Happy New Year everyone – one month late but this is my first article for 2018 and it’s nice to be back with maiLife. Lots of changes coming up with the dawn of the New Year, and one notices a definite increase in comments on social media about current contentious issues from persons once silent watchers, but now taking a strong stand on anything and everything printed. Just standing by to see if their names come up for the race in the next general elections! One thing I wish would change though is the general behaviour and manners of some of our drivers – honestly I think some won their drivers licence in their local kati – deliberately driving onto a roundabout even though the line ahead is not moving and totally stopping the traffic on either side of them from moving across is so common that it’s almost expected at each roundabout or traffic hub. The Samabula FNU hub is horrendous for this too. I guess it’s not much use complaining as they simply follow our public servants who drive and park as if they inherited the roads from their grandfathers - but it’s sad to see this commonality and I don’t know where it will end as bad road manners seems to be increasing. Saw a vehicle with ‘Jesus – Know Him before you meet Him’ emblazoned across the back window – very nice, but they were totally blocking the lane into Pratt Street so they could manoeuvre their four wheel drive into the street. I thought ‘poor Jesus – he was proud to ride a donkey but now we have donkeys driving cars, taking His name in vain and being absolutely thoughtless!’ Either change your driving ways or take the sign off your cars please! Reading recently that canecutters will be hired from overseas to cut cane here in Fiji was a bit of a shock but having recently renovated part of our home, we were after someone to come and do some odd jobs once a week without having to hire a contractor for any period of time. Have you ever tried to do that dear reader? I’ve had carpenters say I have to provide the hammer, electric drill, electric saw and planer apart from the nails, timber and paint etc? Or I can hire them from his friend who has them. Scam much! Amazing – my dear late father was a master carpenter and he had tools collected over the years - which my brothers now have - and my dear father kept them oiled and sharpened in a fine large wooden tool box he made himself. But now to be asked to provide them or they cannot come is a great pity, especially when you are willing to pay $75 a day. I’ve also had individuals engaged for a Saturday not turning up or not ringing, or not answering their phones at all – nada – then turn up when you are off to a funeral because they have decided to do so! Maybe they were after beer money. Somehow pride and responsibility seems to be missing with part of our workforce – I think everyone is waiting for that big elusive contract overseas to jump on a plane and fly out of Fiji to work for thousands of dollars per month. And why not, I guess, but I wish respect for oneself and one’s job can be included in the teaching of the various building trades in our institutions. Just to conclude, I’ve put this on social media already but will do so in my column this month in case residents may have missed out on my apology re our barking dogs at night – and usually at the most sensitive hours between 12 – 4am! A little Bach music at night no doubt! Do you have that same problem? What do you do to stop the barking? Please note my plea – HOLMES STREET FLAGSTAFF DOG OWNERS ...... my apologies for the raucous barking at this very moment but if you tied your dogs up at night they wouldn’t be squirming into my fenced property and barking at my dogs from the safety of their ‘free’ positions! No amount of calming my dogs will prevent them from barking at these five intruding dogs who have entered our territory they are supposed to protect. So, as you persist in letting them wander loose around Flagstaff, both day and night, please continue to enjoy their special rendition of ‘Symphony in Dog in D Major’, especially during their midnight to three am prom concerts - which also includes some very heavy metal barking. Free. And from the comfort of your own beds. Enjoy. So it’s not our dogs but the neighbours’ dogs that causes the uproar and midnight rock concert and my continuing apologies to those around me in Flagstaff. I await the arrival of a much looked forward to dog whistle that should solve the problem. You can’t hear it but the dogs can – even the two legged variety! Heads up for fabulous fundraising events and fashion launches – in May get ready for the IWA May Ball, June is the launch of the Fijian Fashion Festival – style beyond boundaries and the Homes of Hope fundraising ball in July – all worthy causes and organisations for us all to support – more information next month.
Have a wonderful month ahead. Pax Vitia.
Mrs BERNADETTE ROUNDS GANILAU is a former radio personality and Member of Parliament. Now retired, she continues with her NGO work and runs her own business.