Will Samoa ever be a self-reliant country?

By Orlando Huaman* 15 April 2018, 12:00AM

This article will address relevant dependent habits. 

Bad habits that must be erased from our way of life and give rise to personal INITIATIVE on a grander scale. 

This crucial ingredient is missing in our society at large, especially at the executive level. The awakening of our own initiatives (now dormant) when judiciously put in practice, by those who posses this prized virtue will counteract and revolutionize our status quo of dependency (personal and as country) and give rise to self-dependence. Are we celebrating more than 50 years of independence? From what.

A world in which a man cannot help himself is quite unthinkable! Did nature provide a factor within each of us for his own salvation? Two great teachers thought so. When Buddha came upon his own enlightenment, he said, “Be a lamp unto your own feet; do not seek outside yourself.” Jesus was of the same opinion when he said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is not “lo here” nor “lo there’; it is within.” 

The great sages of all time seem to agree that a man cannot turn to someone else to save himself – which the answer lays within his reach and in his own inner endowment. Also true for a country.

We  must rely on “group therapy” to erase our bad habits, like asking cars from N.Z. or elsewhere “just like that”.

For all those chronically dependent on remittances, now  and forever, should  get together with those like him and find ways  to act on  their own INITIATIVES to be A HELP AND NOT A BURDEN to those relatives who forcefully or voluntarily moved to ‘greener pasture” to better  themselves, not to support childish  habits of self dependence from (sitting around))  grownups in Upolu and Savaii. Let us not give credence to Thoreau’s opinion that most people (our silent majority) live lives of quiet desperation. Shall I add for LACK OF INITIATIVE?

This group therapy has and is working wonders for the AA, same for the addicts to gambling, narcotics. (that we will surely have here if the Casino is set in motion) etc. How about creating such a group therapy for sex offenders and obese people here? Since we have quite a few, and an incentive for the fat tourist to take a peek at them. Such touristic attraction will fill a void since our rugby guys did not materialize the dream of the STA. Our weightlifters are doing great. As it stands out now, our remittance senders are our best “tourists” making more money for Samoa than the real Mc Coys. 

Now for the meat of my article.



Initiative is the most highly prized of virtues. It is a vital necessity for everyone, since all human problems demand activity. Human problems do not get solved where personal initiative is lacking; therefore, self-reliance is not possible without initiative.

If not, how do you think the WEST WAS WON? Those first American pioneers, well, certainly, they did not wait from remittances from mother England to build their shacks, buy food, etc, they conquered their territory. Did they!  Because they were self-reliant, nobody to lean on. The only way to feel free is to become self-reliant.

Nothing can take the place of personal initiative in the life of an individual. And that individual has to be emotionally and physically self-reliant. It is for this reason that we place such high value on initiative and on the individual who has developed it. It is felt that we deeply resent our own lack of initiative and bitterly envy those who have it.

Initiative is a natural quality of a free mind  It is wholly  spontaneous and intuitive in its response to confronting situations as they arise like the thrust of a swordsman. The free mind allows one to be an inner – directed person whose responses in action are automatic. In short, initiative produces spontaneous action.

The Free Mind manipulate circumstances and things, NOT PEOPLE. It refuses to crowd itself  into old frames, traditions, customs, conditioning ( like you are obligated to send remittances - it is our tradition , you know?; otherwise we will curse you. Sound familiar?) Exploitation, it is, slavery, it is.

It should be live – and – let live relationship with others. Let me insert here a definition of tradition  according to Oscar Wilde: “The longer I live  the more keenly I feel that whatever  was good enough for our fathers is not good enough for us.”

For those CEOs   and ACEOs who may believe that initiative is something that they can use (and they must) I recommend the book by Bob Nelson: 1001 Ways to Take Initiative at Work. In my view INITIATIVE is after all a true barometer of progress of any individual, institution, or country. Lack of it is seed for corruption. Its effectiveness and viability of pertinent initiatives to solve problems affecting every sphere of their influence.

According to the above definition; there no initiatives worth mentioning in Samoa, CEOs or anybody else. Like new initiatives to “discover” and use better and modern techniques to improve and better use our land, rather than worrying is we rent it for 99 years what would happen to it.

It is like worrying if you go to heaven or hell. Your nearest cemetery is the right place. Since we do not have  incontrovertible evidence of their existence, why worry? Besides if you read your bible, Jesus said: The kingdom of heaven is within us!  Nowhere else!

For those who still believe that they can learn from their mistakes, ask yourself this question. Is the P.M. learning from them?   



Competition is the opposite of initiative, and one is the death of the other (COOPERATION is better than competition, anytime).

Competition grows out of dependence.  How so? It imitates initiative in a deceptive way and thus clouds our understanding. The competitive individual trains himself to outrun his pacemaker. He often develops much skill so that he appears masterful and competent.

As a result of his success, he is often put in a key position where he must originate and organize policy in an unstructured situation that demands independent, imaginative, original planning or activity. In such situation, he cannot function inventively, since he has trained himself to outrun or imitate existing patterns; he has NO FREEDOM OF MIND TO CREATE OR IMPROVISE NEW FORMS. He spends his working days in a trap: he is a failure.

But he might think that he is competent. He is in the habit of competing, but he is in a trap. The way out to competition lies in the increase of SELF-RELIANCE, since competition can only arise out of lack of self-confidence. Self-confidence accomplishes that which competition can never touch.

The habit of competition is linked to another habit- the habit of MAKING COMPARISON. We either compare ourselves to the one above or below us and we fear both. He stamps himself as a second class citizen lacking initiative and originality. A follower.

A Samoan religious leader, told me, just recently, that the reason a lot of Samoans do not rise from mediocrity is because they think themselves as followers, with no mind of their own. That is why they accept whatever the leader tells them to do or to think.

Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity on his own initiative. So are thousands of inventors. Hitler said: I don’t want followers, I want members. So when a leader /dictator is wasted from the scene turmoil takes place. If not check the mess in Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen. Syria, etc. Remember all those characters thought they were self-reliant. There is not such a thing as a good dictator, or a well behaved slave. And you still think competition is good, no, cooperation is  much better. 


It is evident that the habit of competition is linked to the habit of making COMPARISONS! Comparison breeds fear, and fear breeds competition. The competitor fears the one above and the one below him and tries to eliminate them.

The desire for preferment above others and for personal status leads to the degrading dependence on the opinion of other people and craving for words of praise. It is a cutthroat situation. It is me or you. He is trapped in the childhood desire to become the favored child. He stands with his begging bowl before others and plead for their approval. He will run, jump, steal, lie, murder, or do anything he feels is necessary to do in order to win the praise he seeks.



Those who lack self – reliance have no alternative but to live or die by their ability to exploit others. If we have not developed physical and emotional self-sufficiency,(IT IS SIGN OF PERSISTENT INFANTILISM IF IT IS DOMINATING US AFTER ADOLESCENCE) we  will be pushed  to supply our needs through others by influencing them to serve us.(send us a car for Xmas…”just like that”) A true parasitism.

The dependent individual must use others as his crutches and he cannot go either farther or   faster than he can influence his crutches. Take for instance the farmers, those who lack self- reliance. A “reasonable’ excuse  could be that their relatives overseas  do not send them tractors, agricultural tools, fertilizers, seeds, etc.,- since the government here have left them to their own volition, one of which should be self-reliance- no matter what! Of course initiative plays a very interesting role here. Remember: necessity is the mother of invention, and invention is the product of INITIATIVE. We need people who think OUTSIDE THE BOX and a lots of them!

The one worthy initiative by Bluesky and Samoa Stationary, is worth  following. Then, why not run an open competition on initiatives with cash as prizes. Rather than offer them a wall to wall TV, iPods, free this, free that.

The winner(s) with a viable initiative elevated to the Hall of Fame so to speak. Then we will find out whom among ourselves think creatively, are self-reliant thinkers and not materialistic hoarders with the money they make as competitors.

Let us remind ourselves that we still do not have (or maybe there is one latent one) a philanthropist

among the ‘rich’ fellows, whose valuable donations would impulse a dormant soil keeper? A.k.a. plantation owner. All those willing to, but there are kind of shy, please raise their hands! How about (name of a rich fellow here; not the name of a former employee of the people) Building.? Dedicated to the investigation of (his favorite dream) An initiative of this magnitude will set us apart of the bunch!. Our so called economy is based on a “buy and sell” cycle. Not a product of a worthy initiative.



We must regard ourselves as having three main level of development. 1.-Our chronological age-self explanatory. 2.-Our mental age, also self explanatory. And 3.-It is this factor that causes all the trouble. That is the self-reliance factor, on which all others must depend for their fulfillment.

Self-reliance is a factor that has to be developed; it does not grow by itself as the body does.Each of us is born weak and completely helpless. We are dependent  on the adults to do anything for us. We are also manipulative at this age. But some (90%) of us carry all these manifestations of our childhood into adulthood, and then we say that we are emotionally immature. He is constantly confronted by the task of finding ways to get others to serve him. So he is a ‘boy” that cannot be send to make a man’s job.

The real world demand initiative and spontaneity. He must stand on his own two feet. We have to remember that self-reliance exist at two levels: physical and emotional level. Being physically capable is just easy; it is in the emotional area hard to come by to a great majority. That is way they fail in their human relationship. They become alcoholic, tyrannical, wife beaters, depressed, psychotic, and neurotic. 

They are being burden to those around him. They have not learned EMOTIONAL SELF-RELIANCE.

Only about 10% of the population has developed emotional self-reliance in a job they go along reasonably well (what and how to do things) BUT as soon something require personal initiative, they dissolve into feeling s of insecurity and fall apart until somebody rescue them

Nobody is born with self-reliance. The ability to think and act independently is an inherent capacity. There is no excuse for it being defective in about 90% of us; it is something everyone needs and everyone can have it he will train himself.

When we speak of someone being a failure as a human being, we know that he is incapable of acting the role of an emotionally self-reliant adult. (Self-reliance, then, is the greatest gift any parent can give a child, for it is a habit of mind that follows him all his life) or he is lacking self-sufficiency. He is like child waiting to be served (send me a car for Xmas) 



Nothing can fill the void of the feeling (Adler said “feelings are not reasons”) of poverty because it is not based on lack; it is the shadow cast by HABITUAL COMPARISON. The feeling of poverty then does not arise from any realistic need we have. 

Even if you are rich but envious the feeling of poverty is with you. I.e. nobody makes you poor but yourself, out of the habit of comparison. Just like happiness. . It is not a feeling it is a condition, (President Lincoln said: “One is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be”) because happiness is made up of nothing at all.

It is a condition of being, Just like the condition of feeling. Alfred Adler, the founder of Individual Psychology said: “Either do wrong or feel guilty, but don’t do both.”

Finally. Only YOU can beat the bad habit of dependence and become self-suficient.Nobody can do it for you. Same goes for Samoa. 


*Orlando Huaman is a freelance writer. Malololelei.

By Orlando Huaman* 15 April 2018, 12:00AM

Trending Stories

Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.