Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My mommy is coming tomorrow, my mommy is coming tomorrow..yay!

My mommy is stopping over for a few days.
She's been in Bangladesh and will be here before going back to Sachicken.
And my sis is here with my gorgeous blue-eyed prop of a nephew, the Arabic delegation,...
My other sister is coming over next week to sit her exam.
My younger sister was here last week, but the booze hag was too wasted so we didn't get to have a good ol' faikakala session.
It's nice having family over, so my babos can be familiar with them and learn to speak more samoan and dance and do her tatalo(-: and learn the importance of fending for yourself, coz no one's gonna do it for you!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

P.S. We've changed the side you'll be driving on from Sept onwards

...which is exciting news!!!!

Disclaimer: Just because we made the change doesn't mean we should be responsible, that's pretty much down to you, cheers soles and sugas!!

Oh, one more thing,

The Samoa Land Transport Authority is looking at the creation of a LOGO to reflect the dynamic role the Authority plays in the development of the country’s land transport infrastructure and administration.
This is my entry for the competition:

The name of the game is, who will stay alive, choohooo!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't pick the blood red aute, she'll visit you in your dreams and and numb your face

Tamaiti, gather around with your ie afus and your aluga vavae, I have a fagogo to tell.
"Aue" back when I finish my sentences,
"What's the fagogo tonight Granma?"
"Just shut up and listen, here it goes,..There was an old woman, with crooked teeth and bad breath, from the village of"
"Is this a scary one?"
"I said, shut up or else the kemogi will strangle you in your sleep"
"Whatever! Kemogis are scared of Jesus! Jesus will get out his sword and chop him up"
"Okay, so you really want a scary fagogo? A fagogo so scary that you will stay awake for the rest of your life?"
"Yes please!!"
"Are you sure you want to be tormented just because you know this horrible truth about a woman that appears as a flower, a pig, a beautiful woman or a rock?"

When I was only this tall, my mother and father were living in Patamea starting up a church for a small community.
We slept in a fale oo, built hasitly for our use.
The land we occupied was on a hilly clearing, with smooth river stones covering the ground, exposed only in parts from the overgrowth of feufeusaiga and ancient frangipanis.
For days, we woke before dawn to boil tea and cook taro before we proceeded with clear the overgrowth, to make way for the church.
My father and the young men worked arduously in the hope that the church was built in time for the John William's landing commemoration in August.
In particular, they concentrated on uprooting old tree stumps at the centre of the clearing, where two large rocks laid bare.
One evening, he limbed back to our faleoo, with a deep cut in his foot.
Blood was everywhere.
But he just shrugged and asked for a cloth and some water to clean the wound.
That night, he could not sleep as the pain keep him in agony.
At three in the morning, it was apparent that the help of a taulasea was needed.
We started walking, knowing that a car will not come this far deep into the sparcely populated Patamea valley.
The taulasea was six villages away and my father's condition was deteriorating.
From a distance, we heard a car approaching.
"Run, run and stop the car! Tell the driver if he can give us a lift to the taulasea"
My mother hurriedly pushed us forward.
We ran as fast as we could, through the bushes towards the main road.
Fortunately, the driver of the white pick up truck saw us and screeched to a noisy halt.
The driver was not a he, but a slender woman so beautiful that I couldn't stop staring. At the passenger's side was a little girl just as beautiful,
But the driver,
Her hair was long and flowing, her lips red, her teeth so white it shone,..but her eyes?
Her eyes I could not see.
I was mesmerised and scared, confused but I had no time to stop,
We asked for a ride and she just nodded in agreement.
By then, my father and mother have reached us and we proceeded to help him onto the back of the pick up truck.
The car sped towards Fagamalo, and I realised there were not headlights, or any other lights.
It was pitch black, all around us.
We got to our destination and quickly hopped off,
By the time my father was safely by the roadside, the pick up truck had sped off again.
When we arrived at the taulasea's home, the old woman was seated by a hurricane lamp, humming quietly, stopping every now and then to wipe the sweat from her face. She did not address us,
She did not open her eyes
Yet she called out to my father,
"What have you done sole? who have you upset?"
We walked to the taulasea and begged her to help, for my father was now reduced to sobs and was making no sense.
She looked at my father and within an hour, she had summoned the women to mash fue leaves, providing liquids that she proceeds to bathe my father's body with.
As she applied these leaves and oils, she smacked him in the face and screams
"Who the fuck are you?"
"What do you want?"
"What sins has this man of God done?"
"Go away, you alelo, we'll bake you in an oven"
My father suddenly looked up, eyes rolled back and pushes everyone away angrily.
Men were summoned to hold him down, but his might was frightful that even four strong men were pushed away.
After several hours of the taulasea cajoling the spirit to speak, his body shook and a voice came forth that was not his,
"Get away from my home,
Who do you think you are?
Disrupting my peace with your machetes and thatches?
I will do worse to you if you continue to disrupt me....I dropped you off this time to get you here on time, but next time....you'll be dealt with properly"

With this, the taulasea begged for forgiveness and my father fell into a deep sleep for hours.

The villagers gathered and told us things we wish we knew earlier,
The place we chose for a church is were a woman died giving birth to an infant who died soon after.
They appear as pigs, whereby if one shooed the pig away he was paid a visit in the darkness of the night.
This same stunning woman boarded a flight from Faleolo to the airport in Savaii but never disembarked on arrival. The pilot never flew this route again.
A girl of 16 picked a red hibiscus for her hair and was punishes in her sleep.

The next day, we travelled back to Patamea, to the hilly clearing where we laboured for days.
Except, it was.
Except for the central rocky area, where two large rocks laid bare.

ie afu: bed sheet
aluga vavae: kapok filled pillows: (kapok: Ceiba pentandra)
aute: hibiscus
taulasea: traditional healer
fale oo: samoan hut/house
Patamea: village in the Itu o tane region
Fagamalo: originally the capital of Savaii where marines and trading was based due to deep accessible habour, also near Avao where bible was translated.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tofa mai feleni to Tourism, travel and all things fickle

…and now,
The time has come,
For me to say
…tofa, to the tourism/travel industry…choohooo!!!

After seven years of travel and tourism related roles, I am ready to chuck in the towel and say:
“Up yours you frugal low-margin, overworked, poorly paid industry”

Oaky, okay, there are benefits but let me dampen down any more misconceptions and airy fairy ditzy mary fables anyone would have about this career “hole”.
I feel the great need to say to all those aspiring young ‘wannabe’ tourism/travel people to GET OUT NOW and find something more rewarding and meaningful in their lives.
Let me quash some of these misconceptions.

*You get cheap travel!!!
Like most travel deals you’ll see, there’s shitloads of conditions.
* Limited or blackout dates to travel, so you definitely can’t get el cheapos in July or Christmas.
* Short notice (can only book within 30 days of travel, provided there are seats available).
* You still pay taxes, and that can mean a lot if youre flying CX, Luftie, MH and lots of other airlines
*Most travel companies discourage 4 week breaks, you have to spread them out over the year.
* and worst of all, you’re too busy doing other peoples travel to do your OWN!

Tourism and travel is an industry that survives on very narrow margins yet huge competition all selling the EXACT SAME THING, so any economic downturn, ripple or fart is felt in all areas of the business.
For example, right now, we’re all asked to ‘ahem, tighten our seat belts’ (no pun intended) and prepare for turbulence.

*We party Hard!!
*Well, why not? We get shit hours and crappy pay!

*It’s a great place if you love working with people, ‘people-person’(rolls eyes).
Ask any seasoned travel consultant and the words ‘customer focussed’ leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Dealing with people’s travel woes is HARD WORK especially when you, the travel consultant is blamed for pretty much everything:
Bad airline food, unflushable toilets, bad weather, grumpy check-in staff, rude taxi drivers, beaches being too sandy, lagoon being the wrong colour compared to the brochure, countries who don’t use other countries currencies!, delays due to swine flu screening and the smelly fat guy on 35B.
If you love working with people, then be realistic, you won’t be dealing with happy people on a daily basis, rather you will be receiving end of complaints, or sad life stories and other rararas that really doesn’t matter. …so sharpen up your empathy skills and up the ante on the listening and pretending to care demeanor.

*This travel industry is also the MOST UN-child friendly crowd and INFLEXIBLE hours.

So who would mostly likely enjoy this line of work?

*single, spontaneous women with not too much attachment who like to drink wine and don’t mind long hours.
*Gay flamboyant men - theyre great, they love parties and short breaks and lots of attention
*people who enjoy doing the same thing for years on end…I think.

One the upside – it’s 4:14pm on a dreary Friday and I’ve a beer by my desktop eyeing me right now.

Where to from here for the Goddess of Savaii
, you may ask?

...well, that's another big ol' rant and rave to come, so watch this space

manuia taualumaga o le vaiaso!!!

Comings and Goings this week:
-The Omani delegation (MJ and Taaauuuu) are driving down tomorrow, and we're going to be on the rugby sidelines in our gumboots, rainjackets, a coupla churens and several bottles of wine. Thanks God for New World Wine Sales!!!
-Lagipoiva CJ and co arrive Sat for skiing in Mt Hutt and get back here Wednesday
-Mom coming thru to go to Bangladesh for an NGO meeting for climate change.
-SJ, L, Lio and Jacob moving to Fox Glacier soon....gonna miss L's baking)-:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Unnecessary Utilisation of words to protray an air of intelligence

Seeing that my job has become an inconvenient distraction to my life these days, I am finding ways to amuse myself.
Pathetic as this may sound but I got excited finding a word I have not encountered before:
Force majeure . This was on a contract for a conference coming up and I was elated to find a challenge to my day...wooohooo...new word to my english vocab!!
Much to my dissapointment, it just: French for "superior force"
Which brings me to the point: What's with the English speakers' facination with using French words?
Can't we just ask for a folder or papers rather than a dossier?
Does it make it fancier?
Why are we so blase about critiquing the french's arrogance yet be so indifferent about using their words?

Why are we ordering a la carte when we can just order from the menu?

Is a chargé d'affaires less powerful if she was simply a diplomat left in charge?

Will my house be more appealing with decor rather than furnishing?

Can't I just have the soup of the day instead of soup de jour?

On the other hand, give me pate de foie gras but don't you dare tell me its fatty liver.
And it just doesn't sound like a Grand Prix if it was just a Great Prize.

I won't show up for Fat Tuesday but I will be in costume for Mardi gras.

Now, we've passed on terminology dilemna to my 2 years old...she wouldn't eat apples but she 'll take it if we said pomme...same thing, different name!!!

Obviously, I'd rather be living at a cul-du sac rather than a dead end.
I'd rather have a fiance than to be bethrothed!
At the end of the day, there's really no need to make things so complique!

There's the beauty of speaking Samoan - you are gauranteed to be a sheer minority in the global arena!
My older brother did try getting a friend's attention from a distance in a crowded Tokyo subway to no avail until he yelled out "Kefe!" and the person immediately turned.
ah, language - its so so facinating!!!

I've been reading MM some stories at night and it goes like this:
Jack was walking with his vache(cow) to the makeki...savali, savali, walk, walk, marche,marche ..
To market, to market to buy a fat...puaa!
My poor child is gonna be trully confused!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Aso Lulu, 15 Iulai 2009.

E ta le ono i le taeao ae ou ala ou te sauni mo le galuega.
O le aso ou te feiloa'i ai ma lo'u pule ma le pule sili ina ia ou faamavae lelei mai la'u galuega.
E ui ina ou fiafia tele i le galuega, o le faafitauli e ese le va'ava'a o le tama'ita'i lea o lo'o ta'ita'ia la matou matagaluega.
O le tele o aso, e usu mai lava o ia ma le faanoanoa po'o le ita foi.
E musu fo'i o ia e fesoasoani pe'a matou mana'omia lana fesoasoani i mea fai.
E ui i lea, sa ou taumafai pea e faalelei la matou mafutaga aua le manuia o le pisinisi ma le matou faatasiga.
Paga lea, fai mai le isi toeaina, "e te fiu lava e ave le solofanua i le vai...."
Ua uma fo'i ona faamavae le tasi tama'ita'i ona o le le fiafia i le pule, e ui lava ina ua atoa le fitu tausags o galue i inei.
Ia, o le tala lena.
Ae le valea fo'i nei fanau ona o le'a amata la'u galuega fou i le Iunivesite i le amataga o Aukuso.
"Ia, o le tala atu lena i lau pe'a" faimai ai le kamaikiki Falealupo...chooohooo!!!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

My friend Charles asked me what my name meant and I thought "..hmmm, do you want the extended version or the short summary?"...only because my name is samoan and the story longwinded.
So I gave a brief summary and ended it at that.
But it made me realise the great importance and pressure of naming a child in my complex culture.
Shakespeare did ask "What's in a name? By which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?"
The answer is,..."EVERYTHING is in the name sole".
Newborn babes are named after Reverends and Priests and Nuns in the hope they are blessed like they. My cousin is Marie-Therese after our monike relative.
Paulo after the priest from Fusi.
Others choose biblical names like Mathew, Mark and John...don't know why Luke is not as popular? Was he a bad guy in the bible?
sorry, i skipped that chapter during sunday school.

I also know relations who call their children after an aunt or uncle, and in one particular case, people feared that the child would turn out 'crazy' like the namesake.
or 'aivalea'stupid like that uncle....which is why one should feel quite blessed if children are named after them.
Warren, for example is a great case of "far too many Warrens".
Warren by the way is our sacrastic but knowledgable family member who has been with us since dad passed away in 84'.
He takes tours around Savaii and supports lots of families on the island.
In return, Savaii Island is littered with little Warrens running around.
It was funny at first, but then, not so malie.
My sibling and mom named my poor niece after a beautiful and resourceful great aunt.
Thats not the problem.
The Problem is, her name is "Sooletauauataunuuletalalelei" or in simple short form: So'o.
My cousin was born while his father was serving in the United Nations Armed Forces in the early 90's, Gulf War and he was named "Warren Vaegaauomaloaufaatasi". For once, I am grateful for the Warren in front.

On the butt end of the naming tradition, children are named after pivotal events at their birth, like the child ManuSamoaversusWalesMoamoa plus the score of the game.
Or Puapuagatia, a child who caused much suffering and shame to the family. How sad is that!
The pianist at the Fusi Catholic Church when we were at St Theresa was Taemoa (Chicken shit), Taetuli (Earwax) was a breakdancer from Vaigaga, Pipi is a matai title from Salelologa....and wait for it..Pipi Lavilavi....choohoooo!!!
Our district's taupou is Puaa Elo (stank pig)...mate, if I was offered the respected taupou status with that name, i'd run a mile!
Don't forgot Faapuaa (Like a Pig).
Or those names after professions: Palama (Plummer), Eletise (born when electricity was introduced), Su'etusi (auditor?) Foma'i (Doctor).
Kiwi: (Born in NZ)
Talameasina: Born when the Arts Fest was on.
Osama: ..now this is not a joke, there are Osamas around.

So, whats the moral of the story?

The moral of the story is: A name can make or break....i mean, can Pipi or Puaaelo become your Prime Minister?
have a fink about it!!!