An unknown Samoan Member of Parliament has shocked and stunned his country by calling the Parliamentary Speaker a "bad name."
Samoa - It was a live radio event when this as-yet unnamed Samoan MP called the House Speaker a "testicle"; his comment was heard far and wide. Apparently the fellow forgot to turn off his microphone before uttering his angry words.
Thing is, this tropical Polynesian paradise is an island nation consisting of nine islands, and it has cultural rules that guide the behaviour of its citizens. Known as Fa'asamoa, the Samoan Way is big on respect for everyone, so when the Member of Parliament called the Speaker a testicle, he violated the Samoan Way. The country's radio stations and newspapers have been inundated with critical comments from upset Samoans.
As might be expected of such strongly principled people, religion is very important in Samoa, and the country actually has a motto: "Samoa is founded on God." Samoans have, as one travel site puts it, "... more rules of etiquette than a finishing school for young ladies and a keen sense of propriety and respect."
The verbal event occurred on Monday, and an editorial from the Samoan Observer says it all: "... The swear word - a man’s body part for all who are curious – was said in protest. The MP wanted to speak but was not given the chance so he said; “I have been standing up for a long time you ****”. Speaker, Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua immediately condemned it. “It shouldn’t be done here,” he said. “No matter how angry you get, uppermost to me is the high office given to me by the electorate.” Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi agrees. The Speaker and the Prime Minister’s outrage are justified. As senior members of the House, they know the dignity of the Maota Fono is dear to their hearts. And so to the thousands of Samoans who follow the proceedings closely."
In September, Samoa experienced a tsunami which killed 119 people and decimated villages.
Samoa has a land mass about equal to the size of Rhode Island, and the majority of its citizens are Christians. It's population sits just under 120,000.