Monday, July 27, 2015

A Fiji home in Australia

from w
My grand-daughter and her Mum redecorated our lounge room with some new barkcloth and a very fine Tongan mat so it's better than before. Here are some views.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Namosi mine plan on hold

from w
Very good to hear that the proposed plan in the Namosi area is now on hold.  Environment must come first as well as the cultural and food resource needs of the local people there.  Story from Fiji Village.
Namosi landowners welcome decision to put on hold gold and copper project
By Watisoni Butabua
Tuesday 21/07/2015
Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee Spokesperson Sipiriano Nariva
The Tikina Namosi Landowners Committee has welcomed the decision that the Namosi gold and copper project is currently on hold.
Spokesperson Sipiriano Nariva believes their concerns have been heard.
Nariva says they have always raised concerns on the plight of the landowners and also the Environmental and Social Impacts of the project.
He says because they are worried about their future generation they have requested the relevant authorities to discontinue the project.
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the project is on hold because they have not met the necessary environmental protection conditions.
Bainimarama says they have put the preservation of the environment first.
Meanwhile, the Namosi Joint Venture Country Manager Greg Morris says they are undertaking the environmental impact assessment work.
Morris adds they have not put a time frame on when they would present the report.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Designs for a New Zealand flag

from w
It seems that not only Fiji, but New Zealand too, are looking for a new flag design. Here are some of the suggestions - they certainly look more interesting than the ones offered by the Fiji Flag Committee.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pacific Games flags and results to date

from w
It has been wonderful to watch eight or more hours a day of the Games in Port Moresby on the Australia Indigenous channel of NITV and cheer on Fiji and other nations.  I wonder if the inmates of the detention centre at Manus Island are able to watch the games and who would they cheer or not cheer on!  Do they have football and rugby and soccer fields next to their quarters I wonder.  Anyway here are the flags so it's interesting to see their designs. Certainly in the crowd there are numerous Fiji flags waved and people seem happy to identify Fiji easily.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Dreketi to Nabouwalu road

from w
It's taking time but hopefully the road will be ready by December.  It's an important highway for Vanua Levu. From Govt website.


The Dreketi Nabouwalu Highway is expected to open by December this year.

This was revealed by the Commissioner Northern Jovesa Vocea at the closing of the Bua Women’s Craft show in Nabouwalu this week.

Mr Vocea said the Nabouwalu – Dreketi project is progressing well and they were glad with China Railway’s efforts to complete the project soon.

“This project will give the people of Bua better access to market their products, reach their destination fast and dusty roads will be a thing of the past,” Mr Vocea said.

He said when he was in Japan for three years, Bua was only viewed through the internet and websites and investors were eager to see the completion of the road.

“Investors are ready to come in, they are ready to invest, the completion of the road shows how committed government is to the people as aligned is the Look North Policy,” Mr Vocea said.
He also thanked the landowners of Nabouwalu who were willing to give their land for township development.

The 70-kilometre Nabouwalu –Dreketi Highway project costs $228million, it is a four-year long project of the Bainimarama Government with the Fiji Roads Authority that is being carried out by China Railway First Group Fiji (CRFG) Company.
“We must work together now for Bua and its future generation,” Mr Vocea said.

Mr Vocea has also urged the people in Bua to take advantage of the National Development Plan consultations and make their voices and opinions heard by government for the future development of the Northern Division.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Babasiga lad wins shooting at the Games

from w
Congratulations. A young man from Tabia in Macuata, Fiji got a gold medal at the Pacific Games. Excellent as he had only started shooting recently and it was pidgeons!

Khan shoots his way to gold

Shalveen Chand in Port Moresby
Thursday, July 09, 2015
FAIYUM Murtaza Khan sent shock waves through the sport of shooting as he picked up a gold medal in the 25m mixed gender pellet pistol competition in the Pacific Games at the June Valley Range in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
The Labasa lad only took up shooting in March this year but he beat seasoned shooters in the competition to grab Fiji's first gold in shooting.
"Yesterday I entered an event that I had never competed in before and was placed fifth but today I knew what I was doing," said Khan.
"I was the first one to finish shooting and sat outside. I was told by a New Caledonian shooter that I had won gold. I did not believe him and went and checked the scores.
"To my surprise I had won. All other shooters had scopes but as you know we shooters from Fiji are supporting ourselves and do not have that kind of money to buy additional equipments. I was shooting without a scope, but I did it."
The 25-year old civil engineer hails from Tabia in Labasa and had his education at Tabia Sanatan Primary, Tabia Secondary and Labasa College.
"I am so happy with this win. I hope to inspire other people to take up the sport. Prior to joining the Fiji Shooting Association I was only shooting pigeons during the open season," Khan said.
"Little did I know that one day I would be standing at this podium with a gold medal around my neck, the Fijian flag being hoisted and the national anthem playing."
What was more amazing was that the shooting team stood together and when the anthem was playing, the team sang "Blessing Grant" to fill up the silent shooting range.
This was Khan's last event and the shooting team will start with the rifles today.
* Pacific Games coverage courtesy of BSP

Vinaka Seona Smiles for discussing Hindi baat.

from w
Mostly I've read her breezy column in the Fiji Times and some of her short stories, but here Seona gets occasionally serious about humour and the languages of Fiji. Seona was married to a Fiji Indian man and her stories are about the ups and downs of living with relatives.  Seona's husband died two years ago and an excellent eulogy gives bountiful information about this marvellous family.
Go to

A language of laughter

Seona Smiles
Thursday, July 09, 2015
The "unsmiling Indian" was nowhere to be seen at the fourth Kaise Baat held at the University of the South Pacific last week. Nor, for that matter, were petulant iTaukei, grumpy Europeans or unsociable others.
Kaise baat is a popular exclamation in Fiji Hindi that roughly translates as "what's up or what's happening". It is the title of an annual series that aims to provide a platform for discussions on, in and about Fiji baat — otherwise known as Fiji Hindi.
It is an opportunity for those who know this language, that was born in Fiji's plantations and lives across all Fiji cultures today, to celebrate a valid, vivid, dynamic linguistic heritage.
In the past these events have involved serious academic papers, literature, traditional music, song and dance and other insights into this unique Fiji language.
This year the event looked at Fiji Hindi humour with a program that hilariously undermined the myth of the "unsmiling Indian" of Fiji found in writing by authors from James Michener to Paul Theroux, among others.
The magic of the event was that it involved as many people of non-Fiji Indian ethnicity as those who learnt Fiji baat at their amma's knee — and many who happily swung between baat, iTaukei and English languages with as much ease and enjoyment as the mirth inducing moments allowed.
This ability to crack the joke multilingually was led by the bati ni tharia, Nimilote Naisorotabua and Nemani Bainivalu, who brought their wisecracking style from the iTaukei language television show, Bati ni Tanoa.
Following that lively tradition, a group of students from USP Labasa Campus who formed the Cheenikum/Sukalailai Theatre Troupe threw around some seriously comic dialogue in three languages that also conveyed stern health advice.
The troupe found academics and linguists an easier audience to play to than diabetes patients queueing for medicines in the crowded health centre (who probably wished they had eaten better and exercised more before they got sick) and brought the house down with a scene from Adhuraa Sapnaa — Ank Do Drishyq Ek (Act 2 Scene 1) by the late Raymond Pillai.
The course of tracing Indo-Fijian humour from folk traditions to digital renderings also involved roof-raising folk music (bidesia/pachra) with Rakesh Chand Bobby and Group, some witty Bollywood freestyle mash up by the Masti Arts dancers and a great performance by the still-great Jimmy Subhaydas, Eddie Wilson and their musicians.
Subhaydas was an immensely popular singer of iTaukei songs as well as in Hindi before retiring to his village on Ovalau to fish.
Eddie Wilson rocked the program to a close with an all-time favourite from way back, Ek Hans Kajora.
According to writer and philosopher John Ralston Saul, multilingualism remains the source of movement and growth in a civilisation. It is the role of writers and intellectuals to carry words, images, emotions and ideas back and forth between languages.
He also says comedy is the least controllable use of language and therefore the most threatening to people in power.
So it must have been a rather subversive gathering to explore multilingual humour, although the Minister for Education, Heritage and Arts and National Archives of Fiji, Dr Mahendra Reddy, opened the program with some well chosen words in English about the need to preserve Fiji baat and how it was common currency between ethnic groups.
With my limited ability in Fiji baat and iTaukei languages, I missed some of the best jokes of the evening. I am more in the category of providing the humour when I try to join family discussions in the vernacular.
Teaching me to pronounce the word "horse" (goddha) in Hindi is considered hysterically funny and leads me to sound like an out of work cheerleader auditioning for a squad by demonstrating how well I can say "drah, drah, drah".
Not to mention how I seriously confused the dog by apparently shouting "hornet, hornet" at him when I thought I was telling him to go "outside, outside" and other such incidents.
It's enough to turn a single language speaker mute.
But even I have picked up many of the words in common currency and according to my daughters, who are the products of a multilingual household, most Fiji people can understand the other languages enough to know the swears, get the rude jokes at the bus stop and speak enough to tease their cousins.
Jolly good, because John Ralston Saul says if we always act in a respectable manner, then comedy is dead. People (except perhaps for heads of governments and those in charge of financial policies) shouldn't worry about sounding responsible every time we open our mouths, because gravity is a lot less useful than irresponsible inquiry.
So if Fiji baat seems a bit funny to those people who promote "proper" Hindi — which also has its place, no doubt — we need to also feel proud of it and be able to celebrate this richly nuanced idiom that has infiltrated the first languages of us all to add vibrancy and colour to our everyday speech.
* The views expressed are the author's and not of this newspaper.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Ratu Epeli is a real gentle man

from w
We met Ratu Epeli at a function in Melbourne and he presented as a really nice man, a gentle man, at ease with people, with no arrogance or sense of his position as President. This article also shows this - about his 74th birthday this week.
Fiji Sun:

Ratu Epeli: ‘I Started As Waiter’

Ratu Epeli: ‘I Started As Waiter’
July 04
President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau revealed yesterday he started as a waiter at Government House.
He had just joined the then Royal Fiji Military Forces and one of his assignments was to serve dignitaries entertained by the then Governor Sir Kenneth Maddocks
Ratu Epeli was reminiscing on his early days in the RFMF as he celebrated his 74th birthday two days early, four months away from the expiry of his presidential term. He  flew to Tonga later to attend the royal coronation in Nukualofa.
It was also the reason senior Republic of Fiji Military Forces officers led by Commander Brigadier-General Mosese Tikoitoga gave him an early morning surprise visit and wished him happy birthday.
As he rose through the ranks, he was aide-de-camp to Governors Sir Robert Foster and Sir Derek Jakeway.
While Government House became a familiar place, he said he never thought that one day he would occupy it.
He remembered the neatly-manicured lawns and the Victorian architecture of Government House. They have been preserved until today.
Ratu Epeli and other soldiers were sent to Government House as waiters for functions.
“As I entered the kitchen, the Butler directed me to the glasses that needed washing, drying and put on a tray.
“We were told where to stand and not to let guests wait for their drinks.
“No, I never thought I’d be here one day,” he said looking around the compound.
Ratu Epeli was in his track pants ready for the morning exercise when the military delegation arrived and serenaded him.
He said: “You almost missed me. I was just getting ready to go out for my morning walk.”
It was cakes and champagne for the officers and their Commander in Chief as the RFMF band played a few numbers.
Every year the RFMF celebrates the birthdays of their former commanders.
Yesterday’s early celebrations took place because Ratu Epeli will be in Tonga on his birthday. He turns 74 tomorrow.

The Labasa Rotary Club assistance

from w

Club looks to assist more projects

Luke Rawalai
Monday, July 06, 2015
THE Labasa Rotary Club has spent more than $252,000 to assist 11 community projects in the Northern Division.
Speaking during the club's annual general meeting on Saturday, club treasurer Yogeshwar Chand said they would look at assisting more projects this year.
Meanwhile, re-elected club president Ami Kohli said since taking up the role this year he intended to take the club to another level.
"Currently we are expecting a grant of $250,000 New Zealand money from Rotary International," he said.
"If the grant really comes our way it will be a great help for the people in Labasa and those living in remote areas.
"We have to sit with the club to identify projects that we can work on but right now some of the projects that we have identified are the construction of public convenience and resting facility between Savusavu and Seaqaqa."
Mr Kohli said the absence of such a facility might be a contributing factor to tired drivers who make the long trip daily along the highway.
"We have other big plans including the refurbishment of wards at the Labasa Hospital," he said.
"We at the Labasa Rotary Club here in Labasa would also like to assure members of the public that there will be increasing overseas medical specialist visits to the North in the future.
"It is good to have these specialists home to share their experience and professional know how in assisting the people of the North."
The Labasa Rotary Club plays hosts to visiting medical teams including catering for them and providing teams with accommodation.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Brij Lal still banned

from w
I think it is appalling to ban Brij Lal and his wife from going back to Fiji. They are both outstanding people and it is vicious and vindictive to say their case cannot be considered.  They are not criminals but people who do care for Fiji. Story from Fiji Times.

Stay out

Vuniwaqa Bola-Bari
Saturday, July 04, 2015
THE decision to ban academic Prof Brij Lal from Fiji was the Government's collective view and one it won't reverse.
Minister of Defence, Timoci Lesi Natuva confirmed this yesterday following allegations by the National Federation Party that the decision to maintain the ban was made by the Prime Minister's Office and not independently by the Ministry of Defence, National Security and Immigration.
"The directive comes from Government, it's a decision made by Government, a collective decision so we stand by the decision already been made and if they're thinking of coming for another application it's just a waste of time," Mr Natuva said.
"We will not change our decision. He's already applied and we denied the application."
NFP leader Prof Biman Prasad labelled the ban as a mockery of Fiji's democracy and the conduct of Government.
Mr Prasad said the decision was conveyed to Prof Lal by assistant immigration director Edward Brown, after the couple paid $380 to apply for a lift on the ban.
The party alleged that the Lals were to some extent given positive feedback of re-entering the country through electronic email exchanges between Mr Natuva and the Immigration Department.
On November 24 last year, an email sent from the minister to Prof Lal stated the director of immigration had confirmed the Lals could travel to Fiji but it was also advisable that they contact the director Nemani Vuniwaqa or his deputy Mr Brown.
On December 15, the Lals were informed that their names were still on the "controversial list" that had been given by the Prime Minister's Office.
That e-mail from Mr Brown also confirmed the immigration department's intention to write to the PM's Office to seek comment and endorsements on whether the names should remain on the list or not.
In his correspondence, Prof Lal said he had been offered an academic position at the Solomon Islands National University but the acceptance of the offer largely depended on whether his wife, Padma was able to travel to Fiji.
"It is undeniably a breach of fundamental rights of two former Fiji citizens who are banished from the land of their birth for defending democracy and human rights, we want the Prime Minister to come out and tell the truth about this travel ban," Mr Prasad said.
"The FijiFirst Government is hounding him like a common criminal; this is utterly insulting not only to Prof Lal and his wife but to all right-thinking and law abiding citizens and to the Indo-Fijian community whose historical background right from the days of indenture has been well researched ad documented by Prof Lal," Mr Prasad said.

The King of Tonga is crowned

Go to this website of the Age for a video of the coronation of the King of Tonga.\