Saturday, November 17, 2012

Be the Change




- - - "BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD" : Mahatma Ghandi.








I love hearing of people who are passionate about generating a positive change for our pacific island community, our youth & our islands! BUT its frustrating to know that SOME people who are yes, very passionate for our people, yes are ambitious to do things for our community & yes are willing to do anything to make an impact - they are also very passionate, ambitious & willing to do all those things to receive the glory FOR THEMSELVES! It's so wasteful knowing such great talented & passionate people exist but their potential to actually do the good work they intend, is hindered by their secret motives to take all the positive repercussions & often blame others or make others look bad when their work has a negative response...





Throughout history, the many pinnacle moments signifying great change was not done by ONE PERSON! No! through the help of hundreds & thousands of unsung heroes & unnamed warriors who all worked together to generate a gradual step, slowly by surely made the greatest impact of POSITIVE CHANGE that allowed generations to come & ours today to live with independent lands, freedom, rights etc. Like the great Tupua Tamasese Lealofi III, who a Leader of the Mau Movement in Samoa. He died by a NZ rifle during a peaceful march. His commitment & passion for THE MAU MOVEMENT is epitomised by the words he said on his death-bed. "My Blood has been spilt for Samoa. I am proud to give it. Do not dream of avenging it as it was spilt in maintaining peace". A simple statement that shows his fierce determination to bring peace for Samoa.. His death was a loss, but the pinnacle point to continue peaceful work that gradually turned his ambition & dream for the Mau movement, A REALITY! Samoa became an independent nation & has allowed many since then, and for future to call Samoa HOME!! It is physical evidence that great change cannot come without great people! Although Tamasese did not do it alone, and we will never forget the many people who suffered & fought for us, in Samoa & in all the pacific island nations!!








Just like many things today, to generate positive change or impact we cannot think of OURSELVES & do it alone.. Often the most successful historical moments happened thanks to the many compassionate & considerate people who did not demand recognition or light, or financial benefits or fame but did all they humanly could because simply because they cared..








So a little message to all who aspire to change the world. An advocate for positive change requires ambition, passion, commitment, determination & imagination! It requires the great courage to always embody that optimism AND the strength to stay humble & true! You as an individual might not receive direct gratitude. But your genuine heart to give without receiving, will slowly but surely make an impact, change a life & change the world! That fulfillment & confirmation knowing you helped with a whole heart is a blessing that you will always live with - you changed helped save a life, make an impact, change the world. Small help from big hearts turn into BIG SMILES from small hearts.. Your love will be felt by our generation & many more generations to come!








- - Your greatest glory won't come from working alone & receiving all the acknowledgement but generally making little progress, no. The greatest glory comes from working with other amazing people without expecting returned favours, all to be a part of something initiating a change today, to help see a greater tomorrow!!








Great people recognize the greatness in others & do great things to inspire others to do the same xx

Friday, November 9, 2012

Miracle Workers by Taylor Mali

Miracle Workers
by Taylor Mali (www.taylormali.com)

Sunday nights I lie awake—
as all teachers do—
and wait for sleep to come
like the last student in my class to arrive.
My grading is done, my lesson plans are in order,
and still sleep wanders the hallways like Lower School music.
I’m a teacher. This is what I do.

Like a builder builds, or a sculptor sculpts,
a preacher preaches, and a teacher teaches.
This is what we do.
We are experts in the art of explanation:
I know the difference between questions
to answer and questions to ask.

That's an excellent question.
What do you think?

If two boys are fighting, I break it up.
But if two girls are fighting, I wait until it’s over and then drag what’s left to the nurse’s office.
I’m not your mother, or your father,
or your jailer, or your torturer,
or your biggest fan in the whole wide world
even if sometimes I am all of these things.
I know you can do these things I make you do.
That’s why I make you do them.
I’m a teacher. This is what I do.

Once in a restaurant, when the waiter asked me
if I wanted anything else, and I said,
"No, thank you, just the check, please,"
and he said, "How about a look at the dessert menu?"
I knew I had become a teacher when I said,
"What did I just say?
Please don’t make me repeat myself!"

In the quiet hours of the dawn
I write assignment sheets and print them
without spell checking them. Because I’m a teacher,
and teachers don’t make spelling mistakes.
So yes, as a matter of fact, the new dress cod
will apply to all members of the 5th, 6th, and 78th grades;
and if you need an extension on your 55-paragraph essays
examining The Pubic Wars from an hysterical perspective
you may have only until January 331st.
I trust that won’t be a problem for anyone?

I like to lecture on love and speak on responsibility.
I hold forth on humility, compassion, eloquence, and honesty.
And when my students ask,
“Are we going to be responsible for this?”
I say, If not you, then who?
You think my generation will be responsible?
We’re the ones who got you into this mess,
now you are our only hope.
And when they say, “What we meant
was, ‘Will we be tested on this?’”
I say Every single day of your lives!

Once, I put a pencil on the desk of a student
who was digging in her backpack for a pencil.
But she didn’t see me do it, so when I walked
to the other side of the room and she raised her hand
and asked if she could borrow a pencil,
I intoned, In the name of Socrates and Jesus,
and all the gods of teaching,
I declare you already possess everything you will ever need!
Shazzam!
“You are the weirdest teacher I have ever—”
Then she saw the pencil on her desk and screamed.
“You’re a miracle worker! How did you do that?”

I just gave you what I knew you needed
before you had to ask for it.
Education is the miracle, I’m just the worker.
But I’m a teacher.
And that’s what we do.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Old School


Today my son asked me if he could play with my tablet. It took awhile to give an answer because I was fascinated at this 5yr old using this bizarre language.  The first time I had heard the words tablet was when I was told the story of Moses descending from Mt Sinai with two tablets in his hands, but as I grew up I got more familar with the use of pharmaceutical concoctions contained in these little lolly looking cells which we called tablets, they were meant to make me feel better from my ailment, well apparently the modern tablet is suppose to do the same. So it seems it’s come full circle and I imagine Moses holding an Ipad in each hand outliniing the ten commandments. 



The modern language with technology really does make a young buck like me (:P) feel like an old timer. I’m so old school that:
  • My iTunes was a matter of sitting in front of a protable radio/cassette player with a blank (or used) tape in the machine, my favourite radio station playing and my index and middle finger at the ready to press down the play and record button simulteanously so I could listen to the same song repetedly. OH MAN i hated it when the DJ would cut into the intro or jump in early at the end of the song!
  • Facebook would intimate the expression that you  were “Burying your face in a book”
  • Tweeting was only for birds
  •  Burning had nothing to do with transferring data onto a “Compact Disc”
  •  A lap top may have flirted with the idea that someone was referring to a private service at one of those dingy joints.......you know the one?
  •  An Apple ipod was a walkman that you flipped the casette so you could listen to the ‘B’ side. 
  •  Windows were those things that my mates and me smashed when we were kicking the rugby ball around
  • Smartphones? We only had a homephone which didn’t even have buttons, we had to literally “dial” each number! I swear some of these Smartphones are smarter than their owners, and so they should, they’re charging a hefty monthly fee.

I’ve been without my smartphone for two and a half weeks. And it’s been bliss.  It’s definitely given me an insight into how many distractions demand our attention, but only because we've chosen to.
 I remember reading this book in primary school which attempted to forecast how the future would look.  It talked about phones with screens where people could call each other and see each other at the same time, you could order by placing your shopping list on a computer, the fridge would know how to measure and monitor it’s own temperature levels. My jaw dropped as a little kid thinking of how out of touch these concepts were, but now these things have come to fruition, and it doesn't 
Well I’m definitely an old schooler, I love time out without any of this technology. It’s great that it gives us convenience, but at a cost where our kids are constantly distracted by AI stimulation, where we’re trying to be in several social networking apps at the same time, and bringing and encouraging a mollycoddled generation, I like the ways of the old school. I suppose our only attempt is to take our families out of the cities for camps etc to get them back to basics and reflect on who they and who we are.
So what keeps you old school?

Shalom,

Dave




Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dad

Dad and me (8yrs old)
It's fathers day in Australia today, it's smack bang on 9pm and I'm well worn like your favourite 5year old T-shirt because we threw a birthday for our son who turned 5 last week.

What an interesting day it was, lastnight I was mulling over writing this blog and planning the birthday at the same time. And here I am starting this written tribute 3 hours before closing time.

It was interesting because I (my wife really) was throwing a party for my son, but it was also fathers day. And Dad, as he does was helping us with the arrangements and the other rigmarole that comes with a kids birthday party. There's me, the middle-man blessed by giving, and my Dad.....getting old....still can't stop.

Dad and my brother at 2yo
My dad has an interesting history (I'm currently writing a story on it, so hit me up to keep me on the job). And just hearing, and learning about my Father in the past (in Samoa) to seeing him be the man he is today is a great testament to how much a man can change. He gives full credit to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and His Salvation, and after hearing some of my dad's misguided adventures, I'm sure glad he made the right decision. I find it hard to bridge the gulf between a young man with his stories attached, to a man who has taught by speaking, but more importantly demonstrating toward my brother and me to:


  • do what's right even when nobody's looking
  • don't be late (still working on this one) dad believes it's the height of disrespect to be late :O
  • never cower under anybody's threat, you're only as weak as you allow them to make you
  • build your mind, it will get you places
  • work hard, it's good for you
  • and my favourite "you'll never understand where I'm coming from until you have children"
There's so much more precious gems that he's buried in my mind, and they usually surface at just the right time. 

Dad grew his little taro plantation in our bakyard in West Auckland
One of the biggest lessons he taught me was to find a mentor in anything I seek out to do. He didn't actually tell me direct, but when I grew into my teens I started questioning why he wasn't the typical Samoan Father who wouldn't allow a discussion to fester when giving questions that are often met with "soia ke fiapoko, a ou faiaku fai!" (stop being a know-it-all, when I say it, just do it!). He would actually offer explanations and in turn I would learn. He also took time out to play with my brother and me, AND he stopped giving me hidings when I was 11. He sat my brother and I both down, and I remember his lecture telling us that we were mature enough to understand his talks, and from now on we won't get a smack rather we'll discuss things.......boy we were in for a trip, I remember my brother one time interrupting my dads lecture and saying "Can I just get a hiding?". Would you believe my dad paused, told him to be patient..and carried on?

So when I had my first born, one day day I asked Dad why he raised us the way he did. He said he had asked a gentleman older than him, how he should father his boys. Said gentleman had raised four fine young men (according to Dad's perception) and he wanted to know how this he did it. I inquired about dads mentoring sessions, and Dad had different stories explaining  advice he received on walks, church lunches/picnics/camps etc. Without a doubt, I was impressed with these stories and I learned that learning from more experienced people is incredibly beneficial. What's really ironic is that now I acquire awesome advice from one of the sons of the the aforementioned gentlemen.

Dad and my brother again. 
 Anyone who knows me has probably clicked on how much I love my Dad. I'm old enough to be able to measure his standards among other men (including myself) and I find that his standards are high. My father recently told me how proud of me he was to look after my own family, and that my Son is now five, healthy, smart and courteous. His words make me feel like a man, but in saying that, those words of blessings make me feel like a little boy again.

I know that in modern times, not every individual experiences a great father, some may have passed before the child even had a chance to know them, unfortunately some are abusive, neglecting, too busy etc or worse yet they up and left and weren't there at all and make a child feel "unloved". But that's still no excuse to carry through life like an excuse. Our Father's are humans, and their failures should expose to us on how we can succeed.

 Every parent should seek out their kids interests early, and if you find that you're not au-fait with your child's interests, find someone (trustworthy) for them to guide them. If you know for yourself that you don't have that father figure, intentionally find a trustworthy mentor!

I'm grateful and blessed to say that my Fathers imprint on my life is to be like him , to show the world that there is a class of men that still find Fatherhood to be a joy and not just an obligation. Men who are not afraid to ask the right people when they're not sure. And maintain the mantle of manhood that needs to be passed through every generation.

Thanks Dad, you've added value to my life more than you will ever imagine.

Shalom,

Dave
Dad, me and my little Neice

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Samoan Civil Siva?



One of the coolest things I've seen this year has to be the sponsorship of Bluesky to the Samoan Olympics team. Samoa is a small nation, but as we know, media can and will convince the masses of whatever the media's message is dictating. And Bluesky did just that! Creating promotional videos, a facebook page, and possibly getting the biggest and most supportive following of any Samoan Olympic team since they joined the global event.

They didn't win any medals, but the awareness of their events, and their constant updates were a treat for the Samoan people! I like that a lot......Samoans (and others too) cheering on their fellow sporting countrymen.

BUT, last week news breaks out of a stand off between government authorities and local villagers at Satapuala. I only knew through one of the Facebook pages, and was shocked to read it. I tried to follow it to find out what was going on, and the gist of the matter is. The government want to build a public hospital, and have gone ahead to do so, but without the say so of the land owners.........yeah.....what the?!

I've only got the News from Samoa to rely on.....and of course the whispers communicated through the coconut vine, BUT is this not a sham?!

Germans, Americans, British (represented by NZ) all came to ransack Samoa in times past, for every nook and cranny and make a quid from it. I'm convinced there was even a sense of power behind their agenda (of course) but Samoa fought them back claiming full heritage rights to the land. The land and it's connection to Samoan identity is crucial which leads me into my thinking.

The land cleared for the intended hospital
Am I the only one bothered by the fact that Samoans are doing this to Samoans? All Samoans should know that you need to go through the Matai council to make any moves or intervene in local village affairs. What in the world gave them the audacity to trespass our traditional methods and act like "the white man" to pillage and plunder a land that doesn't belong to them?

If this is factual, then shame on the Samoan government for not respecting a solid and reliable long-existing protocol.

This should be the question on every Samoans mind. Was this just an experiment, or a test trial from the government to see what type of reaction would occur? I'm not into conspiracy theories, but this down right got my knickers in a knot.

Mr Prime Minister and government officials. Please take a leaf out of Bluesky's book and learn to win the hearts of the people before trying to renovate on your own terms.

Faasoa mai o ou manatu. Please share your thoughts on this matter....

Samoa mo Samoa.

Shalom,

Dave


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Half-Caste - a derogatory term?

I met a woman, today who looked interesting and I found myself mentally trying to guess her racial background. I asked of her heritage as I couldn't quite put my finger on it. She spoke with an American accent and looked Hispanic....but Asian at the same time. She said she was half native American and half Caucasian.
I replied, "Oh you're a half-caste?"
It didn't take a genius to work out that she was offended by my comment and said, "you shouldn't use that term"
"Oh?"
"No it's derogatory, an old term used by the English of old to socially accept one half and reject the other"
"Oh.....I apologise, what term do you use then?",
"Well first of all I am human, and I prefer mixed-blood rather than half-caste"
"Well I truly am sorry for offending you", thinking to myself, us Samoans use this term loosely and as a matter a fact, as part of common language . Literally translated "Afakasi". I'm actually pretty confident that the whole of polynesia don't have an issue with using this term. Nonetheless, this called for further research when I got home.

So I googled half-caste, and up pops a name...John Agard, so I click on it and stumble on his satirical, and funny poem: (you got to see him perform it to get the full gist). He himself you have to understand had a Caribbean Father and a Portuguese Mother. So he's of mixed race, and obviously has had a gutful of being called "half-caste".

Excuse me
standing on one leg
I’m half-caste.

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when Picasso
mix red an green
is a half-caste canvas?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean when light an shadow
mix in de sky
is a half-caste weather?
well in dat case
england weather
nearly always half-caste
in fact some o dem cloud
half-caste till dem overcast
so spiteful dem don’t want de sun pass
ah rass?
explain yuself
wha yu mean
when yu say half-caste
yu mean tchaikovsky
sit down at dah piano
an mix a black key
wid a white key
is a half-caste symphony?

Explain yuself
wha yu mean
Ah listening to yu wid de keen
half of mih ear
Ah looking at yu wid de keen
half of mih eye
an when I’m introduced to yu
I’m sure you’ll understand
why I offer yu half-a-hand
an when I sleep at night
I close half-a-eye
consequently when I dream
I dream half-a-dream
an when moon begin to glow
I half-caste human being
cast half-a-shadow
but yu must come back tomorrow
wid de whole of yu eye
an de whole of yu ear
an de whole of yu mind.


an I will tell yu
de other half
of my story.

John Agard
So picking up off this poem, I further understood the comment made by Mrs Mixed-blood. Half-caste was coined by the English to accept one half to the social caste and reject the other. In literal terms this concept is ridiculous. But upon further reading, I briefly read biographies of where mixed-blood children (mainly the mixed black/white children) were either totally accepted or rejected by either side of their bloodlines.



Which brought me to ponder on the history of Samoa. So the English referred to the half Samoan/Americans, Samoan/Germans, Samoan/New Zealanders as half-castes? This could only mean that they were accepting of their white blood and rejecting the Samoan blood as if the Samoan blood deduced the human nature of the individual?

For a moment, the term "half-caste" left a bad taste in my mouth, but this has become such a second nature term that possibly we probably should remain silent and not jump on our soap box when we hear our black friends calling each other "nigga", or any other race that uses unscrupulous endearments, when we're happy to use "half-caste" or "afakasi" so loosely.

I've really taken my kick up the bum to heart. So to all my afakasi friends. Don't be surprised when I start calling you mixed-blood.......but then you've got the bloods and crips thing that could possibly link in....oh man you can't win. What do you think fellow polynesians? Should we rethink how we use this term, or don't fix something that doesn't appear to be broke?"

Shalom,

Dave

‎"I don't have prejudice against meself. My father was a white and my mother was black. Them call me half-caste or whatever. Me don't deh pon nobody's side. Me don't deh pon the black man's side nor the white man's side. Me deh pon God's side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white." - Bob Marley




Thursday, March 8, 2012

KONY 2012

Image Credit: invisiblechildren.com
This is going to go down as a major event or milestone in History. Never in the history of the world has it been requested that a criminal be brought to justice from the masses of the globe.....all informed within days of a video being posted, and more so, within half an hour! We're living in interesting times.....

 Here's how things looked from my perspective prior to watching the referred 30min film.

  • I watched "Blood Diamond" and I realised some of the challenges that Africa had
  • I met a family from Sierre Leone who saw their parents killed in front of them and heard their stories. I felt compasson toward them, befriended them and that was about it.
  • I carried on with life and soon forgot the impression these stories had on me.
It's actually quite daunting to reflect and think about the many times I've been moved by injustices made in other countries, or even other individuals in my city, but soon the feeling fades and any intended actions fade with it. Now if you've seen the film you would've heard the little spiel that the senator gave, after the narrator explains that Joseph Kony manages to evade the 100 advisers sent by the US government in October 2011.

"If we take the pressure off, if we're not successful, he is going to be growing his numbers. People forget, and you've got to remind them, and it takes numbers to remind them, and if interest wanes, then, it'll just, it'll go away, and I'll end up standing out there alone, trying to do something to support completing the mission, It's got to be 2012" (approx 20:30 into the film)

This whole hype represents so many good things. It shows that the majority of the world still recognises that this type of activity needs to be stopped, that the Youth will make mountains move when they're given a purpose and that tenacity will even get the leaders of a Superpower country to listen....and then some. But people forget!

However, this type of movement always exposes those who were moved by principle and those who were moved by passion. The ones who were moved by the latter are the ones that wane and have to be constantly reminded. I remember a friend back in Auckland inviting me along to a protest "Come along Dave it'll be fun!" I wasn't a uni student, and I realised my mate was going for the fun of it? They soon forget!

The one that makes the decision on principle are the ones that have been sticking it out for the past 8 years and continue to do so by surrounding themselves in environments, media and around people on the same page.......to make sure they never forget!

Image credit: invisiblechildren.com
The flim was excellent, great editing, filmography, music, timing I could go on. But, personally, the clincher for me in the film was the when the Director makes his promise to Jacob that he would do everything he can to stop this. From that point on I was hooked, and I was drawn to the Director. Who kept reminding him for 8 years? How did he keep this passion alive? Why did he hold on to his promise to a kid that wasn't even family?.......I don't know the answers but 8 years later we have this viral video spreading like wildfire, and a whole bunch of young people catching fire because of it.
But what about you? Will you be filled with compassion and then click back to normality the next day, yea within the next hour? Or are you:

  • refuting the claims and that the charity is a fraud
  • happy to sit back because there's so many other causes to help
  • deliberately finding something else to distract yourself with
  • taking action because it'll make you feel good (and everyone else is doing it)
  • taking action because principle demands it
Whatever your answer is. Take time out to take stock of the promises you've made that are still yet to be fulfilled. And right now, do what you can to stop Kony, and stop another terrorist enemy called Procastination.


Shalom,


Dave



Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ancient Knowledge for Present Purposes.





"We should not be defined by the smallness of our islands, but by the greatness of our oceans. We are the sea, we are the ocean. Oceania is us! We must wake up to this ancient truth and together use it to overturn all hegemonic view that aim ultimately to confine us again, physically and psychologically."




'Epeli Hau'ofa (Tongan Novelist and Anthropologist)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Facebook Infatuations (Online relationships)

We've all come to appreciate that the increase of technology increases the borders of the grey area. Things are no longer as simple or black and white as they were say only 20 years ago. As a 10 year old I was fascinated at seeing a simple Apple computer limited to a black screen with green text, and a blinking rectangle that seemed to prompt the typist to keep on typing.

The introduction of the internet did not just open up the world to endless opportunities, but also endless ethical challenges that never use to exist. There are no marshals to patrol and set the World Wild West into order.

These ethical challenges even challenge the very fabric of our existence, which is relationships. Relationships are essential, not one person can live without them.The health of relationships rely heavily upon communication. As communication is the key to sharing whats in the heart and mind of one to the heart and mind of the other.

Most professionals have identified the following five levels of communication in sequential order:

1. Acquantance: This is where we use cliche's like "hows it going?", "hi, thanks" answering the person with "good" when all they said was "Hi". This is habitual and more of a knee-jerk reaction than a thought out process of thinking.

2, Facts: where the individual will share facts, and moves on from the cliche to small talk. "Hot today isn't it?". Usually we say these to remove awkward silence or for the lads, trying to make a move on a girl. "Nice clear sky today"......"Oh look that bus is full". No real in depth thought needed at this level either.

3. Opinions: this is where the wall (not a Facebook wall) between two individuals starts getting chipped away at. The individual will start sharing their opinion on the management of the club, their personal goals and desires,  Things they're concerned about etc. Obviously if two people have opposing opinions, this level is where the relationship is first challenged. "I like it when the weather is hot, we can go swimming"




4. Feelings: If the relationship survived the previous level then you would feel safe to reveal deep emotions about things, people and situations. "When it gets hot it makes me happy because it reminds me of Samoa!"

5. Intimacy: The level at no holds barred. This is the deepest level of a relationship where the individual feels safe enough to reveal their unique needs. It takes skill to interpret these statements as most of us are too proud to begin a sentence with "I need.....". An individual may say "You don't care anyway" is a bait,  that they need to be affirmed and that the other individual does care by saying and putting to action"But I do care about you".


The problem with Facebook, Social networking (in general), and online relationships, is that people are cheated of the first three levels and stages of a relationship. Quite often you see in peoples status' that they share deeply felt emotions or even an intimate need but the other 3 levels have been skipped.

It's a shame that a lot of the younger generation are falling privy to this, and as a result they lack communication skills in reality as the first three levels are the warm ups, for the actual real excercise.

I've heard of a lot of online relationship stories ranging from awful failures to sensuous successes. However, when it comes to meeting your life partner, or dating in that regard, I'm an old-timer and believe that the safest and surest say to know somebody is by moving through the succession of the five levels mentioned above.

In my books relationships are null and void without experiencing low and high times together, hugging and holding hands, running and tripping over each other on the beach, watching the facial muscles move in discussions, and observing from afar as they mingle among the crowd or with individuals.....or when they're just by themselves are all part and parcel of a strong relationship.

If you're involved in an online relationship right this minute. I suggest you make a deadline, no longer than 6 months to meet this person, and alleviate any anxieties that you may currently have. Then after you part ways it's no longer an online relationship, rather a long-distance relationship (a whole different topic altogther). And if you're in love with the concept of being in love......then cut all ties immediately.

So in conclusion, I recommend staying with the old offline relationship.

Shalom,



Dave