“A CONVERSATION WITH THE KING”
The following is my synopsis of a personal conversation with His Majesty, King George V during his visit to American Samoa, 2007 Flag Day, soon after his coronation.
1. Tongans in the Territory: there was an expression of intentions by local Tongan Community Leaders to show their continued pride and love for Tonga with a project to work on a Tongan Fautasi to go along with a Tongan Rugby Team. The King's response was...stop that nonsense right away! When in America Samoa do what American Samoans do...if you live in Nuuuli, go and row for the Satani, play for the Nuuuli Rugby Team; support the activities of the village you live in.
2. Politics: King George Tupou I gave you your freedom from being slaves to the Nobles and the King. He gave you free hold land that you'll own and your posterity will hold forever. I allow you to adopt any religion of your free will. I am giving you more power to run the government. I even am giving you the right to disagree and even go against me.
3. Religion: So many churches, so much crime. Church leaders have built and reinforced rock wall barriers to divide and control their flocks. Faife'aus are getting richer, church buildings are mansions at an insurmountable cost to the people. I can remember Karl Marx saying, "Religion is the opium of the people."
4. Economy: We have to learn to live within our means, but that is an unreachable goal with the ever growing demand from church leaders, schools and local communities.
5. Democracy: You demand democracy, yet no one really understand the responsibilities that comes with democratization. The Parliament (Fono) who claims to be the people's representatives wants more decision by the people. I gave it to them, now they turn around and keep the privilege of electing Ministers to themselves and away from the people.
6. Education: We brag at having more PhD's and other professionals per capita of any island in the Pacific. But you wander what happened to these people when they get back to Tonga.
There has to be changes to policies and procedures...some of these changes demand changes in attitudes and culture...something that has not been considered carefully by our leaders at home. Far too many activities with so much cost but very little benefit to the people.
King George V was highly intelligent, well read and informed with an attitude to never allow laws, rules, cultures and norms to override common sense.
This is —in my opinion— what made him a great king, but also where he was hugely criticized.
Farewell my beloved king. May God bless and comfort your mother, sister, brother and the rest of the Royal Family.
HMHC Mafi 'o Amerika Samoa Lousiale Kava.