Tongan tradition grates for someSo why do they do it? Tradition. Culture. Mrs Masila is rightly "unimpressed" at giving away her wealth to pay for a parasite, but she does it anyway. As a cultural practice, who benefits?
A Tongan village has woven thousands of dollars worth of fine mats, donated cash for a pig and will provide baskets of food for the funeral of King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. The villagers' generosity is born of tradition, but not all are happy about it. Saane Masila (right), a mother of eight, says it actually makes her sick. [...]
At Fahefa, in the northwest of Tongatapu Island, the local women have spent weeks weaving valuable fine mats and making tapa cloths as gifts which will be presented at the palace by their village noble for the late King. Mrs Masila, 38, says she has no idea what will happen to the mats, hundreds of which will be gifted from around the kingdom.
While she says she loved the King she is unimpressed that the mats will go the "rich royal family" when her village could do with the money they could be sold for.
As Thomas Sowell says:
Cultures are not museum pieces. They are the working machinery of everyday life. Unlike objects of aesthetic contemplation, working machinery is judged by how well it works, compared to the alternatives.In this example, which is symbolic of the parasitic relationship of monarch and subjects, "culture" is working bloody poorly for those expected to altruistically donate their time, wealth and energy to celebrate a dead parasite who grew fat (quite literally) off the energy of the people he ruled.
Democracy can't come fast enough for Tonga, but without a change of culture as well as a change of leader then democracy will just deliver them more parasites wanting to grow fat off the largesse the Tongan people can't afford.
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