I’ve noticed over the years that you get the same old names popping up in the Letters to the Editor: Joe Hollywood, Wendy Wonder, someone called the Mad Man or some such thing, Orlando, P.S. Jefferies and someone who just keeps quoting psalms, etc., etc.
They all seem to comment on each other’s letters, but the thing that stands out is that most do not keep to the subject, or to the point that the writer is trying to make. Side issues are what they go on about - except Wendy. Not showing preference for her, just that she gets to the point and keeps to the subject at hand.
It happened to me, as you will remember when I wrote about how it may be a good idea for people to install cameras in their homes and on their properties, and for folks to start dobbing in thieves.
I was cross and wrote an unfortunately harsh note, as I couldn’t believe how far from the subject the comments were. Psalms were quoted by one person. Another got philosophical about who steals and why. My answer to that is, thieving is not the pastime of just the poor and desperate, many people in that situation don’t steal at all. Any theft is bad, immoral and impacts on someone or on many. Even white collar stealing may not be so personal, but it’s theft just the same.
Another writer tried to analyse my wealth. In his eyes I must have been living with the elite in Apia when I was there – wrong. That I live in an up market place in Australia – wrong. He even went about analysing the street I live in (how bizarre is that?) and he was wrong again. But the one that really amused me, was where they tried to analyse me by my name. They don’t know how wrong they were, off with the pixies and obviously way off the subject as well.
Good heavens - as I said, cameras were all I was suggesting, and turning in the thieves to authorities and I used a bit of an example of safe places around the world.
I’ll go off subject a tad here myself and say, isn’t it so Samoan, to go “off subject” that is and be contradictory and throw in some religion to boot. It’s no wonder I love Samoa so. “Only in Samoa” - hey! Wonderful stuff - the only place in the world where you write about a few cameras and get guidance through prayer, a bit of philosophy, lifestyle and personal analysis. Wow. Very amusing, but gets us all nowhere. Just a load of speculative old rubbish really.
Instead of the backward and quite often insulting and personal “side issue” comments that the regular scribes make, wouldn’t it be refreshing if they actually give encouragement to the writer of a letter and provide positive suggestions and ideas on their subjects.
Best of all, how good would it be if they all got together and came up with a tangible idea to make Samoa a better place - just one - and implemented it. Even if it was to make life better for just one poor soul, like the old lady shown in the paper, living under a rusty old piece of tin with her girls.
That would actually be helping about ten people at once, for very little cost. Or think big and try to get some funds to at least provide decent shelter for all Samoans. If we can start a discussion on that and have an outcome (no side talk), I’m in. How about a title, ah – “Benevolent Scribes of the Samoa Observer.” Pipe dreams, I guess!
I’ve often said that with only about 200,000 people living in Samoa, and the amount of money that has poured into the country, no one should be without decent shelter or go hungry. The government are in denial, led by Stui, who is quoted as saying as much, and will do nothing for the poor. They don’t care about our brothers and sisters who are living life hard. So it’s up to us.
My wife and I have wracked our brains and can’t come up with much other than we will leave our pittance to the poor of Samoa when we pass, which won’t be much, but it is something we guess and hopefully will help some, but the poor need help now.
Any suggestions out there? Come on P. S. J., you seem to have a world of ideas and knowledge and you’ve always got plenty to say. And please try to stay pleasant and on the subject, it’s about the poor and the thieves. Cameras, food and shelter, they are our subjects.
I know all of you writers are obviously decent people, from the passion you show in your words every time that you take the time and effort to write (and of course that includes you Mr. Editor) and you have a resilience second to none, to keep coming back, even after being insulted and shot down in flames by some sharp tongue on “side issues.” Keep writing, who knows, some day it may have some effect. Old Joe had a win, with action taken on one of his letters - gives us hope and inspiration hey?
Like my wife and I, you scribes have a love for the country, its people, and want a better Samoa for everyone. Bless you all.
Your friend from afar