Emptiness: Parks, social media, and tourism

By Lumepa Hald 23 November 2018, 12:00AM

National parks! A recreational space for the hectic minded. 

I sat in one of those in New York and for hours when I was missing home. New York is a city you love to be in because you walk everywhere with glee on your face undisrupted. And you can go to museums all day to find culture, art and emotions for the betterment of mankind. You can ride in the metro filled with people and still feel you have your own privacy, your happiness. 

There too, you will find national parks, and which are probably good things in the hustle bustle of a big city like New York. 

As you and I both know, it is what we miss when we leave home to enter such countries filled with money and modern things. When I leave Samoa, I miss our calming sunrises, and sunsets, the mountains that follow us everywhere we go, the playful waterfalls and the rivers too. I miss the simple things always.

So to note on the business of national parks I ponder a little. 

“But Samoa as a whole is a national park, no?” From the looks of the green rich landscape, we have been building cities inside a haven. As a result, there is an increasingly noisy town in Apia, filled with the sound of cars and people meandering. A little of the old touch of German designed buildings remain to remind of a profound history and elegance, and then there are box like designed structures, seemingly modern, mostly off putting to the eyes. 

Perhaps there needs to be creativity in what we need most to gain a golden time for ourselves so that we too can be praised by the children who will take Samoa from us. We must note the need to fix the roads for the sake of sanity, economy and common sense to remain avail. Car tyres rubbing on broken roads cause some of the plastic on the tyres to wear out and flow to the sea, alongside our roads. It is a wonder if the fish are filled with plastic or anemones. Other than the question of healthy eating, how much money can we save from the wear and tear of car parts if we fix the roads? Of road signs, if there is no money to repaint the faded arrows and to point some of them in the right direction, perhaps idle youth with chisels can be of use? 

Shall I mention the need to cut down on diesel pollution by fixing the roads or will that insult someone’s intelligence too? The part of the car where the smoke comes from is connected to the tyres too, just saying. 

Social media! It is still being learned, and yet devastatingly condemning. The courts, thankfully is a separate entity from social media. But it seems, the old court system is still a slow climb to protection from unfair treatment when someone is the spot light on social media. What the mob decides is your fate and so like the village gossip, God and facts do not stand a chance on face-book, instagram, you name the rest as I am a little behind on the progress of online engagements. To be fair, I often find comedy on social media too.

Tourism! It is our bread in the villages. Whether we want to show off our plantations, our vegetable gardens, our fishing skills, our weaving, and our cooking skills in the oven stones, our churches, we should be mindful. 

Unlike New York, Samoa is a perfect place for tourism because it is palmy, pretty and friendly. The rest is up to the service community. And by that I mean, everyone who is Samoan near or far. We should be mindful that we are emulating the depths of generosity that Samoans know fully well. We should protrude only of the fruits of hard work for the benefit of not only our families, our villages, our country but our visitors. We should remember that tourism in Samoa is different from other countries. 

We want our tourists to take away the innate knowledge we each possess, though some discard with no mind to their own importance. When we shame more than love our country, it is as if we are unfulfilled with so much emptiness. 

Well, I can understand the loss of purpose because of all the distractions we afford ourselves these days. 

But if you want me to tell you of the uniqueness of Samoan tourism, my dear reader, I beg of you to look yourself in the mirror, and never ask why. May gratitude be your shining light!

By Lumepa Hald 23 November 2018, 12:00AM

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