It would be fair to say that I don’t have a lot of time for you personally, and because I shoot straight and don’t play games, let me make it perfectly clear that if I ever saw you again I would probably turn and walk away, which is what your people do to me when they can’t speak English. That way I wouldn’t have to pretend and try to make small-talk.
But in case you are ever wondering, or in case someone else wonders, if you did want to see me face to face, I would say everything I have said in these letters directly to your face. Full-on eye contact and without fear or favour too. You see, I think one day you will be held to account for the decisions you have made and the pain that you have caused me, and others, in your attempt to protect yourself. It’s a lucky man in my book who can get a trial run before he meets his Maker. Consider yourself lucky to get a series of letters with a tongue-lashing like you’ve got. There are quite a few people in Samoa who would like to say the same thing as me here, if they could do so without your goons knocking them up.
So let’s move to the promised subject of this letter, and cover the events that precipitated a distancing (shall we put it politely) between us. We’ll then examine the results of what you (and Sonja) have done, something that is often called “consequential losses”.
You invested your time into befriending me. You took a risk by giving me that time and in return you heard ideas that you liked. This wasn’t a one-off. It was a cyclic thing. As you listened and as we chatted you came to understand a little bit about me, my capacity to invert a problem and come up with creative solutions. That was your payday and you got the return you deserved. The SWAP Foundation gave you a proposal to develop an annual international event marketing the Samoa Day concept that Bev Barlow had been trying for years to get the STA to take up and run with. We had a meeting with Sonja which when you wrote to me said “Went quite well” and you instructed us to proceed, “Cabinet approval next week a formality” and instructing us to have a “close working relationship with STA”.
We all know now that “Madam” wouldn’t be seen dead with us and she “had her way with you” and the whole thing ended up in a screaming heap on the floor as a result because you gave in, basically ripping us off. In a commercial and legal sense this is called “breach of contract” but whatever, that’s not really news in Samoa is it?
Let’s go through then what we proposed and what would have eventuated should “Madam” have cooperated and run with your direct instructions:
- An international Samoa Day would have been launched probably in early 2012 with support of probably the entire Samoan diaspora. By now it would have run for five years. Is there are NZ Day? Or a Fiji Day? Or a Bali Day? Or a Gold Coast Day? Nope! Following the negative press of the 2009 Tsunami, estimated at a billion dollars negative press, such an event like an international Samoa Day would be a marketer’s dream.
- As we discussed and presented to you and you liked and approved it, a 36 hour international marketing programme online would have been run starting with TV cameras on a beach in Gisborne where the sun first rises in the global day rolling through a dozen countries as each country awoke to 12 hours of Samoan activities and subjects in their local geographic location and then finishing at Falealupo where the sun sets at the end of the global day (well it did at that time anyway!). Not only would the resources by way of social media activity, videos and graphics be HUGE, but the marketing power of five years’ of Internet traffic, very likely all hugely positive would be incalculable.
- An estimated 1/4 million Samoans would have been involved in these events at the five year mark directly involving around about a million people in total in at least a couple of dozen countries and probably much more;
- The incalculable strategic value would have been achieved by now as Samoans across the globe would be supportive and engaged in getting the Samoan culture and values out across the Internet;
- Direct associated tourism and foreign investment results would have surely resulted. We never got as far as even calculating this because . . . well, you know as well as I do.
Tui, every now and then there are opportunities we get in life. We take them or we don’t. You saw this proposal for what it truly was – an opportunity for your country to take a step up in the world. An opportunity to tap into your Samoan diaspora and to engage them in something constructive utilising the modern technology. A chance to tap into the creativity and commitment from an outsider who (for whatever reason) happened to swing by your country and to chip in a few ideas.
The results speak for themselves don’t they? Five years later there is nothing . . . no Samoa Day. The same website from the Samoa Tourism that has been there for seven years and the same CEO, a woman that rules the roost in your office and hasn’t a creative bone in her body, just like you.
Sir, instead when people search for PALEMIA, or TUILA’EPA, or Samoan cultural things, what do they get? Me, rambling on about how corrupt you and your country is!
If you were reporting to a Board of Directors you would be fired for incompetence and if you were contracting in a commercial situation you would be sued for consequential losses. Tui, you can go to mass a million times or say that Hail Mary until the cows come home, but if the required relationship between the Master and His subjects is honesty or integrity then you will be hearing the words, “Get away from me, for I never knew you!”
In my next letter I dive into the religious subject and let you know a few home truths. You’re a Catholic from what I understand and I don’t even go to church, but you still call me a “religious man”. What gives? I’ll try to answer this for you in a way that you can see, for you clearly can’t see what I see. My next letter gives you no excuse.