here in the highlands of Namosi; we can actually live very well with almost no money!

Starving in the Garden of Eden is the ultimate definition of a non-sense; only in Fiji they say, but come on Fiji!

Let’s use our resources to support villagers willing to adopt “abandoned” Fijians.

The solution to our current problems is indeed unity.

What about “Adopt a Fijian family for a better Fiji”?

I am sure that a lot of smart people would consider the idea, it would be a win-win for so many Fijians.

And who knows, Allen might end “locked in a town” somewhere in Kadavu next time we have a bout of COVID-19/20.

Mathieu Kwacanavatu Pelletier, Naraiyawa

Duo want Olympics

Yesterday’s The Fiji Times reported that our think tanks and the deadly combination of Aminiasi Tuimaba and Vilimoni Botitu have opted to chase their Olympics dream next year before turning their focus on their French Top 14 club contracts.

If I was at FRU, I would have liaised with their clubs to let the duo play for the Fiji 7s team, gain more exposure, represent our team in next year’s Japan Olympics and then go on to ply their trade overseas.

Now is the time to maintain our team bonding and player combination and Vili and Tui are an important ingredient to our gold medal defence.

I understand that the duo signed contracts with Pau and Castres rugby clubs with an agreement to be released for national duties in next year’s Olympics.

However, it is essential that the duo continue playing 7s rugby as this will add to our ability to win a few more tournaments on the current circuit and boost our confidence levels.

When our 7s team went to Rio, Ben Ryan maintained the core of his team and brought in the likes of Josua Tuisova, Bill Mata and Leone Nakarawa to add depth, speed, power and experience.

According to Tuimaba, every player’s dream was to play in the Olympics and to be an Olympian was an honour but to win a gold medal would be a dream come true.

I hope that good sense will prevail and the duo will continue to play for our 7s team on the current series.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Poverty reality

National Federation Party leader and Opposition MP Prof Biman Prasad stated that half of Fiji could face the real possibility of living in poverty because of the economic fallout from COVID-19 (FT 29/05).

For a tropical country as ours, I believe anyone who ends living an abject life of poverty is not only lazy, but has one’s own self to blame.

The only poverty most Fijians will face is that of being inferior in the quality of one’s living.

We have more than enough resources for everyone to survive comfortably.

It is a very sad thing to see Fijians suffer in a country that can produce lots of healthy organic foods.

If we can only get rid of our greed, we will be able to all survive as a nation.

As Albert Einstein put it: “Three great forces rule the world: stupidity, fear and greed.”

Understand and overcome those forces and we should all be OK!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

That picture

The picture with three Government members and Prof Biman from the Opposition having a good laugh outside the Parliament should be practised inside the Parliament too.

But every time Prof Biman asks some questions in Parliament, I do not know why it is answered in a very angry tone.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Social distancing

Social distancing has at least a downside because it affects human interaction and behaviour.

A few weeks ago I was asked by a company security to wait in a queue for my turn to enter a busy supermarket for shopping.

I had actually overlooked the one-metre-apart rule from the nearest person in the queue.

The security bluntly pointed my infringement on the spot and I retracted to the required safe distance.

Furthermore, the persons standing in front and behind me maintained a quiet and emotionless stance in the line.

Before the corona pandemic, I would have elicited a gentle smile or a causal “hello” in such a gathering.

We all are social beings and any social distancing rule that is followed to the letter makes us behave more like strangers or worse misanthropes.

Sachida Nath, Nadi

Bibi’s life

Ana Madigibuli has been building depth with her readers as she continues to touch hearts with her delicious stories.

In yesterday’s power packed People’s column Ana penned an article on the life of Nisar Bibi who is a market vendor at the Laqere Market.

Ms Bibi, who was one of the first few market vendors at the Laqere Market, has been living an independent life, selling vegetables and tailored items to support her family.

Fijians in particular women should take note of Ms Bibi’s advice- have their own source of livelihood so they could provide for themselves when the going gets tough.

Thank you Ana and The Fiji Times for an inspirational story that was worth reading and sharing with readers!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Hospital deal

Understandably the future of the private-public partnership arrangement at the Lautoka Hospital is uncertain because of COVID-19.

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, said in Parliament that COVID-19 could change the deal with Aspen Medical (FT:29/05).

So let’s not waste time but start improving the conditions of our hospitals and medical services.

Adjustments to our current medical systems will be a great start.

The current conditions of our hospitals and service delivery is obviously not up to par so we obviously are not doing things right.

Change the system and put in measures that ensure our hospitals are kept consistently clean and operating efficiently and sufficiently.

I’ve said this before and I’m going to say it again, we need hospital managers at each hospital.

This person is responsible for the management and supervision of all areas of the hospital, including physicians, health information technicians, nursing, medical records, food service, housekeeping, upkeep and general maintenance of medical facilities, human resources, finance, maintaining budget, and basically improving the efficiency of care for patients.

We alone have the responsibility to raise the standards of our medical care.

We are the ones who can push ourselves forward or hold ourselves back.

The power to succeed in having great medical service is ours alone.

The day our Ministry of Health and Medical Services takes complete responsibility and stops making excuses and begins to make real changes, will be the day we will start improving and hence, won’t have the need to partner with anyone.

The standard of our medical services will always be to a large extent what we make it to be and we alone can and must set the standard!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Stark reality

Your editorial comment on vigilance, care, proactiveness and prevention during major crisis such as fire and which includes other serious catastrophes like flood, hurricanes and the most recent and deadly pandemic such as COVID-19 is a stark reality in our faces.

The editorial speaks on how vigorously we react when an incident happens the reactive process but where is the proactive process the awareness the consequences of your action, addressing the root cause of the problem that chronically exists, what are our contingency plans… standing up united etc.

During this COVID-19 period every household and every person living in that household must start to think outside the box to make, innovate and act.

As reminded in the editorial there is no room for slackness and laxity. It’s 2020 I call the double bubble … like the famous Bruce Willis movie adage: “Think fast, keep alive, and Die Hard”.

Let’s start the talanoa and stop the tanoa, levu na veilomani.

Joka Viti kei na vuravura, toso Viti.

Shalwyn Prasad, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Prime ministership

Cyclones, floods, and now COVID-19 has the nation facing one of our most challenging and difficult times.

One position no one would want right now is that of prime minister.

The responsibility and concern is most definitely profound and overwhelming.

The very thought of being prime minister at this time in our history is not only mind-boggling but it makes one wonder how anybody can handle the nation at such a difficult time.

I’ve never seen our Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s hair as white as it is today!

Speaking for the first time about the mass termination of Fiji Airways staff members, he was visibly very upset and he was absolutely correct to say that our situation is mirrored across the world with the aviation sector on the brink of collapse.

These are tough times that will take tough measures and only a tough person can make such tough decisions.

Despite all the adversity our prime minister is doing the best he can with the limited resources available.

Only by putting yourself in our prime minister’s place will you understand where he stands and how challenging it is.

He said he was hoping things would get back to normal as soon as possible so we could get everybody, not only the Fiji Airways staff, but everybody who had lost their jobs to come back online.

Salute to you sir, despite all, you are doing a great job.

Keep it up, stay healthy, and let’s hope and pray for the best.

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Leading by example

“Study hard in school in order to make a change in the future” – these were the words of Hakwa Foundation ambassador and versatile Fiji 7s rugby forward Apenisa Cakaubalavu to the children on islands affected by TC Harold.

Cakaubalavu, who has been with the Nadroga team on Vatulele, has been helping distribute relief items and help in rebuilding work.

Cakaubalavu, who was saddened to see the images on Vatulele Island, advised the students that better education results led to better jobs and better jobs led to good money and with finance they would be able to achieve things they wished for.

Together Cakaubalavu, the Nadroga Rugby Union and their Hakwa Foundation must be commended for helping rebuild lives on Vatulele Island and for taking the initiative to visit Malolo Island in the coming weeks to assist schools and villages affected by TC Harold.

Nadroga players must also be commended for being champions of the UNDP Ridge to Reef program.

The Fiji Times has been sponsoring the Nadroga outfit and I’m sure that this newspaper will be proud that its rugby team has not only been doing well on the field but also in reaching out to the needy and desperate.

Kudos to the Nadroga Stallions, former players and officials and Jikobai Matawalu for instilling in the team this healthy spirit!

Thank you The Fiji Times!

No wonder both are favourites among Fijians!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam,. Nadawa, Nasinu

Hong Kong crisis

While we are firmly keeping in sight Australia and New Zealand’s recovery pace from COVID-19, we should keep one eye on the crisis in Hong Kong as well.

Despite threats, arrests, tear gas and water cannons, pro-democracy protesters are fighting back.

Unlike pre-lockdown period, this time they are not alone.

Some nations have started to stand up and support the Hong Kong citizens in their quest to enjoy freedom which is one of many fundamental human rights at stake.

This crisis has many lessons for the rest.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Comfort zone

With the rising incidence of crime and violence against women in Fiji, I think it is now time for women and girls to step out of their comfort zones and learn the art of self-defence.

These include martial arts or boxing training which can enable them to defend themselves against perpetrators.

On the other hand, the teaching or training centres should not charge fees on women and girls willing to learn self-defence.

This will encourage females to take up the opportunity to learn to protect themselves.

Just a suggestion!

Raynav Chand, Nakasi

Beauty and romance

Having resided at Rakiraki recently, one can say, without a doubt, it is a gem.

The scenery of hilly landscape covered by talasiga grasslands and clouds hanging over the mountain tops is breathtaking.

Watching the land gradually descend to the coast line and into the ocean is picturesque.

Mangroves appear to guard the coastline.

The ocean takes various colours including shades of blue and green.

Sitting under a bure and looking out to sea in the evening is even more beautiful as the moonlight reflection lights up the darkness.

All in all, Rakiraki is a beautiful and romantic part of our beloved country.

Some call it a slice of heaven.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Special letters pages

More than two pages of letters consistently appear on Saturday’s edition of The Fiji Times from a long time now.

This has been made possible through the effort and contribution of our many letter writers and the paper’s support.

I think the place and reputation The Fiji Times has been able to build in the hearts of many people not only here in Fiji but in the whole world is superb and praiseworthy.

I encourage more people to come on board so that the column is made more attractive.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe says, “Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind them”.

Thank you all.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

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