The challenges of our time

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

We live in a great time. 

A time defined by amazing technology and super intelligent humans. 

Yes we have so many smart people with many brilliant ideas. There are experts in all sorts of different things – depending on what you’re after – there is always an expert to help you achieve it. 

It’s wonderful isn’t it? 

The dilemma is that despite the mounting number of experts we have, the world’s problems don’t seem to be decreasing. If anything, we live at a time defined by problems, problems and more problems.

Samoa is no exception.

Everyday, there are meetings after meetings, consultations after consultations, framework of this and that and those countless workshops are taking place. Why are they necessary? Because people are trying to address these problems. That’s where experts are sharing their knowledge and how they can be applied to these issues. It could be any issue, social, economic, political, spiritual or any other and you will observe this trend. We are talking about meetings on end.

In Samoa today, there is no doubt that there are many great intentions when it comes to the issues we face. That explains the multiple meetings every week.

But it’s hard to ignore the fact that we are not addressing any of these problems at all. If anything, they seem to be deteriorating

So what are we doing wrong? Why is it that after a gazillion meetings, workshops, conventions, seminars or whatever you prefer to call them, nothing seems to change? Why have things become considerably bad despite so much effort to change them for the better? 

Where are we missing it? What are we not doing right?

There are many answers. The one point we feel is worth highlighting in this instance is that life and its challenges involve real people with real problems. Which means the solutions we are looking for should also be real and tangible solutions, not the feel-good ones that allow us to tick the boxes at the workshops.

Ultimately, the goal is to translate what is being achieved at these meetings, workshops and what have you so that it will have an impact on ordinary people whose lives are affected by it. 

If these things don’t make a difference at the grassroots level, what’s the point? Who cares about what fancy name you give to a workshop and how flash the venue it is held at?

Which brings us to Samoa. We find that a lot of the time the talk about issues beats around the bush too much. We come up with all this fancy talk to try and hide the reality of our problems when they are so glaringly obvious to see.

Take the issue of poverty and hardship for instance. What are we doing about poverty here? What is the government doing about those poor people apart from singing along to someone else’s tune about eliminating poverty? 

Hardship is real in Samoa. Look at the growing number of beggars and young children resorting to a life of petty crime and street menacing? Are those not signs of poverty?

What about job creation? Are there enough jobs in Samoa? If the answer is no, what is the government doing to create more jobs?

These questions are not new. They have been around for ages and yet they have never been adequately addressed. And there has been no shortage of talking about them too.

The problem we see is that certain people are only there to protect their own interests. That’s why they love this system of having talkfests, getting the boxes ticked with one workshop after another, going to this and that meeting and so forth. 

And yet real people with real problems continue to suffer. We see them everyday. Now let’s be reminded here that poverty and hardships are hurting our people, resulting in many of our social problems – including violence and other petty crimes. 

Those women and children suffering from domestic violence is a direct consequence of society’s failure to address poverty and hardship. We can have this and that commemoration but at the end of the day those women will have to go home to their banged up husbands who are stressed out from earning lousy money for all their work. This is one of the real issues.

And we believe the government should take the lead to address them. 

Start by stopping corruption, sending the perpetrators to jail and then they use some of that money to pay these men well so they don’t take their frustrations out on their wives and children.

The church should help out too. It should stop demanding from church goers and instead give a little. What’s the point of those monstrous church buildings when people are crying in their sleep because they are tired of being robbed using the name of God? 

The truth is, many people are struggling to put food on the table because of the lack of income. What is happening now is the gap between the rich and poor in Samoa is getting wider and there is a deep sense of frustration boiling beneath the service. It’s a disaster waiting to happen – as a matter of fact, we are already seeing the result. 

That’s what we think anyway, what about you?

Have great Thursday Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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