Hau'ofa has a few themes in his work that seem to tie into one's ability to both control themselves as an individual; i.e. control of the body control of their future, their love life etc. He also presents control in the form of 'dictation' or power in the form of a hierarchy.
‘The Wages if Sin’ is a great example of two things that Hau’ofa seems to argue control the individual; both the inside and outside forces that shape who someone becomes, and what sort of factors guide their actions. Ti Pilo Simini clearly has an outstanding addiction to tobacco, which standing alone is a single vice something that can be written off as a ‘bad habit’ The point being made is the control that the addiction has over his everyday life.
Hau’ofa spends a lot of time picking at and working with the cultural and societal influences on people’s behavior throughout the stories, but here he seems to reverse course and show the immense impact a persons eccentricities have on the people around them. Society is made up of a collection of individuals, and the personality traits, character flaws, strengths, weaknesses and vices are all part of the community built from those people outward. For one to act as a valuable member of any society a certain amount of control is necessary.
On the other hand, however the constructs that force Ti’s vice into complete ridiculousness also show the pressure, and the control that those constructs can have on society as a whole. The church, the idea of a sin is second in this story to Ti’s fear of punishment. Control, in Tiko is a series of social and cultural networks that are very near impossible to adhere to. How many Tikongs did we encounter that by both our real world standards and by their own imaginative standards were normal? Not one! There is too much riding on the individual to act under control of themselves, as well as under the control of the church and the countless governing organizations mentioned throughout he story.