My duty to my family

Dear Editor,


In response to Le Mafa’s letter about Samoans overseas and remittances, I thought you implied in your previous comment that you “…understand the reasons why people overseas are looking after their relatives in Samoa, let alone the importance of remittances in modern economy…”

Let’s drift off-topic for a minute so I can shed light on this remittance thingy from my perspective:

I’m not sure whether you grew up or lived in Samoa but last time I checked was we have village monotagas, church obligations (matafale) and extended family fa’alavelaves on top of family support. In case you’ve forgotten, family is a core aspect of our Samoan culture. Unless you’ve been raised as a palagi or a second generation overseas born (no disrespect), then there’s a good chance you wouldn’t know.

Yes, my family in Samoa is poor, very, very poor indeed! (and I’m happy for you that yours isn’t). That’s why my parents raised me up – despite all hardships, challenges, fa’atau popo, salu tu, rain or shine…etc – to be where I am today. They put in the hard yards so I can live a better life than theirs. Question is, do you think that is ‘blind loyalty’? And should I return the favour? If you’re answering ‘NO’ then you must be in the wrong forum.

Let’s not forget there are two distinct cultures at play here: the palagi one where you’re given your freedom…etc and the Samoan culture where you have a duty to live with, look after and care for your parents until they pass on, then pule loa oe. 

You seem to have embraced the former. No disrespect but can you honestly tell your parents that you can "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."? It’s only blind loyalty when you’re giving to the wrong people!

If you’re giving in order to receive praise and be recognised, then I’m sorry to say that is a waste of your hard earned money! I guess you can call that in Samoa ‘Tautua Pa’o’. I give out of love for my family and don’t get me wrong, I do have priorities! Don’t forget that the bible said: ‘Ia e alofa atu I le lua te tuaoi, ia pei o oe lava ia te oe’

Now back to our topic:

I didn’t say that is my contribution to the economy, no, that is my tautua/duty to my parents and aiga and it’s my business. 

But let’s face it, unless you’re an expert economist or brilliant mastermind, how would work with limited resources to create jobs in Samoa other than through agriculture and tourism and other niche? 

If you can point out anything different that other island nations are doing, that I would be happy to hear about it!


Star Opelini 

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