Tailasa Bale, a Swami Vivekananda College student, won the United Kingdom Thalassaemia Society 2022 Art Competition earlier this year.
The 18-year-old says he entered the poetry category just to get a participation certificate, but he was overjoyed when he found out he had won.
“When I had seen the list and had seen my name, I was very surprised, I had told him, “Dad I won a competition” – he asked what for and I was like “Dad it’s a global competition, it’s a poetry competition. I was just ecstatic; I was very happy and enthusiastic.”
The young Lau lad has high ambitions, one of which is to continue his late grandfather’s legacy as a lawyer and former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of Fiji.
“I’ll be majoring in law as my grandfather Qoroniasi Bale was a lawyer, he was also the Attorney General of Fiji so I’d like to follow in his footsteps.”
The competition received a record-breaking 747 entries from 49 countries, and Tailasa was declared the winner after eight days of voting and 98,000 views.
This kind of global recognition puts Fiji on the map and demonstrates that Fijian students are just as capable as those in first-world countries.
Tailasa Bale and his family are overjoyed with this achievement, but he is determined that it will be the first of many global achievements.