Promoting literacy, encouraging an educated society

16 June 2016, 12:00AM

An educated society will ultimately be a prosperous one.

That was the message from the Owner and Managing Director of Samoa Stationery and Books, Fiti Leung Wai, to students at the National University of Samoa on Monday. She was one of the speakers during the 2016 Samoa Observer Story Competition.

“These kind of competitions help promote literacy in Samoa,” she said. 

“We all know that an educated society will result in a prosperous society. This was recognized many centuries ago by Plato and Aristotle who were famous Greek philosophers. They believe that education is central to the well-being of society.”

Mrs. Leung Wai’s speech  is published here in full:

“First of all, I would like to thank our Heavenly Father for his many blessings for us and for this wonderful opportunity for us to be gathered here today. 

I am so happy and excited to be here. Secondly, I want to thank Afioga Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa.  Mataafa Keni Lesa, Marj Moore and the team here at Samoa Observer for organizing this story competition and for giving me the honour to speak briefly on behalf of the sponsors like Eveni Carruthers, the Chinese Embassy (his Excellency Ambassador Wang) and also Blue Sky. 

Thirdly, I acknowledge the presence of the judges as well as our young writers , parents,  principals and teachers of different schools.

Organising story competitions is no easy task. It requires vision, planning, commitment and resources. Therefore, let me take this opportunity to thank Samoa Observer for being a responsible corporate citizen by devoting its time and resources to run this competition and special thanks go out to Marj Moore.

These kind of competitions help promote literacy in Samoa. We all know that an educated society will result in a prosperous society. This was recognized many centuries ago by Plato and Aristotle who were famous Greek philosophers. They believe that education is central to the well-being of society. Those who are well educated:

(a) perform better in the workplace;

(b) are more healthier;

(c) are active citizens in terms of voting, volunteering and interpersonal trust; and

(d) are less violent.

In fact, a study of 15 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries show on average that a man who attended university can expect to live longer by 8 years over a man who did not complete high school.  

Everyone has a story to tell, whether you are a child or an adult. I know because I have stories that I want to tell; ever since I was a little girl I had stories. Unfortunately for me, there were no national story competitions at the time where I can share my stories and express myself.

That is why I take my hat off to Samoa Observer for organsing this national story competition. When I was approached five (5 ) years ago to be one of the sponsors, I quickly and wholeheartedly embraced the opportunity. I truly believe that if God has blessed us with resources, then we should use such resources to be a blessing to others and our nation.

My company SSAB has chosen to support the promotion of literacy whenever possible. Whilst I still have many loans to pay, SSAB will always find the money to help out with literacy.

I hope that this competition will also encourage more local authors, authors who can tell the stories of our people, from the perspective of our people. We need more local authors like Lani Wendt, Gatoaitele Sano Malifa, Professor Silafau Sina Vaai, Dr Emma Vaai, Papalii Momoe Von Reiche , Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi, Sia Figel to name a few.

I still remember the poem, “kidnapped” by Reverend Ruperake Petaia who is here today and has led us in prayer, where he recounts the influence of western education system on our Samoan youth and its possible effect on the loss of our Samoa culture and identity.  Only a Samoan can bemoan and talk about such outside influence on our culture.

I also hope that selected stories from this competition can be compiled into books, to be read by other children, to inspire writing and to be used as teaching resources. 

To conclude, SSAB acknowledges with gratitude the other companies who have come on board to sponsor this competition such as EvenI Carruthers, Chinese Embassy, Blue Sky and the National University of Samoa (donating venue for free).   Thank you for being good corporate citizens as I believe that we are all playing our part in contributing to the well-being of our country.

To all the children who competed in this story competition, thank you for telling your stories. And thank you also to the parents, principals and teachers of the schools for supporting your children. I also acknowledge with appreciation the judges hard work for this competition.

Finally, to Gatoaitele Sanoa Malifa, Muliagatele Jean Malifa , Mataafa Keni Lesa and Marj Moore and the team here at Samoa Observer, thank you again for organizing this competition and for giving me the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of the sponsors. 

God bless and soifua.”

16 June 2016, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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