Letters to the Editor – May 14, 2021

Priya Dharshana Devi with her mother Sanjesh Lata and daughter Priyansha Sharma sell pineapples along the road in Lovu, Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Life of struggle

The front page photo of cancer patient Priya Darshani Devi with her mum and two-year old daughter selling pineapples at their roadside stall in Lovu, Lautoka in yesterday’s The Fiji Times has touched my heart. I admire her courage and sacrifice for the welfare of her dependents despite the challenges she is faced with after being abandoned by her husband. Undaunted by her own battles with cancer and faced with an uncertain future she has not given up hope. Nor it has dampened her fighting spirit. Her story illustrates the hardships of many Fijians who are caught in a similar situation. She is an inspiration to others out there who are also struggling to feed their families. SELWA NANDAN Lautoka

Reliable information

A few days before the panic buying which was labelled as “stupidity”, there was a lockdown announcement. I will not go into the details of the half an hour notice period because of data availability issues. Dr Fong, in your honest opinion, do you think the relationship between the people of Fiji and the government is working? People have so many questions. Who do they ask? In the position we are, it is normal that we hear of pay cuts and other relevant matters as such. Cutting down reliable information is not normal. Instead of cutting down and delaying press conferences, the information channel from official sources should be opened up. No wonder fake information is thriving. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Sound system

Your correspondent Neelz Singh (13/5/21) repeats the old chestnut that the word girmit is a ‘corrupt’ form of the English word agreement. This is not true. When any two languages borrow from one another, the borrowing language adapts the borrowed word to its own sound system (phonology). Thus English borrowed the word education (and thousands more) from French, and in doing so changed its pronunciation, because some of the sounds of the French word were not part of the English sound system; but nobody would call the English word education a ‘corruption’. It is just the English pronunciation of a word borrowed from French. Similarly, the English and Fiji Hindi pronunciations of Fijian words like yaqona and place-names like Rakiraki are very different from the Fijian originals. This is not because English or Fiji Hindi speakers are ‘corrupting’ them, but simply because the sound systems of English and Fiji Hindi are different from that of Fijian (iTaukei). Paul Geraghty USP, Suva

To lock down or not

One thing that is in everyone’s mind is to lock down or not. I am sure our health experts are well aware of the implications of having and not having a lockdown. Lockdown may look good on paper but enforcing it may pose a big challenge. I believe there are a lot of factors in play before a lockdown opinion could be reached. One lesson we have learnt from the past is that it is better to lock down the red zones rather than having a national lockdown. A risk-based approach would mean we have well calculated the risks of the impacts of having a lockdown or vice versa. Therefore, a framework pertaining to lockdown is critical. We cannot take a wait and see approach as further delays would only exacerbate our problems. However, the timing of a lockdown will play an integral part in our ability to fight this pandemic. Prudently, having a lockdown early may be good but would have severe economic implications. On the other hand, a late lockdown could see the virus transmitting in the major population. The question for health experts is, when is it the perfect time to lock down? Pranil Ram Votualevu, Nadi

Lal fulfils dream

I agree with Dr Sakul Kundra that “the knowledge production and methods adopted by Fiji against climate change should be heard” and that it was not right for Fiji to be “excluded from the Leader Summit on Climate” (FT 13/5). I am, however, not so sure about his assertion that “Fiji is the first island nation to raise the battle against climate change to the global stage”. Are we discounting the role our smaller Pacific island neighbours have played from the outset in this battle? And, what about the key role the island nation of Maldives has played in this battle on the international stage well before Fiji? Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Difficult decision

Decision so difficult Entangled in thoughts Complex the situation Impacting the decision So much to consider Influenced by many Options so limited Now what to decide. BHAGWANJI BHINDI, Nasinu

COVID-19 pandemic

DID Dr Fong imply the public was “stupid” just because they rushed to gather rations (panic buy) in fear of an imminent nationwide lockdown? (fijilive.com, 11/05). Nai James, I believe it was the stupidity and absolute negligence of our autocratic
leaders who jeopardised the security and wellbeing of the nation in the fi rst place. I believe we would not have been in this extreme state if immediate proactive measures were employed in containing this catastrophe. Shutting down our borders
would have been a decent start. Right Dr Fong? NISHANT SINGH Lautoka

Wrong instruction

DELIVERING to people, we sometimes get wrong instructions. “Come, to one mango tree, big one, leave that one, one house on the left, green house. Leave that one, we in front.”  Oilei Navua! ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Lautoka

Significance of May 14

Today is May 14, and this date holds significance in the lives of Indo-Fijians in Fiji. On this date in 1879, the Leonidas arrived in Fiji with Indian indentured labourers to work in sugarcane plantations as bonded workers. 141 years later, on May 14, Sitiveni Rabuka led the country’s first coup. While we commemorate Girmitiya day today, it’s important to pay tribute to our ancestors who toiled and shed blood, sweat and tears to play a prominent role in building a modern Fiji. It is also important to remember the terrible pain and suffering inflicted on Indo-Fijians at the height of the 1987 events. The collateral damage, in terms of human and economic loss, is felt today. Hence, on this day of May 14, I salute our ancestors for their hard work, passion, dedication and commitment, and for the role they played in shaping Fiji’s future. I’ll never be able to pay them for their deeds, but as a Fijian of Indo-Fijian origin, the least I am obliged to do is to say thank you and dhanyavad. God bless our Fiji! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Do your bit

Bula Viti. How are you and your family faring in the lockdown? Is it getting you down like it did us? We had to go through the hard yards during lockdown here in Melbourne. Things weren’t easy because we couldn’t see our family and close friends for a very long time. We couldn’t travel anywhere and there was no socialising, no visits to restaurants, cafes, pubs and clubs and no sporting venues to go to. We were confined to our homes for many months wondering whether we were going to come out of it. At times, it was very hard to handle – emotionally and mentally. So I feel for those of you who’re feeling the pinch during lockdown. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. When we finally came out of lockdown after many months of struggle, it was like we were being let out of prison. Many of us cried with joy. Today we’re not wearing masks any more. And there is a an air of normality about our city. Most of us have returned to work and things are starting to look and feel normal. However, we’re conscious of the fact that staying at home and maintaining the strict disciplines of curfews and social distancing got us to where we are today. Please understand I’m not saying – look at us and see how good we are. We’ve tried to learn from our mistakes so that we don’t end up like many countries around the world. Thousands are still dying every day. It’s a sad reality and it could very easily have been us. Please treat this pandemic seriously. Because it will only take a few careless people to set you back months and years of hardship and struggle. We know – we’ve been there. So be kind and caring of each other and do your bit to halt the tide of trepidation and fear that’s trying to debilitate our planet. Colin Deoki Australia

First-class opposition

From a rugby perspective, Pacific Island Nations have suddenly become important to the All Blacks. Why now? Well,whatever one’s views, thanks to COVID-19, some teams like Italy have cancelled their tours to New Zealand. This has forced the All Blacks to look closer to its Pacific neighbours including Samoa and Fiji. Some may say it would be a one sided affair for the All Blacks but this offers an opportunity for our Pacific teams to taste first-class opposition. In the meantime, do stay safe and take precautions as the recent number of COVID cases is alarming. Floyd Robinson Toorak, Suva

Some ideas

Some ideas how to cope during a lockdown. Clean your house. Eat healthy. Exercise. Play great music. Drink a glass of water (x8). Take naps. Play board/card games. Talanoa with others via phone or social media. Have a mix. Anthony Sahai, take note noqu tagane! Wise Muavono Balawa, Lautoka

Common sense

I don’t know about yours, but my pockets are full of holes people even the Government and businesses are not spared. Fiji is in dire need of common sense people. Kere kilo yaqona farmers! AREKI DAWAI Suva

Vegetable seeds

One place we went we took some vegetables seed to a family with unkol allen. The grandmother asked: “Konchi laaes?” I told them “beeya (seedlings) laaes”. Unkol said: “I never bring the beer”. Navneet Ram Lautoka


Is the difference between excessive force and reasonable force just an opinion or there are concrete guidelines? Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Free masks

So a government minister was giving out free masks in Suva. What about Lautoka? Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Health risk

I have seen a lot of people wearing the blue and white mask which look old, stained and dirty. Can MOH start free distribution of masks to avoid further health problems? Bacteria would be breeding on those old stained mask and our people are wearing them without realising this. Please MOH advise people and start the free mask distribution. Narayan Reddy Lautoka

Press conference

Very soon Dr Fong will have a press conference by midnight. From day one it’s being shifted ahead. Jaheed Buksh Korolevu, Sigatoka

Vaccine jab

We here at home, should MoH decide to come by and jab us with the vaccine. Nigel Fiu Owls Perch, Lautoka

Rise in misery

I believe inflation is high where cost of basic food items soar as wages are reduced with short working hours for those lucky to be in employment, and increase in misery for those booted out of employment. Dan Urai Lautoka

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