The faasamoa (Samoan culture and way of life) has nothing to do with the struggles of today. The problem lies with us – the people.
So says 65-year-old Lua Pule, a father and grandfather of Si’ufaga, Savai’i.
Lua says we need to do away with the mentality that fa’alavelave contributes to our daily problems.
“People think the main reason behind our struggles today is our culture,” Lua told the Village Voice.
“They also think that culture means hardships that could lead to many problems and pressures that we encounter every day.”
Lua says people make life expensive.
“It’s us, when we look closely to many fa’alavelave, when it comes to vailolo, we change the coconuts to soft drinks and it costs us a lot of money,” he said.
“I mean almost everything in our culture has changed because we create the change.
“Personally, it’s the kind of poor mentality that we should get rid of before it’s too late, it will fall back on our shoulders especially on our children.”
He takes his village as an example.
“In our village we are still practicing the traditional way of living because we believe it does not add a lot of burden on the villagers,” Lua adds.
“As I’ve mentioned earlier, our culture has nothing to do with the hardships of today, the problem is us, and we are trying to compare ourselves to those who live in New Zealand and Australia.
“But it is good for our people who live in overseas countries because the expensive cost of living in Samoa is worrying.
“We need to stop comparing ourselves to those who live in other states because they are well looked after by those governments.”
Lua added pride also contributed to our daily struggles.
“The other thing that brings physical hardships and emotional stress to our people is the pride within us,” he said.
“Pride never lets us admit our struggles and problems especially when we think we have it all or we can deal with the issues we face.
“I know it’s human nature and our people want to impress others but we must understand that changes have consequences and we’re responsible for the impact it has on our culture.
“The churches, government, and villages including chiefs at all levels need to work together and look into this as soon as possible.
“We created the mess so we need to deal with it and we need to go back to the good old days – it’s cheaper!”