Letters to the Editor – Saturday, September 18, 2021

Prem Lata with her collection of flowers and plants. Picture: SHIRAZ KASIM

Woman of great mettle!

I was impressed with these lines by Prem Lata (FT: 16/09), “Sharing and caring for one another is the way of life we have led for generations. It’s part of our culture and a huge part of our lives as Fijians; only in Fiji. I won’t throw in the towel and contemplate retirement. I’ve been able to overcome obstacles and I am a survivor; pandemic or no pandemic.” Prem, who featured in the People column (16/09), had a timely message for Fijians grappled by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prem, who is a 50-year-old florist businesswoman, is a great source of inspiration and motivation for many. I read with interest Prem’s story — how she contemplated starting her business, the challenges she faced, and the strategies she used to brandish those obstacles. With a heavy heart, I also realised that like other entrepreneurs, she lost earnings from her sales, but she was optimistic of what would unfold in the future. She also urged Fijians to get fully vaccinated so that life and businesses could get back to normal. On the other hand, I agree with Prem that the pandemic had offered Fijians an opportunity to share their love and care with each other. Thank you Prem for the inspiration, encouragement and motivation! Thank you Shiraz Kasim and the people’s newspaper for yet another informative piece that was worth reading and sharing! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM
Nadawa, Nasinu

A-G knows best

I am disappointed with all the condemnation directed at Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum by Opposition political parties, civil society groups and ordinary citizens after Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s swift sacking of the Fiji Bureau of Statistics CEO Kemueli Naiqama (“State fires data chief” FT 16/9) for releasing politically unpleasant data on the poverty situation in the country. Disappointed because I would have thought by now, after 15 years of Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s stewardship of the nation, everyone would know that the man knows best what’s best for Fiji and all its people. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has demonstrated that singlehandedly (with of course the able support of the Fijian military and its coup leader turned PM). Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Knocks on my door

With high profile terminations and midnight apprehensions somewhat becoming a norm in our poverty-stricken nation, I was abruptly startled in the middle of the night after hearing repeated “knock” like thuds on my front door. Fearing for the worst, I mustered the courage to silently manoeuvre my way to the living room without switching on the lights and warily peeped through the curtains to determine who it was. Hoping to encounter a “chimoni” rather than a Hilux full of security personal, my trembling knees became stable and my anxiety turned into a huge respite after learning that that weird noise was being created by “Chipoo”, my pet cat who was desperately attempting to sneak inside the house for a good night’s sleep (or chow). Boy was I relieved not facing off with armed men in green! I think I now have developed a phobia of Hiluxs entering my hood. Nishant Singh Lautoka

Our government

On the International Day of Democracy, Fijians are advised by the Speaker of Parliament to reflect on our collective responsibility to strengthen democracy (FT/15/9) let’s start by changing government. Dan Urai Lautoka

Refreshing change

It is a refreshing change that a senior government official has resigned for pursuing a new career opportunity rather than too familiar “for personal reasons”. Bharat Morris Rifle Range, Vatuwaqa, Suva

Finally open

So many people finally got the opportunity to meet their loved ones and return home after being away for months. The lifting of the borders around Viti Levu shows the progress we have made as a nation in combating COVID-19 and this is a moment to relish and appreciate. Although the work is not completely done, it is worth celebrating the progress in which we are going. A safer Fiji for all. Raynav Chand Nakasi

careFiji app

Methinks that when the highway borders finally open, the continued use of the careFiji app may need to be relooked at, bearing in mind that contact tracing is not as vigorously pursued as it was in the earlier days of this pandemic. I believe it had certainly played its part well in the early identification process and in curbing the spread of the virus in the community. I think that we are now beyond the usefulness of that very useful precautionary measure. We are now well into the trough on the other side of the peak of this second wave. Although the variant will still be around and highly transmissible, I believe it will not be as dangerous or fatal, for the fully vaccinated and those with naturally strong immunity. I really think that the continuation in the use of the app, will just be more of a hindrance to the free flow of movement into shops and other premises. The semblance of normality without it, can in fact reinvigorate economic activity and growth in the business sector and more so, for the small players who have really suffered in the meantime. The wearing of the appropriate face masks, the physical distancing, coughing into the elbows and the sanitising of hands, should be continued and remain as sufficient protective and precautionary measures, henceforth. EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Senior posts

COULD the Government please institute a Commission of Inquiry to ascertain whether all senior appointments in the different government ministries are indeed merit based. If there is evidence of nepotism then the incumbent should be dismissed and the position be advertised and filled the proper way. GABE SIMPSON Rakiraki

Ramble about poverty

Jan Nissar’s ramble, about poverty (FT p.9, 17.09) is telling. Firstly, perhaps he should come back and live here, since Fiji is so reasonable, we apparently don’t pay for our power, or rent, or water or food. And live off the generosity of handouts and donations? We pay rent, power, water, we have to work to buy food and we don’t get any free money. Yes, like him we do get free vaccines, the ones his adopted country Australia biffed out and didn’t want. He’s welcome to come on home where living is so good. The Bureau of Statistics released legitimate statistics on ethnic lines, and for this the head of this place was sacked. Unlike Australia Jan Nissar’s adopted home, we don’t whitewash information on the poverty of indigenous people. Yes, that’s right, Aborigines of Australia were mostly not even given the status of being human, in Australia’s past, let alone counted in statistics at all. Perhaps that’s why he thinks ethnic data is “totally unacceptable”. It might tell the truth of the matter, no doubt about it. Even heard of movie, “The Rabbit Proof Fence”, Mr Nissar? Watch it, and then let’s talk about whitewashing shall we? What planet are you on? ‘Cos it ain’t Earth. Jean Hatch Sawau St, Nabua, Suva

A modest proposal

It is of course praiseworthy that ethnicity is being stamped out in modern Fiji, but we are not going far enough, and I really must protest about reports in our media that typically say something like: “Petero Jitoko, a 61-year-old farmer, was convicted of being drunk and disorderly”. First, on behalf of all 61-year-olds in Fiji, I must point out that this kind of reporting is likely to give rise to ageism. Drawing attention to this person’s age is tantamount to insinuating that all 61-year-olds are drunks, which we deeply resent. Similarly, you should not be mentioning the person’s profession, as you are thereby unfairly tarring all farmers with the same brush. Furthermore, publishing the name of the accused is certain to give rise to ethnic, religious and gender stereotyping. We all know from the name that Petero Jitoko is of a certain ethnicity and male, and most probably of a particular branch of Christianity and from a particular province, so readers will inevitably form the opinion that all males of that ethnicity, province and religion are drunks. As a solution to this problem, I propose that we all be referred to by numbers, six digits would be sufficient. So I expect reports such as the above in future to read: Fijian 123456 was convicted of being drunk and disorderly. This would bring an end to all ethnic, provincial, ageist, professional, religious and gender stereotyping and lead us to a new and glorious Fiji where all prejudice has been defeated and all Fijians are equal. Incidentally, I claim no originality for this proposal. I understand it has been used with great success in the past in a number of penal colonies and concentration camps. Fijian 654321 (alias Paul Geraghty) USP, Suva

Fiji issue

Fiji was remembered in SBS Mastermind (16/9) through the following question: “Which South Pacific island nation repeatedly got suspended from the Commonwealth?”. Wish we were not remembered that way. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

Absolute power

I believe absolute power corrupts absolutely! Joe Tamani Bryce St, Raiwaqa, Suva

My mum

My mum is your mom. Nobody can replace her. Nobody should replace her. Nobody can do half the things she does or done for you. Nobody can compare to her. Only God can love you more than she does. She’s only one person, but she’s the person that matters the most. I love you mum. Quote “The meaning of Life” unquote. Jadon Eroni Masivesi QVS, Nukuvuto

Happy people

With the lifting of containment borders, many people are happy. They will be free to travel all over Viti Levu and do business, visit friends and family and other things. With the target population vaccinated, is there still any danger? Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka

Delta variant

Will the Delta variant look for me and find me if I’m unvaccinated? Joe Tamani Bryce St, Raiwaqa, Suva

Next president

I sincerely hope that the next president of Fiji is not someone who has a military background. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

Our voice

The Fiji Times continues to be our voice. It continues to provide thousands of Fijians a voice. The saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword” comes to mind reading the hard-hit and explosive stories, reports, articles and letters to the editor. The Fiji Times has continued with the legacy set by the founding team in 1869, and does its job with pride, commitment, enthusiasm, passion and dedication, reaching out to and empowering thousands of Fijians. Thank you The Fiji Times for being the voice of the ordinary Fijians! You have the power to influence ordinary minds into right thinking citizens. Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

World Bank

Will our honourable A-G now dispute the observations of the World Bank based on Fiji’s poverty crisis and statistics? (FT 17/09). I won’t be surprised if he starts lecturing them! Nishant Singh Lautoka

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