Theft from bottom up the real problem

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Dear Editor,

Thank you for your editorial titled “Corruption breeds poverty and hardship. They in return produce thieves.”

I was once told by a fellow palagi who has lived in Samoa for a few years, that Samoa is a country without conscience, which I think hits the nail on the head.

I fail to see how the widespread petty theft that happens is a result of the governments widely reported corruption in the top down scenario, but think it is more of a bottom up situation where kids and the youth are taught that it is OK to steal.

There is no remorse about breaking one of the 10 commandments in a now legally mandated Christian country, not even when getting caught results in either stony silence hoping that the inconvenience will go away or all sorts of theatrics and crocodile tears in order to get off.

It is rare to hear the word sorry in these situations either, which seems strange to a palagi, but I guess if these morally corrupt Christian Samoans have convinced themselves that Samoan law, the 10 commandments (God’s law), or societies intrinsic morals do not apply, then as Elton John one said “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”.

Anyway, once Sunday comes, it is off to the church to have all these obviously false truths preached to them, forgiveness taken, ready for a new week of sinning.

Bottom up is a much bigger problem than top down, where the corruption grows from one individual and is worst at the source and dissipates further down the line, as opposed to being bred into the majority of the population who go onto these positions of power where their lost moral compass allows them to serve themselves while convincing their supporters they are doing right by them. Such supporters know that one day they may get the opportunity to line their pockets if they continue to serve their corrupt masters, enjoying the crumbs that fall from their snouts as they gorge themselves.

Personally, my experience as an employer and living amongst Samoans in a village environment has cooed me to give up on ever thinking that I can really trust anyone here, half expecting to be screwed over one way or another. I have no answer to this issue other than as a parent to instill my son with the moral compass that he will see theft and deceit in the same light as I do.

I do despair that my acceptance of the corruption that comes through understanding the Samoan environment would dictate that I too am now corrupted. Who knows what moral atrocities lie ahead for me.

 

K.S.P.

Samoa

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