Erosion of the fa’asamoa and Va Tapuia
Tuamasaga Pua, from the village of Gataivai, Savaii, says Samoa is experiencing a very big change in the way we live life due to foreign influences.
Aged 59, the concerned father has noticed a shift in how Samoan live life especially with the youth. Tuamasaga says the Fa’asamoa is slowly drowning in globalisation.
“Right now in Samoa there are many changes from overseas,” he expressed to the Village Voice.
“It’s not like back in the days when everything was cheap; life was so easy back in the days when we can get by with a simple ‘please’.”
“If we needed something we can just go to another family or to a shop and ask for a favor, we would then return the favor another time.”
Tuamasaga is concerned with how fast Samoa is losing the Va Tapuia part of our culture or the sacred relationship between a male (brother) and the female (sister).
“Another change is that a lot of the guys don’t know how to treat their respectful relationship with girls and vice versa,” he said.
“There is no more respect or courtesy these days like what we would find in the past. Girls would walk around now with such short shorts or skirts and that’s not something that would have been allowed back in the days.”
“Another change is that people just bring their boyfriends and girlfriends into the houses so freely without thinking about how the elders would think.”
“The problem is; there is no more communication. No one would go up to the girl and say ‘please wear something decent because there are boys here’.”
Tuamasaga says that not even those youths living in a pastor’s house is exempt.
“Even when we look at those living in pastors houses,” he said.
“Just because they stay there it doesn’t mean they can just walk around dressed rowdy. You represent your pastor and you must always be ready to serve those who visit.”
“Nowadays those living with the pastor would just wear pants around. The youths in pastor’s houses are the influential figures in the lives of other youths so they must act like it.”
Unlike the old days where the young would do their part in the family, Tuamasaga is forced to desperately search for a job to take care of his family.
“I have applied to work at the water authority office,” he said.
“The reason I have done so is because I need to take care of my family’s needs. It’s not like back in the days where the children would try their best to help the family out.”
“An example are my sons; they have become very lazy because of all this foreign lifestyle influences. We in Samoa believe that the grass and the land are where we find life.”
“Back then we when we get frustrated, we would take it out on the chores like cutting the grass. That’s where we would identify who knows how to work the grass and who doesn’t.”
“Nowadays all the young ones are just too lazy, all they want to do is have a boyfriend and girlfriend and that’s another problem.”
Aside from all the problems with the change in lifestyle, Tuamasaga tries his best to instill past lessons in to his children’s lives.
“Taking care of the family is tough,” he said.
“Everything requires money nowadays and shop items are getting more and more expensive. Especially living here in Savaii is just very tough.”
“My family lives mostly from the land and that’s what I try and teach my children. Try and live off of the land because no matter how much you struggle in life, you can always fall back on your plantation.”