Samoan Proverb about a Humble Snake

Another one of my most favourite Samoan jams is Afai Ua e Musu (I love the version by the Five Stars). It’s basically a guy telling a girl, “If you don’t want me, just tell me. I’m cool. I can hack it. Let’s just get this over with.” And then he quotes Samoan proverbs including … Continue reading Samoan Proverb about a Humble Snake

One Samoana’s first ever YouTube upload – Party in Mangere

So the uploading side of YouTube is completely new to me, but I was at Showtime Mangere 2014 last week with my secret phone camera and I captured this gem that I just had to share! The Taimua Malaeola Youth choir is a real treat to watch. They filled the entire evening with music, even … Continue reading One Samoana’s first ever YouTube upload – Party in Mangere

Samoan Etiquette – You sit down, too!

In our culture it’s really rude to have conversations with your elders if you’re standing while they’re seated. If you dare to be so inappropriate like that in a very traditional Samoan household, look out for flying saucers (followed by tea-cups, or spoons, etc.) aimed at your head. To show respect, you try to speak … Continue reading Samoan Etiquette – You sit down, too!

Samoan Proverb – Sorted like a fishing net in the morning

As the heart of the Pacific ocean, it makes sense that so many of Samoa’s alagaupu & muagagana (proverbs & idioms) use the imagery of fishing. Like this one: O le upega e fili i le po, ‘ae tatala i le ao Its literal translation: The fishing net is knotted (or braided) at night, but … Continue reading Samoan Proverb – Sorted like a fishing net in the morning

Tulou – the magic word in Samoan etiquette

Our Samoan etiquette series is for people who are new to our culture or just want to brush up on the kind of behavior expected from ‘good’ Samoans. It’s especially helpful if you want to make a good impression on Samoan elders, perhaps the parents of your (hope to be) significant other? I wrote a … Continue reading Tulou – the magic word in Samoan etiquette

Alagaupu ma Muagagana – Samoan Proverbs and Expressions

My grandfather was a diligent note-keeper. He was a faiava, which means he lived with my grandmother in her village (rather than his own), and he kept several notebooks worth of hand-written records on her family’s history and titles. This grandfather was also a gifted orator. He died when I was very young, but I … Continue reading Alagaupu ma Muagagana – Samoan Proverbs and Expressions

When did we become beggars?

I’m not a social scientist or an economist or a politician or a lawyer. (For those kinds of very intelligent posts, check out our friend NiuZila‘s blog.) I AM an observer, though, who asks a lot of questions… and a recent chat with my mom about her growing-up days in Samoa got me wondering a … Continue reading When did we become beggars?

Do I have to be Samoan to get a Samoan tattoo?

I’m still working on the the final of my 3-part series about the Samoan Tattoo (Tatau) – everything I learned from personal research and from my teacher of Samoan culture, the late Afioga Tofaeono Tanuvasa Tavale. The previous two parts are here: The Truth about the Samoan Tattoo (Tatau), and The Truth about the Samoan … Continue reading Do I have to be Samoan to get a Samoan tattoo?

Book Review: The Story of Lauli’i, A Daughter of Samoa

Do you know how they made the ava (kava) back in the day? I’m talking over 100 years ago… Well, the taupou in the village would break off pieces of the ava root, chew them into a pulp, then spit all that good stuff into the tanoa (that’s one of these things), where it would … Continue reading Book Review: The Story of Lauli’i, A Daughter of Samoa

How to use the Samoan word, Uso

Uso is the Samoan word for either brother or sister, depending on your gender. You’ll see/hear this word thrown around a lot amongst Samoans – “Eh, uso!” or “Ua ‘li’i, uso?” and sometimes more ‘urban’ Samoans will make this short word even shorter: “Hey, uce!” Not my favorite variation of the word, but I’ll let … Continue reading How to use the Samoan word, Uso