Letters to the Editor: Sunday, September 26, 2021

People waiting to get registered at the FEO Voter Registration drive at the Damodar City Centre in Suva in 2018. Picture: FT FILE

Voter card

If an amendment needs to be done on my voter card, I shall get it done ASAP, come hell or high water, I will be ready to exercise my right to cast my vote. Nigel Fiu Owls Perch, Lautoka

 

When in Fiji

When one gets sick— consult a doctor. When one has a toothache — consult a dentist. When one wants to understand statistics — consult Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum the Government minister who is an expert on everything in Fiji! Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

 

Media’s role

I have lost track of the number of times The Fiji Times has sought to explain and clarify through its editorial that “the role of the media is critical to ensure people are in a position to make well-informed decisions.

It is critical in “holding power to account” (‘Where we stand’ FT editorial 25/9). The Fiji Times has once again laboured to point out: “We are not anti-government, nor are we pro government”.

That is as should be for “a free and vibrant media”. Some, especially those in power, don’t get it. I believe they want the newspaper “to create positive headlines for the Government”. I believe they are upset that The Fiji Times is not doing that.

I believe their criticism stems from that. Rajend Naidu Sydney, Australia

 

Temperature goals

The Australian Prime Minister has not denied, that his Government urged the UK to drop a reference to the Paris climate change agreement on temperature goals, in a recent major trade deal with the UK.

Well, what can one expect or really say, knowing Australia’s stance on limiting global temperature, especially when it has a major fossil fuel mining sector.

The upcoming COP 26 will be really interesting, for all those countries attending this climate change meeting, from the point of view of their national obligations, to meet the targeted emission limitations.

Na draki qo green energy ga! Edward Blakelock Admiral Circle, Pacific Harbour

 

Race where?

The way things are being fast tracked in the House, seems to me like it’s a race to get somewhere.

Mmmm, I wonder what’s on the horizon? Allen Lockington Kava Place, Lautoka The loudest We have all seen how once a member acted like a baboon or gorilla in Parliament but a group coordinating themselves like “mynahs” competing to chatter the loudest, as an important matter was raised, takes the cake. Dan Urai Lautoka

 

Government issue

I have always thought what criteria does a fellow Lautoka contributor and good Samaritan use when deciding between “the government” and “my government” in his letters. Mohammed Imraz Janif Natabua, Lautoka

 

Birth name

Why do most of the opposition find birth registration names not suitable for voters’ record?

I suppose a person should use BR name as it’s certified generally rather than changing constantly, however, previously I believe no government had considered this with a serious act as they never consulted with the public so why has the opposition not questioned previous governments? Jaheed Buksh Korolevu, Sigatoka

 

Moral compass

Apart from pointing out the hypocrites in parliament last week the A-G also pointed out those who have lost their moral compass, have run out of ideas and cannot mount a logical argument, so instead they attack him personally.

Once you do that you are caught out very publicly and without question. I believe those who were the target of this blast had no response.

How many such people are there in this column? Jan Nissar NSW, Australia

 

Repression of the vernaculars

I WONDER at the staying power of Professor Paul Geraghty.

How many more times will he find the strength to raise the inequalities in Fiji caused by the repression of the vernaculars in favour of English? As he says, many children leave our schools functionally illiterate in both their own language and English.

This is tragic, because, but for this shortcoming, many of them would grow up to contribute significantly to our society.

Our children are not stupid — they are the victims of a one-time factor of colonial subjugation — divide and rule. I have the temerity to add to his opinion (FT 25/9) based on personal experience.

There are those who have mathematical ability and there are those who do not: just as there are those who have an ear for languages and those who do not. My father, who spoke six languages, did not, unfortunately, pass that gene on to me. I must quote Prof Geraghty’s ultimate paragraph because it is so important.

Speaking of the need to develop our two main vernacular languages he writes…Only then will we be on the way to becoming a nation in which all citizens are equally informed and competent to be involved in determining our future — not just an elite who happen to be fluent in a foreign language.

I believe Fiji’s insistence upon the use of English as its first language is nothing less than the endorsement of an aspect of the authoritarian, arrogant and patronising colonial regime which long ago lost its credibility and legitimacy. SUE CAUTY Pacific Harbour

Voting change

It is appalling that a Bill is being rushed through Parliament that directly affects the democratic right of women to use their married, not maiden names, to vote. Seriously, my birth certificate name has not been my name for nearly 40 years.

All my identifications are in my married name, as was legally given to me at my wedding in 1983.

This includes my university degrees, my Fijian citizenship, my voter registration, my driver’s licence, my passports both in Fiji and NZ. These are all in my married name (with “nee” my maiden name on some as well, as this was the practice), as I freely chose this change by law, and by love and protection before God, and the law of NZ and Fiji through marriage. Even if separated, I would keep my married name by longevity and choice as it is my legal name. And my right to bear. No changing that after 40 years. Why would I?

And why should I have to formally adopt my married name now?

What an unnecessary rigamorole. Now if the concern is due to the fear of double dipping here, there is a state solution. Make sure electronically there are facilities in place, as in all other democracies, that ensure a married woman, or any person who has the right to vote, does this once only. Whether it’s the ink stamped finger, or an electronic barcode that covers this.

That is for the Government to invest in, foot the bill — perhaps instead of new office buildings costing $7 million a year over three years. Or, redundant extra government vehicles racing around needlessly. Invest in democratic systems without penalising half your eligible voting population.

Why make 50 per cent of the eligible voting population pay for it? Women who are married, who bear huge economic benefits in our families, and to this nation should not be paying for any legal monstrosity that is patriarchy at its worst. How can Government justify married women revert to their maiden names for voting purposes, but not on their passports, their vaccine cards, or health records, or citizenship papers? And why on earth should they pay for it? Talk about state instituted prostitution of married women, making them pay.

What kind of person does that to married women? What complete diabolical patriarchy this represents, like something dragged out of Victorian history book?

Suffragettes worldwide actually won the right to vote because of their solid contribution to nations as ethical persons. They earned this. In New Zealand this was 1893 by Kate Sheppard. Other states were slower, but by the 1920s, UK and USA democracies caught up to the colonies, where class structures were looser, even wilfully abandoned by choice, thank goodness.

Please FijiFirst, for goodness sake: abandon this backwater cost cutting misogynistic policy, immediately.

Or you lose vast credibility from at least half your voting public instantly, not to mention internationally where it matters in a global context. JEAN HELAN NEE DOBIE Sawau St, Nabua, Suva

 

 

Media attack

WHY is the continuation of mainstream media attack from our Government MPs in Parliament on Thursday (24/09/21) despite the Media Industry Development Act being in place?

Don’t they have nothing useful or as priority to national interest to dwell on rather than attacking The Fiji Times and CFL who are very neutral in their media coverage by covering the views of all Fijians irrespective if we are pro or antigovernment?

I believe one can see the low level kind of Parliament speech to come out from a current Fijian MP when compared with other overseas MPs or previous parliamentarians in our beloved Fiji.

It begs the question of the quality of our government MPs.

Do they even know the purpose of the media let alone their core role? It’s not a bad idea at all to train all our MPs after every election or during their induction on how to respond publicly on certain issues which we the public will not question their level of mental capability.

Again that reiterates the call to our honourable Minister for Health to fast track that Mental Health Online Talanoa platform which is very much needed in Fiji now before it gets out of hand. JIOJI MASIVESI Tadra, Votualevu, Nadi 

 

Times’ editorial

The Fiji Times editorial (FT 25/9) tells us they are accustomed to misguided attacks by politicians.

Actually scapegoating the media is a common trend among certain politicians. Take for example The Independent article ‘Trump blames media after Arizona recount still says Biden won’ ( 25/9). It’s wise to take what some politicians say about the media with a grain of salt.

That’s what The Fiji Times prefers to do and to carry on doing what it’s meant to do in the public interest and for the public good. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

 

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