Jarome Luai and the Power of Words

All eyes were on Toa Samoa when they were making moves on the world stage. Parades were formed, tickets bought, and an entire nation scattered across the globe came together to cheer on their team. But just as quick as everyone in the islander community came together to cheer on the guys, they were just as quick to bring one of the team players down.

About two days ago, many tuned in to see star player, Brian To’o marry the love of his life. In what was a sweet ceremony and enjoyable reception, turned very cringe. Jerome Luai, the best man and teammate, stood up to give a memorable speech worthy of the Duckrockers. A day later, Luai did issue an apology via Instagram. See the picture below.

While much of the criticism is warranted, in the opinion of this author, some of it is just absolutely ridiculous. So let’s dive in on a few things that have come from this situation.

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“You live overseas. You don’t have a say in Sāmoa.” – Think Again.

Ua sau le va’a na tiu, ‘ae tali le va’a na tau, o lo’o mamaulago i le va’a na faoafolau.

One boat returns from the catch; the other is tied to the shore; the third is resting in the boat shelter.

This was written in the 50th anniversary history book about Samoa. It speaks about how Samoan are placed all around the world. A note made said this about the quote, “The boat returning from fishing refers to those who have travelled to other countries; the anchored boat refers to the chiefs, orators and young people; the third boat is likened to the old people staying at home. All play their part in maintaining Samoa as a proud independent nation.”

We all have a part to play in keeping Samoa true and strong. I have had a lot of people from the island recently tell me I have no right to say anything on the election that is being held. That since I live overseas, my interest in who wins doesn’t matter. However, I beg to differ. Since the Mau Movement, islanders around the world, Samoans around the world, have played a part in keeping our island safe. I may not have a vote, but I have a voice.

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Cultural Responsibility of the Famous and Social Media Influencers

Many of you who have read my blog or follow me on social media know that I’m very passionate and protective of our community. Today, I was talking to a friend about a well-known person and a post they made. However, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way they dismissed their behavior or portrayal of our community in the media. And, many of you know I’m pretty open about how I view the responsibility those in the public eye have to our community.

Even as a small creator, I’ve asked that if I’ve ever said or done anything, that you approach me to let me know. I began this journey to learn about our community, the culture, and the traditions. During this time, I’ve learn about our history, our traditions and views before colonization. I’m no expert, but I think I have a pretty good idea of those who would use our culture for clout and those who are truly vested in uplifting the Pasifika voice. Both have the responsibility to future of our community. We are the future ancestors, and it’s time to wake up and see that.

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Why We Livin’ Fast – We Have to Make This Moment Last: Teaching Our Youth to Live

Part of the title of this recent blog comes from the song, “My Shot” from the hit musical Hamilton. In this song, Hamilton reflects:

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory
When’s it gonna get me?
In my sleep, seven feet ahead of me?
If I see it comin’, do I run or do I let it be?
Is it like a beat without a melody?
See, I never thought I’d live past twenty
Where I come from some get half as many
Ask anybody why we livin’ fast and we laugh, reach for a flask
We have to make this moment last…

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Privilege and Rugby

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. Some of us have attended protests, many of us are educating ourselves, and movements are being made. Most of these have been surrounding the Black community, their stories, their history, etc. and rightly so. The many things we can learn from their community and how we can support them is incredibly important. I have been so encouraged to see the voices raised from the Pasifika community in support of the Black community and the those within our community who identify with both.

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Fa’afetai for Black Lives – Past, Present, and Future

Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no internet connection or like some orange man living in a bunker (yeah, homeboy is scared and he should be), you probably will emerge what is going on lately. However, if you don’t, then you already know about the movement that is happening in terms of The Black Lives Matter Movement. You know about George Floyd, Ahmad Albert, Breonna Taylor, and sadly, the list goes on.

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Star Mounds is Not a Hotel Name

Once again, the people have to fight against greedy people who care more about what’s in their pockets rather than preserving our ancestry. This time it’s happening in Samoa, and let me tell you, I’ve had it with Samoa’s elitists. This time it’s O.F. Nelson Properties Limited. They want to sell our sacred land to the highest bidder without thinking about the consequences this will bring about to our heritage.

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Say No to the New Lands and Titles Bill

I’m not a lawyer and only took a business law class back in university, but even I can spot the holes in the newly proposed Lands and Titles Act Bill that is meant to repeal the 1981 Bill. There are a lot of opinions out there right now – many who are opposed to this Bill, and rightly so. This Bill will give the government power to slowly remove matais from the process, take declared or customary land, use smoke and mirrors as a way for the Head of State to make whatever rules he/she wants to, and so much more. So, with all this I’m going to break down some of my findings and why you should care and start calling your family on the island to protest this Bill. Also, before I dive in, there’s a petition you can sign opposing this Bill. Sign it here.

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Is Representation and Recognition Important on Tik Tok?

Since Women’s History Month, you could say that I’ve had a bit of writer’s block, loss of inspiration, and a bit exhausted. However, something has happened since then there has been something that has gained momentum since then and I’m not talking about COVID-19. I’m talking about Tik Tok. If you’re like me, a bored adult who has to stay home all day and work from home, you need something to distract yourself. For me, that’s Tik Tok.

For those that don’t know what Tik Tok is, it’s a social media platform that merged with musical.ly. By 2018, it blew up and then COVID-19 happened and many millennials are hopping on board. To say Gen Z is happy about is a joke.

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White Lies and How We Have to Unlearn Them

It was last year that I was looking for a Polynesian based movie to watch. I went to Amazon Prime and search, “Samoa,” and I had watched most of those. I then searched “New Zealand,” and a movie called White Lies popped up. I didn’t really know what it was about. The description read, “A medicine woman is asked to hide a secret that will protect one life and endanger another. Based on a novel by Whale Rider writer Witi Ihimaera, White Lies – New Zealand’s entry in the 2014 Oscar competition for best foreign-language film – is an intense drama that explores with great humanity and sensitivity such difficult topics as race relations, skin bleaching and abortion.”

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