This has to be the most beautiful poetic memorial stone/ bench I have come across. Ok some background knowledge you may need in understanding the beauty of this memorial stone for Tony Andy Fonua (1955-2004).
In Tongan poetry ʻkakalaʼ or the sweet smelling flowers are used as a metaphor for people. The use of the metaphor “FĀ KAKALA” gives a timeframe of when he died which is during the reign of KingTaufāʻahau Tupou IV. Therefore the author gives ode/ respect to the Four chiefly flowers of his country Tupou I-IV. The second line gives the notion of the sun being sacred they dare not question the sun for the predicament that they are in. They were joined together at the altar which gives the author of this piece as the widow. The “fuakava” is an important ʻkavaʼ term in the Tongan culture. It is the first cup taken as a solemn vow, you are not culturally married until you take the ʻfuakava maliʼ. Therefor they were joined at the altar and will hold their fuakava vow for eternity. The translation is as follows
“DEEPEST RESPECTS TO FOUR CHIEFLY FLOWERS (PAST & PRESENT TUPOU I-IV)
WHO AM I TO POINT AT THE SUN?
I WAS JOINED WITH YOU AT THE ALTAR
HOLDING OUR MATRIMONIAL VOW FOR ETERNITY”
Did you like this? Let me know or share. Mālō Tuʻa ʻofa atu
One of the few memories I have of Sunday school back in the Kingdom is the fehu’i mo e tali that kids learn at Siasi Tonga Tau’ataina. I loved hearing it because the answers were always said back in a tune chant like manner which made it easy for kids to learn off by heart. Here are some of the first basic questions that all the children learn at Sunday School about God. I often out of the blue ask these simple questions of my kids as a reminder of Gods presence and love for them. And always good to practise as much Tongan as possible with them. These are also great basic questions that you can use to build your vocabulary and ask other questions.
On the 15th of March, I as a student and a parent of two joined the Tongan Language School here in Sydney to welcom the daughter of King Tupou VI, Princess Angelika Lātūpfuipeka to our School. So what! What is all the fuss about you say? Well 3 Tongan words sum up the significance of this occasion and the lessons I would share with my children.
Faka’apa’apa = (Respect)
Fakalāngilangi (to honour)
‘Ilo (knowledge) or Taumu’a ke ‘ilo (Inspire to learn)
I want my kids to live a life of respect. We may not see the Princess every day but we can show respect to our parents, our siblings, our fahu, teachers and elders. Sitting on the mat was one way the children were showing their respect for the Princess.
I want my children to show respect and honor in order to receive it. The highest honor the Tongan Language School could give the Princess is the ‘ilokava (royal kava ceremony). And in honoring her, I was also honored to take part in the Royal kava circle. As a woman and a commoner to take part and to use my family matapule name was like having a title bestowed upon me and having my mother and all my ancestors sitting there with me.
To have the knowledge of why things are done like the kava ceremony and the origin of the fuakava (the first kava) connects me to my language, my family and my roots and seeing the ‘ilokava happen before my eyes was a surreal moment in my life.
Whether it be a royal visit or a family gathering or funeral, we can show respect, we can honor and we can learn at the same time. In this modern world, where respect is fading fast, the Tongan culture of respect and family makes more sense than the celebrity all-about-me culture. I want them to aspire more to the Tongan culture rather than the celebrity culture.
‘Oku ‘oatu ‘ae popoaki talamonū faka kilisimasi ko eni kiate kimoutolu kotoa pe ʻi he tapa ʻo e koloape. ‘Ofa ke mou ma’u ha Kilisimasi fiefia mo faka’ofo’ofa ‘o hangē ko ho’omou feitu’u faka’ofo’ofa pea tauange ke tau ‘inasi ‘i he fiefia tatau ʻi hono fakamanatua ‘o e ‘aho ‘Alo’i.
‘Ofa lahi atu meiate au Hema Fifita mo ʻeku siʻi famili masiva
There are not many children’s lullabies in the Tongan language. This probably has to do with the old traditional attitude that kids should be seen but not heard. ‘Ana Latu is the closest one I could think which is a well known children’s lullaby a lot of mother’s sing to their kids. But if you listen closely to the words, this song is actually a lamenting song about ‘Ana who has departed this world.