[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.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:
“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!”
360. O le [‘a]isi le momo'o. To praise is to beg.In other words, A e momo'o kusa a ua e ‘aisi. O le ‘aisi faa'aka'aka. Hahahaa!
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.
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!