Ongka’s Big Moka
Watching the film clips really made me think of what it must be like to live like they did in the film. But then I go to thinking we kind of do live just the Kawelka people. Moka is referred to as the gifts that they give to other tribes.
The purpose of Moka is not just the giving and receiving, it is repaying what someone has given you but with interest, almost like taking out a loan at the bank and having to pay it back with interest or paying taxes.
It runs deeper than that, Moka is also a way of getting status, by Ongka giving the Moka and outdoing his fellow men by the quantity of Moka he gives will earn him fame and higher status not only for himself but for his tribe. The most valuable thing that Ongka has got to give is pigs. Pigs are not just pigs; Ongka said that if money looks after the white people, pigs look after them. Pigs are their strong thing; if you don’t have pigs then you are nobody.
I think that there are some comparisons between their society and the society we live in currently. Ongka is a business man in some respects, he had a goal, that goal was to give the grandest Moka. He came up with a plan, he went and got buy in from his family, friends and tribes people. He invested with them and them with him; he did not put all his eggs in one basket but spread the investments so that he could reach his goal. People do that today as well, invest in multiple things so that if on avenue does not work, then there are other options.
I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see the final big Moka, Ongka seemed like he was so looking forward to the celebration. I was also interested to know that they had raised $10,000 Austrailian dollars. That’s a lot of money for the 70’s and to know how hard they must have worked to get that money and then to give it away to another tribe must be difficult for some. This may be a silly question, but what happens to the 600 pigs, once the other tribe receives them?