Letters to the Editor – Saturday, April 6, 2019


Tuwai is the best

The King of 7s Waisale Serevi has not only dubbed Jerry Tuwai as the greatest but wants Fiji to maintain the HK tradition and win in HK tomorrow night.

Serevi has tasted victory at So Kon Po from 1990-92, 1997-99 and then in 2005.

Serevi also led Fiji to two Melrose Cup wins in the Happy Valley (in 1997 beating Africa 24-21 and in 2005 beating NZ 29-19).

Therefore, the maestro knows what it is like to play and win in HK and I believe his motivation will psyche our boys to deliver something incredible and special this weekend.

Ram Naumi starts today and I know many of my Hindu brothers and sisters will spare a small prayer for our 7s team – such is the atmosphere and faith!

Serevi has labelled the Newtown hero as “the hardworking great magician” and I agree with Sir-revi since making his debut in 2014 at the Gold Coast 7s, Jerry has risen to fame and prominence and became an important member of Ben Ryan’s team.

Jerry was also part of the 2016 Olympics win.

He took over the huge responsibility of captaining the 7s team when Kolinisau departed for greener pastures and despite being relieved from his duties as captain of the team when Paula and Nasoko were given the armband, Jerry continued to give his best and worked extremely hard on and off the field.

Ironically, our “Little Master” missed out on the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year award to USA’s Perry Baker in 2017 and last year.

My best wishes to Jerry and I am adamant he will rise to the occasion!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Selection system

It has been some time since my last contribution to our sevens team and this time around I must say that I have a strong feeling that Fiji will concede the Hong Kong Sevens title this year.

My reason is this, there is an unfair system in the selection of players especially in fast-tracking some players through the selection system overlooking the extended squad who have been training all year round hoping for an opportunity to play for the Fiji sevens team.

This is what I call injustice, and it will greatly cost our sevens team by conceding the Hong Kong title.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Sugar confectionery

So much being said about non-communicable diseases (NCDs) yet neither the Ministry of Education nor the Ministry of Health are doing anything about sugar confectionery vendors who are targeting schoolchildren.

Here in Savusavu, vendors are stationed outside the primary school boundary yet in a prime spot where most kids would have to walk past to get to school, selling sweets first thing in the morning.

Some even set up under the cover of the school bus stand.

Every day we see primary school students crowded around these sugar confectionery tables for their early morning fix before school even gets started.

Here is exactly where it all starts with our children gaining a very unhealthy habit with sugary sweets that eventually leads to NCDs.

I believe our school canteens are no better, selling the very things that we teach our children from home not to eat.

The question I have is why isn’t the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health doing anything about it?

You preach about how to avoid NCDs yet you let it get introduced to children from the moment they start school?

How hypocritical does it get?

Simon Hazelman, Rava Estate, Savusavu

Municipal elections

I believe that 13 years is a long time for any Act to be reviewed.

The former minister for local government had stated on numerous occasions that local government elections would be held once the Local Government Act was amended.

Sadly, it has not eventuated under his term.

Now, we have the new Minister, Hon Premila Kumar.

She is continuing the narration from where Hon. Bala left.

I am flabbergasted.

We, the ratepayers, are disinterested in which party will hold the majority in the council when the election takes place.

We are interested in seeing the elections taking place as soon as possible.

I know that no political party won any seat in the Nausori Town Council elections, though they tried. It was the ratepayers sponsored party which was at the helm of the council until 2006, when they were unceremoniously discharged.

I believe some work has been done on the Act.

I request that the current minister expedite the process, whether it be through public consultation or via one man consultant.

Big kerekere, oil the review machine, and get the golden machine rolling.

Arun Prasad, Dilkusha

Ram Navami

Wishing all my Hindu brothers and sisters a blessed Ram Navami celebration and hoping that we will take into account the essence behind the celebration and change our lives for our own betterment!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Our priorities

Will our priorities change this week?

One workmate told me that last year, a church service had to be delayed suddenly as the screaming of neighbours reminded all including the pastor that the Hong Kong Sevens quarter-finals was on and Fiji was in action.

Talk about priorities changing over the weekend.


It happens at times.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

An apology

The NZ journalists are very charitable in maintaining there was no need for an apology for their arbitrary arrest and detention by the Fiji police (FT 05/04).

But an apology is in order and it’s good that the Fijian authorities have offered it.

The arrest of the NZ journalists simply doing their job was a bad look for the country internationally.

The apology is a mature way of addressing it.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Power base

Is it true that in Fiji, power is in the hands of a few?

In an article by Newsroom co-editor, Mark Jennings, he claims to have worked out that the power in Fiji resides with three people.

Sailosi Naewe, Naduru Road, Nausori

Social media

We should not let social media antics get to us.

As suggested by the name, it is for socialisation purposes only.

Social media is the grown-up version of the cartoon connection for the adult population.

It is a medium for entertainment.

It is different from mainstream media.

No less, no more.

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Good money

I wish someone can ask in the next Parliament sitting “how good is $2.68 an hour”.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Bala query

Allen Lockington of Lautoka is questioning Parveen Bala if international games can be played at Churchill Park.

May I remind Mr Lockington that Mr Bala is the Minister for Labour and not municipal council.

John Brown, Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka

‘Lamp’ curry

A restaurant in Samabula is stating on its menu board outside, that it serves “lamp curry”.

I found that quite “illuminating”.

A “bright spark” must have come up with that gem!

It must be a very “hot” curry indeed.

Anyway, I will just stick to plain old lamb curry for the time being.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Environment harm

The two journalists and their cameraman from NZ who were detained overnight by police, were present in Fiji to report on the recent charges the Government brought against Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) Pte Ltd according to the Prime Minister, Mr Bainimarama.

According to the chronological order of the events as reported in the FT 05/04, the three first walked into the Freesoul Real Estate office in Suva to speak with its director Dickson Peng, but were directed to leave after asking a few questions.

Upon leaving they drove to Dr Kenneth Chambers, the lawyer representing the landowners of Malolo, where they spent at least an hour before two police officers and an official from Freesoul arrived and took them to Totogo Police Station in Suva where they were detained.

In the wake of what happened, the PM came out strongly saying that everyone should know that the news media has been a partner in accountability, helping to expose the company’s illegal environmental destruction.

Mr Bainimarama further stated and I quote “we need to send a strong message to Freesoul Real Estate Development and other developers looking to cause us harm that they are not welcome to operate in Fiji”.

According to pictures gathered from the development site at Malolo Island, by Freesoul Real Estate Development (Fiji) Pte Ltd which was circulated in the media some time ago, great harm has been done to the environment.

While I thank our prime minister for his great caring statement, however, I hope he will live up to his words and take a step further by stopping the development at Malolo Island.

Otherwise, we the citizens of this country will hold him accountable for his words.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Chasing that fifth title

The most popular World Rugby 7s Series leg known as the Hong Kong 7s has started and will finish by Sunday.

Will there be a new winner or will the mighty Fijians lift the Holy Grail of sevens again?

Known as the Mecca of Sevens, I also believe that the atmosphere would be just as electrifying as it had been previously.

Fiji has a lot of fond memories, playing at So Kon Po Stadium and this year should not be an exception.

So many heroes have emerged from this tournament and who knows, a new star could be born this weekend as far as Fiji rugby goes.

We have been winning here for the past four years and this year the win by Viti boys would definitely add so much glamour and pride.

A win this weekend would guarantee the much-needed breathing space for the boys as they are suffocating at present when we carefully look at the points gained so far.

Our performance has not been very consistent this year and being put in the pool of death has added more nails to our coffin.

Any errors, indiscipline, lack of concentration and hasty decisions would prove costly as the other pool opponents are too aware of our pattern of play.

Fiji’s survival from the pool stages can assure our people of some victory.

It is a long way to go and we definitely need players who can spark some magic at crucial times and bring that Fijian flair that is missing in the team.

We need players who are mentally able to handle pressure situations and can provide sublime finishing.

Of course I would be missing that nippy magician Nacuqu who was badly injured, The Sledgehammer – Eroni Sau, the ginger-haired captain – Kolinisau and the offloading machine – Pio.

Our list is an unending one by the way.

I will also be disappointed if the referees show signs of bias and favouritism.

If that is the case, I urge the players and the coaches to play smartly.

We need to be aware of our pool opponents – NZ and the Aussies.

Naveen Dutt, Wainibokasi

Kings of Happy Valley

WHEN the dust settled at So Kon Po last year, kava flowed freely at homes.

Fans were looking for their breath and fireworks lit the Hong Kong skies as our 7s team had done it four years in the running.

The victory was superb and one filled with emotions and beautiful memories.

Fiji, on its way to lifting the 7s holy grail, had put 50 past the All Blacks and had four wins on the track against New Zealand and the Blitzbokke.

The half-time chant by ardent Fijian fans “we will, we will rock it” illuminated a frenzy atmosphere and motivated Fiji to thump Kenya and claim gold.

On the other hand, the thrilling semi-final encounter against the new look and inexperienced Blitzbokke added spice as the tournament progressed.

What a performance from Selvyn Davids who almost beat Fiji with a hat-trick but Nasilasila rescued us. Fiji was in top form and started the tournament on a high.

Our boys rattled Samoa 31-12 and Russia 36-14 and then taught the All Blacks a rugby lesson with a 50-7 humiliation.

Argentina was nowhere close to the assertive form of our boys and the Pumas were swept aside 40-14.

The semis encounter against the green machine was scary and I believe many fans like me were left biting their nails as South Africa took on the Flying Fijians only to lose by two points.

Relief but Kenya was up next and the singing of the national anthems brought out a lot of emotions and passion.

Sau, who was the second-best tackler, hammered Kenya and yellow cards to Injera (for tripping Jerry) and Ambaka (for tackling Nasoko without the ball) took the energy out of the red and green outfit.

Finally, fans waved their flags in delight as the hooter was sounded and Fiji led 24-5.

Kenya deserved the late consolation but Tuwai, Sau, Nasilasila, Temo, Mesu, Nasoko, Paula, Josua, Naduva, Sami, the smiling assassin ‘Eyes’ Katonibau and ‘The Beast’ had the last laugh as they danced to the podium.

Fiji beat Kenya 24-12.

The words of our captain Tuwai after the epic final: “Hong Kong is special for us. We brought our number one team not like the others. We respect and honour the tradition and the history that Fiji has with the Hong Kong 7s.”

It touched hearts.

I remember tears flooding my eyes as I thought about the many victories on our second home soil.

Our 7s team, Baber, Naca and Fuli went into history books as Fiji made its four wins in a row.

Our boys were just three points behind South Africa and had four players in the Hong Kong Dream Team.

Furthermore, Nasilasila was the top point scorer (60 points) while USA’s Isles and South Africa’s Muller de Plessis and Selvyn Davids finished top try scorers with seven tries.

That was 2018 HK 7s at its ever best!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Boxing gym

I would be very grateful to the Fiji Government and the Minister for Sports Mr Tuitubou if they could build a boxing gym in Labasa.

I also would like to request the Minister for Local Government to use the new Labasa fish market for the time being.

An association has been formed to revive boxing in Labasa and any help from the Government will be much appreciated.

If we had our own town council, we would have already made our own gymnasium just like our swimming pool.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Ram Navami

Ram Navami is an important Hindu festival which is celebrated in honour of Lord Rama every year.

This festival is celebrated with families, relatives and friends as the case may be.

This year’s celebration will be for nine days starting from today.

The event will end with hawan yagya on Sunday, April 14.

As followers, we always look forward to the arrival of the festival as it brings the devotees even closer.

This is also a time when rich vegetarian food is cooked and enjoyed by devotees together.

While some gatherings enjoy the mahaprasad, as we call it, every day, many only have it on the final day of the event.

However, one thing I would like to see is that our brothers try to keep kava out of religious events.

I humbly request them to start practising having our religious festival celebrations such as this one without including kava.

While it doesn’t look good, the younger generation is not getting any good lesson from this in my view.

It would be better to use the same money on food if you like.

Elders are supposed to be role models.

What they do, the young learn.

I do not want to twist my tongue but say that kava is dominating our religious gatherings and elders lead the charge.

Please, there is plenty of other time to drink kava but not while you pray.

Our Sanatan leaders must also look at the way kava is given preference during the 13-day death pooja.

This practice is not only bad for the consumers but the grieving family as well.

It is high time our leaders rose and did something to salvage the religion from drowning.

Let’s not mix religion with this.

Thank you.

Suresh Chand, Nadi

Crusaders face Brumbies

After the cancellation of the clash against the Highlanders and a subsequent defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney, the Crusaders put in a dominant performance away to the Hurricanes last week to secure a 32-8 bonus point win.

The kings of Super Rugby lead the Hurricanes five points clear and are on a 22 match winning streak in Christchurch and before the defeat to the Waratahs they had won 15 in a row home or away to Australian opposition.

On the other hand, the Brumbies have an overall record of two wins and four defeats and against NZ opponents have recorded mixed results.

In Round 2 they thrashed the Chiefs 54-17 in Canberra but a week later they were soundly beaten by the Hurricanes 43-13 in Palmerston.

Furthermore, the Brumbies have lost each of their last 12 matches on NZ soil and the last eight head to head against the Crusaders have also ended in defeat.

Hence, the visitors will rely on the likes of Speight, Kuridrani, Lealiifano, Cusack, former Crusader Pete Samu, Alaalatoa and James Slipper to create some magic.

The hosts have big names in Havili, Jordan, Bateman, Crotty, Reece, Mo’unga, Drummond, Read, Todd, Blackadder, Strange, Barrett, Franks, Taylor and Moody while Funnell, Allan, Alaalatoa, Whitelock, Taufua, Hall and Cameron will add power from the bench.

All the best to the mighty and power-packed Crusaders for a bonus point win against the Brumbies!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Job titles

Do job titles mean anything?

Corporate attorney.

Brain surgeon.

Rocket scientist.

We love our titles, don’t we?

There’s just one catch.

Your job title can kill you, if you let it.

Does my bachelor’s degree matter?

Not really.

First off, half my friends have one.

So, it’s not special.

The other half don’t give a damn.

And anyone who doesn’t know me yet?

They don’t care, either.

Here’s what they do care about — what I can do for them.

Make them laugh and cry at the same time.

Or at least make them smirk.

Make them aspire.

And think.

This means more than any job title or bio description.

My students definitely didn’t care about my qualifications, and they shouldn’t.

They only cared about what they could learn from me.

So regardless of what you do for a living, there’s one inescapable truth: Figure out what people want, or need.

Or both.

Give it to them.

That’s the recipe for success, and a better world.

Your title means nothing.

What you do means everything.

When I was in college, some professors made a huge deal out of their degree.

They insisted on their class addressing them as “doctor”.

One used to make a point of subtly pointing out who in our department had three letters after their name, starting with a P and who didn’t.

When I mentioned, it meant Piled Higher and Deeper, he glared at me like Medusa wishing that I would turn to stone.

Herein lies one of our biggest problems.

We conflate leadership and authority with power. And we conflate power with prestige.

And I believe prestige is one of the most worthless nouns in our language.

Prestige is what drives people to list all of their awards and bylines on their websites.

It’s what causes people to brag about the length of their resumes.

I don’t worry about job titles.

Because in a few decades, I’m pretty sure titles won’t matter anymore.

Like, at all.

What’ll matter is what you can do, and how you think.

Those are the only two things that ever really mattered.

Arvind Mani, Nadi

Soccer action continues

After the success of the national soccer team, the attention shifts to the national soccer league and the O-league battle between Ba and Hienghene Sport in New Caledonia this afternoon.

Labasa played Lautoka in the Sugar City last night while the Lions will face Suva tomorrow at Ratu Cakobau Park.

It’s a must win for the northerners if they want to represent the country in next year’s O-League playoffs.

Therefore, I plead with the Lions to play their hearts out.

On the other hand, the Men in Black have a good chance of upsetting the New Caledonian giants and I wish the side all the best!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Who gave the orders

What happened to the two NZ journalists and their cameraman who were detained overnight at Totogo Police Station was unfortunate, for it painted a bad picture of our beloved nation on how media freedom is treated.

I believe Melanie Reid, the Newsroom investigative journalist said their detention showed the world the violation of media freedom in Fiji.

Furthermore, Mark Jennings, one of the journalists, shared he has worked as a journalist for more than 40 years and had reported around the world, however, he had never been detained by police, certainly not for walking in just to ask anybody questions.

The million dollar question around this saga is this; who ordered the police officers to detain the three?

While on one hand Mr Jennings said that the officers who took them in for questioning should not be blamed because they were working according to orders given, on the other hand, while making a public apology to the three, the Prime Minister said that police officers involved in the arrest will be fully investigated.

I agree with Jennings that the officers involved were working according to orders, but if the PM and Police Commissioner apologised for the detention, then who gave the order?

I believe the public need to know this information.

Kositatino Tikomaibolatagane, Vuninokonoko Rd, Navua

Rogue police

Why classify them as “rogue” when they were merely following orders?

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Environmental questions

Out of interest how many individuals have been charged as per anti-litter laws?

How many have been charged for illegal harvest of turtles?

Mother Nature is a reflection on our actions.

Respect her and she will provide for us now and in the future.

Meanwhile one looks forward to the continued efforts to plant four million trees.

Floyd Robinson Toorak, Suva

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