In these tough times, everybody needs a hand, an encouraging word

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

We know this much cannot be denied. Times are tough. Physically, mentally, financially, spiritually and socially. And this is not confined to Samoa. 

It’s the same thing happening all over the world, to the smallest and the biggest of countries. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. There are different outbreaks of sorts; people are dying from starvation, poverty and natural disasters, depending on wherever they are. 

While people in one corner of the world are being swept to their deaths by raging floodwaters; in other parts of the world droughts kill indiscriminately. Record temperatures are being recorded elsewhere, depending on the location. While it has never been hotter in some places, elsewhere it has never been colder. It’s crazy. 

Looking at the world’s economic development, it’s hard not to be concerned. Think about the state of some of the world’s strongest economies – including the United States and China. Even they’re struggling. The fear is that if those countries are struggling, what hope is there for smaller economies like ours?

The political system is also increasingly under attack. Think of the political upheaval in countries near and far being torn apart by strife, wars, corruption, betrayal and the deadly abuse of power. Look at the developments in the United States with President Trump, in Russia with Putin and with most of the world’s superpowers. 

Here in Samoa, we are not immune. There is uneasiness about some of the latest political developments in this country. There is fear about the ongoing dispute between the Church and the Government, two of the most powerful institutions in this country. There are concerns about corruption and abuse of power in churches and villages.

But it doesn’t stop there. With every single day, we continue to watch the slow but sure erosion of our cultural and religious values. We see and hear it in everyday language, we know from the va tapuaia that is no longer there between man and woman. These values are instead being replaced by a new kind of thinking, motivated by evil and driven by money, greed, material wealth and lust for power.

The* tragedy is that every time the going gets tough, there are sad consequences.

Confronted by one problem after another, mankind is finding that he doesn’t have the ability to cope. So what does he do? Well, in some cases, he resorts to the unthinkable by committing the ultimate act of ending his life. We’ve seen this in the country. Think of the number of suicide cases during the past few months. There have been far too many.

But that’s not the only symptom of a sick world we are living in today. In some cases, man has taken out his frustration on his wife, children and the people around him. That’s why cases of murder, abuse and domestic violence are among the biggest challenges facing the world today.

Some people turn to alcohol as if it’s the solution to everything. And when you’ve had one too many drinks, well we don’t need to tell you what happens.

Others turn to a life of crime, a life where they seek to discover themselves through all sorts of wrongdoing. So they live a life based on stealing, robbery and consumption of illicit drugs. 

So where are we going from here? What can we do to make this country a better place? Is there a solution to all these problems? 

Well there is no one size fits all solution. In times like these, we need to look at the pillars of our society. We need to get back to finding out who we are. To move forward, we need to step back a bit to rediscover ourselves. We need to look to the pillars of our community.

• Who are we?

• Where do we come from? 

• What do we stand for?

• Where are our family values?

• What about the Churches? Do they have a role to play?

• Where are the Village Councils and our matai system? 

• What about the families? What has happened there?

• Where does our culture come into play?

• What about the government? Does it have a role to play? Can people find refuge with them?

Looking at what’s happening today, it’s hard not to be alarmed. 

But in difficult times such as what we are seeing today, people need to find refuge, comfort, help and real solutions when they look to their leaders. They don’t need to be insulted, hurt and rejected.

They need love, care and strong words of encouragement. Why don’t you try and encourage or help someone today? Tell them something nice. You don’t know how much that would mean to that person. Go on, try it!

 

* Taken from a piece penned by the writer titled “Encourage someone, help somebody” two years ago.


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