Monday, June 18, 2012

I Couldn't Make This Stuff Up If I Tried

I see the newspaper infrequently.  Lately they’ve been stocking it in the Tuisivi store, though, so I’ve glanced at the headlines.  I swear, I could not make up these stories.  They would be perfect fodder for a sitcom.

Because I’m too cheap to actually buy the paper, I’m going to be paraphrasing, but trust me, while the quotes aren’t exact, the meaning is the same.

One headline recently was something along the lines of “Prime Minister Threatens to Hire Palagis”  Palagis are foreigners.   Usually considered to be white, but pretty much any foreigner seems to be considered a palagi.  It still annoys me, by the way, to be referred to by people who know me as “palagi” rather than my name.

Anyway, the story was about allegations of corruption and incompetence among employees in the various Ministries (Health, Education, Finance, etc.)  The Prime Minister seemed to be acknowledging that the allegations were true and that if staff didn’t “shape up”, he’d start hiring palagi to “get the job done."

Imagine Obama going to the press to say that if the IRS didn’t shape up, he’d hire Canadians to do their jobs.

Another recent headline was about another comment from the Prime Minister.  I’ve never seen, let alone met, the man but based on speeches I’ve heard him make, he’s a pip.  In this speech he requested that members of Parliament not show up drunk for sessions.

There are more.  Check out the website for the Samoan Observer.  Like I said, I couldn’t make this stuff up.


  1. I think it's an empty threat. Haven't seen the article myself but I don't think people would take it seriously (even CEOs of govt ministries). There are far too many examples of invested aid programmes where 'palagis' have come to work hand in hand with their local counterparts to train, teach, and exchange and run ideas on doing things better, only to leave and the locals return to square one all on their own. The drawback to the idea of bringing in external experts is that Samoans, and generally all other islanders, have a very bad habit of performing well for teacher, only to return to picking their noses when the teacher is gone again. True change in civil service relies only on one tried and true and sorely tested method i.e. to develop and invest trust in a set of valuable, but far few, reliable individuals.

    I do see your side of the humor as a non-Samoan, or quasi-Samoan.


  2. what he's saying is that if he can't get the locals to get honest and peform, he'll get folks who can and will do the job PROFESSIONALLY and get it done .... of course if he can't depend on the locals to keep the jobs within the country, then time to start looking elsewhere ...palagi literally means (bursting from the sky) .... remember when the first white men sailed in on ships, the locals thought they had burst out of the sky and sailed to the islands ..therefore, "palagi or actually - papalagi was the orignal term" your blog Nancy