To all Filipino soap opera lovers, with regret, I have to voice out this concern before it becomes a permanent stain in our society.
I am afraid for Samoa and its people as it is almost on the brink of moral decay. If this trend continues further we will be permanently stained by foreign ideologies introduce through entertainments. Our land of a safe paradise will become a land of drama-laden paradise.
Particularly, the ongoing tele-series ‘The Wild Flower’ because of its malicious and sleazy contents. I am convinced, that the root cause of this increase in men-initiated violence is the violent melodramatic-full-of-twist Filipino soap opera and the likes. This is not to say that all Filipino soap operas are violent-filled tele-series because most are not.
‘The Wild Flower’ highlights revenge, betrayal, treachery, sexuality, and murder as if these are glorious activities or as if it’s cool and culturally acceptable. What good do we really get from this kind of tele-series other than reinforcing the carnal nature of men, and women, allowing an unbridled passion for violence and crime to come out from the closets to the streets?
This is like giving a lecture to a suspected terrorist on how to attack unsuspecting colleagues then give him a tour guide of the premises. What do you think he would do next? You guess it right.
Maybe this is a bit far but you get the picture.
Some late night movies are nothing less violent than the said tele-series. All these are exploiting the very weakness of humanity of which religion has been fighting to overcome from the beginning of human history. Statistics and history support this claim so why ‘add fuel to the fire’?
Who are the victims of these violent media entertainments?
Teenagers and young adults of Samoa are the first victims of these violent media entertainments. While the women, the local community, and the whole country follow shortly after. Men are the first victims because they become lesser husband to their wives, a lesser father to their children, and a lesser citizen of this beautiful country.
And since men are prone to mimic violence than their female counterpart, I repeat, they are in effect the very first victims of this media-initiated violence in our very own society. ‘What monkey see monkey do,’ as a good colleague of mine would often say.
Our basic human history supports the claim of the aggressive potential of men than women. How many women authored, fought, and won wars throughout human history? Only a handful.
Most of the time, wars were authored, fought, and won by men. I don’t see a dramatic change in this trend in the near future. So again, I have history and statistics to support my modest observation.
So how do these men victims become culprits?
Simple really. Once these men are mentally and emotionally internalized violence in their systems, they start victimizing first their loved ones in the home. A bit later, they bring this violent behaviour in schools, in the communities where they reside, and in public places.
So the cycle of victim-culprit begins from the home to the whole country.
Furthermore, violent acts among men increase exponentially when proper education is absent. For many of these men, resorting to violence is the easiest and most convenient way to get away from a distasteful situation.
The deadly combination of men’s potential (or even tendency) to become violent, plus, the lack of formal education produce these violent behaviours-- plaguing our communities around the country. You are what you eat, or in this case, you are what you watch.
Speaking from my first-hand experience. A few of my acquaintances overseas, who dropped out of school, verify my observation that lack of education is also a key factor. When confronted with a complex situation, their limited education becomes a stumbling block to think constructive ways of resolving the issue with civility.
If you are not convinced, try to conduct a survey at Tafaigata prison and ask how many of them have finish high school let alone complete an advanced degree.
I’m not under the assumption that an educated person is immune to heinous acts of violence, which would be preposterous. I am only suggesting that the uneducated ones are more vulnerable than the educated ones to give in to their violent potentials than those with proper education.
So what leads us to this situation?
My Christian values tell me that the increase of employed mothers in the workforce, leaving young kids at the mercy of violent cartoon movies and the likes, shape these kinds of men we have today-- prone to violence when things go south.
Mothers are the nurturer of homes, their constant absence from homes leads to the loosening influence of parents with their children in the home. As a result, criminality in Samoa slowly but surely will continue to increase.
Added to this predicament, is the decrease of matais’ influence in their very own villages. If matais in the villages have strong moral and ethical influence among the youth and young adults, violent incidence will most likely occur as often as a solar eclipse--rarely.
Once we address these core concerns, I am sure unsavoury reports like what happened in Saleleloga a fortnight ago will dramatically subside.
Having said this, I do not justify any and all violent actions of these men however dire their circumstances are. Every wrong choice they make should be accounted for and be disciplined with appropriate consequences.
As a country, we have to stop highlighting violent films and the likes. We have to stop making these violent-laden movies and films as culturally cool. Such acceptance will not only enhance the potential of men to become violent it also undermines the supremacy of our strengths as well which is also equally dangerous.
We cannot expect to embrace these violent programs and somehow still expect a less violent society. Having weaknesses is what makes us human, but romanticizing human’s violent potentials can lead to social ‘black hole’.
What can be done?
Pointing fingers should not be on the list of our solutions.
Of the many things we can do, probably, we can start asking our TV networks to show Filipino series like “Be My Lady” where Christian values as well as Samoan and Filipino beautiful cultures intertwined morally together.
We can probably encourage to show fewer action movies and series in our beloved TV networks. Instead of showing violent cartoons for our kids maybe more educational ones.
Samoa, we are the author and the finisher of this increasing violence in our beloved Samoa. The good news is, we can also solve this concern ourselves by starting to change the man or woman in the mirror.
What sayest thou Samoa?