10/18/17

“Son of a Bitch” ~ Trump

I hope the title is catchy enough for your curiosity, though it’s not what you may think.  It’s actually something that was spoken by the president recently in a public speech.

First off, in case you haven’t deduced this about me through my writings on this blog and elsewhere, let me say it again: I am a fairminded and open-minded person. I respect opposing viewpoints, and when I disagree with them, I try my best to express and articulate my own views, counter argument and opinion with honesty, reason, logic and fairness. I dislike guile and hypocrisy.  I am an American, and I love most things America stands for, especially democracy, freedom, the rule of law and respect for rights of ALL its citizens and people.

So herein are my opinions (you have yours; I have mine) on some current issues.

One of the hot debates saturating the news in the home of the brave and land of the FREE, is about the professional athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. It started last year with a protest on police brutality and other injustices against blacks and minorities.

The whole issue began with a former Forty Niners (49ers) quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who is black.  During the singing of the national anthem in one of the games, he took a knee (instead of the usual standing up) as his way of protesting the oppression suffered by blacks and people of color, especially by the police.  At the time, as a fan of the 49ers, I said to myself, and later on in a comment on one of the online forums: “Colin, if I were you, I would concentrate on winning a Super Bowl first, and then think about protesting.”  In essence I was against the time, place, manner and medium of his protest - not the reason.  I wanted him to comply with the game protocols, which include respecting the flag and then play the game he was paid to play. He can protest some other time and place.

Since then, the story, with Kaepernick at the center, took on a life of its own and became either largely ignored or dead in the water.  Well, sort of, until a few weeks ago when Trump again rekindled the controversy and fanned the  flames during a campaign rally in Alabama when he screamed to the crowd:
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired!’”

For me as an American - and I’m sure for any other reasonable good human being - this comment by the president was (as typical of this man), rude, offensive, divisive, malicious, prejudiced and racist. Yes, racist.  The comment is SO FAR BELOW the dignity of the office that he holds.  Son of a bitch is offensive to the mothers of the athletes and it’s DEMEANING and DEHUMANIZING! - to say the very least. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of person Trump is; he belittles and dehumanizes others! That’s his character and his true colors.  I’d say that most of the time, when someone calls another person an sob, it’s usually the accuser who is the bigger sob.

And so Trump has continued to wage this battle against the NFL and against those who “disrespect” the flag threatening to undermine the whole league using his powers as president.  He needs to understand that he’s a president not a dictator (although he behaves like one).  His office has limits under the law as well as in decorum and propriety.  When Obama admitted that he was like a president-in-training, Trump is many more times that.  Trump needs a lot of training as president and in many other areas pertaining to the office, though I doubt he wants to be trained, taught, advised or counseled by anyone.

For me, standing up is the “right” and respectful way to honor the flag.  And yes, fellow citizens, I do stand and will continue to stand during the national anthem, as long as I am physically able.  But if I see someone sitting down (which does happen all the time) or taking a knee, next to me or within the scope of my sight, I will not have any ill will, spite or wish any malice towards that person. Basically, I do respect their individual freedoms and rights, and, I personally tend to have a higher threshold of tolerance for such non-compliance. In essence let’s examine and evaluate our own patriotism and not others’. For the professional athletes, it’s the same thing. I may personally disagree but at the same time, still respect their right to sit, kneel, genuflect, etc. At the same time the confines of applicable laws and/or policies of the governing body need to be considered. Incidentally, there is NO law or statute - local, state or federal - against sitting down, taking a knee, or not standing up during the national anthem.

Flag vs. REAL human lives
Mr. Trump dwells, overthinks and obsesses about respecting the flag.  And then he often wanders into a spiel about honoring those in the armed forces albeit with a sense of faik feigned patriotism.  John McCain (R-Arizona), describes such bogus patriotic attitudes as “some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems, [which] is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history."

How do we know this hypocrisy of Trump with regards to his loyalty to the flag versus loyalty to the men and women in the armed forces?  Well the news on this is still “wet”.

Several days ago, four members (soldiers) of the US Special Ops forces were killed in an ambush in Niger, Africa. At the time, Trump never acknowledged or tweeted about the news, instead he was busy tweeting and arguing with NFL players, North Korea, and members of Congress (re: Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee).  Trump never went to welcome and receive the caskets of the four soldiers like any president should.  But where was he, you ask?  Golfing! Yes, he was having a good time at his multi-million golf course.  Isn’t he also the “Commander in Chief” of the armed forces?  Therefore he should be honoring the lives and sacrifice of the soldiers by being there to welcome them, especially it's the first major military tragedy of his presidency.  It just goes to show that he doesn't care.  He's so bent on respecting the flag, an inanimate symbol, than real human lives.  Again, it’s blatant hypocrisy of him to berate those who disrespect the flag and the military forces by not standing during the national anthem, and yet, he did not show respect to the four soldiers brought home in draped coffins by being there to receive them at the military base.  And not that he had a good valid excuse - he was playing golf!

And then in a press conference on Monday, he did what he does best - lying, prevaricating, rationalizing, making excuses, fingerpointing, etc.  He made so many excuses for not calling or writing the families of the soldiers yet, saying that Obama and other past presidents had not done any of that either - which is a LIE. But when he was pressed on the blame, he said this:

 “President Obama, I think, probably did and maybe he didn’t. I don’t know, that’s what I’m told.” 

 Really?  You think? Someone told you?  Well a former member of the Obama administration on Twitter called it a “f---ing lie” and called Trump a “deranged animal”. What goes around comes around (re: sob comment) Mr. president. And if not being at the military base to receive the bodies of the soldiers was not bad enough, Trump is now reported to have told one of the widows that her dead husband has “known what he signed up for, ”  Whaaat? Only a retard would say that! (He's now disputing the report.  yeaahrrriiight!) But can anyone believe that?  Well I’ll let the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs (NBA), Gregg Popovich, answer that question.  Here is his answer:
I’ve been amazed and disappointed by so much of what this President had said, and his approach to running this country, which seems to be one of just a never ending divisiveness. But his comments today about those who have lost loved ones in times of war and his lies that previous presidents Obama and Bush never contacted their families, is so beyond the pale, I almost don’t have the words.
This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner–and to lie about how previous Presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers–is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House: unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this President should be ashamed because they know it better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.

And that, my friends, is just one sample of how millions of Americans - and others - feel about this so-called “son of a bitch” president.

Now, for the sake of balance and fairness, here are some great things Trump has done as president. First, he nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Second, ..hmmm...uuuhhhh ...hmmm... that’s it folks!  Oh, oh, he now wants to make everyone say “Merry Christmas” again instead of “Happy Holidays”.  Wow, when did I stop saying "Merry Christmas"?  Never knew that was some major national crisis. And what a great national policy that would be. I'm sure the people's standards of living and incomes would be raised, and taxes reduced as a result.  Oh, speaking of taxes, Trump is planning to cut taxes for the ........ wait for it ....... Riiiiiich! In other words he wants to cut taxes for people like him.  Even some of his own die-hard supporters are starting to be annoyed by the guy’s antics.

Recently, for example, Rush Limbaugh, a pro-Trump radio talk show host, said:
There’s a part of this [NFL] story that’s starting to make me nervous, and it’s this: I am very uncomfortable with the president of the United States being able to dictate the behavior and power of anybody.
Trump should not have the power to dictate who can kneel during the anthem. ~ "The Hill"
Neil Cavuto, an anchor for Fox, the extremely pro-Trump channel, recently chastised Trump for his public feud with Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).  Cavuto said this directing his comments at Trump:
Last time I checked, you are the president of the United States, so tweeting out these tacky insults just seems beneath you. You are running out of friends faster than you are running out of time. How long do you think [people] put up with this? Loyalty works both ways, Mr. President.
I think Cavuto meant to say that tweeting out tacky insults just seems beneath the office of the president, not beneath Trump himself because we all know, by now,  what Trump is like, as a person.

...Stay tuned!

10/14/17

Interesting Exchange on the Samoan Language

About a week ago, I was reading a news article in Samoa Planet about an overloaded truck that tipped/overturned, and had these excerpts:
They had been enroute to Falealili to deliver a cement load (uka simā) for a church construction project.
“I couldn’t control the vehicle. The load was just too heavy.”
“Ua ou fiu le mea e taofi le taavale. Ua mamafa kele lava le uka.”
The officers ... encouraged passing vehicles to move along, as many had slowed down, wanting a closer look (faikala) at the accident site.
As a native speaker of Samoan, I immediately noticed some deviations (re: underlined text) from some of the conventions, notably the mixture of the so-called “t” and “k” pronunciations in one comment.  Also odd was the use of the “k” method in an official printed document as in the words “uka” (vs. “uta”) and “faikala” (vs. “faitala”.)  I was curious as to whether the deviations had already become standard in Samoa, both in the vernacular and the printed word.  So I commented, and the rest of following dialogue ensued.

LV Letalu 
“Ua ou fiu le mea e taofi le taavale. Ua mamafa kele lava le uka.”

To a native speaker, this is funny – and awkward – Samoan speech/talk having to do with the so-called “t” and “k” pronunciations used in the same comment. It can be used as a classic example of such elements in the study of the Samoan language. I wonder if it’s reported or original speech, hence it’s reporter vs. speaker as who the real non-native speaker is. I also notice that the reporter prefers the “k” pronunciation in the two translations “uka simā” vs. “uta simā” and “faikala” vs. “faitala”. The lesson to be learned from this is the role of the media (newspapers, internet, radio, etc.) as the so-called standardizing agents for language. In other words, the more this mixed semantics is used, the more it gets normalized and standardized. Faafekai Tele! ????

Editor
Talofa Mr Letalu. The quotes you refer to are direct ones, ie it’s being cited exactly as the speaker said it to our reporter. Many of us ‘native Samoan speakers’ here in Samoa, use BOTH the ‘t’ and the ‘k’ pronounciation [sic] – often in the same sentence, and we can fluctuate between the two. (Especially in stressful moments.) We don’t correct direct quotes when we use them and prefer to have people sound/speak exactly as they are. We also don’t see a problem with our Samoan speakers using the ‘t’ and/or the ‘k’.

Faafetai tele,
Editor
Samoa Planet
_______________________________

LV Letalu
Talofa fo’i Editor:

Editor: Talofa Mr Letalu, The quotes you refer to are direct ones, ie it’s being cited exactly as the speaker said it to our reporter

Letalu: Thanks for the clarification on that part of my inquiry.

Editor: Many of us ‘native Samoan speakers’ here in Samoa, use BOTH the ‘t’ and the ‘k’ pronounciation [sic] – often in the same sentence, and we can fluctuate between the two.

Letalu: First of all, it’s not standard, hence not proper, to use both the “t” and “k” pronunciations especially in the same sentence, as claimed. The only time it’s considered proper to use the two together is when the “t” pronunciation is the main reference and you have “k” words which are loan/borrowed words such as “kālone” (gallon) “kopi” (copy) “kālena” (calendar) “kamupani” (company), etc. etc. E.g. Proper: “Na sau le tama e avatu le kālone a le kamupani.” Improper: “Na sau le kama e avatu le taloge a le kamupani.”

The improper version is an example of your “mixed” claim and a true native speaker would point that out, at least in the written/printed form, versus the vernacular. No offense intended, but this non-standard speech can often be found among the little children, and among those who are not well-versed in the Samoan language. Moreover, the mixed “t” and “k”, as you stated, is not taught in a formal classroom setting where Samoan is taught as a structured academic course. I’m glad however that you used quotes in your ‘native Samoan speakers’ designation, which can therefore be interpreted as an anomaly among true native speakers. That said, I understand that language is a social phenomenon and therefore it gradually changes and evolves. Notwithstanding its evolving aspect, a language still has basic consistent rules (syntax, semantics, morphology, grammar, etc.) at any given time and place.

Editor:
We also don’t see a problem with our Samoan speakers using the ‘t’ and/or the ‘k’.

Letalu:Yes, as long as the usage is intuitive and consistent with the established “rules”.
One last example: You wrote “Faafetai tele” which I’m sure was the more intuitive form as opposed to my “Faafekai Tele” which was given in jest and for the purpose of illustrating the point at issue.

Thanks for the dialogue.

Respectfully,
LV Letalu
_____________________________________

News Source/Editor
Talofa again Mr Letalu,

We appreciate your time and expertise shared here. While we are not academic language specialists like yourself, we can assure you of the following:

1. You are correct that the mixed ‘t’ and ‘k’ would not be taught in a formal classroom setting where Samoan is a structured academic course. Its obvious that is where you learned your Samoan and that is the pillar upon which your critique is founded. We salute your extensive knowledge and learning.

2. Sadly, Mr Maiava did not learn his Samoan in a structured academic course. His Samoan was learnt at the feet of his parents, aiga, village and lotu. Samoan is his first language. He was born here, grew up here and speaks Samoan every day, 7 days a week. Does that make him a ‘true native speaker’ of the language? Or does that make his language usage somewhat less worthy or ‘acceptable’ than a person who learns it and speaks it in a structured academic setting?

Experts such as yourself may not like his mixed vernacular, or his ‘break’ with your ‘consistent rules’, but the reality is, that this is how we are speaking Samoan everyday here in Samoa. Have you listened to a session of Parliament lately? Or the local radio stations? Or to the presentation of a sua at any number of ceremonial occasions being held every week here? Mr Maiava’s speech pattern is not unique. It is standard to ‘t’ and ‘k’ all over the place…

The tragedy is, how can you expect the poor man (or any of us here) to speak Samoan to your standards when we are surrounded every day by mixed use of the ‘t’ and ‘k’?! It’s a shocking decline of TRUE Samoan language standards. Clearly we need saving. Perhaps experts like yourself would consider moving here to teach us how to speak Samoan properly?

In the meantime, we trust you will find it in your heart to be more tolerant and understanding of those of us Samoans who don’t live up to your expert language proficiency standards.

Faafetai lava,
Editor

(Oh, and prefacing an offensive remark with “No offence but…” does not make it any less distasteful. It is indeed offensive and the epitome of arrogance, for anyone to assert that Mr Maiava’s speech patterns are those of a ‘little child’ or someone not versed in Samoan language.)
___________________________________

LV Letalu 

Talofa Editor/News Source!

First let me clear up a few things before I respond point for point to your post. Se’e ane i ou se’etaga se’i o’u liliu atu se’i fai se talanoaga.

Most of the things that I’ve advocated so far, notably the mechanics of the Samoan language (usage, grammar, semantics, etc.) are not things that I woke up last week and started fashioning and constructing on a whim. They are actually conventions specific to the Samoan language and have been for years. Linguists, newspapers/sources, schools, government, etc. espouse and adhere to them. They constitute the standards of the language.

The “t” and ‘k” pronunciations (and we have not even touched the “n” and “g” ones, respectively) are two distinct and often discrete manner of speaking and/or writing in Samoan. Strictly speaking (pun intended), the “t” pronunciation is often called “tautala lelei” (good/proper or formal speech). Apparently it is considered “lelei”(good), because it was introduced by the missionaries and churches along with the written alphabet. This “t” style/method is often used in formal settings (churches, schools, government, etc.) as well as the official written/printed convention. That’s why I was somewhat surprised to see “uka” (vs. “uta”) and “faikala” (vs. “faitala”) in the article.

The “k” style, on the other hand, is considered informal (not leaga (bad), per se, as it’s often labeled in opposition to the “good” “t” style). The “k” style – with the exception of loan/borrowed words (re: previous post) comprises the vernacular or everyday parlance. It is also the bona fide style for the chiefs in their traditional roles as faila̅uga (orators) and taulele’a (non-titleholders) in their respective roles during the ‘ava ceremony and sua (food gifts) announcements.

Therefore, when one attends church listening to a pastor’s sermon, and then immediately goes to a chiefs/orators’ meeting, he will notice the stark contrast and difference between the “t” and “k” (and “n” and “g”) pronunciations. This scenario represents the “mix” of the two in an acceptable sense and that can be found in the everyday lives of the people. And that is considered standard and normal. In the next levels below that (i.e. within a section, paragraph, sentence and word), the “mix” gets smeared and becomes non-standard. It starts to sound awkward and superficial.

In the examples below, notice how usage and overall integrity of the language diminish, especially in the mind and perspective of a native speaker, thus refuting your claim of the normalcy in the indiscriminate and haphazard use of the “t” and “k” pronunciations.

a. Paragraph (within): “Ua ou fiu le mea e taofi le taavale. Ua mamafa kele lava le uka.” (I tried my best to stop the car. The load was quite heavy.)
This is from the article. Let me say that if the speaker were a native one, he/she would have said all in the “k” style/vernacular like this:
“Ua ou fiu le mea e kaofi le ka’avale. Ua mamafa kele lava le uka.”
Now a truer native speaker (like me, ha!) would have said:
“Sole, ua ou fiu leaga e kaofi le kaavale, o le [ma]kuā mamafa lava o le uka.”

b. Sentence: “Sa tamo’e le kama e tau mai kipolo.” (The boy ran to pick lemons) Notice the mix in “tamo’e” “kama” “tau” “kipolo” which in the standard styles should either be all “t” or all “k” – not a mix.

c. Word: “Se ku’u le taukala so’o ae sau katou o e tokō tiapula.” (Hey, stop talking too much but come go with us to plant the taro shoots.)
Notice how awkward it sounds when the mix is within the individual words. “taukala” which should be “tautala” or “kaukala” and “katou” which should be “tatou” or “kakou”.

Again the exceptions can be found in loan words, at least in the “t” or the formal/written style. E.g. ti'ākono” for deacon is standard while “ki'ākogo” is acceptable in the “k” style/method.
Other borrowed/loan words in the same pattern include “tekonolosi” (technology) “kitara”(guitar) “komepiuta”(computer).

Read some of the government documents (Samoan) on your website like speeches by the PM and you will find that there aren’t any “mixes” such as those above.

Editor:
We appreciate your time and expertise shared here. While we are not academic language specialists like yourself, we can assure you of the following:

Letalu:
First of all, I am not an “academic language specialist” or a linguist for that matter. In fact you don’t have to be either to know and understand most of the things we are discussing about the Samoan language. As a native speaker of Samoan, o le tele o lo’u mālamalama e uiga i le gagana, na maua ma tapu’e i lo’u ōlaga i totonu lava o lo’u nu’u ma lo’u āiga i Samoa. 
Or, if you prefer the “k” and “g” styles, o le kele o lo’u mālamalama e uiga i le gagaga, ga maua ma kapu’e i lo’u ōlaga i kokogu lava o lo’u gu’u ma lo’u āiga i Samoa.

Editor:
You are correct that the mixed ‘t’ and ‘k’ would not be taught in a formal classroom setting where Samoan is a structured academic course. Its obvious that is where you learned your Samoan and that is the pillar upon which your critique is founded. We salute your extensive knowledge and learning.

Letalu:
While you sarcastically and derisively salute my “extensive knowledge and learning,” you simultaneously malign the academia in its role in the study of languages. Let me remind you, since you’re openly ignorant of the fact that you are, if I may use the maxim, biting the hand that fed/feeds you. Being a Samoan (as in ethnicity) editor for a predominantly English website, you’d have to have taken some academic courses – at least in the language arts – to qualify for the position of an editor. Therefore, for you – again as an editor – to mockingly insult the “formal/structured classroom/academic setting” as the “pillar upon which my critique is founded” is feigned at best and hypocritical at worst. If you continue to advocate such viewpoint, then you may want to start protesting the NUS, and other institutions of higher learning in NZ and advising them about their shenanigans, and vain futile efforts of including the study of the Samoan language in their curricula.
By the way, today, we use the western (pa̅lagi) academia methods and approach in the analysis and study of languages. Vēape (verb), nauna (noun) soā nauna (pronoun), etc., are English concepts. And so to fully understand the mechanics, functions and relationships of the Samoan language we use the pālagi rules and methodologies.

Editor:
Sadly, Mr Maiava did not learn his Samoan in a structured academic course. His Samoan was learnt at the feet of his parents, aiga, village and lotu. Samoan is his first language. He was born here, grew up here and speaks Samoan every day, 7 days a week. Does that make him a ‘true native speaker’ of the language? Or does that make his language usage somewhat less worthy or ‘acceptable’ than a person who learns it and speaks it in a structured academic setting?

Letalu:
That, I must say, is a very poorly constructed thought and logic. It’s anemic, to say the least.
FACT: Being born in Samoa, learning Samoan at the feet of parents, āiga, village, lotu, etc., etc., etc., DO NOT necessarily make one a “true native speaker.” Why? Because it all depends on the “type” of Samoan that is being taught and transmitted.
Case in point: When I was growing up, and went to school at Leifiifi Intermediate (way back then ..lol) and then to Samoa College, there were a lot of kids/students, especially of the half-caste upbringing, who spoke mostly English and little, if any, Samoan. Some of my own cousins who were born and raised in Apia demonstrated the same trend. Most, if not all, of these students had parents, āiga, neighbors who spoke very little Samoan. They even attended churches which used primarily English. In fact I can name a lot of afakasi (halfcaste) families in town whose children fit all your above qualifications and still in the end fall short of being true native speakers, because Samoan was not their first language; English, or pidgin was. And yet they were born, raised and lived in Samoa all their lives.
Moreover, this is not limited to only the children, there are adults who have acquired the Samoan language handicap since their childhood years because of their limited exposure to the language or their reluctance to learn or speak it. I can guarantee you that not much has changed in the above example, even today. Maybe you will thank this exchange and debate that you have learned something about some important social principles and fundamentals.

Editor:
Experts such as yourself may not like his mixed vernacular, or his ‘break’ with your ‘consistent rules’, but the reality is, that this is how we are speaking Samoan everyday here in Samoa. Have you listened to a session of Parliament lately? Or the local radio stations? Or to the presentation of a sua at any number of ceremonial occasions being held every week here? Mr Maiava’s speech pattern is not unique. It is standard to ‘t’ and ‘k’ all over the place…

Letalu:
Have I listened to a session of Parliament? I have listened to the ones of the bygone years and I doubt the changes, if any, are as dramatic as you are trying to make them out to be. But if true, then I would be expecting something like this in a typical session:

“Se e faaku’iese lo’u magatu i le sui lea mai le Itukolu o Sagana ma le Faleogo o Leakinana. O le makaupu e uiga i le lisi o fanua kau Samoa, e matuā le fekaui a ma lo’u manaku…” Hahaaa…

Is that how they “mix it up” now in Parliament? If there is a sui (representative) who speaks like that now, then he/she needs to undergo speech therapy.

And on a local radio station, something like this?
“Ia faakalofa atu i le ‘au faafofona i lenei ikulā o le taeao…”

Or during the folafolaga o le sua (sua announcement), which is by default uses the “k” style. Then maybe something like this is kosher (pun intended)?
“Fāliu ia alo o le lupe a’o se silafaga maualuga i lau tofā a le Kuiatua Faanofogofo, se maimoa i le Falefia o Alii Amituaga’i ma i la’ua Suafa, taigage le mamalu i ko’oko’o (or ko’oto’o) …” Huh?

So, such a mixed speech pattern is not unique? And that represents the norm now? Because that’s exactly what you mean by mixed vernacular being standard “all over the place”. What you’re suggesting is there are no more set patterns for Samoan speech, in the vernacular, at least. If that’s the case, then I am not surprised at some major efforts – in Samoa and NZ – to teach, revive and revitalize the Samoan language in a “structured academic setting.” Moreover, you’re implying that I have been away for too long from Samoa, hence my seeming disconnect. Honestly, there is no disconnect.

Editor:
The tragedy is, how can you expect the poor man (or any of us here) to speak Samoan to your standards when we are surrounded every day by mixed use of the ‘t’ and ‘k’?! It’s a shocking decline of TRUE Samoan language standards. Clearly we need saving. Perhaps experts like yourself would consider moving here to teach us how to speak Samoan properly?

Letalu:
Do I detect a capitulation or a surrender of some sort in your comments? They (comments) are certainly not tongue-in-cheek, are they? Based on the assumption that what you said (excepting the last sarcastic sentence) is serious, then I’m interpreting your declaration that the mixed use of the “t” and “k” styles as a “shocking decline of TRUE Samoan language standards….[and] we need saving,” to be genuine. If so, then you and I agree that the “t” and “k” mix is actually an aberration, a deviation from the standard, as I said, and not the norm as you have argued.

Editor:
In the meantime, we trust you will find it in your heart to be more tolerant and understanding of those of us Samoans who don’t live up to your expert language proficiency standards.

Letalu:
I was not intolerant, instead I was just pointing out an anomaly, to which you have obviously agreed, and therefore to my “expert language proficiency standards.”

Editor:
(Oh, and prefacing an offensive remark with “No offence but…” does not make it any less distasteful. It is indeed offensive and the epitome of arrogance, for anyone to assert that Mr Maiava’s speech patterns are those of a ‘little child’ or someone not versed in Samoan language.)

Letalu:
I hope you, Editor, will be honest in disclosing where you were born and raised – kuā vs. Apia. I was born, raised and lived in one of the most rural villages you can find and little children’s speech in these areas consist of a “mix” (of the “t” and “k”) and everything else. It is very unintelligible. Again if you were not born, raised and lived in a rural village then you have missed what I was/am saying. And that’s why I had to insert a pardon as preface, because I know it can be offensive IF not interpreted correctly and IF the facts are not known or understood. Ae faamalie atu i le susuga ia Maiava (talu ai o lena e te sui momo’e Editor) pe afai ua le tau tamāli’i se upu, ia mālū̄ fo’i ‘ave i fale i le finagalo, ae o la lava na sa’olele le tuuina atu o se manatu.

That’s it for now, aye?

Faafetai,
LV Letalu

10/3/17

General Conference Quotes

This past weekend was the General Conference (Semi-Annual) of our Church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka LDS Church or The Mormon Church.  General Conference is held twice a year, in April and October - on the first week.  The main assembly hall (Conference Center) is in Salt Lake City, Utah, but the conferences are broadcast to chapels and centers around the world on radio, satellite, television, cable, internet, etc.

Here are some of the quotes I've selected from some of the talks/sermons of the conference.  I've translated each one in Samoan.

Conference Center with "green" roof
Differences vs. Commonalities
"As we enter a chapel or a temple to worship as a group, we should leave behind our differences, including race, social status, political preferences, academic and professional achievements and instead concentrate on our common spiritual objectives." ~ Elder Joni Koch

Pe a tatou ulufale i se falelotu poo se malumalu sā e tapua’i o se vaega, e ao ona tatou lafoa'i o tatou ‘ese’esega, e aofia ai ituaiga ma lanu, tulaga poo mamalu, talitonuga faa-faigamalo, o faailoga fa’ale-a’oa’oga ma tomai faapitoa, ae ao ona tatou taula’i atu i o tatou faamoemoega ‘autasi faale-agaga.

On Scriptures
"The scriptures remain reliable sources of truth. From those thin pages thick with spiritual insights, we learn truth through the Holy Ghost and thereby increase in light." ~ Ian S. Arden

O tusitusiga pa’ia ua tumau pea o ni puna faatuatuaina o le upu moni.  Mai i na itulau manifinifi, ua mafiafia i malamalama loloto faale-agaga, tatou te a’oa’oina ai le upu moni e ala i le Agaga Pa’ia ma faatupuina atili ai lo tatou malamalama.
Conference Center - view from bottom level

On Faith and Fear
"The Lord has taught me that discouragement and fear are tools of the adversary. The Lord's answer to hard times is to go forward with faith."
~ Elder Stanley G. Ellis

Na a'oa'o mai e le Ali'i ia te a'u o le loto vaivai ma le fefe, o ni faatufūgaga a le fili.  O le tali a le Ali'i mo taimi o faigatā, o le aga'i pea i luma ma le faatuatua.

On the Book of Mormon
[A member of the Church apostatized and came back and wrote a letter saying]:
"Initially, I wanted the Book of Mormon to be proven to me historically, geographically, linguistically and culturally. But when I changed my focus to what it teaches about the gospel of Jesus Christ and His saving mission, I began to gain a testimony of its truthfulness." ~Tad R. Callister

[O se tasi na liliu ‘ese mai i le Ekalesia, ma toe fo’i mai, na ia tusia sana tala faapea]:
I le taimi muamua, na ‘ou mana’o ina ia faamaonia mai ia te a’u le Tusi a Mamona i luga o ni fa’avae faa-talafaasolopito, ele’ele ma laufanua patino, faale-gagana faapea tu ma agaifanua [a tagata o lo’o ta’ua i le tusi].  Peita’i ina ua suia la’u tāutū, ma taula’i la’u va’ai i mea o lo’o a’oa’o mai e le tusi e uiga i le tala lelei a Iesu Keriso ma Lana misiona lavea’i, na amata loa ona ou mauaina se molimau o lona moni atoatoa.

On Journeys and Destinations
“Many of us are on amazing journeys of discovery — leading to personal fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment, some of us, however, are on a trek that leads to sorrow, sin, anguish and despair.”~Elder M. Russell Ballard.

O le to’atele o nisi o i tatou o lo’o i ni faigamalaga maoa’e o le sa’ili malo - e tau atu i ‘ausiaga lelei ta’ito’atasi ma le atamai faale-agaga; peita’i o nisi o i tatou o lo’o i se sāvaliga e tau atu i le faanoanoa, agasala, puapuaga ma le aunoa o se faamoemoe.


Inside Conference Center - view from topmost level
On Superiority
"Anyone who claims superiority under the Father’s plan because of characteristics like race, sex, nationality, language, or economic circumstances,is morally wrong and does not understand the Lord’s true purpose for all of our Father’s children." ~ Elder Quentin L. Cook

So'o se tasi, i lalo o le fuafuaga a le Tama [i le Lagi], e faia se ta’utinoga faapea e sili atu o ia nai lo isi tagata, ona o totinoga e iai itūaiga tagata ma lanu, tane poo le fafine, atunu’u, gagana poo tulaga tau i le tamāoāiga, ua faia e ia se amioga sesē, ma ua na le mālamalama i le faamoemoega moni a le Ali’i mo fanau uma a lo tatou Tama [i le Lagi].

On Choices
“We are blessed not because of our abilities but because of our choices.”
~ Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf

Tatou te manuia, e lē ona oni o tatou agava’a ma tomai, ae ona o ā tatou filifiliga.


General Conference attendees

9/20/17

Memories in Pictures: Of Past and Present



PRESENT:        "homefront" - warm summer evening


PAST:         our young family

PRESENT:      good and fun times ...


PRESENT:      beach fun, history repeating itself (re: next pic)

PAST:    also had beach fun back then in hamoland ...lol!!!

PRESENT:       beach/lake fun and picnic


PRESENT:        cruisin' in usaland style


PAST:         as a young husband/dad with first child, ready to go cruisin' hamo style :)

PRESENT:   now an older dad ...  "dad bod" or not? ...hahaaa

PAST:      She

PRESENT:        He


PAST:    my hamo girlfriend ...lol!!

PRESENT:    her hamo boyfriend ..lol!

PAST:  ... her, with our first child


PRESENT:     "homefront"  cool summer night



9/16/17

Former Manu Samoa Rugby Coach Rehired

First of all, a hearty congratulations, again,  to Coach Fuimaono Titimaea Dicky Tafua.  Ia manuia tele ou faiva!
Coach Tafua and the Language Irony (also printed in the Samoa Observer)
It’s rare in professional sports for a former coach to be re-hired after being fired.  Perhaps even rarer - and ironic - is that one of the reasons Tafua was sacked, is now also the reason he was rehired according to the Samoa Rugby Chairman, who is also the Prime Minster.  

A few years ago during the Manu woes in one of its campaigns and therefore the onset of the present Manu coach malaise, Tafua was the coach then and was on the verge of being - if had not already been - replaced.  Subsequently, an editorial in the government newspaper, Savali, opined, at the time, on the urgency and necessity of “modernizing” Manu rugby.  One of the so-called “lessons” suggested by the Prime Minister - via the editorial - had to do with the “language” issue, specifically the lack of English proficiency of the coaches. Here’s an excerpt:
As the Prime Minister rightly said, there are many lessons to be learned from this, well, disappointing episode. Here’s [one]:
First lesson, modern rugby is continuing to evolve and we need a coach who can keep up with the evolving joneses [sic] of professional rugby. A coach with good English and speaking proficiency who can communicate well with the players and coaching staff.  It is without doubt that the team will continue to be picked from professional ranks –– largely players born and raised overseas –– who will not have a good grasp of the Samoan language.
The editorial surmises a couple of things that may be happening at the moment and/or have changed especially with the makeup of the team as far as local versus overseas players, hence the coinciding language factor and analysis.  Coincidentally or not, this same analysis has resurfaced with the rehiring of Coach Tafua, only this time it’s the flip side. Tafua’s native language now seems a strength rather than a weakness and disadvantage, again according to the Prime Minister:
However, the problem with [overseas-based coaches] is they want to coach here but continue to live off-island. They wanted to come and go…. also, it’s questionable whether our players would understand their language and whether the players would heed their instructions.
Although language proficiency of the coach(es) versus the players seems to be at the core of the dichotomy, it actually is not as consequential to the success of the team as other more important elements and aspects of sports fundamentals. 

The following blog post of mine, in response to the above-mentioned Savali editorial, was written in 2011. Though it was in defense of Coach Tafua then, the gist is still relevant today, in principle, as well as to any other coach in a similar situation.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

This response is in defense of Coach Tafua (and other Samoan sports leaders) whose seeming lack of English proficiency may cost him his job and position as coach of the Manu Samoa rugby team. The insinuation and criticism are found in a Savali editorial. 

First, I agree with the notion that communication is important, and even critical, in any organization - sports or otherwise. However, effective English communication alone - between coaches and players of rugby - cannot and will not win the World Cup for Manu Samoa. It takes knowledge of the game for the coach, and athletic skills and prowess of the players. Coach Tafua may lack a good command of the English language, but the assumption and inference, that such inadequacy contributes to The Manu’s problems, is not only flawed, but also demeaning to Tafua’s character as a coach and as a human being. Again in sports, a coach’s language skills should not be directly linked to the success or failure of a team.

And despite the fact that all the winners of the Rugby World Cup since its inception have been from countries whose predominant language is English, it is still neither a prerequisite nor a guarantee for excellence and/or winning games. The connection is more coincidental than absolute. If anything, the trend seems to favor the countries who have had a long history of playing the game and talent level, not for their English language proficiency. (Though history too is not necessarily a guarantee for dominance as demonstrated by the winners of the Soccer World Cup.)

Rugby has its own “language” - independent of linguistics - which makes winners of most teams. That “language” consists of “words” such as fitness, speed, strength and execution. Oftentimes, our players are found lacking in one or more of these throughout the duration of games. Coaches are often blamed for losing and praised for winning, nonetheless, a coach’s English skills are not and should not be a determinant or cause in either case.

Also, if pre/post game interviews are a concern, then have a translator or a PR/spokesperson do the interviews and let the coach ...uhmmm...coach?!!!...  I firmly believe that the team management needs to understand that the recruits who “will not have a good grasp of the Samoan language,” should make language concerns the least of their worries and make their skills of the game first and foremost in their minds. 

Moreover, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of verbal interaction between the players and coach(es) during the game (unlike other team sports) so much of the communication referred to by the writer, happens during practices and meetings, hence, no apparent urgency. Therefore the need for good English skills can be resolved and handled through translation and interpretation by an assistant coach or another staff member with English proficiency. And by the way, I believe that Tafua has enough knowledge of English to communicate what the players need to know. It’s not like he’s defending a dissertation. Rugby, as a matter of personal opinion, after all, is more an art form than a science. 

And finally, if English proficiency were a defined formula for winning rugby games, let alone the World Cup, then the American Eagles (they speak English too, you know) should certainly be among the Tier One teams; and France will have no right to be in the finals. So once again, let’s not worry about the language skills of the players and coaches; instead, let’s concentrate on the “real language” and fundamentals of rugby.

And, by the way, here's the coach for Manu China! ...Hahahaaaaa


9/14/17

So Who is Lying?

I understand that the title is more of a rhetorical question because all politicians lie most of the time, if not all of the time.  So maybe the better question is "Who is out-lying the other?" or  "Who is/are the better liar/s?"

This is another update on DACA (re: If I were President post)

In recent weeks, president Trump started “reaching across the aisle”.  He started becoming obsequious (Samoan fa’asusususu/fialelei) to the Democrats much to the chagrin of his fellow Republicans.  But part of this seeming obsequiousness, is his indecisiveness and ongoing equivocation on DACA.  He says one thing about it one day and the next day he denies or prevaricates on it.

Yesterday, Trump had dinner with some of the Democratic leaders after which the Democrats released this statement:
"We had a very a productive meeting at the White House with the President. The discussion focused on DACA. We agreed to enshrine the protections of DACA into law quickly, and to work out a package of border security, excluding the wall, that’s acceptable to both sides....”
According to CNBC:
“The [Democratic] leaders said they specifically agreed to pair the DREAM Act - legislation that offers the young immigrants an eventual path to permanent residency and citizenship that’s previously failed in Congress - and the wall....”
But early Thursday morning, the day after the meeting and dinner, Trump tweeted (Ahem! Ahem!) that
"No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote."

So who dunnit?  Who dundalyin’? Who da beddah liar? ....................Stay tuned!

++++++++++++++++++++++++

Update!

Trump Confirms Support for Law to Protect ‘Dreamers’ 
New York Times - September 14, 2017
WASHINGTON — President Trump confirmed on Thursday morning that he supports legislation that would protect young undocumented immigrants from deportation and would deliver a “massive” increase in border security — but not with a wall on the southern border
Mr. Trump’s comments, both in Washington and in Florida, affirmed the broad parameters of an agreement that Democratic leaders unilaterally announced Wednesday night after dinner with the president at the White House.
In remarks to reporters as he left the White House on Thursday, Mr. Trump said, “We’re working on a plan for DACA,” referring to protections for immigrants who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He confirmed, “the wall will come later.”
Mr. Trump’s comments seemed to contradict his own Twitter posts early Thursday morning when he said, “no deal was made last night on DACA.” But they were very much in line with Democratic leaders’ statements. 
[Pelosi] told reporters, “We agreed to a plan to protect our nation’s Dreamers from deportation,” adding that there would be a “border security measure that does not include a wall” included in immigration legislation.
Republicans were more befuddled by the developments than angry.

Befuddle (Samoan 'pifalō' ...hahaa) is correct.  And about “the wall”?  Trump is slowly inching away from it.  Sounds like Mr. Trump is going back to be with his old party - Democratic Party...lol!

"In many cases, I probably identify more as Democrat," Trump told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in a 2004 interview.

Who is the LIAR now?  You make the call! ... Se kao ia i se ka'igafi gei ka'ika'i faapegei.