2013 SAN DIMAS HOOLAULEA: June 8 and 9. A fundraiser for nature programs and the feeding and care of the San Dimas Canyon Nature Center animals. Polynesian food, music and dancing. Free parking and admission. San Dimas Canyon Park and Nature Center, 1628 N. Sycamore Canyon Rd. San Dimas, CA 91773. (909 599-7512.
OHANA COMMUNITY HEALTH & FITNESS FESTIVAL: July 27, 8am - 6pm, Victoria Park, Carson (See Announcements for details).
KIMO WEST SLACK KEY: JUNE 29, 8pm, San Pedro, California. Kimo teams up with Grammy-winning slack and steel master, Ken Emerson, for a rare show at Alva's Showroom, a fantastic South Bay music venue. This event may be filmed so wear your best aloha shirt.
ITO SOLO COMPETITION 2013: Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1. Fa'aitoito: Strive to the highest. Pearson Park Amphitheater, 401 Lemon Ave., Anaheim, CA. Info: Tui Letuli, 310.294.3841 or 310.871.5385.
KIMO WEST SLACK KEY: AUGUST 31, 10am-12pm, Westin Long Beach Hotel. Kimo presents a slack key workshop for beginning to intermediate level students as part of the annual E Hula Mau festival. Learn some slack key, hear great Hawaiian music and enjoy the best hula performances on the mainland. Bring a guitar and audio / video recorder if you can!
Healthy Marriages and Relationships (HMR) Program – Sacramento As we embark upon Year 2 of our Healthy Marriage and Relationship Program (HMR) in Sacramento, we would like to acknowledge and thank the
Today, there’s concern among some Samoans our people may be losing their language. Recently, an acquaintance emailed this clipping from Radio New Zealand:
Academic Warns Samoan Language Under Threat In Homeland Galumalemana creating massive online dictionary
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 29, 2013) – An academic who is in the process of launching a Samoan language dictionary on the web in excess of one million words warns that the language is under threat in Samoa itself. The program director of Samoan Studies at Victoria University, Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin, has already loaded more than 300,000 words onto international website Sketch Engine, alongside other world languages. He says the collection will be built up with the assistance of other scholars over the next few months, and it is an opportunity to ensure Gagana Samoa doesn’t die globally or at home. Galumalemana says, because of English’s prevalence over the last hundred years, young people in both American Samoa and independent Samoa can be heard speaking in English with regularity. Galumalemana says he’s pleased at efforts to arrest the trend, with moves in Samoa to encourage people to use the language in government and in American Samoa to have Samoan used alongside English in school.*
Two ethnographers, Dr. David Harrison and Dr. Greg Anderson, have been documenting dying languages since 2003. They estimated that of the 7,000 or so languages in the world, one disappears every two weeks. Each time a language disappears, we lose a part of the speakers’ history and a wealth of knowledge. Samoan language expert, Galumalemana Hunkin, is correct in saying that Samoans, particularly in American Samoa, are speaking in English with regularity. If the trend continues, then Hunkin may be right in his assessment that the Gagana Samoa is under threat. The Endangered Language Project, a collaborative effort between the University of Hawaii and Eastern Michigan University, has set up a site listing languages on the verge of disappearing ( www.endangeredlanguages.com/). From the Pacific, we have: Rapa Nui: (Easter Island): Threatened with 3,390 speakers. Mangareva: Threatened 1,600 speakers; Maori: vulnerable, 60,260 speakers, Pukapuka: Endangered, 2030 speakers, Tokelau: Threatened, 3319 speakers, Araki (Vanuatu): Critically endangered, 8 speakers, Hawaii Pidgin Sign Language: Severely Endangered, 30 speakers, and Hawaiian: Threatened, 2,000 speakers.
In our latest OSA Communique, we shared an effort by a local Pacific Islander group to set up a charter school where Pacific Islander culture and language will be taught. Other language efforts include Businessman and Talking Chief Fata Levi who started teaching Samoan language and history at Pastor Henry Yandall’s church in Carson. Another Carson church that’s promoting the language among the youth is the United Samoan Church. Two years ago, Pastor Samuelu Tialavea and a group of volunteers launched its language program drawing youths and their parents from neighboring churches. Finally, our office hopes to offer a language workshop with Samoan orator and language expert, Pau Faleatua. Faleatua, now retired, taught Samoan language and culture at the American Samoan Community College.
* “Unfortunately, this report has confused ‘dictionary’ with ‘corpus (of texts)’. There aren’t 300,000 words in Samoan let alone a million. Galumalemana Alfred Hunkin has not compiled an on-line dictionary, he’s compiled and put on-line a 300,000 word body of texts representing a range of genres. When the report says ‘sketch engine’ I take it the reference is to ‘search engine’” (Andrew Pawley).
Social Commentator Jean M. Twenge shared in her book “Generation Me” that there’s a shift in the American character and what “…it means to be an individual in today’s society.” Using data from an intergenerational study, she showed how today’s young adults—the so-called “Generation Me”—have adopted a narcissistic view. Her findings remind me of the difference between first-generation Samoans and our own generation. Our fathers, the majority of whom were hard workers, held a strong sense of community and were steeped in their faith. Today, according to Twenge, attitudes have changed, largely because of a self-focused, all-about-me mindset taught and fostered in our education system. The same mindset continues to be perpetuated in movies and television sitcoms. Children are made to appear wiser and smarter than their parents and, in some cases, they actually speak and behave like the adults of the family. They lack respect for their elders and, in some cases, belittle them.
Some psychologists have identified self-esteem programs taught in schools as the culprit responsible for the increase in narcissism among the young generation. For instance, Psychologist Martin Seligman sees such programs as “empty and shortsighted.” He noted that it’s far better for the students to “develop real skills and feel good about accomplishing something” rather than nothing, which is basically what self-esteem programs encourage—that is, a student or child is good just because… Similarly, Roy Baumeister, who led a review of a research on self-esteem, wrote: “It is very questionable whether (the few benefits) justify the effort and expense that schools, parents and therapists have put into raising self-esteem. After all these years, I’m sorry to say, my recommendations is this: forget about self-esteem and concentrate more on self-control and self-discipline.”
Cross-cultural studies provide empirical proof for the benefits of self-control and self-discipline. For instance, according to Twenge, studies reveal that Asians have “lower self-esteem than Americans.” The main difference between the two groups is: when Asian students score low on a particular task, they keep on working to improve their score. American students, on the other hand, “prefer to give up on that task and work” on a different one. That is, “Americans preserve their self-esteem at the expense of doing better at a difficult task.” The researcher added that this goes a long way toward explaining why Asian students perform better at math than their American counterparts.
Most psychologists agree that the effects of narcissism are “almost completely negative.” Among other things, narcissists are “overly focused on themselves and lack empathy for others…they also feel entitled to special privileges and believe that they are superior to other people. [They] are also more likely to be hostile, feel anxious, compromise their health, and fight with friends and family.”
It’s hard to say how much of an impact self-esteem programs have had on Pacific Islander children. But personal communication and experiences tend to support Twenge’s and other researchers’ conclusions. For the most part, our first Samoan generation, raised in a traditional environment that emphasized love for and loyalty to family (aiga) particularly our elders, exhibit a devotion to community and duty. In spite of cultural and language barriers, they worked hard and contributed to the well-being of the community. Today, based on personal observation and decades of working in the community, it appears the younger generations are drifting away from those ideals.
Thankfully, many still celebrate our traditional concept of alofa (love)—as in one of our pastors and his wife who recently took in a homeless mother and her three children. May their example serve to remind us of our duties to help and serve others.
Our quarterly newsletter, OSA Communique, features a section titled, “Whatever your dreams.” In it, we spotlight Pacific Island individuals who have excelled in their field and are a positive influence in our community. Our next issue, due out next week, puts the spot on up-and-coming filmmaker, Nathan Laolagi (son of Samoan entrepreneur Lee Laolagi) and OSA’s friend, Faleomavaega Falanai Ala, chairman of the non-profit organization, SAI Awards. Here are their stories.
Nathan Laolagi, a young and gifted filmmaker, is already making a name for himself. Recently, his short “A Revenge Story” was shown at the Lido Theater during the Newport Beach Filmfest. It was also featured at the Cypress College Filmfest where it won Best Editing, Best Director, and Best Film awards. “What I hope to accomplish in filmmaking is to tell a story,” said Nathan. “What’s important is to tell a story that matters not only to me, but also to the audience. No matter how fancy a movie is, if it doesn’t have a story or characters people care about, the audience will leave empty-handed; cheated. If I can make a film that doesn’t revolve around a cynical idea, but instead a universal one, I believe that is where I can make a difference. Because nothing makes a bigger mark on this earth than making a difference. I also hope to do it alongside my family and friends. When it all comes down to it, they are the ones that mold me.” We wish Nathan a successful and long career in filmmaking. (Video of Nathan’s acceptance speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnU0EagiroU)
Faleomavaega Falanai Ala
After years of working as project manager for the LBUSD Facilities Branch, Falanai Faleomavaega Ala took an early retirement to pursue his dreams. A decision to move back to the islands meant he had to give up plans to expand his non-profit organization, SAI Awards. Part of his reason for returning is disillusionment. “I worked hard for years but the American dream is elusive as ever,” he said. Armed with extensive architectural experience and a knowledge of building monolithic homes, Falanai hopes to start a contractor business in Samoa. In addition, he bought a 36’ Cruisers Espirit for a touring and fishing sideline. And in the slight event neither businesses pans out, Falanai has a back-up plan. His brother, also an entrepreneur, has already started a cocoa plantation and a home-based, chocolate-manufacturing venture which Falanai hopes to take globally. Now that’s dreaming big!
On any given night in America, anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless, according to estimates of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. With the economy the way it is—high unemployment and high cost of living—many are losing their homes or are forced to move in with relatives or friends to survive. Because most shelters are at full capacity with long waiting lists, many eventually end up on the streets.
Early this month, OSA started its Home Program. The purpose of this program is to provide safe homes for people on fixed incomes, pensions or social security. Below is our first Carson home. This particular home is for mature single women and college female students. It’s a 2-story, four-bedroom home, centrally located with two baths and kitchen. Occupants will share bedrooms, and OSA will provide additional support services if they need them. Rent per occupant is $550 a month. Rent includes utilities, internet and cable, light breakfast and lunch and dinner.
For more information, please call June or Mena at (310) 538.0555. Join our new family!
Carson 20715 S. Avalon Blvd. Suite 200 Carson, CA 90746 Phone: (310) 538-0555 Fax: (310) 538-1960
Sacramento 2614 Marigold Lane Sacramento, California 95684 (916) 974-0500
YOU'RE INVITED!: $40, Certificate AND LUNCH BY POLY GRILL: Healthy Marriage & Relationships Workshop. June 27, 6pm - 9pm, Toyota Museum, 19600 Van Ness Ave. Torrance, California. Hosted by Pacific Talent Academy of the Arts. Please see Announcement for additional information.
Volunteers and Interns
Would you like to volunteer or intern for our programs? Please contact the program coordinator whose project best suits your interest. Thank you and God bless!