Friday, August 14, 2009

Don't tell whoppers to vavalagis

from w
I bought an old Geo magszine at the Geelong West Rotary Book Fair and was surprised to read an article in it about Samoa and Margaret Mead. Way back in 1925 this 23 year old American girl asked many intimate questions of young Samoan girls and the girls who loved to joke and tell whoppers really misled this budding young anthropolist. Margaret Mead's book Coming of Age in Samoa became a blueprint for a theory that while American teenagers had problems, the Samoan teenagers did not. It was all about boy - girl behaviour.

An elderly Samoan woman Fa'apua 'a Fa'amu was 89 in the story (Geo 1991) and she explained with a mischievous smile that the girls had told Margaret Mead whatever she wanted to believe. It wasn't till a New Zealander, Derek Freedman, questioned Margaret Mead's conclusions that anthropology students realized that sometimes vavalagi researchers don't get it right. Freedman was told by Samoans (in the 1980s) that girls are strictly brought up!

And in Fiji - Marshall Sahlins wrote his definitive research book on Moala and he believed the tall tales told around the yaqona bowl and put them into his research as factual.


Children of Fiji said...

vely stories Wendy. Loved it. Margaret Mead is also well known for her stint in Fiji where she gave a few talks & remembered attending one of those.

Great one. Love the olg images.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Bula sia,
The veli? The kids meke ni veli can be so funny. It's good to have some joking even when the world is becoming chaotic eh!

Children of Fiji said...

Nu bula vina'a,
So true. Often go to your blog just to chill out. Fiji's saga seems to take up too much good space.

However in hindsight,for some of us that are have unlimited access to computers & wireless internets, do we just get to sit down & wtach our Fiji world go to blazes? Thats the challenge that we have to face daily & its not an easy one to find an answer to if you know what I mean. Unless, we become totally immuned. ANyways love 'Na veli' oilei, did a meke in my younger days about the 'veli's)!!

Have a great weekend.

ps. love seeing your Aussie Pm & NZ PM exchanging ties after their recent meeting!!

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hello again
We get a gutache with some of the news. Relatives say they just get on with their tasks and family things. People in Fiji at internet cafes are actually watched! Meanwhile the gorgeous kids in Fiji sing and dance and give messages in the tadra kahani, including my younger relatives.
PS I chill out in reading blogs etc. I've just muddled up a file I am editing for a friend - a novel and I've lost some paragraphs somewhere!