Sunday, January 13, 2013

Interview with a Goddess

Tuiga by Goddess
The blogosphere is a small world with only a handful of Samoan bloggers online and I can't think of a better way to herald in the new year than an interview with one of my favourites. 

I return to her blog time and time again because her writing is witty, refreshingly honest and pulls no punches whether she's dealing with a rude commenter or the editor of a newspaper or even herself. She updates more often than the rest of us and posts about everything from current events to family events to non-events. 

Her piece titled Fifty Shades of Savai'i had me laughing out loud and I love the fact that she blogs publicly what the rest of us only dare to think. 

Not only is she a savvy blogger, she also makes amazingly gorgeous tuiga (ceremonial head-pieces), which I don't think many people know how to make these days. 

Enjoy an interview with divinity -the ever-entertaining and straight-shooting Goddess from Fagogo mai Samoa,...aue!

1. How long have you been blogging? And what got you started in the first place?
Since 2006. I was working for a Samoan govt corporation and was really wary of the dramas in reality, so I resorted to a weird thing called a blog, good outlet to air things without getting slammed to the wall in front of Amau.

2. Can you tell us a bit about your blog, Fagogo mai Samoa?
Fagogo Mai Samoa...fagogos were told to us as children by our elders in Savai'i. We didn't have tv but having fagogo was the most entertaining and calming time of the night, when we were lined on the mats with our ie afu [bedsheets] listening to a story, in our case, a mixture of legends and fair tales and whatever our granma and uncle felt like telling...likewise, my blog is a collection of fairy tales, faiga gukus, and whatever is in my head.

3. We all have moments of drama on our blog (I had a reader cuss me out because a certain recipe didn't work out for them). What's been the most dramatic moment on Fagogo?
- I have had many. Most dramatic ones are some of our villagers sending me hate mail because our family keep winning our matai title court cases. It doesn't affect me, but I am certain they are getting their wrinkled balls in a knot over it.
- The editor of a well-known Samoan newspaper insulting my sibling because of what I write. Mistaken identity....(nice having sisters sometimes to take the backlash, thanks sis).
 - Another editor telling me to go f*** up. Somehow I have awkward relationships with editors.
But I am flattered that people actually read my madness. There are bored people in this world. Indeed.

4. What's a blog you'd like to see someone start?
Samoan whistle blower - about affairs, corruption, anything that is silly and entertaining, because I'm shallow like that.

Tuiga with bore tusks by Goddess
Onto some food questions: 
5. What's your favourite childhood food memory?
The sweet rich aroma of raw brown sugar poured on a hot rock and seeing the liquid pool into the kava bowl....very manaia watching taufolo and faausi being prepared this way by the untitled men (aumaga) while my highness is perched on the coconut pile waiting for the food to cook. Needless to say, I enjoy watching others (ideally men) do the cooking. The stars are aligned. Amen.

Most traumatic food experience
Watching the size 2 pig being choked with a ua mea (steel bar) for dinner. Sucks to be a pig in Samoa. 

6. What's your favourite Samoan food? Least favourite?
Favourite: faausi, and fresh water prawn in coconut cream with taro and pork with limu, sashimi, oops, Japanese - ahem - sasimi. (:
Least: Suafa'i: stupidest invention in the history of humanity, I have my reasons, refer below. I rest my case.

7. If I'm a tourist going to Samoa, what do you think is an essential food/drink experience?
Drink: Vailima Beer, cold fresh coconut. 
Food: Can't go wrong with marinated fish(oka) at popular places like Amanaki, Apia Yatch Club, Schwashbuckles etc. Paddles is very manaia but you don't need to pay heaps to have a more fantastic food experience.

8. Can you recommend a good place to eat in Samoa? 
Encounters for lunch. I love that the chicken salad is more chicken with a dash of salad....Samoan idea of a dream salad! 
Amanaki for poke, oka and other fish dishes, downed with Black Russian.
Savaiian Hotel for Samoan food.
Pinatis for after hours and I'm-too-pissed to-know-what-I'm-eating cuisine experience.
Amanis for cheap but cheerful food, like fancy pork buns and mamoe and other artery blocking goodness. Uma le case!

Tuiga by Goddess on a model
9. How did you learn how to cook?
By doing, watching but more so from, eating.

10. What's the worst mistake you've made in the kitchen?
Being in the kitchen in the first place. 

11. What food will you never give up?
Size 2 crackling, faaausi, pork puns and faiai anything. 

And finally, 12. What's your problem with suafa'i?
More to the point, whose non-brilliant idea was it to get perfectly good bananas and boil the hell out of them, and then add a truckload of diabetes into it ...sorry, I meant sugar. This is the silliest thing ever. C'mon! boiled ripe bananas in sugar and pe'epe'e? Aue Malia e, it tastes as disgusting as it looks....and I don't care what you say Panipopo, this it the one dish i think is a disgrace. I am prepared to start a facebook page called "Suafai is an insult to food, leave the bananas alone and walk away"

So the Goddess has spoken. 

Although suafa'i will always be a sticking point between the two of us, fa'afetai tele lava for answering my nosy questions. I really enjoy your blog (even your family notices which I feel like a bit of a stalker reading) and psst...can you hurry up and write the sequel to Fifty Shades of Savai'i? I think the next one is called 'Darker'.

All the images in this post belong to Goddess. Please check out her blog for her uniquely Samoan take on life or if you need a tuiga for any occasion.