Our little girl's hope

a little girl's faith ...
The family of about fifty altogether - children and adults - gathered in the family room. One young woman had an envelope in her hand sitting at the top of the circle of family members whose eager eyes all focused on her as if she had some great news for everyone. Well, she did. She had waited since she was a little girl for the news. It finally came.

her heritage ...
As if to enhance and promote suspense, the children started singing. And the adults joined in. The musical disharmony - consisting of flats, tone and pitch problems within the mixture of adults' and little children's voices - is ironically considered perfect big family singing. It's certainly an experiment in paradox of harmonious cacophony. And though the adults yielded and tried to adjust their voices or passively try to drown and dominate the little ones in order to acquire a more pleasing degree of harmony, the messages of the songs remained loud and succinctly evident.
With the profound, edifying and soothing reminder that "there is beauty all around when there's love at home," the dissonant voices of the little children sent an unambiguous and important message to everyone - parents and adults. The message of Love, as in "...making life a bliss complete, when there's love at home."

The young woman was teary as she listened to the songs. She sat between her mom and her grandmother excitedly clutching the white, larger - than-normal-sized envelope. On the piano towards her right was a picture of the temple on one end, and on the other, a picture of a little girl about four years old in her Sunday best. She's smiling as if she was reacting to the songs especially the one that said: 
"I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two. I hope by then I will be ready, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do."
The little girl in the picture was looking at everyone in the room at once. But she has now already grown a "foot or two." She is now a young woman, and she was ready to "work as missionaries do" in taking the message of the Gospel of Love to those who are ready, and waiting.

... and her divine nature
Being the youngest of seven children - and daddy's little girl - the young woman seemed to recall and remember how her sisters and brother helped her while in Primary with the songs the children were singing.

And then there was silence. She slowly stood up, fumbled the envelope a bit and then nervously and clumsily opened it. She opened the letter and started reading. She was already crying when she said - in a shaky yet firm voice - what everyone was waiting for: Billings, Montana!!  She paused for the congratulatory applause then continued to read the rest of the letter.

Natalia's hope has come true. They have called her on a mission!

(We love you Talia! Now go forth with might mind and strength in serving your Heavenly Father!)


English skills of The Manu coach assailed?

Coach Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua
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 Manu Samoa rugby team. The insinuation and criticism are found in a Savali editorial.  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.
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 interaction between the players and coach(es) during the game (unlike American football and other team sports) so much of the communication referred to by the writer, happens during practices and meetings, hence, no 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, after all, is more an art form than a science, as American football is.

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.

E a? Ua kau maua mai le ‘auga ma le uke o le makaupu lea e avaku? Ia ga. O le ga e seki a le Igilisi a le coach pau lava o le faakamala o kama ka’aalo ma le leaga ma le faa’au’au o laufali i isi kaimi.

(Read Savali Editorial  here)


Romney is now a "Christiean"!

(Note: This post has direct reference to the previous one. Preferrably, read it first.)

Yes, Mr. Jeffress, here’s news for ya!  Chris Christie, as of this writing, will have already officially endorsed Romney - not Perry.  In other words, Romney is now a “Christiean”!  I guess, according to you, that's the closest Romney will come to being called a Christian, aye?  LOL!

It’s a timely endorsement for Romney ahead of the New Hampshire debate tonight where it’s expected to be ugly. Romney’s fellow GOP contestants will all try to attack, spite, malign and drill him on the Obamacare issue especially in light of some newly released White House information on Romney’s connections to the controversial health care program. Romney will also be the bull’s eye because of his frontrunner status.  He has a big lead in the polls in NH; he is also leading in Iowa in polls released today. Iowa and NH are the first in the nation primaries. If Romney wins both, his chances of winning the Republican nomination are near guaranteed.  Hence the 2012 general election (against Obama) will be a duel of two Harvard law graduates (Romney with Law and MBA degrees, Obama with just a Law degree). All things considered especially competence, qualifications and experience, Romney can, and should be the next President of the United States.

I will certainly be watching the debate tonight. Pundits see it as a make-or-break for Perry.

Again, Christie’s endorsement ahead of the debate is huuuge (no, no, no pun intended!...lol) for Romney! Christie is the man! I still have him as a first choice for VP, with Rubio waiting in the wings as second choice.....

So...let’s ... get ... ready ... tooooo .... Debate!

Just finished watching the Debate.  It was a good one for Romney ...AGAIN!  Here's some early post-debate analysis.

Huffington Post:
8:39 PM  Mitt Romney Wins Big
HANOVER, N.H -- The consensus in the spin room after the debate was clear enough: Not only had Mitt Romney won big, but he had done it partly because of an unrealistic debate format, which made the mistake of assuming that just because the GOP candidates were sitting at a Charlie Rose table, they would behave like a calm and equable Charlie Rose guest.

Washington Post:
We live-blogged every minute of it but also came out with a quick take on who won and who lost. Our thoughts are below.

Mitt Romney: We expected Romney to shine in this economic-focused debate and shine he did. Romney was knowledgeable and detailed — as expected — but also relaxed to the point where he let a little bit of his personality show. Not only was he head and shoulders above the other candidates on stage when it came to looking presidential, Romney also showcased his human side. His best debate in a string of very solid performances.
Others: Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich,

Rick Perry: The problem for Perry in the first three debates in which he participated was that he didn't seem to have enough answers to the questions thrown his way. Tonight, Perry had a different problem: he didn't get many questions and, for much of the debate, felt like an afterthought. When Perry did get opportunities, he tended to try to bend each question back to his preferred talking point — energy — and often made awkward transitions to do it.
Others: Michele Bachmann,

The Guardian:
Mitt Romney's performance leaves others on the sidelines in GOP debate. In a debate which was dominated by the economy and short on policy detail, Romney's main rival Rick Perry failed to deliver

Romney again outclassed the opposition in Tuesday’s Bloomberg/Washington Post debate. Again, none of the other GOP contenders laid a glove on him.

ALSO: Christie on Robert Jeffress:
"These type of religious matters have nothing to do with the quality of somebody's ability to lead," Christie said. "Any campaign that associates itself with that type of conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States."

Robert Jeffress - a Bigot?

“Man is by nature a political animal,” says Aristotle ...hehehe... and so as you can deduce from some of my postings, I do follow politics in America - and elsewhere - especially now with the 2012 US Presidential Elections already making the headlines.

This past weekend the campaigning got mean, nasty and bigoted. A Baptist pastor, Robert Jeffress, who is a Perry supporter, made incendiary and derisive comments about Mitt Romney as a candidate who is not a true Christian because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ [of Latter-day Saints] which some Baptists, Evangelicals and others consider a cult.  Though such malice and denigration are not new, I will still say: What preposterousness! What Imbecility! What arrogance! What ignorance! What intolerance! ...

I have followed this guy through his ensuing television interviews with his audacious and provocative comments. He even preached to his church on Sunday denouncing the LDS Church. There’s a lot to dislike about the guy. He talks out of both sides of his spit-filled mouth spewing rancor, hatred and intolerance. He says:
"I feel like I ought to use, personally, whatever influence I might have to try to elect a godly leader and place him in the White House,.... It is important for us to elect Christian leaders who embrace biblical principles."
 Then he equivocates here that

“...he hasn’t discussed those views with Mr. Perry. And he conceded that if Mr. Romney wins the nomination, "I’ll hold my nose and vote for Mitt Romney." "I believe a non-Christian who embraces Christian principles is more palatable than a Christian, and I’m accepting that Barack Obama is a Christian by his own statements, I would rather have a non-Christian who embraces Christian principles than a professing Christian [Obama] who governs by un-Biblical principles."
Whaaaat?  Hmmm....well you now have some idea of what this passtor Jeffress is like.  In the above quote he is mimicking one of his benefactors Martin Luther who made this similar comment: “I'd rather be ruled by a wise Turk than by a foolish Christian.”

This is the same pastor who called the Catholic Church a "counterfeit religion".

Anyhow, Mr. Jeffress, if it helps your ignorance and arrogance, or if it gives you some type of solace, let me say that Romney belongs to a “cult”, in the general and traditional sense of the word.  Yes, the cult of  this Man (click here)

O lea la lau afioga Mr. Jeffress (se ua ma’imau le faalagiga afioga) who are you to judge Mormons as non-Christians?  Huh?

And therefore (cue Who Wants to be a Millionaire) my final answer is “Yes, Robert Jeffress is a Bigot! ... a big big BIGOT!"


My NewStand

RIP Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, a name that is always mentioned - often in a competitive context - alongside Bill Gates has died. He was 56. If you’re one of the millions who has been wowed by - or an owner of - an “i” gadget (iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.,) then you owe your awesome, cool, nifty, convenient and wonderful life to Steve Jobs. As CEO and co-founder of Apple Inc. he was the brains behind these life-changing inventions. Hence, he has been endowed with different titles like “tech messiah”, “today’s Einstein”, “the man who invented our world”, a visionary and a genius. He was also the owner and force behind Pixar - the company that made Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo and other computer animated movies - before it was sold to Disney. The world will miss Steve ...though his legacy will live on, some of it in our pants pockets ...:)

The X Factor
Simon Cowell the former "brutally honest judge" on American Idol, has debuted his own X Factor show on Fox. It’s in its second week now and the talent pool in America of singers/entertainers, I must say, is just phenomenal. There’s over a hundred performers (from tens of thousands auditions) who were invited to “boot camp” from which one winner of the $5 million recording contract is picked. Last night, about 80% were amazing and I can imagine the tough job by the judges in gauging the competition. One of the main differences between American Idol and X Factor is that the latter has no specific age limits while the former does.

NBC has its own singing competition Sing Off on Mondays. This is another must watch. The contestants are a-cappella groups. My favorite? Gotta go with Vocal Point, not necessarily because they’re from BYU, but that they are so gooooooood! ...seeeki a!

Also watched “Tuiga” - another movie by the makers of Tautoga Gausia. Somewhat similar storyline with some of the same actors. Still rough otherwise quite representative of typical Samoan socio-political and cultural pandemonium.

Christie will not run
Chris Christie finally made an official announcement that he will not run in the 2012 US Presidential race. It was great news for Romney, who has regained the frontrunner status after Perry’s woeful debate performances and other mischances.  Most of those who had waited on the sidelines for Christie are now supporting Romney.

Sarah Palin (McCain’s running mate in 2008) too will not run. Good! Great! Awesome! Nice!

Obama ma le kakou kama
Apart from struggling to regain his popularity of three years ago, Obama meets OKama! (Kama o Stui.) There certainly is something discrepant, if not weird, seeing Stui standing next to Obama...LOL!

From political punditry perspective, the most notable difference between the two leaders, besides their physical features, is that Tui has been a prime minister for over thirteen years. In other words, based on the US presidential election cycle of 4 years, Stui is presently serving his fourth term.
Obama on the other hand, is barely surviving his first term. So you go and (cue Zipso) fika mai le pese. And I wonder if Obama hadn’t asked Stui if he was a prime minister or a king, since kings enjoy political longevity. I can almost picture Stui saying: “Well I’m a prime minister but my title (Tuilaepa) is that of a king, since the affix/prefix “Tui” - in much of Polynesia - means “king”.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Obama extruded some winning tips for his re-election campaign from Stui.  LOL!  Imagine this picture in Obama's campaign ads...hehehee  ...with this VO "If this man can be prime minister for over ten years, I'd say "Yes we can! ... let's do four more years"