The standard of living in our country, has it changed for the better?
On the basic side, the simplicity is prevalent, rich and demanding of our old selves, the less anxious parts of us to be reminded of things like - Early rise of roosters at any odd hour, and the sound of geckos on the wall, with the fan revolving or not, the pigs on the road, the chickens dodging rock throws, though they die mysteriously in some areas, the plantation boys and men whose job it is to plant rather than to talk on the phones and rest under the shadows of big banyan trees, the women and their gossip that solve the unsolved mysteries, eventually handing out sobbing apologies because someone twisted a story so much it made no sense whatsoever who really was kidnapped and for how much money they were asking for.
What money? We have money?
A baffling question unbeknownst to any of the basic sides of such simplicity, because money is, when available, green and leafy and mostly used to buy beer after the meetings of the grand punishers of society.
What if we were overnight made wealthy and all of a sudden became world travelers? What if we land the plane like King Julien and walk out of there mongrel style?
You know, we crashed the plane and we find by no surprise that the island we live on has one police car, one Ambulance, and a “still to arrive” fire truck?
But then we are taken by a small rental car to visit the best sites, missing the audience of onlookers wondering how we survived despite the affair of showing off our skin when we slid down the rubbery rescue ladder to be embraced by gleeful airport traffic stars.
Well, we did not burn the airport because the plane was on one tyre only, with a deceased hang-on-er from another island on its other tyres.
You know it happened before, but it is now a part of this small story for your amusement.
We may end up running over our enemies in a rental car but that is beside the point. What we have to be reminded of is that this is the kind of crazy unprepared island we live on, in the case of emergencies. Nobody ever has enough of anything to save us.
But we could live like rock stars meanwhile.
We could turn up the volume to our own rock and roll and live it up like we have never lived before, and never will again. What is freedom but a sense of ownership of our own situation? What is love but a sound voice inside our anxious heads to say, “ Dear islander, these uncertain times will pass too?”
The thing is, I believe we have a lot already. We are from the outskirt of development a very wealthy country. The trees and birds of Samoa can sense this temporary wealth in the collection of plastic under their roots and in their beaks, respectively.
If you look at the rubbish collected on the beaches we share with the tourists, they include beer bottles and car parts, not to mention the used soaps and sunblock lotions’ murky additions. Thanks to the modern life and the increasing wealth, it seems we are gathering more than planes, buildings and fast foods. We are also collecting bad air.
So back to simplicity we sometimes run to.
But is it that which we really do miss? Could it be that we should have brought with our growing wealth, the prayers inside our homes in the mornings and evenings? Is it possible that while we may have misplaced that one simple thing, our simplicity turned sour and racked up all the unnecessary things a country could collect for its well-being?
Is it even at all possible, that the neglect of the poor is part of this façade? Wherein, there is in the illusion that what we are looking at, the rising buildings, the increasing technologies, the fancy gadgets, the airplanes and airports, the promised opportunities, will benefits us but not really? Where will it all end, besides inside the holes of contempt?
So to end this short rag, I want to quote a favorite singer, to say mindful of our own heritage and beliefs in God, that yes,
“Contempt loves the silence
It thrives in the dark
With the winding tendrils
That strangle the heart…”