You Think We've Got Problems
Samoans sabotage new drive-on-the-left signs
The revolt over Samoa's road switch has begun, with villagers taking to the streets to redirect new road arrows and remove signs directing drivers to "keep left".
Unrest is brewing over a bold move by the Government in Apia to change the flow of traffic to the left side of the road to bring Samoa into line with Australia and New Zealand.
The change is just two weeks away but officials are facing a backlash.
Villagers in the town of Laulii have authorities fuming after they altered the new directional arrows on the road by painting them so they pointed the wrong way.
"Road workers had painted the lines on without the end points of the arrows and some locals have come out and added them on, but the wrong way," said Mataafa Keni Lesa, editor of the Samoa Observer newspaper.
"You can imagine how angry the authorities are."
Re: You Think We've Got Problems
here is a more balanced report on this important issue from the WSJ today:
APIA, Samoa -- Sometime in the early morning hours of Sept. 7, residents of this small Pacific island nation will stop their cars, take a deep breath, and do something most people would think is suicidal: Start driving on the other side of the road.
Samoa is about to become what's believed to be the first nation since the 1970s to order its drivers to switch from one side of the road to the other. That's spawned an islandwide case of road rage. Opponents have organized two of the biggest protests in Samoan history, and a new activist group -- People Against Switching Sides, or PASS -- has geared up to fight the plan.
The prime minister who hatched Samoa's scheme, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, refuses to do a U-turn. Road-switch opponents are just trying to rattle the government, he says. He has compared a prominent opponent of the switch to a local "avaava" fish -- a sea creature that swims in shallow waters and eats garbage, an insult in Samoan culture.
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