Staying open to New Year's possibilities

By The Editorial Board

Sometimes we celebrate to remember and sometimes we celebrate to forget. 

For many, the last year and all of the attendant damage it has wreaked much trouble upon our nation, increasingly, as it is, devoid of opportunities but also listlesss. Year-ending economic data shows now beyond a shadow of a doubt we are currently gripped by one of the worst long-term depressions ever to strike the economy of this country. 

On a shorter timeframe, we have not seen economic contraction such as this in more than five years. But if there is one thing that the last near-two-years of living under a global pandemic has shown us, its effects are most definitely beyond our control. While we can take comfort in having remained essentially free of COVID-19 for the past two years, these have been a limiting time for many. 

We acknowledge those who have lost their jobs because of this, who have had to downsize meals because of it and the many among us who have been forced to postpone reunions with family because of it. Our hearts are with you this holiday season.That does not mean, though, that we should enter the new year with the same glumness that we have collectively felt this year. 

Today’s issue of the Samoa Observer is, on many of its front pages, a testament to those who found themselves amid conditions of adversity but turned them to their advantage. If you read closely the stories of the many Samoans who have excelled to lead our nation this year, their stories seldom begin with the most opportune circumstances. Quite the contrary. 

Many, such as our overall winners, the nation’s judiciary, found themselves tested as they had never been before. They underwent a time of trial without precedent in the era of modern Samoa and they emerged from it all the stronger because they stuck to their principles and were not intimidated by headwinds. 

Others, such as the Samoa Tourism Authority C.E.O., Fa’amatuaina Lenatai Suifua, were masters of reinvention. When the circumstances did not suit him - to understate matters - he found new ways to ply his trade of promoting Samoan tourism at the depths of an historic depression in the sector and one over which we had no control. Whether his actions bore fruit, only time will tell. But his commitment to and belief in his cause motored him to continue experimenting and trying new things where others might have lost their creative spirit in the face of a challenge so monumental and so global as the coronavirus pandemic. Then we have those such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, Mapufagalele, who, it would seem pay little heed at all to the exterior circumstances around them. They find meaning in helping those who need it most and can do so in any condition; their commitment to Christian charity is inspiring in its unwaveringness. 

So we would say to those who forecast rough waters ahead, or perhaps a start to the new year that is less propitious than might have been hoped: do not allow this to deter you from seeking to do great things, whatever your field may be, or to excel in other such laudable ways as the humanitarians on our list. Indeed, many cliches have been coined to express the rather simple sentiment that often it is the most challenging of times that make people strive to achieve their best. But aside from the challenge to seek to subvert your circumstances and do better, we also honour those among us who have kept their chins above parallel and continue to do the best they can for their families even as challenges abound. There is much honour in that alone.  Regardless of who you are and your holiday plans we extend to you our sincerest warm wishes and gratitude for the holiday ahead. 

We want to acknowledge the new Government formed by Fiame Naomi Mataafa.

We will grapple with each other again in the coming 12 months, that much is certain. 

But at this time it is worth remember that our enterprises are united by the aim of creating a better nation for our people. And for all the ways you have or plan to do that we wish you nothing but success. 

As we round up the year, we also acknowledge with heartfelt gratitude the role of Church leaders, Head of State, His Highness, Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II, Member of the Council of Deputies, Le Mamea Ropati Mualia, former Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi, the Opposition Leader Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, Cabinet Ministers, the Speaker of Parliament, Papali’i Li’o Taeu Masipau and Members of Parliament. We also thank the Chief Justice Satiu Simative Perese, President of the Land and Titles Court, Fepuleai Attila Ropati, Justices and Judges of the Courts, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Heads of Government Bodies and leaders of the Business Community. 

It has been an incredibly turbulent year. All in all, we have memories to cherish, treasure and then some we want to forget but such is life. 

On the pages of this newspaper today, we celebrate with great joy the work of individuals and groups who are highlighted in this special edition. We acknowledge that there are many more people who should be on this list but we simply cannot have them all today. Suffice to say, the stories being highlighted today are a good mix of people from all walks of life, ages and personas. Their stories are those of hard work, dedication and commitment that should be acknowledged and appreciated. 

As we read through them today, we here at the Samoa Observer want to extend a big thank you and fa’amalo to each and everyone. We can never forget the support of all our advertisers in Samoa and abroad, our business partners and you, our dearest readers. Thank you very much from us. 

On the last day of this year, let us be grateful and be contented with all that we have. Let us look forward to 2022 with excitement and expectations, knowing that only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever appreciate the magnificence of a mountaintop. 

By The Editorial Board

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