Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Snow White, Lilo (and Stitch), Rapunzel/Tangled, Frozen (Elsa), and soon, Moana?   That’s what Disney has next in its heroine/princess animation pipeline.

Disney Animation
Moana is Polynesian. So “Yay!”  The inhabitants of the “isles of the sea” will finally be represented at the Disney heroines' big dance - sans Lilo, of course. And while those listed above have arrived riding magic carpets, chariots, horses with silver and snowy manes, paddling dugout canoes or swimming, I guess our Moana will be sailing the ‘alia (big double-hulled vessels of Polynesia) to the ball.
(‘Alia or va’a tele in Samoan, kalia/vaka in Tongan, waka (Maori), wa’a kaulua (Hawaiian). Notice the shared heritage of the Polynesians in their language similarities especially in the name of something that was indispensable in their seafaring history - the va’a (boat). The “w” is also pronounced |v| in some Polynesian languages like Hawaiian and Maori.)

Or, considering the already favored Hawaiian background and context for the animation, Moana may sail in on the Hokule’a.  (Maui, a Hawaiian demigod has already been cast as a co-protagonist too.) But the word/name “Moana” belongs to Polynesia. It means “ocean” in Samoan and in most, if not all, of the Polynesian languages/dialects. And therein lies the spoil that may already be brewing ahead of Moana’s arrival, and one that might dampen her spirits and her premiere/debut.  At worst, figuratively speaking, she could end up a castaway, a misfortune she would certainly welcome as long as it’s on a tropical island and not in the colder regions of Antarctica.

Moana? - Illustration by Catena Badolato
The predicament involves an internal strife among some of Moana’s seafaring posterity.  The squabble is over how she would/should be portrayed - outfit, demeanor, accouterments and all.  Some of these "polykins" seem to want an inclusive Moana, one that represents all of Polynesia instead of the stereotypical dashboard-hula-dancing-maiden in a grass skirt, a flower garland, a lei and sei (flower worn over the ear).  The Hawaiian “hula” prototype for Polynesian maidens has prevailed for years and, understandably, for several reasons. To most outsiders, Hawaii IS Polynesia, at least in the world of movies and entertainment.  The popularity and visibility of Hawaii as a tourist mecca easily make it the Polynesian bellwether.

But let’s say that Disney caves in a bit to an inclusive Polynesian Moana, at least for the sake of cultural correctness and fairness.  That would mean that Moana needs a malu (Samoan female tattoos above the knees), wearing a ta’ovala (Tongan waist-mat), over a Tahitian tamure (dance) skirt, and then a moko (Maori chin tattoo), etc., etc.  Fair enough, or ridiculous? Methinks the latter.

The filmmakers have a duty - and will surely do their best - to be fair to the Polynesian heritage and culture (however one defines those in the context of time), though at the same time, they have at their disposal the creative/artistic license which serves as their chief negotiator and arbiter. Balancing the two - cultural correctness/fairness and artistic license - can be a challenge; but Disney may also claim that Moana is a movie, not a documentary and therefore they (filmmakers) do have some leeway if not autonomy.

Now, let’s say that push comes to shove is a possibility, and Disney acquiesces and portrays the real “Moana” of Polynesia 2000 years ago, the time period of the movie, then .. Hmmm... Huh? Wow!  Can you imagine how “Moana” might have looked then?   Obviously scantily-clad, like all Poly women of the pre-contact years; and even right up to the post-contact years too.  The famous Nafanua's (Samoa war goddess) tiputa (shawl) malfunction can conjure similar images; not that such images are foreign to Hollywood, but Moana needs to belong to the family-friendly genre of Disney productions.  So if by an infinitesimal chance (no way) that Moana will be depicted as a Poly woman of long ago, she will certainly end up as a castaway on a cold Temptation Island, viewed  not by a general audience, but by a mature/adult one.

I think therefore that the more insular and ethnocentric of Moana’s cousins should reconsider their “demands” for an inclusive surrogate of their newly dubbed princess.  The costume in the first picture (top) should suffice. Remember, also, Disney will settle on an outfit that's marketable and can be sold as a proprietary costume.  Profit, after all, is the bottom line, and therefore Disney's main goal.

Now if those are not enough to dissuade the inclusive-minded Poly's from their "fairness campaign", then let me also remind them that Moana will speak ...hmmm...English!?! - not Satomataha (my coinage for a Polynesian Esperanto) - Sa(moan)to(ngan)ma(ori)ta(hitian)ha(waiian).  And definitely not Hawaiian pidgin either.  Again, Moana is a movie (fiction), not a documentary (nonfiction).

But let's wait and see. If Moana shows up at the ball in skinny jeans and a sheer top, then I'll volunteer to lead the protest and boycott; and unmoor her 'alia so she can be a castaway.  Ha!

Oh, by the way, Disney is accepting auditions for the voice of Moana.  Some already on Youtube.  So if you want that big break, go to some casting sites for the audition information.  Good luck!  The voice of Maui is already awarded to the Rock.


Marcus Mariota Wins 2014 Heisman Award

"The Heisman Memorial Trophy Award (usually known colloquially as the Heisman Trophy or The Heisman), is awarded annually to the most outstanding player in college football in the United States whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. Winners epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work." - Wikipedia.

(Photo: Alex Goodlett, Getty Images)
I had just watched the 2014 announcement on ESPN of the highly coveted award which Mariota was favored to win. He did. He seems a very nice young man. Though born and raised in Hawaii, he is still true to his Samoan roots. At the end of his acceptance speech he said "Faafetai Tele Lava". During the post interview, he was asked by the ESPN representative about some Hawaiian phrase he included in his speech and Mariota said "... it was Samoan 'Faafetai tele lava' which means 'Thank you very much' ". Thank you Marcus! And with due credit and acknowledgement to your parents and family. You're a fine ambassador and role model for Samoan and Poly athletes everywhere. Wishing you the best of luck.



Fred (middle - from NZ), Ed and myself at Park City, UT.
... on the O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge (outside Vegas) - re: picture of bridge
below, our pic taken about where the arrow points.  Also Hoover Dam (back).
O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge and Hoover Dam

Ed, Soli & Fred on the Bridge



...at the dance
Thanksgiving week (last week) was a busy one ... I scheduled the whole week off so I can catch up on my more serious writing pursuits. But then a change of plans in order to accommodate some friends from NZ (Soli and Fred). So we ended up going places - a quick hop out to Vegas (6-7 hr. drive one way) then to other places in Utah, making sure we’re back home on Thursday for Thanksgiving and Friday night for a gig/dance where our band played. Really enjoyed the time with friends and family - GRATEFUL for them. Our Kiwi friends took copious pictures which will eventually find their way to maybe Dropbox, Google Drive or MS Cloud...heheee...meanwhile some selfies/pics ..:)
... at the dance (l to r) dearie, Soli and Martha

... at the dance with dearie and cousin

... at Provo Canyon (Utah) .. a selfie within a selfie Hi Fred!

... at Hoover Dam just outside Vegas. O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge in the background - both dam and bridge
are engineering marvels.

... at snowy Park City (Utah) .. almost a skier ...LOL!!

... at the gym

... at work in the winterrrrr
... at leisure

... us at New Year's party - 2015 
...at ... somewhere i le malo o Meleke


All Blacks scared the US Eagles

It was Halloween weekend and the All Blacks scared the tricks and treats out of the US Eagles.
The final score was 74-6, All Blacks.  Yes, that was certainly scary!   What may have been  scarier to most rugby novices, I think, was the provocative haka (war dance) which may have intimidated and scared the US team as well, even before battle.....Hahahahiiihooaaa (scary laugh).

... the Haka
But the score was to be expected though, considering the unfamiliarity of rugby in the US. Want proof?  Well a Chicago newspaper reported that the All Blacks are Aussies (re: pic) - yep, an Australian team.  The paper apologized afterwards for the mistake.  But wait.  If rugby is unpopular in the US, why was the  61,500 capacity Soldier Field stadium (versus 50,000 Eden Park stadium in Auckland) sold out?  Apparently the majority of the spectators were rugby fans especially of the All Blacks, who, by the way, were not “all blacks” since they donned conspicuously red cleats! Ha! They did however put on a typical All Blacks rugby show and clinic for the Americans.

Some of our children, and family, tuned in to the game which was on national TV- and prime time - and were cheering for (guess?), well, SBW and the Kiwis. True!  They even opted for All Blacks rugby over BYU (football), playing in the same time slot on another channel.  They only switched, momentarily, when I told them to check the score of the BYU game. Interestingly however, back at the rugby game, the commentators were mentioning BYU as a rugby powerhouse at the collegiate/uni level, having won consecutive national titles.  As mentioned in my other previous posts, BYU rugby has benefited mostly from NZ and other Pacific connections.

The lopsided nature of all aspects of the weekend game would be similar, I guess, to an American professional team playing a NZ team in basketball, though the gap between America and other countries, including NZ, in basketball has narrowed rapidly in the last decade.  Not true for rugby, at least in the level of  international play.  The inclusion of rugby now, in the Olympics, may eventually change that.

The evolution of rugby (to football in America) represents a prototype in the cultural shift between the so-called Old and New Worlds.  Though rugby is the forerunner of American football, the latter has become more of a science while the former remains an art form, generally speaking.  Football is replete with data, statistics, strategies, analyses, logistics, etc.,   Teams even have some of their staff taking pictures during the game (from high up in the stadium boxes) of opponents’ defense and other formations which are fed down to the sidelines for strategic play-calling.  It’s like modern warfare, in a sense.  Rugby, on the other hand, remains largely a sport of finesse, flair and style.

The question is, will the Americans compromise their scientific mentality and approach in favor of finesse and "fitnesse" and finally score their first touchdown try against the All Blacks in my lifetime?  Now there's a scary thought!


Michelangelo and Venus

Two of our grandchildren dressed up as Mutant Ninja Turtles and came to trick-or-treat at my work today.
Kade, as Michelangelo and Kora as Venus de Milo (the female turtle). They had the most awesome costumes, all homemade by their Dad who is a Halloween costume enthusiast. (Remember the Minions from last year?)  I think the turtles had the most admirers at my work especially of their shells. Wow.  And that’s Halloween 2014 in a “turtle shell” - cause tonight is the bigger bash. The annual family Halloween party!  Some pictures of the turtles’ visit at my work today....

... hey Venus, is that Shredder?

... we better hurry up and find him

... hmmm I think we're close

... forget Shredder, let's go get more candies

... let's start over there in that corner office

... ok, think hard ...what our next step is

... I got it! .. here, magic ....

... let's prepare some magic concoction

... I know this will work

... Mike, I think I see him down there

... Venus, wait, be careful he's in the elevator 

... Oh, it's not Shredder, it's Papa ....LOL!


To Kalobe*

You play the game that you always love
With donned helmet, cleats, gear and glove
And with energy, stamina and determined will
You hone and fancy the skills that thrill 

It seems as if it was just only yesterday
That you first set foot on the football field
And ofttimes you ran and powered your way
To the end zone with finesse - refusing to yield 

But the end zone is only a zone not an end
Where new hopes and pursuits will slowly start 
It’s also where you learn to valiantly defend
Your dreams and goals - "what e’er thou art"

Now go forth young man and pursue your quest
Always remember that any test requires your best
With persistence, dignity, diligence, courage and class
Any noble desire and worthy ambition will come to pass

*oldest grandson/child

Congratulations! Wishing you the best!
Mama and Papa

...right after his last game as a high school senior


Was Sonny B. right?

... about Samoans - or Poly’s for that matter - in how they compliment a person for a specific something he/she owns, yet the real reason behind the praise/compliment is begging for it?  A recent article in the Samoa Observer contained the following:
[Sonny B.] Williams chuckles quietly as he remembers an incident just over a month ago in Samoa when a member of a local league team approached him after training.
“I walked off and he just started talking about my shoes. He said: ‘Sole [slang for “bro” in Samoan], they’re seki [nice] shoes.”’
Growing up in Mt Albert - where the majority of his friends were Pacific Islanders - if a mate complimented you, it meant he was after something, he said.
“So when he started talking about my shoes, straight away I said, ‘Oh, do you want them?’ He said, ‘Oh, are you sure?’ I said, ‘Yeah, bro.”’
Giving up his shoes was fine, but the next suggestion was unexpected.
“I took off the shoes and he started saying, ‘Oh, those are nice socks.’ I was like, ‘Oh, you want the socks too, bro? They’re a bit sweaty!”
The above represents what may generally be considered a cultural meme or peculiarity among the Samoans - and others, likely.  It is validated though by a traditional adage.  A German who recorded and documented Samoan alagaupu (proverbial expressions) had this entry for the adage:
360. O le [‘a]isi le momo'o. To praise is to beg.
He who wants something from another person but is ashamed to beg, will give a broad hint by praising the thing he wants. Upu fa'aulaula. 

- Proverbial Expressions of the Samoans,  Dr. E Schultz, 1906. 
In other words, A e momo'o kusa a ua e ‘aisi.  O le ‘aisi faa'aka'aka. Hahahaa!
Now if you are a generous person, you will give the "praising beggar" the item(s).
But some Samoans who either do not want to give up the thing, or would try feigned humility by saying one of the following:

Va'ai ku'u le mea lega o le a'amu, e leaga. (Flattery is not nice, so stop it)
E magaia mamao ai a lau ________ (Yours is far better and nicer than mine)
E ua e ula fo'i i le __________ a si ou uso, mea pala (Please stop cajoling, this is crude and cheap.)

So Sonny B was right.    But then again ....

Smartcar owner to Lamborghini owner:  "Wow. Nice car!"

Lamborghini owner: "Why, do you want it? Sorry. Your car is smart though - not mine.... hey, but I can give you my Reeboks!  


Meet the Mormons

Salt Lake Temple
It’s the title of a film/documentary about six members - of the LDS Church - and the effect their membership has had in their lives with their families and in serving others.
(One of the featured members - the coach - is Samoan and is the son of one of my former bishops while I was in college.)

Based on some pre-releases and other information, I have a pretty good idea of what the film is about.  It’s educational and instructional especially in hopes of dispelling and assuaging some common misconceptions and stereotypes about Mormons.  Perhaps more than these, is the lesson of Faith in God and Jesus Christ.  The film has been commissioned by the leaders of the Church and it premieres tomorrow (October 10th) at more than 300 theaters across the US.   View the trailer here.

Already, however, there are some “pre-views”, anticipative online comments and criticisms to some articles about the film.  Here are some of the main ones, with my responses and comments.

1.  Members of other churches and faiths do the same things and good deeds that Mormons do.  So what’s the big deal?

First the film tries to get across the message that Mormons are normal people just like everyone else. Contrary to some common misconceptions, Mormons don’t lead cloistered and secluded lives.  They do however have beliefs that may go against the grain of contemporary society.

Mormons are different - in some respects - but not strange. A lot of the peculiarities stem from their beliefs.  For example Mormons don’t smoke or drink because of the Word of Wisdom revelation which has been given as a code of health (both physical and spiritual). The healthy lifestyle of Mormons has been admired and lauded by many including health professionals   Also, Mormons do genealogical work and research because of their beliefs - not as a hobby or for other worldly purposes. For example, the Samoans keep and safeguard their genealogies mainly to secure titles, lands and property rights.  Mormons research their genealogy for their deceased ancestors, and others, for temple work. (Watch for a post on this topic soon.)  The focus, reach and mission of the LDS Church are inclusive of all mankind - living and the dead.  Mormons are also consistently ranked as being more generous and more charitable than their religious counterparts.  Mormons may be similar to other Christians but not the same, even in their desire to live good and exemplary lives, serve others and extolling altruism.

2.  Are the 6 individuals and their families representative of the Church membership?  How about the poor Mormons?

The people/families in the film are somewhere in the middle of most contemporary scales.  By the more common and popular standards of today, they’re neither poor nor rich.  In such presentations, like the film, it’s always a challenge and an arduous task  to try and obtain an accurate cross-section or sample of a much larger group with a diverse makeup.  As a result the middle and average are usually depicted in such an undertaking - it’s normal.  Furthermore, the underlying message of change in people’s lives is a popular one for any religion.  The poor and the needy are the ones to which the churches minister.  As the poor change spiritually and temporally then churches want to present them as fruits of their labors and ministry;  hence the emphasis on the middle and average members.  It’s the same concept as the middle class in any society; it is a better measure and representation of the welfare, economy and progress of a country. In other words, the rich and poor may not the best representative sectors though I'm sure the families in the film may have been "poor" once too.  It is the mission of any church to raise the standards and improve - spiritually and temporally - their members' circumstances.  And no other church does it better than the LDS Church. Relatively speaking, therefore, a member serving a life sentence for a hideous and heinous crime may not be the best representative of any church membership either.  Moreover, though the changes may be depicted more through physical and temporal lenses, most - if not all - of these changes have their roots in, and/or triggered by, the spiritual transformation in the lives of the members.

3..  Some have a problem with the people who were invited to the special screening.  They were mostly the rich and famous Mormons (Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge, Mitt Romney, Marie Osmond, Napoleon Dynamite filmmakers, members of the Neon Trees band, etc.)  Is the Church spotlighting its rich and famous?

I’m sure there were some rank and file members of the Church there too, but the media always is after the popular and the famous. It comes with the territory.  They may have treated the whole screening in a Hollywood premiere fashion.  So do not blame the Church for such spotlights. The Church cares for the poor a lot.  Just recently, it has added to its traditional three-fold mission (Redeem the dead, Proclaim the gospel and Perfect the Saints) a fourth one: “To Care for the Poor”.  The Church’s humanitarian services and programs are unmatched by most organizations and churches.

And so in defense of the rich and famous Mormons, let me say that many of these services and programs of the Church are helped if not made possible by donations from these members.  One of the best examples is the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) that helps needy member students pay for their education with repayment loans.  Click here to read about a Samoan lawyer/student - and many others from poorer countries - who benefited from the Perpetual Education Fund.

The Church is wealthy by most modern standards and a major part of that wealth - which is to help further the work - comes from the well-off members and other Church sources/investments. With many other churches declining and closing because of the lack of funds and donations, the LDS Church is better off, comparatively, because of the tithes and donations of these and other members.  I believe that many of these members adhere to the scripture: “Of whom much is given much is required”.  They then give freely and generously.

If you have a chance to see the film, please go. By the way, all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross. So if not to learn more about the Mormons, see the film as a donation to the Red Cross to help others. It's a win- win.


Cucumbers and Thin Clients

...seki a le kama o kukama
Chances are that if you follow a health professional/nutritionist who advocates vegetables and fruits - like lemon cucumbers - as some of the most effective foods that assure weight loss and health, you will most likely end up being thin. Hence a “thin client”.
Today at work I was snacking on lemon cucumbers (picture) and it brought back memories of one of my Dad’s favorites - oka kukama (briny cucumber slices). And became one of mine too.
To the best of my recollection there were no lemon cucumbers in Samoa when I was growing up (even today maybe). There were only the regular tubular ones.  My Dad would pare the skin in stripe pattern and lengthwise (so some skin is left unpeeled), then with a fork scrape the full length (to date I still don’t why...lol) slice it round, then put the slices in a bowl of salted water and let it stand for several minutes.

So at work, this sweet lady brings lemon cucumbers from her garden (Yay, Ooorrrganic!) and shares them with fellow office employees.  And so for someone who had started eating cucumbers as a little boy, I just couldn't wait to savor these fresh organic ones - like in Samoa.  But instead of salt water, as my Dad had done, I just sprinkle salt on the slices and eat them. Fortunately, we have all the kitchen utensils and supplies in our office so I didn't have to wait to get home to pare and eat these saporous kukama ...seki a le 'kama! lol...

And now to a different but real thin client.  The computer!  What? Yes that’s a computer (the small/thin black box above)... had it for a year now.  For many big companies/corporations with hundreds or thousands of employees and with offices world-wide, they already have or will certainly migrate to a thin client computing system, as opposed to the desktop PC system.  I’ve seen some Wal-Mart stores already using thin clients.  Below is a brief description from the Devon IT website - a company that makes thin clients (hardware and software):
a typical thin client setup
A thin client is a stateless, fanless desktop terminal that has no hard drive. All features typically found on the desktop PC, including applications, sensitive data, memory, etc., are stored back in the data center when using a thin client.
A thin client running Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP), like Citrix ICA and Windows Terminal Services, and/or virtualization software, accesses hard drives in the data center stored on servers, blades, etc. Thin clients, software services, and backend hardware make up thin client computing, a virtual desktop computing model.
Thin clients are used as a PC replacement technology to help customers immediately access any virtual desktop or virtualized application. Thin clients provide businesses a cost-effective way to create a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Thin clients are utilized in various industries and enterprises worldwide that all have different requirements but share common goals. The cost, security, manageability, and scalability benefits of thin clients are all reasons that IT personnel are exploring –and switching– to thin clients.
Cost-wise, the price per seat of a thin client deployment has dropped to the point where it is more cost effective than regular PCs. This has been a claim that many in the thin client industry have made in the past, but the fact is that the technology that has been developed within the past year has made it a definitive reality.
So if you work for a big company or corporation, a thin client is coming soon to a desktop near you - if it’s not already there...sans the cucumbers though :)

Note: If you want to save some files “locally” you’d have to use a USB flash/thumb drive, or if on a CD, you need an external CD-ROM drive.


Samoans and Serialmania

At the end of my last - and only - review of Silamanino, I posted this as a postscript:
There’s the problem of inconclusive and incomplete reviews because of the serial and sequential method and approach used in making the movie. Therefore comprehensive analyses are often suspended, delayed and postponed.
So here’s one of those delayed analyses (if you want to get bored).

The above-mentioned review (currently the most popular post in this blog) was for Part 1 - two years ago. Now, there’s Part 6?...  Huh?  Eat your hearts out Rocky (Balboa) and "Hurry Pottah".  At the rate Silamanino sequels are presently being produced and released, we should have Part 100 in five years’ time if not sooner.  Hey Hollywood, stop spending millions and several years to release a sequel. Go film in Samoa. We would be quite content with subtitles and with scenes of lush and paradisal scenery/settings than with special effects and nasal robotic dialogue.  And just use three GoPros and you’ll be spitting out Transformers 6, 7, 8 in no time. The sound does not have to be perfect either, I have the remote to equalize it. Also, use a lot of subplots to fill screen time instead of developing the main storyline.... LOL!  Ok, enough digressing!

Serial films
Ili lau'ulu
The serial films in the US were common before, and up to, the 1950's.  They were often short and used cliffhanger endings as a way to woo viewers back to the next episode. Lone Ranger was one such movie serial.  I remember watching these during the matinees in Samoa at the “village cinema” which was a family’s fale tele (big house), converted to a movie theater by closing all the pola (blinds) and then hang an inner lining of taga popo (copra sacks) - seam-ripped and sewn together - for darkroom effect. Moviegoers go in clean and come out, two hours later, smelling like copra sacks.  And how do they stay cool in there?  Well they used ili lau’ulu (fans made from breadfruit leaves).  Just pick a leaf from the tree under which you’re standing, waiting for the movies to start, pluck the edges in the shape of a fan and voila!

The serial films are called “ata fa’asolo” in Samoan and are often shown before the featured movie.

But the Samoans had their own serialized conception and innovation before serial films. It was the fagogo (nightly storytelling). These fagogo were told serially by the elders to the children during bedtime. Children would often massage or knead the back or legs of a parent or an elderly relative while he/she tells a story.  Each episode ends with a “to be continued” sign-off.

Then with the printed media came the “Tala (Faasolo)” (serial story/drama) in the local newspaper. I remember when it was a common practice for villagers to share and circulate one or two copies of the local newspaper (e.g. Samoa Times) for the "Tala".  Newspapers were only available in town, once a week (Fridays mostly), and so some families would give money to the bus driver to buy a copy, or just find someone who had gone to town to borrow the newspaper from.  A single copy would change hands several times among the villagers before the next issue the following week.  The "Tala" of course became the topic of conversation and village chit-chats ("talk of the village") between series/parts/episodes, especially among the adults.

By the way, I’m glad that matai titles are not serialized, just split. Really! Imagine if titles like Leota or Papali’i and many others were serialized after the mold of Tanumafili le Lua (Tanumafili II). We would have seen/heard of Leota le Luaselau ma le Fa (204), or Papali’i le Valusefuluvalu (88), and when written using the traditional Roman numerals, it would be like a Tupua CLXXXVIII, ........ Aea? (Right?)

The serialmania has moved to films and now we have Silamanino (a near phonetic translation ..ha!), queen of  Samoan serialmania.

The problem with serialized Samoan films now is that they’ve become too cliched. As a result, most aspects of movie-making and storytelling get compromised.  The plots get predictable, the stories dull and repetitive, characters become nondescript as well as the overuse of disjointed subplots which sometimes overtake and overshadow the main story. Subplots, preferably fewer, serve only to advance the main story.  But to the average Samoan viewer these may be too esoteric if not mildly insignificant.  As long as there’s a main story - or many stories - to follow it’s fine.  The more stories to bundle the better, I guess.  One is left to wonder though if there is a possibility that such a craving - for multiple subplots -  is a reflection of the faikakala (nosiness) stigma and is being surreptitiously used by the filmmakers for sales pitching. It could also be for film/story continuity especially with any anticipated offshoots. Again such subtleties may not be a big deal.  Pau a le mea kaulia o le iai o le kala i le “kama ma le keige”. (The most important thing is the story about the “boy and girl”).  And speaking of kama and keige, Silamanino seems to be adding more “boy and girl” pairings.  Is that a sign of an inevitable and gradual move towards the typical soap opera model or a native invention?  Ia make ifo ia e oukou (Y’all make the call.)

The success of Silamanino will likely make the film a pilot and model undertaking in the direction and evolution of Samoan film-making.  Some may wonder if the film will become an avant-garde, or  remain loyal to its older more conservative base. Samoa being somewhat limited in movie themes, storylines and background (so far), I guess the next natural course would be towards the soap genre, at least considering the obsession in soaps (Filipino and American) by the Samoans. My guess is that if Silamanino evolves and takes the path of the modern soap operas, with all the typical soapy salaciousness (hence the avant-garde prognostication), then there’s definitely going to be a shift in audience as well. The Samoan older and more conservative viewers will certainly jump ship (or won’t they?) while the younger viewers may jump aboard.  Ia so’o se mea a (Anything goes!)

Samoans a Sentimental People?
Is it me or does it seem that crying, sobbing, wailing and sorrow have become a regular and consistent element in Samoan films? Tautoga and Tulafale have their share of  weeping crying and sadness because of the stories.  But Silamanino and other Samoan serial films also have a number of sad and emotional moments during which crying and wailing border on an overkill.  I do believe that Samoans, as a people, are sentimental - to a degree - and art certainly imitates life, as the saying goes, but does somberness and dispiritedness have to be utilized to the point where it becomes a distraction and detraction in these films?  Or is this a proof of sponsor (funeral homes and other related services) influence on the story/script (re: previous post)?  Ia kali ifo ia e oukou (Y’all answer that.)

Finally, The Question:
And the main question for/by the Silamanino fans and afficionados now is: “Will Enoka return on Manino’s wedding day?"  More importantly, at the very moment the priest/minister asks the “forever hold your peace” question?  Hmmm... Predictability?  Yes.  But I’m sure most Samoan viewers don’t mind the predictability a bit.  They just want to be entertained, and then ...... Cryyyy!! ..... and then talk about it at church, at the falelalaga (women’s weaving group) and at the vai (pool).... with a lot of “kalofa e” interjections....

Yes. Serialously!   LOL!


I am a Mormon

To most of you (the two or three who follow this blog), the above declaration may already have been an established impression. Sporadically, I have dropped some hints here and there. At other times, I have been precise and unmistakable. Again, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or LDS Church, and less formally “Mormon Church”).  Colloquially, I’m a Mormon.

And you might say, “So what?”  Well, that’s something I hope to answer through this introductory post and other related ones to follow.  Suffice it to say that it’s perfectly natural for most people to share anything that has had a profound and lasting change/effect on them - whether it be a new method to lose weight, grow back hair (yes!), invest money or to achieve happiness (true happiness, that is!).  Such inclination to share certainly underscores the maxim “Sharing is Caring!”

In some regions and parts of the world, Mormonism may still be viewed with suspicion, paranoia, repulsion and/or derision.  In other areas, as in Africa and South America, it is rapidly gaining respect and acceptance. Yet, in the western and mountain states of Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, California, etc., the LDS Church is considered widespread if not standard and mainstream. Hawaii and Alaska also have a lot of Mormons. Oh, and Samoa too.  Incidentally, Samoa was the first country in the world to be covered by LDS stakes (dioceses) in 1974.

I was born and raised (in Samoa) a congregationalist, meaning that I was a member of a church with Protestant leanings and origins. The beliefs in the Trinity and the Bible - as “sola scriptura” - are paramount, like most mainstream Christian churches.  The LDS Church, on the other hand, believes in other books of scripture, in addition to the Bible. (This year 2014, the Old Testament is the text for the Sunday School curriculum.)  As Mormons we believe that the Godhead consists of God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost and are three separate personages, as opposed to the “three-in-one” (Triune) doctrine.  Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are anthropomorphic while the Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit.

For as long as I can recall, even when as a little child, I have always believed in God.  And despite the dominance and pervasiveness of the Protestant beliefs in my early upbringing, my convincement and faith in God was intuitive and inborn - not acquired.  For example, as a little boy, climbing a mossy and slippery coconut tree on a rainy day, I would always say a silent prayer in my mind asking for divine guidance, help and protection.  That was at a time during which I had not yet formed any cognitive awareness of such things as religion and/or churches.

Even now, many years later, I still feel that close and inherent connection to God as part of who I essentially am, only that I am now much more aware, knowledgeable and assured - through the help and confirmation of the Spirit - about the true character and nature of God as revealed through the restoration of the gospel.  So my belief in a loving, interested and personal God has never waned, weakened or forsaken - it has only grown stronger, sound and compelling.  I attribute this growth and increase in the profound knowledge of God to my conversion to the LDS Church.

An Evangelical student said that while attending BYU (Brigham Young University), she had come to “appreciate the emphasis Latter-day Saints placed on God’s “nearness to humanity.” [She] began recognizing that in [her] effort to retain God’s transcendence, [she] had sacrificed God’s imminence [sic] — and this realization had a profound effect on [her].”

“Nearness to humanity”, generally,  can be used to somewhat characterize the LDS Church’s beliefs in the close filial relationship of God to man.

The idea and belief, therefore, that God is mysterious, incomprehensible, estranged, indifferent and exclusionary to man (transcendence), is one that I find disturbing and heathenish.  The “flipside” of that (immanence) in which God is believed to be one who is without body, parts or passions, ginormous enough to fill the universe yet small enough to dwell in one’s heart (at the very least not according to the Bible) is equally disjointed, ambiguous and unintelligible. “Knowing the true character of God forms the basis for the faith that leads to salvation.” (Joseph Smith)

As Mormons, we believe that God is literally the Father of our spirits (Hebrews 12:9). We lived with Him as spirit children in the premortal existence.  Physically, we have been formed/created in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27).  He knows me (and you) personally.  He has a plan for us, His children, to come to Earth to live, learn, grow and progress and through the Atonement and ordinances of the gospel, be able to live with Him again becoming “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).  Some Christians (mainly Orthodox) refer to this eventuality as Theosis though with some significant differences and variations from LDS eschatology.

For me and millions of others, the answers to the three age-old questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? and Where do we go from here? are not mystical, obscure or speculative anymore.  I have found in the LDS teachings and doctrine, clear, sound, reasonable and true information on Heavenly Father’s Plan of Salvation which effectively answers the above questions.

Personally, I have come to believe that if one really and truly loves his/her family (who doesn’t?), then he/she should consider becoming a Mormon.  That may sound bold and pollyannaish, but once you have learned and gained the faith to understand the true meaning of life and God's plan of happiness through the restored gospel, you too will be quite comfortable, as I am, in making the above claim.

You will gain a whole new perspective and understanding of the eternal nature of the family.  Your perception and feelings of gratitude, compassion, association and abiding love for your family would be elevated reaching far beyond this life.  When you learn and believe that families are forever, it puts a whole new, fresh, unique and eternal perspective on your family relationships and associations here in mortality. You will learn that ‘til death do us part” is defamatory and counterintuitive to God’s eternal plan for families and all His children.

If your experience will be anything like mine - and millions others’ - you will not be disappointed.  Your view and knowledge of God, of  faith, hope, love, charity, and of life will be forever changed.  You will be grateful and a lot happier.

Now I’m not saying all Mormons are happier - though they all should be.  It’s like most everything else, that only obedience to the laws and principles that govern a particular pursuit can and will bring the promised results, rewards and blessings.  And so as far as the gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned, the Book of Mormon gives this important formula: “... if there be no righteousness there be no happiness,” (2 Nephi 2:13).  Gaining happiness - true happiness - is a process and, according to Joseph Smith,  is the object and design of man's existence.

Family Time

Though this full moon doesn't quite have the chimerical island effect (from rising over the palm trees and silver lagoon), rising over the faleo’o, even in the good ol’ USA, still comes close.  LOL!!!  Relaxing after a family backyard barbecue.

some of the g/kids "playing" with fire ... and roasting marshmallows in the backyard
... making s'mores on a cool Fall evening, ideal night to sleep in the faleo'o... :)


O le Faafetai ...

 ... sa tuuina i le ‘auvala’aulia o le fiafia sa faia mo Elder Letalu (Aukuso 26, 2014), i lona taliu mai i lana misiona

Oute manatu o le a le tu’ua faa-mafutaga tafatafamaogo le tatou afiafi.  O upu masani fo’i a le atunu’u e ui ina faapopo aso ua a’o aso folau e le mafai ona tu’ua. O lona uiga poo a ni porokalama fuafuaina ma faataatia, e masani ona iai ni suiga e faapopo ma faafuase’i, ae e iai fo’i tulaga e le mafai ona suia pe soloia.

E faapena fo’i la i nisi o tulaga o le tatou tu ma agaifanua, ae maise le faaleoina o se loto ma se agaga faafetai mo se faaaloalo. O le pogai lea o lo’u toe soso atu, e pei ona tuuina atu i le taimi ua sola.

E le o toe na ma le laina, ua malama fo’i i ulugalu, O le to’atele o lo tou pa’ia ma lo tou mamalu ia o ni aiga ia i ma’ua ma le tina.  Ae a lafalafa fo’i tuga, ua aiga e tasi i tatou uma i le Tala Lelei, lea ua mafua ai ona tatou penei, e patipatia le ta'avaoga ma le ta'aseega i le Tala’iga a le atali’i. 

Peita’i, e ui fo’i i so tatou  soo tulutulu ma faafaleve’a i lo tatou va nonofo, ae e le tuua ai i lalo o outou pa’ia ma outou sa - paia o aiga, nuu ma alalafaga, aua o le tagata ma lona tupuaga o le tagata foi ma lona faasinomaga.  O lea, ta’oto faa-galu e le fati o outou sa ma faiga, ae maise ia te outou o ni o’u paolo ma faamalumaluga, ni o’u sao i malo.  Tulou.

Faatulou atu fo’i i auauna a le Atua faapea tupu ma tamali'i ua tatou faatasi, i o outou sa faale-Talalelei ma mamalu faale-atunuu.

O pa’ia o Samoa, ia o le a faase’etuagalu; e le gafataulimaina e lo’u tagata ona taea pa’ia ia, ae le gata i lea, o loo iai laoa, maota ma malae o Samoa e agatonu ai pa’ia ia. Ae ta faapei ia o le upu nai Poutoa, ia taoama pa’ia ia ae lafo i matau le faatofala’iga aua le Atua ma lona finagalo.  Lea e iai le aso.

Ae o le a se’i  ta’utino le solo a le tamaloa, ma ou faapea atu - Faafetai, faafetai, faafetai tele lava.

Faafetai atu i lo tou maliu mai ma afifio mai. Faafetai i lo tou faamalo’ulo’u lo tou tutu la’au faamanuiti, ma lo tou taliaina aloa’ia o le valaau  ma le faatalau’ula atu a i ma’ua ma le fanau.  O lea ua maualuga ai le aso ona o lo tou amana'ia o le talo atu.

E le faagaloina  fo'i faai’a i ola lo outou agalelei.  E le ufiufia foi faamanugase lo tou alofa ma la tou foa’i,  i soo lava se tulaga. Poo tupe, poo taumafa poo nisi lava faatinoga, ia toe faafetai ma faamalo atu.  O ai le tagata ua e manatu ane ai? O upu masani, ia e sili le manuia o le foa’i nai le talia.  Ia sautualasi ona faamanuia atu le Atua.

E talitonu fo’i le faamoemoe sa outou tagi ma faasagi i le Tama i le Lagi aua le manuia ma le saogalemu o ana auauna tala’i o ali’i ma tama’ita’i o loo tala faauto i itu e fia o le kelope, e aofia ai ma le atali’i lea. Faamalo ma faafetai i a outou faatoga ma talotaloga, ia outou tagisaga ma talosaga.

Ou te le toe tau selu pe faalalanu atu. E le toe tau ‘aufagaina fo'i le la’au ua ta tulaga. E iloa le tamali’i i ana taga o le tupu fo’i i ana aga.  

Ona faata’i lea ma se matou tala, afai ua le so’o lou pale le tau lou titi, ia malu ave i fale i outou finagalo se taumafaiga vaivai a Letalu ma le aiga.  Ua pu’upu’u si ota lima.  Ae o le auganiga, ‘aua ne’i lia’iina i ala sota faatamala. Ia lililo fo'i faiva o Fiti.  O se upu fo’i ua le tau tamali’i, ia alofa ma ia va'atele i outou finagalo. 

Ia o si a'u toe pi'ioa atu lea i le ta aleaga i lenei afiafi.  Sau se taimi tatou taumavae, ia alofa le Atua e puipui ma leoleo le toe taliu atu i aiga ma fanua. Tatou mavae lea i le mavaega nai le tai, a Taema ma Tilafaiga - Pe a ta fefulituaa’i, ia tumau lo ta fealofani.

Ia soifua ma ia manuia.


He's Home!

The Arrival...

Dearie and I, among many who also waited for their sons and daughters
returning from missions around the world.

Elder "L"... anxious to meet his Mom for the first time in two years

... bag off and on its way to the floor, and running

... to hug his Mom

...with Mom

... and Dad

... with oldest nephew (grandson), who should be our next "Elder" - in a year's time?
...we have the leis, the aloha spirit, so why not the sign, aye?

...with Mom, Dad and sisters

The Party ...

The Band serenading -"Ita e, ua lili'a..."
"NC" - North Carolina (Charlotte) Mission
... some of the nephews and future missionaries getting ready to perform for Uncle Elder "L"

... Saaaaauni!!!!! (Ready!)

... jammin'

... the "girls"/nieces after the performance

... the group after the show

... with the performers (nieces and nephews) after the the party
... with "sisters" missionaries

... father and son