Letters to the Editor – Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Paralympian Iosefo Rakesa during training at the Fiji Sports Council National Fitness Centre at Laucala Bay in Suva on Monday, July 01, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

First for Fiji

The news that two of our own para-athletes Iosefo Rakesa and Inosi Matea qualified on merit for the World Para Games and the 2020 Paralympics was a delight to read!

Even more delightful news was that the duo wrote history by qualifying on merit.

Paralympian Iosefo Rakesa, who is a small man with a lion’s heart, looked confident and I’m sure that he will prepare well to compete in Samoa.

He has qualified to take part in shot put and javelin in the F41 classification.

If Derenalagi can qualify in the men’s shot put I’m sure he’ll add icing to the cake.

My best wishes to the trio for a gold medal bash!

Hats off also to The Fiji Times for the profile of our athletes to the Pacific Games and for the article (FT 02/07) on former athlete Marica Likulawedua!

Looking forward to more “blast from the past”!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Flying Fijians rugby

Fiji’s Flying Fijians captain Dominiko Waqaniburotu has challenged his team to be prepared for the battle against the New Zealand Maori All Blacks and the rest of their games leading up to and including the war at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

These last couple of years, we in Fiji have been fortunate to see the rise of a new wave of Fijian rugby players who can compete with the best in the rugby world and win.

We have always known that our 7s gladiators are world champions and there was never a doubt in the minds of all Fijians about this.

On Friday, June 28, we saw our Fiji Bati annihilate the Lebanese in rugby league.

There too, we saw a new wave of young Fijians, all plying their trade in Australia’s National Rugby League, displaying the fruits of their training, coaching and incorporating their natural Fijian flair and talent to put the rugby league world on notice, that the Fijian Bati have arrived!

For our Flying Fijians their battle is not physical.

It has always been mental.

Countless times, we have seen great Flying Fijian teams lose just because they were awed to be playing great rugby teams such as the All Blacks, the Wallabies, the English, etc, and mentally freeze during the game.

They overcame this fault in their mental battle, when they defeated France last year.

We heard Leone Nakarawa reminding his fellow forwards, that the French were only human, that they had two legs and hands just like they had.

Dominiko needs to tell his players the amended words from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata –– “….that no less than the Maori All Blacks, the All Blacks or whatever national team; the Flying Fijians have a right to be here!”

All of them have earned the right to announce to the rugby 15s world that we should never ever be taken lightly again.

And he should also add the Bible verse from Isaiah 40 – 28-31, “….but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Go forth team, your knowledge that you are an elite player will overcome the fear that you are only playing against your equal.

Toso Viti!

Epeli Rabu, Suva

Release of bodies

If the Fijian Government is not responsible for the release of David and Michelle’s bodies as stated by the Health and Medical Services Minister, Dr Iferemi Waqainabete, then who is?

I believe the release can only be instigated and processed through government agencies, so what is the minister trying to imply?

It is also unruly and ungovernable for the minister not to be aware of where the bodies are?

The uncertainties continue!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Confusing new road

We refer to Tomasi Boginiso’s letter “Confusing new road” (28/06).

Kings Rd is the major arterial route into Suva and as such we cannot have multiple crossing access, otherwise it would be as congested as previously.

Firstly, for people travelling from Nausori, they are able to get down either at Toga Rd or opposite Ragu Raj St or opposite Dalip St in Davuilevu by using the designated signalised pedestrian crossings to get across the highway.

Secondly, for people to access the bus stops, they will need to use the designated pedestrian fully signalised crossing at these bus stops located along the highway, which have fence openings to get across the highway.

Jonathan Moore, FRA Chief Executive Officer

All the best

Our writer from Nadi Ronnie Chang is on a “high” after Nadi’s win against the Highlanders.

He is right that the hard task awaits team Nadi — defending the prestigious Farebrother Cup and the mammoth task starts this weekend when Nadi battles Nadroga.

Ronnie, I have a feeling that the Stallions will walk away with the cup from Prince Charles Park.

All the best Ronnie and Nadi!

Nadroga ga rawata!

By the way, the All Blacks jersey for the RWC 15s has drawn a lot of attention and our own star Sevu Reece is sure to don the black jumper.

A mouth-watering three-peat for the champions, I’m thrilled!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Historic meet

US President Donald Trump took everyone by surprise by announcing a sudden meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then coming face to face with him in the Demilitarised Zone on June 30, 2019.

The US President sought a chat over Twitter and this happened.

After this landmark event, Mr Trump became the first sitting president to set foot in North Korea.

Well done Mr President.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Soccer penalty

A soccer player has been fined for failing to turn up without a good excuse, but five years’ suspension and a $20k fine, with no right of appeal for three years?

Stiff penalty in the wrong place … makes one wonder.


Just send him to jail for life.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Budget hint

Epeli Rabua (FT/2/7/19) questioning the truth in Fiji’s current Government, I believe, will certainly get a reply through this column from government’s unofficial spokesman.

It would be disappointing otherwise.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Cold season

Whenever I wake up in this mountainous area with the cold reaching 10 degrees celsius, I just want to take an early morning ride to enjoy some hot sunshine in the seaside.

Imagine it’s just early July now.

Pita Soroaqali, Nadarivatu

Data and facts

I happen to come across this quote in one of my readings and it reminds me of a few ministers who said, during the national budget debate, that the other side of the house needs to base their arguments on data and facts rather than on hearsay.

The quote states: “What is the point of learning or arguing on facts, when leaders themselves are ignoring them.”

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Waistline issue

Professor Eddie McCaig’s suggestion of weighing workers at the start of contracts and reweighing during the renewal process can be moderate or on extreme ends of the scale.

It depends on how we weigh the options.

Professor, do you suggest general elections and re-elections to be accommodated as well?

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Brilliant idea

What a brilliant idea from Professor Eddie McCaig as per working conditions.

If you are overweight, you don’t get the job.

If you put on weight during your contract, your contract is not renewed.

At last, something that will tighten the screws on obesity and NCDs.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Expansion of waistlines

Professor of Surgery Eddie McCaig’s statement that workers needed to be weighed at the start of their contract and reweighed during the renewal of their contract to see whether they are still fit for employment (FT:02/07) is an interesting proposition.

There is no doubt that the waistlines of most Fijians are expanding by the day because of our lethargic lifestyles as mentioned by Prof McCaig.

While the proposition may sound productive, I doubt very much it’ll change the mindset of the majority as many will choose food over a job.

Imagine if such a proposal was to be made compulsory in the tourism industry, the police force, and medical services?

We would be running out of people to employ in no time.

The sad fact is that there is a trend of unhealthy habits leading the majority of Fijians to an early demise.

The lack of discipline and willpower to do what is right for our bodies is our problem.

It sure says a lot about the people we are!

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Drug abuse

We read and hear comments about the drug abuse problem in Fiji.

While Fiji is a minor player in the problem, the worst country for drug abuse is the USA.

Statistics from 2017 showed that 70,237 Americans died of drug overdoses.

At their peak levels, this is more than those that died from HIV, road accidents and gun-related deaths combined.

Overall the drug death rate was 22 per 100,000 of the population, the figure being 29 for men and 14 for women.

Death rate in the highest USA state was a staggering 58 per 100,000.

Suicide rates are now 14 per 100,000 involving illicit drugs.

The death rate is being fuelled by synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, oxycodone and tramadol, which are being manufactured illegally in many Asian countries.

Our border control agencies have to be vigilant with shipments from these countries.

Of course cocaine, heroin and ice are still major players.

Some years ago, a neighbouring country, appalled by the massively increasing road death toll, aired a series of adverts at peak viewing times depicting the carnage at road accidents, body parts and all.

While the population recoiled in horror, the road death statistics fell.

Fiji needs something similar regarding drug abuse, there is far too much “jaw jaw and bore”, rather than “shock and awe”.

Graphic documentaries need to be aired in secondary schools on the effects of drugs, and any other visual media outlet where only applicable age people can be aimed at.

Youtube and Netflix are another good sources.

Remember Fiji at one time had the HIV epidemic well under control, hopefully we can do the same with drugs.

Allan Loosley, Tavua

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