Norms and Individual Ambivalence in Practice
Particularly on this day, when he was the centre of attention, A. wanted to work and set a good example. He wanted to be praised for his achievements not because of the date. A person celebrating his birthday is suddenly on his own, temporarily removed from his lineage. A. found this western custom unfitting for the Lamotrekese way of life. On Lamotrek, there are much more important moments in the course of a lifetime, such as receiving one’s first lavalava or being initiated into navigation, which are more significant for the individual and for the community. Otherwise, A. in particular was very open to western influences: he travelled when he was young to advance his education and found many of the foreign innovations, which were able to be brought to Lamotrek, good.
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