Tala Samoa, Samoan News, Sacramento
The Deciding Factor Before The Main Event
Talofa folks! A short recap of our story for those who just joined us. Back in May 19th Joe Tolo competed and won, Extra’s Voice Boot camp Experience. There were overall, two thousand video submission of which eleven finalist were chosen. Joe was one of the eleven finalist to compete for the opportunity of a lifetime to be on the popular show the“Voice”. Joe wooed the judges when he sang his own rendition of “Ordinary people" by John Legend and capped it! After winning the coveted position, Joe now has one more hurdle to jump, and that is to impress the casting director to win his final round. This brings us up to par on the latest with the on going saga of Joe Tolo. On July 18th he received confirmation via e-mail for his final nerve wrecking audition scheduled on August 18th. However, he was just informed that the actual audition has been moved to August 20th.
The momentum is registering high as Joe Tolo, prepares to jump the last hurdle in the obstacle course for that once in a lifetime ride to the stars. In fact as we speak, Joe is in dream land, leaving Sacramento for the neon lights down yonder. A midst the waiting, a few changes had occurred that will momentarily delay Joe’s appearance, should he win this last audition. Joe will not appear in season seven of the Voice as previously reported. Instead he will be appearing in season eight of the “Voice” which will be in March of next year.
According to sources, the delay is due to the many unprocessed application that awaited completion prior to Joe winning the contest. This group of people should they win, will go on to season seven, landing Joe in the season eight category. When asked what his feelings were on the delay, Joe humbly commented, “ I was disappointed n a bit sadden, but God’s timing is the best timing. This will give me time to practice harder”. And for the rest of the remaining months Joe kept busy sharpening his pipes.
Part of Joe’s fairy tale journey included a tour to Hollywood, the amazing world of make believe. He shared the incredible time he had with the light of his life, his mom. Watching his mother enjoying life as she never had was an emotional accelerating experience for him. Even if he didn't win the contest, this moment would have been reward enough. Ironically, he was where fantasy and dreams come to life. Joe was there to turn his own dreams into reality.
He was asked his thoughts on Paul Ieti, another powerhouse that made his way through America’s got talent. He stated,”I am so proud of Paul”. He is another prime example for our youth to emulate. Our circumstances is a bit different, but we share the same goals. We are both Samoans who love to sing, we want to provide for our families, and pursue our dreams in the music industries. Someday, I hope to meet him and to have the opportunity to sing with him. He has amazing skills with an amazing voice.
As is the nature of any business, uncertainty, rings true of its presence. When asked of his plans, Joe, responded with an air of confidence, and related, his well thought out blue print of his ambitions. “If I don’t make it, I will thank God for the blessed opportunity and the amazing journey I was allowed to share with my mom. Then I will proceed with my education and get my degree. Next I will seek employment until I'm ready to take on the next phase of my life, which is to enter medical school, singing all the while of my blessings and the goodness of God. If I do make it, then I will go on to live my dreams, take care of my family and continue singing of God’s love. Joe shared, that he is nervous but find some comfort in knowing that he has only the casting director to deal with. With his mother as his companion he feels blessed and happy, no matter what happens.
After the audition he plans to take his mom on a long sight seeing trip,and really relish the sweet moments afforded them by God. Please keep Joe in your prayers and tune in on Samoans in Sacramento, Le malae page for the continuing saga of Joe Tolo. We wish Joe and his mom a wonderful, memorable and safe time in L.A. As well as, God’s blessing and the best of luck!
Joe Tolo, A Samoan from Sacramento is competing on the VOICE. He needs our support. part 1
by Tonu Nuusila, Elizabeth Felise and Sarona Nuusila Amotai
"ALWAYS remember your roots. It will remind you why you're here in the first place and where you are. It's ok to fail. It's a learning curb. Just be consistent, keep practicing, have faith and always believe in yourself and know that your worth it. You are amazing and unique. It all boils down to having the courage to make good choices. Its what determines your destiny"." Joe Tolo
Samoans in Sacramento is proud to present the 1st Samoan out of the beautiful city of Sacramento running for the coveted spot to audition for the popular national TV program, the "VOICE". Joe Tolo hails from Pago Pago American Samoa but resided in the village of Malaeloa where his father Tolo Tolo Jr. is a native of. His mother is Maria Lafaele Tolo from Afono.
Joe is the youngest of 8 active siblings, six bros and 1 sister. At the age of 4, like all the previous generations of Polynesian families, his family migrated to Sacramento in hopes of expanding the horizon for opportunities of success. Joe says upon arriving in Sacramento he experienced quite a culture shock. He was amazed at the vast differences of the two culture. Although he spoke little English and a complete stranger to the American scene his mother assured him that his strength lies in his social skills and his keen curiosity will propel his desire to learn. His mother's unwavering faith in him empowered him to excel hence forth and he never looked back.
The door of opportunity opened up to his music dreams when he noticed an advertisement about the competition on his news feed. His nerves were racked high but with awesome support from his family and friends he took the plunge. Joe is now in second place and we are rooting crazy for him. Writer asked Joe what his plans consisted of if he won the contest. Joe states; "If I do win, then I plan on making beautiful music and make my family AND my people proud. If I don't make it I will continue singing, knowing I gave it my best shot".
Joe comments; It's rare to see a Samoan leave alone a Polynesian in a mainstream show. I wouldn't be intimidated because I know my people are just as good as any artist out there. Its just being at the right place at the right time."
Joe trails in his sister Easter's footsteps who graduated from HIT as salutatorian and his brother Abe who graduated from Wyotech. He is currently a third year student in California State University, East Bay. His desire was always to work in the medical field which led him to major in Health Science with an option in pre-nursing and minoring in psychology. He shares the exciting news that he was just recently placed on the waiting list for the University's nursing program for the fall quarter which is usually filled. Blessed with the doors of opportunities to choose he has the option of obtaining a health science degree in administrations and management. Joe shares his aspirations to be a doctor one day. With the opportunity to attend nursing school, he is able to obtain some nursing experience under his wings that will enable him to transition to medical school to become a doctor.
Joe converses about his family and love for music which he acquired growing up in a musical family. He states; "My parents taught all my older siblings how to sing and taught me techniques I know and use today," but credits his sister for his continuing love for music through the daily ritual of singing lessons that he still continues to perfect. Joe lights up as he talks about the greatest inspiration in his life. His mother. Although his father greatly contributes to their well being, He hails his mother for their firm Christian and moral up bringing. Always an advocate for God and Education his mother has ingrain in them the value of hard work, Education and faith in God. The priority of his family life consist of God, family, music singing, and of course good food. Joe talks fondly about his sister Easter who has been the most "influencing" person through out his life for as long as he can remember. She is not only his mentor, teacher, she is also his hero. It is his sister that he calls for support, assurance, or for anything he needs to discuss. Joe hugely credits his sister's investment of time and patience for whom he has become today.
Asked if he had some words of motivation for the young people out there, he offered these wise words of wisdom; " Never give up. ALWAYS remember your roots. It will remind you why you're here in the first place and where you are going from there. It's ok to fail. It's a learning curb. Just be consistent, keep practicing, have faith and always believe in yourself and know that your worth it. You are amazing and unique. It all boils down to having the courage to make good choices. Its what determines your destiny".
JOE TOLO WINS THE FIRST LEVEL TOWARDS THE VOICE AUDITION. This is an ongoing story. We will follow Joe as he Continues to move forward. Support Joe!!!
THE TRIALS OF HER YOUTH STRENGTHEN HER ON HER JOURNEY TO ADULTHOOD
By Tonu Nuusila and Elizabeth Felise
How fortunate we are to live smack in the middle of the land of opportunity, where the marvel of technology and the media continues to evolve in amazing speed. However formidable the use of technology and the media may appear, its incredible, versatile powers can be utilized to further the advancement of progress in any form. It can mold, shape and influence opinions and alter lifestyles of multitude watching, and listening from far and near. We embrace this as a prolific advantage to promote the talents and skills of our children. Our communities are filled with youths who share the same thread of commonality through their stories, struggles, and triumphs. They just need a platform and a microphone to be heard, and a pen to write their stories. As a media for the people, this is our purpose and objective. It is our mission.
This week, Samoans in Sacramento, are thrilled to introduce one of our own, a budding photographer, a vivacious young woman of Samoan descent whose profile is worthy to ponder. This is her story. Her name is Temukisa Felise the third daughter of four children to Elizabeth n David Felise of Sacramento. Now at 20 Temu is in a new dawn of her adulthood. Her mother Elizabeth or “Lisa“ as she is known to her friends, is a staff writer for Le malae online news hub for Samoans around the globe and an Administrator for Samoans in Sacramento page. An entrepreneur in her own right, Lisa has her own online business and is an incredible baker. With that said, we can see why the apple don’t fall far from the tree.
Although music plays a big part of her life, Temu breaths and dreams photography. Creative, with a zest for life, Temukisa states, “ When I was little I’ve always loved taking pictures of anything and everything with disposable cameras”. A knack she said, she has carried through her teen years and now into adulthood. Temukisa struck me as a lovely, confident, and optimistic young woman who exudes passion and enthusiasm for life. With renewed abiding faith in God, she exerts herself to go the extra mile to fulfill her dreams. Temukisa thoughtfully maps out her own future, determined to pave her own way. Self empowered she takes charge of her own life. She states; she don’t mind her family donating to her cause, but she wants to take care of the expenses herself. She adds; “ I want to pay my own expenses by booking photo shoots, and to be hired out to do events.”
However, life wasn’t always a bowl of roses for Temukisa. Like many excited adolescence starting out on life, she too encountered bumps on the road that became mountains, too heavy to move, or too steep to climb. At age 15 Temu fell in love for the first time, unplanned. Mesmerized by the excitement and thrill of first love, she followed her heart. Unprepared, but in love, fearful yet excited, she ventured into a new kind of world, that she knew too little of. It offered her freedom and happiness and the complexities that tag along with love. Unbeknownst to her at the time, the consequences of her choices, will alter the course of her life forever. During the three wonderful years of her new found happiness, she managed to build her world and future around her knight in shining armor. But he proved unfaithful, and broke her heart and shattered her world and dreams. Consequently, she lost all interest in everything, and her education took a back lash. Severe depression, and confusion had set in and the once happy outgoing spirit became void and despondent .
Everything seemed to happen so fast with in months of her graduation year. Her life came to a screeching halt. Reeling from wounds still tender she experienced a string of devastating loss of close family members. Like a domino affect, her grandmother had past away, followed by her two uncles and then her aunt, all in close proximity of one another. The emotional impact was too overwhelming. Temukisa became a recluse. Feeling alone and drained of energy and motivation, she became mentally and physically incapacitated. In the space of one year, she experienced the loss of four close love ones, and the loss of an intimate part of her that time and God can only heal.
By the time she was 18 years old, Temu, has already come face to face with some of life’s harshest reality. Determined to graduate, she pulled herself together with the help of her family and God. Undaunted, she returned to school a year later with a passionate determination to graduate. With self perseverance she remained steadfast. She worked incessantly to meet or exceed the challenge to graduate. And inspite of the difficult challenges, she succeeded with flying colors. She is now trailblazing her own path to success.
Temukisa attributes her come back to the amazing love and outpouring of support from her family. But most of all gives the glory and the power to God for a second chance in life. In essence, Temu has remarkably beat the odds of overcoming her bout with depression with the unconditional love from her family, and the healing power of God. In retrospect, the challenges of her youth, has transformed her vulnerabilities into a pillar of strength. She is prepared to utilize the incalculable potential God has instill in her and is ready to move on. With fierce determination, she has geared herself up, to take life by the horn and ride it out on her terms.
Her key words of encouragement to her peers is “self love” and self empowerment”. Don’t sell yourself short. You must love yourself, before you can love another. Self love, is keeping your dignity intact, and not compromising the values that made you the person you are. Self empowerment, derives from the inner strength, that is drawn from the knowledge and power of loving oneself. Today, Temukisa is attending CRC full time. She is double majoring in computer science and photographing. She continues to work on building her portfolio and booking events.
Lets give a vote of support and encouragement to our young aspiring young men and women in their field of choice. You can support Temukisa by booking her for your next event. Please go to her facebook page to view her portfolio. We wish Temukisa God’s speed and success as she ventures out to immortalize her dreams through her work.
If you know of any young aspiring youth or adult, or have an important event coming up, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Editorial by Tonu Nuusila
Abandonment of Samoan Group from Australia in Seattle raises concerns for safety and well being of Samoans traveling to be a part of Samoan Cultural Festivities and need for common sense precautions.
In light of the unfortunate circumstances of our brothers and sisters from Australia, I would like to express my regrets for their demise and for the dishonorable treatment that has been their lot since arriving. My gratitude for the prompt action of two wonderful daughters of Samoa, Suluama Teresa Vivolo and Liz Mitchell who demonstrated such love and compassion and obligated themselves in service of their fellow men (and women). Together they went to bat on behalf of the Australian group that were stranded without any financial means to sustain themselves after being invited by a Samoan organization to perform at their event. Together the two Samaritans came up with the funds for hotel and food accommodations for a few days for this large group. Because they are a large group of 25 or more they are asking assistance from the Samoan community or anyone that can help. Any amount is gratefully accepted.
The cause for this unfortunate case is still vague and laced with a lot of speculation although miscommunication and lack of funds may be a possibility. As embarrassing as this is, it poses as a classic example of how, many of our Samoan organizations and events are being conducted. Hearing about this unfortunate story inflicts painful and embarrassing flash backs of the many organization I was part of that appeared to follow the same blueprint and also ended up in similar circumstances. I've worked for quite a few organization that promised financial reimbursement and monetary gain in which I ended up working for love and draining my bank account and for them committing unfair business practices that tarnished not only their reputation but became the key reason for its downfall. I've learned much from this and I resolved to never again be taken advantage of. I even swore not to get involved in another Samoan organization. As I said, Samoans tend to think with their hearts instead of their heads and I suppose I am no exception. Did I learn anything? We will see. As fate has it, I was led to another organization, doing what I love. I am developing faith in it and hopefully it will dissuade the disappointments and regrets I've experienced from all other organization I've been in.
My negative experiences has open my eyes to why the palagis scribes everything in black and white in forms of contracts before committing. This legal document serves two purpose. 1). For the protection of the two parties involved and 2). To make sure both party will commit and deliver. Failure in honoring the contract will conjure up consequences of being sued for not abiding by the agreement to do so. This by far is the best policy to follow when dealing from the business aspect of things.
How ever, the question is, will our people follow suit and adapt the palagi way of doing business? Perhaps the educated, business minded population will, but for our old schoolers it may not be so easy.
The problem perhaps is in how our old schoolers perceive things through old habits deeply embedded from cultural upbringing. Our people revere and respect authority because we seem to be heavily induced to its influenced by our parents or grand parents constant teaching by word and example. In hind sight I think our culture appears to have dominated our way of life and way of thinking to a fault. The statement "Our culture defines who we are" is the rule and not the exception in this case. Our people seem to often think with their hearts, throwing caution to the wind and suppress what they know to be right for the cause of love or to protect ones honor, although it is usually their own. In many ways our culture has taught them to place much trust in humanity, and in the kindness and integrity of those in position. Consequently this becomes an integral part of their nature, which is why we seem to be naturally inclined to pursue such course, in spite of the hardship or challenges we may face down the road. Taught to be obedient we appear to follow blindly out of child like faith, honor and respect to keep the peace, hide the offense, or keep from reverting to any kind of confrontation with authority at almost any cost.
In spite of its flaws, I must admit that our culture is indeed the best code of ethics I have had the privilege to be part of. It is indeed a culture of love and respect and integrity if it is followed untainted. This was once the code of honor of chiefs and royalty, the culture and the way of life of the Christian nation of Samoa. But to our dismay and misfortune those days are long gone. Yet with the rise of corruption in our government and in businesses, our people continue to trust in verbal agreement based on the word of one or two person without any written conformation of what the other party is offering to do for them and vise versa and in terms of accommodations as it was in this case. In my humble opinion I think its about time our people follow the light into the 21st century and pursue the smarter route implemented by the palagis.
To avoid the pitfall of scams and dishonest business transaction here are a few pointers to consider. Always put your business transaction and agreements in black and white. Insist on putting things in writing before agreeing to enter any proposition and make sure you understand what is written. Don't be afraid to ask questions. It is your right. Avoid verbal agreement like the plague when it comes to contractual counterpart having to do with business matters or anything extensive. And of course seek assistance from an attorney. Hopefully this story will serve as a reminder of how important it is to have clarity of what ever proposition being offered. Make sure communication is clear and updated. Check the source for dependability and trust worthiness. Trust your instincts. It is usually accurate. This is true and of essence in anything in life.
OFFICE OF SAMOAN AFFAIRS EXPANDS ITS HORIZON TO
Updates & calendar
Buy Richard Parker's new release, "Made in Samoa". the CD is on sale here.
Sacramento has a new polynesian Restaurant, "SAPATU" and the food and