Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Latest tuiga, Hawaii bound

Finally, I have finished this tuiga.
It took me a lot longer to complete because the last few weeks have been full on in this household ...but may I say, ....phew, it is done.
I also started on a new one but with hot pink feathers, for a change,...just to break away from tradition. ...I know that I may just rip off the pink when I come to my senses next week, but we'll see.
Thanks to my indecisive Librian nature, I kept stalling, and so I decided that whenever I ran into a 'mental' wall I will revert to the hot pink number for inspiration. It worked!

I'm calling this one, Safotulafai (: because:
1: The owner originates from Fusi, Safotulafai...yay!
2: It's the Home of Lauaki Namulaulu that I mentioned in my Independence Entry below., and it's fitting that I completed it on the eve of so called "Independence"

Safotulafai
Email me at  jtiatia@gmail.com if youre interested in one.
Manuia le faamanatuina o le Fu'a o le Saolotoga o lo tatou atunuu pele o Samoa.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Gaualofa vaa is almost home

The Gaualofa is not far from Samoa now....follow thier voyage here http://samoavoyagingsociety.blogspot.co.nz/

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pacific blogs that totally rock the canoe, totally!

Fiji has Coup four and a half, ...bringing us uncensored and very juicy inside stories from Bula land,..epic right?

well, PNG has something just as telling PNGblogs.com, I'll add it to my Fobular blogs coz its very malie,...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What does 50 years of Independence mean to me?

It reminds me that the freedoms I enjoy now where not always there.

That there are those who have suffered, who were enslaved, exiled, humiliated and died so we can be free.

Sometimes we are so busy fighting and arguing over issues today, we forget about the journey our ancestors took to get us here.

If we did consider them, we would have had more respect for our environment, value our language more and we would live more sustainably, knowing full well we have only ourselves to rely on.

Cutting the tree you needed to build your canoe, and leaving the rest for the future.

Living today but always having a plan for tough times, always.

Being prepared to work the land, to grow yam, bury breadfruits and ferment root crops for drought periods. Harvesting only what was needed. Cultivating the land and then leaving it to heal.

Samoans of yesteryear simply lived a life of self-sustenance, there was no international donors and aid to wait for, it was a man for himself.

There was no extravagance unless it was called for, where people gave what they had, because they did not receive a constant flow of remittance from abroad. They gave what they made, with their own two hands.

Yes, I am in awe at what our country have achieved, not in the last 50 years but long before.

50 years mean little for me, because in truth, the 50 years before that and long before, are the times when our ancestors shaped and carved a history and a culture of sustenance and resilience and real independence.

Independence? Ah, yes, the Mau a Pule (Savai'i) who, stood up to the might of the armed German Administration and insisted that Samoans can govern themselves.

Ioe, I think of Lauaki Namulauulu when I think of Independence, he had no weapons but was armed with the wit and finesse of a true Orator, who swayed and coerced chiefs above him to follow, to work together and to demanded answers from a misguided Administration.

What will our current elected Parliamentarians say to Lauaki if asked about their decisions of late?

Have they thought about the repercussions on the Samoan people? The environment? The drought? The tough times?

Are the leaders of today planning, working together and demanding transparency in their actions? (And no, not just lip service. Action.)

Are they prepared to shake off their insatiable appetite and culture of dependence?

I think not.

Therefore, I do not share in this modern celebration of a mere 50 years, rather, I look beyond that, because that is where the real work started.

I leave you with the parting words of mana by one Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III,

"My blood has been spilt for Samoa.I am proud to give it. Do not dream of avenging it, as it was spilt in peace. If I die, peace must be maintained at any price" (Black Saturday, 1929)

Happy 50 years of dependence Samoa.

 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Orator and the Virtuous Samoan Sex Kitten.

We went to the Writers and Readers Festival today to hear and support Tusi during public discussion with Sima Urale about The Orator.

It was packed inside, perhaps over a 100 people and most have watched the movie.

Great to see and it seems everyone have been captivated by The Orator.

It was great to be there.

And Sima talked about the Samoan love / attitude to graves, how we sleep on graves, sit on graves, hang out around graves,...e Sao lelei, we were laughing too because it is true.

Another funny moment was talking about Litia getting chased by the village women, Zig zagging on the one road and then getting a near hiding at home...and Sima was right to say that that girl wasn't a victim...she was strong as and ready to take on the aualuma. Tusi talked about that scene on the road,...how it is just ONE road and there is no way out for LItia.

Now, at this point in time, let me borrow from that Orator theme and continue with a real life matter:

Just Like Litia, we all grew up within strict boundaries and unseen walls of rules. We knew what was expected of us as young children, and then as young women,.

As children, we obeyed EVERYONE and we did what we were ordered to do.

As young women, we obeyed Everyone OLDER than us and ordered the smalls to do the feaus. (Jokes but really.)

We had to follow the rules of the family, the village, the church, the culture, the universe.

In return, we grew up as part of a community that protected us, nurtured us, raised us into the people we are today.

Oh what a wonderful upbringing, we all say.

But what lurks beneath this well woven facade of rules and mores and expectations?

What happens when the lights are out? And when adults forget their role of care and love and respect?

When I see Litia, I think of a girl who develop thick skin and an "other" persona where she is not obedient and God fearing and virtuous.

But a hormonal sexual creature who shags a married man because. She is not supposed to. She does it because, like Obama says "Yes she can!"

She still remains a virtuous young girl in her mothers eyes, .and it makes me sad, because that mother

A). does not know the truth.

B). In denial.

C). Is so ignorant of the truth that she will overlook the problems and hope that her daughter will change.

Let me say this now, as a young woman who once shagged boys (unmarried fank you very much) at the height of my obedient God fearing virtuous phase.....if you think your daughter is doing the dirty, then you are probably right.

Talk to her. Get her contraception. Stop pretending nothing is happening. Stop trying to be her friend, and start being a parent, NOW!. because very soon, you are going to be a grandparent.

Have a restful Sunday people,

Lots of luv,

The Virtuous Goddess.

 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Upega Tafa'i lagi

I am enjoying listening to the Samoan news, I love how the translation takes away the palagi context and it becomes Samoanised,

AM a bit slow but only learned this morning that Internet or world wide web is Upega Tafa'ilagi...woohooo!
It makes me think of a fishing net cast into the sky and it catches all kinds of things like cybersharks, fishbytes and facehooks.

Weve transported our language from Samoa to our new homeland ...like saying to kafu the ki in the morning, even though no one is squatting over an open fire blowing air under a blackened teapot.

Loverly.

French Bay on Mother's Day

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fine is like, sooooo overrated!

I find it hard to write when things are working out just fine.

Terribly hard, because writing for me should be passionate... but without passion and a motive, I am just blaaali boring.

I write passionately when I'm 'into' an issue, but latest, everything has just been fine.

Just fine.

Not tumultuous, shaky, chaotic, ecstatic, but just. Fine.

But bear in mind, I come from the school of bipolar and that fine can get flushed very quickly.

But in the meantime. Let me revel in the things that are making life fine for me and mine:

Maeva started school, and instead of tears and disruptions and hiccups, she is just fine. in fact, She has eased into school as if she has been there for ages. I drop her off to Before School programme, they take her to her class, then she goes to After School care and I pick her up at 5:30pm.

Before you point your finger at me for being a mean parent for making her do a long day, pugi.

I drop her off to class on some days and get her early on some, but hey,..she's fine, so no need to spoil her when she's loving all the time with her new friends.

She comes home with homework and is already reading lots of words. And counting even and odd numbers to 16.

See, you're yawning already! but that is what I mean by FINE!

Tuifiti is also just fine at his daycare, and finally walking confidently. I want to rave about the boy positively but I'm struggling this morning because when I hugged him last night, the little shit bit me on the neck, and yanked his head back.

And as I am talking to 49 school leavers they are not looking at my face but the bruise and the teeth marks on the neck.

and no, im not a fan of vampire diaries neither.

Eio, he is called Tuifiti for a reason: vicious much?

so yeah, he's fine. She's fine, Frenchy's fine and I'm logging off before you snore

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Transporting Naomi's Tuiga

Written by Lagipoiva C Jackson.
copied from her facebook Notes without permission.

PS: I have removed names and deleted some things in her story to protect the identities of the victims.

It was about 25 inches high and the diameter of the thing resembled that of a say a moderately sized beach ball. That was the general specifications of the ' tuiga ' or the culutral head piece which my sister had spent a few months making from scratch in the basement of her home in Auckland.
The tuiga was destined for the head of our niece Naomi, who lives in Seattle, her mother, our fourth sister ordered the tuiga sometime back, to ensure that Naomi owns a part of our precious culture.

This of course was a great way to keep the Samoan ties alive, and to give our nieces and nephews who didn't have the chance to experience the Fa'asamoa like we did. Naturally I was impressed at the steps which Fotu and Di had taken to include Naomi in their passion for the Fa'asamoa.
My sense of admiration for the two was quickly lost when I was informed, some six hours before my flight to LA, that I would be transporting the precious cargo to the USA, to save on postal costs, and to ensure the safe delivery of the item. " Do you mind carrying it, it's not that heavy, " Fotu said, downplaying the enormity of the head gear and the task which I was urgently given

" You can post it to Seattle when you get there," she said, forgetting that LAX was the size of Salelologa, where walking to one terminal was the length of two villages in Savaii.
And what, may I add, do I get in return other than the warm feeling one gets for doing something good for others?
" I'll pay the postage. " Yay, that makes it all worthwhile :)
But in the end I agreed to take it, cause frankly I had no good reason to reject the transportation other than, well, being a difficult human being. So amid the celebrations of Maevas 5th birthday, Fotu snuck to the basement to bubble-wrap, tape, re-bubble-wrap, tape and re-bubble-wrap the head piece for the long 12 hour journey to LA.
Lan was driving me to the airport, so I took my bags to her car. Fotu ran out like a headless chicken, and in a panicky tone said: " Where's the tuiga, why aren't you taking it?" I'm like: " Mate, you go bring it to the car, so you expect me to haul it across the oceans and take it from the house into the car too?" But really I didn't know where the blumin thing was.

So she carried the precious box to the car, and Lan rearranged everything to fit the box safely. We said our goodbyes to the birthday girl, who looked sad that her favourite Aunty was leaving (ME!... in case you didn't get it.)
After 20 minutes in a vehicle with a 14 year old in a meltdown and the other teeny popper in an equal display of defiance, and Lan lecturing from Timbuktu to Falealupo, for, wait for it, not getting a cup of tea for the duration of the evening, choo hoo, we finally arrived.

As we offloaded the box, Lan noticed that the box Fotu used which was a proper shipping box, was upside down, the tuiga was indeed placed the wrong way down in the box, thus ' this way up ' was in all actuality, ' this way down ', so the nurse went nuts with her red marker, which so happened to be in the car, drawing red arrows up everywhere to ensure that no one reads the actual box instructions, but the imposed instructions by the Hamos who packaged the thing.
At check-in the airline chick asked: " What's in box? " Answer: " It's a head gear, I mean a head piece, a cultural head piece. " She looks at me like I was freaking nuts. " But it's very big." Yeah and your poin is? %&*%&, just check it through. I didn't say that of course, but was thinking it, when she decided to pass me on to the other section to scan the item.
At the scan section a young PI looking fella walks up to me and asks for my passport and boarding pass: " Madam, what's in the box." Answer: " It's a cultural head piece." He looks at me funny, then I asked: " Are you Samoan? " He said yes so I said: " O le tuiga. " He goes: " Oi ia, seki, fefe i le kele o lau kuiga. " Loverly, he was so accommodating he sought special stickers for the box and said he would ensure it's treated with care, and that he would personally deliver it to the cargo guys. "Fank it."

So that hurdle was over, the tuiga was in the belly of the plane.

Arriving in LA, the customs guy asks where i'm off to and I say, Barbados for a meeting, he starts cracking up loudly. "Meeting huh, let me guess, you have a bikini in the bag?" Floored I said: "As a matter of fact yes, but I really am going for a meeting."
He keeps at it: "Well that's a mighty convenient location for a meeting isn't it Miss."
$%^*, anyway all ended well and I quickly went to the luggage section to find the box. Nekminnit, nothing at the fragile section. It was placed somewhere else, phew!.

At the quarantine, the guy takes my passport and looks up: " You Samoan? You look too small to be Samoan. " Thanks #$^#^% just stamp the thing and let me through. I actually said: " Yes, it's quite unfortunate, I really wanted to be a rugby player, but my Dad's genes won over." He laughed for a while, then I asked if he was Samoan (he was not, but he was brown and towering above me). " No am not, why, do I look Samoan? " He asked. " Well, put it this way, you look more Samoan than me." He finally looked at my quarantine form.
" Miss, why did you check the plants and wildlife box? " Answer: " Well the cultural head piece in the box has feathers and dried plant products. " He directed me to agriculture, who were confused as to why feathers and plants would be on a head piece the size of a freaking box television st.
" I don't mind if you open it to see, " I offered, at this point too exhausted to explain that there were also mirrors, shells, human hair and other assortment of equally red flagged quarantine items in the same head pieace.
" Madam, are you staying in the US. "
Answer: " No, am transitting. "
She said: " That's fine then, because the item is not staying in the US, it's ok we don't have to check it."
If only she knew.

I'm finally cleared and I go outside and for a second I panic, what if Pka, my little cousin, is not there to pick up the piece. There was no way I was carrying the offending package to Barbados. Thankfully Pka appeared and I let go of the box. " It's light, just carry it, " I say to Pka, and within minutes my responsibility for the tuiga was gone, like that.
Hope it fits your pretty head Naomi ;)

Thank You Lagipoiva for your help, greatly appreciated. Enjoy the sunshine in Barbados.

Ma Higgins Macadamia white choc cookies

I want to learn how to bake chewy cookies like Ma Higgins does it (without buying the pre-made dough ov course)
Those are sooooo addictive!


...now i'm hungry...catcha lat'r

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Tuiga Samoa a le Vaasiliifiti

Latest tuiga, made specially for my niece Naomi who lives in Seattle.
Thankfully, I didn't have to go through the painful costly process of sending because Lagipoiva happened to be going through LAX today, so thank you and thanks Pka for collecting it off her and on sending to Di.
Loving the family delivery system right thur, lol
Email me at jtiatia@gmail.com for info about my tuigas. Order early coz there's about 4 weeks wait at ze moment.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Samoans and Tongans, we have more in common than you think

Which is why reading Hon. Frederica Lupeuluiva's piece on our close and intertwined relationship is a breath of fresh frangipanis and roast pork with taro and fish in pe'epe'e and lemon juice.  Brilliant.

Read her views here.

I wholeheartedly agree,

We have much more in common that we care to acknowledge.

The connections between us, Tonga (and Fiji) are strong, and our genealogies are filled with intermarriages, inter-island voyages, exchanges and a rich shared history.

We too have a strong Tongan and Fijian connection and are proud of it:
In brief,  Lealali's son, Tupaimatua (Tupaimatuna) married Laufafaetoga, daughter of Tongan chief and had two children, Vaasiliifiti and Fotuosamoa.
Even today, we have one part of our family who look Fijian, down to the "fro" mania (: descendants of Lautala.
We have been fortunate enough to retrace these links and find family in Fiji (and connections to Motu'apuaka) ....and they too were aware of this shared history!

Morgan Tuimalealiifano, an academic in USP Suva and a matai from Salelologa wrote a book about Samoans in Fiji, Migration, Identity, and Communication. It is a fascinating read for genealogy freaks out there.

Another beautiful wrirtten piece about these connections is by Tuiatua Tupua Tamasese about negotiating boundaries: sufiga o tuaoi

There is tons of historical accounts about this shared history.

Needless to say, we have much more in common than otherwise,
Leave the anger and racial slander to idiots who know nothing about their past or their present. Tuu ai pea le vale e fasa.

So Yes, there is much more we should celebrate together.


And with that, may I declare this "Hug a Tongan Today" Day.
"Kiss a Fijian Day" tomorrow.
"Punch a Samoan" on Friday ....friendly punch, please heh.

Ofa atu vinaka vaka levu, "Taki!"