I despair – I really do! Three stories from Paradise have wound me up today . . .
1. A 404 – FOR ah . . . FOUR weeks, and counting!
I used to use Samoa Observer’s website for researching news and information about Samoa. Not anymore it seems. Every link in Google search comes up with a 404 – Page not found. It has been like that for weeks now since they installed their new system – ouch! This sends a very simple clear message to Google – GNA i.e We have gone with no forwarding address.
It’s like saying to Google “We don’t want you to know about us, or our past and we simply don’t care that all your customers are getting p***ed off with annoying time-wasting Search Results from our website that no longer work. Go away!” In web development if there is anything you MUST do it is to protect your client’s Search Engine Results and Rankings. Technically we use what’s called a simple 301 Redirect – SEO 101.
In a short time their entire benefit from online work in the last few years will be gone – vamoose!
Samoa Observer publishes their paper daily, and then eventually puts many of their articles online – a great service for people like me – and I appreciate it. In return I will normally respect their right to run their tabloid the way they want to. Sometimes I will buy their paper every now and then if something really grabs me.
While I’ve found their newspaper to be full of negativity, one-sided stories that generate still more “other one-sided stories the next day in response and overall quite depressing reading, I’ve appreciated their service and understand their role in a society that just loves to gossip. I’ve never pinged them until today. But guys, if you’re going to undertake a major project – get someone who can get the basics right eh wot?
2. EPC vs my Kamaligi Trees
This is a V-E-R-Y long story but I’ll share only the short version – hopefully there will be a short end to the issue tomorrow when I meet a higher-up boss than the bosses that I’ve been dealing with to date.
I applied for power. Our application was granted and I paid the fees. EPC the power company installed the lines without clearing any of the Kamaligi trees. They cut down three of my coconut trees, drank their juice and then took all my coconuts away in their ute – without asking me. I call that theft, but Samoans call it “Too bad!” I can’t or won’t do anything because if I do, I will be seen as the trouble maker – forever! It’s just not worth it and you get used to it living here.
They cut down some small Kamaligi trees on my neighbours property. They half cut down some branches of another tree up the road, until they dropped a branch onto their ladder and snapped it into two pieces (ouch!), and then gave up.
But they didn’t even touch any of my Kamaligi trees – not even the ones only a few metres of where they were putting the lines!!
I’m told: “We just burn them around the stump” and they will die a natural death (the branches all fall down hopefully bit by bit as they rot over a couple of years).
I complained – a lot, very respectfully I might add. “Why are you putting up new power lines where the trees will just fall on them? If they fall then who pays?” Well if they fall on the lines then you are responsible. “But . . . but . . . but . . . ”
OK – I gave in. EPC sets the rules and there is NO WAY that they will be chopping down those trees. I knew that some porkies were told and that there’s a bit of funny stuff going on so I just let it all happen and was grateful for the power.
So the night before last I burned around the base of one of them. I found out however that what looked like a solid tree was actually hollow and the insides caught alight.
Over a couple of hours, the situation went from “That tree has a 50% chance of being still vertical in the morning” to a crack and a bang and we watched it fall naturally directly onto the new power lines. Great! One was down but there were nine more to go!
We had no power of course, and a smashed-up entry box that had to be replaced but power was happily reinstated the next morning by a technician who would “send in a report” about the other nine unsafe trees. Yeah right!
The plan of attack? Move from the Acting Manager of Distribution, to the Deputy General Manager, and then to the Minister if needs be. I’ll be very respectful and dutifully do what they all tell me to, but I’m really sick and tired of lazy liars and their BS.
I’ll let the world know what happens little bit by little bit. I honestly don’t want to have to write the blog post EPC Sucks! but maybe I might have to!
For the record, in the dozens (yes that is accurate) of communications with EPC, I have ALWAYS been totally polite, kind, friendly and 100% respectful.
3. A 20% off, off-season discount
I was helping develop to a programme for some resorts here recently, and I waited with anticipation for details of their October special package to arrive by email.
It came and it certainly caught me by surprise! A whopping great big 20% discount off from November 1st to 31st March (the off-peak season that is). This “great” special was developed by their marketing company for Australia, North America AND New Zealand. I was flabbergasted that a high profile resort almost three years after the Tsunami had simply come up with . . . a discount! Crumbs, you can almost get a 20% discount at peak season in some other destinations if you know what you are doing – let alone off-season!
I cringed and though about so much missed opportunity – value adding, niche marketing, bundling, working collaboratively, tapping into the growing voluntourism markets, utilising the amazing goodwill that exists toward Samoa and so much more.
I really do despair at people and a country who really are way too proud to tap into real expertise, and just do it themselves, copying what the others are doing!
My RANT is now over!
You have a great day, now.