- Ruby's Daydreams
"I switched out the tape that said, I have to work extra hard in order to receive a percentage of what I give."
- Ruby's Daydreams
"I put in the tape that said, I can receive More than I give. Life is Easy."
- Ruby's Daydreams
"I find it difficult to work in teams because conformists are burdensome."
- Ruby's Daydreams
Surprisingly - I really enjoyed the film! Disney's Moana turned out to be a great cartoon and story. And I say that as someone with Polynesian and Melanesian heritage.
Prior to watching, I was bracing myself because I knew that this was a pacific story told by a non-pacific organization. Usually when an outsider tells our story, I cringe because the artwork/narrative is dishonest and lacks integrity.
But I saw so many criticisms that I became curious. Ironic - Lol! Some complained that the story was too "mixed" accusing the writers of inappropriately mixing multiple polynesian and melanesian languages, clothing, mythology. Some complained that there was not enough research done, and not enough insight sought after from the elders back home. Others complained simply because outsiders told our islander story which was not for outsiders to tell.
So this is my take:
I enjoyed the "mixed"ness of the script especially because the setting took place in ancient Oceania which means that our pacific cultures were likely unified in ancient times before we spread out to populate the rest of the pacific. It makes sense that we would recognize various island cultures in this crafted tale of ancient times.
I also read that Disney's team did spend some time in the pacific. And when I saw the film for myself, I saw that they did do their research as far as capturing the various garments, language, and physical features of the characters. Did they do enough research to create a documentary? Probably not. But did they do enough research to craft an Oceania cartoon, something intended to entertain families and children? I feel they did.
As far as their outsiderness disqualifying their position to tell our story? Gosh I'm torn on the answer. On one hand, I don't like outsiders telling an insider's story - especially what feels like "my" story as a pasifika woman. Since I am indigenous to the Samoan, Tongan, Fijian islands, I have a painful relationship with Colonization and Exploitation of the Pacific. When a non-pacific person/group tells my pacific story and makes a profit, then it does trigger that stinging sensation of colonization in the pacific because it feels like an outsider is reaching into my territory and extracting something valuable without permission or compensation.
On the other hand, I am first generation American living in the diaspora and I constantly yearn for islander representation in the media and in pop culture because we lack islander representation. Since I was not raised in the islands, and was not raised in a society where islanders are the dominant majority, I fight the issue of Invisibility. The invisibility of my islander identity and culture. So when I do see parts of our islander culture represented, even if not done perfectly, then I feel excited. I can't help it. I'm excited for visibilty of our islander culture even if that means an outsider will share our story because it starts the conversation, the conversation about the pacific.
Visibility creates a sense of belonging. And a sense of belonging inspires participation. As an immigrant, visibility is vital for me while I continue to live and create something for myself in this new land.
That's what Disney's Moana means to me. It's a reminder of our talent to pioneer new things. After all, weren't our islander ancestors navigators? And in that sense, I have all the pioneering tools and dna to succeed here.
Happy Holidays All, I posed my unique cartoon character in a holiday setting. That's right! I invented him.
The little round guy is Maka from my original children's story, "Maka and the Impossible," which is a parable of ambition. My little rock leaves his village and goes on an impossible journey. Reflecting his creator (me), he has an ISLANDER FLAVOR to his style.
To read about his adventures, please check out my book :)
#polynesianstory #polynesianchildrenstory #polynesianwriter
Fundraiser: Please donate online to support a dynamic and loving Polynesian church - Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga of San Francisco. Their program has contributed to the community for 31 years through youth mentorship, community outreach, and even feeding the homeless. Giving money to this church is an investment because they are a living, breathing community resource. Any donation amount will be appreciated.
Just an idea: if 1,000 people - islanders and allies - each contributed $30, then the church would meet its goal.
#San Francisco #Community Support #Polynesians #Tongans #Polynesian Church #People Power
I grew up in San Francisco :) Surrounded by friends of multiple cultures, exotic food, and eclectic entertainment. San Francisco will also have a special place in my heart for empowering me to think openly and bravely.
In addition, I grew up knowing that my people are Polynesian because my father is Samoan and my mom is Tongan. As a result, I feel tethered to the South Pacific in a spiritual sense which means that I'm never lost because my identity works as a compass. Because I know who I am, and where I come from, I have the confidence to travel very far.
To no surprise, when I began painting - and I'm self-taught - a Polynesian flavor popped up despite my American upbringing.
For instance, in my "Water Window" painting, I tried to snapshot a village in the distance from a surfer's point of view. Check it out:
In another painting, I tackled the subject of Akaka Waterfalls which I enjoyed visiting when I lived on the Big Island. After growing up in San Francisco, I knew that I had to live in the Pacific in order to blossom. The journey was so worth it! Hawai'i challenged me in ways I didn't expect and didn't know I was capable of meeting head on. Here is the "Waterfall" painting:
Last but not least, below is my painting that marries my identity as a Polynesian and as an American. I call it, "San Francisco Jungle" because the title and subject captures my eclectic upbringing. Although it's a concrete jungle, the locals - like my family - keep the city exotic and fresh.
"Maka and the Impossible" is a Polynesian children's story which I wrote based on my own experience as a Polynesian American.
The message is universal in that it's a parable of Ambition. Maka is a little rock, and he decides to travel up a hill. The problem is that rocks are not mobile - no legs nor arms.
Starting with that problem, I chronicle his impossible journey up a hill.
Similarly, I know what it's like to decide to travel up the career ladder in California. After spending many years working and going to school, I've made progress in a field that I don't see too many of my peers: Law. That's right, I'm in law school :-) I know for sure that I'm standing on the shoulders of giants - my family - who empowered me to move forward. So I am grateful.
Like Maka, my journey towards becoming an attorney was not easy. Many would say that my dream was Impossible because I did not have the financial resources to pay for law school nor the mentors from whom to model myself.
Yet, all it took was Initiative. By continuing to believe in myself and putting in the work towards higher education, I gravitated towards the right people who answered my questions. Although I didn't have Samoan or Tongan attorneys from whom to follow, I reached out of our community and asked Latino attorney mentors for assistance - who were happy to answer my questions, and direct me towards scholarships.
My children's story character - Maka - has traveled much further than I. But I look forward to catching up with his greatness in my near future.
To read my Polynesian children's story, "Maka and the Impossible", you can purchase a hard copy on Amazon.com.
For the ebook version, go to Lulu.com.
Wish me luck! The journey continues.
I am a Polynesian woman, and that message is communicated in the natural dark curls of my hair, the broadness in my features, my community interests, and subjects of my art.
A recurring image in my first children's story and in my paintings is the Bird of Paradise. While I'm unsure whether this flower has its origin in the South Pacific, I do know that I saw these flowers all over the place when I lived in Hawai'i. The flowers seemed just as much of an inhabitant as the locals.
Now that I live in San Diego, I noticed bird of paradise flowers being a favorite in residential front yards.
These flowers make my journey in life all the more enchanted.
Check out my art below. See what I mean?
"Don't participate in relationships that require you to give up your power."
~ Ruby's Daydreams
Polynesian Writer and Artist