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!!!