Letters to the Editor – July 6, 2020

A group of tertiary students read The Fiji Times at Sukuna Park in Suva. Picture: FILE

Reading culture

IT is worrying that the book-reading culture is diminishing (FT 30/07). There was a time when people would pick up a book of interest and read at home, while travelling on a bus, while on the farm grazing cattle and in their free time. People also chose to read books written in their mother tongue to assist them improve their mother tongue knowledge. This is hard to be seen now. Our libraries are empty. Our children are roaming around the streets or village boundaries, but who cares? The pandemic period provided us opportune time to read storybooks. The very basic interest of keeping books to read has vanished only to be replaced by social media. No doubt, social media does provide a platform for reading but this is a completely different experience than turning pages of storybooks printed. One major factor contributing to this sad loss of reading culture is the quality of books available. One just has to check for himself in a library and see the quality of books lying there. We need to have quality attractions to capture young minds. No wonder our smart phones are magnets of their own. Is it too much to ask you to at least pick up a copy of The Fiji Times and just read to begin with? DHIRENDRA PRASAD Lautoka

Road rehabilitation

IT’S a relief to know that FRA has completed its road rehabilitation works in the Central Division (FT 05/07). As I understand it, the road rehabilitation works is a step up from the quick fix pothole repairs program that we often see on our roads. A program that we now know does not seem to work in a tropical climate like ours with heavy downpours and floods, leaving no chances for quick fixes to settle permanently. We are told that road rehabilitation is more substantive. Cement is now added to the new sub-base which is then overlaid with asphalt once the sub-base is firm. That sounds very reassuring. Can we now say “Adios, farewell and ni sa moce (vakadua saraga)” to those pesky potholes and pitholes once and for all? We all hope that nature – through heavy rain and floods – will not eventually unsettle everything, including the new sub-base. We just might end up with the “old normal” and saying “au revoir, until we meet again and sota tale.” to those potholes and pitholes. Garages and mechanics included! EDWARD BLAKELOCK Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Freehold land

A RATHER sensitive subject but one that definitely needs clarification and our Prime Minister did exactly that! During the recent talanoa session held here in Savusavu, our Prime Minister was asked by a few landowners regarding freehold land, the possibility of getting it back. PM Voreqe Bainimarama replied in saying that if land was sold by your forefathers in exchange for guns or liquor and the transaction is legally recognised, then nothing can be done about it (FT 02/07). What amazes me the most is that iTaukei landowners have so much vacant land that is under-utilised yet they are still after freehold-titled properties. It’s a great thing that Ratu Sukuna and colonial governor, Sir Arthur Richards, established a central body to hold native land in trust. In doing so, iTaukei landowners were asked to surrender, forever, the control of their land and entrust its administration to a central authority that would act in the national interest, as well as in that of the iTaukei owners. Hence the Native Land Trust Board. Had Ratu Sukuna and Sir Richards not taken control over native land, most of it would have been freehold-titled properties today and iTaukei landowners would be worse off, as with many countries around the world, where they’ve lost the majority of their land to freehold. iTaukei landowners need to utilise what they have and forget about freehold land because nothing can be done about it, especially in this time and age. They should be more concerned about expired iTaukei lease properties which are now lying idle after they’ve refused to renew the leases. iTaukei landowners are very fortunate people, yet it is a fact that I believe most are still blinded to! You own the majority of land in the country so make good use of it! SIMON HAZELMAN Rava Estate, Savusavu

Nadi ROC Market

WOULD it be nicer to see our municipal leaders and administrators think outside the box and pull off a real international fiesta, by way of our ROC Market along Nadi’s main street one Sunday morning commencing at 6am and concluding at 8pm? All our flight attendants, pilots, tourism industry personnel, hoteliers and their brains trust, international chefs, live bands and musicians, including disc jockeys, all getting together. A monthly extravanganza to assist all those who have lost their jobs must benefit. Please close off Main St one Sunday a month and tovolea mada. O Nadi ko. Will this free idea gain some traction? Food for thought – given freely, straight from the heart. RONNIE CHANG Martintar Nadi

Call by NGOs

YOUR front page of Friday, June 26, featured a call on Government to engage CSOs in the forming of a think tank tasked to find answers and solutions to the economic crisis facing the country. Striking to read that these were all women CSOs making the call. It begs the question where are the men? But the answer to that could be to ask a counter question. Why ask such a question? These gifted women are heading NGOs with women and men. Worldwide there is usually complaint that women are not heard and this has become denial of their human rights. But genuinely not in Fiji! Able women take leadership roles and they voice concerns about breaking stereotypes, questioning established authority which is dominated by men, the size of military budget, the lack of information delivered in language and sense that people can understand. And once again the call for bipartisan approach. Opposition parties and government coming together. There are people with brains in and outside Parliament. Let’s move to find solutions. THE REV AKUILA YABAKI Toninaiwau Subdivision, Coloisuva

Guru Purnima Festival

On Sunday, July 5, 2020, is a full moon day and Hindus world over will celebrate the festival of Guru Purnima. It is a day dedicated to honour, revere and remember affectionately the role gurus (teachers) have played in moulding the lives of students. Particularly those gurus who have had great impact in moulding the career path of their students. Guru is a Sanskrit word which stands for: gu= darkness or ignorance & ru = remover. Thus guru is someone who is responsible for imparting knowledge (light) to remove darkness or ignorance. Therefore, the role of a guru (teacher) cannot be underestimated. A devoted guru can motivate and inspire students to reach the heights of glory in academia. A spiritual guru can motivate his/her students to get liberated and reach moksha (freedom from bondage). Our mothers are considered to be the first guru and give us the right sanskaras (sacraments) which will enable us to face the challenges of life. The second guru is the father who is responsible for creating the right environment in the home where the child gets holistic upbringing. The third guru is the family priest who also has a great impact in moulding the life of a child by giving him/her a spiritual dimension in life. And finally the teacher in the classroom or a lecturer at a lecture theatre has a decisive role to play in a student’s success story. On this day people remember their teachers at kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and at tertiary level. They pray for the health and happiness of their teachers and fondly remember the wonderful days they spent in their care. The bond of love and respect between the teacher and the taught is sacred. It is for this reason teachers are venerated. May I wish all Hindus a very happy and memorable Guru Purnima Festival. DEWAN CHAND Donu Place, Namadi Heights, Suva

Qoliqoli owners

A NEW item on Friday (03/07) by FBC where the prime minister handed over a boat with an outboard engine to Mali villagers was reportedly to facilitate the protection of their qoliqoli. Hold on! When was qoliqoli ownership formalised? I thought that qoliqoli areas in Fiji were still owned by Government. Or are the villagers contracted to monitor usage on behalf of Government? Or has the law changed and ownership been given to iTaukei owners? Some clarification please. EMOSI BALEI Kini St, Suva

Increment pay

CORRECT me if I am wrong, teachers were promised increments in 2018. Who is at fault that in mid 2020, we hear that only 200 of the more than 13,000 teachers have received increments? Definitely not climate change or COVID-19. MOHAMMED IMRAZ JANIF Natabua, Lautoka

Standing tall

IT can only be rated as positive as democracy stood tall in its unification process. The future beckons . DAN URAI Lautoka

Love of a son

THE story highlighted by the (FT 05/07) on Tomasi and his mother Michelle is truly inspiring. These are times when younger generation’s relationship with their elders has diluted to some extent, Tomasi has thought otherwise. He has sacrificed all to be by his mother’s side. Tomasi, who could easily choose his professional rugby career over providing care for his mum, has done something which some may not even prefer thinking about. Like we always say there is no distance between mother and son’s love, so has been the feeling of love for Tomasi towards his mother. I hope this inspires us all. PRANIL RAM Votualevu, Nadi

Imperfect State

IN reply to Mohammed Imraz Janif of Natabua, Lautoka, I say it again, no government is perfect and we will always notice its flaws, which by pointing it out, we help to correct. Imraz highlighted the coups of 1987, 2000 and 2006, and rightly so. They are indeed flaws that we all hope we have corrected never to happen again. Past, present and future governments have always and will always have flaws of all kinds! Again I say, how can we expect to have a perfect government when its citizens are all imperfect; having not the ability to adhere to the most simplest of rules and laws? SIMON HAZELMAN Rava Estate, Savusavu

Lost prestige

INCOMING USP chancellor and Nauru President Lionel Aingimea’s statement regarding his plans for reforming the governance regime at the university (FT 04/07) gives us reason to be optimistic that the premier regional university will regain its lost prestige and purpose under his progressive leadership. I wish him every success. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

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