Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thanks to Labasa hospital says a 'guest'

from w
Letters to the Editor:

Friendly staff
THE warmth and friendliness of staff at the Labasa hospital's surgical and recovery units left a lasting impression in the minds of those who have undergone surgery there.

I was one of their guests lately and was deeply touched by the spirit of love and compassion expressed by the doctors and nurses toward the patients.

Thank you so much Dr Jaoji and your dedicated team of Dr Abhay, Dr Mugdha, Dr Tabua, Sister Salma, Acting Matron Luse, staff nurses Adi Asenaca, Kesa, Adi Tamana and Adi Vane and all of you I am unable to mention.

At a time when the effects of global recession is descending on us along with other unpredictable adversities, it is indeed heartening to find that in some little corner somewhere a bunch of beautiful people continue to faithfully serve their country and its people totally oblivious and undeterred by surrounding circumstances.

Josefa N. Dimuri

from w again: I've only been admitted there twice, (once to give birth to a 9 lb boy) and Peceli once for a bad elbow (and he was born there too of course many many years ago) so we say thank you also to Labasa hospital.

Will Fiji be removed from the Forum?

from w
An item from New Zealand:
Fiji suspension will go ahead, says McCully
Published: 4:08PM Friday May 01, 2009
Source: NZPA
ONE News

Fiji faces suspension from the Pacific Islands Forum at midnight Friday and Foreign Minister Murray McCully doesn't see any way it can be avoided. "We will see the suspension go ahead in sorrow, not in anger," he told reporters. "The process is automatic. I expect the chair of the forum, Premier Talagi from Niue, to make an announcement in the next couple of days."

The forum gave Fiji's military leader and self-appointed prime minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama until May 1 to set a date for elections this year. Bainimarama has ignored it, and on Friday he said again there would be no elections until 2014.

In an apparent bid to stave off suspension, he said he wanted urgent meetings with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to explain the changes to Fiji's electoral system he believes are necessary before elections can be held.

McCully was sceptical about Bainimarama's real intentions. "He has been ready to talk plenty of times in the past and then has either not turned up or let down the people he's talked to," McCully said. "I think prime ministers Key and Rudd will be able to assess the sort of treatment they're likely to get."

The 16-member forum is regarded internationally as the lead agency in dealing with Fiji, which has been under military rule since Bainimarama seized power in 2006.

The Commonwealth is likely to follow the regional body.

McCully said he expected Fiji's leaders to pretend they didn't care.

"We just have to wait," he said.

"If they don't want to have elections, they're not going to have them.

"If they want to wreck their economy, they're going to.

"All the international community can do is say we're prepared to be patient, we'll be there to help when the time comes."

McCully said the door was still open if Fiji decided it wanted to make progress towards democracy but he had no faith even in Bainimarama's commitment to elections in 2014. "He also said there would be elections by March 2009," he said. When the suspension is in force, the forum has to address the question of whether it should move its secretariat from Suva.

McCully said there were two issues around that - whether it was appropriate to keep it there, and whether Bainimarama was prepared to allow it to continue to function without interference. Forum leaders would consider the first issue, and he hoped Fiji would see the importance of allowing it to continue to operate and reduce the pressure for it to be relocated.

Meanwhile, Christian missionaries Paul Norman and Michael Fa'amoana Vala'auafea said in a statement from Auckland on Friday the agenda of western democracies was potentially taking "a dangerous turn that could fuel unnecessary serious suffering" in Fiji. "The politically based decision of a previous New Zealand government to withhold entry visas for medical treatment of ordinary Fijian citizens has already cost unnecessary suffering and loss of life," they said. "Western democracies need to show the benefits of democracy by mercifully continuing to do things that help the average Fijian in health, employment and housing - traditional economic support from western governments needs to be fine tuned, but not withheld."

The missionaries said most Fijians knew that their last so-called "democratic election" was not clean.

"Democratic elections in Fiji cannot be democratic if the last fiasco is not sorted first. For now, without the necessary changes being made, `free and fair elections' in Fiji are an impossibility."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Recommending a balanced blog

from w
Here's a website which provides plenty of information (instead of screeching and second-guessing) that's worth a look. Also, the author Crosby provides a link to a new book which can be read on-line.

(from his website)
Important New Book on 2006 Coup
The 2006 Military Takeover in Fiji: a Coup to End all Coups
, edited by Jon Fraenkel, Stewart Firth and Brij V. Lal, ANU E Press.
An invaluable, wide-ranging collection of papers, mainly by Coup opponents, but with no apologies for the policies of the deposed Qarase Government. Click here for the whole 472 pages. 1.5MB, but quick broadband download.
etc. etc.

Think local

from w
We say this time and time again, but who does something about it?
Here is a letter to the Fiji Times today where the writer once again says that thinking local is what is needed, forget about all the fancy imports, and so on.

Economic solutions

IT is common knowledge that Fiji is part of the global economic crisis. To solve this problem, we need to take some steps that will benefit the government and the public. Here are some ways in which Fiji's economy can be boosted:

Buy locally grown vegetables and products (e.g. butter, milk, garments, footwear instead of buying imported ones.

Export more products, that is, garments, tuna, kava, cassava.

Boost tourism industry through: a) organising art festivals or cultural events which will advertise Fiji's handicrafts, local dances. b) promoting eco-tourism through setting up endangered birds and animal parks in various towns across the country, and encouraging tourists to take tasks such as hiking or mountain climbing.

Recycle plastic bags, bottles, papers and even food waste for de-composing so locals can buy local mad manure for growing vegetables in their own backyard.

Plastic bags should be eliminated and reusable bags should come in place.

Encourage farmers to do more cash farming.

Encourage production of more local products and vegetables.

Try to improve human resources management.

Many people are getting unemployed because of this governmental factor and crisis while they can take jobs that improve standard of living and increase productivity.

Any unemployed person can work as a street sweeper, rubbish collector, delivery boy, craftsman, artist, baby sitter, poultry farmer, private tutor, handyman, or carpenter to name a few.

I hope the public will make some changes in the economy so all of us benefit.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I've been to Bali too

from w
Here's a great Ozzie song by Redgum.
Took a two week course at a suntan clinic
So lying round legian and I wouldn't look anaemic
And you can't impress me, 'cause I've been to Bali too

Got a ride out to Kuta in the back of a truck
Cost me twenty dollars and it wasn't worth a buck
Hustled to a losman down Poppies Lane
By a Javanese guy in a tropical rainstorm
Lock up your daughters, I've been to Bali too

Life is tragic hanging out at Kuta
If you haven't got a car, a bike or a scooter
Show me the bike shop, I've been to Bali too

Got myself a Honda, had to get away
No brakes, bald tyres, five thousand rupes a day
I've been to Bali too.

Well I don't ride a bike much home in Australia
As a motorcycle hero guess I'm a failure
Bemos to the left, trucks to the right
The Honda was a wreck but I was alright
Hello mecurochrome, I've been to Bali too

Wired home for money, short of cash
A dose of Bali belly and a tropical rash
Daddy came through - American Express
Bali t-shirts, magic mushrooms, Redgum bootlegs
I've been to Bali too

Took my bag and mozzie coils to Peliatan
It's there were my Bali trip really began
Been there, done that, I've been to Bali too

Tourists from Holland, Britain and France
Late night puppet shows, leg on dance
Want to see my slides, I've been to Bali too

Well I wandered off to Ubud, just a little up the track
One week there didn't want to come back
Listening to Gamelon playing guitar
Janteris, tacos, Hotel Monara, two month visa
I've been to Bali too.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Is Suva in the 'most livable city' list?

from w

ZURICH Switzerland 108.1 108.2
2 2 GENEVA Switzerland 108.0 108.1
3 3 VANCOUVER Canada 107.7 107.7
3 4 VIENNA Austria 107.7 107.5
5 5 AUCKLAND New Zealand 107.3 107.3
5 6 DUSSELDORF Germany 107.3 107.2
7 7 FRANKFURT Germany 107.1 107.0
8 8 MUNICH Germany 106.9 106.8
9 9 BERN Switzerland 106.5 106.5
9 9 SYDNEY Australia 106.5 106.5
11 11 COPENHAGEN Denmark 106.2 106.2
12 12 WELLINGTON New Zealand 105.8 105.8
13 13 AMSTERDAM The Netherlands 105.7 105.7
14 14 BRUSSELS Belgium 105.6 105.6
15 15 TORONTO Canada 105.4 105.4
16 16 BERLIN Germany 105.2 105.1
17 17 MELBOURNE Australia 105.0 105.0
18 18 LUXEMBOURG Luxembourg 104.8 104.8
18 18 OTTAWA Canada 104.8 104.8
20 20 STOCKHOLM Sweden 104.7 104.7
21 21 PERTH Australia 104.5 104.5
22 22 MONTREAL Canada 104.3 104.3
23 23 NURNBERG Germany 104.2 104.1
24 25 CALGARY Canada 103.6 103.6
24 26 HAMBURG Germany 103.6 103.4
26 31 OSLO Norway 103.5 102.8
27 24 DUBLIN Ireland 103.3 103.8
27 27 HONOLULU, HI United States 103.3 103.3
29 28 SAN FRANCISCO, CA United States 103.2 103.2
30 29 ADELAIDE Australia 103.1 103.1
30 29 HELSINKI Finland 103.1 103.1
32 31 BRISBANE Australia 102.8 102.8
33 33 PARIS France 102.7 102.7
34 34 SINGAPORE Singapore 102.5 102.5
35 35 TOKYO Japan 102.3 102.3
The report is out and the 'most livable cities' of the world are mostly focussed in Europe. Hey, what about lovely tropical cities, abundant with beauty and a mix of people? I can't believe they put Swiss kind of cities like Geneva up there. A relative who works there told me that people in flats are so sensitive about noise that you are not allowed to press the toilet button at night in case the neighbours can hear the flush! Is that the way to live? I wonder what the criteria was for choosing the list - it's surely not my kind of list. I would put Melbourne above Sydney any time, and of course Geelong is better than Melbourne with our access to brilliant beaches, forests, etc. Auckland... well I like it because you bump into Fiji people all the time, but someone else said, I don't like it... there are too many Pacific Islanders there. See, different point of view, different criteria.

Back to Fiji... which towns are most livable in Fiji? Lautoka, Labasa, Ba, Rakiraki, Sigatoka, Nausori, Levuka. Ah, of course Levuka... except there is no great shakes of a beach there. Most of these towns are not that attractive in the centre but to live on the periphery of these towns is quite okay. I would value - a good market, excellent schools, okay weather, beauty, friendliness, nothing to do with money-making and posh houses. And as for Suva, well, the Economist, apparently reckons it's the best city in the South Pacific. Though... not these days I reckon as there's not a lot of laughter going on at present when you wonder who is watchin' you, listenin' in to your conversation and takin' notes!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

More about the Y in Fiji

from w
I found (via the net) these photos of the two women who started the YWCA in Fiji in 1962 - Ruth Lechte and Anne Walker. They are still feisty women I am sure and caring about the world.

Friday, April 24, 2009

YWCA in Fiji

from w
A strange thing has happened to our Geelong Visual Diary blog. It's been reported as a spam blog! How strange. It certainly isn't! Anyway they threaten to delete it so we'll see what happens next. Meanwhile it seems I'll have to post here, even though i declared I would take a holiday!

I was interested to read about the YWCA in Fiji in one of Fiji's papers today, with a picture of Esiteri Kamikamica and others and we certainly remember people like Amelia. The Y in Suva was started in 1962 by Ann Walker and Ruth Lechte from Australia. Where are they now I wonder? Why did they have a man as guest speaker? Come on girls, you can do better than that!

Women remember former YWCA memberBy SAKIASI NAWAIKAMA
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Esiteri Kamikamica, centre, was among members at the Young Women's Christian Association's 125th-year celebration at JJ's on the Park at Sukuna Park in Suva yesterday.
MEMBERS of the Young Women's Christian Association paid tribute to the late Amelia Rokotuivuna as they celebrated World YWCA Day at JJ's on the Park in Suva.

Association president Leba Mataitini said the celebration was special because they had achieved close to a miracle in reviving the association after many years.

Last year, a group of women came together to revive YWCA Fiji for the sake of Fiji's young women.

"We want a YWCA that will continue to be relevant to the challenges faced by women and girls of Fiji today," said Ms Mataitini.

Chief guest Gary Wiseman, manager of United Nations Development Program in the Pacific, said for women, personal security was an issue that needed to be addressed in relation to increasing crime and ensure better policing, including better communication and transport for the police force.

"For community security, some of the issues were the need for greater respect for each other, need to address the expiration of leases and displacement of families, the needs for better access to information and the role of the media and the significant issue of violence in the community," Mr Wiseman said.

The celebrations continue today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How far away does your food come from?

from w
A short post - a point raised by the tribewanted members on Vorovoro Island. Just how far away does your food come from?

'It’s been quite a full day on the island. The morning was spent sorting out the recycling, gardening and meke. In the afternoon some members went on the reef trip, those were left had a sustainability forum, the topic of the day was food. 20% of food used for cooking is sourced from the island. Hopefully with the help of the dam, this will be increased to 50%. They also discussed the concept of food mileage, which is the distance between where the food is produced and where it’s eaten. Did you know the average item purchase in the supermarket travels 16000km?! Fact!! Therefore we should go out and support our local farms and markets buying from source wherever possible.'

A good point raised, not only for Fiji, but for everyone wherever they may be.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Back for a day - the Talanoa Exhibition

from w
Despite my desire to be quiet for a while, I think the launch of the Talanoa Fiji exhibition in Melbourne this afternoon is worth talking about. It was a delightful experience to meet up with more than two hundred Fiji people, many we know, some new faces, see fine traditional dancing, enjoy meeting one another, then viewing the exhibition about Fiji people migrating to Australia, particularly to Victoria. Peceli was one of the leaders of the opening prayers which he led in Hindi, Fijian and English. Other leaders in prayer were Pandit Abhay Awasthi and Mr Barkat Ali. The Master of Ceremonies were Neitani Coriakula and Miss Arti Nandan and other speakers were Vijay Dalipram, Audrey Dropsy and Torike Sanerive. The meke ni yaqona vakaturaga was performed by the youth from the Fiji community in Chadstone and the seasea dance by former students of Adi Cakobau School. The launcher was the Deputy High Commissioner from Canberra. Bale Sigabalavu was one of the organizers.

We barely talked about the current situation in Fiji, just talked about old times and what life is like as migrants today. The formalities included speeches and a meke ni yaqona. Informal moments were plentiful as the afternoon wore on, with spontaneous dancing as we all know happens and a Fijian guy, Inoke, singing a very funny Hindi song. Other singers were Joseph Chetti and Lani who sang 'Imagine' by John Lennon.

The way the world should be, absolutely.

More photos are on the Geelong Visual Diary blog.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gone fishin'

frin w
Might give this blog a break for a while. Gone fishin' sign might go up - or rather just get on with some art work instead. Meanwhile will continue to post in the geelong blog perhaps. Too dispirited to keep on trying to be polite about Fiji.

Monday, April 13, 2009

if you work in a tourist resort today

from w
Smile Lyrics

Theme Music for Modern Times

(Music by Charles "Charlie" Chaplin -- Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons)

Smile tho' your heart is aching,

Smile even tho' it's breaking,

When there are clouds in the sky

You'll get by,

If you smile

thro' your fear and sorrow,

Smile and maybe tomorrow,

You'll see the sun come shin-ing thro' for you

Light up your face with gladness,

Hide ev-'ry trace of sadness,

Al -'tho a tear may be ever so near,

That's the time,

You must keep on trying,

Smile, what's the use of crying,

You'll find that life is still worth-while,

If you just smile...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Out of darkness

from w
Here are two photos with relevant metaphors for life today - in Australia, in Fiji, in many places:
I. After the bushfires in Victoria a cross was made of wood found near Healesville and placed in Melbourne city for Easter. In an article in Crosslight magazine, the Moderator of the Victorian Synod of the Uniting Church, Rev Jason Kioa (who is Tongan) said, 'There is recovery, renewal, reconciliaton beyond the limits of death. Resurrection comes and we are confronted with new life beyond our own suffering. He called for 'space, time and grace' to those who suffered most in the recent fires. 'In our desire to 'fix things up' we can rush to wanting it all better. But there is no rush to the resurrection. There needs to be time to feel the loss. Let us give the people and the communities space, time and grace to feel their hurt, understand their loss and in God's season, be resurrected throuh it all.'

2. When browsing for images of Jacob's ladder, I found this fine photo by Pedro Szlit, taken inside a lava cave in Lavabed National Park, North California.
- from the Trek Earth website: 'The cave is extremely dark and very long and very scary. This light was blessed to see after coming back from a long walk in the darkness.'

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Day

from w
What a lovely day it has been for Easter Day (forgetting the world in a spin for a while) and the church was full of decorative butterflies! Here are some photos taken this morning at East Geelong Uniting Church because included in the Easter celebration there was a baptism of a little baby girl, Nanise Elizabeth, daughter of Christine and Damien, grand-daughter of Siteri who hails from Levuka - (bless her Lomaiviti heart!) Our minister is the Rev. Richard Franklin and the elder assisting in the baptism was Fae Horman. I played the music (leapt from organ to piano a bit) with Fae, our other muso, and led prayers of the people. (Peceli said not to mention Fiji or start to cry about it all and I didn't, just little allusions to chaos in the world and people of integrity keeping their cool! Before the service of worship had started, many people were asking me 'Hey,what's happening in Fiji. Our TV news is full of it', but I couldn't explain much at all because it's too painful.) Then we had a splendid morning tea for all the congregation with cakes provided by Siteri's family.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

It's Good Friday for some

from w
Last night we had a Passover Meal (symbolic meal with flatbread, lamb, greens and spices) using part of the Jewish ritual and then the Christian remake of the ceremony with the Christian Communion. This morning at Altona Meadows/Laverton there was a reflective worship with a large cross lying on the floor and several symolic objects were added to do with the story of the death of Jesus, finishing with flowers and petals placed over the cross. Normally all flowers are removed from the church, but here the use of flowers was meaningful as the women's farewell to a beloved man, Jesus.

Then we came back to Geelong and a phone call alerted us to some different kind of story from Fiji. May God have mercy on poor Fiji! I had been optimistic of good sense, but a very elderly gentleman had a speech prepared for him and now there's a coup on the legal system it seems! Couldn't they have waited until after Easter and not spoil people's holidays!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Qarase wins appeal

from w
Just in - news!
Appeals Court rules in Qarase's favour
Thursday, April 09, 2009

Update: 3:41PM THE Fiji Court of Appeal has found in favour of ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, who challenged the High Court's decision in regards to the President's reserve powers.

It essentially ruled that the interim Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama's government was unlawfully appointed and that the President needs to appoint a caretaker Prime Minister.

The State's lawyers applied for a stay on the decision but it was denied.
and a few hours later Commodore Bainimarama spoke to the nation:

No Govt, President to make decision soon

Fiji effectively has no Prime Minister, no ministers and no Government in place, says interim Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Bainimarama made the comment moments ago in a national televised address.

He confirmed that the President Ratu Josefa Iloilo will soon make a decision following today’s Court of Appeal ruling that Laisenia Qarase’s dismissal from office was unlawful and that a caretaker PM be appointed.

Bainimarama confirmed he had visited the President this afternoon informing him of the court’s decision.

“I, as commander of the RFMF will ensure there is no disruption to law and order. I assure that no such behaviour shall be tolerated,” Bainimarama said.

He added that people should not be swayed by petty politics and opportunists who call themselves leaders.

“We need leaders with vision and foresight,” he added.

The Court of Appeal today ruled that Bainimarama’s appointment as interim PM on January 5, 2007 is unlawful under the Fiji Constitution.

It also declared as unlawful, Qarase’s dismissal from office and the appointment of Dr Jona Senilagakali as caretaker PM, and the order by Bainimarama that Parliament be dissolved.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A positive spin for Labasa and Vanua Levu

from w
An article in today's Fiji Post - and as a positive spin on the Look North policy - and (forget the grievances of the cane farmers for a moment) says that micro-enterprises are going well. Well... I do hope so. (Actually I try not to repost the bad news stories from Labasa and there are plenty of them!)

North development taking shape
8-Apr-2009 08:56 AM

THE government’s Northern Development Programme (NDP) implemented in 2007 is progressing well according to Commissioner Northern Inia Seruiratu.

The division’s most senior civil servant says the northern community, particularly farmers and micro-entrepreneurs are now realising the benefits of the programme in enhancing their livelihoods.

Seruiratu said the economy had been picking up in terms of employment generation since government injected $5 million as part of its ‘Look North’ policy
“The NDP is meeting its target although it may be an indicator for us that the programme is doing well, our concern is the monitoring of the projects, so a monitoring team has been set up to look at the progress and the achievements of the NDP,” he said.

Seruiratu also commended the work done by the Committee for Better Utilisation
of Land (CBUL) which had worked on the renewing of expired leases where some farmers have resettled to their farms while the processing of the renewing of expired leases continues.

However, he said that renewed land leases would not only focus on sugarcane, but diversify into other agricultural activities.

“If we look at the history of the economic situation of the north deteriorated once our tenants leases were not renewed and this led to the creation of the NDP,” Seruiratu said.

Programme Manager Waisale Tuidama reports that 361 projects have been approved by the National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprises Development and these range from small retail businesses like fishing to dalo and yaqona farming.

“I really have a lot of optimism for Vanua Levu and this programme will shake Vanua Levu in terms of the multiplier effect of this fund,” Tuidama said.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Another container to Fiji sent off

from w
There was movement at the station.... as they say in Oz. Today the men and women at Geelong Donation in Kind depot filled another container bound for Lautoka for goods to go to Vanua Levu, Lautoka, Cuvu, Serua (I think) and Suva. We had helpers down from Melbourne also - Neitani and Ratu Eferemi and Neitani's son. As usual I sorted and packed books, taking more care not to stress my right shoulder that occasionally gives me mild electrical jolts - or so it seems. Here are some pictures from this morning.

I'm calling from Brisbane...Oh yeah!

from w
What do you think of Call Centres? Especially those calls you get at 6 p.m. in the evening when you are cooking dinner!
'Hello Mrs Wendy... This is Helen from Brisbane and this is an offer for your telephone...'
I recognize the accent with strong consonant attack.
'Oh bhaini, kaisay hai! Bahut dhanyabad, but what is your real name?'
'It's Shanti.'
'Oh you are in Mumbai or...'
'No, no. I am calling frm Brisbane and this is an offer for your telephone...'
And on it goes, day after day.
So, now they want Call Centres from Fiji. Oh dear.
'Hello. This is Bob from Sydney and I'm calling about your telephone. How much do you pay for your current service...'
I recognize the accent with the strong 'b'.
'Bula vinaka Bob if that's your real name! You're not really from Sydney are you? And is it your business to ask my personal details?'
etc. etc.

One question I have in the current situation about people and jobs is to ask:
Does my job really contribute to society? There's so much talk about the need for employment and jobs, but we also have to ask what kind of jobs really are needed and do they really benefit the place where we live.....

Here's the relevant news item from today's Fiji Sun.

3,000 more jobs
The reformation of an existing factory in the Kalabu Tax Free Zone into a call centre will be creating 3,000 jobs, early next year. Speaking at the signing of the Builders and Consultant contract, Fiji Islands Trade and Investment Bureau chairman Francis Narayan said Mindpearl, a global provider of outsourced customer contact solutions would be commencing operations in Fiji from September 1.

"The KTFZ's Factory Seven which was previously occupied by Digicel is currently being refurbished by J S Hill," said Mr Narayan.

"The factory will be refurbished into a state of the art call centre providing employment to more than 3,000 people in the country.

"The company will be recruiting 1,000 people this year who will be trained and will be starting work in January, next year.

"The job will mostly benefit young people especially school leavers who will be earning an average of $12 to $15,000 per year," he said.

Mr Narayan said the project cost was estimated at around $45million with less than five expatriates employed to work during the construction of the building.

He that they are currently identifying a piece of land in Lautoka and are looking for sponsors to build another call centre in the West.

Mr Narayan said talks are in progress for another 3,000 jobs to be created by 2011 and 2012.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Letter to the Editor about noise pollution

from w
Here's a letter in today's Fiji Times about the noise pollution in the Toorak area. Gone are the days when a padre or talatala would gently lead the flock - persuasively in mild tones, telling stories, without any kind of shouting. Isn't there a law about how many decibels are okay in the moonlight? Thank you Emosi for your letter.

Evening disturbance

A CHRISTIAN religious group full-blasted their sermons and gospel music throughout this week in Toorak near Bagasau housing estate causing a lot of disturbance.

People come home each day to rest and prepare for the next day but their peace is broken from 7pm to 10pm each night by loud screaming and music from huge speakers.

Why is the church group so inconsiderate? Don't they have a church from which to launch their crusade? Can they wait until the weekend to do their screaming?

We urge authorities to address the issue which has led to physical confrontation, the latest happened in Rakiraki last week. People are getting fed-up with the disturbance.

What I don't understand is why preachers scream when they are speaking to the microphone. The audience can hardly make out what is being said.


Speech at Labasa Hospital

from w
Here is the text of the speech at the opening of the new extension of the Labasa Hospital.

PM Bainimarama - Address at the Opening of the Labasa Hospital New Extension
Mar 27, 2009, 11:58

Address at the Opening of the Labasa Hospital New Extension
- Friday 20th March, 2009 - LABASA

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to be here this morning to officially open the New Extension of the Labasa Hospital.

The planning and construction of this New Extension has been wholly funded by the Fiji Government. This initiative has been done in recognition of the need to develop the Northern Division and to improve the lives of the people in the North.

The opening of this new extension is a milestone as Labasa Hospital is the main referral centre for hospital services in the North. The people in the North will now enjoy better inpatient facilities and better Pathology services. The new Bio-medical Engineering Unit within the new complex will ensure timely repair and servicing of Bio-medical equipment which used to be sent to the CWM Hospital. Improving the Bio-medical Engineering Services will further boost my Government’s desire to improve the medical technology as we fully recognize the importance of having good medical equipment in the provision of health services.

The New Extension will also house new offices for senior staff and also include new meeting and training rooms. This Government fully supports the need to build capacity among our health staff and having good training rooms is an important aspect of that. I understand that Hospital staff especially doctors, who have completed their post-graduate studies have joined the Hospital in the past six(6) months and more are expected to join in the future after completing postgraduate studies.

The Peoples Charter for Change, Peace and Progress has “Improving the Health Service Delivery” as one of its eleven (11) Key Pillars for Rebuilding Fiji. As you know the over-arching objective of the People’s Charter is to rebuild Fiji into a non-racial, culturally vibrant and united, well-governed and truly democratic nation. A nation that seeks progress and prosperity through merit-based equality of opportunity and peace.
One of the key strategies of improving the health service delivery is the decentralisation of services particularly the specialised services. The decentralization of the General Outpatient Services has already started in the Central Division with the extended opening hours of the Valelevu and Makoi Health Centres. This week a group of 20 CWM Hospital staff that includes surgeons, physicians and anaesthetists are in Levuka providing specialist services. Plans for other outreach services from the Specialist Hospitals including the Labasa Hospital are already being implemented.

People living in rural areas should now benefit from the provision of these specialist services closer to home and saves them the cost of traveling to the Divisional Hospitals. We are determined to make health services more accessible to our people.

I have also being informed that the South Korean Government through KOICA is funding the construction of a new Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department and Ante-Natal Clinic within the old hospital complex. The new A&E should be completed by mid 2009. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Korean Government for the kind gesture and support towards the Vanualevu Development Plan.

The old hospital complex which I have been told is close to 40 years old (?) will also be undergoing major renovations this year. This includes a new Accident and Emergency Department, Ante-Natal Clinic, High Depending Unit, Coronary Care Unit and Eye Department. The people of Vanua Levu should expect to enjoy better health facilities and services within the next few months.

I also wish to acknowledge other agencies and organization including the Friendly North Festival and the Hospital’s Board of Visitors for their contribution to improving the Labasa Hospital facilities.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now my great pleasure to officially open the New Extension of the Labasa Hospital.

Thank you.
(*mistake here - it is over 72 years old as I know of a certain baby boy born in that hospital at least 72 years ago so the researcher didn't do his/her homework. The first hospital in the Labasa area was at Vuo as the early vavalagi type development (sugar mills etc.) was in the Malau area.)

Jobs in Fiji

from w
Here's today's cartoon from the Fiji Times. Background story- civil servants over 55 were told that it's time to leave their jobs, retire and go and plant their food gardens or whatever. Then the court gives a reprieve - for the moment. But police over 55 are still told to go on leave, and there's talk that it's all very selective really. Hey, what about the highest civil servant in the land - the President, he is over 55 isn't he? Plus 30 years over! The other backstory is that the Methodist community were asked to watch and pray for a month and kava drinking was banned for that period so some would decide that this would be a good thing.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Exhibition about Fiji migrants

from w
Here is a copy of the invitation to the opening of an exhibition at the Immigration Museum in Flinders Street Melbourne so if you are interested to view the exhibition contact the museum.