Monday, February 26, 2007


Everything comes at a price, but the price you have to pay may not always involve money. At the very least, you still have to ask before you receive. And asking is not easy; there's a cultural style to asking, protocol, and it could be very embarrassing at times to ask your brother for help. So just because you may not pay money doesn't mean you don't pay a price in terms of at least taking the time and courage to properly ask permission to obtain someone else's private property.

Some people may say, "You only have to ask me once to come get coconuts off my land". Others may instead say, "You have to come and ask me every time before you pick coconuts off my land." Or some people may have strings attached other than just asking. They may want you to clean their plantation or cut their lawn in exchange for permission to get take the fruits of their labor.

Our culture revolves a lot around the "fa'amolemole" and the "fa'afetai", and the humbleness that goes into the understanding that you can't just take other people's stuff. People find value in cooperation and charity as long as it's on their terms, not those set by government. Controlling prices, however, negates that understanding and creates the assumption that people don't have a right to set the terms by which they will exchange their property.

The Togiola Administration and the Senate's price control measures are destroying the foundations upon which our culture and society operate. If the government doesn't respect an individual, group or business's property rights, then why should the average citizen? Perhaps the government's disrespect for private property rubs off on our youth who show an equal lack of respect when they throw trash around the island, stone street lights and spray paint bus stops.

The ASG operates as if it were not held by the same standards as the rest of us. If they had some integrity and some honor, they would humbly ask retirees and pension members before raiding their retirement fund over and over again.

Asking is relatively a small price to pay, but it goes a very long way. Please do it.


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