Sunday, 17 July 2016

Shame on you 60 Minutes and Are You Serious Stui?

Last night I watched 60 Minutes and saw a report on a deeply traumatic event that happened to a couple who had visited Samoa.  I am sincerely saddened by the disgusting behaviour of a single man who committed this crime and I wish to apologise for the horrible ordeal that they had to face at his hands.  No one should ever have to go through such pain anywhere in the world. 

I would however, like to state that I am appalled by the sensationalist reporting of 60 Minutes for this particular segment.  The advertisements for the segment refer to Samoa as an “idyllic paradise or hell on earth.”  The commercial voice over stated “This island paradise is every holiday makers dream...the catch?  You might pay for it with your life.” 

If we were to label every country that has had an escaped convict commit a repulsive crime then we would all be living in hell.  Bad things happen to everyone everywhere.  To bring about fear of visiting a country based on the putrid acts of single person is to knowingly set out to sabotage a tiny island’s tourism sector.

Even with state of the art prisons, Australia has had many prisoners escape from the confines of the facility they resided in.  Stephen Jamieson escaped Goulbourn Prison, one of Australia’s most secure penal complexes in broad daylight using sheets and a pillow case.  While on leave at the prison farm Bernd Neumann simply walked to freedom with a dog on a leash and is yet to be recaptured.  My point here is that no matter how secure the facility there is always a possibility that a prisoner can escape.  Should we then instil fear in all Australians because of this fact?

I moved back to Melbourne two years ago and have never felt as unsafe in my own home as I have in this time.  In the two years that I have been back I have had a drive by shooting in the street behind where I lived, a murder in the next suburb, several brutal home invasions in nearby suburbs not to mention a man threatened at gunpoint at my local petrol station.  I run around locking all my doors and panic if someone I don’t know rings the doorbell.  I am nervous when I drive down the street as I don’t want to be carjacked or hit by a drunk driver.  I often lay awake at night wondering if the noise I just heard was an ice addict trying to come in a kill my whole family.  Unfortunately fear is an everyday event here in Australia and around the world, even if just a little bit.

60 Minutes’ aggrandizement of the crimes of a single person induced fear to many who know nothing about Samoa as a country, including the people.  The article did not present the many projects that are in place to make changes so that such horrendous incidents no longer occur.  Instead they chose to feed on the fear that people in Australia are already living in so that they can make more money.
I am in no way negating the fact that Samoa needs to make changes to their prison system or that this was a disgusting attack on an innocent couple.  They are both valid issues that need to be addressed, but not by making people feel fearful of their lives unnecessarily and without reporting the complete story.

60 minutes stated in the segment that Samoa relies heavily on tourism, yet they blatantly threw the Samoan tourism under a bus to get ratings.  I just hope Australians are smarter than that and can see through the obvious yellow journalism.

I am utterly embarrassed that the PM of Samoa could be so arrogant about such an important issue.  I have stated it many times in regards to the PM; you have to think about what you want to say and how you will go about saying it, because you have no control on what or how the interviewer will use your words.  What works in Samoa does not always work outside of Samoa.  Am I saying that you should lie down and kiss the feet of every foreigner in the world?  No I am not, I am simply saying be prepared. 

  • Ask for the questions ahead of time, so you are not left babbling or making comments that are completely inappropriate
  •  Research the topics that are pertinent to the interview so you are not left babbling or making comments that are completely inappropriate 
  • Stop being so arrogant.  You can get a point across without sounding like you are letting the other team “win” and without babbling or making comments that are completely inappropriate

All you had to do was answer the questions like this:
I am deeply saddened that this happened to them and my heart goes out to the couple.  Samoa has invested the money received by Australian Aid into the separation of the prison system and the police force so that equal attention can be made toward both areas of our country’s security system.  Samoa has also used these funds for the building of a new prison, the development of a stronger police force, a domestic violence unit, a K-9 unit as well as many other areas relating to the safety and security of Samoa and tourists.
Samoa is much like any other place in the world, including Australia, we can never be certain of what can happen.  We are working on ensuring the safety of the Samoan people and visitors to our wonderful islands.  While we build the new prison we want the public to know that we are committed to the safety of all who visit Samoa and hope that the actions of one individual does not deter them from experiencing beautiful Samoa.

Remember Stui you don’t need to answer all the questions they ask, you can give them hundreds of reports for them to do their own research which backs up what you have just stated and remember that what you say affects Samoa and the way Samoa is viewed by the world.

If 60 Minutes would like me to give them some tips on how not to be so money hungry give me a call.  Mr PM if you need a PR person just let me know!

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Life with a one month old baby

You cannot tell just by looking at me, but I gave birth to my second child last month.  She is a beautiful child and I love her dearly.  As she was born in Australia I wanted to make sure that she had a strong connection to her Samoan heritage so I gave her a Samoan name.  I named her Measina.  Measina translates to treasures of Samoa.  It isn’t referring to the gold or silver riches, but the beautiful culture that Samoans worldwide hold dear to their heart.

Measina has been growing slowly.  However, Measina is not like any other child.  Measina is my new business venture.  While she may not be flesh and blood I care for her just like I would my own child.  She takes up all of my time, I am frequently tending to her needs, she keeps me up all night and wakes me up in the early hours of the morning.

Just like I do for my son I teach Measina the values that help make me who I am such as giving back to my roots and maintaining my Samoan identity.  Measina is incorporating this in her life so far by ensuring that she only sells products that are from Samoa in the hopes of opening more avenues for Samoan products to be sold around the world.  Measina is not only for Samoans.  Measina hopes to share with others the treasures that Samoan manufacturers can make.

I also see a future for Measina in supporting schools and programs to ensure that the Samoan culture and Measina a Samoa stays alive in our Samoans living away from Samoa.

Just like all babies, the future is bright with my daughter Measina.  If you would like to follow the progress of Measina and support her future, like her facebook page, follow her on instagram @measinasamoa or help Measina help Samoan communities by making a purchase at