Opinion: Fiji’s bula spirit is alive

The staff members of Nabua Secondary School at Beachcomber Island during their retreat and break up party. Picture: SUPPLIED

On Saturday November 26, the staff of Nabua Secondary School made a trip to Beachcomber Island for a staff retreat.

There was so much sparkle and excitement as Denarau hosted visitors since the gloomy days arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

I visited Denarau on numerous occasions at the height of the pandemic last year, and I was saddened with what I saw.

The ghastly images, which were evident last year because of no tourists and lack of visitors, were no longer visible as we faced a huge crowd which was ready to explore and enjoy the fun and glamour on the islands.

The boats, that departed Denarau, were packed with local and overseas guests, and I thank the staff of Beachcomber Island for the lovely hospitality.

The staff did their level best to ensure services were provided with ease despite the crowd.

The presence of international guests changed things as they brought back memories pre-COVID.

I admired the courage and strength of those involved in the tourism industry.

Two years of bleak future and now things look to be going on track with the fact that Fiji’s bula spirit is alive.

It is important to join hands and promote our beloved Fiji to tourists overseas.

It is also important to take good care of visitors to our shore.

‘Word-of-mouth’ advertisement is a powerful tool in attracting tourists to our doorsteps.

Every effort must be taken by all stakeholders, including ordinary Fijians to revive the tourism industry.

Congratulations in order

Congratulations to long serving sports administrator Patrick Bower and ‘Super mum’ Salome Tabuatalei, who currently holds the Fiji records for the women’s 1500m, 3000m and 10,000m and half a marathon, which were set in the ’90s, for being conferred the Fiji Olympic Order medal and for being inducted into the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame, respectively, during the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame at GPH.

The Fiji Olympic Order, which was introduced in 2001 to recognise and honour the great work that sports administrators, coaches and officials do, and I’m glad that Patrick and Salome, who have contributed immensely to the development of sports, were recognised for their efforts.

Bower and Salome have been phenomenal athletes and contributed towards sports.

I warmly congratulate the duo on this historic achievement!

Fond memories from Cape Town

Reckon it – the Cape Town 7s experience is going to be big and bold!

The HSBC Cape Town 7s, which is the best sporting event in the country, is set to rock at the DHL Stadium which is synonymous with great sporting events.

As the triumphant Blitzboks settled back into the city after their fourth successive victory in the Dubai 7s, the supporting cast was also tuning up for another three days of Mother City magic.

The Mother City is ready to host another round of fast pace, exciting and breathtaking rugby.

The hosts are ready to explode and are over the moon to welcome on board in what promises to be something different and exciting altogether.

I find the Cape Town 7s more than just the game I love so much.

The tournament is about bringing together people from across the cities and provinces, and even further afield, to celebrate their shared passions and heritage.

Congratulations to the Blitzboks for winning the Dubai-leg as South Africans are looking forward to welcoming fans in Cape Town.

The Fiji Airways men’s 7s side has epic memories of its last visit to the Rainbow Nation, having won the Melrose Cup after breaking a 17-year-old drought, defeating the All Blacks 7s 29-12.

Fiji last won the Cape Town 7s tournament in 2018, outclassing the US Eagles 29-15.

The All Blacks 7s are the defending champions, having narrowly beaten the hosts 7-5 in the final.

Fiji is pooled with South Africa, France and Canada.

I’m hopeful our boys will rise from the ashes and deliver a phenomenal performance to win in Cape Town.

2022 World Cup quarters set to roll

The 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals are set to roll and the eight remaining teams have a trophy ceremony within sight as the world’s largest international soccer tournament winds down.

The action will begin on Saturday morning with Brazil v Croatia and then Argentina v Netherlands battles.

On Sunday morning, underdogs Morocco will take on Portugal after which England and France will come head-to-head.

The favorites to win are Brazil, Argentina, Portugal, England and France.

Argentina is a two-time World Cup champion and this is likely to be Lionel Messi’s last chance to win soccer’s biggest prize, but the Albicelestes must not give too much room to the Netherlands to attack.

Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia 1-2, but bounced back from that humiliating defeat.

The Brazilians, on the other hand, are the top-ranked team in world football entering the WC and they’ve done little to dissuade that opinion, knocking off Serbia and Switzerland in the group stage before defeating South Korea 4-1 in the round of 16.

Brazil has a roster full of world-class athletes who play their club football with some of the best teams in the world.

The five-time champions have looked like a team of destiny as they look to end a 20- year drought.

Wrapping up the group stage early with a pair of wins allowed them to rest key starters against Cameroon, which helped them look fresh against South Korea.

France, which is the defending champion and won the WC in 1998, looks strong with Kylian Mbappe in sizzling form!

Portugal defied all odds to make it into the quarters with a re-sounding 6-1 thrashing of Switzerland, and should dispose Morocco easily.

England, which last won the WC trophy in 1966 in its backyard, is also in fine form.

The disappointing fourth finish in Russia and losing to Italy in penalties in the final of the 2020 Euro should inspire and challenge Gareth Southgate’s men to go a step better.

I’m restless, and I can’t wait for Selecao Canarinho to get the ball rolling.

I was a trainee teacher at the Fiji College of Advanced Education in 2002 when Brazil last won the WC, defeating Germany 2-0.

Ronaldo scored two mesmerising goals.

Those were the glory days of Cafu, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Dida, Lucio, Kaka and Ronaldinho.

Since then Brazil has yet to taste victory.

It has been Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

All the best to Brazil which is playing for legendary Brazil football star Pele who is not well!

I also wish Pele quick recovery!

Prizes galore at annual awards day

A school’s annual awards day is very much looked forward to by the prize recipients and their parents and loved ones.

Times have changed and the prizes that we received (story books and stationery set) used to be neatly wrapped in brown paper or newsprint and labeled neatly.

Trophies and medals were rare.

Today’s generation is so lucky.

Huge trophies, USBs, shining medals, mobile phones, laptops and other gadgets are on most school’s prize-giving menu.

Plus then, there used to be media coverage, but not to that extent.

Today, I salute The Fiji Times and Kaila! newspaper team for reaching out to remote schools and covering school’s annual awards day.

A lot of hearttouching, motivational and inspirational stories were shared via the Kaila! newspaper.

It shows the hard yards students put in to achieve success.

In fact, many adhere to the old adage – hard work is the key to success – and that rewards do not come easy, but require commitment, passion, patience, the hunger to achieve desired targets and standards, determination and dedication.

Congratulations and kudos to all prize getters!

Spend the festive season with positive thoughts 

As we approach the festive season, I urge Fijians to be positive.

Let us spend this year’s festive season with positive thoughts!

I also urge every Fijian to exercise his/her democratic right and cast his/ her vote on December 14.

The opportunity to choose your government comes once in four years, and we should not let go of the opportunity.

Please come out of your comfort zone and cast your vote!

God bless Fiji!

 

• RAJNESH LINGAM is a regular contributor to this newspaper. The views expressed are the author’s and do not reflect the views of this newspaper.

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