Letters to the Editor – Saturday, July 31, 2021

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Rugby Sevens - Men - Medal Ceremony - Tokyo Stadium - Tokyo, Japan - July 28, 2021. Fiji players pray before the match. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Winning styles

Couldn’t help contrasting the different gold winning styles used when looking at Ben Ryan’s winning brigade in Rio in 2016 and Gareth Baber’s giant slayers brigade.

The Rio team displayed artistry, elegance, sophistication and class as they weaved their silky way to outclass a very, very, classy Team GB.

Tokyo was different.

The play was persistently upfront, rugged aggression.

No finesse here.

Just thumping physicality head-on.

It was so darn effective that at the end, Team New Zealand was committing unforced errors, throwing wild passes and conceding penalties.

Both playing winning styles were wonderful to watch.

And to Gareth Baber and company, a belated hearty, congratulations and vinaka vakalevu for the spectacular victory at Tokyo 2020.

William Rosa, Ba

Food security

Food security should be everyone’s priority for self sufficiency to survive.

We, Fijians, are well blessed with sufficient land, water and tropical climates for food security.

Let’s go for healthy food choices for healthy wellbeing.

Go green!

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

Land issue

If two prominent Fiji lawyers, Richard Naidu and Graham Leung, say the proposed change in Bill 17 will adversely impact on indigenous Fijian control over their land (FT 30/7), then that must be regarded quite significant, particularly given one has worked professionally for over 25 years in matters relating to iTaukei land tenure and the other, Graham Leung, is a former president of the Fiji Law Society.

I believe the experiences of indigenous people around the world – their land alienation and dispossession – should alert us of the need to be extra diligent in matters relating to indigenous land.

Rajend Naidu, Sydney, Australia

Lockdown and GDP

The Fiji Times yesterday reported Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum suggesting that a two-week lockdown would cost Fiji $350 million in lost Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

It would also, he said, cost Government $300 million in income support.

I am just wondering if there is anyone in the Government who understands GDP.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum’s maths, it seems, is based on the idea that two weeks of Fiji’s $10 billion annual GDP is worth $350 million and if we all lock down,

GDP will stop.

Put the simplest way I can think of, GDP is just the total value of everything that happens on which we can put a dollar amount – wages paid, shop sales, electricity and water consumed, phone data used, rent paid, and so on – measured in a particular way.

In a lockdown these things don’t stop.

People still buy food, receive wages, work from home, consume electricity and so on.

Of course, GDP will be reduced in a lockdown because there’s less economic activity.

People aren’t shopping for jewellery or hanging out in cafes or going to the movies.

But that’s what’s happening now anyway.

Economic activity is already restricted to the “essential” things the Government permits.

Reduced GDP is not a “cost”.

It’s not something Government has to pay for.

And the idea that Government would have to provide $300m in income support during a two-week lockdown is also ridiculous.

People have lost their incomes all over Fiji for the past 16 months.

$300 million is barely the amount of all the income support Government has given in that whole time.

Non-government organisations and charities have had to support those without incomes – from non-government, non-FNPF funds – for a small fraction of that amount.

Is this seriously the Government’s reasoning for not locking down several weeks ago, when to lock down would have saved (literally) hundreds of lives, avoided potential permanent damage to the health of thousands more and brought back the economy faster?

If so, it really is time for a new government.

Richard Naidu, Suva *  (Mr Naidu is a Suva-based lawyer who does some work for The Fiji Times – Editor).

Gold again

Vinaka, Fiji Rugby 7s team, snatching gold again against worthy New Zealand.

Brought back lots of memories of 2016.

And you’ve given Fijians right across the world something to cheer about.

And especially our people back home who desperately need hope.

But it’s sweeter still when you consider it’s taken the “mickey” out of the “mouse”.

Colin Deoki, Australia


I JUST like to know if the Viti Levu lockdown would have caused a $350 million loss to the Government.

We could have stopped the spread of the COVID virus.

Sukha Singh, Labasa

Mask or what?

THOSE who still having doubts or have reservations about being vaccinated, would you rather breathe through a mask or a ventilator?

Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Sad to note

IT’S sad to note some trying to avoid jabs, the best reason known to themselves.

We all should be aware that politics and scientific medicines don’t mix.

Faith in medicine with God’s blessings will hopefully save lives.

Tahir Ali, Hamilton, New Zealand

An alternative

I believe Lynda Tabuya should be voted as the ultimate “Tik Tok queen”.

She can have an alternative career as a comedian or a blogger should Lynda decide to quit her somewhat controversial political profession.

Nishant Singh, Lautoka

Triple factor

Was the triple factor a key to our success in Japan?

When thinking about it, our opponents had a difficult time trying to anticipate and contain movements of Jerry Tuwai, Napolioni Bolaca and Sireli Maqala.

Fiji had three playmakers on the field which kept our opponents guessing, let alone their coaches who watched anxiously from the bench.

The other team members, including substitutes, also excelled in defence and attack.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva


Taking the time to talk things over, is truly underrated.

Nigel Fiu, Owls Perch, Lautoka

Back to back

BACK to back title for gold medal and champion again.

Many thousands of Fijians had a smile and cheering over the face during this crisis after watching our hardworking players win the Olympics 2020 in Tokyo, and true Fijian dignity by kneeling down while receiving their gold medal compared with others.

Vinaka boys.

Thank you Fiji men’s 7s team for making us proud.

Jaheed Buksh, Korolevu, Sigatoka


It’s absurd that a tiny invisible particle can wreak such havoc.

Rod Matthews, Victoria, Australia

Road humps

Could the road humps on Lautoka’s waterfront please be painted.

Nigel Fiu, Owls Perch, Lautoka

Lockdown debate

Just saying (actually writing), it seems like the lockdown debate will not go away easily.

It’s similar to the recurring kanikani during the taki season.

You can consult the pros.

I am not going to start a journey into the millions of dollars required combined with the exact number of days to flush (modern system) the virus from the community.

That’s for the real experts.

I can only wish for the real skills (batteries included).

Economics and mathematics have never been my friends.

For me, GDP remains a favourite side dish.

Golden Dalo Pickles, the one with hot barbecue flavour.

With numbers, I do not go beyond one digit mathematical operations.

The need never arises.

Be it induction or trigonometry, it’s always single non-negative intergers.

Now with thousands (difficulty level beyond my comprehension) of cases (the known ones), the lockdown debate rages amongst decision makers.

Well, what went wrong when there were very few (unrelated to my love for small numbers) cases?

Didn’t we learn anything from the first wave?

Mohammed Imraz Janif, Natabua, Lautoka

Our unsung heroes

While our sevens players and coaches have done a tremendous job of bringing glory to the nation.

But lest we forget the sacrifices and the immense contributions of the backroom staff, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to get the team ready for matches.

And two such great people in the team are Naca Cawanibuka and William Koong, who though, have not been making public appearances but are associated with the team for a number of years.

I certainly believe if it had not been for the support of these two wonderful personalities, probably, we would not have been this successful.

In my view, these two individuals also deserve recognition for the remarkable work they have done for rugby in the country.

Pranil Ram, Votualevu, Nadi

Stories that touch heart

This week was special to every Fijian.

We started the week on a high note, and we ended it on a high note.

The people’s newspaper continued to reach ordinary Fijians with credible and reliable news, and inspirational and motivational stories that touched hearts.

The People column continues to inspire.

On Monday, Rakesh Kumar penned a piece on Abdul Zibran, who is a proud garage owner and encouraged Fijians to think positive.

On Tuesday, Ian Chute, compiled a piece on Jean Fuata, who is an entrepreneur and has been affected by the pandemic, but has taught her to slow down and think of creative ways to earn a living.

On Wednesday, Siteri Sauvakacolo enlightened readers about Votualevu’s grass cutter Sudesh Prakash, who earns a living by cutting grass.

His message, “If you want to work, look for it, and you will find it. If you sit idle, you will not be able to find a good job to help you earn,” was apt.

On Thursday, Waisale Koroiwasa shared the journey of Sailasa Tuilau, who had dreams of becoming a mechanical engineer.

Yesterday, Rakesh Kumar penned another wonderful piece on Sushil Bhan, who is a small businessman.

Reading these pieces, motivates and makes one’s day.

Thank you The Fiji Times!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

No fluke

It is by no fluke that the Pacific island nation of Fiji secured a second gold medal on the rugby paddocks.

While we are basking glory, there are bigger questions which linger on the minds of rugby fans.

Do our gladiators deserve a special pay or reward?

In terms of rugby contracts, it is about time that their individual contract values is increased?

If so, what could rugby authorities do to attract lucrative financial sponsors?

Are we taking advantage of our national representatives?

Meanwhile, other teams which were backed by budgets in the millions must be wondering how Fiji managed to achieve another gold medal.

Floyd Robinson, Toorak, Suva

Winning gold

Filipino weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz fresh from winning gold has been promised cash, a house and transport.

The banner at Philippines read “Gold at last”.

Our own Jerry Tuwai is not only the player of the decade but now a two-time gold medallist in sevens rugby.

A remarkable feat that no one else has achieved.

We have also read of Jerry’s sacrifices and struggles, turning down lucrative rugby contracts to represent Fiji.

Jerry throughout his career has put country first and now it’s time for the country to reward him.

As a rugby fan I plead that the Government reward him with a house like they did to Iliesa Delana.

Let’s not forget Jerry Tuwai.

A humble man and a true patriot of Fiji.

He is indeed special, a sports icon, a role model and an ambassador for Fiji.

A man that has inspired Fiji in this difficult times.

It’s time to honour him and that’s the least we as a country can do for this remarkable person.

Dharmendra Kumar, Rewa St, Suva

Untold stories

With the sterling and mesmerising performances at Tokyo 2020, our 7s gladiators have a lot to offer as untold stories.

Reading all doesn’t only make us emotional but takes our memories to our grassroots.

Each one in our beautiful paradise has taken up hard yards to achieve their dreams and our 7s heroes are no exception.

The perseverance, commitment and the struggles make us stronger.

To me education is not all that one requires.

Our skills and abilities to overcome obstacles are the motivational force for success too.

I am touched by my nippy captain Tuwai’s stories.

I salute all the players, management of Fiji rugby, the coach and the fans for their exceptional contributions in achieving this victory.

Jerry you will be remembered for long in the books on 7s rugby in this paradise and internationally.

Smiles on many faces say it all.

We are together when it comes to rugby and even the curfew and borders can be broken at spur of moment.

Cheers all as this chapter goes into the history books.

Rouhit Karan Singh, Lautoka

A historic back-to-back gold medal!

On Wednesday night at around 9.30pm, fireworks lit skies as Fiji humbled an experienced and star-studded All Blacks Sevens outfit 27-12 in the final of the Tokyo Olympic Games.

When nippy Waisea Nacuqu opted to take a drop goal, the writing was clear – we had won our second Olympic Games gold medal.

Celebrations started.

People took to the streets, despite the curfew being put in place.

The kava flowed freely.

People danced, and ran around madly with Fiji’s flag.

When our boys stepped onto the podium to receive their reward, emotions were hard to control.

When our anthem was played, tears flowed.

A tiny dot on the world map had conquered Tokyo Stadium.

Our flag was raised slightly higher than that of the tournament favourites the All Blacks Sevens.

Emotions had started before the final, as the national anthem was played.

Jiuta Wainiqolo, who played for RKS in 2018 and scored a scintillating try against the ABs, was emotional, as tears streamed down his face.

Jiuta dedicated the win to his parents, the people of Fiji, and he shared that his goal was to put a smile on people’s faces.

Asaeli Tuivuaka, who lost his father last year, dedicated his gold medal to his beloved father and his baby, whom he had not seen for almost five months.

Gareth Baber was emotional, and so was Jerry Tuwai.

The entire team had a story to share.

Our victory was pre-written.

Or victory is historic.

Our victory brought tears and much-needed smiles.

Our victory united a rugby crazy nation.

Our victory was dedicated to every Fijian.

Our victory touched hearts.

Our victory will be cherished, remembered and savoured in years to come.

Wananavu boys!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Old vs new

There is a movement of sick people in the community who are applying traditional herbal knowledge to treat non-traditional diseases and specifically for this discussion, the novel coronavirus – COVID-19.

In medicine, “novel” usually refers to a virus or bacterial strain that was not previously identified.

COVID-19 is a new disease, caused by the novel, or new, coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that was not previously seen in humans.

Take the plant vevedu as a case in point. Many are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Traditional herbal practitioners turn to this plant to relieve the symptoms.

If someone has an infection such as in the chest, throat or ears, herbs may bring relief but I believe they won’t provide a cure.

I suffered tooth ache for two weeks until I was able to see a dentist.

I knew the paracetamol I’d been popping too often for pain relief would not fix the problem; it required intervention in the form of a root canal procedure which, incidentally, brought immediate pain relief.

Someone may have puffy feet.

Applying vau leaves may bring some reduction in swelling and pain but the cause may be that the person is suffering a renal condition and if so then vau leaves will be ineffective in treating that.

There is concern that flulike symptoms experienced by many are thought to be just that and nothing else when, in fact, the symptoms can mimic those of COVID-19.

If, therefore, the patient is positive for COVID-19 and all the while they are treating something else, there is the opportunity for the virus to be spread to those around them and those could most likely be their loved ones.

COVID-19 is new to the world and not something which, if one contracts, will they recover from by turning to traditional herbal medicine.

The only intervention that is tried and tested in clinical trials and which is approved by the WHO and FDA to be effective in reducing the severity of the virus and death is for one to be fully vaccinated.

I thank God every day that we in Fiji are lucky enough to have COVID-19 vaccines available and be able to be fully vaccinated and I keep praying that more people will have the wisdom and knowledge to do it.

Julie Sutherland, Tamavua, Suva

The mask

Is there a smile behind that mask?

is that a hidden muffled laugh?

to see that hidden smile is a hard ask

trying to know you is really tough.

Are those words of encouragement I hear?

one can only imagine that it was

but the words are not so clear

that is just the way now for us.

Did I just hear your muffled voice?

alone and scared behind your mask


but we all don’t really have a choice

don’t take it off, even if someone asks.

This is the way it’s just going to be talking and smiling behind the mask

it’s like that right now in every country

we all have our commitment and our task.

We must ensure our health and safety

while going through this viral calamity

the virus must lose its potency

that is the stark and sober reality.

It’s now very plain to see

that we must overcome this adversity by gaining the target of herd immunity

so that we can all be safe again in Fiji.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Rugby administrators

Given the current Tokyo Olympics 2020, it’s about time that FASANOC allow a few of our young rugby sports administrators into their hierarchy because only rugby 7s is our hope at the Olympics level for now and years to come, Paris 2024, LA 2028, etc.

I know a few female and male rugby sports administrators like Akisi Tamanisau of Kaji Rugby – Jetset, Sakaraia Ralulu of Nadi Rugby Union, Joe Seitaba of Tailevu Rugby Union and Eve Naqio of Deaf Rugby (both able persons and people with disabilities) who are working at developing grassroots rugby at provincial level, would willingly accept the challenge if given the space or opportunities to apply.

It’s time to include new blood into the system.

Jioji M Cakacaka, Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi

Flooding issue

A new study by NASA and the University of Hawaii has predicted and warned of a dramatic increase in coastal flooding around the world in the next decade, starting in mid- 2030s.

The cause is apparently an expected wobble in our moon’s orbit around that time.

This wobble will have an unprecedented and very dramatic effect on the usual lunar-induced tidal cycle on earth, to an extent that coastal areas will be at risk from extremely high tides, flooding and sea level rise.

More so, if climate change is already causing flooding and sea level rises, by then.

This new study was published in the journal Nature Climate Change on June 21, 2021 and reported in the Hindustan Times on July 13, 2021.

Whatever the cause of climate change – since the jury is still out – nature and its cycles apparently will always have the final and overall say, irrespective of what we may bring to the table, in the cause or effect area.

We now have been given a heads-up – of about 10 or so years – by these scientists, to put in place the necessary proactive and protective measures to counter and adapt to such an outcome.

The bottom line is, of course, that we can only adjust and adapt to such an event but cannot really halt or stop it.

It will be interesting to see how COP 26 this year will address this predicted catastrophe.

Edward Blakelock, Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

Editorials add to 7s excitement!

Our editor-in-chief must be commended for penning robust and well-articulated editorials, heading to the Tokyo Olympic Games.

On Monday, the editorial titled “Go Fiji, go” set the platform, as we headed into our first game against Japan.

On Tuesday, the editorial titled “Go Fiji, go” alluded to the nail-biting win against Japan, which came hard, and the fact that rugby 7s remained a catalyst that brought people together.

Wednesday’s editorial titled “Unity at home” shed light on unity, which was a result of our success in 7s.

These lines, “Back home, the feeling of unity is quite high. There is a sense of patriotism. There is a sense of joy and great anticipation. Fans forget their troubles. They forget their concerns”, were emotional.

The editor, via his Thursday’s editorial titled “Our game, our gold”, summed up Fiji’s delicious win with these lines, “What a joy that was! That was once again, one for the times, an unforgettable moment in our history. We were Olympic champions in 2016. We are still Olympic champions now. What a night! What a game! Such excitement, such joy! Thank you for the memories!”

Yesterday’s editorial titled “Great achievement” was a masterpiece, especially these lines, “Yesterday (Wednesday), you could feel a sense of joy and appreciation around the country. “You could feel it in the air. We may be a little dot on the world map, but we sure are Olympic Games champions.

“We are the best in the business. What a final! What a show! What a feeling!”

Indeed just like the national 7s side, who conquered Tokyo Stadium and now return home with the gold medal, The Fiji Times is a champion!

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu

Vaxi solution

I refer to the letter by Wise Muavono (FT 24/7) regarding the COVID-19 Delta variant in NSW.

You are absolutely correct that vaccination is the only solution to eliminate this deadly pandemic.

You are asking Jan Nissar if he is vaccinated and may need three jabs, I suggest he needs my fourth left jab to neutralise his venomous inner body.

I am just sick and tired of reading his ridiculous letters belittling our national rugby teams and players.

He will be better off to do a fundraiser at the South Seas Club after the drive-through vaccination ends, following all MOH protocols.

He must have been reading that corporate company staff from EFL, Fiji Airways, Fiji Ports, Tropik Wood, Fiji Airports and more received bonus previously.

How about making a U-turn and see that the most dedicated, deserving frontline workers are rewarded with bonuses.

I will support you all the way.

You are the chairman of Trustees for South Seas club and I am the past chairman and currently the chairman of Trustees of Lautoka Golf Club.

Game on Mr Jan Nissar. Raymond Singh Chairman of Trustees, Lautoka Golf Club Winning philosophy.

The thought that we will win another gold in yet another Olympics is in fact golden thought in itself.

This thought has numerous elements that made it golden.

The confidence and approach of the coach, the leadership and perseverance of the team captain, the strength, capabilities, individual skills and teamwork combined to get us, the vulnerable Fijians, another Olympics gold which is the only one for us at any Olympics so far.

Finally, being humble, respectful, strategically analysing the tactics of their opponents and engaging effective and efficient strategies made them achieve the success.

Of course, understanding the game and the level at which this game was played under circumstances experienced by the players is a learning experience in itself.

Our students should grasp this formula for their success in their academic engagements.

Success comes through commitment and sacrifices.

Get engaged and success will be yours jusr as our sevens gladiators.

This team can be a morale booster for our young ones in years to come.


Dhirendra Prasad, Lautoka

Flag bearer

Thank you FASANOC for the late decision to choose Taichi Vakasama to be the flag bearer with Rusila Nagasau in the opening ceremony in Japan.

He has maternal links to Japan and that will be his proudest moment to cherish for the rest of his life and also his parents.

The choice was perfect.

All the best and kentou wo inoru Taichi.

Vili Yaranamua, Ba

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