Thursday, December 27, 2012

In the light of the moon, Samoa powers on

Wishing you all a belated Festive season whereever you are.

Christmas is a bit awkward for many people around here, some have lost everything in the floods during Cyclone Evan. Very sad.

There are still hundreds staying at centers around the country trying to figure out what to do next.

The power is slowly coming on but lots of areas with none.

No water,....so we had to perfect the kaele from the pakeke all over again,....and when it rains, all the buckets are out.

But lets focus on the bright side shall we?

-Straight hair was never me, the frizz is rather en mode at the moment.
-Sales of antiperspirants and perfume has increased.
-People are more united in the aftermath of this adversity,....families and neighbours washing clothes at the river. SHowering at peoples houses with water, charging your phone for free at others houses and eating at someone elses. Thank you. Good relations forged.
-Having good relations with shpkeepers and it results in having an ice pack smuggled into the car. Good stuff Paul.
-Canned food is back,....crack open a pispupo, elegi, wahoo,..et voila, Dinner is served.
-Candle lit dinners with the family...oh joy. Not.

Ultimately, not having these water and power privileges is a reminder to me of what i take for granted. I realise that when darkness falls, It truly does.
And in that darkness, when the moon rises, the light touches softly on the canyon below, and you see only the branches of the bare trees and fires lit in hastily built shacks where families gather in prayer. Bless.
It is beautiful and calm and appeasing.
Despite all the misery in the world, I look around me and count my blessings because i live in such a beautiful place.
okay, better bugger off, my warm Vailima is calling,

Alofa atu and we are off to Savaii today for moms birthday, so ZERO internet BUT, running water and electricity...chooohooo!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cyclone Evan left a mess in many parts of our beautiful Samoa ):

And being away makes it so hard, knowing my family, and all of Samoa are trying to get back on their feet...who is thinking about Christmas when someone hasn't got a home ):

Grateful for social media for keeping us afar informed of the events in Samoa.

I camped on Lagipoiva's, Jordan's page, then Seti Afoa's pages watching the cyclone happen.
Thanks Misa Vicky Lepou, Lagipoiva and Michael Field for up to date reporting of the cyclone on mainstream media.

Big faamalo to DMO team, Filomena, Toa'i and Vaito'a for the updates, what a fantastic job well done!

-If you want to help, send money to your family in Samoa,...they need the money.
-You can also top up their Digicel phones from here.
- Go online and do their grocery shopping and suprise your family or people you know with goods they desperately need.
Here's the link to online shopping: ECarruthers.com in Samoa.


Also, update from Savaii, (Savaii Samoa Tourism Association):

Talofa lava fans and friends of SSTA,


This is to let you know that Savaii was most fortunate to have been spared from damage from the recent Hurricane Evan! All our operators are up and running as per usual. Our interisland ferry service recommenced yesterday and Samoa Air is operating its usual air taxi service in between both islands!! Please do not stray from your plans to visit us on the Big Island as this is most probably the best way you can help to ensure that the whole country gets back on its steady feet again!! Manuia le vaiaso!!.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tropical Depression Update for Samoa

Observation:
In the last five hours since our Briefing #2, the tropical depression is still maintaining its strength of 30knots close to the centre, and have moved east north east within the last five hours at the speed of 14knots. The winds are not picking up strength because the size of the wind field is small. There is 100% level of confidence that the depression will continue to move towards Samoa. 

Prediction:
The global models is forecasting the system to intensify from midnight tonight with potential to cause heavy downpours/rainfall affecting the whole country and possible gusts of up to 25 knots. At this stage, the Tropical Depression has not been named as a tropical cyclone as it has not meet all the thresholds to warrant such.

Preparedness:
We continue to maintain our advice with regards to preparedness measures by response agencies as per our briefing #2.

The next update will be provided at 1500hrs today.




BUT - I remain optimistic (because its all I can do anyway!)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Malietoa Tanumafili II

What a beautiful tribute by the Bahai Faith.

This is what I love about Bahai, they are so much about faith and unity and love. Eh, Kai magaia.
Far cry from my own ahem financial house of God.
Bahai tribute to Malietoa Tanumafili II.
I miss Malietoa, he was such a kindred spirit.



Drugs in paradise

Sometimes, I wish I didn't know ANYTHING at all about drugs in paradise.
But when you sit with someone and they let you in on this 'other' side of paradise, you can't help but listen intently.
Wow-blummin-wow! 
If I had the time and was bulletproof, I would have loved to write a book about this fascinating side of Samoa.
But yeah, for now, let me just be the amused listener laughing at what people do when they are on a high. 

Goddess of Ganja. 

Oileiiiiiiii!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

I hope my blog makes you hungry

I just read through an article in the Waikato Times, Diet Blogs risking lives


Experts warn that online "thin-spiration" blogs are encouraging life-threatening behaviour among slimmers, with girls as young as six being treated for severe eating disorders
This worried me because I just posted about attempting to eat healthy.

Please, I don't ever want a reader to come onto my blog and feel they need to get thinner.

In fact, I plead with you now, go butter yourself some bread, layer it with mayo and corned beef before you sit back down. For good measure, insert a leaf of lettuce.

If you have read more than two entries from this blog, please get back up and reward yourself with some fried eggs in mayo, pepper and sprinkle some salt.

If you feel lethargic, wander onto Samoafood.com for real culinary inspiration.

You are beautiful, eat and be happy....but make sure you are doing some exercise as well, like walking.
To the dairy.

Thank you,

Goddess of Food,

Aue.


Limu anyone?







Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Samoan attempts to eat healthy

This week I am attempting to eat healthy.

At midday, I was feeling cold, and lightheaded.

By 2 pm I was a bit restless, having eaten an unappetising salad with feta and tuna.

At 3pm, I realised I couldn't go on, so walked to Wendys and ate a burger.

Healthy eating starts tomorrow.

Much to celebrate this week,

1: My cousin Rem and her husband Hex have graduated from Malua yesterday, congratulations! Rem, Granma is looking down from the heavens proudly that one of her grandchildren has carried on the work for our family. Malo le fa'aea aiga ma le lua galulue punouai I nei tausaga e fa. Viia le Alii.

2: My brother has tied the knot with his love, (about time too!) in Haast. We are sad we can't be there but I looks like they have a fantastic time....we'll party properly when we get to Savai'i, hihi.

3: One of my amazing friends from high school now sits at the UN climate negotiations table as co chair, something that is very critical for Small island nations...having a voice at this level and someone who stands her ground. Well done Anne! Yes, she's young and she's Woman. power to the women (:

4: Manu Sevens winning the Dubai Sevens, and watching the usual two die hard supporters Nets and Malelega sling it out, ahem - on the sideline...well done Manu boys.

5: Joshua Tiatia, my little nephew comes first in his class, proud of you boy!

6: Any other achievements, please remind me on fb,...and for non achieving milestones, ahem - shall we keep those under wraps for now? Ta. ...don't wanna ruin the moment, cheers.

 

Monday, December 03, 2012

A night out with the golden oldies

The oldies (my aunt and uncle, both members of the RSA) invited me to their end of year christmas do, for their Multicultural dance group.
I have helped them this year, thus the invite.

As expected, my aunty forgot the address of the restaurant, so Galdalf and I headed to a bar to quench our thirst while she figured out where we going.

Its a BYO Chinese restaurant. And the people we were going with made sure it was a BYO.

Bring your own full Chill bins and xlarge boxes of booze.

Needless to say, the group were speaking Mandarin after appetisers.

And someone was saying things like "Don't waste the food, we can take it away in piggie bags"...I suspect she meant doggie bag. but nevermind.
Towards the end of the night, a guitar is played and drunk diners are singing "Its a long way to Tiperarry" and "Isalei".


On our way home, we pull up to Avondale RSA...because RSAs are all the rage around here. (Right).

And hello Talofa, half the Samoan church community of Avondale are in there, hammered a few hours before Holy Communion.
Most of the elders are sitting, almost lost behind their booze - struggling to stay upright.

A tall man gets up and takes off his tshirt, and shoes - and hits the dance floor.....no one bothers, because he is a regular. Apparently.

He comes to our corner of the bar and announces in atriculate Queen's English
"I am Malielegaoi! I am a Paramount Chief and do you know the Prime minister of Samoa? he is like a boy. Like my son. I have a dream today" and then he breaks out into a funky dance.

Meanwhile, Gandalf heads to the bar and asks about Topless Tuesdays.

These oldies know how to have fun I tell ya.

But this is too much for my young mind, I need to hang out with people my age!
Under 30 (:


Friday, November 30, 2012

Prize Givings make me cry

Reading articles in the Samoa Observer about prize givings makes me cry.
Yes, Goddesses do cry.
I cry suddenly because it is such an emotive event, seeing a student win and seeing their parents standing proudly by their sidek, humbled (tear jerking moment).
When I think of prizegiving in Samoa, it just about hurts my heart with pride and memories.
Goddesses have hearts. Shock horror.
Prizegiving for me was a fusion of mosooi fragance and teuila, departure, perfectly ironed uniforms and the suspense,...oh the suspense of 'Who is going to be Dux?"
Not I, said the Goddess.
In any case, it is the moment when nothing else matters but victory, praise, recognition and celebration.
I was not always a brilliant student. In fact, I was sorta middle of the road kind of diva with strengths in other areas. Uh huh.
But nothing inspires and challenges me more than prizegivings....seeing someone else walk on that stage. Wow!
"Song playing in my head: It should have been ME!"
I sit there and think "Next year I am gonna walk that aisle and get that prize...I'm gonna study hard and make my momma proud. No more kafao. Study hard, so help me God"
And then it happened, I came first in my class, but did I hear my thoughts?
No.
Not with the choohoooo my mother was sounding from the back of Tooa Salamasina hall to the front and down the seawall, along with the singsong narrative about how her years of catching the boat from Savaii have been rewarded, so praise be and choohoooo".

Indeed, prizegivings make me cry, but not always with pride and happiness.

"That's why I don't try to come first in class, because I don't want my mother to choohooo and tell my life story to the world." Goddess of Savaii.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Congratulations and buy the e-book now, .99cents only!

Congratulations Albert Wendt for winning the Prime Minister's Award last night in Wellington.
Yet another achievement, malo le finau i mea lelei ma le fa'aea atunuu.
As part of this celebration, I see on his facebook page that he is doing a special deal with Amazon for his book:
 Sons of the Return Home for 0.99cent only.

seki a !


One day later,

Wow - may I confess now that this is the first ever e-book I have purchased via Amazon?
Wow friggin wow - this is addictive.
Thank you Panipopo for the gift of Amazon addiction and thank you Albert Wendt the e-book.

But may I be a dinosaur and say, I prefer my books in paper form and I like the feel and the smell of a book. I'm a Judas like that,...I want to see it to believe it.
So e-books are nice, but nah - bring on a hard, wholesome real book any day.

Alofaaga,

Goddess lost in the Amazon jungle.




Monday, November 26, 2012

Pacific Education Plan - island style.

This was launched last week down the road by the Minister of Education and co., much to the dissapointment of many in the education sector as it fails to address bilingualism-Pacific languages...among other legei ma lega.
There was much talk and faigagukus prior to the event about how the plan has failed, then an advocacy group called Raise Pasifika who co-authored insisted on removing their association with the Plan because 'it wasn't bold enough' then someone else in the media said Pacific leaders are divided over this and so on.

I'm sitting here thinking, ....Pacific leaders (including Raise Pasifika) where is your tofa mamao?
As co-authors, leaders and all those who drove this blaali Plan and pushed us common people (who were busy enough anyway) to be part of the consultation process,...is that really what you have resorted to? Bailing out at the 11th hour? 
Kua kaea kele se kou advocacy.
Aue Malia e, we are in deep Pacific shit.

 
 


Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs...hmmm

Is this Ministry still relevant? Should it still be in existence? 
No comment.



Friday, November 23, 2012

More fascinating insights from Albert Wendt, not just a rugby guy

Please note that when I said "more answers from Albert Wendt" tomorrow, I was using Island time as my framework.
Now that tomorrow is long gone, here goes the rest of my Fesili ma Tali session with the man we now know has a fascinating rugby history and interest.

As today is Thanksgiving in Amerika, may I associate myself with the event and be Fia falealili fua just to say Thank You, Faafetai Tele Lava, Meitaki Maata, Merci Beaucoup Albert Wendt:

"I am thankful for Albert Wendt because without him, Samoan and Pacific literature will be without a powerful influence.
Without him, we as Pacific would still have been misrepresented and misunderstood.
I am thankful he writes about real issues and the real us, dispelling palagis misconceptions of us as wearers of grass skirts and strumming yukuleilei and singing about seashells beyond the reef. At sunset.

I am also thankful for having social media connections, where I reconnected with Ms Wendt (Lani Young) whose uncle is Albert, and as a result I got to ask him questions. Thank you Lord for nieces who recommend their not so brilliant students to their famous relations. Thank you blogger, facebook, gmail and especially , thank you Lani Wendt Young!


Fesili Muamua) How fast - (do you view )- is the evolution of the Samoan Culture? Where do you think it is going? and Is it bad or good?  (question from Herman Walter Arp).

This is a very difficult question.
It’s a very large question about a whole culture and its history and how it is changing. My novels especially try to answer it. My novels embody how I see the history and culture of Samoa over the years, from its origins to now. I didn’t intend them to be that way. In my search to understand myself using my writing, I wrote the novels and so forth. And the Wendt fictional world I’ve created embody my beliefs, preferences, philosophies, prejudices, attitude, and so forth. And many people don’t like my fictional world, my version of Samoa and so forth. I don’t mind that at all. We all have our versions of ourselves and our ways of life, and those as I’ve said depend of who and what we are. And in basic ways, cultures change according to their own laws and not to how we want and expect them to change and be!


When you want me to make a moral judgement of those changes by asking ‘is it bad or good’? I’ve given the answer in my writing over the years. Because of my own moral vision and preferences, I see some of the changes as being beneficial and others as being ‘bad’ or detrimental. Others see it differently. And so it always will be.

In my old age, so to speak lightly, I’m more forgiving and tolerant. As you know, from my books I was and still am angry about colonialism and all its manifestations, and about political corruption and racism, and exploitation of the weak by the powerful, and other things.

Despite all my griping and complaints and attacks on many aspects of our society and way of life, I have to admit that I’ve had a very very privileged life compared to most people!

Fesili Lua): What are your best memories of Samoa College?

Best memories of Samoa College? My time at Samoa College was one of the happiest times for me and my young family. My family – my children – grew up within the caring Samoa College atmosphere. They spent a lot of time with the boarders and at the school. I was fortunate to be part of a school aiga made up of the brightest students and best teaching staff in the country. The students were respectful of their elders and teachers and, most importantly, they really wanted to learn. I’ve already talked about the rugby memories. I loved making friends with my students – some of them have remained my friends all these years. Many of them have become successful citizens and leaders. Most of them have raised and are raising wonderful families. Many of them migrated to look for work. I now love running into them where ever I travel. I now even run into their children and grandchildren who come up to me and introduce themselves!


I still remember some of the so-called ‘naughty’, rebellious students I had, with great fondness. I often recall the school assemblies when I was in front of the students listening to their marvellous singing; and during the year watching their outstanding performances of our dances and songs; and when they performed their own plays. I will always remember how we organised, financed and got the Samoa College Fale built – it taught me hell of a lot about our building traditions and history and arts, and how to enhance our beliefs in cooperation and cooperative effort and alofa and fa’aaloalo and agalelei. We must never lose those.

Today when I visit Samoa I always call in to see my old school. A few weeks ago, I called in unexpectedly and met the principal and some students. It was great to see the buildings had been renovated and repainted.

Fesili Mulimuli): I would love to have more young people reading your books Albert. We were forced encouraged to read your books by my persistent mother, and I came to appreciate it as I grew up. I loved the fact that it was written by a Samoan about the realities that I was in. You didn't mince words - and for me, it was such a relief because everything else I was reading was sugarcoating the Samoa I was growing up in. I related to your characters and their struggles.
Now, for the younger 'generators' of today who don't know about moekolos and dodgy politicians and matai titles for cash, can they still relate?


The young ’generators’ just need to go to the books and find out for themselves. If they’re Samoan, hopefully they’ll see themselves in them and learn things about their ancestors and parents and themselves. And about pain and suffering and joy and happiness and loneliness and violence and overcoming the odds. And being human. I try to have memorable characters and storylines that’ll hold the reader’s attention. If my novels are any good, people from other cultures and times will enjoy them and learn something from them. I enjoy novels from all different cultures and countries and times, and all different kinds of novels and stories and poetry.

I’m also addicted to movies and television. You can see that influence in my writing and poetry.

Faafetai tele lava mo le avanoa Maualaivao Albert Wendt.

-You can now purchase the ebook: The Adventures of Vela on Amazon, for only $9.99.
-You can also follow him of Facebook.  because its pretty cool to say, "oh, Albert, yeah nah, we're good Facebook  friends".

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stop using Racism as an excuse.

I was reading through Samoa Observer as usual when I saw a headline:

Monday, November 19, 2012

Malo lava Manu Samoa for smashing Wales (:

ia, ...Now you can finally get the wine that you were meant to receive last year at the RWC.

 ....right after you beat France, please.
That is all.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Telling my fagogo in real life.

Today, for the first time in years, I told a fagogo to a live audience.

I was nervous at first, particularly as it was a bunch of teens who have the attention span of ...teens.

This was done as part of a programme offered to young Pacific students who have leadership potential. Ten are selected from their schools and spend the day in various sessions. Today's theme was 'Identity'.

Someone pulled out of a workshop and I was the last resort.

Anyhow, I can't repeat much because I forget but what I found funny was that the kids were laughing at parts of the story that were not meant to be funny. And that made me laugh.

I liked that telling a fagogo in real life is as animating as it is here.

Thank you for reading my madness since 2006.

Aue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

For more enquiries and bookings about my tuigas,

Please email me at jtiatia@gmail.com and ideally not a phonecall to my employer....this is something I do on the side, not during work hours(seriously true story!)
Ma le faaaloalo lava,
Pulega ma le au faigaluega.
http://savaii.blogspot.co.nz/2006/02/tuiga-do-you-like.html
Fotuosamoa

Sexual geographies and saving a life

In recent days, PM John Key was in trouble for saying "That's so gay" to a guy wearing a "gay-looking" tshirt on radio.
He defended his statement by saying kids say it all the time.
This is true, kids say this all the time here in Aotearoa, and during our programmes with young people, when they don't like something, they say "Thats gay".
I constantly have to restrain my right hand for uppercutting their chins. Because, you see, its an educational programme and physical abuse is only reserved for a classroom in Savaii. Pity really coz some of these kids need it....but hey, stop it, Violence is not the answer! haha.

Now, the reason I write this is rather selfish....its not in defence of gays or lesbians or gravies or whatnot.

It's more so to say, ...Gay bashing is so so so last season, get over it people!

When I went to uni to study Geography, most people thought I was testing soil samples and studying cartography....well, partly. Most of the time, I was choosing papers that were more Human geography...more people geography.
What I loved was learning about sexuality identities, and about gendered spaces...wow, my brain was suddenly awake.

You see, I come from a place where we keep bragging about the third gender, we keep boasting about how they are socially accepted and so forth.

But in reality, there is much more that we do not discuss, because it is tapu.
We love the third gender for their entertainment value and floral arrangement-designer-comedian value, but otherwise, we bow our heads in prayer and look the other way when the priest condemns homosexuality.

But like said before, I ain't defending no one, as I have yet to meet a third gender with insecurity issues....more the contrary, they are security threats if I disagree with them. Pugi.

What we all need to accept is this, people are different, all of them,...we need to celebrate everyone's uniqueness and accept people for who they are.

If you like them, good.

If you dislike them, chus walk away and don't waste your breath speaking ill of them.

Remember, you speaking ill of someone without real basis can have very very negative implications. E fai vae o tala, Stories have legs, and in Samoa, stories, or tall tales have legs faster than Hussein Bolt except those legs multiply and reproduce, so be careful what you say.

Be prepared to accept change in this world and be prepared to accept people for who they are., we have had so many young people take their own lives partly because they are misunderstood (And no, that is NEVER an excuse for taking your own life, seek help!)...so please, be open minded, shut up and listen for a change, and smile....you never know whose life you are saving today.
And if you think no one understands you, then please stay around and in time, they too will understand, but for now, you are important, you are special and don't ever forget that.

Choose Life please, because there is only one of you....you are unique!
The Low Down, helping young people understand and deal with depression.
Youthline
Gay Pride and public space

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What you didn't know about Albert Wendt.

Not long ago, I talked about how sometimes we read books and want to ask the author questions, right?

But the problem is that the book we were reading was borrowed from Nelson Library, and it is frayed, dusty and the cover is missing. OR, the inside pages are scribbled with "I love you Paimalafa, my pody grow with yams when I looking into your eyes" But more so, almost all of the time, the author is a someone from England or Canada or somewhere you have not heard of.

But there was an exception, our mother gave us Leaves of the Banyan Tree to read. I hated it at the time, because my teenage brain was geared more towards SweetValley High and ahem, other  shallow things. Pugi.

Later on, I had to go back to Leaves and many of this author's work because I was doing Anthropology and Pacific papers in uni, and I finally came to appreciate and understand what Albert Wendt was on about.

The thing is, I needed to get away in order to understand and appreciate it. Because I was living in his story the first time I read it.
Reading it from afar gave me clarity and made me question what I knew and everything about Samoa, about Samoan men, about culture, about greed, about Samoa.

But even more meaningful to me, was that this book was written so ...hmmm, what's the word, so truthfully...so much that I could smell the umu on the Sunday morning, and see that beat up truck in my head, I could feel the warmth of Pepe's strong chest (even though I was a virgin, ea?).
It also felt awkward at times because the things that the male characters were doing and thinking were 'tapu' to my virginal mind. At times, I had to stop and exclaim "OMG, Mom is letting me read this? whoohooo!"
So my message is, if you see the critic in my blog sometimes, its not me speaking, blame the writers that have influenced me.

And on that note, I (and with the help of my facebook family) had the opportunity to ask the man himself, some questions.
But, not academic, literary questions, rest assured (exhale now)....it's the questions you too would have asked without thinking....over a cup of koko samoa and pagikeke lapokopoko.
Better yet, the answers he gave made pagikeke taste like cream buns...you will be suprised to see below, that there's even more to the man than you think.
The first question was offered by my cousin Mele Mauala, so thank you Mele for the question (:

Fesili muamua: Why were you such a tough rugby coach?

I love this question. You one of the few interviewers who has ever asked me about my passion for rugby and the time I was a rugby coach and selector. Wonderful! Because people believe I’m a writer and academic I don’t like sports! And for years I tried to cultivate that image too. But I eventually couldn’t deny my passion for sports and rugby. Through the practice of writing and painting, I’ve learned how to be disciplined and committed. I’ve applied that to sport.


I played rugby for many years in high-school and then at the Athletics Club in Wellington and then on my return to Samoa in 1963 played for Apia and was later a selector for the Samoa National Team.

When I was at Samoa College I coached schoolboys’ rugby and the First Fifteen and then the Samoa College Old Pupils Senior Rugby Team. I absolutely loved doing it. People who know me well know I tend to be obsessive about the things I love. I want to be the best at those! And I hate losing! So I just work and work at those. Practice and practice and practice. I also loved teaching young people, inspiring them to be the best, to realise their full potential at whatever they’re passionate about. I learned early that if you want to get the full potential out of individual players you have to get the full potential out of the whole team. And vice versa – does that make sense? I also learned from my students that they’re good at sports because they’re bright intellectually. And at Samoa College we had the brightest students from all round Samoa. Top sports people, I have found to be also very bright.

By committing myself wholly to the team and rugby I inspired my players to do the same. Once you’ve got that, they’ll do the rest. I knew each player well – their strengths and weaknesses, and used those to develop a team that would be courageous and thinking and daring and committed. It was wonderful to watch a game and see your team/match plan working out on the field! I can read a game quite well even today!

It is probably true I was a tough coach. I didn’t hesitate leaving out players who were not putting their best into the game. But Samoa College and my players were and still are proud that we dominated First Fifteen and Senior Rugby in Samoa for at least four years.

Footnote: Though I still love the game, I’ve always believed it is only a game! There are more important things in life!

Fesili Numera Lua:  When I read Ola, I saw myself in her, obviously the part where she is intelligent and amazing etc (:,...was she inspired by a real woman, women you have met,,...or were you just making it up as you went)

Ola was inspired by the life of my grandmother Mele Tuaopepe-Trood. She was a remarkable person who was bilingual and an authority on our way of life, history and oral stories and traditions. She wasn’t a business or overseas educated person like Ola. But I gave Ola her personality and ways of behaving etc. Mele inspired me to tell my own stories and be who I wanted to be. I also let Ola develop in the novel the ways she wanted to! Ola is also a lot of me. I give her a lot of my experiences and travels.
Today if you look at the people running our departments and organisations in Samoa most of them are women and most of them have better university qualifications than the men! It’s a pity this is not reflected in our Parliament where there are only two women MPs! Ola preceeded this marvellous generation of Samoan women. If you look at NZ universities, there are more Pasefika women than men, especially in the graduate programmes!
See what I mean??? Isn't he amazing?


Fesili Numera Tolu: What questions are you SICK of answering?

Questions about the biographical facts of my life and the bibliographical details of what I’ve written. Why? Because the interviewers should know that before they come to interview me. If they don’t know those they can get them off Google! Also asking me to tell them the contents of my book they’re interviewing me about. They should read the bloody book before they interview me!
Thank you Albert Wendt for gracing my blog with your presence, manuia le aso.
You can buy the book Leaves of the Banyan Tree by clicking on this link. or it should be in MOST libraries in NZ.
Or "Like" Albert Wendt on Facebook for updates on his recent works.
Check out more fascinating answers from Albert Wendt coming up tomorrow (:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Samoan Prime Minister shaves head for cancer

...or just about to at least:
http://www.ustream.tv/channel/shavepm
Pledges:
Zita Marvel: $1000
Tautua Party: $1000
HRPP: $10,000
Cabinet: $3000 etc
seki a...

oh wow...its really happening You da Man Stui!!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Need a Samoan food fix? go to Panipopos for inspiration.

I mentioned a few months ago that my favourite blog in the world is Samoa Food, by Panipopos.
I love browsing though her island recipes and she makes it seem all so blimmin' easy.
Even better is that her recipes come with the story of eating it as a child, and the descriptions make you really kafe your faua and takes you back to your own island memories.
When I came across her steaming puligi recipe, I thought of Safotu after the Christmas midnight service and the smell wafting out of homes, ...and the custard goodness. mmmmm.
Then there's the panikeke lapokopoko that reminds me of Sili, where you get them freshly out of the pot and put into cocohut husks, to take home...yummmmmilicious!
Then there's foods I can't stand, nor comprehend, like Sua Fa'i, which to me is ridiculous,...i mean, boiling sweet bananas? yukk - but again, she write about it like its the best thing ever...and makes me actually want to try it again.
Anyhow, she interviewed one of the authors of the Mea Kai Cook Book.
And all I was thinking was: OMG, the Next best thing is:
A Samoan cook book by Panipopo.
Wouldn't that be wonderful? Can you imagine all the coconuts scattered around the world will want a copy?!
It will do better than Mea Kai because she will provide context and the story bethind the story.
So yes please Panipopos - get crackin' on that cook book.
E nice aku ai au recipes gai lo le vaega ga, ua kele ia aka ae airena recipe maoa'e.(In English:
 It's nice to see wonderful recipes that we can all access. Keep it up).


*Amazing restaurant on Queen street: Wooden Board.

I had to walk to K road to activate my new bank card, in the rain and I was cold and huuungry.

Anyhow, I asked the bank lady where I should go for food and she recommended a new place across the road, on upper Queen, opposite ASB Bank.

Its called Wooden Board and offers fantastic lunch options at unbelievable prices, All lunch options are from $5 to $17 but most items are $10.

Despite the low prices, the experience is that of a kaunak restaurant. You get given a glass water bottle as you sit down on the wooden chair and table. (ohh, thus the name! Goddess youre a genius!)

And you get helpful advise from the chef.

I am definitely going back with others because it is fabulous value.

Who could you take to this place?

- Your Palagi friends who like salads and rabbit food....while you inhale the Angus beef sandwich.

- Your island cousins who want to be seen walking into a restaurant - without losing your weeks wages and Sunday alofa.

- someone you want to impress, but may not be your actual spouse. Since its quite intimate and tucked away on a usually busy street. But don't blame me if you get backhanded by your wife on the way out.

- people in a rush

- someone on a budget

- someone who is really hungry

- people who want to be in a simple place that is not pretentious- and we know very well that is a rarity in Auckland city.

Okay, here's a picture of my chicken, avocado, tomato, relish in Turkish bread Island sized sandwich.

Thank heavens for this place.

*I don't get commission for this nor affiliated with this restaurant...I don't even get free food, but I do like to share with you all my 5 readers my great experiences in restaurants, among other things like books, places and gynaecologists.

And more to the point, we are more inclined to whine about a bad experience but slow to rave about the great meal or a good experience.

5 finemats for Wooden Board!

 


 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

TOLT is gone ):

Yesterday, *TOLT returned to her home and I was left with the harsh realisation that I have to once again raise my own offsprings.
Oh what a shock to the system.
No more freshly pressed and folded laundry, and sleep ins and free live in babysitting/cooking/cleaning help.
Life will be different as we try to adjust to business as usual.
But having her here was also good for another reason.
She was strict with the littlies and did not tolerate them throwing toys around or munching on snacks and staying up late. It was all very orderly and made life easier.
I just need to keep it up, so help my Allah and the Au Farasaio.

In other news, we move to our new home on the 29th.


*Tina o le tamaloa

Monday, October 15, 2012

What I love about blogging in the Samoan world

The beauty of blogging for me is that it is my own little space to express my thoughts, experiences, smear tests and my own place to air my kagamea. 
Innit wonderful? Eio. 
But even more relieving is that I can write freely and spread my wings and fly, without worrying about exclamation marks and koma lilius and all that jungle.
And while everything today reeks of  instant and text and jargon and always changing, I can count on my blog to just be myself, without a care in the world.
Cue song "We are the world" by Michael Jackson.
So when I get abusive messages from people about what I write, it makes me smile. 
Because I sit here thinking,....No one told you to come here and sniff my toilet bowl.
Not one person dragged you over here to read my blog.
What Makes me smile even more is this:
Editors are quick to dish out the dirt but are the first to get a bruised ego when something is mentioned about them. ..something that is already IN the news.
So, the moral of this kagamea entry is this: Stop getting your Made in China underwear in a twist.
This is my blog, walk away if you can't handle the heat. .."chus walk away"
Also, next time you want to leave rude messages, try and be less obvious with leaving comments under random names and perhaps wait a few hours before posting as yourself.

And in case youre curious, the newpaper name starts with T and it rhymes with "Tago i ou fua"

Have a fabulous week my wonderful people (:

Lots of Love,

Goddess of Angry Editors

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ironic Governance

What is Governance?
Simply put "governance" means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented).

With that in mind, I found an article today on Samoa Observer regarding a Governance training:
The charges against the ACEO stemmed from the use of $1,150 of $4800 given to him by the Ministry of Women to run a training programme on governance from 21 to 24 November 2011.


Ironic, huh?
But then Judge Vui wins in the end with this statement:

“Like my mother always said to me ‘be careful son the road to hell is paved by good intentions’,” said Justice Vui"
                                                                  Borrowed from this Samoa Observer story


And the moral of the story is?
Makua'i leai a se moral o legei story. Thank you for visiting, manuia le aso.


If you want up-to-date Samoan news, subscribe to Samoa Observer.

Head of State website is once again updated.

I told you a while ago that I loved going on the Head of State's website and reading his speeches. Remember? No? ...anyway.,
I  find his speeches very rich and deep and meaningful, e ese le loloto o le tofa.
So when speeches stopped appearing, I was a little sad and in April 2012, I emailed asking when it'll be udpated as the last speech was back in September 2011.

The response was this:

Thank you for your email. The website has not been updated since the time you mentioned. Ends.  

So, it told me nothing at all that I didn't already know. In fact, it told nothing more than what I already knew. And what I knew was Nothing at all.

As a result, I removed the website link from my Fobular site links, knowing that their content was ummm, obsolete and no one was updating the site. Sad face.

Yet another organisation/group/website that launches with a big bang and then ...nada.
This is the problem, fiafia puupuu tele tatou e update websites.

But I'm happy to report that it's been updated again,...more fascinating reads from Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese Efi....so go on, have a sneak peek, using this link, but I still hav'nt forgiven his office for slackness and for an empty response, I give them 6 months probation before I can place them on the Fobular links.

Goddess Analysis of the Independence Speech
I was a little disspointed with this speech. Not just because of the title:
Samoa is not government; Samoa is family and brotherhood.  What happened to the sisterhood?  aue Malia e ...
But, I accept that this speech would have been perfect for the occasion, it ticked all the 'lets-please-everybody-that-matter' boxes, but something was missing for me here.
It was missing his usual depth and compassion.
It was also NZ heavy and so loaded with international references....which again means it was perfect for an occasion where the big kahunas were perched on their pedestals next to him.
But, it was genuinely missing Tuiatua, the traditional leader, the matai Samoa....this should have been his moment to inspire and fautua to all Samoans in this world and be the inspiration that he is, but he's missed the mark.
Nevermind. C+

Monday, October 08, 2012

Would you believe they had eggs for breakfast?

There is this school in the Pacific, where the 'supposed' top students attend.
The late Mrs Isara used to refer to them as, "You are the cream of the crop, don't dissapoint".
Every young student used to dream of being in this school because it was supposedly the BEST school on the land. In fact, it's reputation as the best school is well known, because your parents may have attended it.
Except in their era, it was administered by white people in crisp clean uniforms and coke bottle bottom-rimmed glasses and spoke with the Queen's English.
A school where girls played hockey and boys had classy hairdos.
But most importantly, the hostel students woke up to the smell of bacon.
Whaaa???? Are you for real? Ioe. True story.

I bet you're thinking about Samoa College ...right?

Yes and no....I am referring to MANY MANY schools in the Pacific that went throught this same evolution - from bacon to chicken soup (without the chicken)...hereby called 'bacon-less colleges'

I thought it was just Samco too, until I met Education people in Gaudalcanal and Malaita...they too have their own dream schools that are now run down and without a sizzling bacon in sight.

For example, King George VI.  Like Samoa College, it was administered by palagis to groom future leaders of the country. Most leaders of the country today went to King George. Another school to add to the list is Selwyn College in the North. Or Vaipouli in the Itu o Taane of Savaii.

Of course, this is only the ones I know, there are many more baconless colleges dotting the Pacific.

The worst thing about attending a baconless college is this: Everyone who attended it before you talk about the bacon.
So much that when you whine about the chicken-less soup, they look at you funny and say "You have no idea, that place is the best in the world".
So you drink your soup quietly...and watch the now derelict kitchen, where bacon once sizzled but is now simply a umukuka for boiling bananas and boiling whatever else is edible.

So,.. maybe we didn't have the bacon, or the squeaky clean classrooms, but it was my school and I came to accept it as it was, with its broken chairs, makeshift walls, overgrown with vaofefe and teachers who spoke the Queen's English....Queen of the Chunkle that is.
But it gave me hope nonetheless, ...hope that one day, I would get the hell out and smell the real bacon.

One Solomon Islander summed baconless colleges perfectly for me:

"Would you believe they had eggs for breakfast?"  

                                      Bacon AND now eggs?  Baffling revelation indeed.



A picture of the Samoa College Hockey team, who went to Fiji for a hockey tournament and most likely had bacon AND eggs for breakfast.  

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How I got that return airfare (: this is my fagogo I submitted.

(Before my mom reads this, I love you Mom and I will work hard to give all I have for our faalavelaves without question or without being angaaary. I only exaggerated because I needed the airfare, heehee).

____________________________

When my mobile phone rings and shows an international phone number, I cringe inwardly.
In fact, I roll my eyes and quietly ask “Who is dead now? How much do you need? Why, oh why me?” But I pick up the phone regardless and switch on my happy caring voice, because no one disobeys my Samoan mother. Inevitably, I end the conversation with “Okay mom, I will send you the reference number to collect your money”.

For years I have received the same phone call and driven to the same agency to send the requested amount. The shop assistant knows me, my husband and my two children and my licence plate number. You could say we are regulars in the money sending world. VIPs even. But as more and more phone calls came, I started to feel resentful and frustrated, wondering why I have to support others who did little for me, or my loved ones.

Around the same time I stumbled across MoneyPACIFIC and SendMoneyPacific, through their online website. It wasn’t just the fact that it provided a place for me to compare rates before sending, or that it offered useful advice about managing my money. It was more the fact that they seemed to know me! Are there truly others like me who send money at the same place because we are used to it? Are there really others who don’t know the true and real cost of sending money?


But surely, the agency I use gives me great benefits. I get a $5 credit to call my family and a Gold card for my loyalty. Of course they have my best interests at heart! But what floored me at the time was seeing that my preferred agency charged a horrendous amount compared to others. This, along with unfavourable currency conversion that I did not consider before. Suddenly the $5 phone credit and the Gold Card seemed trivial.

Today I know better because I have made SendMoneyPacific my first stop before sending money. I read their updates on Facebook and requested a MoneyPACIFIC calendar for my kitchen wall. I am better informed and much more inclined to shop around before I send money.

I still cringe inward and roll my eyes when I get that phone call. However, I am less frustrated because I know better. I check online for who provides the best rates. I take advantage of specials by different companies when SendMoneyPacific updates me about it. Now the challenge is getting my loved ones to think the same because any saving is healthy if we are to continue in this never-ending business of sending money home.


Faafetai tele lava to the people behind MoneyPACIFIC and SendMoneyPacific!

______________________________

 
(Aue Malia e, the things I write for a free airfare, but yes, that is a true story).


What is Cultural Sensitivity?

It is knowing not to gift a memory stick to a Principal of a school located 4 hours away from the nearest computer, that does not work. In the last 2 years.

Or giving a set of expensive business card holders to the woman without business cards. or a job.
Or rimu wood coasters to the owner of a massive logging company.

But, we can all rejoice because beer and wine is remains the common bridge we all cross, if not over it, then under it.
Here's another example of cultural sensitivity, having a tshirt that says 'Cock' might be okay somewhere else, will be frowned upon elsewhere, same goes for the lady with the random sleeves...that is called Cultural Faux pas, or rather, a faux pas altogether...what the fook was she thinking?  

Snow White comes home with the 8th dwarf

Friday, September 28, 2012

When a tree truly falls (in the Pacific)

A tree fell.
"When did that tree fall on the road?"
Several years ago.

Malaita, Solomons

video
Definitely one of the more memorable flights I've taken in moi young loife (:


I flew to Malaita and after this landing, I had a rethink about my life,
...I caught the boat back and I'm buying a lotto ticket today (:
That aside, I had a great time here because it was a refreshing cool green and welcoming haven after the dust of Honiara. I stayed in Auki, the 'centre' where trading, market and the trading center of the Island and surrounds.

There is one main hotel near the new market called Rarasu. I was supposed to stay here but due to island planning, I was not booked....but I had to come here for all meals. The restaurant is in the front and faces the lagoon islands.
In the evening, I look across the lagoon and see the lights flicker and noises of children and singing in a distance. I stand by the mangroves and felt so surreal being in this amazing place.
The restaurant is a project set up by the European Union and Rarasu owner. It is a basic large room, breakfast, lunch and dinner are always offered in 3 options...all very generous and lovely how there is abundance of local vegetables. Absolutely loved it here and reminded me that sometimes, eateries tend to focus on quantity of dishes, done poorly, but here, they do 3 options, perfectly.
Nuff said.

I stayed at Auki Motel, which is well fenced and I look into the Police Station across the road. All the occupants there: Ramsi officers from Australia,World Vision rep, VSA, Japanese engineers, Japanese etnobotanist, some Government Ministries and Save the Children consultant.
Wherever I went, I was presumed to be the 'Save the Children' consultant....nice try but no, I'm job i much less interesting, sorry.

Not far from Auki are the artificial islands....islands built with coral and then traditional homes are built atop on stilts (pardon the shallow descriptions). I met a woman there who owns one of the accommodation Serah Kei's Lagoon Hideaway ,but in typical slack island Goddess fashion, I forgot to charge my camera so I couldn't take photos....my plan is to go back and stay there. They are also part of the Langalanga Lagoon, experts in boat building and shell money...thus they are called 'the Factory' by the locals.

Beautiful place.


Early morning in Auki, the sun rises in the horizon and all is good in the world. Amen.

 
A 'loveheart' island, I took this photo for my Maeva, who LOVES anything loveheart-like.
As I waited for the boat to take me back to Honiara, people were carrying 'avegas' of pineapples, as Malaita is the home of the sweetest pineapples in the world. (or so I believe) and those boats go between Aiku and the Langa langa Lagoons where the artificial islands and shell money are made.  

Post Solomon Islands reflection

After the Solomon Islands, I reflect:


- Great friends who made things happen and fun and interesting - friends make life more tolerable, if only to just vent and reflect.
- Crayfish for $20
- Fresh coconuts, papayas, bananas
- Sweetest pineapples I've ever tasted, from Malaita
- Happy carefree young people who want to succeed, irrespective of the challenges.
- Learning about the journey of someone who came from the humblest of beginnings, succeeded and defied the odds. Wow!
- Being reminded that something as simple as talking to someone is a mammoth task for someone else.

- Being reminded that I take so so much for granted, therefore, coming back, I am suddenly reviewing my surroundings with renewed and refreshed perspective...wow, I have a computer that works, and wow - I have a job! and double wow - I am so so lucky!

- Seeing how people live in Auki, in their traditional homes, tending their gardens (because they are self-sufficient) and seeing children playing in the river with floating logs and sticks...they have no money but are content...suddenly I felt so selfish thinking about our mortgage and the need for a bigger house...I don't need that! (sorry Gui).

- Being away for the longest time and thinking about my children, and imagining holding my son's hand, where it is soft and pudgy and seeing him smile (in my head) before he headbutts me in the nose and my daughter reading her book to me in bed, and hearing her singing in my head. I missed them terribly, but Im back and holding them close, yes, I missed my babies!

- Ultimately, this trip humbled and reminded me that what i do is not about the numbers, it is about people and their lives and it has ripple effect on their communitites. I am able and I can do it. So help me God because I am about to max my budget.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Images

wow - its been a while since I have had restricted access to Internet...and couldn't convert pics on my usual program, so back to the 'old school', open photo in Paint, then stretch/skew and reduce image.
Then it can upload for 5 minutes instead of 30 in a normal size/



On the way to Malaita

 Ggella Passage by boat, first stop



Auki Air-"strip"

At Auki Township..those are like german buns, slightly more fefeu but yummmmmay!

Eating humble betelnut in Honiara

When I first got here, seeing the dusty town of Honiara reminded me of Salelologa back in the 80s (according to the videos I saw, yeah right hahah).
It was on the cusp of 'development' but not just there yet...the roads were hastily built and strange things were being constructed right before the General Elections....and then forgotten right after.
I was well prepared for this trip. All the Solis I know kept warning me, particularly about the betelnut spitting and all that jazzle.
I arrived on the morning William and Kate were leaving, so really, the town was considerably cleaner than usual....the hasitly laid pavement on Commonwealth street was still shinning new and intact (for a day)....and notices were all over forbidding betelnut.
Then, when the royals left, ...it was back to business as usual.

Its strange how we in Samoa learn about World History, but that really means European History and very very little about our own backyard. I only truly understood the bloodied battles in Honiara in UPY...but seeing the map of Iron Bottom Sound was something else....and actually seeing the shipwrecks by the beach humbled me. ...wow, 40 known battle ships and submarines sunk here, thousands of Japanese and Americans died right here ):

Suddenly, I was mad at myself....what the hell was I thinking, making comparisons and likening this place to Salelologa, where the only struggles have been who slept with whose wife and who ate the pagikekes from the sefe?

How wrong was I.
This place has witnessed a lot more and is still healing, 1942 is NOT that long ago and with that comes the political and economic struggles.

Yes, I have much to learn.

Humbled Goddess.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

We are mean to our own

So I check into the hotel in Nadi and the young unsmiling receptionist quickly deals with me and send me along. I ask about Internt and she gives me the "oh fuck off look" and said "come later when the lady is here".
I return and hour later and she was like "what?"
I asked nicely, "Can I purchase an internet voucher please or do you have internet down here?"
She looks at me, unimpressed and walks off
a while later, another equally bored girl comes over
"Can I help you"
"Yes please, I was waiting for the internet, if its a voucher or if i can access it here, the other receptionist was going to get it"
"Nah, shes on her break"..and proceeds to type on her computer.
Now, I am fucked off and I ask her "Are you and your colleague always this rude to people or is it just me?"
She finally pays attention..."I want to see your supervisor NOW"
She puts on a wide smile and apologises, then the colleague pops out from the partition at the back and apologises too.
She said, "Oh, I thought you were Fijian"

wow - so its okay to be an asshole to your own?

I spoke to the Supervisor.

and FYI, dont ever stay at the hotel right across from Nadi Airport. I'm being diplomatic and not naming it, but its pretty obvious.

Suddenly Fijian Goddess.   

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Briscoes sale

We interrupt this broadcast with this message:

Briscoes has a 60% off sale on Manchester and bedding...yay'r....first time on tv sleeping on fabulous silky goodness that I normally don't look at coz I don't wanna lose my panties at the cost.

Thank you for listening,

Manchester sale Goddess. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pacific in New Zealand, Whose who?

I saw something on Su'a William Sio's FB page regarding Pacific language in NZ, I've copied it here and reduced the fonts because you might doze off after point c.

What is our way forward for Pacific langauge education in New Zealand?
From the evidence the community submitted to the Parliamentary inquiry into Pacific bilingual language education in early childhood education, I summed it up as follows (in no particular order) :-
a. Government should reinstate and continue funding of literature resources that it paused back in 2009;
b. That Pacific bilin...gual langauge education is strongly valued by Pacific parents/community;
c. Pacific language education has significant benefits to children's wellbeing and academic foundation - this is backed by local and international evidence;
d. It is the right of every child to learn and speak in their heritage language;
e. New Zealand should have a National Languages Policy;
f. New Zealand should have a Pacific Languages Policy;
g. New Zealand should formally recognise the Pacific languages of its realm, namely Cook Islands, Vakahau Niue, and Tokelau, and the languages of Samoa and Tonga because of its special relationships,


In response, someone from Melanesia, responded with this (Enlarged and in bold for your reading pleasure because it is very very important):

Adi E. Samanunu Waqanivalu
"Good thoughts however due to NZ historical links with Polynesia group of islands & their dominance in NZ on all Pacific Policies, then it perhaps needs to be called Polynesian Language rather than Pacific as there are others that make up the Pacific who are not Polynesian"

Now, this is something we need to consider in New Zealand today,....Pasifika is the domain of the majority, which is: Tonga and Samoa (and Cooks, Tokelau, Niue).

Melanesian countries remain hidden/excluded and it makes me laugh at the irony of all this....we as "Pasifika" are crying out for equality and yet, even among us, we are not being equal and acknowledging ALL people of the Oceania.

Example:
There is a Pasifika collaborative group I belong to, which is very much representative of so called "Pacific in NZ". The leaders are Samoan, except one Tongan and a half Niuean. ZERO Melanesian.
But when we face the public as a collaboration, I am suddenly aware of this over-representation and I feel inclined to omit my Polynesianness.
My point is, if we want to foray into the future in one canoe, we first need to know who are as a collective:
We are Oceania.
This means Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati,  Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, FSM, Northern Marianas and all the other islands that dot this vast Ocean.
Not just Polynesia.

Tenkyu


Goddess of the Collaborative Oceania








Thursday, September 13, 2012

Its cheaper to be fat.

I found myself on Mangere Rd this afternoon, hungry and forgotten my wallet ...again!
Only $5 in the car ):
I was a little stressed, because my Samoan psyche was screaming out 'you need to eat, you only had 2 donuts for morning tea!'
...so I pulled up to my favourite shop in Otahuhu, ...I'm sure I can afford a pork bun.
I asked for 1 and a pagikeke (lapokopoko) and hellacious, the shop assistant was like, 
"Pau ga?" clearly disgusted that she is wasting her time selling me only 2 items.
"Eio, I only have 5 strala"
"oi, but you can get 5 pagikekes for a tollar and 4 keke puaas, $1 each.
Wow - I did just that,...and everyone at my next appointment were like
  "A'e that's a rip off, cheaper at Pigakis"

...clearly, it is way cheaper to be fat than invest in being healthy (until you need dialysis that is).?.and I say this while I wipe the oil from my chin.

Cheers,
Chunky Goddess