Matai system can help urban dwellers

Some people living in urban Upolu could learn from Savaii in terms of maintaining stability and order. 

That’s the opinion of Tofilau Pio, from Savaii, who says the village system of governance could help control some of the more rowdy young people in town.

With drunkards wreaking havoc in the town area some times, the 54-year-old says this could easily be resolved with a good hierarchal structure, such as the one in the villages.

“The way I see it, the government should strengthen the power of the village leaders in the urban villages so there will be order just like here in Savaii,” he told the Village Voice.

“Everything is well here in Savaii and the same can be said for villages further from the town areas. The thing is with villages in Savaii, we honour the strength of the matai and that’s where order comes from.”

Compared to villages in Savaii, villages in Upolu’s urban areas seem more like the wild west than an island paradise.

“In many villages here in Savaii, there aren’t many rowdy people causing trouble,” Tofilau said.

“In the urban villages of Upolu, you have a lot of people walking around drunk at night making so much noise; we don’t have that here because we have order.

“You see how important the village hierarchal system is? It keeps everything together so that everyone can live peacefully.”

Tofilau feels that the government should intervene to bring more order to the urban villages.

“That’s my only request to the government,” he said.

“We need them to go around and experience the need for stronger village leaders in their urban villages. We have so many troublesome young people around that need to be set straight.

“Parents should also make an effort to help their children. If they truly love their children and want to help them, then they need to help deal with their bad attitude.”

While there are many opportunities in Upolu for the younger generation in terms of education, parents from Savaii are hesitant to send their children because they fear the influence of the urban youth.

“These days I have noticed that our old village ways are being brushed aside in Upolu’s urban villages,” Tofilau said.

“The reason why this is happening is because this generation of children has no interest in how things should be. Even their parents who refuse to teach them the way of the Samoan is at fault.

“The youth just do what they want with no questions asked. We here in Savaii are scared to send our children to Upolu because when they go they just don’t care about what we have taught them.

“The villages there needs more order.”

His message to the youth is that they should remember that they carry their family name and the whole family will be affected if they do something bad.

“What the young people don’t understand is that in these days, if you do good or bad, your parents are the ones whose name will be affected,” Tofilau said.

“People will ask, who’s the father of that person or whose child is that? We need to empower our village councils so that the children can be taught at home and as they roam around.

“Here in Savaii, none of that nonsense behaviour will slide. That’s because everyone here understands the importance of the village leaders and what the consequences are for doing bad.”

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