Christmas 2013 - a few pics

...getting the house ready for annual family Christmas get-together 

... the moment draws closer

... naughty or nice?  moment of truth ...LOL!

... dearie finding time to relax
... our very favorite picture!!! - with all the nineteen grandchildren

... game room abandoned after the party
... and best moment of Christmas: on Skype with The Elder


Manuia le Kerisimasi!!

From this Malae of mine, here's wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas ....



While Mr. Obama is promoting and selling his ObamaCare at home, abroad he is promoting a similar product - ObamaDare, while attending Mandela’s funeral. As evident from the pictures, Michelle seems repulsed by ObamaDare.

Taking a selfie with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt
Say "Cheeees-y!!"

Some media scrutinizers have said that the President ended up swapping seats with Michelle to better "accommodate" the Prime Minister of Denmark.  LOL!

Michelle: "Faiga a la'ua ia a, pei a e le se maliu lea e fai"

(Photos: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)

Then again there's always "the other side" of the story maybe by Obama's supporters who claim Obama[does]Care!


Voters' Remorse?

...this I couldn't resist .....
News headline #1:
More Americans say Obama can't manage government.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A growing number of Americans doubt President Barack Obama's ability to manage the nation, according to a CNN/ORC poll released on Monday that reflects the possible larger impact of his administration's fumbled rollout of its healthcare law.
The poll also found that 53 percent of those polled said Obama is not honest or trustworthy, (really?) marking the first time that the CNN/ORC polling found a clear majority questioning the president's integrity, CNN said.
News headline #2
ABC Poll: Voters Choose Romney Over Obama if They Had a Mulligan

"An ABC News / Washington Post poll shows voters would choose Republican candidate Mitt Romney over President Obama ...."
....shall we now say, DUH?
Oh, just curious, is America exposing another flaw in Democracy? .. this time, it’s not necessarily the tyranny of the majority but the fallibility - and dare I say, in some circles, the stupidity - of the majority???
...gotta revisit Plato, Aristotle, Cleisthenes and others for some insights!


"Aso Fiafia" 2013 version ...

As mentioned in some previous posts, the so-called “aso fiafia”  (happy/festive days)  in Samoa start in early December building up to Christmas and then New Year’s when there’s oodles of fun, celebration and revelry. In America “aso fiafia” I think start much sooner in October with Halloween, Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December and New Year’s in January - yes, that whole celebratory progression. Need proof? Well if Christmas is the climax and main draw of the fiafia season, the whole rising action now starts in November (but as early as October) when Christmas music starts to “fill the air”. Christmas bright lights also start going up right after Halloween spooky lights come down.

Interestingly, Samoa is starting to catch on to the Halloween craze and so in the foreseeable future Samoa’s “aso fiafia”, too, may start in October. Thanksgiving may also become a Samoan holiday (Samoans are obsessive when it comes to creating, adopting and celebrating holidays); after all Christmas and New Year’s are imported as well.

Our family did have our Annual Halloween party.  But Dearie and I had an early social function to attend that evening, and so our children made sure that “the show must go on”. We joined them afterwards. Part of their preparations included a rustic set - complete with halogen lights - in our front yard and used as a photo booth/background. I did not have an official bonafide costume and so I had to borrow one from one of our grandsons, at least for this picture:

the rustic "hee-haw" set ..lol
It’s Steve Urkel (Jonah) of “Family Matters” meeting Si[las] Robertson (me) of “Duck Dynasty” ... (insets: the real characters) LOL!  
But the winners were .... [drum roll] .....theeeee Minions! LOL!
Minions in our home ....
One of our daughters, her husband and kids stole the show that night and even in the neighborhood when they went trick-or-treating with these creative costumes that they made themselves. Enthusiasm and hard work always reap success.  Kudos!

October also signals the end of the regular football season for some of the grandsons.
l-r: Tahi, Taezen, Devon and Taleni
This year Tahi’s (one of the “minions” lol!) team won the championship for their division.  So it was a "aso fiafia" ..:)  Congratz  #77!

...post game pic


The Falemoe

Falemoe (fale-house; moe-sleep) is a term used to describe the concept and practice by single young adult boys of sleeping together in one house, usually a faleo’o (hut). It’s like an extended sleepover - in terms of duration - and so it was not unusual for a falemoe to continue for months if not throughout the young adult years of the boys. Most of these boys are school dropouts and are in the process of joining the ‘aumaga (social group of untitled men). In a sense, the falemoe represents a phase for the boys, and serves as an initiation to adulthood and into their roles as taulele’a (untitled men).

Bonding and socialization are natural benefits and advantages of the falemoe. The boys would do a lot of things together especially since their roles are similar - if not the same. In a typical village, the boys would hike together early morning to their separate plantations in the mountains, a distance of about 4-5 miles one way. Along the ascent, they rest at the malologa (designated rest stops) and would chat, joke and coordinate their plans for the day.   At the plantation, they would clear, weed, plant and harvest and intuitively meet up late afternoon and return to the village together. Back home, they would help with the preparation of the evening meals and then head to the malae for a game of rugby, volleyball or cricket. Evening prayers and faasausauga (evening time merriment) follow before the boys retire to their falemoe usually at ten when the curfew conch is sounded. At the falemoe, they would play cards, chat, play guitars and sing, and share stories in the dim light of a lantern or a moli fagu (bottle light).

Because of the limited space in one faleo’o, it was common for one village to have three or more falemoe, usually one for every pitonu’u (sub-village).

Our falemoe (for our sub-village) was in our family’s faleo’o. There were eight “permanent” members and one or two who, on occasion, came and left again. The boys would bring their own pillows and sheets and would either leave them at the faleo’o or take them back in the morning. At the time, I happened to be the only one of our falemoe still in school, so I would often be away in town, but would always look forward to going back to the village and hang out with the boys. After Samoa College, and having become a social renegade, I was back in the village, eager and excited to join the falemoe full time.

Though confined to our remote and isolated village - and island - environment, we were not immune to the contemporary outside influences especially pop culture. We had access through the limited media conduits of the day. Disco culture (music, bell bottoms, hairdo, etc.) was the fad and trend then, and KC & Sunshine Band, Kool and the Gang, Bee Gees, and CCR were some of our favorite bands.
ka ika ia ga o le Kusi Pa'ia lava ma le loku ..LOL!

We had a cassette player/radio (battery operated) and we would play and listen to the latest pop songs. Of the two main radio stations we tuned to, one was the government-owned 2AP, and the other was in neighboring American Samoa, which actually was closer to our coast and village than our own 2AP on the other side of the island. The reception of the latter was much better and so we would listen to the American Top Forty with Casey Kasem, Pese Molimana’o (requested favorites), local Top Twenty, etc. Visual media, on the other hand, consisted of magazines, movies, television and newspapers. No Internet ...yet! (LOL!)

At times during the falemoe years, one or more of the boys would be processing travel papers to go to New Zealand, mostly on a three-month work permit. The day one of the boys finally leaves was always a sad one for the rest. Nonetheless, they would remain lifelong friends even after they’ve gone their separate ways years later, at which time falemoe anecdotes and memories would induce laughter and fun at any chance reunions.

Occasionally, however, the village fono (council) would ban the falemoe, mostly as a result of sporadic antisocial actions of a few. These included drunkenness, social rebellion like long hair, curfew violations, disorderliness, etc. But the boys would always find a way to regroup and continue their cliques. I’m not quite sure to what extent it is still practiced today, but back in the day, the falemoe was essentially a brotherhood.


On the Brisbane LDS issue - A Letter

...to the Samoa Observer
LDS: Latter-day Saints or Latter-day Samoans?

I am writing to share some thoughts on the Brisbane LDS issue with the Samoan language which, lately, has dominated the headlines here. The opinions expressed in this letter are my own and do not necessarily represent policies, statements or doctrines of the LDS Church or other churches.

First of all, the issue is not as simple as it seems, and it’s not a new or a unique one to the LDS Church. Other churches experience it as well, in one form or another.  More importantly, it is not exclusively a spoken language matter either.  The Brisbane case represents just a tip of a more complex issue, and so “language” is just a part of a convoluted and encompassing matter.  In fact, the issue is social, religious (of course), cultural, political, economic, ethnic, legal, etc. in its totality.

The broader issue involves “regulating” ethnic/minority congregations within a more mainstream church and society.  Therefore other forces are, and can be, at play as well.  Politically, for example, assimilation efforts of governments can reach far into other sectors of society including religion. In some countries, “English-only” laws and regulations have been passed and enacted.  And such can have a permeating effect which, in turn, influences the mindset and attitudes, if not policies, of some local religion/church administrators, even in spite of any religious freedom provisions of their communities, or more authoritative policies of their churches. Oftentimes, the dichotomy between church and state becomes the overriding issue.

I also think the use of the word “ban” is misleading and inappropriate. Those familiar with the operations of the LDS Church will know and understand that dissolving an ethnic unit does not necessarily mean that members of such units are banned from using their native language to worship - even in the new integrated units.  Furthermore, discouragement is not the same as a ban.  Local leaders may discourage the use of a certain language for social, political and economic reasons while a ban, if violated, entails punishment and redress.  The latter therefore is not in line with policies,  practices and protocols of the LDS Church.  Sometimes, ethnic units (wards - cf. parishes) are dissolved for a variety of reasons such as stake (cf. diocese) realignment/reorganization.  Other local needs determined by local leaders can be reasons for dissolution of these such units.

Having said that, I think (as a matter of opinion) that if a complete and comprehensive ban is real, and has been implemented and proven, then rest assured that the LDS Church’s main governing body will intervene and correct any mistakes or impropriety.  To the best of my knowledge, it is not in the comprehensive program of the Church to ban one’s native language in his/her right and privilege to worship, especially within a more mainstream society.

Throughout history the issue has also spawned a dilemma.  Churches have had to deal with ethnic/immigrant congregations, focusing on serving and accommodating  the immigrants’ ties and needs in connection with the motherland and cultural heritage. Though seemingly reasonable and desirable, the resulting segregation and separation have also been viewed as obstacles to the more universal and loftier ideal and goal of unity and integration.

Both views have merits, although unity through segregation seems a paradox, at least in the temporal sense. Conversely, unity in, and through, the abstract yet more important and enduring principles of the gospel (love, faith, compassion, etc.), can still be realized - and more desirable - despite differences in language and ethnicity.

The apostle Paul faced the same/similar challenges during his time in trying to foster unity among different ethnic groups in the early Church, hence the following admonition:

“Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the SAINTS, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the APOSTLES and PROPHETS, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.” (Ephesians 2:19-20 - emphasis mine)

Obviously, there are more important practices and principles that unite Church members than a spoken language.  Paramount among them is the language - albeit oft-unspoken - of love, faith, compassion, kindness, service, charity, etc.  In other words, it’s not a language of a Rosetta Stone but the language of the “Chief Corner Stone.”


LV Letalu
Lalomanu and Utah


Of Atheists, the Bible and the Book of Mormon

Recently I read an article/editorial by a writer who is grateful for her church and the opportunities that she and other fellow members have to serve others. Overall, she underscores the altruistic and benevolent nature and character of churches and religion in general.

The comments/responses from believers (churchgoers/adherents) were positive, uplifting and appreciative. But an almost equal number of contravening comments were from those with atheistic leanings and beliefs. Their prevailing argument of course is that "atheists and those who do not profess any religious affiliation ALSO perform good deeds and help others." (Now, who can argue with that? And if I were judging the debate, I would score a point for the atheists.) Their main premise always is that one does not have to believe in God to be good. Put simply, there is no God; the individual is autonomous, self-sufficient, independent and capable of generating his own morality and values. Several groups that subscribe comfortably to such philosophy include humanists, empiricists, secularists, existentialists and a few other "ists".

So how does someone who believes in God respond to these atheistic and agnostic claims, at least to advance his/her own theistic beliefs and perhaps one-upping the godless opposition in debate points? Pardon the debate references and context since it’s highly impossible to convince an atheist against his/her convictions, therefore, a believer should at least explain, in a logical and reasonable way, that good definitely originates with God. Hence, a debate backdrop seems fitting.

With that in mind, let me say that as Christians, in general, we are expected to use the Bible and Scriptures as support for a reasonable and logical explanation - with Christ at the center, of course.

So for me, my response starts with the premise of Christ being "The Light." First, from the Bible:

"I am the light of the world." ~ John 8:12
"In him was life; and the life was the light of men." ~John 1:4
"[Christ] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
~John 1:9; D&C 93:2

The atheist might say, "Ok, I see the light (pun intended) but where is the "good"?  To which I say, ogosa’i mai, (be patient) ...Alright, here’s a verse that has "good" and "light" in the same sentence:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights...." - James 1:17

Still to my atheist friend, "Ua a, ua kau maua mai?" (How’s that, are you beginning to catch my drift?)

Well, to elaborate and expound on the light and good association, let me refer to my Church’s (LDS Church) teachings. One of its doctrines is called "The Light of Christ".

The phrase "light of Christ" does not appear in the Bible, although the principles that apply to it are frequently mentioned therein. Biblical phrases that are sometimes synonymous to the term "light of Christ" are "spirit of the Lord" and "light of life" (see, for example, John 1:4; 8:12). The "spirit of the Lord," however, sometimes is used with reference to the Holy Ghost and so must not be taken in every case as having reference to the light of Christ.
The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ.
The light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost.

Now from the Book of Mormon, which compliments the Bible, we find this specific treatise on the light of Christ and its role and influence in choosing and doing good.

Moroni 7:
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God;
13 ... behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good ... is inspired of God.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit [or "light"] of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

2 Nephi 33:10
"And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, ... and they teach all men that they should do good."

Again, this light of Christ is given to everyone - whether an atheist, agnostic, humanist, secularist, etc. Simply, to all believers and unbelievers alike. The main manifestation of this light is one’s conscience.

Incidentally, right after I read the article mentioned at the top of the post, especially the atheistic comments, I came across an article titled "Studies make stunning claim about atheists."

And what stunning claim is that? It is that "religious people are less intelligent than non-believers [or atheists]." Yep, atheists are more intelligent than those of us who believe in God according to this particular study. (Richard Dawkins, are you behind this study? LOL!)

It was lacking in details except to cite a number of studies that date back several years. I wonder how they qualify and define "intelligent".  But if there be a slightest iota of truth in that - that the atheists are more intelligent than believers and the God-fearing - then I’d like to score some points in that debate by saying that atheists may be more intelligent, but certainly not wiser.

And my favorite endorsement comes from none other than the Book of Mormon again:

"O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."
(2 Nephi 9:28-29)

This reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures as a young boy "O le mata’u i le Atua o le amataga lea o le poto." (The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom) - Proverbs 9:10.

So the next time an atheist or agnostic argues that they, too, do good and help others of their own volition, and not under God’s influence, tell them sorry but there’s a divine attribute within them - whether they acknowledge it or not - that prompts and moves them to do good. After all, our heritage is with God, not with some monkey.
Oh, one more ... God is Good!


Cultural Sensitivity vs. Intellectual Property Rights

Nike Pulls Line Inspired by Samoan Tattoos
 YAHOO - "Nike halted production on a line of sportswear on Wednesday after an outcry that the designs were culturally insensitive. The women's running tights, bodysuit, and sports bra in the Nike Pro Tattoo Tech line were decorated with a pattern based on Samoan tattoos called pe'a, which are traditionally reserved for men."

Nike running tights using Samoan tattoo designs 
This is an interesting issue which gives rise to intellectual property protection of Samoan native and cultural arts. The pe’a/tatau (traditional tattoo) is especially critical since it can get really complicated and controversial - if not tempestuous.  The relevant question is, will an ages-old pe’a tradition alone, be enough to secure and protect proprietary and intellectual property rights of the Samoans with regards to the designs?  Perhaps more importantly, is who owns the rights to the pe’a designs - the people or the tufuga ta tatau (tattooers/tattooists)?  Now, if the latter do, and decide to form a guild of their own  to secure the IP rights, can - and will - the people or government intervene? Then there will be questions about royalties - who gets what, and how much?

In some countries, the laws - governing intellectual property of native culture and arts - protect only the rights of the individual(s) and not  communities.  Hence, I can see the Samoan tufugas become adamant if not aggressive in fighting for the rights and ownership of their pe’a art; and lucrative paydays by companies like Nike will only strengthen their resolve.
Actually, there may already be some discussions in the pipeline - or on the back burner - of the above issues in Samoa. One thing is sure however, that is, this halted Nike venture will certainly get some people pushing and itching for a hastened resolution.  Imagine a tattooer’s cut from Nike sales of all the items in the tattoo sportswear line ...Wow!!  But then, imagine the present government - Stui and the gang - already cracking its proverbial whip or flexing its political muscle at Suluape and fellow artists in anticipation of such huge earning potential. We shall see!

Moreover, there’s the question of public domain. The fact that others have already exploited the tatau designs commercially - fabric prints, sports promotions, tattoo parlors, etc. - apparently without seeking any permission from anyone or worry about copyright infringement issues, means that the designs are, and should therefore be in the public domain. I think that Nike can therefore legally continue its tattoo design line based on that possibility. The criticisms and opposition in the name of culture obviously have to do with Nike being a giant moneymaker, hence a likely profiteer from the designs. Again, others already have done what Nike is trying to start, so I guess it’s the profit size that’s the real issue. With Samoa being late, negligent or even ignorant of intellectual property rights, she should at least start negotiating with the giant shoemaker for some royalties possibilities. Ia fai aku ai fo’i.


Still "A'live'" ...

...I snapped this picture with my phone as we were watching Elvis’ “Aloha From Hawaii" ("a live" via satellite concert -1973) Saturday evening on the local BYU channel. Watching with Dearie and brought back some memories of Samoa (late 70's), cause she had the albums (LP's) of the concert then. I’m sure the showing was a tribute in this month of his passing - some thirty years ago.

Finally we could watch something with performers, music and songs (e.g. My Way, I’ll Remember You, Suspicious Minds, Burning Love, etc.) that the whole family can watch and enjoy together without silent cringes and jitters from lyrics and choreography, let alone wardrobe malfunctions ......


Family Summer Activity

Summer, so far, has been busy, hectic (hence not much blogging) and especially hot...hot... hot!  Now the weather aficionados are saying this is Utah's hottest year  on record.  Wow!  Fortunately Utah also is blessed with a  great outdoors - canyons, mountains, lakes, rivers, trails, etc.  So much so that the governor has formed the new Office of Outdoor Recreation - a first of its kind in the country.  Coincidentally, our family, during the past weekend, decided to take advantage of nature's offerings in our state's backyard for some fun activities, and to fend off the heat.  So we went camping and then boating.  It was also our annual family camp.  Here are some pictures from our recreational fun this past weekend - here's to the good times!! ....

... heading to camp

... playing rummy and suipi

... campsite fire - s'mores and marshmallow time

... following morning after breakfast, ready for the lake

... a river near the camp

... driving towards the lake (about 5 miles)

... the lake, still early morning

... the convoy arrives

... tents pitched and the army is dispersed

... e fia skipper si mea ... koe fia maua a lo'u paopao

...  koe faamagaku le ka'ele i le sami a dearie

... watching the fautasi race ...hahahaaa

... na ua motu mai nei i luma le segavao

... and now the segavao rowers are tired - mamao kele le kigi

our real skipper ... boat bound for Apolima

... fun! fun! fun!!

... are we having fun yet?

... yes! .. this is fun!

.... slow down, aua le so'oga faia - skipper never skips a break ...lol!

... girls just wanna have fun

Baywatch impression? ...LOL! ... kama kuai o le beach a LA (Lalomanu Aleipata, that is)
FAMILY ...is everything!!
At the end of our fun-filled lake activity, we posed one more time for a family picture (missing The Elder) ... and for the memories.  Faafetai (thanks) to our children, daughters and their families, especially our oldest and her husband for planning the activities!


Response to "Threats to the Samoan Language."

A discussion – via letters (three) to the Editor of the Samoa Observer –  of threats to the Samoan language, has prompted my response (below).  Among some of the points raised by the “threats” author were that the Samoan language should be “untainted, vivacious and potent,”  the need for the church to be responsible for perpetuating and reviving the language as well as blaming the English language as “the most detrimental influence” on the existence and survival of the Samoan language.

Languages that do not change, die

Dear Editor:

I have been reading - with a bit of uneasiness - Mr. Ivara’s three-part (so far) discussion of the threats to the Samoan language.  I fully understand his points though I do not necessarily agree with his somewhat extreme and tenacious approach, suggestions and faultfinding.  Like Mr. Ivara, I do not want to see the Samoan language extinct or become obsolete.  I am therefore in favor of smart and strategic intervention and programs to reinforce the viability, practicality and use of the Samoan language.

Condemning the English language as the “most detrimental influence to the existence and stability of the Samoan language,” is neither constructive nor resourceful. It may be a fact, but it’s useless in the context of our aspirations to preserve and perpetuate the Samoan language.  Moreover, that’s quite harsh to beshrew something that we, as a people, have adopted more by choice and necessity than by imposition or mandate.  The irony, however, is that Mr. Ivara has contempt for the English language and yet he used it “extensively” and almost exclusively in his letters.  He may have done that to reach his intended audience of Samoans who write and speak English (like him?), yet still, there is something insincere, if not insidious in using English to brand English.  It reminds me of one travesty about swearing among the Samoans.  E palauvale loa se kamaikiiki, faapea loa le koea’iga, “Sole, soia e ke palauvale lou [bleep].”  Ioe ua faaaoga le upusa e kaofi ai le upusa.  (Basically using profanity to berate swearing.)

Furthermore, Mr. Ivara faults the English language for the deterioration of the Samoan language and then in the same breath, he lauds the efforts of the missionaries and other foreigners who used English grammar rules to analyze, construct and explain Samoan grammar.  That service has obviously, and ironically, led to a better understanding of the Samoan language that people like Mr. Ivara have displayed and demonstrated.

The intent of this letter is not to favor English over Samoan; rather it is to propose that the two can and should co-exist.  There are concepts, notions, items, beliefs, etc. that are inherent and/or common among our people that are not fully understood and/or explained using the Samoan language, only with English.  English is also the universal language for business, technology, government, etc., and so we should not be naive in its denigration.

Language is part of the social paradigm and therefore changes with time.  Generally, anything that resists change is likely to be exterminated. Organisms have to adapt to a new environment or suffer extinction. Such is true with language which needs to “socialize” and consociate for survival. This principle is perhaps more applicable in today’s fast-paced world in which change and/or adaptation are necessary for endurance, permanence and longevity.  So along with our native desires and nationalistic attitudes about preserving our Samoan language, we should also allow it to change and adapt where necessary and needed - syntax, semantics, vocabulary, etc.  With language, change is not only necessary but inevitable.

The English language itself has gone through phases and periods of change. There’s the Old English, Middle English and Modern English. Writings, like Beowulf, from the Old English period are hardly intelligible to modern English speakers.  The changes and adaptability of English - oftentimes borrowing from other languages - have led to its durability.
The Samoan language also needs to change and adapt otherwise it will suffer untimely death or rapid extinction.  For the seeming hardcore approach Mr Ivara has towards preserving the Samoan language, keeping it “untainted, vivacious and potent,” -  including his quandary with English - perhaps the only way to achieve such objective is for the native Samoan community to stay isolated and closed to the outside world. We know that is impossible.  Considering today’s global society and its nascent homogeny, hastened by technological advances, insularity and isolationism would only spell genocide and linguicide.

In support of Mr. Ivara, however, I, too, was disappointed with the changes made in the seventies notably the elimination of the diacritics (macron, apostrophe, glottal stop/break, etc.,). Native speakers had fewer problems with contextual reading and pronunciation.  On the other hand, second-language speakers, like children of Samoan immigrants (NZ, US, Australia, etc.) have a hard time learning proper pronunciation, hence the language, without the diacritics.  These Samoans living abroad have a significant role to play in perpetuating and preserving the language and it’s important that they are taught the correct methods, skills, properties and elements of their native language.

And so in our efforts to preserve the Samoan language, we should not do it independent - or at the expense - of the English language, or any other language for that matter.  Remember that  Greek, also, through the Bible (NT), has given us the word “areto” (artos) - and others - which has become an important word in our spiritual parlance.  “Falaoa” just does not capture the essence, depth and nuance of “bread” as it relates symbolically to Christ.

Ma le fa’aaloalo lava,
LV  Letalu

Homecoming Fiafia (Party)

Sis. Letalu's homecoming fiafia was something that we as a family did as a gesture of appreciation for her mission and service among the people of Montana, and for having served faithfully and honorably.  Through some good and kind friends and acquaintances we were able to secure, again,  the same Golf Clubhouse (near our home) where her farewell party was held, for her homecoming party too.  And with the company of  close friends and families to celebrate her return (RWH), the fiafia - food, entertainment, sociability, etc. - was enjoyed by all.  Thank you to all who made our missionary's fiafia possible and enjoyable.  Some pictures from the party ...

the clubhouse

another view of the clubhouse

the "great room" where the fiafia was held
("With its vaulted ceilings, stone fireplace and French doors opening onto a balcony overlooking the Golf Course, the Great Room offers a refined, elegant atmosphere.")

aunties  (l to r - isa, bev, 'ula and lavinia)


nieces (l to r: kora, eden and neyah)

uncles sa'ili (left) and papali'i jr.

the mom

sis. letalu with her sisters and mom

 the puletasis were sewed by the mom and everyone designed and painted her own.
mission sign was a family creation too.

zita and dawn

nephews during the entertainment

with cousins and sisters

zita: "faafetai tele to you all - our families, friends, acquaintances, etc. - for your love and support!  God bless!"