It is with utmost of respect in my heart that I touch on this subject, but I can’t sit around and ignore what I believe is unfairness toward our beloved king.
The king is nothing else but a socio-cultural and political father to the nation. It surely is not fun for him to maintain the highest degree of respectability, be a model and a leader and try to make everyone of his subjects happy.
Maybe in his younger days, he had the luxury of enjoying the fakatamaiki… that every Tongan youth enjoys today. He may have been a regular to the Tongan nightclubs of their days and often cruised around town with loud soul music from his V8. Since his crowning in 1965, these are automatically things of the past for him. He has to conduct himself as a model for his people. You can imagine how much it hurts to force yourself to go to Church every Sunday and remain there and listen to all sorts of preachings (interesting, very boring, unprepared ones, etc.). Similarly, you have to make time to attend to the opening of church buildings, national celebrations, etc. and not to laugh out openly when Tongan women express their mafana. Have you heard of Leimatu’a?
Land tenure system
On the political scene, he has the constitutional power to head the Privy Council. He has been trained for this through his tertiary training, appointment as a Cabinet minister and then Prime Minister. And let us not forget that he is put into this position through a social contract, which ended our Civil Wars and which manifests itself in our land tenure system. A perfect example of this was when a measure was passed by the Parliament to deprive those Tongans like ‘Alani Taione living abroad of their land in Tonga and it was the King himself who intervened by not applying the Sign Manual to the law.
It was through this social contract that gave all Tongans our much-treasured tau’ataina. It is also the basis for the allocation of seats in Tonga’s Parliament such that neither the People’s Representatives nor the Nobility should alone have the ability to out vote the government and the government not to out vote the Nobility and the People’s Representatives should they decide to vote together. I believe the King has lived up to his role of ensuring Tongans fully enjoy the tau’ataina awarded through this social contract. This is why we see that the rule of law is well and alive in the country. There is media freedom, people can conduct protest marches, go on strike, fairly and mostly unfairly criticize the government, monarchy, etc.
The most recent unfair criticism of the King is to do with his adoption of the King Solomon’s ruling over the two women who fought over a child (see 1 King 3: 16 … 28). While I believe this is fair, a lot of people believe he should have ordered Cabinet to give the demanded 60-70-80% pay rise.
Let our disagreements be our strength to build a better society. But it must be admitted that the King is human and he and his family are subject to have shortcomings. These shortcomings are being addressed on a daily basis and we have to look around ourselves very carefully to appreciate these.
Carry out his wishes
Mr Editor, I have been fortunate to receive advanced education from my father. He himself only went as far as class 6 in the primary school of their days. He is presently 80 years old. My sisters and brothers have been more fortunate to get university degrees. As a family we have never, for once, overruled our old man in any of our family meetings and affairs. He may be old-fashioned but we have never, for once, ran into trouble for carrying out his wishes. It would be my last day on earth, if I see anyone in our family coming with a banner to say Old Man, your day is over! You better listen to us Old Man if you want to continue to be the ‘ulumotu’a in the family. You are uneducated, out of date, etc, etc. You have made many mistakes, Step down now. I will not go to the plantation and work unless you give me more of our family assets. Forget your ruling on the independent auditor, I will not go back to work. I will burn down our historical family house so that a burning mala… can be inherited by my children and grandchildren.
By the way, stand up all the Tataka-mo-Tokangans (Uili Fukofuka, Melino Maka, Vatuveis, Tu’akalaus, Tevita Mafis, et al) and peacefully condemn the mofia e mafu ‘o e Kolo Kakala.
Tonga does not need rocket scientists nor Revs with PhDs to remind us what is already very clear in the Tohi Matolu, Faka…apa…apa ki ho’o Tamai mo ho’o Fa’ee kae lahi ho ngaahi ‘aho ‘i mamani.
Ngali kuo fu’u fuoloa e taka muli pea kuo liliu e founga faka’apa’apa faka-Tonga ia? Have never seen them in the protest marches in Wellington, only in Epsom. Tala ki Kotu ko ‘enau malie fakamotu si’i pe!
Sailosi Finau, Auckland, NZ