Letters To The Editor, February 07, 2015

National flag Christopher Griffen, Rakiraki Your comments and editorial on a new flag prompt some remarks. Fiji has been a republic since 1987 so in purely logical terms getting rid
07 Feb 2015 15:14

National flag

Christopher Griffen, Rakiraki

Your comments and editorial on a new flag prompt some remarks.

Fiji has been a republic since 1987 so in purely logical terms getting rid of colonial icons should cause no surprise or alarm. Australia and New Zealand are different because they are still constitutional monarchies. And among other things Maori and Aboriginal icons need to be incorporated not just on logical grounds but emotive ones.

The fact both you and your rival paper (February 5) ran diametrically opposed reports on the response of Fijian chiefs to changes in the flag further points up these two components.

Seen logically, removing icons harking back to monarchy and colonial rule is seen by some as eroding chiefly authority. It was, after all, Victoria to whom power was ceded and in exchange chiefly authority elaborated and reconfigured. Seen emotively, at least for older members of the ethnic Fijian community, it would be the same: not just a severance of emotional political ties but historical Christian ones as as well.

Generation-wise, I suspect very few ethnic Fijians under 30 would mind dumping British icons. How many Fijian households still hang up pictures of the Queen? Ethnicity-wise I suspect even fewer young Indo-Fijians would shed a tear given Indo-Fijian intellectuals have published copiously on the evils of British colonial rule.

As for those elderly Indo-Fijians whose parents were indentured, and who themselves laboured under FSC management, in my experience you might find two views: one in favour of erasing Union Jack remnants, and another much smaller circumspect one which remembers 1987 and 2000, knows racial hegemony, and ironically say British rule was better.

Your editor gave reasons for favouring a palm-tree set against the existing background of blue. Blue because it symbolised the sea; blue because it chimes with the national anthem’s ‘noble banner blue’; blue because it reminds us ‘blue blood’ is the stuff of aristocracy; and blue again because it stands for among other things purity and the spiritual.

The connections are specious. Firstly, in English, colour classifications we speak of sky-blue and sea-green not sea- blue (even though the sea is commonly thought of us as blue). Secondly, why would any republicans want to sing of a ‘noble’ banner blue if nobility and privilege are incompatible with republican equality; and thirdly why compound the contradiction by speaking-up the virtues of blue-blooded aristocracy? And fourthly, to my knowledge (leaving aside Catholic Marian devotion and Hindu house colours) blue is no more symbolic here of the pure and spiritual than yellow, gold, or white.

Finally, in view of the latter, a personal suggestion, follow the Fiji rugby colours. A dark coconut tree on a white background. Clean, simple, elegant, quintessentially Fijian, and evocative of the one thing that unites Fijians of every heritage, generation, and gender Then move on to the anthem and emulate the two best national anthems in the world, those of the French and South African republics. Let Fiji be recognised on both counts.


Union Jack

Ashneel Prasad, Auckland, New Zealand

All this debate going on regarding to change Fiji’s flag or not?

Here’s what I think. Personally, I love the current flag but I also would love to see the Union Jack removed from it. Coming from a long line of Fijians of Indian descent, this Union Jack is a constant taunt and reminder to us, the misdemeanors and hardships that our forefathers had to bear in the long history of Fiji because of it.

I cannot forget that it is because of this same Union Jack for so long, we Fijians of Indian descent didn’t have a proper identity.

For long we were neither Indians nor Fijians. The Union Jack on the flag has to go for good. We have to move forward. A history based on lies and deception is one that I will never endorse. Why lie and bring our forefathers to Fiji, half of them die on the ship because of mistreatment?

And since arriving in Fiji, always fighting for our rights, and always being reminded that we are just visitors in our own house. I don’t want to remember this history. I want a better future where everyone has the equal rights, so that our great grandchildren can look back at the history with pride. Three years back when I demanded in the Fiji’s national newspapers that the Queens head be removed from Fiji’s currency and that the ‘Union Jack’ be removed from the flag – people called me mad, senile, and an unpatriotic outsider (to put it nicely). Now that all the things I forecasted back then is coming true, it seems that I’ll have the last laugh.


North investment

Ravind Chandra Naidu,


Recently, it was mentioned in the news media that about $700 million worth of projects were approved for the construction industry by the authorities in and around Suva City.

It was also revealed that most of the projects will materialise within the next six months.

Interestingly, multi-million dollars of investments are also in pipeline in the tourism belt of the Western Division. This is good news for the national economy and the relevant authorities should be commended for facilitating the same.

However, I believe that same level of prudence and pragmatism should be exercised for developments of a similar magnitude in Vanua Levu.

Though the Government has done its bid for infrastructural development here recently, the fear is that the disparity level between the two main lands would one day be too extreme to bridge.



Amenantave Yaconisau,


Generally, a party includes a man who could speak for the rest.

An official leader chosen by the people. Here we have a case of a writer in this respected newspaper who has become a self appointed promoter for a party perhaps intent on giving an artistic finish to his earlier labours.

Something ought to be done about this. He seems to be sure of himself, sure of his pen, and sure of his thoughts and keeps on referring to what he said before with deep affection for figureheads.


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