I am constantly amused by the cries of those opposed to change in Tonga, decrying the use of terms like "democracy" and "equality" as foreign concepts that threaten our "Tongan-ness". What I don't understand is how the very same people can ride a car, wear clothes, use money, drink champagne, and perhaps even eat caviar - all of which are foreign and introduced to Tonga. Furthermore, Tonga has an education system that is completely western; a government based on western structures; why, even its very own monarchy is fashioned out of a western concept.
The Prime Minister of Tonga has been quoted so many times in Parliament, claiming that people are being incited to riot. Are they? Or, is it the case of people finally getting up to do what is right for Tonga: to demand a change in the way their future is constantly being determined by a handful, whose interests are far from that of making a better life for "ordinary" Tongans?
Those of us living overseas have to live with being called "fiepalangi" by fellow Tongans because of our unending support for the call to change. Let me say this to those opposed to change: this is the day of global living, Tonga has to start marching forward to keep up with time. It cannot keep "marking time" in the same spot over and over again, creating for itself a rut which one day will become a huge pit in which it will bury itself. There is no reason why we should lose our "Tongan-ness" with change. I firmly believe we can still be compassionate, respectful and tolerant - qualities which define our "Tongan-ness" - in a democratic environment,
Tonga's time has come, whether the opponents of change like it or not!
finehika_vavatau [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] nz