Friday, December 5, 2008


As an ESOL "English Speakers of other Languages" teacher, I get to know students from all over the world quite well, because the students tell you a lot of things that are not in books.

There is a constant bickering among the Polynesian islands. Each island group think they are smarter that the other. Even when they come to live in New Zealand where they are all classified as islanders, they bring their prejudices with them.

They told me this joke, "What did the giant say when he ate Tonga?"

Answer: I want Samoa (Some more.)

My Tongan students don't like this joke, and the Samoan don't care because it is Tongan who had been eaten.

During the Summer Oylmpics, this thing about Tonga as a weaker island is vindicated. Valerie Vili got Gold in Shot put. Every Polynesian girl wants to be Valerie. I encouraged my students to emulate her, especially the physically big girls. I tell them, if Valerie can do it, you can do it. Just believe in yourself.

In my teaching room, I have a big poster of Valerie.

Of course, not to forget the Samoans, I teach them about Beatrice Roini Liua Faumuina, ONZM (born October 23, 1974 in Auckland) is a New Zealand discus thrower, a gold medallist at the 1997 World Championships in Athletics. She has represented New Zealand in three Summer Olympics. She is Samoa's number one daughter.

These two girls broke the stereotyping that many people label the Polynesian people. They have done their heritage proud.

Shotput: Tonga toasts Vili
6:45AM Thursday Dec 04, 2008

The tiny Pacific kingdom of Tonga rolled out the red carpet for Olympic shotput champion Valerie Vili yesterday.

Prime Minister Feleti Vaka'uta Sevele and New Zealand High Commissioner Christine Bogle were to host Vili, her husband, sister and members of her extended family at a function in the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa.

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