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It is no surprise that the question of whether funds raised for the pacific tsunami are going to ‘the people’. The story has presented an opportunity for attitudes towards mismanagement of money and corruption in the pacific to resurface.
First of all, it is the nature of journalism to question. Ideally, journalism is ‘for the people’.
There has been tension between the goodwill of people and the supposed greed of people in the coverage of this issue.
Some argue that throwing that scepticism around without any real evidence is dangerous, damaging and disrespectful.
Questions of concern were raised by Porirua Deputy Mayor Litea Ah Hoi who says since then she has been ‘bullied’ and ‘demonised’ for her comments.
“Ms Ah Hoi says the issues are widely talked about on the streets of Samoa but people won’t speak publicly for fear it will deter countries from offering further aid. She says she had spoken with health workers in the village of Saleapaga who told her they were waiting for trucks with fresh water to wash and bath in, people were still living in tents and the public port-a-loos had not been serviced in three weeks.”
She was just telling it how it was for her, I do not think this is reason for her to be targeted. However, upset Samoan communities may feel she did not consider the wider implications of her claims and that the claims of corruption may have struck a defensive chord with Pacific people who already feel unfairly portrayed as dishonest.
When a kick and fuss is made about an alleged crime shouldn’t the same kick and fuss be made when a ‘country’ is exonerated? Was there anything to be exonerated for?
The Samoan government may have been over reactive in their response to Litea and MP Palusalue’s questioning of aid allocation. In an article by Samoa’s government newspaper the Prime Minister said, “Such claims can only come from a person with a bitter heart” in reference to Palusalue, and Litea says she has received emails of a “threatening nature”.
Litea visited every destroyed village, she found cause for concern and it is her duty to report it. Some do not treat her so kindly as demonstrated in this interesting blog “Litea Ah Hoi – what a stinker”.
The blog goes as far as to call her “a self obsessed media loving councillor” who:
“flew to Samoa in her prissy suit and tip toed past Saleapaga and Poutasi, thus making her the ‘voice of the oppessed and savior of humanity’
Oka, this never ending colonial attitude of ‘I know best, I’ll fly to the third world, save the savages and leave my nofo vaevaeloloa for a few days”
This blog is as scathing as it is interesting.
The PM of Samoa says Litea’s accusations were premature considering aid had not even really arrived yet and that people who were rebuilding had received early assistance from family and friends, not from the government.
When these types of questions are raised it is so important that the facts are there and stories are balanced. An example is the article ‘Warning over charity scams’ noting that no complaints had been made to the charities commission. Furthermore, it was a member of the Samoan community that raised the issue, which seems to ideologically place the community in control.
Some articles do have a tinge of Samoan’s perhaps being ‘opportunistic savages’. For example:
“Some of those who have complained of not getting anything, upon double checking with our records, indicate that they’ve been getting aid regularly. Upon questioning, they’d come up with another excuse.”
“It’s only natural, he said, that some will deny receiving any aid so they can get more aid.”
Ideological implications aside, and the fact that we are still waiting for evidence that ‘truckloads of goods’ were stolen (some say, waiting for journalists to actually investigate…) the fact is, Litea Ah Hoi’s intentions were to make sure aid was given to those who need it.
You can’t hate on that.
Samoan PM rejects tsunami aid claims by ‘bitter’ Palusalue – Tupuola Tavita
Samoan families still wait for help – Martin Kay
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David Vaeafe, SPASIFIK travel columnist and Executive Director of American Samoa Visitors Bureau, gives an exclusive account of the Pacific tsunami and reports locals are coping well in spite of the devastation. Check out SPASIFIKmag online. <READ MORE>
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Yay – tu tangata has not fallen victim to ‘the recession’. Not only a chance for our pacifica students to be poly proud, reaffirm their sense of community bladi blah BUT seven students will receive tertiary scholarships as well… BIG SMILES
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Tonga has been getting a lot of attention. Given this is a pasifika niuz blog it is almost a crime that I haven’t at least posted my condolences. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the whole thing.
What happened in Tonga was a tragedy. When things like that happen I have a habit of imagining that members of my family were victims of the tragedy and it really hurts.
So I blame my silence the issue on my slowly growing discomfort at some of the focus that has been taken away from the people and put on one man who decided to go Scotland.
Talkback host and Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws raised eyebrows three years ago when he refused to fly the flag at half mast to mark the death of former King Taufa’ahau Tupou IV, and yesterday he was taking aim at his successor.
Mr Laws described the royal family as “appalling, morbidly obese parasites” who were as uninterested in their own people as they were in bringing democracy to the island nation.
“If the previous King of Tonga was a bloated, brown slug, this guy [King George Tupou V] makes his father look like a philanthropist.”
The New Zealand Government provided about $20 million in aid to Tonga, which went straight into royal family coffers, Mr Laws said.
As usual he is so inappropriate he becomes irrelevant. If democracy is what the Tongan people need then how is calling the King of Tonga a bloated, brown slug going to bring about change. I dislike the so called politically incorrect romanticised racism he incites and welcomes to discussion forums meant to serve those in need.
Prime Minister Feleti Sevele was quick to defend his monarch’s decision.
“He was aware as he was about to leave, he was informed of the tragedy,” Mr Sevele said last week.
“To me, I wouldn’t have advised otherwise, he had a trip planned. We ourselves can deal with it.”
King Tupou left his sister Princess Pilolevu Tuita as Regent in his absence.
The defensive stance some Tongans have publicly taken in their King’s departure has been difficult to watch. It is not a pacific issue, it is a people issue. People are proud, not excepting the Tongans. The monarchy is an ongoing issue in Tonga that has a deep-seated history and is embedded in Tongan culture. Tapu Misa acknowledges some historical significance while addressing the issue of the King’s absence. Her rendition of what’s going on with the Tongan King and his people was put in a way our dear Michael Laws could never achieve.
Tapu says in her most recent column:
Tongans don’t ask much of their King, George Tupou V – but perhaps it’s time they did.
The King left for a holiday in Scotland last week even after learning of the sinking of a ferry that killed at least 90 of his subjects.In a country of 120,000 people, the tragedy touched every Tongan – except the King, apparently.
Monarchs don’t have much practical use in today’s world. Grand gestures are all that’s left for them, such as staying in London during the bombing in World War II, as the British royal family did, or famously riding in the rain in an open carriage during Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation, as the King’s grandmother Queen Salote did.
George V seems unaware that his exalted position in Tonga exists only by his people’s permission. The least he could do was to stay there when disaster struck.
The focus on the monarchy in Tonga has complicated the Ashika disaster, my thoughts are with all who have been affected. I still don’t know what I think about the whole monarchy thing, but Tapu Misa sums it up well enough for me, for now.
Many of the elevated don’t deserve gong by Tapu Misa
Tongan King turns out in splendour for tattoo by Yvonne Tahana
Tongan King’s trip no big deal by David Eames
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: beethoven, bingo, black beauty, dog, dog eating, dog food, eating practice, lassie, new zealand horse export, pacific, paea taufa, roast dog, tongan community, tongan dog umu, tongan eats dog, umu
The Royal New Zealand SPCA will be seeking Tongan community leader’s support over the dog “slaughter”
“The slaughtering, roasting and eating of a dog or other companion animal is simply abhorrent to our culture as New Zealanders,” says the RNZSPCA’s National Chief Executive, Robyn Kippenberger.
“We understand that the issue might be viewed differently from the standpoint of some other cultures. But we believe that the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders of all ethnicities will share our shock and concern over this incident.
When I first heard about this story I am ashamed to say it was more comical to me than it was an outcry against animal cruelty. I wasn’t surprised either, in fact, I was more surprised they hadn’t roasted a horse as well (blame it on the recession).
John Fuliake said on Live Campbell that dog eating was an isolated practice even in Tonga, and found the RNZSPCA’s call to meet with Tongan community leaders “patronising”.
“I didn’t know I couldn’t cook the dog. In Tonga, any time there I cook the dog and it is okay. Dog is good food.” Paea Taufa was suitably quoted to incite an image of an uneducated individual or the writer really couldn’t find any other way to sum it up in a sentence.
Paea the demonised, dubbed dumb dog cooking tongan put his actions down to financial pressure. Come on guys worst comes to worst we are all going to eat the dog first. I mean, palagi’s and pasifika people alike have a history of eating each other. Imagine the drama if he had decided to roast one of his kids instead.
I’m not an animal hater, I want to eat Bingo, Beethoven and Lassie as much as any other NZ’er.
Meet my humanised dog Baron. He died and was cremated and put into a mini box with his name on it. Sad to say, Baron probably suffered a more painful death than Paea’s dog. I couldn’t imagine ever eating him.
However, this hullaballoo and my own reactions of “ew yuck” kind of makes me feel a little hypocritical. Isn’t it true that we exported a few Kaimanawa Black Beauty’s for overseas consumption?
Apart from the obvious: Tongan man cooks dog. This story prompts us to question our immediate disgust at eating Bingo when we are happy to eat poor little Babe, Bambi and Black Beauty…
Dog eater needs ‘education, not punishment’ By Vaimoana Tapaleao