The Samoan-born entertainer and social worker, Cindy of Samoa, who is living in New Zealand, is arriving in Samoa sometime this morning.
In mail yesterday afternoon, she informed: “I can't really say anything at the moment, as I'm getting ready to head to the airport. I will be in Apia tomorrow at 11am. I will message you then and arrange something.”
Cindy of Samoa is quoted in GayNZ.com edition’s of 19 June, as having “let loose a blistering attack to the Samoa Observer in publishing a front page photo of the body of a young transgender woman, found dead in the early hours of Friday morning.”
The GayNZ.com edition said Jeanine Tuivaiki, 20, was found dead in a church hall in central Apia, the result of what is increasingly being considered as an apparent suicide. As well as publishing an explicit photograph of her lifeless body, the Sunday Samoan also ran an accompanying detailed and speculative report in which it repeatedly referred to her as a man.
Cindy, who splits her time between Auckland and Apia and is currently in the Samoan capital working on several youth projects, has targeted the Samoa Observer's Editor in Chief, Savea Sano Malifa, and its publisher, Muliaga Jean Ash Malifa.
"I am disgusted with your actions today," she says. "It is unacceptable and inhuman. Would u publish that photo if that was one of your kids?
Would u wanna live the rest of your life with that memory of your child?" She refers to the resulting "mental and emotional sufferings" she is already observing in fa'afafine Samoans and others, especially young people.
"For a couple that used to fight with the government in the past for people's rights and freedom... you both, and your company, have totally lost humanity and compassion for the people u so called fight for.
We looked up to you. You were our voice. You don't know how much we valued you. Now I'm speaking for the people that includes Fa'afafines, youth, the children and the future generation of Samoa. You and your paper have let us, our people and our country down today big time."
Cindy is urging people not to judge the young woman. "Don't judge Jeanine. You have no idea what she went through in life and what drove her to the end. That is none of anyone's business. Her life as a Fa'afafine is not your business. Don't let it become your burden. You have your own life to live. LIVE IT. Put all your concerns and worries on it."
"I am most impressed and overwhelmed by the support of the people," she says. "Mostly young, intelligent educated Samoans, standing up for the rights of our sister Jeanine. (RIP darling).
It shows a light of hope not only for us Fa'afafines but the future generation and the people in general. We Fa'afafines have well contributed to our country, our families and our communities. The support by the people have spoken as evidence."
Cindy has posted a farewell message to the young woman: "Darling Jeanine. From the people that knows u, you will always be remembered as a shinning light and that's all it matters. Rest in peace and in love my darling. Only God knows. Alofassssssss alwayssssss."
Asked for a comment, Savea and Muliaga said they have nothing to say.
"Cindy has the right to to her own opinion," they said. "She has the right to say anything she wants."