Wednesday, June 08, 2016
How to determine whether someone is your cousin or not.
My apologies for missing yesterday's #samoalanguageweek class - I had a busy day of faalavelave (definition; Events that impact one's mental health and financial capabilities resulting in early aging).
Today's topic: what constitutes a "cousin" in the Samoan worldview?
Cousin is defined as someone who is well known in the public arena such as sport, film, music, sometimes education and so forth.
Sonny Bill Williams is my cousin.
Joseph Parker is my cousin.
Boom Bullet, is not mine, but YOUR cousin.
Seiuli The Rock is my cousin.
Albert Wendt is my cousin.
In essence, we are not actually related but we call this sudden urge to relate as "Fia Falealili fua": possibly similar to young kiwi males' emotional urge to break out into the haka when consumed with pride. In London.
Normally, someone is your cousin until they are in trouble.
When David Tua was winning - everyone claimed him as their cousin, but when he struggled, all the cousins disappeared. Thus the adage, "Uo mo aso uma a'o uso mo aso vale"
Friends for most days(good days) but brothers or family on the bad days).
Speaking of uso (watch me go off on a tangent now):
If I hear one more male call me Uso. I'm going to 😡 you. Uso is what a male calls its brother, or a sister calls her sister.
Unless I grew balls, I am not your uso, Uce😡. Smile (👊🏾not a friendly punch).
Now back to cousins, I don't actually use the Samoan word for cousin other than to say, this is my mother's brother's daughter Va'asiliifiti Diana Tiatia.
(Cue: sad song/pese faanoanoa).
I think we are blessed to be in a culture that values family(aiga) and is so entrenched on the collective as opposed to individual gain. Samoans will be millionaires and excelling should it ever be about the individual. But we know that an individual's success is a community's effort.
There's much to be proud of ...but there's much more to weep about.
I just read Tuiatua's independence speeches (my uncle by the way:) and he alluded again to our navigating history and the role of the tautai😍the skilled navigator. But, around me and I see the highest level of drowning are Samoans.
We were skilled orators according the Late Epeli Hauofa and now we struggle with literacy and numeracy.
My point is, we are an ethnicity that bursts at the seams with potential and then, kailo se, (don't know).
Think about this:
For every successful cousin, there are 50 more whose vaka is straying off course.
But don't despair, we all have the capacity to influence someone's journey towards their destination. Even in your everyday loife 😍.
My challenge for any Samoan on earth today is this: you have what it takes, you are worth it. Own it.
"You are my cousin😍"
Think of all the cousins, even those in strife, struggling, and down. Be a champion for them. Today.