The difference between Samoan and the Chinese

Dear Editor:

There’s a Chinese proverb that goes “too skeptical is better than too trusting”. 

A Samoan official tells us that we can learn from the Chinese but do the Chinese learn from Samoans? 

When was the last time you’re family had a funeral and a Chinese business owner gave you some money to offer his condolences to your fa’alavelave? 

I won’t say it hasn’t happened to you but it hasn’t happened to me. 

Why? It’s not part of Chinese culture - it’s part of Samoan culture. A big reason why Chinese businesses thrive is because of money management. 

I know a Chinese businessman that never uses banks and he’s frugal. My other friend Jing Jing saved money from when she was three years old till she was twenty-five. What did she do with the money? 

She bought a house and went to medical school. It’s a different culture. Of course not all Samoans are the same and not all Chinese people are the same. 

There’s a life force that the Chinese refer to as Chi and Polynesians refer to it as mana. 

I’ve been going to acupuncture in the States for ten years and I learned a lot about Chinese medicine and the principles of yin and yang. Balancing our masculine and feminine energies. 

We got hot and cold or acidity and alkaline. Imbalances with those energies cause sickness and so it’s up to you to balance it. Part of being Samoan is the obligation we have to our family, church and to Samoa as a nation. 

If you take away that obligation or that fa’a lavelave from every Samoan we might be the richest little nation in the world. 

Chinese people will do business the way they are accustom to and Samoans will do the same. How do we navigate as successful business owners and still be Samoans that contribute to our fa’a lavelaves? 

Maybe we already are. 


Michael Uhila 

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