Elder says culture erosion an issue

By Sarafina Sanerivi and Ilia L Likou ,

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HOLD ON TO OUR CULTURE AND HERITAGE: Salaifulu Lavata’i from the village of Atoi Fagaloa.

HOLD ON TO OUR CULTURE AND HERITAGE: Salaifulu Lavata’i from the village of Atoi Fagaloa.

Changes in societies are inevitable. But, not all of us can see them. 

But you’ve lived for more than 70 years, spotting the changes are as clear as daylight. 

That is the case for Salaifulu Lavata’i, a 76 year old father from the village of Atoi Fagaloa. 

Speaking to the Village Voice yesterday, Salaifulu said that life in Samoa is not the same anymore. 

“I am very saddened with all the changes we have in Samoa,” he said. 

“This is because our culture, especially our fa’aaloalo (respect) is fading away. 

 “Life is changing so fast especially with a lot of changes from overseas influencing our Samoan way of life.”

He went on to say that the main aspect of our culture that is slowly dying is respect.

“We are very respectful people. That is one important aspect of our culture and way of life. But if we compare the behaviors of our people nowadays to the past, you can’t help but shake your head. 

“It’s not the same anymore, especially with our youths. Most of them don’t respect the elders anymore. They don’t listen to their parents and the language used nowadays is just inappropriate. 

“This problem is spreading like a disease and it will continue to spread if we don’t do anything about it.

“Another change is that most of our children nowadays do not know how to do Samoan chores. They waste time on useless things.”

Asked about what he thinks is the main cause of the problem, Salaifulu said: “Anything and everything starts at home.”

“Home is where everything begins. And when parents don’t do their job well, their children will end up with these kinds of behaviors. 

“Parents should devote more time with their children and keep reminding them about how they should live their lives. 

“Their main role is to show them the right path and they should never stop telling them to do the right thing.

“The parents should focus on straightening the behaviors of their children and teach them about our culture and our way of life.

“And if they don’t their job, the children will continue on with this behavior and that means we will lose our culture forever. 

“Children are the future of our families, villages and country. Bring them up well and they will be great leaders, and if not, we will suffer.” Finally, Salaifulu said the main solution for this problem is found at home. 

“We should go back to our roots. 

“Family is the foundation of any child’s life. If we work together as a family and as a community to build strong foundations for our children, this problem will be solved. 

“We need to uphold our culture and heritage and this can be done if we all work together and help build strong foundations for the future of our country.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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