I now turn to those same workers, and whilst I and others sympathise with your/our situation, unfortunately there are some who do absolutely nothing to help themselves against the treatment that they are getting.
You only have yourself to blame if you cannot organise yourselves properly, you only have yourself to blame if you accept the conditions that your employers impose on you, you only have yourself to blame in swapping one wretched existence for another, you only have yourself to blame for aspiring to better conditions than you were born into and then accepting your current circumstances; you only have yourself to blame if you say nothing.
If you believe in having principles, it’s no use having principles if you allow someone else the power over you to put your principles at risk. You may be driven by your needs, wants and desires to better yourself and your families, but being ignorant or choosing to be ignorant of what is in front of you can be a game-changer.
You all know what has happened or is happening to your people and other foreign workers because you all talk in your communities, and if you don’t, you soon find out quickly that it is not all milk and honey.
So what do you do? I surmise that you accept what is being done to you because going back to your home country knowing that there is high unemployment, low wages and huge competition for jobs and in some cases, loss of face, is a worst case scenario. Before I forget, this also happens to local workers and those from the Pa Enua, as anau can be your greatest asset or your greatest liability in terms of how they are treated in anau-influenced employment.
Am I being harsh and opinionated? Yes, probably, but you know, the history of mankind is littered with humans treating others inhumanely and might I add against the tenets of being a good Christian. Those being treated badly are stereotyped because of religious beliefs, differences of opinion, different looking, gender based discrimination, disabled and not fitting the main stream idea of what normal looks like.
Look at the Jewish people during the Second World War, look at Australia and its treatment of the indigenous aboriginals, look at South Africa and the apartheid era.
Closer to home, there’s the colonisation of our Pacific Islands and New Zealand. A lot of ordinary people just stood by and felt helpless and did nothing, just complained, whined and moaned about it or rolled over while they or their anau were being treated badly and accepted their lot, or hoped someone else would step up instead of themselves.
I, for one, don’t accept that you cannot do anything or are powerless, as the saying goes, “evil flourishes when good people do nothing”.
Unfortunately, this is what most foreign workers exposed to such poor employment practices are doing: a big fat nothing to alleviate the issues they are facing because they do not have the courage or fortitude to do anything about it.
They are fragmented and only a few are rising to the challenge of doing something about it, there is strength in numbers and that’s what it is, a numbers game.
The rest, unfortunately, are quivering with fear in the background, self-preservation over self-determination. Believe me, it is an emotional and stressful time, but if you are so concerned about how you are being treated and want something done, then find out who can help you, and organise yourself properly.
Remember, “there is no gain without pain”. You have to accept that it will get worse before it gets better, but the truth, however painful, is that this is the outcome for speaking out.
So accept it, learn from it and adopt the learnings that you get to enable you to defend yourself and others from unscrupulous employers. When the going gets tough, the tough get going