Life is not fair. Good people, in fact great people, somehow always end up leaving us so soon.
For some of us, it’s been a tough few months with the loss of lives of dear ones. Multiple losses too. Trust me, I know.
Let’s be honest here. When we lose loved ones, especially people dearest to our hearts, we often ask the question of why them?
Why not one of the nasty ones out there who is giving society such a headache?
Why not the criminal, the thief, rapists and all the evil people we could do without? Why, why, why?
So many questions yet so few answers.
But that’s what we mean when we say life is not fair. The good ones, in fact the great ones, always end up being taken so soon. The pages of this newspaper are not enough to list them. Gone way too soon.
Yesterday the news many of us did not want to hear came through. It was that of the passing of beloved Seiuli Tuilagi Allan Alo Vaai.
Most of us who knew him knew it was inevitable given his fight with cancer but we did not want this day to come. It is too soon.
We know Seiuli had a lot more to give.
We know he had a lot more to say.
We know he had a lot more knowledge and wisdom to impart.
He was a brilliant mind, one in a million in terms of talents. He was a special soul.
Yes Seiuli really does not need an introduction. Samoa knew him and he loved this country. He was passionate about his art, his people and his culture. It was contagious.
He was a hard worker, with a stubborn resolve to get what he wanted done. But that is a trait we would find in most great people. They do not give up. They do not let go of their dreams. They do not care what people think. They keep on keeping on.
Seiuli, a dear friend, was one of them.
Today we mourn. Today we share tears of sadness. Today we remember. Today we whisper a prayer for his family, his loved ones and ask God the Comforter to strengthen and to console. We pray for peace. We pray for comfort. We also pray for strength to help us celebrate a great life.
When it comes to Seiuli, everyone will have a story to tell. There are many. And they are all wonderful and inspiring.
Which brings us to one story about Seiuli we remember today. Last year, one of his dreams to create a space to nurture, encourage and develop the talents of young people of all ages in the Pacific was realised.
It happened when a project called Samoa Performing Arts and Creative Excellence (S.P.A.C.E) was opened at Fugalei. At the time, Seiuli had already been diagnosed with cancer. But you wouldn’t have known it.
We remember Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi’s tribute to a hero.
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain,” Prime minister Tuilaepa said. “The anonymous quotation fits the purpose of tonight in our coming together to celebrate Seiuli Allan Alo’s dream to create S.P.A.C.E.”
Seiuli’s vision and hard work to realise his dream then received one of the best praises anyone could have gotten from P.M. Tuilaepa.
“Seiuli’s S.P.A.C.E is a demonstration of the distinction between a leader and a follower,” Tuilaepa said.
“You have not followed where the path may lead instead you have gone where there is no path and will definitely lead a trail so that others may follow.
“I feel privileged to be here tonight and I agree wholeheartedly that the performing arts give life its shape. An ounce of performance is certainly worth more ounces of promises.
“I am convinced that those who will enter the holes of S.P.A.C.E will know that when you are simply told of something you will forget whereas showing and involving someone will result in understanding and remembering forever. May we all treasure the gift of S.P.A.C.E born out of a dream!”
Why so early?
Dear God, you are sovereign. You give and you take. And as painful as it is, we know our dear Allan is resting now.