Archive for November, 2011
The movie release of The Orator: O le Tulafale was for Samoans throughout the globe a very touching nostalgic journey of the Fa’aSamoa and for the non-Samoan a window into the pecularised Fa’aSamoa culture.
The opening scene sets the ambient surrounding of a tropical backdrop, the mountains silhouettes and acts as a juxtaposition to a deep iridescent blue skyline. The heavy foreboding pelting of the tropical raindrops spashes upon the Yam leaves blotting the brown earthiness of Samoan soil. It is sometime during the spasmodic rainy season. The Samoan Pacific Isolation seems to be emphatic with the social isolation of the protagonist character, whom, paradoxically, is not the Tulafale, but, rather, it is the wife of the Tulafale. Although the protagonist is meant to be the Dwarf Orator, Fiaula Sanote, the overarching theme is one of belonging and the sense of ‘lotonu’u’, (village loyalty) ma ‘lotoaiga’ (loyalty to family), a theme which was not overly recognised by many outsider movie critics. The overarching theme of love and family bonds seems to have been articulated well and truly within this movie. The motif of Matai Authority is emphasised with the denial of vestiges of power to the Dwarf and his emasculation due not only to his physical size but also to the lack of cultural, fa’aSamoa, (Samoan Culture), authority being a commoner and a son of a deceased chief. The only exception to the rule is for amalgamated chiefly status (O le Aiga O Tupu, the royal highness titles). The central theme of bequethed hereditory authority, ie, inheriting customary landrights, is not a particular aspect of the Samoan culture which is clearly revealed in this movie. Why is this a central aspect of the Samoan culture? It is likened to the right to chiefly status, in that, the right to rule is earned, “O le ala o le pule o le tautua”, (The right to authority and rulership is through service rendered). As was clearly indicated in this movie, the Dwarf was a son of a high chief whom had died and was buried as was revealed throughout the movie. The dwarf is not afforded the same rights as was bequethed to his late father and was denied the customary landrights. The dwarf’s wife, Va’aiga, played by Tausili Pushparaj, is in fact a banished woman from a distant village, she displayed a very strong will which was considered as unacceptable by the patriarchical chiefs of her home village. She is considered as a very strong willed woman and very articulate, but, she is sickly and is dying from some incurable disease. She is adamant in never returning to her family, in part due to her banishment, and, in part also, due to the fact that she is married to her Dwarfish husband. Unfortunately, Va’aiga, is a flawed character, she is ashamed of her dwarfish husband, whom remains hidden when her brother, Poto, a Tulafale, an Orator, and the family, arrive to cajole her back to her home village. Va’aiga consider’s her husband as a perceived ‘Luma’, (a public humiliation), due not only to his Dwarfish appearance but to his emasculation impoverishment.
The Orator, is also a story of the emasculation of manhood, and the strength of the faletua, (wife), which strengthens the espousal bonds to empower the aiga, or the wedlock househod from the paroxysms of an inimical environment, the loss of customary landrights is indicative of Samoan cultural emasculation. The rite to power for a Samoan is to claim their landrights which can only be proffered through the fa’amatai (Chiefly status) of all heads of the family, albeit, the husband. The Samoan culture is made of two distinctive groups, the feudalised Chiefly class, the Matai, and the commoners, the untitled men and womenfolk, or the (Aualuma (women) and Aumaga (men)). The Chiefs, are divied not only the seniority but also of specific roles, the Matai Ali’i is a High Chief and the head of the village council of chiefs, he or she, is not considered as an Orator but is the sole ruler of the village. The Orator, (the Tulafale), is the talking chief, whom stands armed with the symbols of office, Fue, (the fly whisk), and the most important symbol of all, the talking staff, (Le To’oto’o). The talking chief can not address the village chiefs and or a village audience with any authority without having these symbols of office especially the staff, for it is the manifest symbol of the talking chief. The conferment of oratory chiefly status can only be achieved through the appropriate saufa’i (or chiefly ceremony), this is ritualised through the kava ceremony and the blessings by a quorum of village chiefs especially the high chief.
The Samoan people, like many cultures, are as facile and materialistic, and this is indicative with the cultural Oratory bartering exchanges, and in particular, with the passing of wands of dollar notes, indiscretely placed in fattened envelopes, and given to each respective Orator (Tulafale ma le ‘au malaga) and his entourage, but, what makes Samoans unique, is the valued significance of fine mats( I’eToga) and a mysterious exchanges, which is considered culturally valued moreso than the fattened wands of notes in envelopes. The malaga will come barring gifts, or si’i, which is expected to be reciprocated by the hosts, that is to say, the host is expected to give something for them to return to their village with as a gesture of shared burden or celebration.
Perhaps, the most puzzling aspect of this movie is the Ifoga ceremony, (forgiveness), which has been considered as somewhat of a slight exaggeration, with the thugs remaining outside of the house of Saili (the Dwarf) until he allows them to be pardoned for attacking him with rocks. The failure of the audience to understand this scene is in part due to the lack of understanding of the Samoan justice system. When a criminal culpable act has been committed the victim, upon the approval of the council of chiefs, may have the power to enforce the law of the village, which may be through an enforcement of a sala, or punishment, or a fine, and at worse, the perpetrator of the crime or malfeance, may be banished (Tuli ese mai le nu’u) from the village. The ifoga, is the process of reparation and forgiveness, which may include monetary compensation likened to western societies, or if not the ifoga requires ietoga and other compensatory means so as to recompense the loss of property and or bodily harm to the aggrieved.
The complication of the plot of the movie seems to have been emphasised with the coincidental untimely death of Va’aiga whilst the ifoga was taking place. This climatic moment seems to have confused the audience because the ifoga ceremony was unrelated to the inadvertent death of Va’aiga.
Va’aiga’s death becomes the climax of the story and the cometh the man of our protagonist Saili. The somewhat macabre fight for her corpse for buriel seems rather bizzare from a Westerner perspective. Samoans, value their loved ones in life and in death. The Samoans would bury their dead in monuments in front or around their homes as a symbol of connection of loved ones with their land. It is unusual for Samoans to cremate their loved ones it is almost considered as an insult to cremate anyone unless it is an enemy.
The motif of the ‘Ie Measina’, a finemat, woven so meticulously which takes months and even sometimes years of arduous and tidious work primarily by women is considered of the highest cultural symbol for not only the Samoans but also to the Tongans. The exhibition of the Ie measina is displayed likened to a Picasso painting for the villagers to admire. The finer the woven mat the more valued it is. Throughout the final moments of Va’aiga’s life she spends weaving the fine mat, it is her message to her people and a passing gift to her family and village, a testament symbol of her legacy of her lasting commitment to her family and her village to the very last gasp of her life.
The shortcomings of this movie may be considered as few from a Samoan point of view, from a non-Samoan point of view there are some demystifing nuances and aspects of the Samoan culture which may be considered particular to the Samoan. Absent from the storyline is the overwhelming influence of Judeao-Christianity which is very central to the Samoan culture.
Overall, Tusi Tamasese has done an unprecedented service to the Samoan culture and to the diaspora of Samoans throughout the world whom can identify so acutely with the nuances and peculiarities of the Samoan characteristic.
Finally, the Margaret Mead School of though would find some very identifiable sexual license truism of the Samoan behaviour which is also revealed ever so subtley in this movie.
Ma le fa’aloalo lava
Australian Republican Movement Vision and Policy
What does the Australian Republican Movement (ARM) advocate?
What is an Australian Republic?
An Australian Republic is the final step in Australia’s continuing journey towards full independence and nationhood. It will have a resident Australian citizen as Head of State, chosen through a process that reflects Australian values of equality, fairness and democracy — not a foreign monarch appointed through a discriminatory process over which Australians have no control.
An Australian Republic will have an independent Australian Constitution unconnected to any British legislation, resting on the will and authority of the Australian people. It will preserve and enhance our democratic system of government and ensure its continuing strength and stability.
Why an Australian Republic?
1. An Australian Republic is about our place in the world. It’s about creating an unambiguous national identity. It’s about the way we see ourselves and the way we are seen by others.
2. An Australian Republic will remove our constitutional ties to a British monarch, who must be born into a particular family, must be Anglican, must not be married to a Catholic, must not be illegitimate and can only be a female if she has no brothers.
3. An Australian Republic will have a resident Australian citizen as Head of State, embodying and reflecting Australian values and devoting his or her full and undivided loyalty and attention to Australia and its people.
4. An Australian Republic will respect our diversity yet unite us as one, by:
● honouring our Indigenous heritage and culture, with its timeless connection to Australia’s land and sea;
● respecting our British heritage and its precious gifts, including our political and legal institutions; and
● celebrating our immigrant heritage of opportunity and endeavour, and its vital contribution to our national identity.
5. An Australian Republic will affirm the sovereignty of the Australian people, creating a fully and truly independent Australian nation with a resident Australian citizen as Head of State.
Much of the discussion about an Australian Republic in recent times has been about the method of appointment or election of the Head of State. This has often overlooked the framework needed to support the final preferred selection method.
The ARM recommends the following framework for an Australian Republic:
1.Australia to have an independent Constitution, resting solely on the will and authority of the Australian people, unconnected to any British legislation.
2. Australia’s Head of State to be a resident Australian citizen.
3.Australia’s Head of State to have powers similar to those of the Governor-General.
4. Australia’s Constitution to have all obsolete references to the monarchy removed and to have all active references to the monarchy and the Governor-General replaced with references to Australia’s Head of State.
5.Australia’s Head of State to be dismissed only by a significant majority vote of the Federal Parliament.
This framework will ensure that our existing parliamentary and federal system of government will continue to flourish regardless of the selection method. The ARM fully supports Australia remaining in the Commonwealth as a republic, as are the majority of Commonwealth nations.
The ARM advocates the Australian people deciding on the appropriate selection method for Australia’s Head of State. The ARM will support the selection method preferred by the Australian people and will campaign for it.
Examples of selection methods that would work with the ARM’s recommended framework include:
1.Election by the Australian people from a list of candidates chosen by the Australian people.
2.Election by the Australian people from a list of candidates chosen by the Federal Parliament.
3.Election by a significant majority vote of the Federal Parliament from a list of candidates chosen by the Australian people.
4.Election by a council of Australians chosen by the Australian people.
Pathway to an Australian Republic — the process
The ARM recommends the following process for achieving an Australian Republic. Each of the following steps should be supported by the public consultation and education necessary to ensure that all Australians are fully informed and involved in this important decision about our nation’s future:
1.A non-binding plebiscite on a threshold question along the following lines: ‘Do you want Australia to become a republic by replacing the British monarch with a resident Australian citizen as Head of State?’.
2. After extensive consultation with the Australian people on the possible forms of an Australian Republic, including the selection method for the Head of State, a second non-binding plebiscite to determine the form of Australian Republic preferred by the Australian people.
3. A referendum, as required by the Constitution, offering a choice between adopting the form of an Australian Republic preferred by the Australian people and keeping the Constitution unchanged, that is retaining the British monarch as the Australian Head of State.
Our Republic — The People’s Choice
An Australian Republic must reflect the sovereignty and will of the Australian people. The framework, options for selection method and process described above will achieve this aim. The ARM stands ready to work with the Australian people on this important national journey.
What is the ARM?
The ARM is a volunteer, non-party-political, self-funding, single-issue advocacy organisation.
I am proud to say that Forever Faithful have arrived and will be stationed in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
The tragedy is the pathetic Commonwealth Games being held in the Gold Coast, which is a Australian Constitutional Monarchists (ACM), conspiracy to maintain the British Empire Games alive and relevant to the Commonwealth member nations. It is annoying for Republicans everywhere.
In consoloation for the Republicans, Semper Fidelis, will arrive and be stationed within Australia in the near future. They will, inadvertantly, offer psychological and material support for the Australian Republicn Movement. However, the primary objective is for Semper Fidelis to offer material and psychological support for NORCOM, and joint military training for jpint operational exercises ie Tandem Thrust and Talisman Saber, however, propaganda wise they will proffer a political support for the Australian Republican Movement in the near future
The Australian Republican movement (ARM) will find a valued ally with the arrival of pro-ARM military presence within Australia.
Being behind enemy lines has been very disconcerting for Samoan Australians whom have been subjugated by British Imperial rule and subsequent oppression. I am proud to see the arrival of United States Marine Corp. They are an important presence in order to shore up border security with NORCOM and, in the near future, to support the domestic transition to an Australian Republic.
The United States will provide a physical presence that will instil confidence amongst Australian Republicans here and abroad.
Ok, the next Persian Gulf war is simmering, with the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and an increase of US military presence within Gulf Cooperation Council nations post 2012, the focus is now on Iran, and likened to the Battlefield 3 ps3 game, the script seems very prophetic. Israel is threatening airbourne strikes upon Iranian nuclear reactor facilities, Russia in turn warns Israel to desist and resist from doing so. IAEA gives teeth to US and Israeli suspicions, legitimising the WMD allegations which is of course the nuclear armament of Iran. The die has been cast, it seems, and now it is time to open a new theatre of war within the Persian region….Is the world ready for the REAL WMD WAR?
The attitudes which had permeated within the political movements such as the Australian National Action and other ultra right wing xenophobia has become institutionally infiltrated within the purportedly leftwing ideological foundations of the Australian Labor party. The truism of this infiltration is the true lack of connectivity and interaction between the pluralist Australian community with the hitherto monocultural policy formulators within the heart of the ALP think tank.
I have lived in Australia for the past 31 years after having migrating from New Zealand, and, in 2009, I had finally become enfranchised as an Australian citizen. Recently, however, I had finally become a member of the Australian Labor Party and I had adopted a political social attitude that was based upon my socio-economic circumstances. I had endeavoured to embue a citizenry democratic notion of my Australian identity that was based upon my enfranchised status as a battler migrant, only to realise that, in reality, the truth of Australian realpolitickal life is facile personality politics, devoid of ideological premise, impracticial, whimsical, realpolitically irrelevant, and inconsequential, for many of the collective within the the Logan and South East Queensland electorate. Moreover, at the grass roots level, institutional exclusion, unemployment, inequality of opportunity, anti-discrimination at the workplace, tokenistic affirmative action, are merely gestures proffer an appearance of social justice measures are being met. But, in truth, even amongst the purported ALP equalitarian ideologues, there is inequality within their pecking order of policy making processes. There is a political elitist inner circle of political ideologues within the ALP party structure which is anti-equalitarian, which is indeed against the ‘battler’ concerns apart for when it is politically expedient to do so.
The Australian population is thwarted by the elective dictatorship which has become synomonous with Australian political elitism that has arisen even from the commonness of the Australian labor party which is essentially founded by the working class and the so called battlers of our society. As it turns out, the reality, reveals, a complete reversal of tyranny by a privileged few with the rule by the ochlocratic mob. The tyranny by the masses whilst it may be considered as democratic and politically sanctioned, for the minority, particularly the Samoans, they are disadvantaged by their socio-economic status, by their employment condition based overtly upon the them versus us bigotted attitude by many simplistic minds that is indeed the ordinary Australian mindset. The bifurcated view of their political reality of the Australian political creature is indeed simplistic, you are either white or you’re a them, a black, and a disempored minority.
The perception of a mulitculturalist pluralistic society is considered to be pallatable but it is too confusing and too complicated for the simplistic minded battler. Instead, a bifurcated them versus us will suffice. In truth, the pluralistic nature of Australian society has revealed the Samoan as being lumped in together with Indonesians, all other Pacific Islanders, Malaysians and South East Asians, as a collective enemy by many Eurocentric Australian.
The purported protectionist political parties have professed to stand for the Indigenous cultures whilst, in truth, they are in disguised a latent Eurocentric xenophobic political machinary, ie, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia_First_Party
The Eureka flag is a symbol synomonous with the ultra right political ideologues embedded within the Australian Labor movement and the Australian Labor Party. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/28/1077677015074.html These people are vile and extremely bigotted. I have found their blend of politics completely enshrined within the ALP, the Queensland political party, the Australian Party, as well as the mainstream Liberal National Party (LNP).
The lack of attention paid to the recent housefires within Queensland has also sparked some suspicions of the reluctance attitude of the present incumbent government in explaining the housing conditions, particularly regarding the installation and operational effectiveness of fire/smoke alarms within Queensalnd houses as per the prescription of the law. As it turns out the post fire forensic reports are incomplete suffice it to suggest that recommendations for the improvement of smoke and fire detection alarms are questionable in light of the recent spate of housefires and the more serious 11 deaths of Australian Pacific Islanders in Logan City, south of Brisbane.
After a recent regional conference of the ALP I had been privy to the notifications of various motions of policy amendments and proposals to government, I had realised that my motion in support of fire alarms upgrades was ignored which I believe is considered as irrelevant to the Australian Labor PArty and for Queenslanders.
O lenei ua ou taumafai ina sué se pati e feasoasoani mo tagata Samoa ma o isi tagata Pasifika oloó nofo iinei i Ausetalia.
Faáfetai lava ma le faáloalo lava
O Tim Tufuga