Culture plays a big role in hardship

Dear Editor,

Re: Samoan culture and hardship

For sure there is enough blame to go around, I wouldn’t put culture as the sole reason for hardship but it certainly plays a big part. 

If you understand Samoan culture, Pastors and clergymen hold the highest titles of all as representatives of God and are treated with prestige by their members. It’s not so much that people allowed the churches to get away with it but more that they have a respect for culture that they feel an obligation to give even if they don’t have enough. Do we really need the big fancy churches? And what are we saying by them? Most importantly at what cost have we built these churches at?

I think you misunderstand when I said “living within our means” you are right that its a worldwide problem, however in western countries its more to do with keeping up with the so called “jones’” Having the latest car, house, gadgets etc. Where culture contributes to hardships for Samoans is in the added pressure and expectance of giving for family fa’alavelaves: weddings, funerals, pastors, visitors, church etc this is on top of the struggles of cost of living. This is a blessing and a curse. 

A blessing in the sense that family take care of each other a curse in that it may mean we give at the cost of not paying a bill or food on the table even if we have budgeted and maybe living within our means.

But yes you are right we have to recognise our own reality, but it’s easier said than done. Culture could be the same as habit, and we all know how hard habits are to change and when I said “top” I did mean the “government” because that is where the corruption is.

 Families can choose to give or not to give but what happens if they don’t have anything to give? And to vote? That is the right of a democratic society, but how can you assure that the next person isn’t going to be as bad as the last, is it better to vote and have a voice or stay silent and just hope that change comes. 

There are no guarantees, but the real question is why so much corruption? Is it greed? Is it an opportunity for a brighter future or is it just simply getting what I can? What ever it is the system has let the people down. 

The voice of the people go unheard because those that they trusted, those that represented them and promised them change have disappeared into the sunset once they were elected with a sense of relief that they have escaped poverty that is behind them, so yes I stand by my words culture plays a big part in the hardship of Samoans.


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