6/22/17

A few pics from family picnic ...

and bbq at the lake during Memorial Day weekend. For the last two years (in a row), we have been out of town during this weekend in May for Dearie's Purcell family reunion in St. George.  This year our lake picnic has been a nice break for us ...

snow on the mountains and still a perfect day at the beach ...only in utah



...waiting for the bbq

...yay, it's here :)




... se'i skipper kasi fo,i  lol!!

"Baywatch Utahhahahaaaaa!"






6/19/17

Samoa’s Christian State Law: The Unchristian Thing

The new amendment to Samoa’s Constitution making Christianity the national religion reeks of a double-edged sapelu (machete).  It reminds me of a Shakespearean aphorism in Macbeth about an “innocent flower but ... a serpent under it,” (puns intended) which basically means something that’s seemingly innocuous and innocent on the outside and yet has something else that is gruesome and hideously repulsive underneath.

The words “state religion” “state church” “national religion” “Christian state”, etc., today, should send shivers up the spine of any average educated and spiritually-informed person.  At the very least, the idea of a state religion flies in the face of the separation of church and state, a key tenet and fundamental of Democracy. The amendment is one of exclusivity which is hostile to every mission, goal or proper role of a modern democratic government.  It can also be a hindrance to any programs and reforms.  Though the change is religious-based, its tentacles will inevitably slither and intrude into the social, political and economic fabrics of Samoan society.

Time will reveal the possible and real fallouts of the amendment. Because of the present homogeneous composition of the country, the typical ramifications of such a daring and ostensibly discriminatory move may not be immediate.  In the long run, however, the effects and consequences will surely come, especially when the country becomes more pluralistic. The government should not be in the business of passing or enacting laws that encourage division and segregation among its citizens, at the very least on the basis of religion. While unity in/of faith has its place, diversity, in the context of today’s sectarian world, engenders tolerance, love, charity, patience, understanding, etc.

Samoa also needs to learn from history - past and contemporary.  Governments that promote and establish a national religion tend to become more authoritarian, autocratic and absolutist. They are direct results of centralized power. In turn, their citizens are more likely to become insular, intolerant and territorial and will tend to treat and consider other non-conforming members of society as infidels and/or second-class citizens.

The Samoa Christian churches, understandably, welcome and embrace the dictum, but again there’s hidden venom underneath it.  The government can actually become the proverbial camel that will slowly but surely encroach and eventually take control of the tent (or Church).  If the government can pass a law to nationalize a particular religion, what stops it from regulating that religion? The demarcation between church and state has become more indistinct and obscure as a result. The irony is that churches now think that they are rightfully and deservedly sanctioned and are given a mandate by the government and yet, at the same time, they are unknowingly ceding to the government some of their autonomy and supposed authority and independence. Therefore, churches/denominations better be ready and not be surprised when - not if - their ecclesiastical appointments, policies and practices will be infringed upon, if not dictated, by the government down the road.  The government now has a vested interest in its religion nemesis. The camel is in.

Moreover, this would likely mean that the government for its employment opportunities, as one example, can now legally state: “Must be Christian to apply”.  Though the claim is made that the amendment does not affect or compromise individual freedom of religion, it does however beg the obvious question of which one has priority. The latter seems more feigned and nominal now and therefore trivial and inconsequential.  The law presently, in essence, says, in jest at least: “You have the freedom/right to your own religion as long as you don’t impose it on us, Christians. But we, Christians, can impose ours on you.”  This notion is now more real and authoritative than before. The most alarming thing however is that the amendment now gives the government, and others, the license and legal right to discriminate based on religion. And all of that has the makings of  “Un-Christianity”.
 
And while some may argue prejudicially that Christianity, hence the country, benefit greatly from the government’s patronage and support, there will certainly be times in which rifts will occur in this arranged marriage. A perfect example of late is the issue with the government planning to get the  ministers to pay taxes, much to the indignation and displeasure of the churches and ministers/pastors.  And when push comes to shove, the ultimate arbiter will have to be the courts which will hopefully invoke the biblical separation of God’s and Caesar’s domains, or church and state respectively. But more consequential rifts are possible within and among the member churches of the Christian clique. A recent example happened in the stigmata issue where tensions arose between some churches.  And this can also give rise to the premonition involving a legal and unambiguous definition of Christianity - and/or who is Christian and who is not - considering its riotous and boisterous history.  Also, in any or all of these rifts between church and government where they may resort to arbitration, legal or otherwise, we now know who prevails - the government.

Contextually speaking, being a true Christian is shown more by deed than creed.  This is clearly the notion in the parables of the Good Samaritan and the Ten Lepers where Christ extols the second-class/no-class Samaritans for being truer disciples in action over their elitist and seemingly more pious yet hypocritical counterparts. So as Samoans, let’s not keep busy professing and lauding our Christian commonality via a contrived statute, and risk compromising our entrenched values and noble deeds through alienation and marginalization of our other brothers and sisters.  In fact, aren’t we all - Christian and non-Christian alike - children of God?

The advancement and promotion of Christianity to a de jure status and acceptance, on the surface, seems innocuous, good and virtuous, supported obviously by majority will/rule.  But a fair caution is that the amendment can also, in and of itself, sow seeds of extremism, zealotry and fanaticism. In other words, even virtue, when taken to extreme, can sometimes become a vice.  Consider the roots of the so-called seven deadly sins (vices).  They all begin with simple virtues.  For example, enjoyment of a nice meal ( a virtue), when done in excess/extremity, leads to gluttony (vice).  Likewise, Christianity - or any other religion for that matter - taken to the extreme as being the only government-sanctioned religion, can promote villainous attitudes like arrogance, intolerance, bigotry, prejudice, dogmatism, sexism, racism, etc.  Simply stated, in a continuum of extremities, Christian begets Un-Christian.


And, yes, the prototypical flower of Christianity can be angelic and innocent, but still beware of that serpent hiding under it.  This should be an important and indubitable caveat.

5/31/17

Trump Speaks Samoan? ...Or Trying?

The Internet and twittersphere today have been swamped, flooded and inundated with responses, jokes and interpretations of a word in one of president Trump’s latest and iffy tweets. Which one?  This one:“Despite the constant negative press covfefe. Yes every average English writer/speaker has held his/her breath at the new, if not strange, word - “covfefe”.  Comedians and late night show hosts are having a feeding frenzy with the “typo” (for a lack of a better word, or maybe I can use “covfefe” lol!!).  It's not even a standard coinage 😩. Jimmy Kimmel, one of my favorites, tweeted “What makes me saddest is that I know I’ll never write anything funnier than #covfefe.”

Mr. Trump then sarcastically tweeted several hours later (about 6 am):
“Who can figure out the true meaning of "covfefe" ??? Enjoy!”

Well, president, here’s my take.

To a Samoan native speaker, covfefe seems intelligible especially with the “fefe” part.  The two possible English pronunciations “fay-fay” (fefe) and “fee-fee” (fifi) are both legit Samoan words.  The former means “afraid/scared/fear” and the latter is Samoan for “small intestine” (not “small hands” ..lol!).  And so not surprisingly, Google concurs; it automatically detects “covfefe” to be Samoan.

According to the Independent (UK) website, “Google Translate actually suggests that the word is Samoan, if you use its "detect language" feature. But it can't translate it.”  

Actually, I think I can translate it.... read on ...lol!

Now, like many other word prognosticators out there, let me expound and/or parody the Samoan connection - namely the “afraid/scared/fear” (fefe) translation. The best and closest Samoan translation for Mr. Trump’s asinine and goofy lexical construct is “kafēfē” which is a word of exclamation and literally means “Oh my!”  Grammatically, therefore, “covfefe” can be an interjection, much like “kafefe!”.  The Samoan transliteration is fitting whether phonetically, semantically or contextually.  Consider therefore this version of the tweet: “Despite the constant negative press, kafēfē! (oh my!)”

Kafēfē also is an utterance that expresses one’s fear of a specific something. (The chief of vainglory (cov) is fefe; hence covfefe.)  In Mr.Trump’s case he either feared the press for perpetrating fake news, OR he was just being afraid and scared because of the time of night.  Yes, it was around midnight that he tweeted!  Midnight!!  Can you believe that?  (By the way, I want my president, especially for an old man like him, to be asleep around that time, for the sake of the country, pleaaase Mr. Please!!)  So he must have said: “Kafēfē, ua vaeluapo a’o lea lava e fai la’u tuiti!” (Oh my, it’s midnight and I’m still tweeting!).  And that’s what happens as a result when an old man is up at midnight tweeting; he tweets nonsensical things.  Koeikiiki tweet se upusa (Soon, he may tweet some profanity) Come to think of it, he may already have.  Covfefe, in Plutonian or Martian parlance, could very well be a vulgar word. LOL!

Thus far in Mr. Trump’s fledgling presidency, nothing with regards to audacity, impudence, vulgarity and insolence should surprise us anymore.  Some have already said that his presidency is a joke, and with tweets like this “covfefe” one, it only validates it even more.

So with that in mind, let’s not take Mr. Trump’s presidency seriously; let’s just treat it as a comic relief in the ongoing White House drama series.  We’re about due for another one; the last ones being  of the Nixon and Clinton years. No pun intended, Kafēfē! ... Hahahaaaaaaaaaaa! Ia Kofafa loa! (Bye for now!). Ia pe kofifi fo'i 🤣😂

5/23/17

Pics of Recent Family Milestones

Our Trip to Australia - April/May

... dearie inside sydney cathedral

... us with harbour bridge in background 

... opera house in background 

... with daughters at the taronga zoo


... inside cathedral


Our Grandson's Mission Farewell and Sendoff.  He is the second grandchild/son to serve; the first one (his brother) returns next month. 


"Temple Day"
(front l to r) me and elder; (back l to r) elder's dad and uncle

... brothers (three) and cousins performing during his farewell party
(grandchildren, minus two elders/missionaries)


... farewell sunday 






...day he was set apart


...at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) grounds saying his goodbyes


... saying goodbye to his baby brother

Mother's Day 2017


(l to r) dearie, her mum and Soli (from NZ) after church

... after church



5/17/17

Me and Natura

NATURA

I’m a real pastoral and rustic guy
And definitely ‘til the day I shall die.
Put me in a jungle of concrete towers,
And you’ll find in me a man that cowers,
Cringes and crouches in repulsive awe,
Of man’s modern miracles of perfect flaw.
Clogged veins and arteries of Main Street,
From fuming cars and crowds of hurried feet.
Everyone vying to make a profit and some green
At all costs and means even if to prude and preen.
The hustles and bustles of chaos and confusion,
Emitting potent pollens of poisoned pollution

And so occasionally I escape to catch a breath
Of fresh air so I won’t suffer a silent sudden death.
Here in the mountains I find solace and relief,
Where rivers and streams rescue me from grief.
The clean air, blue sky, green pastures and fields;
Free and friendly and serve as needed shields.
The pretty flowers and preening birds singing
Praises of peaceful miracles and gifts of living;
They calm my fears, soothe my soul in this shrine,
Lifting my spirit heavenward in awe of the divine.

LV ~ 2017



...escape to catch a breath of fresh air


...peaceful miracles



...in this shrine

... calm my fears, soothe my soul


... clean air, blue sky and green pastures


... rivers and streams rescue me from grief

... lifting my spirit heavenward in awe of the divine

... needed shields and gifts of living

... in the mountains I find solace and relief


Faik News IV

Welcome to another edition of “Faik News” ...

Washington (aka the Swamp), the White House and Trump continue to not disappoint in creating and releasing faik news.  Everyday there’s always something from Washington that either makes you cringe and go “Uhmmm, really?” or just makes you rethink America’s place in the world and the seeming compromises - if not the beginning of the demise - of democracy as we understand it.  Is America on the precipice of decline and eventually going the way of all the other world powers of the bygone eras?  ...it's possible.

Anyhow, let’s check on the faik White House press secretaries first.  After Sean Spicer’s blooper regarding the Holocaust for which he profusely apologized, you would think he would learn some lessons to be less faik in his “spicing”. Oh, and not to be outdone, the deputy whose name is Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the female version cut from the same mold.  My question is: "Is there a school of faikery out there that these people attend to learn their art?"  Must be that faik university called Trump University!..lol!

At the peak of all this faikery, we have the press secretaries saying that it was some faiks in the Justice Dept who recommended to the president to fire Comey (FBI Director) only to be repudiated by Trump himself and said it was his choice, and his only, to fire Comey.  A perfect case of faikers outfaiking each other.

So any guesses who the new FBI director will be?  For faik’s sake, let’s have some faik takes: Uhmmm, Ivanka?  She shares the same last name as the president, so a perfect pick. Oh wait, is she Trump’s daughter?  Ok then.  How about Jared Kushner?  Yep.  In that way all the investigations will  “end with integrity” according to Huckebee Sanders.

Some recent polls asked Americans what the first word that comes to mind to describe Trump.  Here are the top three answers (in order) ...[drum roll] ... 1. Idiot 2. Incompetent 3. Liar.  Sorry, I did not faik that - it’s true.  Just ask Google!  And not surprisingly, Comey seems to agree.  He called the president as someone who is "outside the realm of normal," according to the New York Times.

So is Trump still being faiked by the Russians?  He just recently shared some classified information with them.  His National Security Adviser held a brief press conference to say that the president did not share any classified information. (Now wait for it!)  Per WH “protocol” (my parody of Trump’s “words in quotes” tweets), Trump tweeted repudiating the NS Adviser and that he (Trump) DID actually share classified information, and considered it his “absolute right” to do so.  Woh woh ... “absolute” is one word we need to be careful about in how it’s used in a democracy.  The word is associated more with dictators. President, you may have the “right” to share information but it’s NOT absolute! No, nada! So what’s next? Absolute POWER?  He does behave like he actually DOES have Absolute Power.  What’s that maxim again about “absolute power” by Mr. Acton?  Yes. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely!”

And so the “corruption” continues now with the so-called “Comey Memo” which the WH, as always, has quickly dismissed as “faik news”. Stay tuned.  It gets more interesting from here on out.

Ok, enough on Washington, let’s move West to the center of faikery - Hollywood! ..lol!!

So last week I went to see Fast8 (aka “Fate of the Furious”) or “Faik of the Furious” as I would like to call it ..hahaa.  I would really like to write an extended  review/critique of the movie but I abstain. Therefore this short and brief statement and opinion will have to do.

Due to so much "faik", my disbelief was willingly suspended to the max, beyond and back and to the point that I was on the verge of losing all or any leftover disbelief I had planned to suspend to begin with. In other words to the point of a total unwilling suspension. Or better still, rescinding the suspension and returning to find enjoyment in reality which is what, I think, the underpinned universal theme of “family” intends to accomplish.  Though completely overshadowed and rudely paradoxed by the action filled plot and violent content, the family subtext tries desperately - and yet almost futilely - to give some grounding, if not genuine sentimentality, to the movie.

Apparently there’s a huge market and demand for this genre, otherwise it will not have broken the record as being the highest-grossing movie opening of all time ($541 million).

By the way, I liked the touch of Polynesia in the movie when Hobbs’ (Dwayne Johnson) daughter’s soccer team performed a haka simulation.

... my Diesel impression..lol
My man Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) are the principal actors, -- oh and the Brit, Jason Statham.  Speaking of the Rock, he recently made it known that running for President of the United States is something he may consider.  For me, I say “Why Not?”   If Trump can do it, anyone, and I mean aaaanyone can be President!  Who could be worst than Trump?  At least that’s how some people - celebrities especially - like Oprah are thinking now.  If Trump can be president, especially with all his audacity, mendacity, incompetence, villainy and perversity, then anyone can do it, at the very least pass the vetting stage.

Some responses to the Rock’s POTUS intention are calling for him to just stick with acting.  To these people I say to remember that Reagan was an actor.  And Trump too is/was an actor (in Home Alone and The Apprentice TV Series where the familiar “You’re Fired” line is from).  Though Trump is no longer an actor, per se, he’s still acting.  He’s “acting” as President. In other words, he’s “faiking” it.  LOL!!