All posts by Maureen Unasa

Maureen Unasa is a contrarian Samoan woman unravelling life, love and culture through the art of Samoan weaving

Backlash and Criticism inevitable

Samoan fine mat weaving in gold curling ribbon

Backlash as it states is lashings to the back. Behind you. It’s not called a front-lash otherwise you could see it coming. Possibly.

Backlash.   Backstab. Feels all the same to me.   Even if you’ve experienced it before, it still doesn’t change your initial emotion.

When something nasty is thrown into my space, I have learnt over the years to invite a conversation. When inviting a conversation I generally don’t expect a further attack given I am seeking an opportunity to discuss allegations made against me.  It makes things worse when one doesn’t have a physical voice to have a vocal conversation otherwise that would be my first option.

Regardless, I outlined my disappointment and understand that people make judgements all the time although I don’t condone it.  I consciously catch myself.  There are avenues available for communication if one was in disagreement.  It is interesting though, that what gave rise to this backlash is a matter of personal opinion.  A personal truth.

A final reply to my request was “not wasting any more time on this”.  SERIOUSLY!  Throw something in, attack further and then don’t waste my time when I seek an open conversation.  I used to be a real bitch before but holy moley.  So thankful I now think before I shit out of my mouth.  (Tulou a-Excuse me)

My, “How to make a Samoan Mini Mat” Youtube videos have been examined carefully by some experts in the fine art of Samoan weaving.  Experts because they have righteously cast their opinions on the errors of my videos.  Oops, yes I did spell it “falagigi’i” instead of the correct mother tongue of “falanini’i”.  That is huge on the scale of life and death.  ‘G’ and ‘N’ are often a source of confusion in our native tongue because of the conversational versus grammatically correct Samoan language.

If you refer to my tagline then you will fully get that this  is my journey to “Unravel life, love and culture through the art of Samoan weaving”.  I invite you to share in this journey.  This means that you can contribute to my journey.  If I need correction then so be it.  I am open which is why I have a public presence.  I do not need to hide behind the screen.  I am out there and available for criticism.  I welcome it.  It’s an opportunity to learn.

The videos themselves were purely a response to several requests to learn how to weave.  Naturally (as a non expert weaver) I guided these requests towards the nearest possible group in their community and failing that to consult our online teaching platform that is GOOGLE.   Google university had very limited (if any) pathways to learn weaving online.  There are also not very many weaving groups anywhere in the world you happen to be.

I would know.  I also researched too.

I create on the fly.  I could see how I could make weaving available without the borders.  I created videos based on what I had learnt.  I don’t claim them to be authentic traditional techniques.  It is inspired by what I have been told and manipulated it to work for my chosen medium.  Curling ribbon.  It is slippery and not tough like pandanus or flax.  I weave the way it works best.

If you are an expert then please share the CORRECT way to weave a falanini’i.  Otherwise, please make yourself a good hot cup of perspective.

My weaving is simply a platform to engage.  A vehicle to transform many areas of my life.  One of the areas involves my own Samoan and on a broader spectrum the Pacific Islander peoples.  Bigger than me is the world.

I belong to the world.

Working on empowering young Pacific Island Women to be more than they think they are.  Being a demonstration of savvy contrarian Samoan woman.  Thinking for myself.  Being true to myself.

Being contrary to popular belief.  I just happen to be a Samoan and a woman.

We have big problems that need to be addressed by strong courageous people.  Health,  literacy, suicide, abuse et cetera.  It’s rife everywhere.  Choose one and get on with it.

I hope my intentions are neither shallow or narrow for you all.  What hopes do I have of being big and bold for humanity.

Much respect.Online G+ Business Card

Embrace the Hate

When a pioneer steps up to the plate there will always be hate.

It’s interesting then that everything arises out of an experience.  Then a conversation analysing that experience.

The experience may or may not have worked.  The experience is the catalyst for conversation of implementation.  Implementing rules or guidelines that may (if willing) evolve with time.

Some experience lay foundations for practices and beliefs.  At the time of it’s inception it occurs that this is how it will be.  A permanent feature.  An absolute in nature and kind.

Possibly, the notion of absolute would work without the introduction of NEW.

New arrived in the form colour bearing pretty unnatural and ultimately destructive lures against the land and its inhabitants.

I’m not displaced.  Displacement occurs in the mind.
I embrace. I evolve.
There will always be hate when a pioneer steps up to the plate.
Thats why it’s important to educate against the hate
It is never too late. Let the past and present mate.
Educate to eradicate hate. We are not late.

I do not belong. To any one group.
To separate myself is to segregate my mind.
My mind is the most powerful and that which i protect.
My mind creates the content of my life.
It fuels the words I use.
It makes the sense of less.
It unravels and smashes a conversation to pieces.
It rebuilds the conversation through context.

I get it. I understand the need for preservation.
Hoping against the defiance of time. It is but HOPE.
Hope is for the hungry. Hope is for the undeniably oppressed.
The world of my mind is abundant. The soil of my life is fertile.
Ideas grow wild. Aligned with mother nature she will nurture.
Mother nature will guide. She teaches me. She shows me.
I walk with her and not the testosterone of humanity.
My ego she keeps in check.

Our ways. Our practises. Our beliefs. Our traditions.
It all began with a seed. An idea.
It grew. It was nurtured.
It died. Replanted. Multiplied.
It grew wild. It spread. It adapted.
It evolved. Embracing the environment.
It teaches. It shares. It aligns with the present.
Rooted in history. It is not held to extinction.
It grows towards greatness. Embrace.

Fear not the path of greatness. Know the path itself won’t be.
The path will be hacked down and uprooted at every opportunity.
Nature is designed that way.
Replant. Grow. Multiply. Spread. Adapt. Evolve. Teach. Share.
Embrace the path.