“The good things in life aren’t always right.”
That is the opinion of Tole’afoa Matuavao Ainea Poasa, 69 years old from the village of Tulaele.
Tole’afoa told the Village Voice yesterday that good is always associated with evil in this life.
“Where there is good, the devil is always there as well. So doing something good, doesn’t mean that it’s the right thing to do as well.
“Most people are happy when they do something good, but it does not mean that it is the right thing.
And what is the right thing to do?
“Anything that pleases the Lord,” said Tole’afoa.
“Living a good life isn’t also the right way to live our lives. And what is the right way to live our lives? Love one another as you love yourself. This is the golden way to live our lives. If you want others to treat you well, it’s just right for you to treat them well too. How can we get it right?
“Put God first in all that we do. Get it right with Him and lean onto Him to take control of our lives. He is the only one that can set our paths straight.”
Asked about how life in Samoa is for him, Tole’afoa said he see a lot of changes in Samoa nowadays, socially and culturally.
He said, “The Samoan lifestyle is starting to fade away.
“But everything begins at home and families. A good village is made up of good families, and a good society is made up of good families combined together.
“From the beginning, our forefathers have set a path for all of us to follow. Back in the days, every family had a matai who led the family and made all the decisions for the family. And the whole family listened to the matais.
“And that’s why everything was easy back then and also because there was a strong sense of unity within our families and communities back then.”
But that has changed over the years, said Tole’afoa.
“There have been a lot of changes in our culture and way of life.”
“Our country is founded on God,” he added.
“But that is no use if people are killing other people and there is a lot of trouble nowadays. And I believe this is because of the numerous changes we have in our society.”
Moreover, Tole’afoa believes that a lot of trouble nowadays are a result of the absent of corporal punishment in our society.
“The parent’s duty is to constantly remind their children about the right way to live their lives.
“Back in the days, Samoa had a lot of different teachers to help raise our children. We had salulima (broom), fusipa’u (belt), and laupapa (piece of wood).
“Some thought that they used those because they didn’t love their children. But the children turned out well, in fact, they have become better people with the help of those teachers.
“Those were the teachers who helped Samoan children back in the days. And they were very obedient and very smart.
“They did that out of love. They didn’t use those things because they didn’t love their children. They really wanted their children to grow up in the right way and do well in school. But we don’t have that anymore and that’s why we have so many troubles nowadays.”
Apart from being a matai of his family and also a strong member of his church, Tole’afoa is also a teacher to the young children of the village of Tulaele.
He told the Village Voice that one of his habits is spending time with the children of the village and teaching them how to read and write.
He also teaches them about our Samoan culture and also tells them stories from the bible.
“The reason why is because I want children of this village to grow up in the right way and it makes me happy that they are here learning about important things rather than doing something else.
“I have readings every day here at my house for the children of the village.”
Asked about his opinion on what makes a good matai?
He replied saying that a good matai is someone who shows his family the right way to live.
“I didn’t finish school, because I saw that my mother used to do everything back in the days when they were church ministers. So I thought to myself, what’s the use of me going to school and being smart when my mother is at home doing all the chores?
“So I made the decision to stay home and help out my mother and look after my family.
“And from the beginning, I never learned about how to be a matai and my father never taught me any oratory.
“The only thing he asked me to do was to serve. He said as a matai, you need to lead the family and show them the right way to live their lives. And that’s what I did. I didn’t become a matai and then just sit around and do nothing. I had to show my family through my service.
“My dad told me that my place should be always at the kitchen and serving the family.”