My sister friend Asena was so kind to invite me to participate in the KOAU program. In Tongan, the word "koau" is said in response to when your name is called. Very powerful!
STEP (Saturday Tongan Education Program) at Pomona College hosted this wonderful Pacific Islander educational program on May 7, 2017.
Unfortunately, I was not be able to attend. But they were so awesome to include my educational biography:
Ruby Fanaika Fa’agau
My calling came early in life when I was a teen. I noticed in my American social studies class that Polynesians were absent in the American narrative, and absent in politics and law. I felt an imprint in my heart to pursue a career in law. But I did not have the environment or mentors to instruct me on a direct path into law school. Nevertheless, I thank God for my Tongan mother who always saw my potential. She was my only cheerleader for a very long time.
Part of my journey has been coming to terms with the Polynesian dynamic of intuition. We have an inner knowing that has allowed us to survive tsunamis, take care of our families and village, voyage across waters, and host big celebrations wherever we go. But growing up in the diaspora, I had to reacquaint myself with this strength. It was my intuition that pulled me forward when others did not believe in me, and it has been my intuition that has guided me into law school and now through it. As I get ready to graduate, I have many cheerleaders who are excited to celebrate this next chapter with me. If they knew how far I’ve come, then they would understand why I feel blessed.
And they took time to discuss my children story, "Maka and the Impossible", with the kids. (See photo below)
I'm so grateful for these wonderful connections. I met Asena through my law school classmate and friend, Olavo. The world proved to be even smaller when Asena and I discovered we were actually related. Tokousos for life <3
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
"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.
Welcome to my blog, Ruby's Daydreams. My name is Ruby, and I'm a Polynesian writer and artist from San Francisco.
Having been born and raised in the bay area, I am very Californian. Many of my favorite artists, writers, comedians, are American.
At the same time, my parents' pacific cultures retain a strong influence on me. My Samoan dad and my Tongan mother (who has Fijian heritage) raised me to practice pacific values for community support, family responsibilities, and church. So while I was born and raised in the American diaspora, the diaspora is Not all I know.
You can see the influence of both American and Islander cultures in my art and writing:
My first collection of paintings (windows) has a lot of water, beach, ocean, tropical flavors. Three of those paintings are based on San Francisco.
The second collection of paintings (smiles) were based on faces. Some of those faces are American celebrities.
I tend to write Parables that I repackage as children stories because I like discussing life lessons and illustrating them in simple forms.
My first original children story (Maka and the Impossible) is based on my Polynesian American experience in higher education. It's kind of American Dream meets The Alchemist. It's a parable of Ambition. The character, "Maka", traveled further than I have, but I hope to catch up with his big dreaming.
The second original children story (The Offputting Duckling) was influenced by my hometown of San Francisco. It's a parable of Nonconformity. I took the old story of The Ugly Duckling, and asked the question: What if the duckling never grew up to become beautiful? What if the ugly duckling stayed ugly? This train of thought leads to self-celebration, self-acceptance, and self-love. Some of us blossom on the outside (like the swan character in the original story of the ugly duckling), and some of us blossom on the inside (which I think is a more beautiful story to explore).
I use my writing and art to talk about experiences from a Polynesian American perspective.