Remittances, the Prime Minister and Samoa today

Dear Editor,

This debate about remittances is very interesting indeed. The basic concept of the fa’asamoa is faaaloalo, which manifests itself with the concept of give and take.

For thousands of years, the Samoan culture thrived and survived even in the most tested of times when colonialists encroached into the Samoan way of life and attempted to divide the Samoan people and pit them against each other.

At a time when the Samoan people accepted the white man’s church, they embraced the doctrines and incorporated them into their culture ... and the scripture spoke the same language - give and take.....do unto others, what you would like others to do unto you.

And it has become a fact for many many years that families thrive and bond with each other even more like glue, with traditional practices of give and take.

In today’s climate, it is undeniable that this mainstay of the fa’asamoa, is beginning to erode ... the second generation of Samoans overseas might have still had some remnants of the values of the give and take of their emigrated parents, but the third and fourth generations of today, have completely lost the significance of family-centric culture that the Samoan culture embraces.

The economic pursuits of the govt seemingly have pushed many families to adopt foreign values of individualism, not only of those overseas but also that within Samoa.

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Twenty first birthday celebrations for instance have spread like wildfire; the entry into adulthood and independence from parent-hood, the beginning of individualism! 

On the other extreme, people are now trying to find their roots, and the popularity of family reunions in recent years is testament to the fact, that many are still hanging onto the importance of the fa’asamoa and the family-centric setting of give and take.

In light of the prevalent erosion of the fa’asamoa and changing perceptions of the new generations of offshore born Samoans, remittances cannot be relied upon forever by the government to prop up half of their economy, especially when the present government is pursuing economic policies that place indebtedness on the heads of all Samoans, that can become instantly at risk of payments default should remittance changes its face on the government annual revenue.

The PM and his HRPP should be very wary of China’s proffered hand of financial indebtedness friendships, it is all part of China’s string of pearl policies, and Samoa is just a little part of it.

Let the respective cases of Sri Lanka’s newest shipping port and that of Vanuatu’s be an eye opener that it could one day be seized by the state investor as naval and military base to usurp the global economic and military dominance of the USA in the Pacific region.

This will place Samoa in this precarious geopolitical situation and coupled with the weakening hold of Samoan families on their own customary land assets are not legacies any PM and irresponsible short-sighted government should be proud of.

Remember, remittances is giving the breath of life in your economy.......losing land and sovereignty ownership of funded assets from debt, could be the sure death of Samoa.

 

Ropati V.

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