Letters To The Editor, 27th, January 2017

Let’s cut back our yaqona consumption and help our families Dr Apo Aporosa,  Kava Health Researcher, The University of Waikato, New Zealand While I admit that some are spending time
27 Jan 2017 13:59
Letters To The Editor, 27th, January 2017
Letter To The Editor

Let’s cut back our yaqona consumption and help our families

Dr Apo Aporosa,

 Kava Health Researcher,

The University of Waikato, New Zealand

While I admit that some are spending time drinking yaqona at the expense of family members and family commitments, and the excessive use of any food or drink can have negative impacts, this story though needs to be put into perspective.

Of key concern is that this article includes a large amount of emotive language which infers ‘dangers’ associated with kava that simply do not exist.

For instance, the recent World Health Organisation (WHO) kava risk assessment report makes it clear that “excessive or over-consumption” of yaqona does not cause “liver problems and associated health issues” as you report.  The WHO report states: “On balance, the weight-of-evidence from both a long history of use of kava beverage and from the more recent research findings indicates that it is possible for kava beverage to be consumed with an acceptably low level of health risk.”

(Abbot, 2016, p.26)  Additionally, I understand that Dr Waqainabete and colleagues (CWM Hospital, Suva) report liver abscesses in young male yaqona drinkers.

This though is the result of poor quality water and ‘not’ yaqona. Additionally, the article mentions kanikani – ‘dry skin and rashes.’

While kanikani may be unpleasant for some to look at, this does not make it a ‘health issue’ or ‘concern’ as kanikani subsides after kava cessation without lingering effects.

Again, I am aware that the excessive use of any food or drink can have negative effects.  However, there appears to be a desire by the media to over-inflate yaqona related cause-and-effects that do not exist.

Another example of this is through generalisation.  For instance, the article states, “Excessive kava use leads to loss of strength, mobility and direction.”

I drink yaqona most days, and did so while attaining a Masters and PhD and now I work in a high pressure role as a university researcher.  I get up early and I meet my commitments just as many other successful yaqona drinkers do.

It is not yaqona that makes people lazy and lose direction, it is self-discipline.  The focus must be on personal accountability, not our wainivanua.

Finally, drug expert Mike Jay writes that drugs have been used by societies for millennia and that when one drug is removed, another quickly replaces it.

Fiji should count their blessings that we have a substance that has minimal health impacts and even when users are mateni (‘doped’), they are not aggressive and can still make good decisions.

We need to count our blessings that alcohol is not the ‘social drink’ of Fiji, a substance that is associated with antisocial behaviour and violence, and a drink that causes billions, yes, billions of dollars in lost productivity every years in the USA together with overburdening accident and emergency services and causing “major social problems… serious concern” in families.

All I am asking for is more accuracy about kava health impacts and greater balance in kava reporting.

Yes, challenge Fijians to increase productivity, be more productive and care for their families, but do not make yaqona, our icon of identity, the scape-goat in the drive for betterment.


India Republic Day

Neelz Singh,  Lami

Congratulations and best wishes for the peace and prosperity of India. Republic Day is celebrated in India on January 26, every year.

Fiji and India has the pleasure to note that the long-existing friendly ties and good co-operation between the two countries have exchanged visits at all levels, as well as co-operation in many areas.

The successful visit of the Indian Prime Minister and officials has significantly contributed to upgrading the friendly ties between the two countries to greater heights.

I hope that the Indian government will continue to support and assist Fiji in many sectors as well.

Once again Happy Republic Day to the Indian government and the entire friendly people of the Republic of India on the occasion of the 67th Anniversary of the National Day.


Higher education path

Neelz Singh,  Lami

The time is now for senior students from high school to venture into tertiary education. Students find themselves streaming into programmes like certificate, diploma, and degree level courses.

Make sure the institution, you choose is full registered and recognised under the Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC).

There are sciences, or arts or trade and many more levels or courses that come with different fees and other costs as well. While choosing a higher education path, just be careful with the type of information you get and always cross check with the duration of the programme that suits your budget and harness the best out of you.

Pick a career that suits your potential and can get the most of your abilities and capabilities. You are talented and your hobbies or grades will determine which way to steer your career path.

If not then seek career counseling.

Here the lifelong learning is the continued educational experience that utilises non-credit academic courses, educational travel, and community service and volunteerism to fully engage the brain, heighten physical activity, and maintain healthy social relationships are fully cultivated.

Here’s to wishing all students who are venturing into a tertiary field of their choice the best of luck.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj


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