The pressures of increased traditional contributions and gift giving have been cited as reasons for people suffering hardships as they struggle to meet cultural obligations. Ilia Likou asked for opinions from the community and she got some very frank responses.
Fiti Ioane, Vaitele, 71
Samoans are living in difficult times with lots of hardship because of our culture. We made it (culture) very expensive. Let’s talk about the vailolo. Well back in the days, we used coconuts but that’s not the picture of today. Many families use bottles of wine. It’s a kind of poor mentality that we should get rid of before it’s too late, it will fall back on our shoulders especially our children’s.
Pueata Fealofani, 42, Vailoa
The culture has nothing to do with the hardships of today, the problem is us. We made it difficult, we made giving way too much higher than what we could afford. The government, churches and villages with matai at all levels need to work together and look into this as soon as possible.
Joe Fa’amatala, Vailele, 34
Culture means hardships, and hardship surrounds us every day. Every week, almost every day is a fa’alavelave, and we’re looking at thousands of tala for each fa’alavelave. Yes, our culture is the silent killer nowadays.
Uilaao Tamasese, 59, Tuana’i
You know what brings physical hardship and emotional stress to our people? It’s not our culture, but the pride within us. Pride holds our heads up high even though we feel like dying. So the problem here is us, and we need to look take a look at ourselves closely.
Irae Leuluai, Lalovaea, 52
Absolutely right. Our culture is bringing hardship today. Our people need to bring this issue into our families, churches as well the government and discuss ways to solve the problem. We created the mess so we need to deal with it. Looking at funerals and saofai nowadays, you’re looking at thousands and thousands of tala being loaned from banks almost every week.
Gaga’e Esau, 52, Salamumu
It’s human nature. You know how our people want to impress others. There’s nothing much we can do about it. Changes bring hardships to our country especially our culture. We’re responsible for all of these new changes to our culture.