Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Paradise is a state of mind

when i was a young lass, i came across a lot of palagis who said to me and others on my island:
"you live in such a beautiful/ pristine/ perfect place, keep it as it is"
...after the 60th palagi, you get a sense of indifference, blase attitude and respond with "of course, we love it here in paradise' (and rolls eyes).
But by the 100th palagi, you now get sick of it and want to squash their eyeballs.
My point is, my paradise cannot retain and remain pristine for as long as we open our doors to palagi, development, technology, climate change, deforestation, contested land and titles court cases, HRPP, reality etc.

Now, we also have the palagis who came over before and on their second visit to Savaii, they are disappointed at how much change has occurred to 'their' paradise.
My problem with that is, their disappointment is not for the people or the place, but more so, for themselves and the eroding of the paradise that is in their minds, fading from their memories.
Culture is ever changing, and so do people, change is inevitable. 

I won't link you to the articles I am referring to, because the writer/s will hate me for it but I have this to say:

The paradise in your mind is still there, ....IN your mind.

The paradise that is Savaii, is a living, breathing, dying, moving, thinking place. 
Change happens.
 And while you lament about the loss of a beautiful place.... think about the young man you met  in the 70s/80s in Savaii. He too had to grow up, in 'your paradise' and it is impossible for him to remain savage, climbing a coconut tree and stopping by the roadside to call out, "Hello palagi" with a pearly white toothy polynesian smile, before jumping in the ocean to catch a shark or six.
He too had to grow up, go to school, get a job, or start a plantation, or look after his family, or ride a bus to and from nowhere. He too had to make a living in your paradise.

To retain the paradise in your mind, go and live in that paradise for a year, and I will ask you afterwards:
"Was it idyllic and serene? perfect and relaxing? was there a constant flow of pinacolodas and dancing islands maiden singing We are going...to the Hukilau? Are you proud of that perfect place, and passionate about keeping it exactly as it is?"
Shit does happen...even in paradise. 
my own image



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