Island News

Why people love Dinesh Singh?

Written By : NANISE VOLAU. He may look like a regular farmer from the interior of Naitasiri, but Dinesh Singh is more than that. Some people say when you leave
29 Aug 2009 12:00

Written By : NANISE VOLAU. He may look like a regular farmer from the interior of Naitasiri, but Dinesh Singh is more than that.
Some people say when you leave in a country, you need to first learn the language, the taste of the food, its customs and most importantly the life style.
Known to many as Bui, his appearance shows the man has been through a lot.
Being raised in multi-cultural community Bui knows what struggle is all about and how to make ends meet in a day.
He hails from Veivatuloa in Namosi and Bui shocked visitors at the opening of the Wainadoi Foot Crossing when he was part of the traditional welcome ceremony for the chief guest.
He presented a whale’s tooth (kamunaga) chief guest, Permanent Secretary for Provincial Development and Multi Ethnic Affairs Manasa Vaniqi.
Heads were moved and eyes were raised as Bui spoke his Namosi dialect fluently while presenting the whale’s tooth. His presentation drew the crowd together but the manner in which he delivered the speech left people in awe.
“I volunteered to do it,” he said.
It was then when I discovered that Bui was not from Wainadoi neither from any villages there.
But he referred to be identified a Namosi native as he basically spent all his life working in the farm in Veivatuloa.
It was not long after Bui came to know all the traditional and life style at Wainadoi with his cheerful personality and interest in the Fijian culture.
“We are one and no matter how far we may go our culture and tradition will allow people to identify you,” said Bui.
“I am an Indo-Fijian but I live here in Fiji which means I have to learn and practice the culture and traditions.”
Bui normally walks from one village to another to see whether there is a Fijian ceremony going on.
At times he would hire anyone for $20 to teach him some vernacular specifically used when presenting the whale’s tooth.
But now it’s the other way round people would traditionally approach him to attend a Fijian ceremony just to be involved in the presenting of the kamunaga or the whales tooth.
People from as far as Lami and the central Suva area have sought his help.
He would be hired by some businessman to present the sevusevu during a Fijian funeral or wedding and with diligence Bui would response accordingly.
“It’s always been my dream to present the whales’ tooth when I first attended a Fijian ceremony and yes I stamp my mark and work myself out.
“It was not easy as people would laugh and make fun from one end as I tried all my best to put the words together.
“I would travel form place to place seeking help from my Fijian friends to teach me how to present a sevusevu or a whale’s tooth during a Fijian ceremony.”
Bui’s family is one of two Indo-Fijian families in the predominantly indigenous Fijian settlement.
The latter is such that even indigenous Fijians seek his services at traditional ceremonies.
“I was also called upon to present a sevusevu during the funeral of a policeman in Lami earlier this year,” Bui recalled.
Bui’s family attended almost every social gathering that occurs in the nearby villages of Namosi and Veivatuloa.
He said that his family is so well-versed with the Fijian culture that even his daughter, who is in primary school, is used to weaving mats and making coconut oil.
Being a part time taxi driver helps him build relationships with people from Navua to Lami who moulded him to be the man he is today.
Bui’s family had initially settled at Vuluniwai, about four kilometers the Queen’s Highway.
It was only 14 years ago that his family decided to lease the 150-acre farm at Wailoaloa.
Bui is the fourth youngest in a family of five brothers and a sister and he looks after his 77-year-old mother.
At home his family enjoys every Fijian dish such as rourou, bele cassava, yams and dalo which has been part of their meal every day.
The fact that Bui is well fluent with three languages has made himself a name not only to the people of Wainadoi but around Viti Levu.
His only wish is for people to acknowledge and respect other traditions as well.



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