Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We've lost an inspiration

I only found out today that another great warrior had left us,
Epeli Hauo'fa, an academic who ignited a literary and proud passion in me, as a woman of the vast Oceania(arrrhrrrr:-)

I belive that he is the first to coin the phrase "Our sea of islands" and enlightened so many in his path.

He overturned our sense of isolation and "smallness" and insisted that we are more than just insignificant dots on the geographical map.

I'm a sucker for optimists, and very more so for Pacific optimists because they are few and far between. There is not enough optimism to go around.

I'm sad because he leaves a gap that needs to be filled.

I have a signed copy of this book, as a reminder that our notions of inferiority is simply a sorry state of mind.

He made me realise the huge potential we have as a people of the oceania and that we are capable of so much more.

But over the centuries, we have belittled ourselves.
We are raised, maimed and aged into modernised idealogies and mindsets of smallness and insignificance. Even more so ingrained by the introduction of the western world.
We become the "othered" in modern system.

Sadly, this cycle conntinues today.

See how much influence Epeli has on me?

I go off in a tangent all on my own, during working hours even.
I dedicate the Year 2008 to Epeli Hauofa.

I am hopeful that we have many more inspirational people like Epeli, who inspired a yearning for others to learn, share and excell in their journeys from the coconut groves to a world of greatness and significance.
He is my "Man of the Year"

Monday, January 12, 2009

To the kolila sending me messages, thanks ...im utterly flattered, look it up in the Tickionary

Front Page of Samoa Observer

Family ostracised over title dispute

Written by Marieta Heidi Ilalio

Sunday, 11 January 2009 18:50
A matai title dispute in Safua, Savai’i, has resulted in the family of Va’asilifiti Moelagi Jackson (pictured left) being ostracised.

The decision on the prominent businesswoman, who owns Safua Hotel, was handed down on Saturday 3 January, the village pulenu’u (mayor) told the Sunday Samoan.
“Va’asilifiti claims she owns these titles,” said the pulenu’u, who did not want to give his name.

The titles in question are Tupa’i and Lealali, both prominent titles in Safua. A third title, Tuisafua, is also involved in the intricacies of the dispute.

“Safua village rules and regulations set by our ancestors is that each family has to have a member who is bestowed with either of these titles,” said the pulenu’u.

“But Va’asilifiti has gone against these rules.

“When her family was planning a saofa’i (title bestowment ceremony), the village asked Va’asilifiti to allow the villagers to use their Tupa’i and Lealali titles, which she had stopped (through a petition in Court).

“Our request was that she allows the villagers to use their titles and the village will attend and bless her family’s new titleholders.”
The pulenu’u said the dispute has been simmering for years.

“We were hoping for a peaceful solution,” he said.

“But Va’asilifiti rejected our request. What’s worse is that when the village refused to attend their saofa’i on Friday 2 January, matai from other sub-villages were invited to bless the new titleholders. We felt insulted.
“So that is why we have made the decision.

“We have also resolved that the new titleholders of Va’asilifiti’s family will not be recognized in the village because the village council of Safua was not present during the saofa’i.”

Speaking from Auckland where she is attending a family reunion, Va’asilifiti told the Sunday Samoan that the pulenu’u’s claims were “unfounded.”
“According to my information, there is only one family that is misleading the whole village,” she said.

“There are only a couple of matai who are pushing the issue.”

Va’asilifiti confirmed that the dispute was a long-standing issue, dating back to 1983. She said the matter has been before the Land and Titles Court and “true heirs” of the title won the case.

“The problem is, the village council say they own the titles which is not true,” Va’asilifiti said.
“When they requested that I allow the villagers to use their Tupa’i and Lealali titles, I told them that I don’t own the titles. I said to them I had to go back to my family and consult with them.

“I did that and the answer from my family was no.”

Va’asilifiti said the decision to ostracise her family was the result of the village council’s lack of understanding of the law.

“It has a lot to do with education,” she said. “Obviously, there are channels for these things to be done.”

The businesswoman said she was disappointed but not bitter about the village council’s decision.

She said there were still some members of her family in Safua including a relative who coaches the rugby team.

Asked what her family is planning to do, she said: “I believe in the old saying e le po pea se nu’u (no village remains dark forever). At the moment, we are playing it by ear and see what happens.”

Haha...we're famous for a day once again, for all the wrong reasons: being faate'ad from our sub-village: Again.

Even though the courts had ruled that we are rightful owners of the titles Tuisafua, Vaasiliifiti, Tupa'imatuna, Tuapou, Lealali, and sa'o tamatai title Lagipoiva.

I blame all these problems on modern politics and the matais who manipulated the matai system for political ambition. This was at a time where only matais were allowed to vote.

The result is that the political leader at the time pushed matais from their contituencies to make up more matai titles:
i.e: the more matais, the more votes.
After decades of disagreements, where the village have always won, the matter was taken to the Land and Titles Court and the ruling was made that even though the politics at the time allows these idiots to be matais, the correction was made, and hugely supported by the district that ownership be returned to the "rightful owners" and to add insult to village injury, "soloia uma matai outside of the family" that is, "get rid of all those bullshit artists titles.

So on 2nd January, for the first time since 1974, the rightful owners bestowed titled upon the rightful heirs to the titles.

This is one of the reasons I started this avenue of expression in the first place, because I cannot express myself in the village from fear of being ostracised, but now that I am, choooohoooo, …lets open a can of anufes….

Now I’ll really tell you about what happens in my little cardboard paradise, unedited version …Auoi Kafefe!!!!’

For the coward who left me a message, i hope you understand this message I am typing..(try!)..I DON'T GIVE A DAMN.... If you are so so certain, they why aren't the Courts agreeing with you???????
tell me that and i rest my case,
thank you your honour...lol.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The reunion that was

The Tiatia Family Reunion has come and gladly gone.

Three Days of pure disorganisation, chaos and screaming children.

On Tuesday, the descendants of Tiatia Lokeni met 'together' for the first time ever.

It was a wonderful sight, seeing all the brothers and sisters seated together for the first time having a photo taken, smiling from ear to ear, interrupting their arguments momentarily.

It is never easy trying to organise 18 adults from the same father to agree on the same issue.

My grandfather was a bit of an enigma.

In that he was respected in the chirstian circles, travelling from village to village teaching choirs, meanwhile, when the kerosene lights were snuffed out, he planted a seed with every high suprano in the choir.

He was an eloquent speaker, who had a air of authority about him and always the cheerful charisma that wowed everyone he met.

Don't be misled though, he was not saint (no shet sherlock), he did have a temper and he did have very high and something impossible standards.
It is suffice to say, he was also a cocky bastard at times.
But hey, he's my grandfather.

He met my grandmother in Manase, her home at the time.

He went to her after a village meeting and asked,
"Ua e pa'u?" (Have you lost your virginity? or direct transliteration: "Have you fallen?")
"No" (and rolled her eyes, i'd imagine)

He checked, realised she was being truthful and a marriage eventuated.

Multiply this by 10 women and you get 8 baby girls and 10 baby boys.
These children are parents and for some, grandparents.

I looked around at the 12 siblings and the resemblance was amazing, everyone had a high forehead like the old man, most were fair like him (bar some Fijian genes sneaking though), most had the same lips and facial expressions and frightfully, the majority had his air of authority and command for attention.

Put this mix into one marae and things heat up, because they are their father's children, they are 'their own person', they are chiefs and orators, they have very high standards and sadly, it became a case of too many chieves and no Indians.

So on Day 3, this Indian bailed out and went back to work while those Chieves argued out their differences.

Little do they know is that it is their similarities that is keeping them from having a very successful gathering.

The Message from this Indian is "
Wear Protection and stick to one partner if you can help it please
" Less dramas, Less Ecological Footprint, Less Dishes to wash. Chhooooooohoooooo...