“Lovefolds of Our Upbringing..” a novel

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   I know you’re growing curious as to who the heck this is out of all the Samoan writers and authors who has made the headlines and monumental best-selling list. I know. I felt the same way when I first discovered Kindle online and some South Pacific writers. When I read about Daniel and Leila, I was very well locked into my room for hours. Must I add, I went days correcting my husband several times about the sudden glitch in the system and error in my birth certificate. “Ummm I beg to differ, it’s Leila, not Lynn!” 


I love Lani Young, Sia Figiel and Logo Filloon and their talented work. I give them full credit and respect for opening more windows to the world to see the capacity of growing talents in our archipelagos. The world has not only discovered talented people in both Samoan islands, but have also got a chance to see more behind the dots on the map. Humbly, I am just a rambunctious soul who fathoms life, Samoa, my korean soap operas, pinterest crafts, pisupo (corned beef), flip flops and Five Stars. I am from Lauli’i, American Samoa and my roots originated from Samoa, Savaii, the Manu’a Islands and the waves of immigrants from China who settled in Falealili. There you have it, I’m full blooded Samoan and not a #LivalivaAsoLeAiSeTaimiu 


I began writing Lovefolds of Our Upbringing (This Book Here ), when I was in 3rd grade. My journals and diaries since then are still with me presently. I still vaguely recall the many times I made attempts to publish this book. I paused every day over doubts and mixed emotions if what I was writing would be something my readers would relish in a world fixed upon fiction prose of demi gods and mythology mortals as well as other topics. 

When the doubts accumulated, I began to appraise train of thoughts that many people would ponder anxieties upon at the glance or thought of uncertainty.  I started out by creating my own genre for my chosen audience with assurance (#tooshua) that if at anytime in a cloud of doubts, my fierce reaction would be to keep going even if a declination from any publishing company motivates me to jump over the bridge or #pugaIlefreeway. 

    

Subsequently, I chose an influential topic to exhibit a positive message for younger generations with a culture-centered setting to inspire readers. Children leave home upon completion of high school for military careers, off-island opportunities and education abroad. Many things happen from: rapid changes upon transitioning from a small island to big cities and increased influence of technology and other factors, which contributes to reclusive habits.  This type of bearing isolates one from the normalcy of taking care of parents and the foundation they fostered under to always remember family, as well as the beginning.  Many may have forgotten that and have immune to the notion of other practices by which at a certain age, when a child ascends to the legal 18, they are no longer obliged to a parent even their consent. 

     

The way life works now is nothing compared to when I was growing up in the Samoan Islands. It is a familiar background to many. Yet for some, they may surprisingly read through the unfamiliar setting of Lovefolds. It creates a culture shock for many, while some may customarily share the relatable and solitary norms practised by all Samoan families. 

I portrayed a setting people would attract to and reflect to the beginning. I also elaborated more on the indisputable based from experience and some of the encounters witnessed in neighborliness villages with others, families and associates as envisioned in this fiction book.

The message that the “Lovefolds of Our Upbringing” book (Read Reviews here) prominently shares, does spin a charismatic upbringing for many. The book grasped curiosity about the life in Samoa for people who are unfamiliar with the Samoan culture, and the beauty of the practices and norms that its people embrace.

The first draft was transferred over from scratch. It was in scribbles on a spiraled “Winston Churchill” notebook my good friend Edith sent me. An array of “pay-it forward” viral statuses on facebook earned myself a notebook. That book was later filled with characters of a mother, father, their 11 children and the humble upbringing in Samoa as well as extended families. 

This compelling story evokes a compendium of journalism perspectives from all characters in the family and their upbringing- from waking up in the morning to a fixed schedule of chores, the bond between parents and their children,family prayers and recaps, the norm of growing up under the dogma and notion of the Samoan culture founded under “God before everything.” 


This book also exhibits a fine and vigorous background, and a grotesque of the skirmishing encounters each characters endured and braced through. If you have not experienced riding on a Samoan rollercoaster yet, prepare yourself now for a real Samoan rollercoaster brawl!

More reviews and updates for Molioleava books can be found on My “Molioleava Books” Facebook Page. Much alofas! 

Fa’alavelave

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I value our humble traditions and practices, however, some of our prominent customs are slowly gliding into extinction. A fa’alavelave, or a special family function,will always be a part of us. There are different types of fa’alavelave in a Samoan family. From funeral, title ceremonies, family reunions, discussions and so forth..you name it. There’s  quite too many to mention.

 

We will all eventually leave this temporary realm someday. We are loyal to our roots and extended bloodlines. Aside from taking care of our very own, we render and contribute everything into fa’alavelave more than how other countries honor a loved one’s passing. Helping a family member is a wonderful thing. However, we may have taken it far from the norms originally practiced by our ancestors.The coconut which was always used, is now nearly an extinct tradition.

If you ask a Samoan what their definition of fa’alavelave is, be prepared for the answer. To some, it’s the “F” word.

If you look at our world, big countries are suffering from economic crises. Fiscal funds may now or someday not cover portals awaiting assistance to fund salaries and paychecks. Some of us are more eager to consider reputation, thoughts of others and pride more than other consequences. As Lani Young mentioned in one of her Blogs about Faalavelave’s, Food and Fuss (here),”A lot of what we do at a funeral has nothing to do with grief, sympathy and mourning. It’s all about WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?!

There’s distress in oil rigging, financial disasters and the lack of expansion in big countries we harbor upon. That can affect us. That and the unemployment crises of course. The cost and living among us, is inflated by population and the incline of health problems lacking cure also. Funding for research is becoming harder for scientists than it normally did. Interest groups aren’t campaigning harder than they used to; laws are becoming harder for scientists to develop answers. Hospitals are auctioning generic supplies and equipments to meet the needs of patients, while battling funds. The Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in American Samoa is still in an interrogatory era with hopes for change soon. Financial crises will soon expend us a slim-to-none funding, which plays a huge role in the provisions for our many fa’alavelave’s.

Fa’alavelave’ has slowed down possibilities and positive outcomes for change. I am sorry to break it to you, but this is true. As a Samoan proverb states: “E fofo e le alamea le alamea.” It means, our own solutions comes from us alone once we choose to consider “solution” by taking the steps to resolving financial splurge, family bind and decline in our islands. For example, let’s save money for a college fund for our kids…how about purchasing more dish wares , because apparently some “aiga basket” walked off with the brand new dozen purchased before the fa’alavelave..Here are some steps to help …THERE!! (Do skip Step 1 please, ANZ is still struggling to answer for the doubled ATM fees in American Samoa and Bank of Hawaii left American Samoa, well not really, sooner, but not soon, its ATMs are still functioning though.)

Essentially, my main concern is about the days after a fa’alavelave, when our children has nothing to eat for a month after rendering all into a fa’alavelave. Where are we going to get this money from with the outpour of financial troubles arising in our economy today? Monies collected, on the other hand, are used to purchase the fine 2 Liter sodas for a suata’i or 80 yard of satin materials and so forth.

Our society will increasingly splurge and lose the indigenous practices because of pride that will not benefit us and our families. We can change anything we choose to change as long as we remember the important factors and consider traditional practices our ancestors fathomed over the years when it came to fa’alavelave’s, or in other words, the Samoan”F” word.