Only in Samoa? ...hmmm...maybe.

This is a "funny", sad, tragic and sick story. Yes, sick!

If you’re someone who reads the Samoa Observer online, then you would have read about a “short-finned pilot whale” stranded on a beach at one of the villages in the “Navigator Islands.”

According to the report the whale was stranded because “it was sick.” Now, today, in most countries - not all - the animal would have been rescued/saved, nursed back to health, cared for and then released. But not in these islands where by the time marine conservationists arrived, “portions of the whale had already been cut and parts of it were used for oil, while some eaten.”  Wow, sick!

But how would anyone explain or justify the actions of these villagers on the poor thing? Well actually there are several or maybe a few reasons. Let me count:

1. Is it religion? These are church-going, Bible believing people and they would say, subconsciously at least, that man was given “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowls of the air, ....”  Haha ..dominion or duh-minion?  now that's sick!

2. Is it culture? Samoans believe in luck and/or serendipity at best. They recite the native expression “Ua faiva ese lo Pepe” which welcomes any good fortune, no matter how it’s obtained....Another common expression that encourages the same attitude is “Ae’ae ia lea manu ua ulu,” (Let’s avail ourselves to unexpected fortunes.) especially when the villagers - according to the report - tried to push the whale back to sea while on the reef and yet it still drifted back to shore ...Regardless, it's still sick!

3. Is it appetite? These islanders love to eat and feast ...Oh yeah? ...still a sick excuse, and I hope they don’t get sick or become sickly! By the way, have you heard of some victims of the 2009 tsunami who died because they were busy collecting the fishes left by the receding tide? ...  sickos!

4. Is it conquest? What? ... Huh? ...How?

Ok, can we really blame these natives for their impetuous satiety? Put on your thinking taumata (fisherman’s visor/cap).

These islanders are descendants of seafaring ancestors and warriors. They survived from their conquests of the biggest ocean on the planet and the sometimes forbidding environment. The sea is their main source of livelihood and survival. But the sea also is a colosseum for their young adventurous marine gladiators.

As a little boy, I have seen days when the fisherman sat atop the heroes’ pedestal. In these navigator islands, a fisherman who catches a shark makes a victory and honor “lap” before mooring. As soon as he crosses the reef channel into the lagoon area, he raises his paddle straight up and spins it while doing an impression of the Michael Jackson high pitched scream. The natives call the utterance a faaumu or onomatopoeically, a “choosoosoo”. This is to announce to the villagers that he has returned with a sizeable catch; he’s won a trophy. The fish (almost always a shark) will then be cut up and distributed among the families, including the pastor/minister.

In other words, even a stranded sea animal may and can still be considered a catch, hence a victory and conquest for the natives, albeit over a helpless and sick - but still edible - sea creature.  LOL!

So, there.

Well, again, I hope these islanders do not get sick from eating meat from a sick sea monster. Either they’ll get really sick or - based on some modern slangy scrumptious context of the buzzword - they’ll just say, while munching on a big pilot whale fillet “Mmmmmm, this is sick!”

Oh, and speaking of getting sick from eating certain foods, I was surprised at the muli (oops, I mean si’usi’u) pipi (turkey tail) ban by the government. Only in Samoa too? Hey, Stui, and HRPP, how about banning alcohol and cigarettes - or at least a huge quantity of them? I hear that they are planning a second brewery in the country. Is there not enough beer in Samoa? And don’t tell me that Vailima is generating a lot of revenue from overseas sales. Yeah right! Drink On, I mean Dream On! Even an average Samoan knows that there are many more people getting sick and dying (physically and morally) from effects of tobacco and alcohol than from a tail of a bird.

Also, please let the  doctor, not a government, tell the people what food is good and not good for them!  Or are most of the doctors in Samoa also employed by a government hospital?  Ok, then to that I say, "That's sick!"


  1. No suprise... end of the day the whale is a fish. You could say No its a mammal. But it has a tail swims in the ocean so its a fish and all fair game :).
    Oh and ban alcohol and smokes.. that's crazy talk right there!!!! :D

  2. I agree with your take on the fishy thing! :) As for alcohol and tobacco i understand i am swimming against the current right there since most samoans would rather give up their favorite foods than giving up their booze and sikalettos ...heheee... but if the overall health of the people is a concern for the govt then cancer and other terminal diseases - from drinking and smoking - should be considered before the more treatable ones from turkey tails. thanks!