The Samoan culture is our identity.
Fau Niko, from the village of Salelologa, Savaii, knows that and he believes it is the very reason we should do everything to preserve it.
The 54-year-old told the Village Voice that the cost of many changes in Samoa is being paid through the loss of culture.
“Technology is advancing very fast and it’s changing the Samoan way of life,” he said. “All of a sudden we have a lot of murder cases over such a trivial things; that’s something new to Samoa.
“If I look back in the days, we grew up learning many morals which guided our lives. It was so simple and now look at us. We are trying too hard to be like overseas nations.
“Our culture is really dying and that causes a lot of problems in Samoa.”
The cultural practices he is referring to involve the ava fatafata, respect and love.
Away from the loss of those values, Fau says life in general is going alright. Taking care of his family, catering to all the daily needs are going well due to hard work.
“Savaii and Upolu are very much similar,” he said. “The government has been trying to give Savaii the same things Upolu has. Everything is great, life is great. When it comes to the standard of living, we are the same, when it comes to the cost of living, we are the same.
“Everything is the same.”
As many people complain that things are beginning to get more and more expensive, Fau sees things differently.
“I agree that the prices for everything have been going up but I don’t see that as a problem to be honest,” he said.
“People suffer due to the high cost of living because they don’t try and work harder to afford things. We need to match our work with the increasing cost of living.
“If you prioritize where you spend your strength, it’s not hard to work a little harder to afford the rising prices.
“Yes things were cheaper back in the days but we can’t sit around saying that everything is expensive now. Just work a little harder.”
In terms of poverty in Samoa, Fau says that compared to countries overseas, Samoa is blessed. “The poverty levels in Samoa come nowhere in comparison to overseas,” he said.
“I don’t think we can find anyone in Samoa living on the street with absolutely no where to go; with no food. That’s what you call true poverty; it’s something very common in overseas countries.
“For us in Samoa, we have family in villages to help us with a place to stay, we have food growing everywhere and we have the Lord in our hearts.”