Friday, July 10, 2009 this stormy weather..

Storm clouds over the Tasman Sea have rolled in to the upper North Island of New Zealand blanketing the area from the tip - Kaitaia right down to Hamilton. I was seriously contemplating mowing the lawn today, but as luck would have it (the heavens had other ideas) the small green patch in the front and the slightly larger green patch at the back of the house turned into swamp-lands in less than 5 mins. **sigh** I am forced to abandon my lawn-mower for yet another week. (pumped fist....Yes)

And so, here I am at yet another lazy-day crossroad. Not sure whether I should paint, start work on another film script, go shopping or pull out the bowl of popcorn mixed with peanut M&Ms and watch another set of movies. In the back of my mind, I know I have a speech to prepare for church tomorrow. I've been asked to speak, yet again in our church sacrament meeting. Like there are others in the congregation who have not spoken in years, yet here I am having to prepare another speech for the 16th time this year. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the blessings that come from speaking, but I'm all about sharing the wealth.

So, I'm not too sure what I'm going to do. Hence the reason why I'm posting about it. (I'll finish this a little later)

A Life less ordinary

School holidays began this week on Monday. Since then, I've had a Harry Potter marathon (both movies and books), an Indiana Jones and Star Wars marathon and my favorite marathon to date - a two day 80's cartoon marathon. (Remember He-man and the Masters of the Universe, Turbo Teen and the original Transformer cartoons?)
Anywho. Looking back on this week, I feel like I've done nothing to contribute significantly to the world (at least the one that I live in). It has been a really lazy week for me. I'm not used to not being busy or involved with anything. Friends usually find it very hard to get a hold of me or pin me down. My best friend Darryn (who currently resides in Montreal Canada) got a hold of me through ONE phone call. He dropped the phone several times because I had answered.

The one thing that kinda brought some normalcy back to my life was on Wednesday (NZ time) when I joined avid Michael Jackson fans the world over, in watching the LIVE broadcast of the public Memorial Service held in his honor at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was a great send off for a man whose amazing talent was marred by accusations of child molestation and also the media fueled wildfire of his wacky antics off the stage and in quiet personal moments.

I was moved to tears on several occasions throughout the service. Like most people (media journalist included) the poignant moment was when his daughter Paris called MJ "daddy" and "the best father anyone could have" amidst tears grief and heartache. Here was the moment when the whole media-machine just rolled to a complete STOP. (Having been a journalist myself, I know that the voice of this young girl - for that one brief moment - SHUT them all up!)

The other moment for me was when the now visibly pregnant Jennifer Hudson took to the stage and performed the best rendition of "Will you Be There?" since Michael Jackson's - Free Willy version. She nailed that performance with heart and no doubt - empathy (having recently gone through tragic losses herself). By far, the best MJ song performace ever.

There was something horribly wrong with Mariah Carey's opening performance of "I'll be there". First, her plunging neckline (black) tight fitting dress was way too diva-ly much. 2nd her singing was off. It was like she was forcing herself to sound like she was grieving for Michael. Trey Lorenz did his best to hold everything together, but the performance was off.

I wonder just how much Michael Jackson will make over the next few weeks. Surely, it's already in the mid-millions. Funny how life works like that. You may think you're a big huge celebrity and or King of Pop in life, but in death - my goodness - you're more than that. (Look at Elvis and Graceland...)

So that has pretty much been my week this week. Nothing really has been done. The lawn hasn't been mowed. I don't I'm going to do it for another 3 weeks anyhow. It's too bloody freezing out there (and wet) to mow. I'm just glad the rain and frost has kept the grass down. (It hasn't been mowed in like a month and a half already. Still it's not unkempt looking at all.)

I have one last week of holidays and then it's back to a full 10 weeks of teaching before the next set of holidays. I really don't know what I'll be doing next week. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The 'palagi-fying' process - Is it all in the mind? (Part 1)

Have you ever noticed that when we (Samoans) go to fancy restaurants, we tend to eat like (for lack of a better term) ‘palagi’s’? We start with the soup, entrees, salads and then make our way into the mains and end with desserts. On top of all that we eat (properly) with forks, knives and spoons.
Yet, when we’re at home (away from the public eye)…THERE’s NO SUCH THING! (haha) Then there is also this frenzy that we get ourselves into when ‘palagi’ people come for lunch or dinner at our homes and all of a sudden our table manners become a little more ‘english’ and proper. We basically go way out of our way to accommodate their ‘palagi-ness’ by re-creating the one thing that labels us ‘fia palagi’…that being the way we act at fancy restaurants.
I’m typing this out as my family are going through this ‘palagi-fying’ process. Where normally soups, entrees, salads, main courses and desserts all go together on the one table (okay who am I kidding…it’s more like all on the one plate) we are now dividing the sections up. We started with soup, and then entrees and salad and now we’re on to the main course.
I was asked to slice the leg of lamb (alaga mamoe). I found myself slicing the pieces thin and dainty. I can’t tell you why it was that I changed my slicing habits, because usually I would make sure that there are huge chunks of meat on the platter. I also found myself cutting around the fat even. Again, there’s just this thing your mind goes through when you’re around palagi’s (and I’m using the definition of ‘foreigners’ when I say the word palagi). It has become automatic for the mind to switch over to catering for the palagi needs.
I think the word that best describes this situation is “impress” or “impression”. It is like we want the palagi’s to be impressed with the way in which we do things. It is almost as if we’re going out of our way to show them that we ‘have learned something from being colonised and settled’ all those many years ago.
Am I going to deep with this? Have I hit a raw nerve with any of you? If so, then Tamavalevale has done his job……thus far. Stay tuned for Part 2.

Friday, June 05, 2009

A week of reading, writing and spelling

So, for those who don't know me, I've been teacher aiding for about 3 years now at Mangere College in....well...Mangere. (It's a high school with about over 700 students) My colleagues and I have been taking charge of the Bannatyne Reading, Writing and Spelling program at the school. We have around about 20 students coming to our unit - 6 periods a week.

This program is meant for your more primary/intermediate school aged students, but we've been given the go ahead to act as guinea pigs (- so to speak) in adapting the program for high school aged students with reading, writing and spelling difficulties.

We've been having a lot of fun adapting this program, because essentially - the sky's the limit. We can do your basic reading a book, writing sentences and spelling words. However we've decided to incorporate cooking, singing, acting, debating and a newspaper club to help teach and implement the Bannatyne program.

So far, we're almost ready to graduate more than half the students back into full mainstream classes, confident that they'll now be able to cope with the reading and writing work asked of them in their core subject classes. (AM I BORING YOU?)

The gist of this post is that, I never ever thought that I was going to ever be a TEACHER. Yet here I am enjoying teaching my students at Mangere College (M.C. Watt!?!) 'Seek the Heights' I made a promise to the current Year 11 - Tonolo Finau that I will continue working at Mangere College until he graduates from high school. (Which will be in 2011, if he can keep himself together and focus on his school work. He said he would if I made the promise to stay on. - I don't like bribing students to learn....but I think it is pertinent that I do so here.)

Stay tuned for more

Sam J is back as Heyyyy Herman....

Check out:
Here is a new site that I blog on as my alter-ego "Tama Valevale" (Samoan for 'naive little one' or 'in the mouth of babes'). Check me out on all things political, crazy and how I'm the King of my own life. I currently reside in Auckland New Zealand, so don't be surprised when you find that most of political post are about New Zealand politics. Because this is the Samoan World's very own online social network. (The #1 place to find all the Samoans in the world)..most of my other post have to do with the plight - and life - of Samoans.Feel free to check out the 1samoana village. (link below)I'M BACK....after 3 years of not knowing what my password was to this blog site. hahahaha! SAMJ is back now as Heyyyyy Herman......
and also

Monday, September 11, 2006

New Blog Site

So very long ago...I had to delete the original post...hahaha! (wasn't relevant anymore)

Sunday, July 09, 2006

South Auckland Stereotype 'Clusters'

We live in a community where 'stereotypes' are an everyday anomaly that we're apparently made to live with. We can't escape it, not for the most part, because we're brown-skinned, Polynesian (which includes Maori) and we live in areas deemed as the 'ghetto' (full of low income housing and where majority make their living off of the Social Welfare or Work and Income New Zealand).

It is a tough life to be looked upon as a 'South Aucklander' but its all about 'FAMILY' and that's something we know the 'palagi's' don't entirely comprehend.

Where in a palagi family a child can leave home and live on their own- scheduling to meet up with family again during the holidays and festive an island family - we live with our parents till death (If we're married - we live a few houses away).

Where in a palagi family a child is taught to be self sufficient and what's earned is theirs and they can do whatever they an island family it's about working to make money 'e tausi ai le aiga atoa' - you're working to support your family, not just yourself.

Where in a palagi family religion is a matter of an island family it's making a choice and attending - NO IFs, ANDs or BUTs.

Where in a palagi family going on the dole is a 'last resort'..... in an island family its' the 'next resort' after using up all your sick days and days in lieu to attend to important family matters.

Where in a palagi family it's important to be in your own house..... in an island family - 'Mi Casa e Su Casa' (my house is your house) is understood and practiced. How can you live in a home while a member of family is without?

All in all - there are stereotypes on both sides of the tracks....and well....I'm Brown and I'm Proud and that's all I gotta say!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Three years and counting.....

Does it get any easier? Well, yes of course it does....simply because you just 'get on with life'! 3 years ago today (4th July 2006) my father passed away here in Auckland New Zealand. Now, he did his fare share of world travelling...and most of his friends have told me either via email (because they only just found out) or around the time he died...that Dad was confident that he was not ever going to leave the Pacific. (needless to say...Dad was right!)

So, as a TRIBUTE...I'd just like for you all to know that while the 4th of July is significant for other will now forever be the day - THE WORLD - lost a great leader, a great friend, a great husband, a great Father ----- a great DAD!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How safe is your money?

So, a Bank of New Zealand branch manager was caught 'robbing' his own bank! Just when you thought that 'actual' bank robbers was all you needed to worry now have to keep an eye on the branch managers who open the accounts for you.

Theresa Time...

The tragic, morbid circumstances which led to the discovery of Theresa Time's decapitated body in Boise Idaho has left me thinking on the seriousness of 'drug addictions', domestic violence and the common role it now plays in our families, community and country.

FIRST: My condolences to Theresa Time's family. And to the family of the driver and passenger of the car who Alofa Time ran into. (sorry, I can't seem to remember their names)

Yesterday, in a discussion I was having with a group of old samoan men in Otahuhu Auckland, one mentioned that - America is the land of opportunity. This was immediately followed by 'the land of do whatever one wants and in some cases virtually get away with it'.

"With FREEDOM...comes a price....a price Theresa Time paid for with her life," said the same old man. "Its a tragedy and this type of violence, has got to STOP now!"

SO WHAT DO WE DO? WHERE in this 'wacky life' do we start?

The family unit is being targeted left right an centre (center for those in America). I ask the question of you all.... What are some things you are doing in your family to ensure that this type of stuff doesn't happen to you? (please list your answers articulately)