Letters to the Editor – May 17, 2021

Our writer says loss of job, no pay, reduced hours, lockdowns, extended leaves without pay, idleness are some of the reasons that triggers anxiety and depression. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Mental health

WELL stated by many that COVID-19 impacts have effects on mental health. It’s all about your stability to survive and manage with limited resources. Loss of job, no pay, reduced hours, lockdowns, extended leaves without pay, idleness are some of the reasons that triggers anxiety and depression. All we need is each others support and motivation to sail through this turmoil which is unprecedented. Children are vulnerable and during this prolonged school breaks are uncertain of situations ahead of them with many parents not able to meet the expectations on daily basis. Hope for early normalisation for betterment of all. ROUHIT KARAN SINGH Lautoka

Giving back

JUDGING from the crowds frequenting the supermarkets in Suva these past weeks, it seems certain that massive profits are being reaped which could continue until the decision for total lockdown is made. This is the perfect situation for this area of business mainly, which thrives from the coronavirus lockdown without much marketing effort. This is one favourable side to the pandemic for business owners. It would not be amiss therefore to expect these business houses to give back to the community through food and groceries donations specifically to the more unfortunate members of our society who are scraping the proverbial bottom of the barrel during these hard times. One thing is certain, they would be fondly remembered for this. EMOSI BALEI Suva

It’s really up to you

WE all need to be realistic and front -up before this variant really muck our lives up we therefore all need to straighten up and ensure that we always mask up, follow all the restrictions and not give one up, because if we ever give up, and surrender with our hands up who knows where we will end up? trues up so follow up have your guards up and don’t ever let up, lets all prevent a third wave of this variant invasion which may really worsen the current situation the last thing we need is a full blown community transmission to ravage the communities in our beautiful nation one cannot really over-emphasise the need to always mask up, social distance and sanitise that ‘s the only way we can all remain safe ,healthy and survive remember that the home isolation, lockdowns and curfews are really there to help you and not to be against you so now it’s all really up to you EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour.

Facing hardships

AS the nation’s capital Suva and Nausori go on lockdown, it also brings about the historic day which led the nation into plummeting straits when the Fiji military forces overthrew the government decades ago. Today is a reminder to us Fijians whether we want to face more hardships as we’ve experienced before or good sense and wise decisions to lead us through to stop the pandemic. Since we are all promptly advised of the lockdown, I hope everyone is adequately prepared to take care of their household during this challenging time. For our own good we all need to come together as one mind and stop the spread of COVID-19 among us. We the people have been irresponsible and uncaring towards our own self, families and the nation because of our selfishness lifestyle. Because of the responsible authorities incompetent and ineffectiveness to maintain a strict policy of containing the virus carriers coming in, the whole of Fiji is suffering. Come what may the containment of the virus is in the people’s hand. If we don’t listen to the directives and advice of the Ministry of Health, we will continue to face the consequences of our own mistakes. My two boys are missing going to school, family members going to work and I’m also waiting for the borders to open so I can visit my family and bedridden friends down west. I hope the result after the lockdown will lead us in to brighter days where the public can have their freedom of movement restored and businesses continue their operations. Good luck Fijians! AREKI DAWAI Maharaj Place, Samabula, Suva

Pain of indenture

ON May 14 each year we in Fiji celebrate what is commonly known as girmit diwas. The year (1879) on which British ship Leonidas landed at Levuka with the first batch of (463) indentured labourers from India (then under British colonial rule). The journey lasted from March 3 (port of Calcutta) to May 14, 1879. And what a painful and traumatic journey this must have been for the people who were mainly from North India. Sea sickness must have taken its toll as none of these people had seen the ocean in their homeland.. The last ship S.S. Sutlej carrying 888 labourers arrived on 11/11/1916. Some 42 ships made 87 voyages and carried 60,553 labourers destined for the colony of Fiji. The other painful saga of the girmitiya (distortion of the word agreement) was the sinking of the ship Syria which had left the port of Calcutta on March 13, 1884 with 497 labourers. While it was only four miles from the Fijian shore it hit the Nasilai Reef and sank. On May 11, 1884 with the loss of 59 lives, this maritime disaster sent shock waves. The painful cries of the dying labourers still rings in our minds. Thanks to the native Fijians who attempted to help and saved some lives. There were huge protests in India regarding the inhuman cruelty being heaped on Indian labourers in Fiji. They were treated like animals: beaten, poorly housed, meager pay and long hours of work, poor medical facilities and poor educational arrangements for their children. Shortage of women among labourers created huge social problems. Being confined like sardines on the ship led to the breaking of the caste system and emergence of girmit bhai bhai system. The indenture agreement allowed labourers to work for five years and if they wished for further five years before returning to India. But in actual practice many decided to stay back in Fiji to escape the stark poverty in India. Notorious labour lines surrounded the Australian owned sugar mills. These supplied labour to the mills. Others settled on small farms and formed villages which still thrive today. On May 14, 1987 Sitiveni Rabuka unleashed the first military coup in Fiji. Indo-Fijians were brutalised. Many fled the shores of Fiji to settle in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. Thus began the flight of capital and skills from Fiji. This shattered the economy of Fiji. This pain and trauma still lives in the minds of Indo-Fijians. Sincere thanks to the FijiFirst Government who has given all Fijians a common name and a sense of respectability. Indo-Fijians are no longer being treated as vulagi (visitors). They continue to play a vital role in the politics and economy of the country. May we mark this day as a reminder that humanity across the globe is currently going through COVID-19 pandemic. It is not going to be easy for anyone DEWAN CHAND Donu Place, Namadi Heights, Suva

Whisky theory

BASED on the theory that alcohol-based sanitisers effectively destroys the virus, one can be forgiven to conclude a glass of whiskey a day keeps COVID-19 away. DAN URAI Lautoka


THE present feral communal violence between Jews and Arabs inside Israel — between people who were living in some semblance of peaceful coexistence — shows human civilisation is only skin deep. Once societal norms / restraints collapse human savagery raises its ugly head. The communal violence bears out William Goldings Lord of the Flies thesis. RAJEND NAIDU Atlantic Blvd, Glenfield, Sydney, Australia


MAINSTREAM media has relived the 1987 coup. Let’s wait for coverage on the other two when the time comes. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka


PLEASE to all the banks, keep you ATMs loaded. People hire taxis to withdraw cash and have to travel to another ATM and it depletes the money sent to them. ALLEN LOCKINGTON Kava Place, Lautoka


I REFER to Nigel Fiu’s letter (Movements – FT 13/4). I do agree with Mr Fiu. Good one sir. NAVNEET RAM Lautoka


NIGEL, scheduling movements would defeat the purpose of a lockdown (FT 13/5). A lockdown is a restriction policy for people or communities to stay where they are. An emergency situation in which people are not allowed to leave their homes. Get it right my boy! WISE MUAVONO Hedstrom Pl, Balawa, Lautoka

Free top up

ONE big humble request to Vodafone and Digicel if they could generously please provide free top ups for all their Suva and Nausori customers for the duration of the Suva-Nausori curfew/lockdown. At least for the people who keep you churning millions in profits. Kerekere. ANTHONY SAHAI Suva

Morally right

IS it morally right for developed countries to be vaccinating its population who are under the age of 18 or giving it to those poor countries countries which are under-vaccinated with vulnerable populations? PRANIL RAM Votualevu, Nadi

Wait and see

A LETTER writer in the The Sunday Times (16 /05) asked a pertinent question. That is “when we will be able to vaccinate the entire country?” We will certainly await in anticipation the Health Ministry’s response to that. Maybe the “eligibility population” and the “herd immunity target” mean that the entire population may not in fact be vaccinated after all. We will just have to wait and see the response. EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

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