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Ruta Mave: Our greed for food is like an addiction’

Monday 24 April 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion


Ruta Mave: Our greed for food is like an addiction’

The 21st century prides itself on its technological advancements but according to the Bible, Moses was the first person to receive information from the cloud onto his tablet on Mt Sinai. It was the ten commandments. This happened over a thousand years before Jesus was born, writes Ruta Mave.

The ten commandments or the Decalogue are a set of principles relating to ethics and worship that play a fundamental role in Christianity.

In the Old Testament there is mention of seven spirits of deceit, by the fourth century there was an accepted proclamation of the seven deadly sins of lust, envy, anger, greed, gluttony and sloth/lazy, the worst of all being pride. It is the root of all evil and the beginning of sin. Fortunately, there are seven virtues to temper them: Pride – humility; greed – charity/generosity; lust – chastity; anger – patience; gluttony – temperance; envy – kindness and lazy – diligence.

It is said that pride is the worst of sins which seems hard to believe when it is a measure of deep satisfaction and pleasure that comes from accomplishment. It is related to positive behaviours and outcomes in an area where a person deserves to feel proud of either themselves or others close to them when they have done well.

It all goes downhill when you understand the three types of pride – dignity, superiority and arrogance. One’s dignity may make you too proud to accept or ask for help when needed. You may pride yourself on being punctual or honest. You can also be a proud person who likes to talk about themselves all the time and dominate the conversation so that others will also be impressed with your accomplishments. This is where pride’s vanity can slide us into arrogance and feeling superior to others.

Watching the actions of our community and especially our senior management or political members I see a lack of pride in who we were and a growth in proudness in who they think they are, that many of the deadly sins are taking hold of them and washing down into the community.

The lack of pride in our selves as a people and nation is contributing to our ill health and welfare. One deadly sin gluttony is taking us over.

The desire to want more than we need, greed for more than we can feed has contributed to what is now accepted as a cultural indication of being a Cook Islander.

We love eating. You only have to go to a family service or even a government workshop and the topic of the day maybe the death of a loved one or an important change of law but the focus of the attendees is the kai kai. As soon as the Pure (prayer) is said they dive in hungrily like pigs at a trough grabbing plates of food, taking whole dishes to their car then coming back to eat piles of food in a mound of mishmash. Even at political meetings this happens where they bring bags to the buffet and fill them as they go along to take home with them. These are the people who are being paid more than the masses taking more because why? Greed, gluttony, lust for food it is like an addiction. There really needs to be an Overeaters Anonymous helpline started here because we are eating our way to oblivion. 

Where is the pride in our appearance, our health, our manners? It may be cultural to eat with our fingers but not like a shovel stuffing mouths so full it is bulging. It was cultural in the past to put on large kai kai for family who have come to pay homage in gratitude for their help they have given. It was not supposed to be a competition to see who can have the most boxes of chicken, doughnuts and plates of mayonnaise to give away. The reason why everyone is there is lost as they salivate waiting for the food.

We have a health problem, we are one of the fattest people in the world for our small community. Every third person is fat and so are our children. Gluttony is habitual greed, the taking of excess not just in food but also in drinking alcohol, drugs, wealth items, any over indulgence you can also be a glutton for punishment.

Overeating is not our culture of the past. It is not who we were but it is who we are now. We need some pride back in our culture, in our community to be better than what we are otherwise we are heading for an early grave. The love of food is in direct offense to the first commandment – you shall have no other gods before me. God is humility, temperance and charity – practice these for your ticket to the pearly gates.