Wednesday, October 31, 2012

More about the word kalougata

from Peceli,
On the positive note, we have to thank Mr Ah Koy and his family for donating their money for this new Bible translation and circulate copies throughout the universities.  It has to be noted that not many Fijians are like Ah Koy who are passionate to look at the Fijian vocabularies and to try and find the meanings.  The word kalougata  has become a part of our Christian understanding as meaning 'blessing', or 'sharp blessing of God Almighty' .

 However I don't agree with Mr Ah Koy's interpretation as focussed on a snake and associated with the traditional stories of Degei.  It happened that when I was in Rakiraki I climbed up the Kauvadra with an English doctor, Dr Sorokin who really wanted to see the place where the story came from.  As cultures change over the years we no longer concentrate on former gods.

Just like many stories in Europe where the Christians over the centuries 'Christianized' old ceremonies and beliefs, we in Fiji have done this too.  Such as on Bau Island, the old killing stone has become the baptismal font in the church there.

I agree with Mr Ah Koy that Fiji has suffered in recent years in different ways but as we search for truth we are sure of our Christian God as being with us in the journey.

Whether we agree or disagree with the use of Fijian words, we can learn from one another and respect different views.  May God bless you indeed. Kalougata!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

That damned or blessed word again! Kalougata!

from w
It's come around again as a discussion point, the meaning of the Fijian word 'kalougata'.  This is because currently Sir James Ah Koy is dstributing thousands of new Fijian Bibles to students at the universities, these Bibles with the word 'kalougata' expunged because Ah Koy's group translate the word as to do with a snake god. I don't agree with that translation.

Again, the media people love to show a split of opinions by church people!.  (We all love a good fight don't we?)

A scholar who knows more about Fijian language than I do, has a view too. Go to a website;

Here is a response from a Methodist church leader and others on the 'real' meaning of the word.

Kalougata explained

Timoci Vula
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
THE word kalougata that appears in the first edition of the Holy Bible printed in the iTaukei language does not mean snake god.
Rather, it means sharp God or the sharpness of God's love and care for His people, says Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma general secretary Reverend Tevita Banivanua.
Mr Banivanua made those comments in response to the move by business tycoon and Fiji's former ambassador to China, Sir James Ah Koy, in printing and freely circulating thousands of copies of the New Fijian Translation Bible (NFTB) that has the word kalougata and its derivatives omitted from it.
Sir James believes the word curses the people of Fiji whenever it is used.
He says that word does not acknowledge the God of Heaven but the snake god, which according to him is the meaning of the word kalougata; — but used widely to mean blessing as practised over 175 years to date.
"I don't know where he got that meaning from but that word used in the Bible refers to the sharpness of God's love and care to the people, that's the definition those involved in the translation of the Bible used and we have always known that," Mr Banivanua said.
He added that the Fijian Bible was also directly translated from the Hebrew and Greek language.
He referred to the first edition of the iTaukei dictionary that also defined the word as sharpness of God's blessing.
Former Methodist Church president Reverend Josateki Koroi said the interpretation of the NFTB on the word kalougata was "unfounded"He said every iTaukei knew since their birth that no one had worshipped snakes and that there was no snake god.
"We understand Vanua Levu's ancestor was Dakuwaqa, in other places it was an octopus, dwarf or animal but not snakes. This is like a myth and legend," Mr Koroi said.
"Everyone understands the meaning of kalougata derived from when the first missionaries (William Cross and David Cargill) settled in Fiji.
"It means blessings and fortune for the land and its people," he said.
Central Christian Centre (CCC) senior pastor and Assemblies of God general superintendent Reverend Pita Cili said the interpretation of that word and the context in which it was used was up to believers to decide.
University of the South Pacific linguist Paul Geraghty said the word kalougata used in the Bible did not mean the snake god, nor snake for gata as interpreted by Sir James.
He said the word gata in kalougata meant sharp — like the sharpness of a knife to symbolise the sharpness of the God Christians worshipped.
Dr Geraghty said the word kalougata was also used as is in the dialect of villages in Fiji, unlike the word gata that was pronounced differently in every dialect.
In response, Sir James said those were their opinions but he maintained that the word was still not appropriate to be associated with the God of Heaven.

Josateki speaks up again

from w
The talatala vakaqu, the Rev Josateki Koroi, who has a splendid farm down Pacific Harbour way in his retirement, has spoken on two matters.  One -  his view of the notion of Fiji as a 'Christian State', and secondly about the church and politics - that they cannot be separated. It's fine for people to have a viewpoint and the media love it when different church members, especially from the Fiji Methodist Church, are at odds.  Perhaps Jo's argument with the church stemmed from the time he was treated badly a few years ago when there was a kind of coup in the Methodist Church, a time of coflict between moderates and strong-willed traditionalists..His view against a 'Christian state' is understandable in that Fiji is a pluralist society, and yet I can understand those who love God - in the Christian understanding - and want society to be based on the principles that came out of the teaching of Jesus. The second article - that the church is essentially involved in politics - is okay by me. I don't mean party politics, but essentially that the church MUST be involved in social justice.

Anyway, this is how his views were presented by a journalist in the Fiji Times.

It's 'blasphemy'

Nanise Loanakadavu
Sunday, October 28, 2012
THE notion that Fiji be declared a Christian State is an abuse of process, a misconception, misnomer, mischief-making, hypocritical and indeed blasphemy.
These were the comments of the former president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Josateki Koroi.
Mr Koroi's comments come in the wake of the continuing debate on whether Fiji should be declared a Christian State as proposed in submissions to the Constitution Commission.
He said the debate on the concept would continue to rage well in to the future. "This is because many of us accept this concept at face value rather than following Jesus Christ's teaching as recorded in the scriptures "come follow me", Mr Koroi said.
He said there was a need for Fijians to separate the State and its government of civil society and distinguish without prejudice the ever-living Christ himself and what was Christianity.
He said the declaration of a Christian State was something that would be legislated and written, an ideology that was compulsory to be adhered to whereas the teachings of Christ were something personal directly involving the creator and the believer.
Christianity, he said, from its inception was personal and individual and people's living relationship with an ever-living person.
Mr Koroi said Christianity was never an impersonal matter of ideology as to be fused with what a Christian possessed or owned such as a school, church or home.
He said the concept of Christianity was never an impersonal ideology as to an association of race, country, political parties or state and not even a denomination of a particular region.
"Christianity is a worldwide religion; it is not sectarian, closed religion of one's own race or country as the Fiji Christian state being advocated by others.
Politics part of pulpit
Nanise Loanakadavu
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
THE involvement of church leaders in politics was inevitable and could not be avoided.
This according to former Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma president, Reverend Josateki Koroi.
Mr Koroi said the Bible was full of politics from cover to cover where politics was clearly defined as the art of living together.
He said he was saddened to see people attacking church leaders and demanding they need to stay out of politics.
"The book of law gives the standard of personal morality, social justice but they also present the code which regulates the life of the community. This is politics," he said.
Mr Koroi said even the Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed his gospel and died his death in a political context.
"This was the context of what we today would call a colonialism situation.
"The work of Christ in our time has become more and more political, not less."
Mr Koroi said Christians had always seen the enlightenment of the mind as part of their mission and people knew that the provision of education in schools, college and universities and of adequate scholarship was a political issue.
He said the provision of efficiently-equipped modern hospitals or research facilities to unsolved medical problems of a national health service depended on political actions.
"In any event we cannot evade political responsibility, the act of abstention from politics is itself a political act," he said.
"If we do not proclaim God's way in politics, then we are responsible for what happens."
Mr Koroi said no community could exist without politics.
However, he said it was for Christians to see they were better rather than worse.
"If politics had got in to the hands of the wrong people and had become a dirty business, it is the job of the Christians to clean it up. We do not live to ourselves and we must not be afraid of soiling our hands."
Mr Koroi said if politics was an unclean refuse or a muck heap, the Christian church should be a muckrake.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fiji sketches

from w
A few sketches I made in different places in Fiji - such as from the dining room of the Holiday Inn in Suva, trees around Navua, overlooking Yanuca island from a village and pottery from Nadroga.

A tree grows in Suva town

from w
From the Fiji media today and down below further discussion about the tree.

 Suva city's most historic landmark, the Ivi tree located in the heart of the capital will be preserved although numerous complaints have been lodged by ratepayers for its removal. Special Administrator for Suva, Chandu Umaria confirmed Suva City Council's decision to FijiLive today and said SCC will meet with environmental experts from University of the South Pacific, namely Professor Randy Thaman to seek professional advice on the future of the Ivi tree. “If the experts feel that the tree is dangerous to public and will harm them during the next cyclone season then we will just trim the branches of the tree but we will definitely not remove the whole tree as this is a very historic tree in the city,” Umaria added. He also said that this removing this tree would mean removing the essence of Suva city as it has witnessed many ups and downs faced by the people of Suva and Fiji. 

·         Posted by Robert F. Kay on April 26, 2011
At the centre of Suva is a tiny wedge-shaped park called the Triangle, with a great ivi,or native chestnut tree, at its apex. Wooden benches encircle the massive bole, and these were filled by substantial Fijian gentlemen, possessed of the same venerable calm as their setting, reading the Fiji Times. An office tower's morn­ing shadow had not quite withdrawn from nearby palms; birdsong invaded each lull in the traffic roar.

Ivi trees stand tall  Sunday, June 03, 2007
 IF only trees could talk, then these two trees would tell us tales of the makeovers the capital city has gone through and the countless people who have rested under their shades over the years. The two ivi (Inocarpus fagiferus) trees, one near Sukuna Park and the other one at the Lord's Triangle in Suva are two of the major landmarks of the capital city and they also happen to be the oldest trees in the area too. They have stood on their spots and seen the beach being reclaimed to make way for Sukuna Park, the Suva Civic Centre and other buildings like the Westpac Bank.
The transition from Rickshaws to automobiles which gave way to the modern cars of the day has been witnessed by these trees. Records kept at the Fiji Museum indicate that these trees are about 100 years old and have stood on their spots, withstanding natural disasters and other forms of weathering and development.
Fiji Museum Education Officer Tevita Seru said at the turn of the century, the ivi tree at the Triangle was surrounded by a picket fence and a seat for travellers. "We also know that there were tram rails for hand trucks carrying goods to and from the wharf and Victoria Parade ran beside it," he said.
He said it was not known who exactly planted them but they have been there since the 1800's and it was a miracle that they still stood in their places and were not sacrificed in the name of development and progress of the city.
The ivi tree was the focal point at the triangular reserve lying between Thomson Street and Renwick Road.
Some very old pictures of Suva, prior to being the capital of Fiji, shows that most parts of where the Westpac Bank building stands today, used to be sea and people used to enjoy themselves on the beach. Rickshaws could be seen parked near the Triangle with people waiting for their rides to take them around the place.
Mr Seru said during the 1880's the whole area where the Suva Handicraft market is today, used to be the beach but the land was reclaimed to make way for further development of the city. "We have pictures in the Museum Library showing people walking along the beach and some just sitting on the seat around the tree, enjoying the scenery and the beach air," said Mr Seru.
The other ivi tree which stands near Sukuna Park along Victoria Parade was the spot for local indigenous farmers to sell dalo and rock melons and other vegetables from.

Michael Heatley, 70, can still recall his days as a young student of Suva Grammar School and playing at the beach near the ivi tree which stands at the edge of Sukuna Park today. "Although I cannot remember in detail, I do recall that there used to be seats around the tree and people would come and rest there after shopping or after taking a walk along the beach," said Mr Heatley. "This was in the early 1940's and the Sukuna Park was not built then. The area where the Park is now used to be the beach and we would come after school and just jump in the sea and enjoy ourselves." Mr Heatley said even though things have changed quite a lot over the years in the capital city, seeing the ivi trees standing tall bring back memories of the old times and the simple pleasures of life like walking on the beach and enjoying the shade of the tree.
Arbor week was celebrated in the country from May 29 until June 1 with the theme "watersheds the natural heartbeat of the nation".
And the organising committee has recognised the presence of the trees by draping the trunks in orange sash with the words "100 years old and still going strong". Trees are the providers of life and things like shade, timber and fruits and should be treated with the care they deserve and not butchered down in the name of development.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Submission by SDL

from w
Submissions to the Constitution Committee have now closed and certainly Professor Ghai and his team are going to have a difficult task ahead as so many submissions have gone quite against the regime charter ideas and 'non-negotiable' points such as a secular state etc. What makes the final cut I wonder!  Criticism has come out strongly and it seems what the media were not allowed to do because of the decrees, the submissions could say what people really are thinking. Here is how one reporter  in Fiji Live wrote up about the SLD submission.

SDL wants ‘vibrant and multi-cultural’ Fiji October 21, 2012 03:16:01 

Fiji's Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua party in their submission to the Constitution Commission said that they believe in a new and more vibrant multi-cultural Fiji. However, they stated that there have been inadequate, meaningful and durable multi-ethnic manifestations of national identity. SDL’s president, Solomone Naivalu told the commission that Fiji needed to build a more stable foundation for national unity and tolerance. “History has taught us that more often than not, we hardly learn from the past. It is our concern that we are once again treading the path of ignoring past mistakes and not addressing the inherent insecurities of our diverse ethnic communities,” Naivalu said. Among these insecurities, he highlighted the establishment of the Land Bank without proper consultation, the removal of their representatives through the Bose Levu Vakaturaga (BLV) in the NLTB and the imposition of the Surfing Decree. Naivalu also highlighted the erosion of traditions and culture through the media propagation of a globalised mono-culture, discrimination of principles and continued marginalisation from economic power with the discontinuation of affirmative action programmes to encourage and develop Fijian businesses. He further said the assertion of the indigenous rights and issues are now seen as racist and discriminatory by the Government. He also said that the proposed declaration of a secular state shows a lack of understanding of the historical significance of the enlightenment that Christianity brought to Fiji and the moral decadence that accompanies secularism. 

By Indrani Krishna

Read more at:
Copyright 2012 ©

Note:  The SDL now have a website so the complete notes of the submission can be found there.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Life of Loloma

from w

Once a Fijian deaconess, Loloma Tukai Tali lived a life of kindness, adventure, love of God and of people wherever she was - in Fiji, in Vanuatu, in Australia. She was born in Arnhem Land, Australia daughter of Fijian Methodist missionary parents working with the aborigines, then raised and educated in Fiji and later worked in Vanuatu in the Presbyterian church there

Yesterday morning Loloma passed away at Cobram, Victoria, Australia, where her husband Tom Tali was the pastor of the Uniting Church. We have known Loloma from the time she was a deaconess and stayed with us in Rakiraki doing outreach work in the Fiji Indian community.  I spent today quietly reading the book she recently wrote - her memoir of a life of devotion to God and service, and she certainly had the patience of Job going through so many difficulties. Two months ago in Geelong her friends put on a surprise birthday party for Loloma which was to be a farewell party really as she and we knew that her serious illness meant time was running out.  A delightful person. Farewell Loloma.

In her book she wrote: I would have liked to have shared my life with Tom, our children, grandchildren, family and friends a little longer. But looking back, I thank God for all the blessings He has poured into my life and I accept His plan for me with peace in my heart.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A breadfruit tree in Vunivutu

from w

A relative was staying in Vunivutu village, Macuata, and was given an excellent spot to sleep under a window so he had a cool breeze coming through window near the nearby breadfruit tree. The moon shone through the rustling leaves and he was settling down to sleep. However, that particular tree was the night roosting place for the village roosters and chooks so they perched up on the branches. That was okay... until they decided to cluck and crow all out of time with night and day. The poor man hardly could sleep a wink. Here are some little pictures of that breadfruit tree.  (By the way Vunivutu village area was the place where one of the series of Survivor was filmed. There were special little houses built with airconditioning, fridges, etc. so I think the Survivor 'actors' didn't really sleep on the beach at all!)

Designing a logo

from w
At first I did not like the new brown and white logo for the revamp of Fiji's plane - after the brilliant rainbow colours of Air Pacific which to me really represented the colours of Fiji.  The new Fiji Airways is quite different.  However it does look good from various angles, is neat, is specific to Fiji with the masi design and thanks to the Lauan artistic lady who designed it, Makereta Matemosi. 

Quote from the media back in August:
At the centre of the new Masi symbol is a distinctive Teteva motif, which symbolises the airline, its values, and the spirit of Fiji. As an integral part of the new 'Fiji Airways' brand, this Teteva was designed to represent spirituality, consideration of others, Fijian hospitality, and the connection that 'Fiji Airways' will offer between Fiji's 333 islands and the rest of the world.
"It was over a year ago that we started work on this ambitious project to re-brand our airline and design a new brandmark for the new 'Fiji Airways'. While the new name had a lot of history associated with it, we decided that we wanted a new and distinctly Fijian symbol and brandmark that would help us best represent the country while also ensuring our planes stand out at some of the world’s busiest international airports. In short, we wanted a flying billboard for Fiji and its stunning 333 islands in the South Pacific", said David Pflieger, Air Pacific's CEO and Managing Director.
"Fiji is universally well known for its stunning natural beauty and amazing people, but what is not so well known is its centuries-old culture that offers visitors an opportunity to not only unplug from their hectic day-to-day lives but lose themselves in the tranquillity of Fiji's South Pacific authenticity. As Fiji's national airline, we think the distinctive Masi symbol, the brandmark and their colour tones are a perfect fit with Fiji's heritage, and the beauty and warmth of the Fijian people and the islands themselves," Mr. Pflieger added.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fiji sketches

from w
Here are a few sketches I revamped this evening instead of going to a Rotary gig.  One of banyan trees in the Navua area, one Suva Bay showing Joske's thumb and one the distorted view in the window of an Australian office.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Fiji Day and remembering Rakiraki

from w

It's Fiji Day, 10th October. We remember when Fiji became independent in 1970. There were celebrations throughout Fiji. We were in Rakiraki and there was a formal function there. Some of the children from the local Methodist Primary school where Peceli was the chairman sang 'This land is your land' to new words, appropriate for Fiji. 
This land is your land, this land is my land,
From Suva Harbour to Yasawa Islands.
from the raintree forest to the Rewa delta
This land was made for you and me.
It was an optimistic time. Hmmm. Those were the days, my friend... The days when there was respect and optimism and Ratu Kamisese Mara was at the helm.

It was a different country then
below the Kauvadra,
our cement block manse
coloured aqua, pink,orange.

Outside two piglets rooted
under a broad mango tree,
Kanakana and Lesumai.
A near-blind woman brought 
cassava peelings for them
and then yarned with Nau
over sweet tea and pancakes.

The pretty girl from across the road,
her hands painted with henna
married with a rainbow splendour
under the shining canopy.

The village next door blessed us
with jokes and stories
the rooftops of reed,
the walls of plaited bamboo.

Our first child was a gift
then another son soon after.
Amidst sugarcane fields 
dotted with houses of tin and dung,
the farmers with little money 
offered gulagula and spiced tea
as our babies slept,
one in a cradle of sugar bags.

But there was a march one day
with ominous hand-painted banners,
men as warriors, faces blackened.
I didn't think much of it then,
that year before independence.

To me it was all sunlight
without a hint of shadows,
it was a different country then.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Wadam Narsey on Gandhi

from w
Part of a speech given to a Suva School, MGM,  by Wadam Narsey:

What would Mahatama Gandhi have been supporting in Fiji today?
 I believe:  Gandhi would be a strong supporter of democratically elected governments and opposed to military coups.
 He might agree with certain measures such as ethnic equality of all races and a common name for all Fiji citizens; he would agree with the fight against corruption; he might even agree with the need to reform institutions like the Great Council of Chiefs. BUT he would totally disagree with using a military coup and guns to force changes down people’s throats. Gandhi believed in using peaceful rational arguments to change people’s views- and not try to coerce them.
 He would be a passionate seeker of the truth: the truth behind our military coups, the truth behind our economy, our society, our religious organisations, our politicians. He would disseminate his findings and his views to the people, without fear; without concern for media censorship, without fear of laws that might imprison him for seeking and speaking the truth.
 He would support organisations such as the Women’s Crisis Centre and its leading light, Shamima Ali, who also stands bravely for human rights of all citizens, including those of escaped prisoners, however much misery and fear they might cause us.
 Please stand up, Ms Shamima Ali, so our students here can see what brave fighters look like.(applause from audience for Shamima).
 Gandhiji would probably ask working men and boys to share equally in household work, so that working women and girls are treated fairly and also have time for their own personal development (as I explain in the books on Gender Issues in Incomes and Employment in Fiji, that I have given to all the senior economics students in this school).  In this day and age, Gandhiji would probably even cook for the family,  to the delight of his wife Kasturbai.
 Gandhiji would support studies which seek the truth about the exploitation of vulnerable workers in Fiji, such as the books Just Wages in Fiji, funded by ECREA, which have been given to all MGM economics students.
 Gandhi would support those who fight for just wages for our workers, like Father Kevin Barr here (who I disagree with on the legitimacy of the military coup in Fiji but produced the report for ECREA, on which his Wages Council work has been based).   Father Barr, please stand up for the students. (applause from audience).
 On a contrary note, when the Methodist Church was recently being unfairly treated, Gandhiji would have called on the religious organisations of Fiji (the Catholics, the Hindus, the Muslims and Sikhs) to stand up for the rights of their sister religious organisation, even if he did not agree with their call for Fiji to be declared a Christian State.  Gandhiji would have been disappointed that these organizations missed that opportunity recently.  But there is hope yet for them, the Yash Ghai Commission is still meeting.
 He would be pleased to see the strength of our environmental movements, and Forestry Department initiatives such as “plant a million trees” that is taking place in Fiji (although run a bit out of steam at the moment, I think).
 He would be pleased to see the thousands of children from the poorest of back-grounds, for whom their “caste” is of no concern any more, and who, through this MGM High School, have achieved the highest of goals in their lives.
 Among them is a friend of mine for forty years (Mr Kishor Chetty, former Deputy Government Statistician) who was in the very first cohort to attend MGM High School, and who still remembers his great intellectual conversations with Mr Gopal Bhai Patel, the first Principal.  Please stand up, Mr Chetty. (applause from audience).
 And so also was his brother Mr Krishna Samy, former head of Datec, who was in the first class to do University Entrance from MGM.
 Gandhi would be a firm supporter of the education and empowerment of women: he would be pleased to see Mrs Kailash Rajput sitting there as the first female Principal of this school.  She is also a great product of this school.
 Mahatma Gandhi would have been pleased to see how many women this school has taught and who have moved on in the world to higher callings.  Among them would be my four sisters, who are all alumni of MGM High School and have achieved great things in life:  Dr Padma Lal (first USP gold medalist in science and environmental economist in     Australia and the Pacific region) Champa Chauhan (business woman in Fiji and Australia) Dr Mangi Tauh (paediatrician in Canada) Saras Narsey (health economist in Australia and a classmate of Principal, Mrs Rajput) 
The Chairman of Gujerat Education Society, in the name of my four sisters and my mother (Maniben Narsey),  I would like to donate this cheque to assist MGM High School with a tree planting program for this and all the other schools you manage. Of course, I am not just an economist but a “Gujerati economist”, so I hope my sisters repay me when I next visit them.
 Perhaps you might like to give each class their own trees to plant and look after. And it there is money still left over, then you MGM students might plant trees in all the streets around your schools.  I would be happy to co-ordinate with Department of Forestry to obtain as many indigenous Fijian trees as we can get- so that our children know what a dakua, vesi, yaka, kaudamu, kauvula, buabua, and many other endangered indigenous species, actually look like.  Most of our students do not know our own indigenous trees. I think Mahatma Gandhi would have been pleased to see this initiative that would reinforce the greenness and sustainability of our environment.
 Gujerat Education Society Board and Principal of MGM High School, I thank you indeed for the privilege of being the Chief Guest today at your Gandhi Day celebrations.
 Vinaka vakalevu and dhanyabaad.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

What's in a name

from w
Judging by some of the submissions to that mobile constitution group listening to the grief, stories, and occasional rants, it is clear that many people think the word 'Fijian'  is specific to the indigenous people of Fiji and not inclusive of people in Fiji from other cultural groups. And in letters to the editor of the Fiji Times, one writer, Kolinio Meo, gives his view.  This is a separate issue from identity as a citizen of Fiji because a multicultural society is fine and people from various cultural groups are part of Fiji society.

For a better Fiji
AREKI Dawai's longish narration on the above topic, as published in your paper's Opinion column (FT 6/10/12) is outrageous to a native Fijian.
His message is nothing more than an attempt to garble the issue of the use of the common name Fijian to all Fiji's citizens, in the hope of creating a better Fiji. Firstly, Fiji had already got a common name, legitimately approved by a democratically elected government, after much consultation; and the name Fiji Islander is already in use.
The question is, "Since the promulgation of that name, has this country developed into a better nation?
Definitely not. If it has not, then, what guarantee will the name Fijian for all its citizens achieve the desired result?
Secondly, this common name has nothing to do with ones religious beliefs, or Captain Cook's use of the word Feejee or A D Patel's wish etc. as garbled by Dawai. It, however, has a lot to do with the native Fijians, who whether their ancestors had the choice or not, were being Christened with the name Fijian.
They weren't named as the iTaukei or Taukei, as the word is an adjective with incomplete meaning.
The word is normally referred to a hierarchy in the chiefly household, for example, Taukei Naua, a chief in Saunaka, Nadi etc.
The word Fijian depicts the historical identity and sovereignty of the natives on their heritage and birthright in Fiji.
Every history book, documents, legal declarations etc. carry this protection and distinction, just as the word Indians for everyone whose ancestors were from India or Chinese from China. These were codified into legal declarations and documents in Fiji, Great Britain and elsewhere.
To temper with or varying this identity is tantamount to the desecration alienation of the native Fijians heritage and birthright. Let us keep the name Fiji Islander for every citizen, as it had not interfered with any society in Fiji, especially the native Fijians.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

A new talatala in Melbourne

from w
Last night Peceli and I attended a celebration at the Coburg Uniting Church for the ordination of a new talatala as part of the Methodist Church Fijian congregation there - Orisi Baravi. We enjoyed an excellent dinner and entertainment in the hall and met many friends there. Here are some of my photos and one is from Neitani via Facebook.

tourists to Labasa

from w
It's good to read that tourists to Labasa are doing things other than browsing through shops.  Floating down the Korotari river, well I never expected that one.
from today's Fiji Times.

Tourists enjoy Korotari adventure

Serafina Silaitoga
Sunday, October 07, 2012
TOURISTS splashed and waded through the Korotari River outside Labasa Town as they tried out the latest tourism activities.
The light showers and cloudy day provided a cold swim for about 18 tourists from around the world that were part of the Captain Cook Cruises. They cruised down the river on inflatable tubes.
On their way down the river the tourists shared stories and sang while enjoying the scenery of the mountain ranges of Suweni in Cakaudrove.
Geoff Wakeley, an Australian tourist was amazed by the scene.
"It's just so beautiful out here. This is my sixth visit to Fiji but the first time to come to Labasa and I'm so amazed at what nature provides in this area," he said.
Another tourist, Megan Savell said she loved the locals.
"People here are so friendly and always smiling. The place is beautiful just like the people."
Guided by Savusavu hotelier Sharon Wild, the group safely floated down river dodging floodwater debris along the way. She said Labasa offered beautiful attractions for tourists particularly in the interior. "It just needs to be recognised and developed into a tourist attraction so more tourists can come to Labasa," she said.
"I am glad to be coming from Savusavu to help tourists who come to Labasa see more of this place and Korotari River was an area I visited sometime ago before this activity started for tourists," Ms Wild said.
The 18 tourists were part of the 80 tourists that visited Labasa yesterday on board the Captain Cook Cruises.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Hibiscus girls and lovely costumes

from w

Our son brought back from Fiji a bundle of magazines including Mailife which is a good balanced magazine, unlike Turaga which is full of business and biased material praising the regime.  From Mailife - some photos of the girls in the Hibiscus Festival wearing lovely costumes for the i taukei night.

St Mary's School

from w
A small story from the Fiji Sun - who usually have to put in a good word for the regime for the gifts and care of the rural areas etc. etc. - is about one of Labasa's primary schools in the township area.

Triple celebration for Saint Mary’s

Class 2 students of St Mary’s Primary School, Labasa celebrate Children’s Day at their school yesterday. PHOTO: LITIA BUKALIDI
The students, parents and teachers of St Mary’s Primary school, Labasa celebrated Children’s Day, World Teachers Day and Fiji Day at their school yesterday.Leading the triple celebration was the Reverend Angela Prasad of St Thomas Anglican Church who affirmed the teachers present and encouraged the students to support their teachers.

Chief guest Principal Education Officer Seru Curuivalu said the ministry always supported the children and the crucial role of teachers in a community. ‘We should applaud the work of the teachers from a dispenser of information and turning this information into knowledge and wisdom,” he said.

The students and their parents came dressed up with colourful dresses marking the special celebration in their school. Entertainment by students, as part of the character parade was also part of the special occasion.

“Teachers prepare students for life in the real world and bearing in mind that we are faced with children of the 21st century,” Mr. Curuivalu added.Mr. Curuivalu thanked the government of the day for allowing schools to celebrate the great achievements of teachers.He also commended the organisers for including Children’s Day.“Children you are so special to us because without you St Mary’s Primary School is non-existent and teachers and other school employees would be unemployed,’ he said. ‘I also thank the Government for formulating new initiatives for their development amongst our midst.”