Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O le Tulafale, The Orator

Hooray! Today we sent you:

* The Orator
We anticipate delivery between Tomorrow and Friday.
And No, I am not making a copy...I am supporting a local artist and local people.
Sorry cuzzies, buy your own.
My Unintellectual Psychoanalytcal Perspecive:
Now that I've watched it for the third time, I can say this:
The Orator depicts the two-faced-ness (there's a new word for the Oxford dictionary) of our supposed close knit society.
We are harsh, crass, rude and brutal in our everyday lives.
We express no emotions of love and compassion, but more of "I will break your mouth when I find you" instead of "I miss you while you are missing".
We are proud to a fault.
We are assholes like that. (Yes, you too).
On the other hand, when shit hits the fan, when we are faced with problems, we suddenly become an emotional wreck.
We wail at funerals and declare our love (even though we hardly communicated with the deceased when he was alive).
Orators lament in melodiac (new word me thinks) chants that make you want to cry.
When a man expresses his love for a woman in the presence of others, it means the world. Because its just something a Samoan man just doesnt do. (well, at least not to his wife, lol).
But most of all, I am in awe - seeing the land i love on a BIG BIG screen and hearing my language spoken - in a way that is real. In a way that transcends culture, language and becomes a universal story.
There is no pretence or sugar coating. There is no fanfare.
And for that very reason, I love it even more. It makes me want to lie on a mat and eat taro and play in the rain and fall in love all over again.
Yes, The Orator did that for me.
I love you too, kaepu.

You can buy the DVD online through There is also a bonus feature, Tusi Tamasese's earlier film Va Tapuia.
Here's the link to Fishpond.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

the things that matter, really

As the clock ticks closer and closer to Christmas, I find myself, sitting, as calm and as quietly as possible, relishing in the peace and quiet.
Before the storm.
I am sitting waiting and watching to see what the season brings, and so far, I have a sore head just thinking about it (ahem no more merlot for the lady please).
...what makes a rewarding memorable Christmas?
In our village, this is measured by the number of custen bradas aunties and uncles coming from overseas bearing bags of money and presents.
With the family in Marseille, its a well attended family lunch with close family and friends, seated by the fire exchanging stories.
In Oman, it when everyone who is NOT Muslim hops on a plane and buggers off to where its actually celebrated.
And then it struck me, My goodness, I have two little people whose perception and memories of Christmas lies heavily with: me.
And yet, here I am sitting of the flipping couch watching Celebrity Appentice when I should be filling their memories with important lessons.
Yes - we have put up the tree with the lights and tinsels and all (actually AUnty R did this with MM, not I).
We will go to the Mormon temple lights display like we do every year.
This Thursday is Kindys Xmas party carol singing.
But surely, I could do more that matter with my bake (yeah right), make christmas cards (eh, fai fai lea galo ga send) or or, ua uma ideas.

In any case, I am grateful that I will see all my sisters (from my mother and father that is;) this weekend. And our boy Tauilagi James. And come Xmas, the kids will meet their cousin Iliganoa for the first time ever. So yes, Christmas for us is spending quality time with family and friends, enjoying the peace, excitement and happy season while we can, before our move (:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Easy recipe, sure!

So the bananas in the fruit bowl were dying before mine eyes.
And it occured to me that everyone I know bakes a banana cake in their sleep,
coz ya know, its that easy.
I googled the recipe that said "Easy banana cake recipe for the laziest of bakers" or some shit like that.
Well, I want to bake the owner of that recipe because I just burned the blimmin' thing.
It smells nice, but when I pulled it out, it was burnt on the outside and mushy inside.
Easy whaatt....damn you all who say banana cakes are a obviously have NOT met me!

Hoh! I'm going to Couplands for some baked-in-an industrial-oven-by-a-real-baker" cake.

Telesa Launch in Auckland !!!

If you're in Auckland tomorrow (Tuesday), the talented writer/domestic goddess/mother-of-fab5/beautiful Lani Wendt Young will be launching her book Telesa - The Convenant Keeper at AUT Manukau Campus.
Judging by the programme, it looks puuurrrdy good!
* Keynote Address - Dr. Selina Tusitala Marsh
* "Nafanua. Telesa Woman of Sacred Earth, Samoa." - Zita Martel
* Creative Siva Interpretation of "Leila, Taupou and Telesa" - Choreographed and performed by Filoi Vailaau
* Music - Provided by the Urale sisters.
* "Why TELESA is being called the 'Pacific Twilight'" - Book/movie trailer produced by Jordan Kwan, with photography by Tim Rasmussen.

You can also buy the book at the launch, meet Lani, have some chow, watch some entertainment and maybe meet a Daniel in the process....ya never know your luck!

Please RSVP to, especially if you plan to take your family pack perhaps they can cater accordingly, lol.

All the best Lani!



Friday, December 09, 2011

You know how I feel about Terry Tavita's writing, ...I general want to hurt someone when I glance through his propaganda bs, but today, I am absolutely impressed.
The guy has finally written something worth reading...and I even read the whole article.
Yes, I was that impressed.
Or maybe its the fact that its a story from Savaii.
(coz ya know, I'm baised like that)
Anyhow, have a read - its about his search for the asi monogi (sandalwood).

Click here for the story in Samoa Observer

My Anthropological Observation (:
My understanding of the asi manogi was from the revered Head of State, Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi (and from the late Mrs Pili in NUS).

Tuiatua explained the old traditions around funerals in old Samoa, where sandalwood was burned, particularly to (ahem-pardon my macarbe-ness this lovely evening) overcome the unpleasant odours of the deceased. He said that the asi manogi was burned throughout the night, aumaga would take turns turning and keeping the logs burning. Leaves were also placed around the body, adorning the afu elo, the fine mat (afu-cover, elo-stench).

Witnessing it
one day, we went to Palauli for the excavation work at the Pulemelei Mound where this same ceremony was performed. Excavation was parallel to exhuming a grave (I fink that's the faapalagi of  liukofaga?).

This is my fagogo, true story! Aue.
On the day, (Aue) the skies raged and rain fell like always in Samoa. One drop and your hairstraightened afro morphed into a life of its own, scaring ghosts into their graves.
The river swelled and rose and bursted its banks until only the Annandales and the Nelsons 7 wheel drives could cross. The rest had to foot it, one hour's walk in the rain, the mud, the cow shit and lava rocks.
The aumaga from Satupaitea had cleared the forest, leaving only the coconut trees and the skeletons of ancient rock foundations, eerily exposed.
I walked to the top of the Pulemelei and looked all around me.
My God, I was in awe and humbled by its magnificence. Did the Tongans make them do it? UFOS? Pigeon snaring platforms? Whatever these foundations were, it was a blatant reminder that we are shallow remnants of a once amazing history and living culture.
We have lost so so much )-:

Anyhow, I digress. (Aue).

The ceremony started as night fell around us.
Men carried burning aulamas in a single file and the chief cried a funeral chant.
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, ua tala le lagi ma le lagi ma le laaaaaaagi.
I felt goosebumps - I felt the presence of not just the living, but others too.
(auuu - drama queen much?)

At the top of the Pulemelei, a fire was lit and sandalwood tossed in.
It was then and there that, I truly understood the essence that Tuiatua lamented of longingly.
The scent was strong. Pungent even.
 It enveloped us and I felt truly sad for those who passed.
For the first time in my life, I was grieving at a funeral of one.
Or rather, of everyone gone before me.
Being at that ceremony reminded me also of this: My name is TupaimatunaFotuosamoaVaasiliifitiTuisafua, I am from a long line of chiefs and orators and warriors who have graced this land before me. (errr....aichachae! chooohoooo!)

(Epilogue: So I chatted up the boys by the fire the ceremony and even today, I try to erase the shattering words they uttered. The words that killed my nostalgic historical buzz:
The sandalwood they used was bought from Frankies Supermarket. Buggers).

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Tuilaepa was right

Every Ioane and his chicken is getting a matai title.

Le Ulugalii fou

And we wish the happy couple all the happiness in the world, what a beautiful couple #HonorPausasaeMaimauLa'uDanjealousparade.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Le au Se'i faga

Today, I had a wander around online and found an organisation called Samoa Web Ambassadors Programme.
I was intriqued, truly.
Their website boasts such wonderful 'deeds' and a list of 'initiatives' that will benefit Samoans...I was about to sing "halleluia praise be" from the mountain tops. But.
Ahem - It's me, remember?
I need a Vailima and some sashimi on the side to get me singing.
So who are these Oh-so-gracious Samaria agaleleis?
Well, I have to go with the information from their website:

They are run by a "Samoan charitable trust...established to teach marketing and to encourage in-bound Samoan tourism, post-Tsunami"

A core function of SWAP activities is to develop, build and maintain an inbound tourism portal website called The Samoa Story.
(ae click aku i le link e ep faasoloakor)

Now, before you yawn, let me say this,

I smell a isumu pe.

I am sure they are genuine, but I have the same concerns as with many other Govenment partnerships - many that have got belly up because the HRPP Government didn't do their homework and these so called partners didn't reveal their TRUE intentions.
Are they a business venture?
Or a charitable organisation?
And if they are there to help promote Samoa online, then what the hell is Samoa Tourism doing? Also, I see on their website that, with the support of the Government and Samoa Land Corp, they have gotten themselves 5 acres of land at Tagaigata.

Again, I am just voicing my personal views and my inner fears because this feels like many other deals in the past that have ended badly (cue to enter: the elusive Lubinsky, Taumesina, Jesse James and thieves from the Wild Wild West(Sasina), Jackie Chen and the golden nonu, Tiavea Uta, etc etc.
I am also nervous because their presence feels as if they are trying to 'fit the bill' in terms of eligbility for donor funding. And you and I know there are more than enough consultants and analysts with a fist in the pie before the $5 cent even drops at Faleolo Airport. 

Ironically, the more I read, the more I realise e fai lava siga kopi o si au vaega:
eg: Habitat for Humanity model of volunteerism: same same.
VSA (Volunteer Service Abroad): same strategy, using people's expertise to help those in need, in this case, they supposedly have website building/portal skills.

NewsFlash guys: I CAN BUILD A WEBSITE. AND ALL MY COUSINS IN SAVAII CAN MANAGE A SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN (like duuur! who doesn't know how to facebook? choohoo)
But hey, you never know, they might sincerely mean well, they might genuinely be a charitable organisation that want the best for Samoa...Nekkminut and if this is the case, then Bon chance and lets see some results.