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In Tonga there is kavenga here and kavenga there

UK

Editor,

Thank you William Mariner, precisely my point, the only mountains that are stopping Tongans from raising over $100 millions pa’anga to rebuild Tonga are the Tongans.

The suggestion that “Tonga Mo’unga Ki He Loto” was responsible for some of the problems in Tonga in the past is news to me and I am sure thousands upon thousands of ex-students and current students from Tupou High School, Tupou College and Queen Salote College have never heard this suggestion either. So can Mafi of Amerika Samoa enlighten us all on this subject please?

“Sons inherit the sins of the fathers” in my letter “Tonga economy and loans” is a hyperbole. But other topics are raised for discussion because of past and present personal experiences. Fortunately for my children, they grew up in a wealthy healthy vibrant society where they were well educated, got jobs as soon as they finished from university and more or less sorted themselves out as soon as they could afford to. For me however, Tonga is home and when relatives fall in hard times, my telephone number is the one they remember. I have two options: one is to ignore these telephone calls and continue to live my comfortable life here in UK or to sort these problems out. I choose to help every time. My story is not unique. Thousands of Tongans all over the World pour money into Tonga in this way. When I ask relatives how the money is spent, their answer is always the same - kavenga here and kavenga there, to the church, community, extended families, funerals etc.

I am asking the Tongan people to evaluate and re-examine the Tongan customs from within, to see if some of the practices can be improved and make them affordable by everyone. I can’t think of anything more stressful, demoralising and undignified than being poor and having to rely on someone else to pay your debts. But this is reality in Tonga these days. If you think that I am critizing our customs and culture then you are way off the mark. I can definitely say now that Tonga was wealthier, healthier and more orderly when I was a child living in a Tongan house with my parents, sisters and brothers than the Tonga of today. So, it is time we sit up and debate these issues because they affect everyday lives in Tonga. Don’t be shy, ask questions such as “is it still necessary to slaughter pigs during a funeral?” The expense attached to buying pigs, ngatu, fala, food etc are huge and people in villages, islands and even in Nuku’alofa can’t afford them. The kaipola and misinale etc takes priority over school fees, uniforms, mortgages and so forth.

I chose the Jewish people as my example because they are the best when it comes down to banking, determination and self conservation. Before they own all the Banks, the Jewish people put every seniti that comes into their possession in their pockets, invest them until they have enough, then they buy all the Banks. Money makes money -nothing wrong with that. We Tongans can do the same if we put our mind to it, so how about it?

Come on Mafi o Amerika Samoa, don’t throw the towel in to the ring, we have not started yet. In your letter you were simply saying that you appreciated your ancestors for giving you your freedom, you thanked your parents for giving you such a good upbringing, you went to the best school in the region, you approve of the loan from China and your children are going to pay for the loan. So being an educated man in your time, are you planning to make a contribution to life or is it too much to ask?

‘Ofa atu

Senolita Swan

senolita_swan_3 [at] msn [dot] com