The writer spoke at the Prize Giving of the 2016 Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition held at Vaitele last night. This is what he said:
Good evening and greetings to you all!
Let me begin by saying, it is my pleasure and privilege, to add my own personal welcome to you all, for making the time to be with us here this afternoon, so that together we can help make the prize giving ceremony of this year’s Samoa Observer Short Story Competition, a positive and a happy occasion.
And now on behalf of the Samoa Observer and its staff, I extend our warm greetings to all those, who had taken the time to write those stories, since surely without them, this event would not be possible.
And as for those whose stories have won prizes, I am delighted to say well done, and congratulations to you all.
Briefly, the stories that were submitted for this year’s competition were from authors living in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
Four of them, are being awarded prizes this afternoon. So let’s say well done to them, while at the same time, let’s urge the others who did not win prizes to never give up.
Let them sharpen those creative talents of theirs instead by getting to those laptops, and then keep on writing those stories since as they all know, that is the only way they can win those illusive prizes.
To our partners and sponsors, the Chinese Embassy, Digicel Samoa, Ah Liki Construction, Samoa Stationery and Books, the National Bank of Samoa, UNDP, Business Systems Limited, ANZ Bank, Ace Hardware and Samoa Builders Supplies, Samoa Spare Parts, Air New Zealand and of S.P.A.C.L.A.L.S, we are sincerely grateful for your kind, unwavering support.
We want you to know that without your support, this competition would not be the success it has become today, so we say thank you very much.
To our judges, Silafau Dr. Sina Vaai and Dr. Selina Marsh, we say thank you.
We are well aware that your contribution, to the success of this competition is invaluable so let me say on behalf of our staff, thank you very much for your kind support.
Lastly, now that the Ambassador for Government of the People’s Republic of China, Mr Wang Xuefeng, is with us here this afternoon, may I ask for your indulgence, so that I can say a few words about Samoa’s friendship, with the People’s Republic of China.
I promise I’ll be brief.
It began back in 1976
That was when Samoa’s late Head of State, Malietoa Tanumafili II, paid a state visit to Beijing.
It was during that visit that diplomatic relationships between the governments of China and Samoa were established.
On 11 May 2007, Malietoa passed away peacefully. He was 94.
Upon hearing about Malietoa’s death, the President of the People’s Republic of China at the time, Hu Jintao, wrote:
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of His Highness, Malietoa Tanumafili II, Head of State of the Independent Sate of Samoa.
“On behalf of the government and the People’s Republic of China, and in my own name, I wish to convey our deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences, to the Government and people of Samoa, and to the bereaved family of His Highness.”
Mr Hu Jintao also wrote: “His Highness was a Statesman of noble character and high prestige, who made outstanding contributions to the independence and development of Samoa.
“As Head of State of Samoa, he was not only friendly to China but was also committed, to maintaining and promoting the cordial and cooperative relations between Samoa and China, which the Chinese people will never forget.”
And then looking into the future, Hu Jintao wrote: “I hope and believe that the cause of friendship initiated by His Highness will be continuously consolidated and strengthened, with joint efforts by both the Samoan and Chinese Governments.”
Indeed, he added: “(I’m hoping that) his legacy of peace and friendship with the government of the Peoples Republic of China based on mutual trust and friendship, lived on.
“(And that in doing so) it would remain the nourishing bond, that’s continuing to keep the governments of the two countries respectful of each other, to this day.”
And “lived on, the legacy of peace and friendship” between the two countries that President Hu Jintao, was talking about, had surely “lived on.”
Indeed to this very day.
What’s more, it is also looking remarkably well and strong, and all you have to do to be convinced is look around you wherever you happen to be, and soon the truth is there.
And there, right before you are stacks of indelible evidence, that say the “legacy of peace and friendship” forged 30 years ago between Samoa and China in Beijing, is still alive and well here in Samoa today.
What’s more, that “legacy” has since been entrusted to Ambassador Mr Wang Xuefeng, who has already embarked on making sure that “it would remain the nourishing bond that’s continuing to keep the governments of the two countries, respectful of each other, to this day.”
And that “legacy”, like it or not, is the unseen tool being deployed today - the Chinese way - in the development of Samoa with Chinese help from around Apia all the way to Faleolo, where that brand new Chinese-built Airport is rising slowly and yet irrefutably towards the sky, for everyone to see.
So let’s hope “the legacy of peace and friendship between the government of the Peoples Republic of China and Samoa, based on mutual trust and friendship” that President Hu Jintao was talking about back there, would indeed live on.
“(And that in doing so), it would remain the nourishing bond, that’s continuing to keep the governments of the two countries respectful of each other, to this very day.”
In the meantime, now that that little snag about the “friendship between China and Samoa” is out of the way, let’s say “Congratulations!” one more time to the winners of this year’s Short Story Competition, and let’s say thank you to everyone here this evening, for making the time to be with us on this very special day. Soifua.