Tuesday, July 29, 2008


SHE could stop you dead in your tracks or make any passerby turn for a second glance as is she normally stared at.

Agnes Pillay, 32, can be found on weekdays with a group of Telecom technicians working in the Nasinu-Suva dressed in her blue and orange overall.

As if that's not enough Agnes stands almost six feet tall so if her height does not catch your attention, the overalls will. Agnes is one of fewer than five female technicians at the Telecom Walu Bay base.

She was born and bred in Labasa, attended Bethal Primary, Sangam and then All Saints Secondary School. Agnes comes from an average family.
Her dad works as a driver for the Public Works Department and her mother is a housewife.

"I come from a family of nine and I am the eldest in the family," she said. "I always wanted to do a man's job and that's what I'm doing but there are other female technicians," she says modestly.
"My family has always been supportive of my work." Agnes began working for Telecom Fiji eight years ago and even then she used to go out on the field with the guys. It was only until she married that she stayed at home for three years but her passion for the job could not keep her away.

Her husband, Parmod, has always been supportive of his wife's career. The couple have two daughters, Shonelle, 8, and Shalom, 5. Agnes is a senior designer with TFL. "I design cable network structures for telephone lines," she said

"I have been back as a technician for two years. "I spent some time in Lautoka then was transferred to Suva only three months ago." Agnes said sometimes the stares from people embarrassed her but the outgoing mother of two fits in very well with her workmates.

"My workmates are very supportive because I'm a female," she said. "Most of them are Fijian and I understand the language."
Throughout the interview, Agnes occasionally replies with "io", "I have lunch with them," she said.

"When we're out on the field sometimes we eat with dirty hands we have to eat," she laughs.
"I thought Suva was modern but the people in the West don't stare at me like the people in Suva do.

"I accept it as a compliment but it some times becomes embarrassing." Agnes reckons she's like any ordinary Fiji-Indian woman. "I'm normal," she said. "I cook and clean. "I love music and I like dancing too. "I love fashion and dressing up.

"You wouldn't recognise me if you saw me in town in casual clothes." When Agnes is at work, she does almost everything the men do including carrying heavy things like a manhole cover. "I can do most of things they do but I'm still learning," she said.

"My work is fun and I fit in very well." Agnes said Shonelle was very proud of her mother and wanted to be like her when she grows up.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online