Big is Beautiful

 

According the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than one billion overweight adults in the world. At least 300 million are considered obese. Obesity is defined as a condition in which the body contains an excess of body fat. The cause of obesity is common sense, the consumption of too much fatty foods and less physical exercise. At present, the level of obesity around the world ranges from below 5% in China, Japan and certain African nations, to over 75% in urban American Samoa. American Samoa is just that intsy-bintsy tiny dot that hardly anyone would notice on the map, yet we make the world Geniuses’ book by acing the obesity exam. Wow, we sure make the impossible possible here in American Samoa.

Why should we worry about it? I mean who cares if your fat, as long as your happy? Well, maybe you family or your own conscience, for obese is the grand-entrance of foreign diseases such as diabetes, heart-attack, and much more. One philosopher once said that our “teeth digs our grave” and he’s damn well right about it. The health care system should be implemented and the cause to decrease the death rates because of obesity should be addressed. A broad strategy that includes a wide range of health problem such as the death-caller obesity, would most likely produce collaborations among the peoples, the communities and the governments they represent. Such a strategy would involve modifying behavior with food, improving health systems, educating the stakeholders and changing the laws and regulations for the purpose of significantly improving the well-being of Pacific Islanders and their future generations.

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You Better be Dreaming

            “As long as I live and until kingdom comes, gay marriage will never be allowed in Samoa, never.” the Prime Minister Tuilaepa reassured the people. Gay marriage has been whispered discussions among the homosexuals in the Samoan islands, because they will always know that gay marriage is against everything Samoa stands for. The culture and it’s uniqueness is founded only and only on what the motto yells, “Samoa, muamua le Atua” Samoa, God first. Although American Samoa’s constitution is no different from what the United States Constitution offer, human rights, nevertheless the territory’s governance is under the Matai system and the belief in God, and same sex marriage stands against all its morals. We all know that same sex marriage has been discussed and in the United States legalized, but before our government go into any effect, we should ask ourselves if same-sex marriage a moral, civilized, or religious way of settling human rights cries.

            Same-sex sexual activity is legal in American Samoa, being legalized in 1889, but same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same protections available to heterosexual married couples. Marriage in the worldwide dictionary is defined as, the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife. Marriage is the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family. Although some same sex marriages may be capable of coping financially, the negative influence on children raised in their household has been statistically proven. Not only would same sex families deal with negative connotations in terms of their children but would likely face endless blames and stared-eyes.

The Christian Holy Bible is very dear to the people in the Pacific, especially American Samoa, the famous bible verse used against homosexuality states, You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. They say the Bible is a weak argument because it is of a religious faith and was derived and written by mortal men, but makes it different from the Constitution? The constitution is of government faith written also by mortal men. What I am trying to say is, if the constitution is to the government what the bible is to the Christians, what makes the bible a weak argument, therefore with opinion set aside, same sex marriage is an abomination according to Paul’s writings to Leviticus.

            What makes American Samoa different from all the other United States territories is the distinctiveness of their Government which is still under the culturally ruled Matai system. Because it is the culture, legalizing same sex marriage would refute everything about it. The Samoan culture is comprised of virtues and ideas such as respect and family. Relationship between a female and a male is distinctively recognized and any disrespect shown by the opposite sex towards one another is considered evil and punishments and consequence will be severe and compulsory. The Samoan culture is founded on the significance and importance of family or aiga, an aiga consists of a mother, father, and child(ren). What kind of a Samoan would be in the right mind to imagine a family with a father, father, and child(ren) or mother, mother, and child(ren). If you are reading this, picture in your mind what I just previously said then you can ask someone for Tylenol or Advil for severe headaches. Yes, the subject is a headache, even the mention of it can be a start of it.

            Our forefathers did not just half-heartedly sign the contract to be under the United States with some privileges offered for no reason at all. Maybe they foresaw how the Westerners would take over and the subject of gay marriage becoming a conversation. Maybe they knew how we would assimilate without hesitation. Maybe they were crazy for bring the reason why we are not born as US citizen but rather US nationals but they were in the right mind. For as the storms of legalizing gay marriages maybe destructive, American Samoa, a territory under the one nation that legalized gay marriage, stand its ground on the sure foundation of culture and religion that same-sex marriage, “until kingdom comes” would never be legalized, ever.

           

           

           

Feather on the Moon

Fear, I slept while he stood by my bed side. No one caressed me to sleep the way he did. He sang his lullaby “close your eyes, everything is alright.” I could’ve waked up, I could’ve done something, but I didn’t. The screaming grew louder; suffocating my ears with earplugs was of no help. I would have not known it by the way, was it really the screaming or my own conscience pacing back and forth mumbling “do something, stop him you coward. Ugh” My dad was an alcoholic and the stench of beer became something to wake up to, for this, inflicting my mom became a night time habit. I hated him enough I vowed to avenge every tear he caused my mom to shed, but things changed. Let us say when Athena helped Perseus, God helped the wearied. Although his chance of changing was of the distance of a feather from the moon, the sudden twist of heart went against all odd.

            They say impossible is not a word and they weren’t kidding. Like every other relationships, my parents at first sight cherished one another. She then became obligated to him when she uttered “I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.” Things altered after those words came out. My dad became a heavy drinker, the commercials of Vailima on television was a gratifying image. It started to transition further, they would have “room” arguments where things where kept at the down low. It then became a dinner-table argument where words of strife were exchange amongst me and my siblings. On another morning, I would see a bruise or two.

            Things were getting out of hand. Then the worst happened, he started cussing for pleasure and purple marks on my mom’s body numbered increasingly as the days went by. On worst nights, the sudden pound to open the door became our cue that we were to be his next victims, as if he was saying to get dress for the celebration of our lives. In the mornings, he would find an excuse for us to stay home because the marks on our bodies were obviously his ticket to the penitentiary in Tafuna.

            When school finishes, I would talk my teacher into writing a letter that I was excuse for tutoring. I feared him, coming home became a drag. Our family became a gossip in the village. I never really had any friends; their parents must have warned them about my dad. Because of my surroundings I was bound to trust no one and my instincts became picky. This is never going to go anywhere. Am I going to live like this for the rest of my life? When the arguments grew louder and the screaming never stopped, lives became perilous and some deity decided to end it.

            I came home the other day seeing an uplifting countenance. I was not going to fall for it. It was just one of his mind games I told myself. Thanks to Hollywood for that misconception. “I met the missionaries and I am going to see them again tomorrow.” I felt like a hypocrite when I smiled and said “I’m happy for you.” The shouting grew less and eyes became dry. He started doing things we thought to be awkward, like preparing dinner, taking my mom out for a date, planting her favorite plants, leaving mushy notes, and so much more. He started opening up to us, he would cry when he recounts his mistakes and the apologizes came in like rushing waters. I sat in awe while I contemplate whether to cry with him, he was still that monster pounding on the door, but it was not him.

            Although I was grateful for the improvement, I am never going to forgive the man who betrayed my mom’s skin, who scared my conscience, and who put peace to sleep. My dad ended his lifelong career of an alcoholic when he was baptized into the Mormon Church the year 2009. It not only changed the way he lived but it also slowly and obliquely changed the way I saw him.  For once in my life I came to see him as a person to be trustworthy, to believe that he changed and his past actions were to learn from but not lived in. He became what he continues to be to my mom and began to kept his end of the bargain, and I am forever grateful for what happened to him. He became my friend and my solace with all the good tidings and discouragements exchanged. For once in my life, he became himself, my dad. When the question of possibility and defying gravity came into the picture, I was grateful and I was happy that although its distance, my feather finally reached the Moon.