The New Year, celebrations in Samoa and questions of our time

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 03 January 2019, 12:00AM

Three days into 2019, one can say that this nation – and perhaps many other nations - are nursing a massive hang over from the Festive Season celebrations. It’s something that is unlikely to be fully cured until next week. Which is expected of course. 

There is time for everything, a time to work and a time to play. Christmas and the welcoming of the New Year are among those times we allow ourselves to rejoice in the season, let off steam and try to recuperate for another year. 

For many of us, we’d probably need another week to recover after all the fun has been had. Without a doubt, in Samoa for the past couple of weeks, everyone – from what we have seen – has had a blast.

But let’s not forget to thank people who helped us have a jolly good time. There are many of them and as it has been my duty at the beginning of every year, today on this first edition of 2019, we want to acknowledge with gratitude the work of people who toiled throughout the public holidays tirelessly to allow everyone else to celebrate. 

We are talking about the Police officers all over Samoa, the doctors and the nurses at the hospitals throughout the country. These people would have had to sacrifice time with their families and loved ones for the call of duty.

Our thank you does not stop here. 

We acknowledge the hardworking crew of the Samoa Shipping Corporation who keep the travelling public moving between Savai’i, Upolu and vice versa. They have had an extremely tough time during the past couple of weeks and yet they continue to work away. They are the unsung heroes of the holidays.

We thank the airport workers, ground handling staff, pilots, crew-members and everyone else involved in the aviation industry. Sometimes we take for granted the work these people do, but it is times like these when we come to accept that without them, international travel, inter-island travel would be impossible.

Imagine how chaotic it would be for the thousands of travellers to and from Samoa if they were to turn up at the airport to find no workers there. 

Let’s not forget those supermarkets, gas stations, stores, hotels, restaurants, bars, bus, taxi drivers and all service providers that remained opened during the holidays. 

We thank you for providing such essential services and doing so with a smile.

We also want to thank the Metrological Office, the staff of the Disaster Management Office, the Electric Power Corporation workers, Samoa Water Authority, ratio announcers, TV technicians and all public servants who were on call in case of emergencies. 

We want you to know that the people of Samoa appreciate your service. You all play such a vital role in days like these and we are all indebted to you for your commitment and dedication.

Anything could have happened but from all accounts so far, it has been a generally safe Festive Season in Samoa thanks the cooperation of a lot of the people we have mentioned above. It’s a given that there would also have been some problems. 

Drunk people getting up to no good are always a menace at this time of the year and this year would have been no exception. But we’ve seen lesser and lesser of these bad incidents over the years thanks to strict monitoring by Police officers, families and village councils. This is a big plus and it deserves an acknowledgement. 

Today is a time to look forward. It’s a time to look to the future. The Prime Minister’s message on the front page of the newspaper you are reading gives us a pretty good idea of the direction we are likely to take as a country this year.

He has identified the hosting of three key events as priorities this year.

Among them are the Commonwealth meeting for small islands states in March; the Pacific Games in July and the African Caribbean Pacific ministerial meeting for Agriculture and Fisheries in September. The success of these meetings will depend on us, Samoans, working together. 

Lastly, we want to say this; when you look around Samoa today one is immediately reminded of the saying that all that glitters is not gold. There are so many new buildings and multi-million-tala infrastructural projects but what do they mean? What about our people? What does all this aid mean? What is the cost?

We fear that our land is under threat, we know our natural resources, especially fish is being stolen as we look on, our sacred titles are being offered lightly, passports are being sold and so forth? What do we see in the future? Will there be a future for our children? Where do you see Samoa in 20 years? What about 50 years? A hundred years?

These are the questions. The questions of our time.

Have a wonderful Thursday Samoa, God bless!

By Mata'afa Keni Lesa 03 January 2019, 12:00AM

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