Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A bridge too far away

from w
I am puzzled by an article in the Fiji Times about the bridge at Vatuadova village (our village) as the writer talks about an old bridge and now another one to be built.  Actually there was once an old bridge but in recent years and with some fanfare a new bridge was built and launched, but then some heavy trucks or something damaged that new bridge. Now instead of fixing half of the bridge, they are putting up another one?  After the damage, yes there was only one-way traffic, but do they really have to put up another bridge, instead of fixing that 'new' bridge.

Bridge to improve traffic flow

Serafina Silaitoga
Thursday, October 01, 2015

Traffic flow is expected to improve after the completion of a temporary bridge at Vatudova by Fulton Hogan Hiways. Picture: Supplied
TRAFFIC flow will ease after Fulton Hogan Hiways completes the construction of a temporary bridge at Vatudova, along the Labasa-Seaqaqa highway.
And motorists have given the company a thumbs up on the new development.
A few motorists this newspaper spoke to said they would no longer wait in line for oncoming vehicles to pass through the bridge.
Businessman Shalendra Kumar said the new bridge would cut travelling time.
"We won't have to wait for at least five minutes at the bridge like when we were using the old one because of one-way traffic," Mr Kumar said.
"This company is doing very well in maintaining our roads and bridges in Labasa."
A statement from Fulton Hogan Hiways said the new structure was a 30m single-lane bailey bridge built beside the existing bridge, which had been partially closed because of a structural failure on one lane of the bridge deck.
Fulton Hogan Hiways Natua depot manager Nokati Ceguvinaka said the main challenge was the congestion of traffic as the bridge was on the main road and used by everyone.
The statement said the new bailey bridge would remain in place allowing two-way traffic to proceed.

This would mean that both bridges would be open to allow for a twoway traffic.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thursday in Cardiff

from w
It will be exciting to see Fiji play Australia in Cardiff this week.  Where is Cardiff? Cardiff (Listeni/ˈkɑrdɪf/WelshCaerdydd  [kairˈdiːð, kaˑɨrˈdɨːð]) is the capital and largest city in Wales and the tenth largest city in the United Kingdom.[2] The city is the country's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales.   So I expect Fiji's PM Bainimarama will find some excuse to travel to Cardiff to watch Fiji play. I am sure there will be some fine Methodist singing from the spectators.

Rugby World Cup: Wallabies and Fiji ready to entertain in Cardiff

Updated about 5 hours ago
With Australia and Fiji pledging to stick to their traditions of attacking rugby, Cardiff should be in for a cracking Rugby World Cup contest when the Pool A rivals clash at the Millennium Stadium on Thursday morning.
The Wallabies, winners of both previous World Cups played in Britain, finally get their campaign under way six days into the tournament and will be strong favourites to start with a win over the Pacific Islanders.
After Japan's victory over the Springboks on Saturday, however, no one is taking anything for granted and Fiji showed enough in its defeat against England to suggest that it is capable of an upset if everything comes together.
Playing under a closed roof should facilitate the famed running game of both sides, even if some players in the first two matches in Cardiff have complained that the humidity can make the ball slippery.
Australia coach Michael Cheika has long made it clear that the Wallabies will never play conservative rugby on his watch,whatever the conditions.
"That's the way we play, to play with attack," Cheika said on Monday.
That's the way we play, to play with attack. It's part of our identity. We're not going to change our ways just because it's a World Cup.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika
"It's part of our identity. We're not going to change our ways just because it's a World Cup."
Australia will aim to unleash the likes of full-back Israel Folau, but first it must secure the ball. To that end, Cheika has selected twin openside flankers in David Pocock and Michael Hooper.
The last time the pair started together was in Australia's August victory over the All Blacks in Sydney to secure the Rugby Championship.
"I'm not trying to claim there is any brilliant rocket science behind it," Cheika added. "You just have two very good players."
Fiji has some potent attacking weapons itself, not least hulking winger Nemani Nadolo, who the Australians know very well from Super Rugby.
Regardless of the threat with ball in hand, however, Nadolo or fly half Ben Volavola must make the most of any points on offer from the kicking tee.
Flanker Dominiko Waqaniburotu has been ruled out of the match after being suspended for a dangerous tackle against England and coach John McKee has made three other changes to freshen up his pack.
"Now it's important we pick up a win," said lock Tevita Cavubati.
"We need to enjoy it as well, because that is when we express ourselves most. We don't want to go into our shells now. We also know that one upset will change the pool altogether."


  • Australia: 1-Scott Sio, 2-Stephen Moore, 3-Sekope Kepu, 4-Kane Douglas, 5-Rob Simmons, 6-Scott Fardy, 7-Michael Hooper, 8-David Pocock, 9-Will Genia, 10-Bernard Foley, 11-Rob Horne, 12-Matt Giteau, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 14-Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15-Israel Folau.
    Replacements: 16-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17-James Slipper, 18-Greg Holmes, 19-Will Skelton, 20-Dean Mumm, 21-Nick Phipps, 22- Matt Toomua, 23-Kurtley Beale.

  • Fiji: 1-Campese Ma'afu, 2-Talemaitoga Tuapati, 3-Manasa Saulo, 4-Tevita Cavubati, 5-Leone Nakarawa, 6-Peceli Yato, 7-Akapusi Qera (captain), 8-Netani Talei; 9-Nikola Matawalu, 10-Ben Volavola, 11-Nemani Nadolo, 12-Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 13-Vereniki Goneva, 14-Waisea Nayacalevu, 15-Metuisela Talebula
    Replacements: 16.-Viliame Veikoso, 17-Peni Ravai, 18-Isei Colati, 19-Nemia Soqeta, 20-Malakai Ravulo, 21-Nemia Kenatale, 22-Joshua Matavesi, 23-Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
  • Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A strong view on Fijian languages - from the West

from w
An interesting viewpoint comes from Sabeto in the western side of Fiji, a writer not happy the way that the Bauan language become the Number One Fijian language. A good article from the Fiji Times today.

Diversity of Fiji's tongues

Pauliasi Don Natabe
Friday, September 18, 2015
As we have all learned in our homes and schools, the Vunivalu of Bau sold our country to the British in 1874, setting in motion a century and a half of alternating progress and chaos. What was left out of our history books and dinnertime conversations, though, was that this upheaval has led to the slow death of many of our dialects.
Today, the State-endorsed vosavakaViti, or iTaukei language, is a form of continued colonisation of our many dialects by Bauan, and it is responsible for the deaths of dozens of languages in Fiji.
By using the term "vosavakaViti when in fact referring only to standard, modernised Bauan, we ignore and deliberately cover up the linguistic diversity of indigenous Fijians.
How many speakers of vosavakaViti understand me when I say that qi rarawa du valevu ina lequ dania na kea sa vamatenia lequ tatanivanua na tatavaBau? Or are you going to tell me that is only a "dialect," and is not vosavakaViti? Because I am sad that Bauan is killing my language.
Let me tell you how a language colonises a neighbouring one.
It starts with the colonisers themselves, the British.
First, they choose a local group that has already converted to their religion and seems quite compliant to British interests — ie the Bauans, under Cakobau.
Then, though the group does not have military control over the area they claim to rule (Colo and Nadi regions), for example, remained firmly outside of Bauan control for several decades after cession), they give the local group weapons and formal recognition by the British government.
Eventually, the resistance to the Bauan government broke — and as a reward, the British ensure the legacy of Bauan domination by institutionalising their dialect as the "national dialect", despite the fact almost no one spoke it outside of Lomaiviti prior to cession.
And today, 140 years later, the term vosavakaViti is commonly understood as meaning the Bauan dialect — as if they are the only ones who speak Fijian.
The arrogance of it amazes me, much like the crowning of Cakobau as Tui Viti.
Even here in Nadi region, we have the annual Bula Festival. Bula is a Bauan word! How would kai Suva feel if we demanded they change the Hibiscus Festival to the Kulu Festival?
From the moment an iTaukei child is born, he or she faces a barrage of languages. At home, children learn one or two Fijian dialects depending on where their parents are from. And when that child goes to school, he or she will be told these languages are not recognised as vosavakaViti, as Fijian, by the school. Only standard, modern Bauan is vosavakaViti.
This iTaukei child carries this new, invasive language home with him or her, mixing their school-taught Bauan in with their language at home. Thus, rural iTaukei children speak three languages. They speak their local language in their village, are instructed by their teachers in Bauan, and finally, they must learn English in order to comprehend the Fijian school curriculum.
Languages and dialects
Even the fact that we use the term "dialect", and not "language" to describe our oral traditions is demeaning.
When compared using the Swadesh list, a linguistic tool that uses basic, cross-cultural phenomenon to determine the differences between languages, tatavaSabeto and vosavakaBau have less than 60 per cent in common, less than many other language pairs.
Take Spanish and Portuguese, which originate from the same Iberian Peninsula in Europe. Spanish-speakers and Portuguese-speakers can communicate using their own languages and be understood by each other yet both are recognised in their own rights as full languages by everyone in the world, not as dialects of one another.
The same cannot be said of tatavaSabeto and vosavakaBau, which are not mutually comprehensible, and are instead placed inside a false hierarchy, whereby TatavaSabeto is merely a "dialect" of the national Bauan language.
Every day, non-Bauan dialects in Fiji are being neglected in favour of Bauan in homes, offices and schools, silently endorsed by every government since independence.
Every day, as public services strengthen and interregional marriages increase, Bauan and English gain stronger footholds in households across Fiji, pushing out the languages of our ancestors.
And Fiji's beautiful rainbow of spoken word, from tatavaSabeto to vosavaLau, slowly melt together into gray, English-speckled vosavakaBau.
We cannot let this happen. We must save our languages, before it is too late.
* Pauliasi Don Natabe is studying geography part-time at USP. He lives in Sabeto Village and is the assistant director of Sabeto Kidz Club 2015. The views expressed are his and not of this newspaper,

Thursday, September 03, 2015

walking on eggshells regarding Western Papua

from w
It's interesting that a man from Western Papua has turned up in Suva for a meeting, though he's not invited. It's a touchy subject for Fiji - how to be friends with Indonesia, and how to be supportive of a Melanesian brother.  For now, the man was not allowed into the forum. The story was in the Fiji Times.

Freedom fighter shown the way out

Siteri Sauvakacolo And Solomone Rabulu
Friday, September 04, 2015

WEST Papua will apply to be a member of the Pacific Islands Development Forum, even though freedom fighter Octovanius Mote was denied entry into the PIDF meeting currently being held at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.
Mr Mote, the General-Secretary for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua, was part of the Solomon Islands delegation.
Prior to the opening of the summit, he was told that he would not be part of the meeting and to leave the Grand Pacific Hotel premises.
PIDF interim secretary-general Amena Yauvoli said he was not aware of a West Papua delegation and he would also not comment on political matters.
"I am free in this Melanesian land, I am home, I don't care if I am not part of the meeting," Mr Mote said.
"Everybody is behind us in the West Papua fight and no nation can stop us and even though I might not be inside the meeting. It doesn't matter to me, it's too late, our solidarity groups are there."
Mr Mote said he was told he was not in the right place at the right time when he was disallowed from being part of the summit.
Mr Mote said opportunities such as the PIDF gave him the confidence to lobby leaders and gather more countries to rally behind their fight for freedom.
"We will apply to be a member of the PIDF next year, we also ask the leaders to form a fact finding mission and conduct human rights assessment in West Papua and we also ask leaders to call on the UN Secretary-General to call on a special envoy to conduct human rights assessment.
"The West Papua issue is not a local issue anymore, it is a Melanesian issue, it is a South Pacific Forum issue so I have to convey my gratitude to all my solidarity groups because we all work together. As I said, West Papua issue is a human right issue and it's an issue of all human beings who have a heart."

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The final four designs for a NZ flag

from w

The final design will be chosen from these four - all looking good to me.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Kuta in Macuata

from w
It is disappointing that kuta is becoming rare in Fiji because kuta makes beautiful fine mats such as from Macuata in the ponds near Navakasobu outside Labasa.  Kuta reeds are finer than pandanus. Article from the Fiji Times and photos from the internet.

'Diminishing reeds'
Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
RESEARCH by WWF South Pacific indicates that kuta ponds in Macuata are diminishing because of agriculture and development of infrastructure which have affected these wetlands. Eleocharis dulcis or the freshwater reed known as kuta grows well in wetlands and is used to make kuta mats native to the women of Macuata. NatureFiji-MareqetiViti director Nunia Thomas said important sources for the kuta such as the Laulevu pond in Navakasobu outside Labasa Town had been taken over by waterlilies.
Ms Thomas said by the 1980s most of the ponds hardly had kuta reeds in them. "NFMV is now doing a project through its Permanent Forests Estate projects to try and revive these reeds which is a traditional identity for the clans of Nalutu and Buca in Korovuli, Seaqaqa," she said. "We are looking back to the past and identifying with women how we can maintain the ponds and revive the reed. We are also looking at past experiences to move the women and their kuta ponds forward and preserve their traditional identity."
Ms Thomas said through traditional practices they identified that the harvesting of the reed needed to be done in order to assist the plant in its regrowth. "It is issues like these that we are learning from women who have been using the reed for a long time to make the kuta mats," she said. "We are also carrying out works with the people of Culanuku in Serua trying to establish a sustainable management plan for their sago palms which arendemic to Fiji. "The leaves of the sago or soga as it is locally known are used to thatch bure and it normally takes 20 to 25 years to grow these palms."

Ms Thomas urged hotel owners who are users of the thatch that they needed to purchase the thatch from sustainable harvesters such as those in Culanuku to ensure the future of the plant species.

Remember your own dialect

from w
I read in today's Fiji Times that in Fiji some of the dialects are now forgotten.  That's a pity as it's lovely to hear the distinctive differences in the Fiji dialects. Of course the Labasa dialect is unique with its deletion of 'k' and 't' most of the time as well as extra words not used elsewhere.  And 'our' family language is still used in Labasa, Mali, Wailevu and nearby.  Bula sia!

Extinct dialects

Sikeli Qounadovu
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
NINETEEN out of about 300 iTaukei dialects are now extinct or probably extinct.
And according to linguist Dr Paul Geraghty, there are many reasons for this. However, the number is likely to increase if nothing is done about it.
"There are many reasons for them becoming extinct. Colonisation, westernisation or more importantly because the people do not value their own dialects," Mr Geraghty said
Referencing a 2003 paper, The Language Situation in Fiji by Francis Mangubhai of the University of Southern Queensland and Francis Mugler of the University of the South Pacific, a further 17 are losing their distinctiveness, in addition to four more losing their phonological distinctiveness. Mr Geraghty added these areas do not speak their true dialects because a lot of words had been borrowed from other places.
"A lot of these dialects have been borrowed from standard Fijian (iTaukei), when there are really words from their dialect that can be used."
He said in order to avoid the extinction of one's dialect one must first learn to respect one's communalect while showing the same courtesy for standard iTaukei.
"Whatever knowledge we have the parents and the old please do share with your family. Do not be embarrassed to speak your own dialect, because the more you are embarrassed to converse in your communalect, the more likely it is to become extinct."
Dr Geraghty confirms that at the University of South Pacific he emphasises to his students to converse and write in their own dialects and value them highly.
Meanwhile the iTaukei Affairs Ministry is worried, Fiji may lose one of their most prized identity and that is its language. And to avoid this from ever happening, the iTaukei Affairs is working around the clock to ensure that this does not ever occur.
In an interview with the Fiji Times Permanent Secretary for iTaukei Affairs Mr Savenacala Kaunisela said this is evident as the standard of the quality of iTaukei language is no longer, as compared to the past.
"Some of us cannot speak our language, others there is a mixture of iTaukei and English. There can come a time that we may lose our language."
Mr Kaunisela said they are engaging the iTaukei Trust Fund to see to the protection of the iTaukei identity.
"We have published books, the book comes with pictures which the young can read and understand, and because one thing we have seen is everything is in English so why not have something in plain and simple itaukei language which the young can also understand."
He said as part of Government's initiative they are visiting villages and educating them the importance of preserving and protecting their identity as well as teaching their younger generation the importance of knowing and understanding their identity - language, customs and traditions.
Compulsory studying of the iTaukei language in the education system is another government initiative to protect its unique identity.
However, according to one of the lecturers in the Fijian language at the University of the South Pacific - Mr Sekove Degei while the dialect can be lost, it is impossible to lose Standard Fijian is impossible.
"I do not agree as a sizeable population of iTaukei are in the urban areas, while the rest are in the villagers and it's those in the villages who still speak their language."
"Put it simple, if a child is grounded in his customs and traditions from home he will never forget them no matter where he goes."

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How many languages do you know

from w,
and I wonder how many languages are there in Fiji, and how many can you identify in this picture?