Letter to the Editor – Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Simione Maikali in control for Navua against Rewa during their BOG clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Busy city

On Saturday (08/08) I went into town and saw that it was jam-packed with people.

I saw the throngs of people doing their shopping at supermarkets and the municipal market.

I got on a taxi and I casually mentioned this to the taxidriver.

He just said: “Government pay this week and the social welfare money was out.”

Then I thought of the food outlets that were full. I suppose they were treating themselves to a good meal.

Set, nah!

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

Noodle for lunch

I am sorry to say that pupils consuming dried noodles at school is an old problem and is widespread.

They open the seasoning packets and dip wet fingers in to add flavour to the noodles.

Schoolchildren also take Chinese lollies such as dried Wah Moi and dried mango to school where they soak them in water into which they dip pieces of fruit in season, such as mango or wi and eat those, discarding the lollies.

This lolly water contains a lot of unhealthy salt.

Early shoppers will often see parents with small children buying packets of junk food and bottles of fizzy drink for them to take to school.

This unhealthy eating is for the most part not the fault of the parents — the inability of many workingclass Fijians to provide nutritional food for their families is longstanding and because of poverty.

The poverty is, of course, due to gross social inequalities.

It is high time that our authorities accepted that health must come first — unhealthy children cannot learn.

Education must come a close second — and then we shall have a healthy, educated citizenry with the ability to grow and maintain the infrastructure needed to keep the goods and services that they have been educated to provide, moving.

Instead of that, only two out of nine surgical theatres are in service at the CWMH — we have children being taught simply to pass exams, and taxpayer’s money spent on painting white lines around potholes and bumps on our roadsides.

According to the World Bank’s annual ‘Doing Business’ rankings, out of 190 countries in 2019 Fiji stood at: 163 for starting a business — 102 for obtaining a construction permit — 97 for provision of electricity — 57 for registering property — 165 for getting credit. We should all heed Arvind Mani (FT 10/08) when he states that the lack of curiosity is confounding and …this type of mindset…prevents us from improving ourselves.

Our priorities need a major shake-up.

Sue Cauty, Pacific Harbour

FNPF money

People ask if our FNPF money is gone.

I believe people are talking everywhere, that they don’t want to hear about our money being used to purchase anything.

They only demand during these hard times as no help is coming from government, so let us use our money.

Return our money at any cost from your end.

Doesn’t make sense that short hours are being paid through FNPF.

My question to all 51 elected members in Parliament: Why don’t you survive on $220 fortnightly and let your wages be distributed to the poor?

Can you do that?

I don’t think so, because you won’t survive with that amount.

Jaheed Buksh, Korolevu, Sigatoka

A new winner will be crowned on Sunday as defending BOG champs Labasa bid this year’s Punjas BOG tournament goodbye.

Sponsored by my good friend in the USA Ranjan Sharma, the Lions were undefeated in pool play and needed to beat Nasinu.

However, the lacklustre draw ended the Lions hopes of a back-to-back BOG win as Ba, Suva, Rewa and Nadi progressed. Fans can expect fireworks on Saturday and Sunday as the BOG reaches its climax.

All the best to the semi-finalists!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam Nadawa, Nasinu

Soccer recovery

How long does it take to fully recover after a competitive soccer match (local district level) in order to be ready for another?

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Red card

LAST Friday during BOG pool games the Nasinu coach was shown a red card.

As per my knowledge, the coach during his playing days never got red-carded, but during his coaching days he has been red-carded.

I believe the match referee and referees director should relook at this red card. Amol Kumar, Lautoka

Soccer boys

While our boys are making headlines in the world of rugby, especially in New Zealand and Australia, our soccer boys are only rooted here.

Since its inception in 1938, I believe there is no player that has even come close to the big leagues of world soccer.

The development of soccer compared with rugby is crystal clear.

Sharif Shah, Savusavu

Military coup

Can someone share a positive story where a military coup improved the financial state of a country.

Dan Urai, Lautoka

Sex, drugs

The sex and drug issue in Nausori is but one example of a wider problem throughout the country.

Commercial sex and drugs rely on supply and demand.

There are so many social issues connected to both commercial sex and drugs – far too many to even write about let alone try and solve.

The US Department of Justice released an enlightening report titled, A National Overview of Prostitution and Sex Trafficking Demand Reduction Efforts in 2012.

It makes riveting reading offering ideas and ways to combat many of the problems.

Colin Deoki, Melbourne, Australia

The Fiji Times

Dan had asked, imagine a Fiji without The Fiji Times.

Dan, please water your grog.

Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Lautoka

NZ election

I managed to watch Middle Earth’s Labour Party 2020 election campaign launch and I tip my hat ma’am.

Nigel Fiu, Owls Perch, Lautoka

Fixing holes

Apart from the pothole problem, the manhole problem it seems from the former Reserve Bank governor Savenaca Narube’s take “Reject the Propaganda” (FT 08/08) that Fiji also has a sizeable financial hole problem.

In his words “government revenue was falling off the cliff”.

That’s a lot of holes in need of fixing to create a better Fiji.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

When, not if

Realistically, it is only a matter of time.

We think the situation is pretty bad now, but when we get to a stage of full-blown community transmission (FB CT), we would love to be getting back to “now”.

The economy might be broke, but that is true everywhere.

Many countries would love to have our current lack of CT.

One million new cases, globally, every week, and accelerating.

Sooner or later, it will be here.

It is vital that there be only a short window from the beginning of CT, to its detection, and notification.

What we do, or don’t do, in the days and weeks leading up to the revelation of FB CT in Fiji will determine how quickly it spreads, and whether we are able to keep the lid on it. If CT is allowed to continue undetected for any period of time, it will make the current reality look like a summer holiday.

As Helen Clark alluded to, we must not be caught “flat-footed”.

As the WHO told us back in March: “Test, test, test!”

One brilliant idea that is growing in popularity in Africa is the pooling of test samples: Using one COVID test kit to test maybe a dozen samples at once.

Making the best use of limited resources.

If the test result comes back negative, everyone is clear.

And the only way to achieve timely detection of CT is to test, test, test.

All of our frontline staff need to be tested on a regular basis –– weekly. We don’t want to lose any of them.

Once the genie is out of the bottle, the rest, as they say.

Understandably the test kits are expensive, and in short supply, but again, with FB CT, the price of those kits will become much less relevant.

There is a list of things that can be done that would limit the spread in that window from the beginning of CT, to the detection of CT; and now is the time for that implementation.

As well as masks and regular handwashing, some shops such as bakeries and other food outlets have plastic curtains hanging in the doorway in an “attempt” to keep the flies out.

Without daily cleaning, these plastic curtains were usually pretty gross, even before COVID.

With FB CT, these plastic curtains would be one of a list of things that would make a mockery of social distancing.

These curtains must be removed now.

Flies might be the lesser of two weevils.

Some public toilets are set up with an automatic flush timer on the men’s urinal, but in others, you are required to physically press the button, or pull the cord.

Perhaps Government/MOH could pass, quickly, a new law that mandates that all plastic curtains be removed, and all public men’s urinals be fitted with automatic flush timers.

Two other significant vectors are cash, and door knobs.

“Pay-Wave” and more automation could help. Unlike Korea or Japan, maybe we are not renowned for our discipline, and currently, only a tiny fraction of us are wearing masks.

If mask wearing became the norm, now –– before FB CT –– rather than the exception, it would also go a long way to limiting the fallout during that window from the beginning of CT to its detection.

Apparently SD is currently only being enforced in church.

Right now, we are a sitting duck. Instead, put on a mask, and look like a duck. How flat-footed are we going to be, when it gets here?

It might be just around the corner.

M Hill, Lautoka

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