Friday, August 7, 2009

SOS Classroom Project

The SOS classroom project is very important because when LAUSD cancelled summer school for the year 2009, there was stress in students that had trouble in school. Summer school acted as a bounce back for those who didn’t do well academically through out the course of the year. At the same time, me and a group of amazing people thought that something had to be done about this problem so we gathered information from internet sources to help with the outpouring concerns that students have regarding their academic achievements.
Through out the course of this class, the SOS classroom project has been a success reaching every corner of the world. My responsibility in this project was researching mathematical problems for third graders up to fifth graders. I had to research different mathematical equations for these different age groups. I made the choices I made in selecting the web pages through really focusing on the lesson plan covered by each age group. I had to match every subject to its age requirements and it was a challenge. The knowledge gained technologically in this class made it easier for me to proceed with my research because it made it easier to work and less stress about how I was going to save a certain site, or how do I get back to this page. My contribution to the SOS classroom project also included a promotional and inspirational speech that I and another teammate of mine took part in at a small summer school program in Los Angeles. This speech meant a lot to the children and it also did to us, children aging from four to twelve. Both I and my teammate talked about the struggles we had growing up as children and how we don’t have the opportunity to access computers and had to learn the hard way. The speech was quick and straight forward but I feel like me and my classmates did a good job in trying to motivate these kids into taking summer school classes just to catch up or excel forward.
I don’t feel like I have done enough for the project in researching more websites, but when it comes to outside activities in trying to promote the importance of summer school and taking extra classes, I know that we have reached a majority of the children.
The need for this project is for international outreach. I am from a small island that has not heard about this kind of technology and is suffering from the same problems that LA is having related to summer school. To reach internationally, the SOS classroom project will help children all around the world academically and a better chance of having a better future. In the near future, I hope that the SOS classroom project will not only cover K through 8th but also reach higher grade levels. The project is a source of learning and fun. It is focused only on children know but hopefully it reaches a older learning class in the future.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Origins of the Conflicts between Tonga/Samoa

The name of the excerpt from pasefiaka website is Tui Tonga. It is a shorten summary of the history of tui tonga and stems from scholarly references:References: St. Cartmail, Keith. The Art of Tonga: Ko E Ngaahi'Aati'O Tonga. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997 Amadio, Nadine. Pacifica. Australia: Angus & Robertson, 1993 Stuebel, C. Tala o le Vavau. Auckland: Pasifika Press, 1995 Tala o le Vavau.
Pacific Island Legend by William Flood. He gives a general overview of various pacific legends including the legends of Tui Manua and Tui Tonga.
An Account of Samoan History since 1918. by Te'o Tuvale

These sources are closely related to my topic. All these sources go in depth and explain the orgins of how the relationship between Tonga and Samoa actually began and how it was shaped over the the course of history. They stem from scholarly references, so we know that the information reported has a solid credential background. The book by Te'o Tuvale more specifically gives a thorough description of the origins of the legends of Samoa and how tonga plays a role in the samoan culture.

The Discovery of Samoans by Tongans:

Except from An Account of Samoan History:
[Leutele-le-iite was King of Atua at the time when the first canoe with the King of Tonga on board reached Samoa. The King of Tonga was searching for his brother who had fled from Tonga to escape the engeance [sic] of the King for having committed adultery with the King's wife and during this search he discovered Samoa. The King was so impressed with the Islands that on his return to Tonga still in search of his brother, he planned the war against Samoa.]

Legend has it that around 900 AD - 950, Tui Tonga (son of the sun god and tongan woman) became the first king of the islands of tonga. Under his rule, they captured and enslaved the samoan people for nearly 400 years. During this reign, Tui Tonga would have as he pleased whatever Samoan woman he pleased. By 1600 A.D, the Malietoa family mounted a counterattack against the Tongans in hopes of gaining their freedom. "The war to drive out the Tongans was then planned. Tuna and Fata were appointed to operate in the back country and Ulumasui and Tupuloa were put in charge of the Aana district. A dance was given on the malae by the Samoans for the Tongans. That day was called Matamatame. A song was sung whilst the dance was in progress - “Matamatame, Matamatame, let down your foot but catch hold of your war stick and let the blow against Tonga be a might one.” Clubs were thereupon raised and the Tongans pursued. All districts alike chased the Tongans. Tuna and Fata kept to the back country and Ulumasui and Tupuola to the Aana district. The Samoans met at Mulifanua and drove the Tongans into the sea where their fleet was anchored. At this juncture Talaaifei'i, the King of Tonga, made the following speech: Malietoa, Malietau - ""Ua Malie Toa, Malie Tau Ou te le toe sau i le auliuli tau, a o le auliuli folau O le a le toe sii mai se taua e Toga i Samoa;(well fought) let us give over this business of war and remember this - I will not again come to Samoa except to pay a friendly visit.” This agreement has been kept down to the present time. This incident was the commencement of the Malietoa" This is where the first king of Samoa sprung from, which became known as Malietoa or Tui Manua.

Although we see in history that the treaty of peace made between these two islands was simply trough the word of mouth, it has been honored through centuries. However somewhere down the line, and may I see, because of the lack of historical knowledge and simple ignorances, samoans and tongans began a war that ended and was sealed longgg before. So from history, I can say that the present war between these two countries is based on false and faulty ground. Resentment or disagreement from the past, lack of thorough knowledge of both histories is not a sound-enough reason for Tongans and Samaons especially in California to hate each other.

Daughters of Samoa: "Excuse me but your ignorance is showing" by samoanwoman

[So my usually easy-going son comes home in a huff today from his last class at the university. Gives me a peck on the cheek and then pulls out a textbook and says, “Mom, what do you think of this?”
Excerpt from Winitzky:Then the kids start playing tag, running circles around the seating area, and yelling gleefully. No adult response-you are amazed, and struggle to resist the urge to quiet the children.....You are caught in the middle of a conflict of cultures-yours and the Pacific Islanders’…What do you do in this situation?”]
Blogger Samoanwoman basically writes this blog to answer her son's question and in one simple word, she is simply infuritated with Mr. Winitzky's false perception of the samoan/polynesian culture on the issue of respect/discipline, "the total ignorance of some people completely amazes me!"
After the son reads the excerpt from Mr.Winitzky, the reader can immediately sensed samoanwomans tone and expression toward Mr.Winitzkyz's book.She conveys strong emotions against Mr. Winitzkys description of samoan concept of respect"[...]I too was now practically foaming at the mouth".
Samoanwoman clearly states her distate and dislike towards Mr. Winitzkys 'false perception' toward the samoan culture. Mr. Winitzkys basically describes how samoan kids are rowdy and uncontrollable, and Samoanwoman defends the the entire samoan culture by stating, "We don’t let our kids get out of hand, if anything we err too much the other way. I can’t picture a Samoan or Pacific Islander parent that lets their kid behave like a hooligan during such an event. It’s not Samoan kids or Pacific Islander kids that throw tantrums and fits, it’s not Pacific Islander kids that tell their parents to “shut, the f*** up."
Whats interesting about this blog is that not only does samoanwoman defend the samoan/polyensian culture, but we also see the son refute the story from the book. According to the son he states "can tell you that my parents raised me to be respectful and to behave and I can also tell you that knowing what I know of Pacific Islanders because I am one, there is no Pacific Islander parent under the face of the sun that would tolerate these kinds of behaviors from their kids. He clearly uses vivid descriptions of how disciplined samoan children are, "If anything, that kind of behavior would have been nipped immediately either by the parent giving them “the look” or even a smack right then and there if they don’t get the message.” Giving the reader a pretty good idea of how strict and discipline the samoan culture is.
Her analogy of Samoans in regards to respect is clearly described as "We come out of the womb breathing respect, for crying out loud". She continues reiterates how "No Pacific Islander parent would continue to just sit back “looking serenely up at the speaker on the stage” while their children are wreaking havoc during an important ceremony. Unlike some cultures, Pacific Islanders do know what it means to have respect."
Along with her strong opposition towards Mr. Winitzky she adds a spice of sarcasm which shows the irony of what he was trying to describe how respect is the first thing that one thinks of when they think about Western culture.
We see from this blog, that samoanwoman is very passionate bout her position and her disagreement with Mr. Winitzkys outlook on Samoan parenting. As you can see, her only main defense against Mr. Winitzky is her experience as a child and her role as a parent and her son's childhood experience as well.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Although born and raised in Vava'u, Tonga, I still very much embrace and am proud of my Samoan roots. Through the eyes of many, Samoa and Tonga are almost always seen as similar islands, with similar cultures, languages and traditions. However, although both ethnic groups do share similar characteristics, there are many obvious and subtle differences when studied further.
As said before, although both cultures have a lot in common, there are also many differences. Tonga is still a monarchy, while Samoa implements their traditional chief system with the American system. Unknown to many is a brutal past that continues to divide both cultures. The gender roles are also slightly different between the two cultures, in such a way that men are expected to cook in Samoan households and women are in charge of the kitchen. Also women in tonga, hold higher authoritative positions compared to women from Samoa.
Both Tonga and Samoa, still retain strong cultural traditions despite the influence of westernize influence over the years. Religion and family are the two main central points in both cultures and respect is the important value upheld, practice and taught in both ethnic groups.California has become the home of notorious Tongan and Samoan gangs, which is now spreading out to other states, particularly Utah (which I will talk more about later). Now years later, we see that both sides still hold grudges against each other.
Legend has it that once upon a time, Tonga took over Samoa and kept Samoans as slaves for at least 400 years, until one day the Samoans were able to regain control. Also, arguments over the true "high chief" stemmed from a disagreements in the past between these two islands.
Growing up, I never had a problem being a halfbreed. However, coming to California I discovered a raging war between Tongans and Samoans that has only gotten worse over the years. While the natives in Tonga and Samoa do not have any hostile feelings towards each other, the story in California is very different. And sad to say, this war is still very much alive, because of our past.
In closing, not only was my assimilation to the American culture quite difficult, I'm struggling to find a peaceful balance between my Samoan and Tongan side.