Letters to the Editor – Saturday, October 23, 2021

Youths from Kauvula Place in Nakasi as they went on a hiking expedition to Mount Korobaba. Picture: ANA MADIGIBULI

Trek up Mt Korobaba

Ana Madigibuli, via this week’s Kaila! newspaper, shared the exciting and thrilling experiences of the 20 youths from Kauvula Place as they went on a hiking expedition to Mt Korobaba.

Most of the youths experienced their first hike that day, leaving their homes as early as 4am with different expectations of the hiking trail.

The participants shared that the hike was exciting and relaxing as they were exposed to the lush forests and cool waterways, and a breathtaking view of the Suva Harbour.

Despite facing a lot of challenges, the team shared the experience was praiseworthy and one they would cherish.

The trek up Mt Korobaba united the youths to have a good time up the mountain.

Such stories and experiences are motivation for other youths who could plan similar activities.

The Kaila! team deserves accolades for reaching out to the readers with stories that are lovely reads.


Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Long live The Fiji Times

Congratulations, The Fiji Times, on your survival for 152 years.

In your best of times and worst of times, you have gone through many man-made and natural disasters with fair reporting.

I have been privileged to have read The Fiji Times from my primary school days in Class 7 in the 1960s to date, now addicted to it.

Keep the flag flying high, editor-in-chief Fred Wesley, with your professional staff members.

Whenever I visit Fiji, I always feel at home to visit The Fiji Times headquarters with a Bula Fiji welcome from my most accommodating friend, Fred.

Long live The Fiji Times!

God bless!

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Cheeky mosquitoes

This mosquito coil that I lit to repel mosquitoes was rather attracting more mosquitoes.

It was quite surprising to see mosquitoes sitting on the ignited coil and having a party, which was embarrassing in front of my grog swipers.

Relevant authorities, please test the mosquito coils which are imported to see if they really fit the description of hours of estimated use and repelling mosquitoes.

Shamal Chand, Kuku Bau Rd, Nausori

Voter cards

Is it mandatory to obtain the new voter card?

Will one be penalised in the form of fines if they don’t?

The purpose of my query is because I have decided not to cast my vote in the ensuing 2022 election as I firmly believe that nothing beneficial has evolved in Fijian politics for decades.

I believe our political structure has only fashioned a record number of coup d’etats and subsequent economic regression led by dogmatic and fanatical politicians.

The 2006 coup is no exception.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

COVID-19 rules

From personal experience, I have only ever used Airbnb once when my family came from Australia and wanted to visit Rakiraki – I booked a property on Airbnb and the owner requested payment be made into a bank account in New Zealand.

I refused and then was given a local account.

Much has been written and spoken about the Airbnb market being a concern for the tourism industry because it is not regulated.

As far as I am aware (unless there have been significant changes recently), there are no occupational health and safety requirements, cleanliness requirement, safety requirement or any other requirements.

I believe revenue for Fiji is lost, with owners failing to declare income but the more important question now is what will happen with borders opening?

Hotels must comply with a very large list of COVID-19 requirements which, as costly as they will be to operators, are necessary to revive the tourism industry.

Who will monitor the properties listed on Airbnb?

Val Salama, Colo-i-Suva

Cancer myths and facts

Breast cancer only happening to older woman is a myth.

Fact — Early detection saves lives. Contribute to Pinktober awareness.

Your contribution will help the Fiji Cancer Society do its work at the various community levels, is a big fact.

Jioji Masivesi Tadra – Votualevu, Nadi

Warm congratulations

Warm congratulations to Turaga Na Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere as the new President of Fiji.

Jaheed Buksh, Korolevu, Sigatoka

Vaccine mandate

I believe no one should be forced to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if it would violate the sanctity of his or her conscience.

There, I said it.

Nyles Seru, Kinoya Rd, Nasinu

I’m confused

Last week’s news from goment, “no such thing as no jab, no school”.

This week, “some of you must be vaccinated,” … aaaaaa! Oh man, I’m “confusing!”

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Now awake

They have awoken from their dreams.

It is now “your Government”.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Smart borrowings

First, we were told about underspending of millions (some in critical sectors).

Then millions more need to be guaranteed for Fiji Airways and the Fiji Development Bank.

I wonder if the underspending and guarantees are also labelled alongside “smart borrowings”.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Take care

It’s true, people who have predisposed medical conditions or are otherwise in poor health are more susceptible to succumb to COVID-19.

But this deadly virus can afflict even “healthier people” (FT 21/10) and seriously impair health and wellbeing, even cause death, as cases around the world show.

So it makes good sense for everyone, healthier people included, to take all necessary precautions to guard against this virus.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Polling booths

It’s rather appalling, in my opinion, that the Fiji Government and, specifically, the Fijian Elections Office, should accept a donation of 2000 plastic-covered cardboard voting booths from the New Zealand Government (FT 22/10).

My first thought was what environment considerations were given and how will the cardboard and plastic be disposed.

In Fiji, we are meant to be reducing the use of plastics, or so I thought.

In a video on the New Zealand High Commission website, the Supervisor of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, took only 45 seconds to assemble one of these booths; some plastics can take up to 450 years to break down.

Even then, the plastic stays around as tiny microplastics.

I believe Fiji, like many other Pacific Island developing states, is, sadly, very much donor-driven.

Did the Fijian Elections Office not budget for the provision of such essential items for its functioning?

Did it really need to accept the donation by the New Zealand Government?

Incidentally, one of the seven strategic goals of the New Zealand High Commission in Suva under “Environment and Sustainability” reads “to promote sustainable international solutions to global environment and natural resource challenges …” but paper will always take ink.

The other consideration which may have been overlooked is supporting local packaging manufacturers who, I’m sure, would have jumped at the chance to produce material for the forthcoming elections, but were they given the opportunity?

So much for “going local”.

It’s just not good enough.

Julie Sutherland, Tamavua, Suva

No thrill

There is absolutely no thrill in watching parliamentary debates because the outcome is known as soon as you know who has proposed the motion.

I believe no one is able to steer anyone’s conviction in those sessions.

I believe members of Parliament come with a predetermined position on any given motion and they all leave with the same opinion, regardless of whatever is discussed.

It begs the question on the effectiveness of those debates.

Might as well vote on the motions without debate.

Outcome will not change.

I believe having such MPs representing the country has a detrimental effect on democracy and, in turn, on the growth and development of the nation.

We need wild cards amongst our MPs who can think for themselves.

Kiran Khatri, Samabula, Suva

Our President

I am delighted that, finally, a man from the Friendly North is our President.

I congratulate him wholeheartedly and pray that the good God Almighty blesses him richly and guides him always on the right path.

While the Northerners are all very proud of you, Sir, we also know that you are the President of the whole nation, for all its people.

We wish you well.

Sharif Shah, Savusavu

Congratulations in order

Congratulations to the Turaga Na Tui Macuata, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere on his appointment as the next President.

Since you’re my Tovats, I will celebrate by making lovo.

One stone lovo.

Sa malo!

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Ocean’s most ferocious protector!

PM Bainimarama described Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere as one of our fiercest defenders of the ocean and of the right of Fiji’s future generations to live in a clean, safe and natural environment.

The PM paid tribute to Ratu Wiliame’s vision of a better and bluer Fiji.

The PM shared that Ratu Wiliame had served as a steward of our Great Sea Reef, as the traditional leader of Macuata.

Ratu Wiliame was the nominee for the position of President and the PM added that Ratu Wiliame was a worthy successor to the proud mantle of leadership that President Konrote had established.

Ratu Wiliame has a massive task ahead of him if appointed the next President, and the nation will look up to him with high hopes.

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Experience factor

I believe it is lacking under the current Government, despite more than a decade in political power.

I believe no one in the FF party has the ability to steer the country into economic recovery.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Self-made pornography

Wake up, Fiji.

Do not look away or ignore this issue because it can happen right at your doorsteps to your kids and loved ones.

This topic has been around even before the introduction of our digital world.

I find it strange that most responsible adults are shying away from discussing this topic, doing their own social and cultural obligation, including faith-based organisations.

This week, it has surfaced on our popular social media platform, a group of adults – mostly men – sharing pornographic videos of local young women.

Our Fiji Police Force is conducting their own investigation.

In June, 2020, a few months after the first wave of COVID-19, ECAPT International, a global network working to end the sexual exploitation of children, reported significant increases in activity relating to child sexual abuse material, both on the surface web and dark web during the lockdown period.

They assumed the number of images taken voluntarily by children further increased because of limited physical contact with friends during lockdowns.

Images and videos may be shared beyond those trusted with receiving them, first among peers and they may find their way into the hands of online child sex offenders who continue to share them widely.

In some cases, offenders may coerce and extort children to create and share more images and videos of themselves, their siblings and friends.

So, if you are an adult sharing these videos and images via social media, I believe you can label yourself as a paedophile and can face the full brunt of our law for committing an offence under the Crimes Decree.

Interpol noted a surge in sexual content created and shared initially by children themselves.

Where are our human rights watchers, faith-based leaders, good responsible individual citizens?

To raise awareness of the risks that can arise from children selfproducing sexual images and videos, it is crucial to try to understand why children engage in this behaviour.

When adults think of children taking sexually explicit pictures, they tend to focus squarely on the negative impacts but not fully grasp the context within which it is occurring.

But it is not that simple.

My guess, people don’t feel like discussing it or they just don’t care at all.

I’m opening up a forum on social media on Facebook called ‘Children OF and IN Fiji Say NO to Pornography’, if you want to discuss these issues which are affecting our innocent children.

Easy access to internet without parental supervision does not make them innocent anymore.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra – Votualevu, Nadi

Fiji 7s in hot seat!

One month away from the start of the 2021-22 HSBC WRSS circuit, it’s pleasing to see our boys taking the hard yards at Albert Park.

The old hands in Jerry Tuwai, Josua Vakurunabili and Waisea Nacuqu, who were part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games victory, and Livai Ikanikoda are expected to lead the charge in Dubai.

The inclusion of Joseva Talacolo, Terio Tamani, Kaminieli Rasaku, Rusiate Matai, Jone Manu, Elia Canakaivata, Kavekini Tabu, Nasoni Tulavu and the six members from the Raiwasa Taveuni team, including Manueli Maisamoa has added depth to the national 7s team’s preparation.

With the departure of Jiuta Wainiqolo, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Meli Derenalagi, Aminiasi Tuimaba, Vilimoni Botitu, Napolioni Bolaca, Iosefo Masi, Taniela Sadrugu and Kalione Nasoko, the kids have the golden opportunity to make a mark on the international arena and a name for themselves.

Saiasi Fuli is no stranger to coaching, and he has proved his credentials, and I’m confident he will work closely with our men’s and women’s 7s teams and build a team which will raise eyebrows.

There is no shortage of talent in Fiji. We must build a solid team, bearing in mind next year’s RWC 7s and the Commonwealth Games.

Fiji has never won the Commonwealth Games Rugby 7s gold medal.

The last time Fiji won the Melrose Cup was in 2005, and it’s time to bring back lost glory.

All the best to Fuli as he exploits a very young and uninitiated team!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Fijiana coach

Some rugby fans would be so glad if Saiasi Fuli stays on as coach for the Fijiana.

His journey with Fijiana is only just beginning and let’s allow him to stay for at least another 3-4 years.

They say patience is a virtue but if we give this gentleman a chance, one can be sure that the Fijiana side will continue to excel.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

$484m issue

Savings at whose expense?

How does a government claim savings on monies it did not spend as the national debt increases?

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Juvenile rape

As parents we should openly discuss this emerging social issue at home with our children rather than attending social or religious activities due to the opening of borders.

I believe juvenile rape has become a norm now in Fiji.

Please talk to your children if you genuinely love them because no parent teaches their children to conduct bad behaviour or actions against other children.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra – Votualevu, Nadi

Real effect

Are the COP meetings on climate change actually having a real effect in slowing climate change.

Or is it too late and the meetings are just for show.

Are we doomed?

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Local league resumes

Tomorrow, three rounds of local football will kick off the 2021 local football league competition.

Suva will host Ba, Navua will host Nadroga and Rewa will travel to Prince Charles Park to play hosts Nadi.

While fans will enjoy what is on offer, it is important to ensure that the COVID-19 protocols regarding social distancing are observed strictly.

The DPL took a break after six rounds. Lautoka leads the points table (13), followed by Rewa (11), Labasa (10), Nadi (9), Ba and Suva (7), Navua (5) and Nadro (2) points.

The Nadroga v Navua clash will have a huge bearing on who is likely to get demoted, while Ba and Suva will be out to put pressure on the league leaders.

Rewa will aim to overtake the Sugar City side so they’ll play their hearts out in a bid to upset Nadi.

Players’ fitness and stamina will be tested and the national team management will have a fair idea on the amount of work that needs to be done ahead of the 2022 WC qualifying rounds.

The “Voice of Soccer”, Raymond Stoddart, is raring to re-start his series of soccer commentaries on Radio Fiji Two.

All the best Ray, and all the best to the six teams for this week’s battle!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Getting the card

There I was reading all the comments about the hassle of re-registering and getting the blue v-card.

Well while reading The Fiji Times’ various editions and comments on social media on why we have to do it all again and produce a BC — I thought I head a voice say, “Because I said so”.

“When I say do it, you gang just do it”.

Areh, bahoot rough reh!

I’m gonna say a prayer now to protect me from the rough voice.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

City cafes

Strolling down the streets of Suva with my friends, we couldn’t help but admire the progress our city has witnesses over the past 15 years.

A prime example would be the uptick in eateries offering the overall experience, that is, food quality, service, presentation, and cleanliness.

I understand that progress is not easy for everyone to digest.

I mean there are quite a few cafés in the greater Suva area that are working exceptionally hard at maintaining the good old fashioned eating experience.

You can spot these cafes quite easily as they will have old food displayed in the windows, flies doing their thing over the displayed food, grumpy service providers, dirty and shabby interiors, and a unique smell that will take you.. umm.. well somewhere.

Just out of curiosity, which governmental entity is responsible for ensuring that all eatery business owners get the memo about cleanliness, food quality, basically providing safe to eat food in a clean and sanitised environment?

Has there been budget cuts for the past 15 years or so in that department because as Suva progressed, these substandard eateries continue to operate unabated?

And finally, who do we hold accountable for not doing their job other than the business owners of these substandard eateries?

James Faiyaz, Arvind Gounder, Amrit Singh, Nasinu

Prioritise health

Honourable Rosy Akbar’s timely message for women to give priority to their health must be taken seriously.

Akbar urged women to take out time and prioritise their health.

She also said early detection was the key in the treatment of breast cancer.

She urged all government agencies, NGOs and the business sector to assist the Fiji Cancer Society in promoting cancer awareness.

I found these lines from her interview (FT 22/10) touching, “At the end of the day, it is not only about finding a cure or treatment or raising money. It is an action that should unite men and women together through prevention and education and support”.

The Pinktober month has been a month of awareness against cancer, thanks to the Fiji Cancer Society and its media and financial partners.

The Fiji Times has been a powerful platform to share stories and experiences, and also empower and motivate cancer survivors!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Road chambers

It is a motorist’s delight to see the vast improvement on our roads and the continuation of the upgrades in Suva and surrounding areas.

I believe the new bitumen layers are about two and a half inches in thickness that provides a very smooth and a comfortable drive.

However, this becomes a problem where there is a service chamber on the road.

The resealing is done around the surface coverage of the opening that creates a drop as the cover is still at the previous road level.

For unsuspecting drivers falling into one of these hazards has the same adverse effect of a pothole.

I believe that the FRA teams must work simultaneously to eliminate such endangerment.

Satish Nakched, Suva

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