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Tonga yearns for political reform

Nuku'alofa, Tonga

Dear Matangi Tonga,

Thank you for letting my previous letter about political reform appear on your website. Your site is much appreciated. The articles are clear and updated regularly; again, thank you for your insightful journalism.

My comments regard the latest article about the Princess. I pity the situation her family must endure through these trying times. She appears sincere in her remarks; evident by the emotional response from the crowd. Fortunately, Mr. Fisi’iahi’s response illustrated strength and resolve. I’m impressed with his stance and hope that the PSA supports his response to the Princess.

Many eyes are watching these developments with anxious hearts. Regardless of motherly rhetoric from Princess Pilolevu or any other political figure, one should approach this situation through a political lens. The fact remains that tension is building for political reform.

Her concerns are valid: children should return to school and violence in NZ and elsewhere is not contributing to the solution.

But allow me to inquire the following: Should the children go to school? What are they to learn that is more important than what is going on in their lives outside of school? What are the teachers ‘teaching’ by standing up for their cause?

I believe the students can learn from this situation and develop character through support of a cause - whether it’s for or against the strikers. Children are first taught in the home and supplemented by academics that supposedly educate a ‘higher’ education. The parents are not in question here. But, let me be clear - the ‘higher’ education appears to be occurring in Pangai Si’i.

From a telescopic perspective, children would benefit from sitting next to their teachers in Pangai Si’i; therefore, a call goes out to the teachers - TEACH IN THE FIELDS OF PANGAI. Higher education is not only found in textbooks, but from individuals applying historical lessons; integrate current affairs with dynamic dialogue under the cool breeze in Pangai. If this occurs, can someone claim that children will not learn more political/social/economic lessons outside among the gathering of Tongan commoners? Well, at the moment, it sure doesn’t appear that the schools are open to contradict the query.

Emotionally charged

As for the violence, this is a sensitive subject. One must not forget the goal and use the means to justify the end result. Seek first for the patient deliberation that would resolve the issues peacefully, but walk the fine line necessary to accomplish the result. The fine line could easily be crossed by emotionally charged Tongans; consequently, the recent violent episodes.

Without stepping back to the Kingdom, imagine the scattered islands of Ha’apai, or the remote volcanic rims of the Niua’s - what would they want for themselves?

Allow my imagination to run wild here. How about clean running water? Maybe reliable transportation and less reliance on costly remittances. Maybe they’d like to have a good job. I’m rambling here, but I know that many islanders love the Kingdom. Nevertheless, we all hope for a better life for their children - that’s my desire for our four beautiful children.

Princess Pilolevu, the better life for the children in the Kingdom will sprout from the fields of Pangai. The right time for them to be adults may be years away, but the time to learn about the future is today. This is not about an ‘adult’s argument’, but a dialogue of reformation. Disregard the debate of ‘children being children’, but seek to involve everyone for the benefit of families as a whole, rather than trying to splinter familial relations and building walls of ignorance.

Why not allow the islanders to decide what’s best for themselves and permit more leglislative representation? If they are to suffer from their choices, at least the blame would be upon themselves - not the bourgeosie. As previously mentioned in another article, this strike maybe paramount, but only to a deeper issue at hand. From a distance, Tonga yearns for political reform. Violence may not be the solution, but it is definitely correlated to the situation; hence, another call goes out to the Anti-Strikers: reap what you sow.

Forgive my diatribe, but take it for what it’s worth - only 2 seniti.

Malo ‘Aupito,
Rick Siale
rick [dot] siale [at] investools [dot] com