Happy New Year, Samoa!

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

And so here we are again. Another new year is upon us. 

On the last day of 2017, it’s a moment for each and every one of us to sit down and look back on the one we‘ve been passing through with a mixture of joy, sorrow and perhaps regret. 

That’s life though, isn’t it? There’s a time for everything. There is a time to laugh and a moment to cry, a time to live and one to die. 

That said, in Samoa today, we are extremely grateful for so many things – especially the gift of life. We are thankful to the Almighty God for his guidance, protection, provision, mercies, forgiveness, eternal love and grace. 

As a people and a nation, we are grateful for our leaders starting from the Church leaders, the Head of State, Prime Minister, Members of Parliament, business leaders, village leaders and every individual family leader, fathers, mothers and guardians. We owe a special thanks to our donor countries, development partners, various groups, organisations and inviduals who have helped Samoa.   

We thank our families, friends and everyone – including our enemies believe it or not - who in one way or another contributed to our development. 

We acknowledge with appreciation the efforts of everyone who have and continue to work through the holidays to ensure safety and convenience. We are talking about Police officers, emergency workers, health workers, shopkeepers and many others. Thank you for the sacrifice.

On the pages of this newspaper today, we acknowledge with gratitude and celebrate with great joy the work of individuals and groups who are highlighted in this special edition. 

Each story is different, very unique and inspiring in their own special way. From elders of the community to the new generation of businessmen and women all the way to the fa’afafine community and sports, they are stories of hard work, dedication and commitment that should inspire us all. It is a privilege for us to be able to share them with you.

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 also accept that there are many more deserving individuals and groups – both here in Samoa and abroad - who are not on the list. Some are not on the list because we have highlighted their work in previous years.

God knows who you are and we pray that you will be justly rewarded.

If anything, what’s encouraging in this country of ours today is the vibrancy of its members and their common drive to improve Samoa’s prospects. 

Speaking of which, the influx of new Asian businesses has often been a controversial topic but in terms of moving forward, they are here and it’s a reality we will have to live with.  

As we reflect, we give thanks for the past, the present and we pray for the future because we simply don’t know what is up ahead. 

In times like this, one of the most wonderful things about life is the opportunity to start afresh. Which is the best part about a new year. It’s the chance to turn a new leaf and have another go.

We hate to sound pessimistic but we believe there is a lot more that can be done to improve the lives of some of the poorest people in this country today. And the government should take the lead.

Truth be told we’re seeing the same old problems our government is supposed to have been solving with the idea of sweeping them away into oblivion never to be seen again, and we’re therefore wondering how this would ever change in 2018. We’re wondering why our government, after all these years of political independence, has not been able to eliminate the terror called austere bureaucratic corruption.

There is hardship in this country today because of corruption; there is also absolute poverty because of corruption, and as a result everywhere in this country the poor are suffering in silence.

Which follows that if 2018 is going to get better, we need to change our attitude towards corruption. 

Instead of perpetrating it, we need to do everything in our power to eliminate it so that we can begin to address perennial challenges of hardship, struggles and absolute poverty in this country.

Today on the verge of a new year, let us think and be inspired by hope. 

We need to because without hope in this day and age where there is sorrow and suffering everywhere, there is nothing to cling to. 

Hope is the light that makes darkness flee. Even if it’s just a small flicker, we believe that a little light is better than no light at all.  

So let’s not give up. Let’s persevere, endure and continue to do our bit to make our families, villages, churches, communities, work places and ultimately this nation of ours a better place.

Have a peaceful and prosperous New Year Samoa, God bless!

© Samoa Observer 2016

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