Samoan being the land of beauty and contradictions extends across all areas. But the area that is of most entertainment to me.
I have found in my travels thus far that the most telling areas are not the places faces and things but the place we spend a lot of time on the daily.. yup the toilet!
Oh throne of thrones where men are equal in the eyes of the malevolent creator, neither rich nor poor shall not want and or escape thy profound urge and need to relive ones self. And in these most sacred and private facilities we, are truly the same”
When in Samoa and you’re busting for number ones and number twos there are two distinct types of facilities.
A pristine almost spotless vessel, emblazoned with beautiful flowers and or trinkets and signs and sometimes if your’re lucky a cushy cistern carpet on the top of said toilet.
They smell nice and gleam in the sun . . . A man person would be proud to take his elderly grandmother in these places or an esteemed guest to display his taste, in dÃ©cor and sentiments that mirror his status in the world, Oh heavenly throne of thrones . . .
Then the shifting contradictions begin, On the other end of the spectrum there are the toilets we as Palagi are sort of kind of sort of not meant to see, but it will inevitably happen, and this you can count on . . .
The “Normal” rank and file toilets are a site to behold. Imagine the complete opposite of the above and you’re half way there. Let me explain it to you. On a jaunt to the toilets recently in Apia I wandered into the men’s public area, a medium cubicle type building painted dark gray, open door open drains. Walking in one is confronted by the smell. So thick one can almost taste it – gag material to say the least! Then on the floor and on the walls are splattered wads of toilet paper of varying sizes and colour hues.
The sinks look like thy haven’t been cleaned since the whare paku’s opening, sometime in the early 80s. There are broken full to the brim reciprocals that I spied a local using regardless. A stream of busting to go and suspicious looking locals eye you up as you wash your hands . . . Truly a sight to behold . . . truly!
I guess this is all a metaphor for how Samoa works, well? a subjective one maybe? And my subjective none the less . . .
On one hand we have the most pristine of areas tailored to make your experience a truly Zen one where a person can, if they want contemplate the meanings and reality of their world et al whilst gazing at the flowers and basquing in the glow of the porcelain.
And then in the other extreme, the vista is subverted by the waste and barren surroundings where the area is covered by the systemic wastes of humans. No room for error, no quarter to think and deconstruct an area of need not want . . .
The first subjective response above is kind of how the upper class and the face of Samoa is presented, with all its niceties and happy vibes and “Yay! Welcome Welcome!” But the secondary subjective I have created is THE ACTUAL day to day reality. In Samoa life is hard, lets face it 98 percent of the people live below the poverty line and they struggle, they struggle hard.
They live on an island that is pristine in a culture and set of values that rival and eclipse our implied and derived structure of humanity. In fact I would go as far as saying that I would gladly trade my life in Auckland, under the brutal imperialist machine enslaved by Babylonian conditioning and corporate consumer, ideological terrorism any day of the week.
However the reality of this, the Samoan under-classes daily life is one of hard yards, “Next Tala! Next Tala!” They have nothing and appreciate it when they have something, and whilst more or less in the same boat as us in New Zealand (i.e. under capitalism, under God). They appear to have no safety nets. It’s more or less swim or be eaten by the circling and multiple sharks. . . point blank ultra gray scale realism!
Usurp and cajole against these thrones of implied power,. No more no different than every man sees we believe in our hearts and mind that freedom is a tree that we must climb. In the end when all is said is done in these moments WE ARE ALL ONE!